Posts Tagged ‘Economics’
Welcome to the “new normal” under Obamanomics. In Europe, where Keynesian economics and Democratic Socialism has dominated for decades, unemployment rates are in the 20′s. For the younger generation, they’re even higher. Yet, instead of learning from their mistakes, Obama and the Democrats insist on repeating them. Millions of innocent people are being hurt in the process.
After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.
She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.
Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.
“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”
Baebler’s frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they’ve given up on the job market.
Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks.
It isn’t supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.
Sadly, until we get rid of Obamanomics, the jobs won’t be coming back. Business aren’t hiring because they never know when they’re going to be hit with a costly new regulation or tax. Entrepreneurs aren’t willing to take the risk to start a new business in such a hostile business climate.
Donald Lambro at Human Events predicts that we’re in for “Four More Years of Pain“:
President Obama heads into the third month of his second term, still unable to find a cure for a sluggish economy, weak employment numbers and his own slipping job approval scores.
Second terms are usually challenging for presidents who have won re-election without having the slightest idea about what they will do over the next four years. And that’s what we are witnessing now with Obama, whose biggest problem is the anemic, job-challenged economy.
[...] The depressing headlines of the past few days tell a sad tale of what the economy is like under his presidency:
– “Weekly Jobless Claims Get Weaker as Outlook Dims” was the gloomy headline over a Reuters news wire story Thursday morning on the CNBC website.
“The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to its highest level in four months last week, suggesting the labor market recovery lost some steam in March,” Reuters reported.
– “Hiring Is Weaker at Private Companies,” a Washington Post headline blared Thursday.
“Companies hired at the weakest pace in five months in March as recent strong demand for construction jobs evaporated and growth in the vast services sector slowed, signs that the economic recovery could be hitting a soft patch,” the newspaper reported.
That’s the conclusion of the ADP National Employment Report Wednesday, which showed “that private employers added 158,000 jobs last month.” The ADP job survey said “the gain was the smallest since October.”
A separate report Wednesday on the services industry, the economy’s largest job sector, showed that employment growth “pulled back in March.”
You do not hear any of these reports on the nightly TV news because the networks cherry-pick reports that feed the White House line of a continuing economic recovery.
[...] Thankfully, there are economic reporters who resist touting the White House line that everything is rosier under Obama’s policies.
“We’re approaching the four-year anniversary of the economic recovery, and it still doesn’t feel like much of one, what with the unemployment rate at 7.7 percent and wages stagnant over the past five years,” Neil Irwin, the Post’s veteran economic analyst, recently reported.
Obama is so blinded by ideology that the tragic results of his policies on display all around him aren’t enough to convince him that his policies need to change.
Even as the Obama White House prepares for a star-studded White House concert featuring Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, and Justin Timberlake, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that roughly 50 million Americans—one in six—now live below the poverty line.
Additionally, one in five American children have fallen below the poverty line; the last time poverty levels were this high, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.
“In the last three years, there’s been a great change in the kinds of people we are serving,” said Director of Community Services at Catholic Charities of Baltimore Mary Anne O’Donnell. “There are increasing numbers of people who owned a home, lost their jobs, end up living in their car and are coming with children to our soup kitchen.”
The U.S. government defines a family of four earning under $23,021 as living in poverty. Income used to compute poverty status does not include non-cash benefits, such as food stamps and housing subsidies.
Welfare program enrollments have exploded under President Barack Obama. Americans on food stamps now outnumber the combined populations of 24 U.S. states, costing taxpayers more than double the amount spent on food stamps five years ago. In January 2009, 31.9 million Americans received food stamps. Today, that figure is 47.79 million.
In Cyprus, politicians are trying to bail themselves out by stealing directly from people’s bank accounts. In America, the government is more subtle.
It’s been stealing from us for years – through inflation. Thomas Sowell explains:
One of the big differences between the United States and Cyprus is that the U.S. government can simply print more money to get out of a financial crisis. But Cyprus cannot print more euros, which are controlled by international institutions.
Does that mean that Americans’ money is safe in banks? Yes and no.
The U.S. government is very unlikely to just seize money wholesale from people’s bank accounts, as is being done in Cyprus.
But does that mean that your life savings are safe?
No. There are more sophisticated ways for governments to take what you have put aside for yourself and use it for whatever the politicians feel like using it for.
If they do it slowly but steadily, they can take a big chunk of what you have sacrificed for years to save, before you are even aware, much less alarmed.
That is in fact already happening.
When officials of the Federal Reserve System speak in vague and lofty terms about “quantitative easing,” what they are talking about is creating more money out of thin air, as the Federal Reserve is authorized to do — and has been doing in recent years, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a month.
When the federal government spends far beyond the tax revenues it has, it gets the extra money by selling bonds. The Federal Reserve has become the biggest buyer of these bonds, since it costs them nothing to create more money.
This new money buys just as much as the money you sacrificed to save for years. But more money in circulation, without a corresponding increase in output, means rising prices.
Although the numbers in your bank book may remain the same, part of the purchasing power of your money is transferred to the government. Is that really different from what Cyprus has done?
Through the centuries – in historic cultures like that of Yap Island who used giant, immovable stone disks for commerce, to today’s United States, whose Dollar fiat currency exists primarily in digital form – “money” is able to be exchanged for goods and services because society agrees to accept it (at a certain rate of exchange).
But what happens when a society starts doubting the value of its money?
Fed, the Great & Powerful
The podcast goes into the mind-blowingly simple process by which new money is created in America by the Federal Reserve (or the “Fed”). That is to say:
- The Fed holds a meeting
- Those in the room decide how many more dollars they think the world needs
- Someone walks over to a computer and adds that many dollars to the banks, with a few clicks of the keyboard
The banks then, if they want to, lend this new money out into the economy on a fractional basis, adding even more “thin air” dollars to the nation’s money supply.
This unique ability in America lends the Fed enormous power. The power to create new money from nothing. With no limit.
And with that power, the Fed can control and/or influence economies and markets the world over.
Should such power exist? And if so, should a single private entity owned by the major players in the banking system be allowed to wield it?
Such power certainly has its dangers.
[...] Money is not wealth. It is merely a claim on wealth.
You can’t print your way to prosperity. History is abundantly clear on that.
With the clarity of hindsight, it’s now obvious how the Fed has now painted itself into a corner.
[...] Cyprus has awakened the world to the reality that central planners can appropriate their money with the bang of a gavel. And while we don’t yet know with certainty how things will unfold in Cyprus, we can project that events there have shaken society’s confidence in the soundness of fiat currency in general. If we know it can be confiscated or devalued overnight, we are less likely to unquestioningly accept its stated value. This doubt that strikes at the very foundation of modern monetary systems.
Cyprus is meaningful in the way that it shines a light on both the importance of hard assets and the risk it poses to market stability. It certainly increases the risk of our prediction of a 40%+ stock-market correction by September, as investors begin to realize that current high values are simply the ephemeral effect of too much money, instead of a sign of true value.
At this point, prudence suggests we prepare for the worst (by parking capital on the sidelines, investing in our personal resilience, etc.) and add to our hard asset holdings (like precious metals bullion, productive real estate, etc.) as insurance to protect our purchasing power. The dollar may strengthen for a bit versus other currencies and perhaps the financial markets, but the long-term trend is a safer and surer bet: Dollars will be inflated. There will be more of them in the future than there are today. So, while our dollars still have the purchasing power they do, we should use the window of time we have now to exchange paper money for tangible wealth at today’s prices.
European bank customers just woke up to discover that the government is stealing money directly out of their accounts. Think it can’t happen here? Think again.
People with bank accounts in Cyprus were shocked Saturday to learn that as part of an agreement reached with international creditors, the government has imposed a tax on all deposits to help bail out the nation and its banks.
While the island nation may be small, it’s an international favorite for offshore banking– particularly for wealthy Russians. The tax will range from 6.75% to 9.9%, depending on how much is in the account.
“This is a clear-cut robbery,” Andreas Moyseos, a former electrician who is now a pensioner in Nicosia, told the New York Times. Iliana Andreadakis, a book critic, further added: “This issue doesn’t only affect the people’s deposits, but also the prospect of the Cyprus economy. The E.U. has diminished its credibility.”
And indeed, following the massive run on banks in Cyprus, many are concerned that a minor panic could spread to the rest of the Eurozone. After all, it has just set a precedent for taxing private bank accounts at exorbitant rates without warning.
Why the sudden tax? Because Cyprus is on the verge of bankruptcy, and this is the condition Germany imposed in exchange for bailing them out:
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The banks are closed until Tuesday, to prevent depositors from accessing their money. ATM’s have quickly run out of cash as desperate citizens line up to withdraw their money before it is confiscated:
This is setting up the possibility of a widespread run on European banks:
In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the eurozone, anxious depositors drained cash from ATMs in Cyprus on Saturday, hours after European officials in Brussels required that part of a new €10 billion ($12.6 billion) bailout must be paid for directly from the bank accounts of savers.
The move – a first in the three-year-old European financial crisis – raised questions over whether bank runs could be set off elsewhere.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the group of euro-area ministers, on Saturday declined to rule out taxes on depositors in countries beyond Cyprus, although he said such a measure was not currently being considered. Although banks placed withdrawal limits of €400 on ATMs, most of them had run out of cash by early evening. People around the country reacted with disbelief and anger.
Someone with €8,000 of life savings in the bank can ill afford to lose an arbitrary €540, but that’s exactly what is going to happen. The Cypriot parliament is probably not going to revolt this weekend, but any politician who votes for this bill is going to have a very, very hard time getting re-elected. This decision is important not only because of the precedent it sets with regard to bank depositors, but also because of the way in which it points up just how powerless all the Mediterranean countries (plus Ireland) have become. More than ever before, it’s Germany’s Europe. That’s bad for Cyprus — and it’s not even particularly good for Germany.
Saxo Bank CEO says, “This Is Full-Blown Socialism And I Still Can’t Believe It Happened“:
It is difficult to describe the weekend bailout package to Cyprus in any other way. The confiscation of 6.75 percent of small depositors’ money and 9.9 percent of big depositors’ funds is without precedence that I can think of in a supposedly civilised and democratic society. But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy?
I heard rumours about this when I visited Limassol last week, but dismissed them as completely outlandish. And yet, here we are. The consequences are unpredictable, but we are clearly looking at a significant paradigm shift.
This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver. Although the representatives at the bailout press conference tried to present this as a one-off, they were not willing to rule out similar measures elsewhere – not that it would have mattered much as the trust is gone anyway. It is now difficult to expect any kind of limitation to what measures the Troika and EU might take when the crisis really starts to bite.
If you can do this once, you can do it again. if you can confiscate 10 percent of a bank customer’s money, you can confiscate 25, 50 or even 100 percent. I now believe we will see worse as the panic increases, with politicians desperately trying to keep the EUR alive.
Depositors in other prospective bailout countries must be running scared – is it safe to keep money in an Italian, Spanish or Greek bank any more? I dont know, must be the answer. Is it prudent to take the risk? You decide. I fear this will lead to massive capital outflows from weak Eurozone countries, just about the last thing they need right now. Even from the EU as a whole, I suspect, as the banking union is in place in most countries already.
Depositors are justified in their panic, given that the amount they stand to lose changes by the hour:
If initially Europe came out as utterly deranged in its Cyprus deposit-confiscation scheme, at least it was consistent. Now, it appears that Europe is desperate to appear not only completely incompetent but also unable to even make a simple decision and stick with it, following news from both the WSJ and the FT that the original confiscation thresholds of 6.75% and 9.9% for deposits below and over €100,000 is about to be revised.
From the FT: “a revised deal being discussed in Nicosia, with the blessing of the European Commission, would shift more of the burden on to deposits larger than €100,000, according to officials involved in the talks. Under a controversial deal struck with international bailout lenders in the early hours on Saturday, a 6.75 per cent levy would be imposed on all deposits under €100,000 while accounts over that threshold would be hit with a 9.9 per cent levy. The depositor levy was demanded by a German-led group of creditor countries to bring down the bailout’s price tag from €17bn…. Officials involved in last night’s talks said the changes in the levy’s rates were in flux, but they could see the higher rate increase to as much as 12.5 per cent while the smaller deposits could be about 3.5 per cent.”
Elsewhere, according to the WSJ, the deposit “tax” would be under 5% for deposits under €100K, under 10% for deposits between €100 and €500K, and over 13% for deposits greater than half a million.
While this idiotic last minute revision will only infuriate Russian oligarchs even more, it will achieve absolutely nothing to streamline the passage of the bill through Cyprus parliament where it appears to have hung without enough support: the damage has already been done, and it is a virtual guarantee that Cyprus banks will suffer a full blown bank run the second banks reopen, which may be Tuesday, Wednesday, or never, at the current pace. That line around the block at your local neighborhood Nicosia ATM: that is not, and will not, be for people seeking to make a deposit, that much we can guarantee, no matter what the final confiscation percentage is.
What is worse, however, is the painful demonstration of the absolutely and completely arbitrary decision-making process out of Europe. Sure: the ECB and the European Commission may decide to fully unwind the deposit confiscation scheme before all is said and done, but the genie is now out of the bottle, and it is very clear that in the European Disunion, a few unelected oligarchs will now determine until such time as the Eurozone finally implodes, just whose wealth and deposits are ripe for the taking. That not even Germany can make a decision and stick with it is just icing on the cake of the European Titanic.
This is the end result of the “Utopia” known as Democratic Socialism: large, powerful bureaucracies, out-of-control spending, runaway debt, forced redistribution, no respect for private property, and eventual collapse.
Europeans thought they could enjoy the unsustainable promises of Marxism without going full-blown communist. They chose a deceptive “third way” alternative, but it turns out the new boss is equally as destructive as the old one.
This is the path that Obama insists we follow, even as Europe’s warning signs glaringly flash “turn back now!”
The last pope, Benedict XVI, blamed capitalism for poverty and was a staunch advocate for socialized medicine. Apparently he didn’t see the connection between that and violations of religious liberty such as the HHS mandate.
Argentina, like most of Latin America, is a hotbed of Marxist “Liberation Theology” (Obama is an adherent of the racist version, Black Liberation Theology). But does Francis I subscribe to it? Unfortunately, the reports are contradictory and somewhat cryptic.
The Guardian calls him “a champion of liberation theology.”
Catholic Online says “Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career.”
According to John L. Allen Jr. of National Catholic Reporters, the Jesuit Bergoglio has long spoken out on behalf of the world’s poor and criticized free-market economic policies.
“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” Bergoglio told an assembly of Latin American bishops in 2007.
“The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
Here’s Lynch quoting from that 2011 speech delivered by, now, Pope Francis I:
Said Cardinal Bergoglio in said speech that “The economic and social crisis and the consequent increase in poverty has its causes in ways policies inspiredneoliberalism considering profits and market laws as parameters, to the detriment of the dignity of individuals and peoples. In this context, we reiterate the conviction that the loss of the sense of justice and lack of respect for others have worsened and led us to a situation of inequity. ” Later stressed the importance of “ social justice ”, the” equal opportunity “damage” transfers of capital abroad, “which should be required” distribution of wealth ”, said the damage of economic inequalities and the need to “prevent the use of financial resources is shaped by speculation,” especially in the context of the “social debt”-which in his opinion is of eminently “moral” – is to reform “economic structures” in expressed the sense before.
Again, I may have lost something in the translation, but it appears the new Pope fails to understand markets and holds the concepts of social justice, equal opportunity and distribution of wealth, as important. Concepts which, of course, generally lead to advocacy of much government intervention and much central planning. It as though the new Pope has somehow given up on the good in people, and perhaps even in God, and has decided to replace both with a central role for the coercive state.
The Investors Business Daily editorial board, however, contends that Francis I is no friend to Big Government:
The change that swept Eastern Europe in the 1980s and fueled the collapse of the Soviet Union may find itself repeated by a new pope with similar disdain for the authoritarian governments of his region.
When Cardinal Karol Wojtyla stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter’s in 1978 as Pope John Paul II, Soviet communism still stood astride Eastern Europe and his native Poland.
He would be the moral force helping to lead half a continent out of the human bondage of totalitarianism.
Argentina’s 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, is no stranger to — or compromiser with — the oppression of authoritarian government.
During his tenure as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and head of Argentina’s Conference of Bishops, the new pope had a strained relationship with the governments of President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who once called Bergoglio “a real spokesman for the opposition.”
The cardinal who eschewed limousines to ride his bicycle or take the bus, is known as a man of the poor and of the people.
He gained admiration for living in a modest apartment instead of the palace in Buenos Aires that was adjacent to the Casa Rosada where the president resides (and where Juan and Evita Peron often harangued the Argentine people).
The new pope has fought a long battle in Argentina against leftist government, Peronist anticlericalism, the spread of evangelical Protestantism and the secular temptations of modern society.
Like Pope John Paul II, he is likely to resist calls to “modernize” the church, to make it more “popular” and “appealing.”
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis is a strong opponent of what is called “liberation theology,” a bizarre mix of Marxism and Catholicism often embraced by left-leaning politicians and clerics in Argentina and elsewhere in the hemisphere.
Rosendo Fraga, a well-known Argentine political analyst, told the Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer that Pope Francis “is definitely bad news for the Argentine government. His homilies, as recently as two weeks ago, were very critical of economic and social conditions, and of corruption in Argentina.”
“Francis may become a critic of governments such as those in Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia, in the same way that John Paul II became a critic of communism in Eastern Europe,” says Daniel Alvarez, a professor of religious studies at Florida International University.
[T]o be sure, South American governments are, with certain exceptions, nothing like the monolithic, totalitarian USSR.
Moreover, Pope Francis I is not as young as Pope John Paul II. Nor does he have a Ronald Reagan and a Margaret Thatcher to work with.
Even so, he does provide a rallying point for a region beset by authoritarianism that badly needs one.
Who knows whether this pope will stand up against the unscriptural tenets of Socialism? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Every year, the federal government spends well over a trillion dollars more than it takes in. As a result, it has racked up seventeen trillion dollars in debt, most of it in the last decade. In seven years at current rates, the U.S. will need almost a fifth of the GDP from the rest of the world just to finance our national debt.
Just two of our federal entitlements, Medicare and Social Security, have “unfunded future liabilities” of $46.2 trillion. Total liabilities are $86.8 trillion or more. Entitlements and other mandatory spending will burden more and more of the federal budget in the coming years. At today’s burn rate, before long no realistic amount of tax revenue will be able to service the debt and fund the government’s basic functions.
We need not worry about the federal government defaulting, since, unlike U.S. states or private citizens, it can print the money it needs to pay the bills. It can and will do so if we don’t make a course correction fast. Massive monetary expansion will ultimately devalue every dollar in circulation and trigger the sort of hyperinflation that flattens entire societies in short order. That’s bad enough, but when government borrows and spends for our supposed benefit, somebody else will have to foot some or all of the bill. If our faith applies to every aspect of life, then it must have something to say about this moral outrage.
[...] In the twentieth century, more than a hundred million people were murdered by their own governments. And that was just in communist countries. History and scripture agree: because of sin, governments with too much power become propagators of evil and destruction.
This speaks directly to government debt, since deficit spending is a symptom of government doing more than it can or should. The federal government now borrows and spends with such reckless abandon that it is careening toward a global economic catastrophe. If Christians can’t muster the courage to speak out against what Rep. Paul Ryan has called “the most predictable debt crisis in history,” we won’t deserve to be taken seriously after the collapse.
Sadly, many Christians don’t know how to disciple our nation to turn the tide because they’ve never studied God’s design for economics or the Biblical role of government. They can’t teach what they don’t know. The key to real reformation, says R.C. Sproul, Jr., is for Christians to understand and work to implement Biblical economic principles:
Christian author and teacher R.C. Sproul, Jr. told CBN News Anchor Lee Webb that he believes it’s time to return to the basics when it comes to economics.
“When we’re left arguing about whether or not we should have a marginal tax rate of 45 percent or 48 percent, and the conservative is stuck arguing for the 45 percent we’ve had an insufficient reformation in our thinking,” Sproul said.
Sproul believes that reformation will happen only when we return to scripture to see what God has to say about economics. That’s why he produced a video series called “Economics for Everybody.” It’s a compelling, even entertaining approach to a topic many find boring.
[...] Sproul provides historical evidence that nations most influenced by biblical Christianity are nations that, by and large, have prospered. They are nations marked by decentralized governments and free markets.
But nations that reject God are marked by centralized power, tyranny, and no free markets. Unfortunately, he said he has observed some of those troubling trends in America now.
“The United States is not a free market. It’s an interventionist economy that’s been moving closer to socialism for over a century now,” he said. “I am not optimistic about our nation’s future economically.”
“We live in a country in which the state forbids me to hire a man unless I promise to pay him X number of dollars,” Sproul explained. “We now live in a country where I can’t hire 50 men unless I promise to buy them all health insurance, including access to abortion.”
“This is not economic liberty. This is not free markets,” he said. “We’re missing the fact that we’re the frog and the water is boiling.”
That’s why Sproul believes it’s not enough to think conservatively. We must think biblically and train our children biblically.
“It’s my conviction that education is always and everywhere religious,” he said.
“And it’s not a surprise that when 80 percent of evangelical parents have their children in the government’s schools that they’re going to embrace the religion of the government which is the worship of the state,” he said.
Sproul cautioned Christians to avoid despair. One way to do that is by returning to the beginning, to the Creation Mandate and begin to see that our work is part of worship.
If you have never watched the “Economics For Everybody” series, I highly recommend it! We cannot teach what we do not know!
What on earth is WRONG with these people?! Don’t they know what happens when a legislative body cedes power to the executive? Haven’t they ever read a history book? Haven’t they read the constitution?
With budget sequestration looming and no deal to avert it in sight, Senate Republicans, eager to avoid blame for any cuts, have devised a strategy that is as unconstitutional as it is ill-advised: Let the president decide what to cut.
According to Politico, Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), with “the tacit support of Senate GOP leaders,” have been circulating a draft bill that would suspend the $85 billion in spending cuts required by the sequester. Instead, it would give President Barack Obama until March 8 to come up with an alternative that achieves the same level of savings in the same proportions: Fifty percent from domestic discretionary spending and 50 percent from defense spending. Once Obama laid out his plan, Congress could either allow the plan to become law or pass a resolution of disapproval, by simple majority vote of both houses, by March 22.
Congressional disapproval would not, however, be the end of the story. The president could sign the resolution, thereby deep-sixing his own plan in favor of the sequestration. On the other hand, he could veto the resolution, and then the usual two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress would be required to override his veto, restoring the sequestration.
The plan, which Politico aptly describes as an “elaborate, almost Rube Goldberg construct,” is supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said, “The goal isn’t to hand over congressional authority. It’s to make sure these cuts actually happen.”
Of course, if McConnell really wants to ensure that the cuts take place, there is a much simpler way of going about it. All Republicans have to do is not offer a plan of their own and then filibuster any bills the Democrats advance. Voila! The sequester takes effect.
Clearly, then, there is more to this move than simply ensuring that budget cuts occur. If Congress does nothing, or if it puts forth its own plan to avoid sequestration, Congress will get the blame for whatever cuts take place. But if the president is given carte blanche to decide what will be cut, he will become the scapegoat.
“It’s a game,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. “The president himself becomes the bad guy; he owns the sequestration. He’s the guy who’s blamed for cutting defense or Head Start.”
It’s an incredibly dangerous game to play. Obama will find a way to blame it on Republicans no matter what, and the media will help him. But once granted more powers, he will NEVER give it back.
Sacrificing what few powers the legislative branch has to hold this out-of-control president in check is NOT a solution!
Peter Schiff: Think the Obama Recovery was bad? Just wait until the Obama Recession!
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After four years of reckless spending, $6 Trillion in new debt, massive tax hikes, devaluing the dollar by printing billions out of thin air, Obamacare, and thousands of smothering, anti-business regulations, this economy is THEIRS. We tried to warn them of the tragic results of Keynesian policies, and they wouldn’t listen, so now it’s time to OWN THE CONSEQUENCES.
The American economy has taken a nosedive.
For the first time in over three years, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product shrank. Between October and December of 2012, the GDP had a negative growth of 0.1. And let’s remember that this is the same quarter where we saw the media go into hyper-drive to spin Obama’s anemic job and GDP growth into a repeat of the Roaring Twenties.
The problem with the American economy is that Obama and his media can’t fool it. Happy talk and spin and distractions about contraception don’t create jobs or growth. You might be able to fool legions of people into voting a certain way, but you can’t fool them into spending and hiring and investing.
Naturally, Obama is looking to blame the Republicans for his failures:
In an attempt to get out in front of startling GDP contraction, Democrats are scrambling to blame the unanticipated growth plunge on spending cuts, not President Barack Obama’s trillions in federal spending that have accelerated the need for tightening the nation’s fiscal belt.
[...] These comments telegraph Democrats broader strategy for the days ahead: use the GDP contraction to stoke fears that Republican calls to cut spending or aggressively negotiate the debt ceiling and sequester will drive growth down further.
Such messaging will be a hard sell. First, the negative growth figures come on the heels of Obama’s second inaugural address that boldly proclaimed the “economic recovery has begun.” Furthermore, if Krueger’s argument that cuts in defense spending triggered GDP to nosedive, how will President Obama defend his decision to slash defense spending by $487 billion over the next decade?
Even Politico has dubbed the negative growth numbers “Obama’s GDP headache,” calling it “bad news for Obama” because it contradicts the president’s “we’re-finally-roaring-back-narrative.”
CNBC analyst Rick Santelli was more blunt. “We are now Europe,” said Santelli. “When you act like Europe, you get growth rates like Europe.”
The unemployment rate hasn’t fallen below 7.8 in four years, and millions aren’t even counted anymore because they gave up and dropped out of the workforce altogether. But Obama doesn’t need to worry about re-election anymore, so what does he care about creating jobs and reducing unemployment?
FORWARD into government dependency!
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will let his jobs council expire this week without renewing its charter, winding down one source of input from the business community even as unemployment remains stubbornly high.
When Obama in January 2011 formed his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, unemployment was hovering above 9 percent. Two years president later, more than 12 million people in the U.S. are out of work. The unemployment rate has improved to 7.8 percent, but both parties agree that’s still too high.
A provision in Obama’s executive order establishing the council says it sunsets on Thursday. A White House official said the president does not plan to extend it.
Officials said the president always intended for the council to fulfill its mission and then wind down, and said that Obama would continue to actively engage and seek input from business leaders about ways to accelerate job-creation and economic growth. Among the steps Obama plans to pursue are expedited permits for infrastructure projects, the White House said.
This is the sick mentality we’re dealing with, though most radical environmentalists wouldn’t dare to admit it publicly.
Well-known TV presenter and environmental activist Sir David Attenborough has a dire warning for humanity – we need to die off of our own volition or mother nature will do the job for us.
Attenborough, famous for hosting numerous nature documentaries over the span of the past six decades, told Britain’s Radio Times that humans are a plague on the earth and the only way to save the planet is to limit human population growth.“We are a plague on the earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde,” Attenborough said.
“Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”
Attenborough is best known for his “Life on Earth” series of wildlife documentaries, as well as for a previous statement extolling the virtues of saving the environment by eliminating people.
“Maybe it is time that instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, we should control the population to ensure the survival of the environment,” Attenborough is widely quoted to have said in a letter to John Guillebaud, Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health at University College London.
Funny how none of these guys every volunteer to remove THEMSELVES from the planet in an effort to stop this “plague.” It’s OTHER people whose lives they consider disposable.
Paul Ehrlich, the doomsday biologist who coined the term “The Population Bomb” more than 40 years ago with a book of the same name, says the world now faces “dangerous trends” of global climate change and overpopulation, which threaten our extinction.
Reducing the number of people is still the answer to civilization’s woes, Ehrlich and his wife Anne wrote in anarticle published Jan. 9 by London’s Royal Society.
“To our minds, the fundamental cure, reducing the scale of the human enterprise (including the size of the population) to keep its aggregate consumption within the carrying capacity of Earth is obvious but too much neglected or denied,” Ehrlich wrote.
Ehrlich spelled out exactly what he meant in an interview with a liberal blog/news site called Raw Story.
“Giving people the right to have as many people, as many children that they want is, I think, a bad idea,” the Web site quoted Ehrlich as saying.
“Nobody, in my view, has the right to have 12 children or even three unless the second pregnancy is twins,” Ehrlich added.
How much you wanna bet this guy believes it’s a mother’s “right” to murder her unborn child….just not to give birth to him/her if he/she happens to expand your family larger than some bureaucrat with a god complex thinks it should be?
Of course, the “solutions” to these quacks’ anti-human hysteria involves confiscating more of your tax money to pay for other people’s abortions and population control schemes:
Little does it matter to people like Ehrlich and Attenborough that population control has usually been deeply rooted in eugenics, a science attempting to reduce “undesirable” populations, asDaniel Patrick Moloney has documented.
Nor does it seem to matter that attempts at population control have only resulted in outcomes such as China’s oppressive and coercive one-child policy, which, coupled with a cultural preference for boys, is not only decimating the country’s demographics, but causing the sex-selective abortion of millions of baby girls.
Fortunately, pro-life advocates succeeded yesterday in halting the Obama Administration’sattempt to include abortion in the list of rights protected by the United Nations. This week, we can hope they will continue to make progress toward protecting lives in the United States.
What are they THINKING? NO politician, NO party is above the law! ANY public servant that violates the Constitution – the ultimate law of the land – needs to be tossed out on their rear ends, regardless of party!
In legislation filed yesterday, the House GOP Leadership made an important twist in their plan to pass a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. Rather than increase the debt ceiling by a few hundred billion dollars, buying them time for further talks on the budget, they have opted to “suspend” the debt ceiling. Its a blatant abdication of their constitutional authority. It’s an ominous sign of the talks to come.
Article 1 of the US Constitution gives Congress the exclusive authority to borrow money to fund the government. Up until World War I, Congress would approve every bond issuance. The borrowing demands of the war made this impractical, so Congress authorized a “debt ceiling,” where the government could freely borrow up to a statutory limit and then go back to Congress to approve additional borrowing. Think of it as giving your teenager a pre-paid debit card.
With this measure, the government had more flexibility to manage its affairs while preserving the Constitutional principle that Congress controlled the purse strings.
“Suspending” the debt ceiling until May upends this principle. Upon enactment, the government’s borrowing authority would be unlimited until May. Presumably, the government could borrow trillions in this window, providing either the markets or the Fed would meet the new supply of debt.
Worse, however, is that the GOP move establishes a very slippery precedent. The left has been agitating to simply eliminate the idea of a debt ceiling entirely. For all its flaws, the ceiling at least guarantees we will have some debate about government spending. The left finds this annoying. Unfortunately, the GOP plan to “suspend” the ceiling provides at least partial support to this argument. If we can “suspend” it for three months, why not a year? Once you’ve surrendered the constitutional principle behind the ceiling where and how can you draw a line?
Last week, FreedomWorks launched the website, www.DCDoYourJob.com, to combat the pressure for a clean debt ceiling raise and to give grassroots America a platform to take back its voice in the secretive, closed-door budgeting process. The message from taxpayers is clear: There should be no debt ceiling increases until Washington returns to regular order and passes a budget.
FreedomWorks is urging all members to demand that Congress resist raising the debt ceiling clean, and instead return to regular order, do their jobs, and pass a budget as required by law.
Congress is the only thing standing between Obama and absolute dictatorial control. The battle for 2014 begins NOW.
President Barack Obama’s top political aide used an Inauguration Day interview to sketch out a provocative political strategy intended to split the Republican Party in time to impact the 2014 midterm elections.
“The barrier to progress here in many respects, whether it is deficits, measures to help economy, immigration, gun safety legislation … is [that] there are factions here in Congress, Republicans in Congress, who are out of the mainstream,” White House advisor David Plouffe said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.”
“We need more Republicans in Congress to think like Republicans in the country who are seeking compromise, seeking balance,” he claimed.
Their public strategy is to try and divide Republicans on the issues of taxes, guns and immigration, where they believe the “moderates” will be willing to compromise and alienate their base.
Their hidden strategy will be the same Alinsky tactics they used during the campaign to smear the opposition: distracting voters and stoking division on social issues (“war on women,” contraception, rape, abortion, gay marriage, etc.). Which is kind of ironic, because social issues could really be used to split much of the socially conservative minority base (such as the black community) away from the Democrat party, if Republicans had the smarts to exploit it.
Either way, Obama’s #1 priority is to hammer what’s left of the Republican party into insignificance, and pave the way for single-party rule:
[I]f you want to know how Obama will actually govern in his second term, forget about these well-crafted speeches, and pay attention instead to what he said at his press conference a few days ago.
There he made it clear for anyone with ears to hear that his goal isn’t to achieve some kind of grand unity to tackle the nation’s toughest challenges.
No. Obama’s No. 1 goal in his second term is to do whatever it takes to destroy Republicans and win back Democratic control of the House in 2014, giving him two more years to enact his agenda without any GOP meddling.
Republicans, he said at that press conference, are holding “a gun at the head of the American people,” and are threatening either to “gut Medicare” or “wreck the entire economy.”
He said Republicans are “suspicious about government’s commitments to make sure that seniors have decent health care (and) have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat.”
He described the GOP position on the debt ceiling as “either we get our way a hundred percent of the time or otherwise, you know, we are going to default on America’s obligations.”
You simply don’t bludgeon people you’re trying to work with.
Next, consider Obama’s actions since winning re-election.
Instead of living up to his campaign promise to focus on jobs, the economy and the national debt, he’s pushing hugely divisive issues — gun control, immigration, global warming — or in-your-face nominees like Chuck Hagel.
On gun control, Obama could have worked to reach consensus on reforms that might actually improve safety, but instead produced an aggressive gun-control plan guaranteed to force a nasty fight with the GOP.
Obama barely mentioned immigration reform during his campaign, but suddenly put it at the top of his agenda because he knows he can use it to hurt Republicans.
It’s almost like they’re holding the budget hostage for more ransom money from the “evil rich.”
The Constitution REQUIRES congress to pass a budget – no conditions, no excuses. Of course, they’ve been flaunting the law of the land for years, and Republicans won’t hold them accountable, so what do they care?
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the U.S. Senate will only fulfill it’s legal obligation to pass a budget if the budget, which has not been passed since 2009, includes new tax increases.
“We need a budget,” Schumer conceded on Meet the Press. “It’s a great opportunity to get us some more revenues to help in part deal with sequestration and deal with the debt issue . . . We’re going to do a budget this year and it’s going to have revenues in it and our Republican colleagues better get used to that fact.”
Senate Democrats have refused to pass a budget since Obamacare was passed, prompting Republicans to accuse their counterparts of hiding the amount of spending they desire to avoid electoral rebuke.
Even some Democrats are willing to say that. “I think there would be just too much risk for the next election,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., suggested last year when asked why his party leadership wouldn’t pass the budget. “They don’t want to risk the next election.”
Every single Republican that votes for a debt ceiling increase needs to be primaried in 2014. EVERY LAST ONE.
So House Republicans will vote next week on a bill that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling for three months. The catch? It will feature a provision that would stop all pay for members of Congress if the Senate doesn’t pass a budget. When we consider that the median wealth for a senator in 2009 was almost $2.38 million; well, this clause isn’t the most effective threat available to snap Harry Reid (worth between $3-$10 million) into action. The chances of the Senate passing it? Zero.
Strategically speaking, this is obviously another attempt to shift the public’s ire from Republicans to Senate Democrats on the ongoing cliff battles. I’m not sure it’s exactly a bad idea, but more than likely it is an ineffective one. The problem with this stuff is that it’s small ball and transparently political. It sounds like a stunt. (UPDATE: Not to mention, probably unconstitutional.)
In a statement released from Republican retreat in Virginia, Eric Cantor said: “The first step to fixing this problem is to pass a budget that reduces spending. The House has done so, and will again. The Democratic Senate has not passed a budget in almost four years, which is unfair to hardworking taxpayers who expect more from their representatives. That ends this year.”
Well, the last time the Senate passed a budget was April of 2009. And the habit is probably not going end this year.
Cantor might be right in substance, but everyone understands: 1 – Republicans were going to vote to raise the debt ceiling. All kinds of Republicans have openly said they’d do it. Whether you agree with taking a stand on the debt ceiling or not, to extract concessions from a president who offers so little, you have to be prepared to take the dive. 2 – Republicans aren’t making compelling big-picture arguments so there’s no way to win the small ones. Even if you believe, like I do, that conservatives are right on these budgetary issues, they’re not very convincing.
I’d like to know how many of them run their personal finances this way: unlimited spending on credit cards and no budget.
Oh, wait – that’s only for when you’re spending OTHER PEOPLE’S money. Sorry, my bad.
A group of House Democrats accused Republicans of having “weaponized” the debt ceiling Wednesday, and are pushing to abolish it.
The lawmakers blasted GOP members as taking the economic wellbeing of the nation hostage to achieve political victory, and are hoping to scrap the debt limit once and for all as a danger looming over the economy.
Notice the violent, fear-mongering language they use: “weaponized,” “hostage.”
They insist that it’s the limit on their credit card – not the insurmountable $16 Trillion debt burden they’ve piled on our children and grandchildren’s backs – that threatens the economy.
If it weren’t for their accomplices in the propagandist media keeping the public ignorant of the REAL danger of this situation, their game would be up.