On the morning of this last day of March’s madness we found lantern-jawed, scowling, Mary Todd Michelle Obama furiously yanking sleeves off dresses while frantically poring over old traveling Jackie-O photographs. Her boob of a husband was busy embarrassing himself in his one sole alleged area of expertise – basketball – while allegedly doing a political impersonation of Ronald Reagan.
President Obama is doing worse than 53.17 percent of those in ESPN’s pool.
In the White House pool, President Obama is ranked 18th out of 32.
President Obama still has time to recover a bit if the Tarheels go all the way.
But since there are those ranked ahead of him in the ESPN pool who have also picked UNC to go all the way, it’s a mathematical certainty that he won’t win that one. (It’s unclear if any of the 17 ahead of him in the White House pool picked the Tarheels, so theoretically at least he could still win that contest.)
Now ask yourself – Obama is a boob in his one area of acknowledged expertise (basketball) – how will Obama, devoid of any private sector experience, not even having run a lemonade stand, do running global companies like GM? Obama is as believable as this defunct guy:
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Mary Todd Michelle is tearing sleeves, pumping TelePrompters in lieu of weights, and trying to mimic Jackie-O but Mary Todd Michelle has not yet, and will probably never learn the difference between fashion and style. Mary Todd Michelle may shop with Oprah at the Water Tower and go to a dressmaker for female impersonators to get her fashion tips and frocks but she, like her hubby does not understand that fashion is fleeting, style is forever.
Hubby “Oops Obama” meanwhile prepares for his Imperial tour of Europe. His tours used to be Papal, now with a staff of 500 for a crutch, the tour is Imperial.
But if the U.S. president thought his popularity would cause foreign governments to fall quickly into line behind a new American leadership, experts warn, he could be in for a rude awakening. The German government has resisted calls to deploy more combat troops to Afghanistan. Russia is pushing back against a NATO missile defense system in Poland. And the Czech prime minister last week described the U.S. plans for global economic recovery as the “road to hell.”
So it really is about f*cking the unions over, isn’t it?
“Unlike a liquidation, where a company is broken up and sold off, or a conventional bankruptcy, where a company can get mired in litigation for several years, a structured bankruptcy process — if needed here — would be a tool to make it easier for General Motors and Chrysler to clear away old liabilities,” the government said in a fact sheet [snort] outlining a “surgical bankruptcy” of 30 days or less.
Because we know what those “old liabilities” are, don’t we?
Obama simply cannot be trusted. Obama cannot be trusted on any issue. Obama cannot be trusted by his friends. Obama cannot be trusted by his enemies. Obama cannot be trusted.
There are no heroes in this sorry tale of debt and the Obama solution of creating yet more debt. We do wonder if the Obama fired GM chief Rick Wagoner refused to used Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to protect his $20 million pension plan which would have been abrogated in event of GM declaring bankruptcy and using tried and true legal methods for actual restructuring not endless fake restructuring.
Many assembly line autoworkers reacted with skepticism and anger Monday to the Obama administration’s tough tactics, which stoked long-simmering feelings that the people who put the country on wheels get treated differently than the wizards of Wall Street.
“It’s the age-old Wall Street vs. Main Street smackdown again,” said Brian Fredline, president of UAW Local 602 at a plant near Lansing. “You have all kinds of funding available to banks that are apparently too big to fail, but they’re also too big to be responsible.”
“But when it comes to auto manufacturing and middle-class jobs and people that don’t matter on Wall Street, there are certainly different standards that we have to meet — higher standards — than the financials. That is a double standard that exists and it’s unfair,” Fredline said.[snip]
“To see the very people that drove this economy into the ground be rewarded through bonuses while receiving tax dollars is just galling,” said Dan Maloney, a machine repairman at auto supplier Delphi Corp.’s plant in Rochester, N.Y., and a union local president. “In light of that, the administration is taking it out, I believe, on the automotive sector.”
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm called Obama’s moves “a bit of tough love,” yet recognized a disconnect between the financial and auto industries.
“Yes, I do think that there has been a different look at those who manufacture than those who make money by flipping paper and I’m hopeful that the financial industry gets as tough a scrutiny as the auto industry has,” she told reporters after an event Monday in Macomb Township, about 20 miles northeast of Detroit.
You get what you vote for.
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Yup, you get what you vote for.
The almost comical and overheated Glenn Beck performed a service for real Democrats in Connecticult last night.
Beck interviewed Connecticult Attorney General Blumenthal.
Interviews with a dozen Democratic state legislators, party officials and operatives in Connecticut indicate there is deep concern back home over whether the incendiary American International Group bonuses issue has delivered a mortal blow to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the five-term senator already facing tough scrutiny over his role as Senate Banking Committee chairman and his personal financial dealings.
Many of them describe a palpable fury among the party rank and file — anger that’s led some to wonder if the party would be better served with a different Democratic nominee in 2010— though they note that, at the moment, Dodd still retains the loyalty of Democratic activists and the political class. [snip]
“There is somebody else in the background who could easily become senator if Dodd doesn’t run,” he said, referring to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. “People are conflicted. They want to see a senator be a Democrat, and that can be guaranteed with Blumenthal, but they’re all still supporters of Dodd.”
Dodd is a total dud but can anyone say, after watching the Beck interview, that Blumenthal is any better? Instead of demanding accountability, Blumenthal defended the indefensible. Blumenthal refused to speak about “federal” issues when it hurt his friend Dodd but mouths popular words regarding bonuses while refusing to actually do anything. The AIG bonuses were an outrage but all Connecticut voters got from Blumenthal was words – not action.
I’ve had [a feeling] for a while, that the Democrats can’t get us out from under this mess until they are forced to reckon with their role in creating it. Every time I see Chuck Schumer on television pretending to be a populist scourge of Wall Street, I remember his role in blocking higher taxes for hedge fund managers and repealing Glass-Steagall. I can’t help thinking that Tim Geithner is too close to the industry that took over — and took down — the economy to tame it. A large part of the Democrats’ resurgence in the last four years, ironically, has been its success raising money from Wall Street, which undermines its populist street cred at a time like this. Fortunately for the party, Republicans are just as compromised, so it’s not too late to for Democrats to take leadership in bucking the financial oligarchy and develop real solutions to the financial crisis.
Krugman cites, as we did extensively, Simon Johnson’s Atlantic article called The Quiet Coup.
In America as in the third world, he writes, “elite business interests — financiers, in the case of the U.S. — played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive.”
Krugman states that the economic crisis has cost America much of its credibility, and with it much of its ability to lead. We agree. We also think having a boob in charge does not help allay the fears and contempt of our allies and bolsters the wolfish bloodlust of our enemies.
Barack Obama snubbed, a typical Obama boobery, Prime Minister Brown when Brown visited Washington. Brown, in a sure to be missed passage from “English-Speaking Capitalism On Trial” is getting his revenge.
Still, Mr. Brown may not have strengthened Washington’s confidence in him as a partner with his habit of tailoring his remarks to popular predilections on opposite sides of the Atlantic. In New York and Washington, he has been lionized for his pathfinding decision last fall to recapitalize Britain’s banks, a step later followed by the Bush and Obama administrations. He has responded by emphasizing Britain’s close ties to America, and the two countries’ responsibility to lead in reforming the system they gave the world. He frequently mentions his summer vacations on Cape Cod.
But at home, and on his visits to Continental Europe, the prime minister seems, as often as not, to cast America as the villain. In response to a wave of opposition demands that he apologize for his failings as chancellor of the exchequer, he has insisted that Britain’s financial woes, and the world’s, came “from America,” as though Britain was as much a victim as it was a perpetrator of its ills through the venality of its own financial institutions and its failures of regulatory oversight.
The lack of legitimacy of Gordon Brown was advertised by Member of Parliament Daniel Hannan when he confronted Brown last week. The reason Hannan’s clipped words resonated in America is that Hannan’s verbal assault is equally applicable to the devalued boob on our side of the Atlantic.
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Like Chicago gangster Al Capone, Barack Obama and the Dimocrats have two sets of accounting books.
One accounting book is for public display at publicity stunts. The other accounting book is the actual costs and profits of the “operation”.
Some gimmicks in the Obama budget are thoroughly familiar. The administration assumes the economy will rebound faster than most other economists. But maybe these White House projections are more optimistic, you say, because they account for the effects of the recently passed stimulus bill. No dice: When I asked an administration aide if any forecasters had updated their economic outlook based on the stimulus bill, I was told that private-sector forecasts had already anticipated the stimulus’s effects.
Assuming a growing economy allows administration number crunchers to assume more tax revenues, which means a smaller deficit. This helps Obama make the bold claim that he will cut the deficit in half by the end of his term. Proving that he’s fiscally serious helps the president counter worries about the billions and billions that are going out the door to bail out homeowners, bankers, automakers, insurers and anyone else I may have overlooked.
Obama claims that he’s found $2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. To achieve some of that savings, he inflates what’s known as the baseline—the metric against which the costs of policy changes are measured. [snip]
In this manner, the Obama administration pretends that some of the Bush tax cuts are going to affect the budget years after they are set to expire. It also assumes higher Medicare physician payments than projected under current law requirements. The same is true with the accounting for the Iraq war. The baseline assumes the war will be funded at high levels for the next 10 years, even though Obama is planning to bring 100,000 troops home in the next 19 months.
By tweaking the baseline, an administration gets credit for deficit reduction without having to make the hard choices necessary to really tame the budget—which Obama says is a key goal of his administration.
There are now more examples of Obama gimmicks and mistruths.
Remember that New York Times article which praised Obama’s budgetary “honesty”? It had this to say about the difference between the Obama budget and the George W. Bush budgets: “As for war costs, Mr. Bush included little or none in his annual military budgets, instead routinely asking Congress for supplemental appropriations during the year. Mr. Obama will include cost projections for every year through the 2019 fiscal year to cover “overseas military contingencies” — nearly $500 billion over 10 years.”
The officials declined to put dollar figures on aspects of the strategy other than the cost of U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan. Initial funding requests for hundreds of additional U.S. civilian officials to be sent there, as well as increased economic and development assistance to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, will come in a 2009 supplemental appropriation that the administration has not yet outlined.
The irresponsible supplemental appropriations are back – but you won’t hear it from Big Media because it is now the Third Bush Term – Barack Obama – with the irresponsible and dishonest supplementals.
Tim Russert died but his crusade to destroy Social Security and other “entitlements” is not dead while David Broder lives. In the latest misinformed attack on Social Security Broder slashes at the “honest” Abe Obama publicity. Broder’s article is called “Hiding a Mountain of Debt“:
With a bit of bookkeeping legerdemain borrowed from the Bush administration, the Democratic Congress is about to perform a cover-up on the most serious threat to America’s economic future. [snip]
The real threat is the monstrous debt resulting from the slump in revenue and the staggering sums being committed by Washington to rescuing embattled banks and homeowners — and the absence of any serious strategy for paying it all back.
The Congressional Budget Office sketched the dimensions of the problem on March 20, and Congress reacted with shock. The CBO said that over the next 10 years, current policies would add a staggering $9.3 trillion to the national debt — one-third more than President Obama had estimated by using much more optimistic assumptions about future economic growth.
As far as the eye could see, the CBO said, the debt would continue to grow by about $1 trillion a year because of a structural deficit between the spending rate, averaging 23 percent of gross domestic product, and federal revenue at 19 percent.
The ever-growing national debt will require ever-larger annual interest payments, with much of that money going overseas to China, Japan and other countries that have been buying our bonds.
Broder also employs the words “bookkeeping gimmick” to describe the Obama Dimocrats dishonesty. And again Big Pink gets an echo:
The Democrats did not invent this gimmick. They borrowed it from George W. Bush, who turned to it as soon as his inherited budget surpluses withered with the tax cuts and recession of 2001-02. But Obama had promised a more honest budget and said that this meant looking at the long-term consequences of today’s tax and spending decisions.
Not even Team Obama can forestall unpleasant reality. And among those America now faces is Mr. Obama adding $3.2 trillion to the national debt in his first 20 months and 11 days in office, eclipsing the $2.9 trillion added during the Bush presidency’s entire eight years.
Another reality is that Mr. Obama’s fiscal house is built on gimmicks. For example, it assumes the cost of the surge in Iraq will extend for a decade. This brazenly dishonest trick was done to create phony savings down the line.
Mr. Obama’s budget downplays some programs’ true cost. For example, his vaunted new college access program is funded for five years and then disappears (on paper); the children’s health insurance program drops (on paper) from $12.4 billion in 2013 to $700 million the next year. Neither will happen; the costs of both will be much higher and so will the deficits.
Mr. Obama’s budget also assumes the economy declines 41% less this year and grows 52% more next year and 38% more the year after than is estimated by the Blue Chip consensus (a collection of estimates by leading economists traditionally used by federal budget crunchers). If Mr. Obama used the consensus forecasts for growth rather than his own rosy scenarios, his budget would be $758 billion more in the red over the next five years.
Then there’s discretionary domestic spending, which grows over the next two years by $238 billion, the fastest increase ever recorded. Mr. Obama pledges it will then be cut in real terms for the next nine years. That’s simply not credible.
Then there’s his omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the next six months, laden with 8,500 earmarks and tens of billions in additional spending above the current budget. What happened to pledges for earmark reform and making “meaningful cuts?”
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To the cartoonish boobery and the dishonesty add the dirigiste signals of potential Fascism.
World stocks hit a one-week low and government bonds rose on Monday after General Motors and Chrysler edged closer to bankruptcy as their turnaround plans were rejected and tensions rose in Europe’s banking sector.
The Obama administration’s autos task force rejected multi-billion dollar pleas from the two U.S. automakers for more funds and warned both could be put through bankruptcy to slash debts. The auto industry woes are putting more pressure on Group of 20 leaders as they meet in London this week to discuss measures to tackle the crisis.
As ugly as potential bankruptcy is for major automobile companies – the American government “firing” a corporate head threatens to become a multi-headed Hydra. When it came to his high finance donors on Wall Street Obama dared not touch “contracts”. The “contracts” were sacred he said. When it comes to auto workers however it is Obama time to break contracts.
“No American should worry in buying a car from Chrysler, GM over this next period of time,” said the official, who added that the administration has no cost estimate for the “Warranty Commitment Program.”
The administration also announced that to help the affected communities, it is naming a Director of Recovery for Auto Workers and Communities. The post will go to Edward Montgomery, a labor economist and former Deputy Secretary of Labor, whose job will be to “work to leverage all resources of government to support the workers, communities and regions that rely on the American auto industry.”
Not only does the government have no cost estimate for their “warranties” – the “Director of Recovery for Auto Workers and Communities” has, to borrow from MEP Hannan a whiff of a “Brezhnev era apparachik”.
A year ago, when Barack Obama said it was time to turn the page, his campaign declaration seemed to promise a fresh start for Washington. I, for one, failed to foresee Obama would turn the page backward. [snip]
In some important ways, Obama’s selections seem designed to sustain the failing policies of George W. Bush. [snip]
Those of us who expected more were duped, not so much by Obama but by our own wishful thinking.
Most Americans are not financial experts. It’s very difficult, nearly impossible, for normal mortals to sort through the dense policy talk and conflicting opinions to figure out if the rhetoric of reform is real. Confusion is widespread in the land. Most Americans want to believe this president is leading us out of the swamp, but how can they know? I say, trust your gut feelings. They are as reliable as the learned experts. [snip]
This may be one of those moments where people can find some guidance from their moral convictions. They do not need to know all the details to ask simple questions. Does the outline of what’s happening to rescue major financial institutions seem morally wrong? Or is it justified by the larger necessities of the national predicament? Is the government insufficiently tough in demanding reciprocal commitments from the beneficiaries? Should Washington pursue larger structural changes in the banking system?
Hopium addled addicts especially, along with all Americans need to remember:
Obama simply cannot be trusted. Obama cannot be trusted on any issue. Obama cannot be trusted by his friends. Obama cannot be trusted by his enemies. Obama cannot be trusted.
This past January we discussed Bill Moyers’ interview with Kevin Phillips (Celestial Dirge, with interview videos HERE) . The purpose of the interview was to discuss the latest Phillips book Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism.
Kevin Phillips was an author we have previously discussed and featured in our articles. The Bill Moyers interview was particularly relevant as it took place in September 2008 when the financial crisis, which Phillips had forseen, was in its most public stage yet. Phillips said:
But Americans, ordinary Americans don’t have much of a role in this partly I think because they don’t really know the dimensions of what’s involved here. This is the denouement of the 25-year debt buildup which was undertaken mostly by the financial sector putting themselves on steroids to get bigger and bigger and bigger. And we’ve finally gotten to the point where the bubble isn’t sustainable anymore but a lot of Wall Street is dedicated to minimizing the spattering of the bubble, so to speak.
Phillips described “seven sharks”. The first was “financialization”. Bill Moyers observed, “Obama’s trademark rhetoric of inspiration seems to desert him when he talks about economic affairs.” Phillips answered:
He doesn’t seem to have anything very specific to say. That’s part of the problem. [snip]
I mean, one of the Chicago people was a major financer of his. He gets a guy to pick his vice-president. Turns out to be somebody who was part of the Fannie and Freddie mess.
Asked if he was at the point of “despairing”, Phillips replied “my sense of histories previous goes to the one or two percent leading world economic power is you don’t get back on the right track.”
The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.
Simon Johnson, the author of The Quiet Coup was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund in 2007 and 2008. As Johnson boasts, “the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don’t want to hear. I should know; I pressed painful changes on many foreign officials during my time there…” Johnson worked in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Asia and Latin America, the hyperinflationary Ukraine , short-term-rollover crisis in Russia, Thailand, currency near collapse in Indonesia, credit crisis South Korea, and Johnson conclues “all of these crises looked depressingly similar.”
Johnson continues, “Almost always, countries in crisis need to learn to live within their means after a period of excess….” The steps to be taken (budgets, money supply) might be complicated but “the economic solution is seldom very hard to work out.” The hidden problem, the “biggest obstacle to recovery” turns out to be “almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis.”
We have written repeatedly that Obama’s economic “plans” and his fake “stimulus” scam were not genuine economic programs – they were political plans with political objectives – primarily directed at the 2010 elections. We also warned repeatedly that Obama cannot be trusted and his loyalties are only to himself and his advancement and well being. Obama has laughed in the faces of those who supported him most worshipfully and most reverendly during last year’s political campaigns and made his alliance with the powerful oligarchs clear. The Obama alliance with the ugliest and dirtiest forces in America are long-term and based on a simple quid-pro-quo: they help Obama and Obama will do their bidding. Whether it is Big Media or the wealthy and powerful, the Kennedys or the Kerrys, the compact remains the same: if you are rich and help Obama then Obama helps you.
Democrats, before they became Dimocrats and targeted Hillary Clinton for abuse, – for years, agreed with us that George W. Bush advanced himself with the aid of “other peoples money”; lacked any experience to captain the ship of state, and effectively let others run things for him – Obama is the Third Bush Term.
Simon Johnson describes why countries fall into disrepute when these powerful and wealthy ogliarchs seize power:
Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders. When a country like Indonesia or South Korea or Russia grows, so do the ambitions of its captains of industry. As masters of their mini-universe, these people make some investments that clearly benefit the broader economy, but they also start making bigger and riskier bets. They reckon—correctly, in most cases—that their political connections will allow them to push onto the government any substantial problems that arise.
Johnson describes the oligarchs in Russia and their gambles and how they grew in importance to “political elites”.
But inevitably, emerging-market oligarchs get carried away; they waste money and build massive business empires on a mountain of debt. Local banks, sometimes pressured by the government, become too willing to extend credit to the elite and to those who depend on them. Overborrowing always ends badly, whether for an individual, a company, or a country. Sooner or later, credit conditions become tighter and no one will lend you money on anything close to affordable terms.
Then the steep downward spiral begins.
Enormous companies teeter on the brink of default, and the local banks that have lent to them collapse. Yesterday’s “public-private partnerships” are relabeled “crony capitalism.” With credit unavailable, economic paralysis ensues, and conditions just get worse and worse.
In the end, the government finds a need to “squeeze at least some of its oligarchs.”
But “the squeeze” is not the choice at the beginning.
Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government…. [snip]
Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large. [snip]
… the government cannot afford to take over private-sector debt completely.
Eventually the government in trouble wakes up to economic reality and the need to “wrest control of the banking system from the hands of the most incompetent and avaricious “entrepreneurs.’”
The oligarchs fight back. “They’ll mobilize allies, work the system, and put pressure on other parts of the government to get additional subsidies.”
From long years of experience, the IMF staff knows its program will succeed—stabilizing the economy and enabling growth—only if at least some of the powerful oligarchs who did so much to create the underlying problems take a hit. This is the problem of all emerging markets.
Johnson, after describing what typically happens, then gets down to the American Obama scams and the proximity to Banana Republic status:
In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.
But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.
The core problems should not be confused with the symptoms.
But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.
Johnson adds dollar signs to the Kevin Phillips “financialization”.
From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.
The great wealth that the financial sector created and concentrated gave bankers enormous political weight—a weight not seen in the U.S. since the era of J.P. Morgan (the man). In that period, the banking panic of 1907 could be stopped only by coordination among private-sector bankers: no government entity was able to offer an effective response. But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.
Hopium addled addicts rejoice that their Lord Obama has at his side the world’s “most advanced oligarchy”.
In a primitive political system, power is transmitted through violence, or the threat of violence: military coups, private militias, and so on. In a less primitive system more typical of emerging markets, power is transmitted via money: bribes, kickbacks, and offshore bank accounts. Although lobbying and campaign contributions certainly play major roles in the American political system, old-fashioned corruption—envelopes stuffed with $100 bills—is probably a sideshow today, Jack Abramoff notwithstanding.
In olden days, corrupt Chicago politicians would simply take a bag full of money. Usually the bag of money was passed under the table while corrupt politician and corrupt fixer lunched or dined. Those were simpler times. [snip]
Now imagine this: A Chicago politician, in modern day Chicago, who wants things he can’t afford. Wifey likes expensive things and wants a big mansion to live in. What new clever system would said modern day Chicago politician devise? Said Chicago politician first acquaints himself with ethics laws and how to skirt them.
Chicago politician and Chicago fixer come up with this scheme: Funnel tens of millions of dollars in government money to the Chicago Fixer and get him to somehow buy you a house, among other amenities. Yes, you have to turn your back on freezing Chicago constituents, African-Americans mostly, but hey, it’s the Chicago way.
Simon Johnson follows up on our 2008 ruminations:
Wall Street is a very seductive place, imbued with an air of power. Its executives truly believe that they control the levers that make the world go round… Throughout my time at the IMF, I was struck by the easy access of leading financiers to the highest U.S. government officials, and the interweaving of the two career tracks.
Wall Street’s seductive power extended even (or especially) to finance and economics professors, historically confined to the cramped offices of universities and the pursuit of Nobel Prizes. As mathematical finance became more and more essential to practical finance, professors increasingly took positions as consultants or partners at financial institutions… This migration gave the stamp of academic legitimacy (and the intimidating aura of intellectual rigor) to the burgeoning world of high finance.
Regular Americans should not be intimidated by the high-blown flim-flam of Obama and his cohorts looting the American economy. Obama and his cohorts want to pretend they are playing “three-dimensional chess” but they are simply playing the same three card monte cheap hustlers use to loot on a small profit basis.
By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists—at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy’s favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused.
While others praised Obama’s “honest” budget and Obama’s amazing ability to explain and communicate we yelled it was not so. We opposed the bailouts and the scam “stimulus” and the pork 2009 budget and the lie which is the 2010 budget. We saw Obama for the flim-flam man he is and said so. Now our view is increasingly echoed:
Yet the principal characteristics of the government’s response to the financial crisis have been delay, lack of transparency, and an unwillingness to upset the financial sector.
The response so far is perhaps best described as “policy by deal”: when a major financial institution gets into trouble, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve engineer a bailout over the weekend and announce on Monday that everything is fine.
It’s all one huge scam fronted by the biggest scam artist con man flim-flam artist in American history, Barack Obama:
Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. [snip]
As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand.
Johnson agrees with us on the myriad scams and their ineffectiveness. Johnson also agrees with us on the need for a comprehensive economic plan which Obama refuses to produce let alone explain. Johnson states that big banks “have only gained political strength since the crisis began.”
At the root of the banks’ problems are the large losses they have undoubtedly taken on their securities and loan portfolios. But they don’t want to recognize the full extent of their losses, because that would likely expose them as insolvent. So they talk down the problem, and ask for handouts that aren’t enough to make them healthy (again, they can’t reveal the size of the handouts that would be necessary for that), but are enough to keep them upright a little longer. This behavior is corrosive: unhealthy banks either don’t lend (hoarding money to shore up reserves) or they make desperate gambles on high-risk loans and investments that could pay off big, but probably won’t pay off at all. In either case, the economy suffers further, and as it does, bank assets themselves continue to deteriorate—creating a highly destructive vicious cycle.
Johnson makes a strong case for nationalization of the banks. But with a corrupt BOob in charge is that a wise prescription?
Johnson persists. Yes, nationalization, he says, is absolutely necessary.
Johnson does not address directly our “BOob” question. But Johnson does obliquely discuss what he calls the “second problem the U.S. faces – the power of the oligarchy. Johnson wisely calls for the break up of big banks, and the “reemergence of dangerous behemoths” using Teddy Roosevelt style “trust-busting”.
Johnson is troubled that the United States might just “stumble along for years” because it is so powerful.
Our future could be one in which continued tumult feeds the looting of the financial system, and we talk more and more about exactly how our oligarchs became bandits and how the economy just can’t seem to get into gear.
There is a second scenario:
It goes like this: the global economy continues to deteriorate, the banking system in east-central Europe collapses, and—because eastern Europe’s banks are mostly owned by western European banks—justifiable fears of government insolvency spread throughout the Continent. Creditors take further hits and confidence falls further. The Asian economies that export manufactured goods are devastated, and the commodity producers in Latin America and Africa are not much better off. A dramatic worsening of the global environment forces the U.S. economy, already staggering, down onto both knees. The baseline growth rates used in the administration’s current budget are increasingly seen as unrealistic, and the rosy “stress scenario” that the U.S. Treasury is currently using to evaluate banks’ balance sheets becomes a source of great embarrassment.
Under this kind of pressure, and faced with the prospect of a national and global collapse, minds may become more concentrated.
Lesson for Dimocrats: Never leave a child alone with a loaded gun, a stove in use, an open refrigerator.
Dimocrats and other Hopium addled addicts are learning the same in regards to Boob Obama.
PINOs and Dimocrats and the Hopium addled have yelped since April 2007 – when we were the only ones who dared to do so – every time we published an article about the unqualified, inexperienced Barack Obama. They howled when we correctly stated that Obama, if elected, would be The Third Bush Term.
HILLARY CLINTON’S most effective quip, in her long struggle with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination last year, was that the Oval Office is no place for on-the-job training. It went to the heart of the nagging worry about the silver-tongued young senator from Illinois: that he lacked even the slightest executive experience, and that in his brief career he had never really stood up to powerful interests, whether in his home city of Chicago or in the wider world. Might Mrs Clinton have been right about her foe? [snip]
His performance has been weaker than those who endorsed his candidacy, including this newspaper, had hoped. Many of his strongest supporters—liberal columnists, prominent donors, Democratic Party stalwarts—have started to question him. As for those not so beholden, polls show that independent voters again prefer Republicans to Democrats, a startling reversal of fortune in just a few weeks. Mr Obama’s once-celestial approval ratings are about where George Bush’s were at this stage in his awful presidency. Despite his resounding electoral victory, his solid majorities in both chambers of Congress and the obvious goodwill of the bulk of the electorate, Mr Obama has seemed curiously feeble.
The Economist agrees with us in the central axis of Obama failures. The first is Mr Obama’s failure to grapple as fast and as single-mindedly with the economy as he should have done. And then there are other failures, Second, Mr Obama has mishandled his relations with both sides in Congress.
Hillary mocked Obama and his egomanical “To know me is to love me” “celestial choirs” stupidity. Not only has Obama handed Republicans a strong moral high ground because of his own boobery yet failed to appease Republicans (wasn’t Obama supposed to be a “uniter, not a divider”?) Obama is a boob regarding Dimocrats and Democrats too. If Mr Obama cannot work with the Republicans, he needs to be certain that he controls his own party. Unfortunately, he seems unable to.
This year, Washington is on track to spend nearly two dollars for every dollar it takes in. Under President Obama’s budget for 2010, the government would spend about three dollars for every two coming in.
Unlike you, of course, the federal government has no credit limit and can print money. And temporary deficit spending is necessary to bail out the financial system and jump-start the economy. In the long run, though, huge deficits are no more sustainable for a government than for a household. [snip]
There are limits to how much the government can borrow without consequence — a fact underscored Wednesday when the Treasury had unexpected trouble selling five-year notes to cover Washington’s enormous borrowing. It might have been a hiccup, but it roiled the stock market and sent a worrying signal that Treasury might have to offer higher interest rates, which could throw a wrench into the recovery.
Obama has promised to cut the deficit in half by 2013 — a low bar, given its current enormity.
Barack Obama was always going to disappoint. When you promise almost everything to almost everybody—I’ll stop the fighting in Iraq but I’ll also keep going after al Qaeda there; I’ll make the economy grow more but I’ll spread the wealth around, and so on—you will inevitably let many people down. Human beings, even those who read fluently from teleprompters, simply cannot walk on water.
But few expected the wheels to come off the new administration so quickly. Just weeks into its existence, the Obama White House is in trouble. The US stock market has lost a quarter of its value since Obama’s election. While a Rasmussen poll in early March had his approval rating at 56 per cent, his net approval (the number of people who strongly approve of what he’s doing subtracted from the number who strongly disapprove) had contracted from 28 per cent the day after his inauguration to around 6 per cent for March—worse than Bush at the same time in his first term. The administration is in a fully fledged staffing crisis: having lost a record ten high-profile picks, it has scores of senior executive jobs unfilled—including every single treasury position below the department’s top job. The head of Britain’s civil service, Gus O’Donnell, has complained about the trouble he’s had finding key administration personnel ahead of the G20 conference in April. “There is nobody there,” he said. “You cannot believe how difficult it is.” Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner looks terrified before executives and television cameras alike. Five months after the election he has yet to deliver a plan for the banking system, much less restructure a single financial asset.
Even the sympathetic press is starting to speak of an “incompetence” crisis. Abroad, North Korea, Russia, China and Iran have all turned up the heat, as have Hamas and Chavez. At home, Obama’s Trojan horse agenda—using the economic crisis as an excuse to advance radical social change in areas unrelated to returning growth to the economy—threatens to pull his government into ideological quicksand when all the public really want are jobs. Centrist Democrats are deeply concerned about what Obama’s poor start means for the long-term, moderate Democratic majority whose possibility was glimpsed in the Clinton years.
As a catalogue of boobery that is a good beginning. The comparisons to Jimmy Carter are equally apt. There is even talk now of “stolen election” and the great future hope – Hillary:
Thus the big question in Democratic circles today: “What does Hillary do about this?” Her supporters still feel that the election was stolen from her. With capital on strike, states rebelling against the president’s dependency agenda, the treasury secretary probably soon to be replaced, many top jobs still unfilled, the liberal press anxious and poll numbers plummeting, Hillary Clinton’s departure could sink an administration that already feels like a listing ship, leaving her a clear path to the Democratic nomination for 2012.
Her relationship with the president, inherently unstable personally, erodes every day that he takes his swinging axe to the remarkable bipartisan achievements of the Clinton presidency, especially welfare reform and fiscal discipline. While the biggest shocks of this presidency to date have been at home, in the foreign sphere Hillary’s job as secretary of state is made more difficult by a distracted and inexperienced president.
The conclusion to the No, he can’t article: The Republican party is in such disarray that it is letting Obama’s crisis go to waste. And the on target: For the moment, though, the president’s real threat is from within his own increasingly restive party.
Obama’s dismantling of President Clinton’s economic legacy is injurious. For moderate Democrats who recognise the national mainstream as the party’s best hope of a long-term majority, it is highly dangerous to be associated with such an ideological presidency. It is even worse when the ideology is the one least likely to work. Weakness and inexperience abroad is already causing a dangerous escalation in tensions. At home, the president’s policies represent a history-making, debt-fuelled arrogation of vast territories of private life and the economy. More war and less growth is bad leadership and bad politics.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday that liberal groups targeting moderate Democrats with ads should back off, saying pressure from the left wing of his party won’t be helpful to enacting legislation.
“I think it’s very unwise and not helpful,” Reid said Friday morning. “These groups should leave them alone. It’s not helpful to me. It’s not helpful to the Democratic Caucus.”
Reid, who said he hadn’t seen or heard the ads, added that “most of [the groups] run very few ads — they only to do it to get a little press on it.”
Reid also clued in the mindless Obama thugs about the lies of Obama enablers and fangirls, like Claire McCaskill:
A number of liberal activists have expressed concerns about a group of 16 Senate Democratic moderates who have been meeting in an attempt to bolster their influence.
Reid has no qualms about the group, and said that “any public statements” Senate moderates have made have been helpful as the chamber takes up a budget next week that would cost more than $3 trillion. And he added: “Some people of course go to those meetings so they can issue a press release back home that’ll make them appear more moderate.”
Keep that in mind Evan Bayh – don’t confide or trust in Claire McCaskill, she is an Obama snoop agent in your midst. Keep that in mind Missouri voters – don’t trust Claire McCaskill.
One of Laura Tyson’s interesting remarks last night came in reply to a questioner who faulted the White House for insufficient ambition. Her response had nothing to do with policy or economics. It was abut Congress. “They accomplish what they can accomplish within the realities of the Congress,” she shot back. “And the Democratic coalition is breaking already.”
Even Big Media is just now beginning to latch on to our many warnings against Guns and Butter as public policy in a democracy. The cause for the growing concern is Obama’s multiple wars:
President Obama’s new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy will require significantly higher levels of U.S. funding for both countries, with U.S. military expenses in Afghanistan alone, currently about $2 billion a month, increasing by about 60 percent this year.
“The president has decided he is going to resource this war properly,” said a senior administration official of the plan Obama is set to announce this morning. Along with the 17,000 additional combat troops authorized last month, he said, Obama will send 4,000 more this fall to serve as trainers and advisers to an Afghan army expected to double in size over the next two years.
Wise leaders and strong nations understand that the word “priorities” is about a very short list of things that MUST be done – not a wish list of every item DESIRED. Obama is a boob which is why he has a series of wish lists, not a short list of needs – what MUST be done. To all his “butter” items, Obama now adds more “guns” items.
The officials declined to put dollar figures on aspects of the strategy other than the cost of U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan. Initial funding requests for hundreds of additional U.S. civilian officials to be sent there, as well as increased economic and development assistance to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, will come in a 2009 supplemental appropriation that the administration has not yet outlined.
Wasn’t the Big Media narrative of a few weeks ago how “honest” the Obama “budget overview” was because he included the costs of the war in Iraq? We noted that Obama included the Iraq numbers in his “budget overview” because it deceptively used the numbers to show reduced spending even though it was well known that Iraq costs were on their way down. Now Obama is taking the big costs in Afghanistan and Pakistan “off budget” – just like George W. Bush.
The plan notes that the top U.S. general in Afghanistan still wants some 10,000 or 11,000 additional U.S. forces next year, but does not say whether Obama intends to fulfill that request now, sources said. That decision would come by the end of this year.
As Obama wastes our national treasury, the Obama enablers at National Journal also echo our own Obama Is The Third Bush Term even as they make excuses for the Boob:
In 2002, Bush and his party seemed right for their moment. The other party appeared to be not just out of power but out of touch. September 11 had changed everything, and the Democrats didn’t “get it.”
Amid today’s economic crisis, the roles are reversed. Obama and his party seem right for their moment. It is the Republicans who seem beached by history, trapped by an irrelevant ideology in a new era.
But new eras don’t always last as long as expected. When the 9/11 tide subsided, Bush found himself far out at sea. He spent the last few years of his presidency forlornly paddling back to shore. He never did re-establish his shattered credibility with the broad American center. In the end, ironically, he inspired unity in only one regard: Most of the country disliked him.
Another accidental polarizer, another crisis-exploiting presidency, another well-intentioned overreach — all, perhaps, to be followed by another public backlash as the promise of consensus is broken and the center once again proves elusive: These are the last things the country needs. The hardest part of being an ambitious president at a moment of crisis and opportunity is contriving not to overshoot. After 2002, Bush never rose to the challenge of moderation. Can Obama?
Dimocrats, the high priests in the Church of Obama, along with Barack Obama threaten to make the malicious stereotype about “tax and spend” liberals a reality.
Real Democrats understand the need for fiscal responsibility. Real Democrats remember the recession Bill Clinton inherited and how Bill Clinton restored genuine confidence to consumers and genuine fiscal responsibility by paying the bills on time. Bill Clinton did not waste money as policy nor did Bill Clinton ignore the debilitating effects of endless deficits and growing debt.
After Bill Clinton Republicans could no longer attack Democrats as “tax and spend” wastrels. After Bill Clinton Republicans had to retire attacks on “welfare queens”. Bill Clinton enacted responsible fiscal policy and deprived Republicans of their most useful and effective epithets against Democrats.
Now Republicans are calling back to active service those ugly epithets because they describe the Obama economic “plans” with precision.
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), who represents an oil and gas-producing Louisiana, said she wants to press Obama why he wants to tax independent oil and gas producers in the state.
“I’m going to ask the president how he thinks that increasing substantially taxes on the oil and gas industry help us to achieve our goal of domestic – energy independence of a more robust domestic drilling program. It’s one of the areas where i take strongest issue with the administration.”
“Big Oil is one thing, and i support the oil and gas industry generally. Big Oil can fight its battles. … But independent oil and gas producers which are the backbone of the domestic industry cannot bear the elimination of these tax credits.”
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.):
“I dont know that i have a lot to ask, i just want to listen to what he has to say. I truly believe we’re going to have to reduce the spending levels significantly. Meaning we’re going to have to shift, create a continuum for a lot of the goals and priorities for more than one budget. Ultimately he’ll have to tell us, OMB will have to tell us . . . How that can happen.”
Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad emerged from the Dems’ meeting today with President Obama predicting a budget deal soon — but holding firm on his demand that Obama’s $800-per-family tax cut be scrapped in two years if the administration can’t figure out a way to pay for them.
“If they are to be extended, they would have to be offset,” the North Dakota Democrat told reporters in the Capitol.
Obama simply cannot be trusted. Obama cannot be trusted on any issue. Obama cannot be trusted by his friends. Obama cannot be trusted by his enemies. Obama cannot be trusted.
Obama cheerleader E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post today gave away the “tax and spend” scheme under the guise of “truthteller“.
The debate on the budget is phony, the howling on deficits a charade. Few politicians want to acknowledge that if you really are concerned about long-term deficits, you have to support tax increases.
That’s why the most significant moment of President Obama’s news conference on Tuesday was not his dodge of a question on AIG, but his defense of the least popular tax increase in his budget: limits on the benefits wealthier taxpayers get for their charitable contributions and mortgage payments.
Dionne does not understand the lessons of the Bill Clinton presidency. Bill Clinton was not about “tax and spend”. Bill Clinton was about paying your bills and fiscal responsibility. Bill Clinton raised taxes when bills had to be paid. Bill Clinton understood that an honest budget which paid for purchases immediately restored confidence in the recession battered economy. Bill Clinton understood that social progress could come only if fear of job loss or economic insecurity was removed from the American psyche.
Bill Clinton understood that hard working Americans were generous and wanted to help the poor and the weak but they did not want to be taken for saps by the lazy or the rapacious.
Dionne blames the Bill Clinton tax increases, which were instrumental in restoring economic security and confidence to Americans, as the cause of the Democratic losses in 1994. But that is historically dishonest. Democrats lost in 1994 because they fought against Bill Clinton in order to preserve their luxuries in Congress and because of a series of congressional scandals which sent senior Democrats to jail.
Dionne then gets down to business – “tax and spend” Dionne recommends:
Obama himself is only going part of the way on tax increases. He is still arguing that he can fix things with hikes on just the top 5 percent of taxpayers.
He’s right that a large share of any increase should hit those who enjoyed the biggest income gains over the last decade. But in the end, no politician (with the possible exception of libertarian Ron Paul) is willing to cut the budget enough to contain the deficit without a general tax increase down the road.
Every budget analyst knows this, and every politician knows that it’s far easier to bemoan deficits in the abstract than to risk spending cuts or tax increases that hurt sizeable groups of voters. “There are no more low-hanging fruit,” says Tom Kahn, the staff director for the House Budget Committee. “The low-hanging fruit have already been picked. Any tax increase or spending cut is going to trigger opposition from somewhere.”
In an ideal world, Obama would come right out and say we’ll need broad-based tax increases. But that would be suicidal right now. Witness the reaction to his effort to put a 28 percent ceiling on deductions. His proposal would affect only 1.2 percent of taxpayers, yet even that idea is about to die in Congress.
Dionne then debases himself with Orwellian speak of the “war is peace” variety:
The task of those who genuinely care about deficits is to make the world safe for tax increases.
That Dionne advice is a prescription for economic disaster and ignores what really needs to be done (we wrote about what needs to be done in “Stimulus Versus Smart“).
Dionne chooses to ignore the massive waste of money in Obama’s bailouts and “stimulus” scam. That money could have been used for long term investments in healthcare but instead was spent in wasteful projects that create work projects, but not careers, not jobs.
The Pennsylvania Republican trails former Rep. Pat Toomey by double digits in the first head-to-head poll of their ensuing primary match-up.
The Quinnipiac poll, released Wednesday, shows the embattled Specter behind Toomey, 41-27, even though 73 percent of Republicans say they don’t know enough about the challenger to form an opinion.
Specter said the poll numbers did not surprise him but that he did expect Toomey to have higher name recognition than the poll demonstrated.[snip]
Specter acknowledged the poll likely reflects the effect of his vote in February for the economic stimulus plan, noting that he was joined by Maine Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and very nearly several more. The support of Specter, Snowe and Collins put Democrats over the 60-vote threshold to pass the bill.
“I was not a leader in the negotiations,” he said. “I participated in the very final round-up when we knocked $110 billion off and raised the tax cuts, but the real role I had was providing a critical vote.
“And I understand that. But is that the reason why the Quinnipiac poll is a big problem for me? I think so.”
It echoes a Susquehanna poll from last month that showed 66 percent of GOP voters want someone new and only 26 percent would vote to keep Specter.[snip]
“Pennsylvania Republicans are so unhappy with Sen. Specter’s vote for President Barack Obama’s stimulus package and so-called pork-barrel spending that they are voting for a former congressman they hardly know,” said Clay Richards, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s University Polling Institute.
Spector enabled the Obama “stimulus” scam and now Pennsylvania voters will enable Spector’s retirement from politics.
Many Dimocrats who enabled the Obama “stimulus” scam and bailouts face the same fate as Spector. Some Dimocrats think they are safe because of the alleged popularity of Obama and Obama’s alleged power with the grassroots. These Dimocrats are mistaken:
Organizing for America, the Democratic National Committee-based group that took over for Barack Obama’s prodigious grassroots campaign organization released the results of their weekend canvassing effort in support of Obama’s budget proposal.
The group called on former campaign volunteers to turn out to promote Obama’s budget priorities, and get voters to sign cards pledging their support.
The verdict: More than 100,000 signatures collected at 1,200 events attended by 10,000 volunteers. The group is calling that a strong showing, but let’s do the math.
That means the typical canvassing event was attended by fewer than 9 volunteers who on average, collected 10 signatures each. Not exactly a groundswell.
The Hopium addled are not out in the streets singing hymns and burning incense in praise of Obama. Now, even the dullest Obama enablers are waking up to the Big Pink message that Obama is the Third Bush Term and soon to replace George W. as “worst president ever“.
A month ago, reflecting on George W. Bush’s near-doubling of the national debt, budget hawk David Walker told me that Bush was “the most fiscally irresponsible president in American history.”
This week, reflecting on the possibility that Barack Obama could nearly redouble the debt, Walker said that Bush holds the irresponsibility record “to this point.”
The former Comptroller General and now-president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and star of the movie “I.O.U.S.A.,” Walker said it’s too soon to tell whether Obama will match Bush in irresponsibility, but the signs are not encouraging.
“All [Obama’s] words are good” about controlling the debt, he said, “but his budget proposes no transformational changes. His programs are all debt-financed.”
Walker said he trusts the Congressional Budget Office’s just-issued estimates of deficits and debt more than those from Obama’s Office of Management and Budget.
The CBO shows the nation’s public debt — not counting borrowing from Social Security and other trust funds — rising from $5.8 trillion to $10.2 trillion by 2014 and $15.1 trillion by 2019.
During the Bush years, it grew from $3.3 trillion in 2001 to $5.8 trillion this year — from 24 percent of gross domestic product to 40.8 percent last year and 56.8 percent this year.
The CBO estimates that Obama will preside over an increase to 71.4 percent during his first term and 82.4 percent by 2019.
And Walker says those numbers understate the true burden of debt on future generations.
When borrowing from trust funds is included, gross federal debt went from $5.8 trillion in 2001 to $12.6 trillion this year.
The CBO did not calculate the gross debt, but Obama’s budget shows it rising to $17.1 trillion in 2013 and $23.1 trillion in 2019. The 2019 figure will be more than 100 percent of the estimated gross domestic product — the largest percentage since just after World War II.
“And in those days,” Walker said, “we owed that debt to ourselves. Now we owe it to foreigners, mainly the Chinese, who are firing shots across our bow that they may not keep acquiring our debt.”
Already, the Federal Reserve is buying U.S. Treasury bills to keep interest rates down. If foreigners refused to buy — as occurred with British debt on Wednesday — interest rates would surge, damaging prospects for economic growth and investment.
Republicans have been charging — almost chanting — that Obama’s budget “spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much,” but they shamelessly ignore Bush’s irresponsibility and their own, when they were in control of Congress.
We have constantly taken Republicans to task for their irresponsibility and fear mongering and hypocrisy. But now it is Dimocrats who are irresponsible, fear mongers and hypocrites. We agree with those who say that Obama is pushing a credit card economy, in more ways than one.
…you can keep spending and put it on a credit card. That’s what it looks like to me.”
The Obama economy can be summed up as “printing money, which can lead to inflation, a weak dollar and high interest rates.”
Right now, though, “where Bush about doubled the national debt, CBO shows that Obama could be on track to do the same — and at much higher numbers. It’s not a record he should want to repeat.”
Obama is the Third Bush Term – only worse – this time it’s pretend Democrat doing the damage.
Andrew Cuomo talked right and acted right when he heard about the AIG bonuses. For that jealous Barack Obama implied Cuomo is stupid.
PINO Big Blogs are celebrating because they think Obama smacked down Ed Henry of CNN, who asked a key question last night. Obama did not smack down Ed Henry – Obama insulted Andrew Cuomo and all Americans.
…we now see the ascendance of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as the unexpected man of the hour. He looked great when he went after Merrill Lynch’s commode-loving CEO John Thain over the obscene bonuses he paid out just before Merrill was taken over by Bank of America, and even better when he subpoenaed the excessive bonus details from AIG. Last night, he scored big when he announced that 15 of the top 20 retention-bonus recipients in AIG’s financial-products unit had agreed to give back their spoils, bringing Cuomo’s haul to $50 million—a pittance in the scheme of things (only 50 percent of the bonus bucks), but a big haul of psychic satisfaction to the walking wounded seething for some vestige of reparation.[snip]
He has avoided bombast and picked his targets carefully. [snip]
…Cuomo’s nuanced approach can be seen in his case against Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. Cuomo said very little personally about the key players involved and when he did, it was only about the issue at hand. He has merely stated the obvious: that Ken Lewis and John Thain are thwarting his investigation by not providing more information on the bonuses. If Cuomo goes on drawing blood with a rapier, he’ll make the populist hysterics in Congress look even more retro.
Cuomo did well while Obama and his henchmen protected Big Business looters and said there was nothing Obama could do about the scandalous bonuses. Only after the explosion of anger by the American people did Obama feebly try to pretend to care about the bonuses.
Last night Obama praised his do-nothing vaction/party self and implied that Andrew Cuomo did not know what he was doing.
QUESTION: You spoke again at the top about your anger about AIG. You’ve been saying that for days now. But why is it that it seems Andrew Cuomo seems to be, in New York, getting more actual action on it? And when you and Secretary Geithner first learned about this, 10 days, two weeks ago, you didn’t go public immediately with that outrage. You waited a few days, and then you went public after you realized Secretary Geithner really had no legal avenue to stop it.
And more broadly — I just want to follow up on Chip and Jake — you’ve been very critical of President Bush doubling the national debt. And to be fair, it’s not just Republicans hitting you. Democrat Kent Conrad, as you know, said, quote, ”When I look at this budget, I see the debt doubling again.” You keep saying that you’ve inherited a big fiscal mess. Do you worry, though, that your daughters, not to mention the next president, will be inheriting an even bigger fiscal mess if the spending goes out of control?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Of course I do, Ed, which is why we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit. Look, if this were easy, then we would have already had it done and the budget would have been voted on and everybody could go home. This is hard. And the reason it’s hard is because we’ve accumulated a structural deficit that’s going to take a long time, and we’re not going to be able to do it next year or the year after or three years from now. [snip]
QUESTION: So on AIG, why did you wait — why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I —
QUESTION: It seems like the action is coming out of New York in the attorney general’s office. It took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say, look, we’re outraged. Why did it take so long?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak. (Laughter.) All right?
Obama thinks Andrew Cuomo spoke before he knew what he was talking about? Cuomo was right and Obama was a boob so Obama trashed Cuomo.
Obama not only trashed Andrew Cuomo, Obama cheaply displayed his inner George Bush. “It’s hard” said Obama; “it’s hard” said George W. Bush.
After insults directed towards New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and imitation of George W. Bush, Obama decided to insult the intelligence of Americans.
QUESTION: At both of your town hall meetings in California last week, you said, quote, ”I didn’t run for president to pass on our problems to the next generation.”
But under your budget, the debt will increase $7 trillion over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says $9.3 trillion. And today on Capitol Hill, some Republicans called your budget, with all the spending on health care, education and environment, the most irresponsible budget in American history.
Isn’t that kind of debt exactly what you were talking about when you said passing on our problems to the next generation?
Obama immediately played the blame game which he says he wants to end but constantly indulges in. Next, Obama pushed the fiction that he drives down the deficit “over the first five years”. That is only true due to the massive spend, spend, spend, in the initial years but Obama increases the debt without restraint every year.
Obama defended his rosy scenario as somehow consistent with reality – it isn’t. Obama was pressed by Chip Reid that “Then, after that, six years in a row it goes up, up, up” and Obama was forced to concede that yes, his “budget overview” does indeed raise the deficit.
President Barack Obama’s plea for patience in the economic turmoil Tuesday fits with the view of most economists that a turnaround will take some time. It doesn’t fit quite so neatly with his bullish budget.
The president’s spending plans and deficit projections rest on the assumption that the economy will post solid growth next year after a mild, further decline this year. Many economists think that’s too rosy.
Obama was more cautious than that in his prime-time news conference—possibly to the point of having it both ways.
Obama insults the intelligence of Americans for political purpose, the Obama budget projections are unduly optimistic to make the math to pay for the president’s programs work.
Obama faked his way through 13 questions in an hour last night. Chip Reid’s question on the deficit and the debt were good but Obama bamboozled in response. Major Garrett asked a good question too which Obama bamboozled. It’s a dangerous situation Garrett wanted a genuine answer to and which Americans need to hear:
Taking this economic debate a bit globally, senior Chinese officials have publicly expressed an interest in an international currency. This is described by Chinese specialists as a sign that they are less confident than they used to be in the value and the reliability of the U.S. dollar. European countries have resisted your calls to spend more on economic stimulus.
I wonder, sir, as a candidate who ran concerned about the image of the United States globally, how comfortable you are with the Chinese government, run by communists, less confident than they used to be in the U.S. dollar, and European governments, some of the center-left, some of them socialist, who say you’re asking them to spend too much?
And now, with other central banks acting to create money out of thin air because they cannot prime the lending pumps by lowering short-term interest rates any further, the E.C.B. remains wary of the specter of future inflation.
Beneath it all is an aversion to anything that smacks of “printing money,” a phrase that evokes Europe’s worst economic nightmares, everything from kings debasing their currencies so they could fight endless battles to the hyperinflation and currency collapses in Germany after it lost two wars in the 20th century. [snip]
But the E.C.B. has thus far avoided anything resembling the Fed’s frenetic activism, which is viewed in Frankfurt as a desperate attempt to substitute for a lack of political will to fix the U.S. banking system.
The Fed is trying everything it can think of to infuse cash into the economy, bypassing the dormant financial system that is the gatekeeper of credit in normal times. It has purchased a dizzying array of securities, including government bonds whose rates influence lending costs throughout the U.S. economy. That is only necessary, in the view of some European officials, because repeated plans to restructure the banking system have failed.
Whether the latest plan, presented by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on Monday, will fare any better remained an open question. [snip]
Morever, E.C.B. officials do not share the fear of deflation — a sustained drop in prices across the board — that lurks behind the Fed’s actions. [snip]
The Fed’s move last week to pump up to $1 trillion more into the financial system led Bild, the best-selling German tabloid newspaper, to run alarmed headlines about an “inflation danger” that now stalks Europe. Exaggerated as that may be, the Fed’s actions sent shivers through an institution whose chief mandate is to protect the purchasing power of the euro, which is only 10 years old.
Right after the Fed acted, commodity prices, the classic harbingers of future inflation, ticked sharply upward, while the dollar fell, suggesting investors see a not-so-subtle future debasing of the U.S. currency.
The Governor of the Bank of England stunned Downing Street yesterday by warning against a giveaway Budget next month.
Mervyn King said public finance deficits were too high for big tax cuts or bumper spending increases on April 22.
The extraordinary warning to Gordon Brown not to blow billions on a second ‘fiscal stimulus’ came perilously close to breaching the convention that the head of the Bank does not question Government policy.
Tories said it blew a hole in Mr Brown’s plans for next week’s G20 summit in London.
Mr King’s intervention was especially embarrassing for the Prime Minister because it came as he was using a speech to the EU Parliament in Strasbourg to call for ‘the biggest fiscal stimulus the world has ever seen’. The governor’s warning underlined mounting concerns – both inside and outside Government circles – about the scale of public borrowing. [snip]
The Confederation of British Industry also warned this week that the UK cannot afford a second fiscal stimulus. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that the UK will rack up the biggest deficit of any leading nation next year, while the pound has tumbled by nearly 30 per cent amid fears that the Treasury cannot afford its massive borrowings to cover bank bailouts and collapsing tax revenues.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad outlined a five-year spending plan Tuesday that would narrow the deficit by two-thirds but severely weaken President Barack Obama’s ability to achieve the tax cuts and health care reform at the heart of his domestic agenda. [snip]
The chairman’s proposed revenue numbers make no commitment to continue Obama’s signature Making Work Pay tax break—costing more than $200 billion over the life of Conrad’s budget. And in the case of health care, there is no specified down payment to match the $634 billion, 10-year number included in the president’s budget.
Even in the case of Pell Grants for low-income college students, Conrad would keep the funding subject to annual appropriations and not shift to the more expansive mandatory funding status proposed by the president.[snip]
All these adjustments allow Conrad to show a steep downward path for the deficit from the estimated $1.7 trillion shortfall forecast for this year by the Congressional Budget Office. The North Dakota Democrat hopes to have the number down to $601 billion by 2012, $570 billion in 2013 and, finally, $508 billion in 2014. [snip]
But even House Democrats, like Conrad’s budget, have backed away from taking a very forceful stand in support of the cap-and-trade revenue bill sought by Obama as part of his climate change initiative. And much as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) remains adamant about moving ahead on health care, Conrad and a significant number of Senate Democrats still oppose using the expedited procedures afforded to them under the budget rules to achieve this goal.
Senator Conrad understands the damage Obama wants to do to the American economy:
From Conrad’s perspective, that crisis was compounded last week by the release of new CBO estimates showing that the cumulative 10-year deficits under Obama’s budget could be $2.3 billion higher than the White House had projected. By the end of the decade, the annual cost of just paying interest on the growing debt would exceed defense spending in Obama’s budget. Conrad said the numbers must be viewed as a “wakeup call” requiring adjustments by the administration.
“When you lose $2.3 trillion, you have to cut things,” the chairman said. “And that’s what we’ve done.”
Obama wasted trillions on his “stimulus” scam and bailouts instead of restrained and targeted spending for Hillary Clinton’s universal health care and HOLC style programs which would have been sensible expenditures and investments.
Now there is even less money to address the nation’s needs.
Last night Obama tried to bamboozle the nation and insulted those like Andrew Cuomo who took action not just dripped words.
During the campaign Obama dripped flowery words but now Americans witness the Obama bamboozle.
It is time for Obama to stop the insults and just go away. Just go away.
Tonight at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Obama will oppress the nation with yet another celebrity publicity stunt. This Obama celebrity publicity stunt will be a press conference wherein Obama will presumably forsake his TelePrompter (which he loves more than he cares about his lantern-jawed, scowling wife Mary Todd Michelle).
We think Big Media should focus questions on who Obama hurts most – his supporters.
No, we are not talking about losers like Daschle, Richardson, Kerry. Nor do we refer to the those writhing under the Obama bus like Chris Dodd or Jeremiah Wright.
We are talking about young people and African-American supporters who were ever so fervent in their religious worship of Obama.
Mind, some of Hillary Clinton’s strongest supporters were African-Americans who courageously withstood the race-baiting attempts to force them to support the Mess-iah. It was difficult for these brave African-Americans to stand firm by the obvious – that Hillary Clinton has a lifetime of experience and fight for their issues which superceded the pull of a vote for skin color over content of character.
Many young people too cared about the content of character over color and supported Hillary Clinton. But many young people voted for the celebrity, do-nothing, flim-flam, unqualified, race-baiting, and gay-bashing, and woman hating, Barack Obama.
“The way people tried to explain it to me was, I was the last one hired so I was the first one out,” said Gallego, 25, who had worked there for 17 months.
Last hired, first fired: This generations-old cliche rings bitterly true for millions of Latinos and blacks who are losing jobs at a faster rate than the general population during this punishing recession.
Much of the disparity is due to a concentration of Latinos and blacks in construction, blue-collar or service-industry jobs that have been decimated by the economic meltdown. And black unemployment has been about double the rate for whites since the government began tracking those categories in the early 1970s.
But this recession is cutting a swath through the professional classes as well, which can be devastating to people who recently arrived there.
Since the recession began in December 2007, Latino unemployment has risen 4.7 percentage points, to 10.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Black unemployment has risen 4.5 points, to 13.4 percent. White unemployment has risen 2.9 points, to 7.3 percent.
Already the “racism” shouters are shouting “racism” in veiled “code language”, in a veiled “dog-whistle” manner (see, this “coded language” and “dog-whistle” verbiage can be turned around). But shouting “racism” only works for well connected flim-flam men like Barack Obama:
“Not saying that it’s racism,” Medley said, “but if a manager or a senior executive is looking at a slate of individuals and has to let one of them go, chances are he or she will not let the person go that they spend a lot of time with at the country club or similar places.”
The less wealth you have, the harder unemployment hits. Darity cited 2002 data that showed black households with a median net worth of $6,000, Latino households with a median of $8,000, and white households with a median of $90,000. [snip]
“When companies cut back their ad dollars, minority budgets are where they start,” said Salter, 62, who is black. “Unfortunately in this business, most clients just view (minority advertising) as an overlay or meeting an obligation that social organizations might place on them.”
Professional blacks “don’t usually start out with an inheritance,” he said. “On top of that, quite often things happen in our families to cause us stress. An unexpected child or grandchild, drug problems. When you try to set aside money to put your kids through college, all of a sudden you have to say, ‘I can’t let this family member fall and become homeless.’
“It will obviously have an effect on the crime rate,” said Maya Wiley, director of the Center for Social Inclusion, which recently issued a report stating that nonwhites are bearing the heaviest burden during the recession.
“There also are all sorts of health-related issues connected with that,” Wiley said. “We could see higher rates of everything from homicides to tuberculosis.”
As racism wanes and blacks and Latinos advance up the economic ladder, many cite this progress as proof that it would be unfair to offer race-based remedies to those left behind. Even many minorities have embraced themes of self-help and personal responsibility.
Others, like the Duke professor Darity, say that America “has never come to terms with racial economic inequality.”
“The current situation,” Darity said, “is reinforcing and widening those inequalities.”
How can the “current situation” reinforce and widen “those inequalities” in this post-racial, celestial choir, Black Mess-iah in the White House epoch we live in? Unpossible.
As to all those millions of glassy eyed, Hopium snorting, Hillary hating, Big Pink attacking young people – they will pay and pay and pay the bills, the bills, the bills. Many young people supported Hillary and they will survive because they have wits and know the difference between a diamond and a piece of junk. But the Obama supporting young people? They face a grim future.
Young people who injected undiluted Chicago Hopium walked on shards of glass and into walls for the Obama Mess-iah. There are still some young people holding on to the Hopium bongs for one last hit, one last buzz. These young people still roar for Obama and do not care about silly terms like “inflation” or “deficits” or “debt”. But they are the ones who will pay the Obama bills. The Obama bills are now trillions of dollars with trillions more slated for Obama’s credit card presidency. Young people will pay.
* * * * *
Some of the Hopium addled addicts are now in treatment facilities, like Big Pink, to overcome their addiction. These Hopium addled addicts admit that they alone cannot control their addiction, they need a greater power for strength, they need to examine their mistaken worship of Obama with the help of Big Pink, they will make amends for the damage they have done to the country and the attacks on Hillary supporters, they will learn to live a new life with a new code of behavior, and they will help others that suffer from the same Obama addled addiction and stupidity.
There are still a few Hopium addicts walking into walls, but like drunks walking about on a Sunday morning after a Saturday night drunk, decent citizens prefer to ignore them:
President Barack Obama’s army of canvassers fanned out across the nation over the weekend to drum up support for his $3.55 trillion budget, but they had no noticeable impact on members of Congress, who on Monday said they were largely unaware of the effort. [snip]
David Plouffe, who ran Obama’s campaign, now runs “Organizing for America” out of the Democratic National Committee. It uses the same Web-based tactics that won the presidency to mobilize public opinion behind Obama’s initiatives in a bid to redefine “business as usual” in Washington.
“The budget that passes Congress has the potential to take our country in a truly new direction — the kind of change we all worked so hard for,” Plouffe said in an e-mail alert to Obama followers last week. He asked them to rally people in their hometowns behind Obama’s budget.
Over the weekend, Obama supporters knocked on an estimated 1 million doors in all 50 states. Canvassers asked people to sign a two-point pledge saying that they support Obama’s “bold approach for renewing America’s economy,” and that they’ll ask family, friends and neighbors to back it.
“How many of these folks have read the budget?” wondered Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., a House Financial Services Committee member.[snip]
Blue Dogs were careful not to criticize Obama, but said they’ve felt little pressure from the canvassing.
Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., once a coalition member but now vice-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, said she wasn’t aware of the effort and has heard no response to it from her district.
Many Hopium addicts began to de-tox back in February after only a few days of watching the Obama “stimulus” scam.
Few supporters are answering President Barack Obama’s call for nationwide house-party gatherings this weekend to build grass-roots support for his economic stimulus plan.
A McClatchy survey of sign-up rosters for a score of cities across the country revealed only 34 committed attendees in Tacoma, Wash., as of midafternoon Friday; in Fort Worth, Texas, only 54, and in Sacramento, Calif., just 78.
“Before the election, we would have had 500 to 800,” said Kim Mack, 46, a Sacramento city-facility manager who’s hosted house parties for political figures and causes since the mid-’90s.
Even in Washington, policy-wonk capital of the nation, only about 500 people had signed up.
Barack Obama expects African-Americans and young people to help him maintain his celebrity status. But Obama will do nothing but hurt African-Americans and young people and then give them trillions of dollars in unpaid bills for them to pay.
African-Americans and young people were helped by Hillary and Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2000 when Bill Clinton was in office. Bill Clinton inherited a recession and a finance crisis and an economy in great trouble. But Bill Clinton concentrated on fixing the economy not his TelePrompter and celebrity status. The Clinton administration did not leave behind unpaid bills for young people to pay and freezing African-Americans losing opportunity. Hillary and Bill Clinton actually Put People First:
Longest Economic Expansion in U.S. History. In February 2000, the United States entered the 107th consecutive month of economic expansion — the longest economic expansion in history. [National Bureau of Economic Research and Council of Economic Advisors]
Moving From Record Deficits to Record Surplus. In 1992, the Federal budget deficit was $290 billion – the largest dollar deficit in American history. In January 1993, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the deficit would grow to $455 billion by 2000. The Office of Management and Budget is now projecting a surplus of at least $230 billion for 2000 – the third consecutive surplus and the largest surplus ever, even after adjusting for inflation. Compared with original projections, that is over $685 billion less in government drain on the economy and over $685 billion more potentially available for private investment in this one year alone. The 2000 surplus is projected to be 2.4 percent of GDP — the largest surplus as a share of GDP since 1948. This is the first time we have had three surpluses in a row in more than a half century, and it is the second consecutive surplus excluding Social Security. [Office of Management and Budget; National Economic Council, 9/27/00]
Paying Off the National Debt. In July 2000, the Treasury Department announced that the United States will pay off $221 billion of debt this year — the largest one-year debt pay down in American history. This will be the third consecutive year of debt reduction, bringing the three-year total to $360 billion. Public debt is on track to be $2.4 trillion lower in 2000 than was projected in 1993. Debt reduction brings real benefits for the American people — a family with a home mortgage of $100,000 might expect to save roughly $2,000 per year in mortgage payments. Reduced debt also means lower interest rates and reduced payments on car loans and student loans. With the President’s plan, we are now on track to eliminate the nation’s publicly held debt by at least 2012. [Treasury Department, Office of Economic Policy, From Widening Deficits to Paying Down the Debt: Benefits for the American People, 8/4/99]
More Than 22 Million New Jobs. 22.2 million new jobs have been created since 1993, the most jobs ever created under a single Administration — and more new jobs than Presidents Reagan and Bush created during their three terms. 92 percent (20 million) of the new jobs have been created in the private sector, the highest percentage in 50 years. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the economy has added an average of 248,000 jobs per month, the highest under any President. This compares to 52,000 per month under President Bush and 167,000 per month under President Reagan. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
Fastest and Longest Real Wage Growth in Over Three Decades. In the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased 3.8 percent — faster than the rate of inflation. The United States has had five consecutive years of real wage growth — the longest consecutive increase since the 1960s. Since 1993, real wages are up 6.5 percent, after declining 4.3 percent during the Reagan and Bush years. [National Economic Council, 6/00]
Household Income Breaks $40,000 for First Time in History. Income for median households rose $1,072, or 2.7 percent, from $39,744 in 1998 to $40,816, marking an unprecedented fifth year of significant growth in income. In 1999, the median income of African American households increased from $25,911 in 1998 to $27,910 — an increase of $1,999, or 7.7 percent, which is the largest one-year increase ever recorded. The income of the median Hispanic household, adjusted for inflation, increased from $28,956 in 1998 to $30,735 in 1999 — an increase of $1,779, or 6.1 percent, which is the largest one-year increase ever recorded. [Census Bureau, Money Income in the United States: 1999, 9/26/00]
Unemployment is the Lowest in Over Three Decades. Unemployment is down from 7.5 percent in 1992 to 3.9 percent in September, the lowest in more than three decades. The unemployment rate has fallen for seven years in a row, and has remained below 5 percent for 37 months in a row — over three full years. Unemployment for African-Americans fell to the lowest level ever recorded, and for Hispanics it remains at historic lows. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
Highest Homeownership Rate in History. The homeownership rate reached 67.2 percent in the second quarter of 2000 — the highest ever recorded. Minority homeownership rates were also the highest ever recorded. In contrast, the homeownership rate fell from 65.6 percent in the first quarter of 1981 to 63.7 percent in the first quarter of 1993. There are almost 9 million more homeowners than in 1993. [Bureau of the Census, 7/26/00]
Lowest Poverty Rate Since 1979. In 1999, the poverty rate dropped from 12.7 percent to 11.8 percent, the lowest rate in two decades. Since President Clinton and Vice President Gore passed their Economic Plan in 1993, the poverty rate has declined from 15.1 percent in 1993 to 11.8 percent in 1999 – the largest six-year drop in poverty in nearly 30 years (1964-1970). There are now 7 million fewer people in poverty than in 1993, and over 2.2 million, or over 30 percent, of this decline occurred during the past year. [Census Bureau, Poverty in the United States: 1999, 9/26/00]
Largest One-Year Drop in Child Poverty in More than Three Decades. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore child poverty has dropped by 25.6 percent — from 22.7 percent in 1993 to 16.9 percent in 1999. While this is still too high, it is the lowest child poverty rate since 1979 and includes the largest one-year decline since 1966, which occurred from 1998 to 1999. The African American child poverty rate has fallen 28.2 percent since 1993, and dropped from 36.7 percent in 1998 to 33.1 percent in 1999 — the largest one-year drop in history and the lowest level on record (data collected since 1959). The Hispanic child poverty rate has fallen by 26 percent since 1993, and dropped from 25.6 percent in 1998 to 22.8 percent in 1999 — the lowest level since 1979. [Census Bureau, Poverty in the United States: 1999, 9/26/00]
Families and Communities: Strengthening America’s Working Families
Tax Cuts for Working Families. 15 million additional working families received additional tax relief because of the President’s expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. In 1999, the EITC lifted 4.1 million people out of poverty – nearly double the number lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993. This year, the President proposed expanding the EITC to provide tax relief to an additional 6.8 million hard-pressed working families. [Good News for Low Income Families: Expansions in the EITC and Minimum Wage, CEA, 12/98; Census Bureau]
Helping Parents Balance Work and Family. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for seriously ill family members, new born or adoptive children, or their own serious health problems without fear of losing their jobs. Nearly 91 million workers (71% of the labor force) are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and millions of workers have benefited from FMLA since its enactment. President Clinton has proposed expanding FMLA to allow workers to take up to 24 unpaid hours off each year for school and early childhood education activities, routine family medical care, and caring for an elderly relative. [Five Years of Success: Report on FMLA, Department of Labor, 8/98 (updated number provided 7/99)]
Improved Access to Affordable, Quality Child Care and Early Childhood Programs. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, federal funding for child care has more than doubled, helping parents pay for the care of about 1.5 million children in 1998, and the1996 welfare reform law increased child care funding by $4 billion over six years to provide child care assistance to families moving from welfare to work. Since 1993, the Clinton-Gore Administration has increased funding for the Head Start program by 90 percent, and in FY 2000, the program will serve approximately 880,000 children – over 160,000 more children than in 1993.
Increased the Minimum Wage. The minimum wage has risen from $4.25 to $5.15 per hour, increasing wages for 10 million workers. The President and Vice President have called for an additional increase to $6.15 over two years. [Good News for Low Income Families: Expansions in the EITC and Minimum Wage, CEA, 12/98]
Enacted the Workforce Investment Act. The Workforce Investment Act reformed the nation’s employment and training system so that it works better for today’s workers. The WIA empowered individuals by giving adults more control and choice over their training or retraining and providing universal access to core labor market services; streamlined job training services by consolidating a tangle of individual programs into a simple system and creating a nationwide network of One-Stop Career Centers; enhanced accountability through tough performance standards for states, localities, and training providers; and increased flexibility so that states can innovate and experiment with new ways to train America’s workers better. All 50 states are now up and running and the number of One-Stops has reached 1,200 nationwide. [PL 105-220, 8/7/98]
Expanded Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. The Clinton-Gore Administration created 31 Empowerment Zones and more than 100 Enterprise Communities, including 50 rural ECs, which have created new jobs, new opportunities and stronger communities. [National Economic Council, 11/18/99]
Encouraging Investment in Underserved Communities with the New Markets Initiative. President Clinton’s New Markets Initiative will help bring economic development and renewal to communities that have not benefited from the soaring economy by spurring more than $22 billion in new investment in urban and rural areas. On July 25, 2000, the House passed the President’s New Markets Initiative in a historic bipartisan agreement that included extension and expansion of Empowerment Zones, and an increase in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The President has taken three New Markets Tours of underserved communities, which have helped generate more than $1 billion in private sector investment commitments. [Presidential Statement, 8/5/99]
Providing Incentives to Save. President Clinton signed legislation creating Individual Development Accounts, providing incentives for low-income families to save for a first home, higher education, or to start a new business, a key part of his 1992 community empowerment agenda. In FY 1999, $10 million was awarded to establish savings accounts for over 10,000 low-income workers in 40 communities, and an additional $10 million will be awarded in FY 2000. The President’s budget provides $25 million for IDAs in FY 2001 and proposes to allow low-income working families to use IDAs to save for a car that will allow them to get or keep a job. [FY 2001 Budget, p. 66]
* * * * *
Obama is hurting America and all Americans. Why is Obama hurting his strongest supporters most of all – because they are the weakest and least informed and least likely to fight back?
That’s a good question for Big Media to ask Obama tonight.
Today, Wall Street soared mightily because Obama sent trillions of taxpayer dollars in gifts.
Yesterday, Obama accepted yet another invitation from 60 Minutes . This time Obama’s star turn did not include his muscular, scowling, lantern-jawed wife. She was busy with her own pretend garden of arugula.
The not serious Obama laughed heartily and repeatedly. Why not? He’s having a great time on TV and at dinners with $100 a pound steak paid for by American taxpayers and Chinese creditors.
Obama is not a serious man. Obama’s “plans” are not geared to help the economy, but rather aimed at political goals. When the bill arrives to be paid, like the $100 a pound steak, American taxpayers will once again have to pay.
* * * * *
Today Obama released the old George W. Bush Paulson plan on “toxic assets”. No surprise. Obama is the Third Bush Term. Franklin Roosevelt in the first couple of days completely restructured the failed finance system. Barack Obama is dedicated to band-aid the corrupt mess that passes for a finance system.
If the reports are correct, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, has persuaded President Obama to recycle Bush administration policy — specifically, the “cash for trash” plan proposed, then abandoned, six months ago by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair.
Krugman measures the surge wall of Obama’s Katrina
And now Mr. Obama has apparently settled on a financial plan that, in essence, assumes that banks are fundamentally sound and that bankers know what they’re doing.
It’s as if the president were determined to confirm the growing perception that he and his economic team are out of touch, that their economic vision is clouded by excessively close ties to Wall Street. [snip]
Right now, our economy is being dragged down by our dysfunctional financial system, which has been crippled by huge losses on mortgage-backed securities and other assets. [snip]
And so the plan is to use taxpayer funds to drive the prices of bad assets up to “fair” levels. Mr. Paulson proposed having the government buy the assets directly. Mr. Geithner instead proposes a complicated scheme in which the government lends money to private investors, who then use the money to buy the stuff. The idea, says Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, is to use “the expertise of the market” to set the value of toxic assets.
But the Geithner scheme would offer a one-way bet: if asset values go up, the investors profit, but if they go down, the investors can walk away from their debt. So this isn’t really about letting markets work. It’s just an indirect, disguised way to subsidize purchases of bad assets.
Remember when Big Pink was mocked for the argument “Obama is the Third Bush Term”?
The likely cost to taxpayers aside, there’s something strange going on here. By my count, this is the third time Obama administration officials have floated a scheme that is essentially a rehash of the Paulson plan, each time adding a new set of bells and whistles and claiming that they’re doing something completely different. This is starting to look obsessive.
Remember when Big Pink was attacked for the statement that Obama is a boob and a dud?
But the real problem with this plan is that it won’t work. Yes, troubled assets may be somewhat undervalued. But the fact is that financial executives literally bet their banks on the belief that there was no housing bubble, and the related belief that unprecedented levels of household debt were no problem. They lost that bet. And no amount of financial hocus-pocus — for that is what the Geithner plan amounts to — will change that fact.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao softly announced a couple of weeks ago that his government, which holds nearly $700 billion in U.S. treasury bonds, was concerned about the wisdom of Obama’s policies.
Over the past week the combination of alarming economic news and lighter-than-air presidential showbiz appearances and gaffes has multiplied. Last Thursday the U.S. government announced a colossal $1.2 trillion bailout plan to rescue America’s banks. That same evening Obama appeared with Jay Leno on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” The first sitting president ever to appear on the show made an unintentionally insulting gaffe, laughingly comparing his poor bowling skills to those of the physically disadvantaged competitors of the Special Olympics. The day before, on March 18, the president took part in the NCAA picks on ESPN. No sitting president has ever done that before either. [snip]
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who inherited the worst economic crisis in American history and eventually led the nation out of it, was famous for his joyous good cheer and infectious love of life. But his national media appearances, though many, were never trivial. FDR’s legendary fireside chats were all serious lectures to and engagements with the American people to discuss the nature of the many problems facing the country and explain why the president was taking the actions he regarded as appropriate to solve them.
Why cancel it? Because it won’t solve the problem and it will waste more taxpayer money. I know nothing about politics, but my hunch is that people won’t be too happy when they find out that more of their money is going to enrich further hedge funds and private equity firms whose partners make bigger bucks — one of them made $3.7 billion in 2007 alone — than the bankers who got $16 billion in bonuses from taxpayer pockets in 2008.
Obama is looting the economy to help his friends (remember when Big Pink was attacked for saying just that?):
Here’s what the toxic waste plan looks like to me. Three of the world’s wealthiest investors came up with an idea to use taxpayer money to enrich themselves even more. These three have already played the U.S. for suckers:
Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.A) Warren Buffett whose 20 percent stake in Moody’s (MCO) makes him strangely mute about Moody’s role in giving toxic waste AAA ratings which fueled the financial crisis, and
Goldman Sachs Group’s (GS) Lloyd Blankfein whose firm got $12.9 billion in bailout money from American International Group’s (AIG) $170 billion bailout fund.
Their plan is simple: private investors get the profits from buying toxic waste and taxpayers cover the losses. How so? The FDIC would run an auction for a lender to sell, say, $10 million worth of residential mortgages. If the winning bidder — a hedge fund or private equity firm — paid $8 million, the FDIC would lend money to pay for those mortgages and then would cover 75 percent of the investor’s losses. Treasury would contribute 80 percent of the rest of the cost of the loans.
As I see it, this means that hedge funds and private equity firms will pay virtually nothing for the assets, the taxpayer will incur most of the losses and all the profits, if any, from buying these assets will go to the hedge funds and private equity firms. And since the FDIC and the so-called Public Investment Corp. — the public/private partnership that will buy the assets — can only buy $500 to $750 billion worth of the loans, you’ll create two other programs whose details have not been worked out.
What’s wrong with this idea? Here are six things that come to mind:
It’s too small to buy enough of the toxic waste. If my estimate is correct, there is $13 trillion worth of toxic waste — mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations — that’s been issued. This $1 trillion program only buys up 8% of that total. This is not enough to make a difference.
It does not deal with the pricing problem. [snip] …it will leave taxpayers with an enormous loss. The pricing problem could make the whole idea a non-starter since neither buyer nor seller will agree on a price.
It’s a government program for the already wealthy. Berkshire Hathaway, PIMCO, and Goldman Sachs are already very wealthy and your program will grant such investors government contracts to manage these assets. And it looks like they could get to invest as well so there’s a good chance they’ll have inside information from their advisory role that they can use to enrich themselves further.
Taxpayers are likely to lose money. This plan is too heavily skewed to enrich the private interests who will invest in these assets. As the example above illustrates, the government will take the risk if private investors overpay and the collateral for the government loans is illiquid and likely to be worth little — therefore government loan losses will likely be high as well.
Lack of detail could spook investors. [snip]
Money that could be lent directly will go into a black hole. Perhaps the worst part of the plan is that it’s not going to get credit flowing into the economy. By creating new banks, the money being used to prop up the zombie banks could be lent directly to those individuals and businesses who would be in a position to use that money wisely and pay it back. Instead, the hundreds of billions of dollars from your toxic waste proposal will go to zombie banks that will not get enough toxic waste relief to boost lending.
Obama can’t be trusted and Obama is a boob.
Obama can’t be trusted and Obama is a boob. And as Democrats know – because we said it enough and yelled it enough – during the George W. Bush years: The fish rots from the top.
Obama can’t be trusted and Obama is a boob and Obama is toxic. It is not just the plans that are toxic.
Like a fisherman who pulls in a three-eyed fish from a toxic lake, the solution is to throw the corrupt Chicago crimelords, and Obama back into the slimy waters of Lake Michigan along with his lantern jawed, muscular, scowling, wife.
Americans had an opportunity this last election cycle to control the power of Big Media and the Big Media Party by rejection of Big Media tool Barack Obama. But Big Media won.
The Big Media Weasels and the Big Media Party are now turning on their tool – Barack Obama.
The Big Media broadcast networks are increasingly angry with limelight needy Obama for costing them money. The announcement that Obama would bamboozle the nation on Tuesday evening took the network anger public. “At a time when we’re struggling not only financially but to build audiences, this doesn’t help on either front,” one network executive said. “These repeated interruptions — and the rumor of even more to come — really make it difficult to build audience flow and loyalty. We will all lose one or two million dollars for this.”
A “network insider” confessed to being a star struck tween in love with Obama and his “policies” but that love ends with the loss of money: “I believe in the president and his policies, and as broadcasters we have a responsibility to provide the airtime,” said another network insider. “But these frequent primetime requests are wreaking serious havoc with our schedule and our advertisers. Ratings are down everywhere and the airtime is costing us all significant dollars when we can least afford it.”
Big Media selected then elected their tool Barack Obama and now Obama is costing them money. No sympathy from us.
We have even less sympathy for the Obama Hopium addled addicts who now complain about the power of Big Media. The Obama Hopium addled addicts empowered Big Media and rejoiced as that power was aimed against the qualified and experienced Hillary Clinton. Now the Big Media leash will be yanked against lapdog Obama.
We had the opportunity to to rid ourselves of the Chris Matthews’ of the political world or at least make them less significant. Now they are more powerful than ever. Obama supporters are entirely to blame for the ugly control Big Media now exerts over all our lives.
In office two months, he has backpedaled on an array of issues, gingerly shifting positions as circumstances dictate while ducking for political cover to avoid undercutting his credibility and authority. That’s happened on the Iraq troop withdrawal timeline, on lobbyists in his administration and on money for lawmakers’ pet projects. [snip]
For now at least, Obama’s deviations have served only to invite occasional cries of hypocrisy from some Republicans and infrequent grumbles of disappointment from some Democrats. He has popularity on his side, and it seems people mostly are chalking up his moves to much-needed flexibility at a difficult time.
But the shifts could take a toll over time if they become a persistent pattern and the public grows weary. His overall job-performance marks could suffer and jeopardize his likely re-election campaign in 2012. People could perceive him as a say-one-thing-do-another politician and the Democratic-controlled Congress could see him as a weak chief executive.
The New York Times imitates Big Pink and tries to catalog Obama lies, though the Times can’t help but make excuses for Obama:
Obama’s moves and maneuvering for political cover run the gamut.
He spent most of the campaign promising to bring combat troops home from Iraq 16 months after taking office, though he left himself wiggle room.
After directing his commanders to map out a responsible pullout, President Obama adjusted that timeline to 19 months and said 50,000 troops, about one-third of the current force, would remain.
While campaigning, Obama frequently swiped at lobbyists, saying, ”When I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House.”
Then he took office and had to fill thousands of positions. He did allow former lobbyists to join his administration. But he imposed ethics rules barring them from dealing with matters related to their lobbying work or joining agencies that they had lobbied in the previous two years. In several cases, he has made outright exceptions.
Obama the candidate pledged to curb spending directed at lawmakers’ pet projects; they’re known in Washington as ”earmarks.” Obama the president signed an ”imperfect” $410 billion budget measure that included 8,500 earmarks.[snip]
As for politics, Obama campaigned as a new-style leader who chastised partisanship and renounced divisiveness in Washington. But as president, Obama’s White House aides wasted little time pouncing on Republicans and mocking conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh as the GOP’s leader.
On fiscal matters, Obama the candidate urged Americans to tighten their belts. Once in office and saddled with recession, though, he signed a $787 billion stimulus measure and outlined a $3.6 trillion budget plan that will plunge the nation deeper into the red. But again he paired the proposal with a new promise, to cut the deficit by more than half by the end of his first term.
In the new National Public Radio poll conducted by the Democratic polling company Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and its Republican counterpart, Public Opinion Strategies, 42 percent of the 800 likely voters surveyed March 10 to 14 said that if the next congressional election were held today they would vote for the Republican candidate; an identical percentage of respondents said they would vote for the Democratic one. For several years, Democrats held a substantial lead on this question.
Democrats still outnumbered Republicans in terms of party identification in this poll by 6 points, 45 percent to 39 percent. Democrats also favored their own party’s congressional candidates 83 percent to 7 percent. But voters who call themselves independents gave GOP candidates the edge by 14 points, 38 percent to 24 percent. And self-identified Republicans supported their own party’s candidates 85 percent to 3 percent.
Republican pollster Glen Bolger, who worked on the survey for Public Opinion Strategies, says that this is the first time since 2004 that he has seen independents favoring Republicans on the generic ballot test. Although he concedes that poll participants agreed — by margins of 6 to 11 points — with Democrats more than Republicans on each of the issues tested, he contends that the generic question’s results are “evidence that voters, particularly independents, are worried that they overcorrected in the 2006/2008 elections combined, and now have more of a liberal slant to government than they want. They want change but with checks and balances.” [snip]
If Republicans really have pulled even or slightly ahead among independent voters, that is a very ominous sign for Democrats, an indication that Obama’s talking the talk of bipartisanship isn’t sufficient and that he and the Democratic majorities on Capitol Hill have to walk the walk.
Bad news indeed as independents walk away from Obama Hopium addled Dimocrats.
“It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger,” President Obama said on Thursday of the banks he’s chosen to bail out. “You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk [to] them, ease that finger off the trigger.”
It may be the world’s shortest-lived gaffe: the brief outrage it spawned was of course entirely subsumed by the uproar over his comment to Jay Leno that his attempt at bowling was “like the Special Olympics or something.”
From giving contradictory statements on the economy to making gaffes about the Special Olympics, team Obama has lost the communications magic that propelled it to the White House.
We will address the myth that Obama ran such a wonderful primary and general election campaign this week. For now, back to the Times’ catalog of Obama boobery:
Besides, minor stuff often contains hints at the larger picture. [snip] “The story of the day often catches the president flat-footed or on the defensive — and regularly undercut by fellow Democrats. To Obama’s dismay, he is learning that successful presidential communications is only in part — often a fairly small part — about personal eloquence.”
“So how do you categorize Obama’s statement?” asks Patterico. “Poor judgment? Thoughtlessness? Or TELLING IT LIKE IT IS?!?! Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t really countenance the disabled flying into an outrage over this. But I do think — like the “putting lipstick on a pig” comment — that it shows Obama has a tin ear sometimes. And that he’s often a poor communicator, despite all we’ve heard to the contrary.”
Americans have heard Obama is a great communicator and that he ran a brilliant campaign but neither is true. Both myths were Big Media puffery.
“One almost gets tired of saying it, but one must say it, still: Can you IMAGINE what the press and the Dems would do with that, had Bush said it,” adds the Anchoress, with a heavy sigh. “President Bush was no cool cat, but he was a master of self-deprecating humor. I give Obama credit for trying it out…but maybe he’d better practice it more! Patterico notes that the press is playing it down. That’s not surprising. It was a failed attempt at humor, and you know what? I’d love to ignore it, I really would. And I’ll start ignoring these Obama gaffes just as soon as the press gives them the same unending coverage they gave to Bush’s. When the double-standards end.” [snip]
As for the suicide-bomber line, the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol is less alarmed by the bad taste than by what it might say about the president’s outlook on terrorists: “Is the president’s view really that the way to deal with suicide bombers is to try to “ease them off” the trigger rather than to shoot them if possible before they act?”
The contrast between the White House welcome this month for the Irish and British Prime Ministers could not have been greater. Brian Cowen, the Taoiseach of Ireland, is hardly a world figure, but he received the kind of red carpet treatment in Washington that would normally be reserved for royalty.
The Irish PM has no influence whatsoever over the policies of the United States. Yet he was greeted for a 40-minute meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday by not only the president but also Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Jim Jones. In addition, Obama hosted a lavish dinner party for 400 guests in Cowen’s honour to mark St. Patrick’s Day, where both the U.S. and Irish leaders spoke (teleprompter fiasco aside). At Michelle Obama’s request, the White House fountain was even turned green to mark the event.
When Gordon Brown was received at the White House at the start of March he was denied a press conference as well as an official dinner and was treated in a humiliating, demeaning fashion. Brown may well be a lame duck at home, but he is still the representative of 60 million Britons and a nation that has sacrificed blood and treasure alongside America time after time. The whole affair was hugely insulting to the British people.
I haven’t run into Gordon Brown in over a decade, but my memory of the last time I met him in a TV green room is of a glowering misanthropic type who enjoys nursing a grudge. What doesn’t go around (in the DVD player) comes around. When the president and his Teleprompter visit London for the G20 summit in a couple of weeks, it would be a tragedy were Barack Oprompta to rise for his big speech to find nothing but the words “Wrong Region” flashing on his screen (although I’m sure the Queen would be very polite and string along and make all the swells stand up and join the toast to “Ron Region”, whoever he is).
The New York Times continues to catalog Obama boobery:
Trivial stuff? Perhaps. But there are plenty of similar failures to synchronize on issues that nobody thinks are unimportant. According to VandeHei and Allen of the Politico, Lawrence Summers, the president’s chief economic adviser, “provided lifeless academic reasoning for why there was little Obama could do to prevent the payouts” to A.I.G. executives. Yet the next day, President Obama was in front of the microphones insisting that the Treasury would “pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses.”
Why did Obama shift so quickly? Here are two reasons. One, the administration may finally be learning that, while it can still blame the economy on Bush (for now), it does own the bailouts. And any populist furor over the bailouts won’t just be directed backward at Bush. It will also be projected forward onto Obama and Geithner.
Second, any day now the Obama administration will reveal the details of and begin to implement their bank rescue plan. That plan requires the government to provide leverage for private financial institutions. The private institutions will put up some money, sure. But, to get them to do that, the government will have to put up A LOT of money. Another trillion, perhaps. And that means public support is absolutely necessary. Public support that may slip away if the AIG problem isn’t resolved soon.
This left the Plum Line’s Greg Sargent shaking his head: “Again, this just seems weird politically,” he wrote of attempts to pretend that folks aren’t outraged about the issue “at a time when Republicans are moving aggressively to paint Obama as too passive on the issue and position themselves as the outraged and heroic defenders of the taxpayers?”
“It’s not ‘weird’ — it’s panic,” responds Commentary’s Jennifer Rubin:
The entire crew is drowning in a public feeding frenzy of their own making. So they are throwing out whatever argument pops to mind. The contracts can’t be changed! Oh, we’re going to do everything we can to stop this! Oh, who cares!?
And then the president gets into the act, comparing AIG execs to suicide bombers. Is that really the right metaphor for the leader of the Free World?
You sense even their widely admired political skills are buckling under the weight of events and the scrutiny that goes with occupying the White House. It’s a good thing they don’t like big government or spending money, or we’d really have to worry about them getting in over their heads.
Not only are they “over their heads” Obama is not qualified and inexperienced and it is showing every day with every boobery:
What has changed? Is it the 3,000-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the full 2 points increase in the unemployment level from 6.1% in September to 8.1% in February?
All I know is President Obama has bad-mouthed the economy for 6 months, which undermines investor confidence. His willingness to spend trillions we do not have on junk we do not need is frightening the Chinese, who own much of our debt.
Instead of answers, we get partisanship.
The Obama plan seems to be do the wrong thing and then blame Republicans if it fails.
But you know something? McCain was right. The fundamentals were there in September to ride this worldwide recession out. The recovery would have begun by now, if Obama had not pushed fear and if Obama had not borrowed another trillion.
I am optimistic that the economy will rebound. Obama will take credit. But his new, expensive, socialistic programs are fundamentally unsound and we shall pay for all this in the long run.
I have to say, of all the changes the new Administration has implemented so far the Treasury is the least comforting – which is probably the absolutely worst possible thing Obama could have done at this point (within reason). Geithner is not a reassuring figure and things like this just make the whole operation look bad. I guess I have a hard time understanding why more hasn’t been done to at least keep up appearances. Half of this is illusion. The government needs to provide the illusion of confidence if they lack the real thing. This isn’t happening. People are nervous, and rightfully so.
Can he get anything straight? TurboTax failed him. So, apparently, did Outlook calendar.
Hapless Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner claims he didn’t find out about the AIG bonus issue until March 10. This was contradicted by AIG president Edward Liddy’s testimony before Congress earlier this week. Liddy was right. Geithner was wrong. And it’s all on videotape. DealBlog this morning referenced a House hearing on March 3 in which Geithner was directly questioned about the specific bosnues, a full week before Geithner claims he was made aware of the impending controversy. C-SPAN archives has the clip
The Times laughs at Democrat on Dimocrat violence:
So, the president has at least unified his party on that point, right? Well ….. “Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has said the gloomier CBO forecast would require “adjustments” to Obama’s budget, though he declined to specify what changes would be necessary,” reports The Washington Post. “To reduce the deficits, Democrats could dial back Obama’s spending plans or find new sources of revenue.”
Allahpundit, making common cause with, of all people, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, is curious about Conrad’s “adjustments”:
Adjustments in numbers or adjustments to the whole grand Great Society II scheme? Only the former, promises Obama budget guru Peter Orszag, vowing not to sacrifice The One’s health care/energy/climate change/education agenda. To which I say, we’ll see about that. Robert Reich lays it out plainly: “The Wall Street bailout is starting to look like the most expensive tax-supported fiasco in history… The president cannot afford to lose the public’s confidence that his administration is a careful steward of the public’s money. The public was willing to go along with a large stimulus package. But it won’t go along with a second stimulus, and certainly not another TARP. And until the public feels confident that its money isn’t being thrown down a rat hole, it may balk at other ambitious undertakings such as healthcare or education or the environment.” Indeed, which means all that stands between Obama and a congressional revolt is the bank-healin’ mojo of … Tim Geithner. Good luck, Barry.
It’s Americans we are worried about as the Big Media Weasels Turn On Boob Obama.
The reckless, incompetent, inexperienced, unqualified, and treacherous Barack Obama continues to play reckless games with the American economy.
As we wrote yesterday, Barack Obama and his fellow callow boys, like Timmy Geithner and Chrisy Dodd, think they are casting big shadows but as Lin Yutang wrote “When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.”
President Barack Obama’s budget would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade, according to the latest congressional estimates, significantly worse than predicted by the White House just last month.
The Congressional Budget Office figures, obtained by The Associated Press Friday, predict Obama’s budget will produce $9.3 trillion worth of red ink over 2010-2019. That’s $2.3 trillion worse than the White House predicted in its budget.
Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under Obama’s policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable. By the end of the decade, the deficit would exceed 5 percent of gross domestic product, a dangerously high level.
While PINOs and Big Media praised the Obama “budget overview” we immediately saw that it was an entirely bogus document based on entirely bogus “Rosy Scenario” razzle dazzle.
Barack Obama who wants to spend, spend, spend, has already declared that the new realistic numbers will not slow his determination to spend, spend, spend.
Obama’s AIGita is that Americans will wake up and try to stop his destructive attacks on the American economy.
The latest figures, even worse than expected by top Democrats, throw a major monkey wrench into efforts to enact Obama’s budget, which promises universal health care for all and higher spending for domestic programs like education and research into renewable energy.
The dismal deficit figures, if they prove to be accurate, inevitably raise the prospect that Obama and his allies controlling Congress would have to consider raising taxes after the recession ends or paring back his agenda.
But without referencing the figures, Obama insisted on Friday that his agenda is still on track.
Barack Obama has AIGita because the American people might wake up in time to thwart his destruction of the American economy.
Already strong Democrats are beginning to speak out, a dangerous venture in this Hopium addled thug menacing atmosphere. The great and wonderful Democrat Maxine Waters (a strong Hillary Clinton supporter) says Obama is “not up to speed” and that he has “got some explaining to do” because the AIG story thus far is a big old Obama flim-flam lie.
* * * * *
Yesterday, we asked the question “Who are these little boys playing reckless games?”
During the Democratic primaries Michael Wolffe, a prominent writer for Vanity Fair wrote that Hillary Clinton’s allure was she does not have sex: It’s partly around this consensus view of her not having sex that people support her or resist her. She’s the special-interest candidate of older women—the post-sexual set.
For Wolffe, Barack Obama was hot, in more ways than one: Against these middle-aged people, he’s the naturalist, the credible and hopeful figure of a man who actually might be having sex with his smiling, energetic, and oomphy wife.
That homespun bowling crap on Jay Leno, followed by the turgid, teachy fiscal policy lecture, together with the hurt defensiveness (and bad script for it) that everybody in Washington “is Simon Cowell… Everybody’s got an opinion,” is pure I’m-in-over-my-head stuff. Even the idea of having to go on Jay Leno to rescue yourself from the AIG mess is lame. Be a man, man.
Now, Obama is not a man. Now Wolffe does not think Obama is so hot.
The guy just doesn’t know what to say. He can’t connect. Emotions are here, he’s over there. He can’t get the words to match the situation.
This began, I’d argue, from the first moment. He punted on the inaugural. Everybody ran around like crazy trying to praise it because if Barack Obama couldn’t give a speech then what?
We called the inaugural speech a total dud, worth watching only because it unintentionally clued Americans in on the fact that Obama was and is a back-slapping George W. Bush numbskull. Now the Hopium addled addicts are repeating what we have said almost verbatim.
But now, at week 11, we’re face-to-face with the reality, the man can’t talk worth a damn.
You can see the fundamental mistake he’s making. Having been so successfully elected, he’s acting like people actually want to hear what he thinks. He’s the great earnest bore at the dinner party. Instead of singing for his supper, he’s just talking—and going on at length. The real job of making people part of the story you’re telling, of having them hang on your every word, of getting the tone and detail right, the hard job of holding a conversation, he ain’t doing.
He’s cold; he’s prickly; he’s uncomfortable; he’s not funny; and he’s getting awfully tedious.
He thinks it’s all about him. That we want him for himself—that he doesn’t have to seduce, charm, surprise, show some skin.
It’s instructive and humorous to remember that Carter ran a brilliant campaign that succeeded largely because his voice was new. Simple, direct, basic, human. And then, of course, he turned into a sad-sack twit
We’ll discuss next week, the so-called Obama “brilliant campaign”.
The first appearance by a sitting president on “The Tonight Show” may well end up being the last.
President Obama, in his taping with Jay Leno Thursday afternoon, attempted to yuk it up with the funnyman, and ended up insulting the disabled.
Towards the end of his approximately 40-minute appearance, the president talked about how he’s gotten better at bowling and has been practicing in the White House bowling alley.
He bowled a 129, the president said.
“That’s very good, Mr. President,” Leno said sarcastically.
It’s “like the Special Olympics or something,” the president said.
Obama revealed his character with his infamous “You’re likeable enough, Hillary” answer in a New Hampshire debate. With his snide, ugly, imperious, snub of the disabled Obama once again revealed the content of his character.
For many Americans who could use a bailout just to balance their checkbooks and make it through the month, the thought of their tax dollars going to million-dollar bonuses for AIG executives is enough to make them furious.
“It’s difficult to comprehend how screwing up gets you rewards,” said George Padilla, a teacher in El Paso, Texas. “I tell my students that if they don’t put in the effort and get passing grades, I will not pass them.” He added: “I use the old `In the real world …’ line to point out that you would be fired if you didn’t do well in your job. Well, I guess `the real world’ proved me wrong.” [snip]
“Wasn’t Obama supposed to fix this?” said Maria Panza-Villa, a mother of two in Hillsboro, Ore. She said she has lost three jobs since November as one employer after another folded.