Monday, December 31, 2012

Republicans Should Walk Away Until Obama Acts as a Grown Up President

Members of Congress have made it a practice to treat the opposition with courtesy and respect even during the most heated of disputes. President Obama took to the airways today to humiliate and degrade the opposition party with untoward politicized remarks. Republicans should simply refuse to deal with him until he learns the decorum of a statesman rather than acting like a Chicago back alley Pol. The Republican Party would be better off as would the country as a whole. There is no need to mince words.

The media complain of a dysfunctional government. They should look closely at its source – a president in constant campaign mode ready to demagogue any issue.

Outsiders, like this writer, are not privy to the fiscal-cliff offers and counter offers that are being circulated, but a general knowledge of the basic numbers and of Obama’s style of negotiating lead me to conclude that the Republicans are being stampeded into an unacceptable deal that raises taxes on top earners by $180 billion between now and 2015 while cancelling almost a half trillion of scheduled spending cuts over the same period.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

President Obama’s Legacy: $20 Trillion in Deficits for 2016 Victor

The fiscal-cliff negotiations have deteriorated into an embarrassing travesty of competing press conferences, off-the-record remarks,  closed meetings,  and sound bites. The Republican side is frustrated and flabbergasted by the absence of  a concrete proposal from the President  that can be scored by the Congressional Budget Office and then “marked up” by Congress according to standard procedures.  Vague offers of so and so many trillions of revenue increases and spending cuts spread over a decade are just words, not real proposals. 

The last serious fiscal-cliff projections date back to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) August 2012 assessment of the budgetary effects of various fiscal policy alternatives. In its August study, the CBO –  the “gold standard” of budget projections -- calculated the budgetary consequences of going over the fiscal cliff in its “baseline projection.” It then projected the budgetary effects of alternative fiscal policies, among them, extending the Bush tax cuts and shelving the sequestered spending cuts.

We may agree or disagree with the CBO’s projections, but they are the most authoritative we have. President Obama has been vocal with respect to  the fiscal policies he wants, and each item on his wish list can be scored using the CBO’s August study. Therefore, we can approximate the five-year deficits that would result if President Obama gets what he wants. This is not rocket science. Anyone can do this using the CBO’s excel files.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We Have Met the Left and It's Obama

“What is motivating (Obama) primarily is ideology. And an ideological opening. He doesn’t like the malefactors of great wealth. He wants to “spread the wealth around.” Peggy Noonan

Anyone who dares to characterize Barack Obama as a leftist radical is heaped with scorn and outrage.  Only crazy, hateful talk-show entertainers like Rush Limbaugh stoop so low, but reasonable people do not listen anyway. Whether Obama harbors socialist views is a valid topic for intellectual conversation, but, other than errant bloggers (Is President Obama Truly a Socialist?), polite people avoid it.

Many moderate Republicans bought into the media narrative that Obama is a centrist, who moves left only to placate his base. Were it not for them, the true Obama would govern from the center, or tilt only ever so slightly to the left.

Indeed,  the carefully scripted Obama masterfully masqueraded as a centrist during his two presidential campaigns, while governing from the left. The complicit media characterized him as a softy, too ready to yield to the obstructionist Republicans.  But if the Left would only “Watch what I do, not what I say,” Obama already delivered for them the moon, and now wants the stars as well.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Liberal Left's Dirty Little Secret: The Middle Class and Poor Pay For the Entitlement State

Europe’s more than half century experience shows that, no matter hard you squeeze them, the rich cannot pay for a big government that guarantees all its citizens “positive rights” to income, employment, health, and retirement. Such an entitlement state – some call it a nanny state -- is funded primarily by repressive taxes on the middle class and the working poor. This conclusion is based on hard statistical facts that neither the right nor left dispute. America’s Left has kept this fact under wraps and out of sight of voters. It should have been the focus of the 2012 Republican campaign, but it was not.

Barack Obama has been busy creating and expanding an American entitlement state that he promises will be paid for by the rich. The middle class and poor need not worry about tax increases.  For the time being, Obama can rely on lenders (and the Fed) to finance the annual $850 deficits projected under the most likely CBO scenario. But the day of reckoning will come.  At some point, the “bond vigilantes” will refuse to finance the deficit at sustainable rates, and the government will be forced to cut entitlement spending or vastly raise taxes.  When that time comes, then ex-President Obama expects the entitlement mentality to be so deeply ingrained that the middle class and working poor will accept their higher taxes with little protest.

If we continue down the road to Obama’s Big Government, everyone watch their wallets. The taxman commeth, big time! Judging from Europe’s experience, we must dramatically raise income taxes on the middle class, triple social security taxes, introduce a 20 percent federal sales tax, and raise the gasoline tax by $4.00.  These taxes are all regressive, which means they fall most heavily first on the poor and then on the middle class.

If you do not believe me, an influential member of the media elite (from the New York Times editorial board, no less), let this secret slip in a remarkably candid admission. (Note his article appeared after the election):

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Susan Rice Disqualified Herself Under George Schultz’s Loftus’s Law

Susan Rice’s repetition of the “spontaneous mob, anti-Muslim video” story on the Sunday talk shows five days after the September 11 attacks is a big thing. Contrary to Democrat claims that the attacks on her are a political witch hunt, it is a big thing that our U.N. ambassador gave a false account of the Obama administration’s worst foreign policy disaster.  The failure to guard our  diplomatic personnel is, of course, a big thing as well, but decisions made in the fog of war are often wrong. Rice’s decision was not made in the fog of war but in the heat of a political campaign.

Rice did not appear to tell the true story, but to control the political fallout from Obama’s biggest foreign policy disaster, which threatened his “I killed Osama and al Qaeda is on the run” narrative on the very eve of the election.

The liberal press (see the New York Times,  Big Issues Are Lost in Focus on Libya Talking Points) characterizes the pursuit of Rice as raw partisanship. After all, “she accurately recited the talking points the intelligence agencies prepared.” But a conscientious public servant is not bound by talking points that are the equivalent of “the sun rose in the West today.”

Just a couple of media favorites  -- Maureen Dowd of the Times and “moderate” Republican Susan Collins – appear to understand the significance of Rice’s disseminating a false story to the public  (Make Up Turned Break Up). They ask, among other things, why Rice “promoted a story ‘with such certitude’ about a spontaneous demonstration over the anti-Muslim video that was so at odds with the classified information to which the ambassador had access. (It was also at odds with common sense…) … after  the F.B.I. interviewed survivors of the attack in Germany ….and established that there was no protest.”

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