Too much to ask? (See below.)
Sent by my friend,Jonathan Davis who is the Vice Presidenblsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_1">t for External Relations Head of the Raphael Recanati International School. IDC @ Herzliya is a private University and a real comer in education. (See 1 below.)
Soon the Western world will have have allowed themselves to be sucked
into dealing with Muslims as the Israelis have had to with the Palestinians. It is called 'victim hood' and radical Arabs are masters at propaganda having learned from Goebel and the Nazis. (See 2 below.)
Karl Rove believes Obama over promised and has under served so that will be a problem come election time. Yes, Rove is correct if logic and reason mesh but voters are fickle and have short memories.
Youthful voters came out big for Obama. He was a brainy academic type and 'oh soooo cool.' Now they are finding it hard to get jobs. By election time they might connect the dots but youth being youth they are easily swayed by emotion not logic. (See 3 and 3a below.)
Obama wants to disarm to set an example - so what!
Evaluating the deal! (See 4 and 4a below.)
Double double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and 'vat' bubble - It's Obama VAT time! (See 5 below.)
GW allowed himself to be painted into a corner and refused, for reasons unknown, to confront those who attacked his believability when he had convincing evidence. Arnold Ahlert is furious with Republicans who are unwilling or too timid to meet their attackers head on but believes the Tea Party crowd are ready. (See 6 below.)
Fiscal folly - it is called Obamascare and is a roll of the dice! States who have tried have already been thrown for a loss. Now its's the Federal Government's try.(See 7 below.)
Robert Rubin is a bright man. He learned risk arbitrage at Goldman Sachs. He then took his knowledge and it worked well while Clinton's Sec. of Treasury. However, when Rubin went to Citigroup the third time was not a charm. In fact he is accused of blowing the place up with risky trades ill suited for a bank.
Now he is a favorite of the Obama administration.
It is amazing how people once in government, who eventually fall on their swords in business, can return to government as wise men acheiveing hero status.
That the economic security of over 300 million Americans might be determined by Bob Rubin's thinking should blow one's mind. (See 8 below.)
Deficit is driven by preponderance of non and/or low tax payers. As I so often write, they have no or little skin in the game and naturally have no objection to having their coals carried by someone else. (See 9 below.)
>1) Please enjoy the following article about the IDC Team which beat out 44 universities on expertise in international humanitarian laws dealing with combat rules. The final round was held against NYU and the University of Montreal. The competition took place in Quebec between March 20-27.
The Laws of war - Is-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_12">rae>lis know them best
By DOV PREMINGER
IDC legal team beats 44 universities on expertise in international humanitarian laws dealing with combat rules.
An Israeli team from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, recently beat out 44 universities to take first place in the 2010 edition of the Jean-Pictet Competition on international humanitarian law.
The week-long international competition, held between March 20-27 in Quebec, Canada, matched up teams from universities around the world to test their knowledge ip-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_15">n the field of international humanitarian law (IHL) – commonly referred to as the laws of war.
“For an Israeli team to win a competition in the field in which Israel is so often criticized is signi class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_16">ficant,” said the team’s academic supervisor, Daphné Richemond-Barak. “The Jean-Pictet is the most prestigious competition in the field worldwide.”
In the competition, teams role-played as representatives from foreign affairs, military advocates or the Red Cross. They were questioned by judges and judged by jury. Among the “judges” for the event was Philippe Kirsch, first president of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Rigorously trained and given access to the highest government officials, the team and its supporters ultimately attributed the victory to “teamwork, teamwork, teamwork,” according to Jonathan Braverman, a member of the IDC team along with Danielle Brown and Uri Feldman.23">
To make it to the competition, the IDC team firsLING_ERROR_24">t had to win the naR_25">tional competition. The IDC enlisted coach Ido Rosenzweig, who won the award for best speaker in the national competition two years ago.
“Ido is not 100-percent, but 1,000% responsible for us understanding teamwork,” said Braverman. “The amount of time he spent drilling us, [teaching us] how to work as a team, getting into the role-play as a group rather than a person... that’s what set us apart.”r>
In a nutshell, said Rosenzweig, IHL might be summarized as, “Do the most damage to the enemy [while] minimizing harm to civilians.”
Hror" id="SPELLING_ERROR_29">e explained the four core principles of IHL as follows: distinction of soldiers from civilians; military necessity as a rule in evaluating targets; proportionality; and humanity to the enemy.
Rosenzweig and Richemond-Barak drew up a detailed course for the team.
“Each section was composed of one or more simulations, like in the competition. You’re going to be the legal adviser of the prime minister, or a commander in the field, etc. I challenged them to answer them according to the role,” said Rosenzweig.
Then, toward the end of the course, Rosenzweig played to Israel’s “home field advantage” – a wealth of practical experience in the laws of war.
“We gave them what I refer to as a kind of bonus. We set meetings with the highest practitioners in Israel, from the Foreign Ministry, Military Advocate-General’s Office, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC),” he said.
“A week before the competition, we got a four-minute fake radio broadcast,” recalled Braverman. “We had to figure out who’s going to war and who’s going to be fighting whom. We didn’t get a map of the area until the third day. You have partial information that gets built up as you go through the simulations.”
Nations and continents are fictional in the competition. The nation of Batogour was the one featured in the final, and a wide range of people and places were invented, including the commander of the armed forces, named Col. Yes We Can.
Braverman said the most trying section of the competition was “the long day,” during which the team acts as a military legal adviser during an ongoing war from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Quizzing the panel for the final were a mock prime minister, a speaker of the house, and the chairman of the opposition, played by Kirsch.
r>A jury of nine heard the competitors’ answers, and gave the win to the IDC.
The final round was held against New York University and the University of Montreal.
After winning, the IDC team received a five-minute standing ovation from the other teams, including those from Iran, Lebanon and Jordan.
For the closing ceremony, the IDC team brought out an Israeli flag.
“I don’t think anyone’s done that before,” said Braverman. “There were cheers from the Americans. It really was the one of the best experiences one could have, regardless of the victory. Just having been there makes you a better person.”
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------r>2)What's Not Happening to American Muslims: To hear Hollywood and the media tell it, American Muslims were the ultimate victims of 9/11. What nonsense
By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ
It can't have come as a surprise that one of the now entrenched myths about America—namely, its ongoing victimization of Muslims—should have been voiced again by a leading citizen of our myth-producing capital, Hollywood. The citizen was Tom Hanks, and the occasion his March interview in Time Magazine in which he declared that our battle with Japan in World War II was one of "racism and terror." And that, he noted, should remind us of our current wars.
The comments caused a furor. But Mr. Hanks, who had made them during a publicity tour—he's the producer of the HBO series, "The Pacific"—saw the issue in perfectly clear terms, which he went on to explain several times more in subsequent media appearances. We can only ponder the joy this must have brought to the hearts of HBO executives.
The Hanks mini-seminar was only one of the many distortions of our still unbearably raw recent history—never mind World War II—encouraging Americans to view themselves as oppressors and racists. The latest reflection of this trend, grown steadily since the attacks of Sept. 11, came with a three-page spread in the Washington Post on March 24 about the tribulations of a Muslim soldier who reported being subjected to slurs, various other insults, and also a threatening note. His commander suggested he might do well to move to housing off base. The base in question was Fort Hood, where, last November, army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan murdered 13 fellow American soldiers.
The pain of these confrontations was undoubtedly great, as such treatment always is. Ask the members of religious and racial minorities who served, say, in World War II, when it wasn't unusual to hear slurs like "kike" and such hurled at them. Ask black Americans who had the incomparably worse experience of serving in a racially segregated military, where they were relegated to the worst duties. Not to mention being made witness—in parts of the country—to the sight of German POWs held in the U.S. eating in restaurants barred to black Americans in uniform, and otherwise being accorded respect that those Americans could not hope to receive.
Still, there were no instances of those enduring this treatment undertaking mass murder of other American servicemen. There was rage, and there were some riots, but no cases of U.S. soldiers enlisting in the service of the enemy as Maj. Hasan had. (Hasan, it was explained after he had cut down those unarmed servicemen and women packed into that room in Ft. Hood, had suffered prejudice-related pressures as a Muslim in the armed services.)
There were, in World War II, no watchdog groups like the ones cited in the Washington Post story, no agencies keeping lists of harassment complaints, or name-calling suffered by members of the U.S. military, or of the number of soldiers, like those mentioned in the story, who called crying on the phone. There were back then plenty of officers given to convenient cover-ups. But, it's a good bet, few like Maj. Hasan's superiors—so addled by raised consciousness and worries about appearing insensitive to Muslims in the service that they ignored even the most extreme expressions of his enmity to the United States and its military, his praise of suicide bombers, his jihadi contacts.
Since the events of Sept. 11, we've seen the growth of a view that American Muslims became prime victims of those terror attacks—isolated, fearful, targets of hostility. President George W. Bush, who went to Washington D.C's Islamic Center a few days after the terror assaults, told his audience that Islam was about peace and warned that the nation's Muslims must be free to go about without fear or intimidation by other Americans—remarks he doubtless thought were called for under the circumstances.
It had not, of course, been necessary to remind Americans of who they were and were not. No menacing hordes, then or later, ever threatened American Muslims—and it has been an insult to the nation to have been lectured to the same way after every attempted terror attack, as though wild mobs of citizens might actually run through the streets attacking Muslims. Even as the ruins of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon still smoldered, countless Americans had reached out to their Muslim neighbors to reassure them.
No matter. Every report of any activity bearing resemblance to anti-Muslim sentiment became, in short order, essential news. Every actual incident, every report of a nasty sign, fitted the all-consuming theme taken up by large sectors of mainstream media: that the country's Muslims were now hapless targets, not only of the national rage at the atrocities committed by Islamic fundamentalists, but also of racism. It was a view especially well in accord with those of a generation schooled in colleges and universities where pathological extremes of sensitivity to claims of racial, religious or sexual insult or charges of gender bias are considered perfectly normal and right.
Reporters ran with the theme in part because the media's appetite for victim stories of any kind is inexhaustible. But this was, in addition, the kind journalists pride themselves on as socially responsible. It was also one that didn't lack for willing subjects. For American Muslims in considerable numbers apparently subscribed to the view that theirs was the abiding suffering that had been inflicted by the 9/11 attacks. There was no missing the steady supply of Muslims available to tell inquiring reporters of their feelings of alienation and persecution.
Each FBI terrorist sting that went awry or seemed to, each wild goose chase of a home-grown jihadi threat, spurred a new portrait of besieged American Muslims. When such plots turned out to be true, and their threat enormous—most recently in the case of Najubullah Zazi, a jihadist who planned to set explosives off in the New York subway—the portrait and the theme remained the same. Since alienated American Muslims were forced to live in fear as second-class citizens, it was explained, more and more of them chose extremism and violence. In short, whether the charges of terrorist activity were false or whether they were true, American society was to blame.
There are other faces of Muslim America. Five years or so after the terrorists drove their planes and passengers into the twin towers and the Pentagon, a cab driver from Pakistan remarked, as we drove past the rubble where the towers had stood, that he could never pass this place without trying to see them again in his mind. A painful effort, for all that it brought back. What was not painful, he added, was the memory of certain people in his neighborhood—a mixed but mostly white area of Queens, with many Italian-Americans, some Jews, and he thought some Irish. After the attacks, some of the men had come to him.
"My wife doesn't go out without a head cover," he explained. The men had come to tell him that if anyone bothered her, or his family, he must come to them.
"I must tell them and must not be afraid. Do you know," he said, in a voice suddenly sharp, "what would have happened if Americans had done this kind of attack in my country? Every American—every Christian, every non-Muslim—would have been slaughtered, blood would have run in the streets. I know the kind of country this is. Thanks be to God I can give this to my children."
Countless American Muslims would, like generations of immigrants of all kinds, say the same. Theirs, of course, is not the face of Muslim America suitable for the continuing chronicle of the victimized American Muslim.
Ms. Rabinowitz, a member of the Journal's editorial board, is the author of "No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusations, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times" (Free Press, 2003
3)Obama Has Overpromised and Underdelivered: But the GOP will still have to make the case for itself this fall
By KARL ROVE
We have heard for months that the Democrats' election prospects would brighten once they pivot from health care to the economy. But that seems increasingly unlikely. The reason is simple: President Barack Obama overpromised on his stimulus package and then grossly underdelivered. That has caused public confidence in his ability to handle the economy to drop.
Of course, that hasn't stopped the administration from spinning. Take this past Sunday's media blitz in which White House advisers swarmed the morning talk programs. National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, for one, said on ABC's "This Week" that the most recent unemployment numbers are "hardly satisfactory," but nonetheless "good news" because job creation "is running somewhat ahead of what the administration was forecasting."
That doesn't square with what administration officials said last year. Pass the stimulus and unemployment would be at roughly 7.5% by now, they promised.
Instead, unemployment was frozen at 9.7% last month, where the Obama administration predicted last year it would be now if nothing were done. Joblessness has neatly followed the pattern of persistent high unemployment the Obama administration said would occur if Congress failed to pass the stimulus package.
Even with last month's 162,000 net new jobs created, the country is on pace to end the year more than five million jobs short of where Mr. Obama suggested the country would be with his stimulus.
The stimulus money also hasn't been spent on the time line the president promised when he signed the bill into law. Recovery.org reports that as of yesterday, less than 40% of the stimulus had been paid out.
r>Overpromising on the stimulus and then underdelivering has left many Americans skeptical about Mr. Obama's economic leadership. Gallup's latest poll, for example, shows that 61% of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the economy. That's up 22 points since about this time last year.
The administration's difficulties in defending the stimulus may be why the president challenged Republicans who want to repeal, replace and reform ObamaCare to "go for it." Mr. Obama seems to be wagering that Democrats will be better off in the midterm elections talking about health care than the economy. That, at least, has a chance of exciting the party's left-wing base. Focusing on the economy will likely depress turnout among independents and centrist Democrats.
But by big margins Obama-Care is unpopular and Americans distrust the administration's claims that its new entitlement program is affordable and "won't add a dime to the deficit," as Mr. Obama relentlessly repeated during its passage through Congress.
It won't only add a single dime to the deficit; it will add zillions of them. ObamaCare only appears to be affordable on paper because it includes 10 years worth of revenue from huge tax increases and gigantic Medicare cuts to pay for six years of spending. What's more, 82% of the $434 billion expansion of Medicaid and 84% of the $466 billion in subsidies for insurance companies are spent between 2016 and 2019, after Mr. Obama would leave office (even if he serves a second term).
Conditioned by their experience with Mr. Obama's extravagant claims for his stimulus, the voters most likely to turn out this fall could be inclined to disbelieve his promises on health care, too.
When voters consider that the true 10-year cost of ObamaCare—which can be determined by calculating its costs between 2017 and 2026—is $2.6 trillion, many will be fired up to vote against congressional Democrats.
There are dangers for Republicans, too, though considerably less than those of Democrats. The first is that the GOP must not allow itself to be portrayed as the party of the status quo on health care. Republicans must combine a relentless, fact-based criticism of ObamaCare with a background melody about the reforms and changes the GOP would make if it were to win control of Congress.
And on the economy, the GOP must be careful not to be seen as rooting for failure. Republicans should acknowledge the economy is slowly recovering, but then give credit to workers and small business owners rather than government.
The GOP's argument must be that the stimulus bill didn't hasten recovery, but delayed it. They need to use the president's own promises to make the case that no nation in history has spent its way to prosperity.
Each party faces challenges in the midterms. But the ones confronting Republicans barely register compared to those facing Democrats.
Mr. Rove, the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, is the author of "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions, 2010).
3a)Joblessness: The Kids Are Not Alright Will the U.S. accept youth unemployment levels like Europe's?
By DANIEL HENNINGER
Unemployment today doesn't look like any unemployment in the recent American experience. We have the astonishing and dispiriting new reality that the "long-term jobless"—people out of work more than six months (27 weeks)—was about 44% of all people unemployed in February. A year ago that number was 24.6%.
This is not normal joblessness. As The Wall Street Journal reported in January, even when the recovery comes, some jobs will never return.
But the aspect of this mess I find more disturbing is the numbers around what economists call "youth unemployment." The U.S. unemployment rate for workers under 25years old is about 20%.
"Youth unemployment" isn't just a descriptor used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's virtually an entire field of study in the economics profession. That's because in Europe, "youth unemployment" has become part of the permanent landscape, something that somehow never goes away.
Is the U.S. there yet?
No public figure has ever taken more flak for a comment than former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for "old Europe." These are the Western European nations that spent the postwar period free of Soviet domination. With that freedom they designed what came to be called the "social-market economy," a kind of Utopia where a job exists to be protected and the private sector exists mainly to pay for the state's welfare plans.
Eight years ago, a bittersweet movie about this tragedy of fallen expectations for Europe's young, "L'Auberge Espagnole," ends with a bright young Frenchman getting a "job" at a public ministry, where on the first day his co-workers explain the path to retirement. He runs from the building.
In the final month of 2009, these were European unemployment rates for people under 25: Belgium, 22.6; Spain, 44.5; France, 25.2; Italy, 26.2; the U.K., 19; Sweden, 26.9; Finland, 23.5. Germany, at 10% uses an "apprentice" system to bring young people into the work force, though that system has come under stress for a most relevant reason: a shortage in Germany of private-sector jobs.
In the U.S., we've always assumed that we're not them, that America has this terrific, unstoppable job-creation machine. And that during a "cyclical downturn," all the U.S. Congress or the states have to do is keep unemployment benefits flowing and retraining programs running until the American jobs machine kicks in and sops up the unemployed.
But what if this time the new-jobs machine doesn't start?
In the U.S., we've thought of youth unemployment as mainly about minority status linked to poor education. Not in Europe. German TV recently broadcast a sad piece on Finland, which has the continent's most admired school system. It showed an alert, vivacious young woman—she looked like someone out of an upper-middle-class U.S. high school—roaming Helsinki's streets begging waitress jobs, without success.
It was during the Reagan presidency's years of strong new-job growth, with an expansion that lasted 92 months between 1983 and 1990, that Europeans began to envy the employment prospects for American graduates. The envy continued through the dot.com boom of the Clinton years. Some of Europe's most ambitious young workers emigrated to the U.S.
Which brings us to the current American presidency. Last March, its admirers proclaimed that the Obama budget drove "a nail in the coffin of Reaganomics." And replaced it with what?
Mr. Obama spent his first year saving the public economy (the stimulus's money mainly protected public-sector jobs) and designing a U.S. health-care system led, if not run, by the public sector. The year's most significant U.S. fiscal policies created an array of new taxes to finance the congressionally designed health system, and raised federal spending to 25% of GDP. Another broad tax increase begins Jan. 1.
The only new-jobs idea the philosopher kings around Mr. Obama have had is the "green economy." No doubt it will create some jobs. But an idea so dependent on subsidy economics is not going to deliver strong-form employment for the best, brightest or willing and able in the next American generation. The path we're on is toward a flatter, gentler U.S. economy.
This is not the way forward to the next version of an American economy that once created Microsoft, Intel, MCI, Oracle, Google or even Twitter. The United States needs tremendous economic forces to lift its huge work force. Since 1990, roughly 80 million Americans have been born. They can't all be organic farmers or write scripts for "30 Rock."
Many upscale American parents somehow think jobs like their own are part of the nation's natural order. They are not. In Europe, they have already discovered that, and many there have accepted the new small-growth, small-jobs reality. Will we?
4)Dreams of Disarmament: As rogues seek a bomb, the U.S. and Russia renew a Cold War treaty
If diplomatic activity equalled disarmament results, President Obama would soon be delivering a nuclear-free world.
On Tuesday, his Administration released its Nuclear Posture Review, setting new limits on the potential U.S. use of nuclear weapons. Today, the President is in Prague to sign an arms-control treaty with Russia, called New Start, which will reduce the U.S. arsenal by 30%. Next week, he'll host a 47-nation summit on nuclear security in Washington. And next month it's on to the U.N. conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT.
Mr. Obama has little doubt that all of this nuclear busyness strengthens the security of the U.S. and our allies. In an interview Monday with the New York Times, the President stressed the importance of the NPT in curbing proliferation, including "making sure that the United States was abiding by its obligations" under the treaty to reduce its own arsenal. He added that "when you're looking at outliers like Iran or North Korea, they should see that over the course of the last year and a half we have been executing a policy that will increasingly isolate them so long as they are operating outside of accepted international norms."
This would be lovely if it were true, but the history of the nuclear era offers different lessons. One is that the NPT has done relatively little to discourage nuclear proliferation:
• India and Pakistan joined the nuclear club by staying outside of the treaty, as did Israel, though its nuclear program reportedly predates the NPT.
• North Korea has been an on-again, off-again signatory to the treaty, without that having the slightest effect on its nuclear program.
• Syria was a member in good standing of the NPT when an Israeli air strike destroyed its illicit nuclear reactor in 2007.
• Iran remains a member of the treaty, having secretly violated its terms for 18 years and openly violated them for another seven.
A second lesson is that the NPT invites multiple opportunities to cheat by insisting that all states, including those suspected of violations, have a "right" to civilian nuclear technology.
As Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center reminds us, "so long as there is some conceivable civilian application [for a nuclear technology], and the offending activity or material is admitted to or declared to international inspectors, the international community ultimately presumes what it senses to be suspect must be treated as if it was peaceful and legitimate and, therefore, unactionable." This is one lesson of the Atoms for Peace folly of the 1950s.
To the extent that more states haven't gone nuclear, the reason has been U.S. power, not a treaty. Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Canada could build a bomb in a week, but instead they have long relied on America's nuclear umbrella to deter aggressors. A credible U.S. nuclear deterrent is the world's greatest antiproliferation weapon.
As for New Start, its most striking trait is its Cold War mentality. The pact emphasizes the relative size of the U.S and Russian arsenals, as if a nuclear exchange between these two countries is the world's greatest current threat. The treaty is thus of little strategic consequence, though the Senate should ask why its ceiling on 800 U.S. launchers (many of which now carry conventional payloads) is below the 860 that the Pentagon prefers.
More worrisome is Mr. Obama's announcement that he is overruling Secretary of Defense Robert Gates by refusing to develop a new nuclear warhead, even as the reliability of our aging arsenal is increasingly in doubt. In that context, New Start might do some good if its requirement for a two-thirds Senate ratification vote gives a determined minority the political leverage to force Mr. Obama to modernize our arsenal.
Mr. Obama says the power of New Start's example will somehow encourage Iran and North Korea to give up their ambitions, but there is no evidence to believe this. Those countries have only increased their efforts to gain nuclear weapons since the Cold War ended, even as the U.S. and Russia have been reducing their stockpiles. What would do far more good is a loud and clear declaration that the U.S. and Russia will—by whatever means necessary—stop Iran from gaining a nuclear military capability.
In his Times interview, the President also mentioned the example of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, who "was pursuing nuclear weapons for quite some time until suddenly [he] decided the costs outweighed the benefits." Yes, but why? Mr. Obama didn't say that the Libyan dictator fessed up a week after Saddam Hussein was pulled from his spider hole by the 4th Infantry Division.
We have been jousting with the arms-control crowd long enough to know that their claims are more theological than practical. And so it seems to be with Mr. Obama, who has been arguing the merits of disarmament since his days as a Columbia University undergrad. He really does seem to believe that if we don't build it, the rest of the world won't either.
As we look at history, we prefer the wisdom of 20th-century writer Walter Lippmann, who observed that the disarmament movement of the 1920s and 1930s had been "tragically successful in disarming the nations that believe in disarmament." Lippmann wrote that in 1943, when the illusions of arms control had been all too horribly revealed.
4a)Evaluating the U.S.-Russia Nuclear Deal
The White House and Kremlin can't seem to agree what's in it, but it appears to restrict U.S. missile defense efforts and has no limits on Russia's tactical nukes.
By KEITH B. PAYNE
Today President Obama will sign a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia. Official Washington is already celebrating the so-called New START Treaty in the belief that it reduces forces below the 2002 Moscow Treaty levels and "resets" U.S.-Russian relations in the direction of greater cooperation. But the new treaty—whose actual text and accompanying legal documents were not released before the signing ceremony in Prague—may not accomplish these goals.
The administration's "fact sheet," for example, claims that the treaty will reduce the number of strategic weapons to 1,550, 30% lower than the 2002 treaty. But New START has special counting rules.
For example, there are reportedly 76 Russian strategic bombers, and each one apparently can carry from six to 16 nuclear weapons (bombs and cruise missiles). Nevertheless, and unlike under the Moscow Treaty, these many hundreds of nuclear weapons would count as only 76 toward the 1,550 ceiling. Consequently, the New START Treaty includes the potential for a large increase in the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons, not a reduction.
The administration claims, as Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher stated emphatically on March 29, that "There is no limit or constraint on what the United States can do with its missile defense systems . . . definitely, positively, and no way, no how . . ." Yet our Russian negotiating partners describe New START's constraints on missile defenses quite differently.
On March 30, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a press conference after the G-8 foreign ministers meeting in Canada that there are obligations regarding missile defense in the treaty text and the accompanying interpretive texts that constitute "a legally binding package." He also stated at a press conference in Moscow on March 26 that "The treaty is signed against the backdrop of particular levels of strategic defensive systems. A change of these levels will give each side the right to consider its further participation in the reduction of strategic offensive armaments." Kremlin National Security Council Secretary Sergei Prikhodko told journalists in Moscow on April 2 that "The United States pledged not to remodel launchers of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-based ballistic missiles for firing interceptor missiles and vice versa."
The New START restrictions on missile defense as described by Russian officials could harm U.S. security in the future. For example, if the U.S. must increase its strategic missile defenses rapidly in response to now-unforeseen threat developments, one of the few options available could be to use Minuteman silo launchers for interceptors, either at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base or empty operational silos elsewhere. Yet, if the Russian description of New START is correct, doing so would be prohibited and the launchers themselves probably will be eliminated to meet the treaty's limitation on launchers. U.S. officials' assurances and Russian descriptions cannot both be true.
Another claim for New START is that possible concerns about the limitations on U.S. forces must be balanced against the useful limits on Russian forces. Yes, this argument goes, the U.S. will have to reduce the number of its strategic delivery vehicles—silos, submarine tubes and bombers—but in the bargain it will get the benefit of like Russian reductions.
This sounds reasonable. According to virtually all Russian sources, however, New START's agreed ceiling on strategic nuclear delivery vehicles will not require Russia to give up anything not already bound for its scrap heap.
The aging of its old Cold War arsenal and the pace of its strategic nuclear force modernization program means that Russia will remain under the New START ceiling of 700 deployed launchers with or without a new treaty. Whatever the benefit to the U.S. agreement to reduce its operational strategic force launchers, it is not to gain reciprocal Russian reductions. No such reciprocity is involved.
Some hope that New START's amicable "reset" in U.S.-Russian relations will inspire Russian help with other issues, such as the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, where they have been less than forthcoming. This is a vain hope, as is demonstrated by the past 40 years of strategic-arms control: Innovative strategic force agreements and reductions follow improvements in general political relations. They do not lead to them.
Finally, for many the great locus of concern about Russian nuclear weapons lies in its large arsenal of tactical (i.e., short-range) nuclear weapons. According to U.S. officials, Russia has a 10-to-one numeric advantage. In 2002, then Sens. Joe Biden and John Kerry, and the current White House Science Adviser, John Holdren, expressed great concern that the Bush administration's Moscow Treaty did not limit Russian tactical forces. One might expect, therefore, that New START would do so; but the Russians apparently were adamant about excluding tactical nuclear weapons from New START.
This omission is significant. The Russians are now more explicit and threatening about tactical nuclear war-fighting including in regional conflicts. Yet we still have no limitations on Russia's tactical nuclear arsenal. The problem may now be more severe than in 2002, but concern seems curiously to have eased.
This brief review is based on the many open descriptions of the treaty by U.S. and Russian officials. Given the apparent inconsistencies on such basic matters as whether the treaty requires weapon reductions or allows increases, or whether missile defenses are limited or untouched, the Senate will have to exercise exceptional care in reviewing the actual language of the treaty documents before drawing conclusions about their content.
Mr. Payne is head of the department of defense and strategic studies at Missouri State University, and a member of congressional Strategic Posture Commission.
5)Volcker on the VAT:The middle class is where the money is.
Kudos for candor to Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve Chairman and current White House economic adviser, for admitting what other Democrats also know but don't want to admit until after the November election: The political class is preparing to pass a European-style value-added tax.
Answering a question at the New York Historical Society on Tuesday, Mr. Volcker said that a VAT—a consumption tax levied along stages of production—"was not as toxic an idea" as it has been, and that both a VAT and some kind of tax on energy need to be on the table. "If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes," he said.
We've long predicted that this would be the White House fiscal strategy, and its new deficit commission is bound to propose something along these lines. In Europe, a VAT rate that reaches 20% in some countries applies to countless products and services, so the middle class would be hit especially hard.
Though Mr. Volcker didn't say this, he is acknowledging that taxes on the rich can't begin to finance the levels of new spending that the current government has unleashed. Even the expiration of the Bush tax rates next January and the new taxes in the health-care bill won't be enough.
In recent decades, the current tax code has yielded revenue on average of 18.5% or so of GDP, whether tax rates go up or down. The wealthy adjust their behavior or shield more income via loopholes, so income-tax increases never gain as much revenue as politicians claim. With spending as a share of GDP now at 25%, Democrats have to soak the middle class because that's where the real money is.
Look for media Democrats to begin explaining why a VAT is essential to U.S. well-being, even as they fail to recall Mr. Obama's 2008 pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class. We told you that the U.S. can't have a European welfare state without European tax rates, and so France, here we come.
6)(Tea) Party On
By Arnold Ahlert
"I was having lunch with Dr. Laurie Mylroie, one of America's leading students of terrorism in general, and Iraqi terrorism in particular. Laurie was beside herself with anger. Why wasn't the Bush administration citing Gen. James Clapper, the Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, who said that satellite imagery proved conclusively that shortly before the war's outbreak, Iraq had transferred its weapons of mass destruction to Syria? Why wasn't it quoting Gen. Georges Sada, deputy chief of Saddam's air force, or Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's chief-of-staff, both of whom also claimed that Saddam's weapons had been transferred to Syria? Why was it so tongue-tied, so unsure of itself, so unwilling to answer its critics? Didn't anybody in the White House realize that if the Democrats' charges went unanswered, they would fatally undermine the entire case for the war?" — The Man Who Elected Barack Obama, by Joseph Shattan, American Spectator, Apr. 5, 2010
"The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.
The removal of 550 metric tons of 'yellowcake' — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions." — MSNBC, July 5, 2008
Despite what many might think, it is not my intention to use the above quotes to once again make the case that removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do. It is one of the great liberal hypocrisies that allows one to be simultaneously against bringing down a mass-murdering, anti-American, terrorist abettor, while professing "great concern" for the "oppressed peoples of the world."
My objective is more important. I am using them to illustrate what happens when the liberal worldview — so much of which is based on lies, distortion and character assassination — isn't met with equal amounts of force and determination to provide Americans with the truth.
The failure to do so was the tragic flaw of the Bush administration.
Unfortunately, while the players change, the game remains the same. There is a still a large faction of progressive Democrats, aided and abetted by a purposefully duplicitous media, willing to use the same tactics to bring down those they consider a large threat to their socialist ambitions.
No one threatens those ambitions more than the Tea Party movement.
As a result, there isn't a day that goes by without some story in the media, or some comment by a Democrat politician (or both) to the effect that Tea Partiers are: racist, fringe right-wingers, angry white people, crazies, thugs, stupid, scary, etc....you get the picture. Every day the progressive machine does their level best to discredit Americans whose chief "sin" is to point out an unassailable truth:
America is going bankrupt due to the gross fiscal irresponsibility of the political ruling class.
There isn't an honest person in America who can dispute that fact — which is why it becomes vitally necessary to obliterate the messengers who disseminate it.
And yet incredibly, there is still a level of incomprehension, if not outright denial, that such fire must be met with equal amounts of fire, that each and every distortion, lie, and character assassination must be categorically and forcefully refuted. Turning the other cheek may be a Judeo-Christian ideal, but when you end up with bruises on both sides of your face, you have to realize you're up against an ideology with only one objective: to prevail, no matter what it takes.
When Democrats made it their mission to destroy the Bush presidency, truth was the first casualty. One of the great ironies of modern times is that the slogan, "Bush lied, people died" was perhaps the biggest lie told during the previous administration's tenure. Every aspect of Democrats' claims that they were "misled" into supporting the war in Iraq (a fact in and of itself that has been studiously ignored) can be refuted with documentable proof, including two bipartisan Congressional commissions — which Democrats themselves demanded.
Does anyone think — at this juncture — such facts matter anymore? Let me save you a guess. The answer is no. Why? Because there is a shelf life after which any lie left to fester unchallenged becomes unchallengeable. Sen. Joseph McCarthy has been vilified by the left for years because he pointed out that communists had infiltrated the United States government. When the Soviet Union fell, formerly secret documents known as the Venona papers proved McCarthy was right. Has McCarthy's reputation been rehabilitated as a result?
Or course not.
As far as the left is concerned, today's Tea Partiers are nothing more than a large group of Joe McCarthys who must have their reputations tarnished beyond repair, irrespective of the truthfulness of their message. There is only one way to counter this: every smear the left puts out about them must be dealt with immediately.
This is key. We live in a country where most peoples' knowledge of history is minimal and their attention span is limited by technologically-driven distractions. Sound-bytes aimed at destroying the credibility of the Tea Party movement are being driven by those who know full well that "volume" — aka, the lie repeated often enough — is often the determining factor in winning the hearts and minds of the general public. If I may use an expression that applies quite aptly, the Tea Party movement is being "Palinized," by those who understand that a never ending barrage of vilification need not contain an ounce of truth to make it effective.
And, as I said in a previous column, the Republican party also needs to snap to it as well. Why?
Last week's announcement by Barack Obama that he is suddenly in favor of opening up more areas for oil exploration is a perfect example of a leftist con job: he opens up some areas for exploration, while closing others that are just as, if not more, promising. Despite this ostensible green light, a host of federal regulations will ensure that actual drilling for oil remains years away.
In the meantime, a number of clueless Republicans are being courted to support cap and trade, the most pernicious piece of federal command-and-control legislation ever created. It is a law that would give the feds unprecedented control over America's energy suppliers, and raise energy costs for every American. And part of the Obama administration's "negotiating" tactics are nothing more than common thuggery: you either bend to our will or we'll allow the EPA to assume totalitarian control over everything energy-related — including the air one exhales — absent any input from Congress whatsoever.
Republicans who thought health care was their line in the sand desperately need to see the big picture: every radical transformation of America these socialist hacks propose must be met with the same monolithic resistance Republicans demonstrated with ObamaCare. If Republicans can't find the backbone to do it for the people, then they should consider their naked political interest instead: Obama, et al, are bound and determined to make your political party completely irrelevant.
Translation: complicity — be it on cap and trade, amnesty for illegals, faux financial reform or any other socialist scheme equals political suicide.
Unless I'm missing something, Tea Partiers have zero interest in politicians who believe in compromising with radicals to "get things done." And it's long past time Republicans realized — like the Tea Partiers already have — that the definition of "middle of the road" has been completely skewed by the left. That is why those Americans who believe in limited government, individual freedom, a Constitution that says what it means, and every other aspect of American exceptionalism must be branded as far-right bigots.
It is the only way to maintain the charade that today's Democrats are "reasonable" people.
America literally cannot afford such "reasonableness," and those Republicans who aid and abet it are no better than the perpetrators themselves. Selling out — under the banner of "bipartisanship," no less — won't cut it.
Ordinary Americans — the heart and soul of the Tea party movement, despite every attempt by Democrats and their media lapdogs to obfuscate reality — have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to their cause, and a remarkable amount of restraint towards those who consider them beneath contempt. The Democrat-media machine would like us all to believe the movement is small, radicalized and ineffective — yet their constant attempts to prove it demonstrate their fear that it is not.
This is one American who'd bet the farm that the Tea Party movement represents the No Longer Silent Majority in today's America, and those politicians who understand that will prosper mightily in the next two elections.
Republicans: get on board the Tea Party Express — or get out of the way.
7)Health Care's History of Fiscal Folly: Expanding health coverage busted state budgets. Will it bust the federal budget too?
The Affordable Care Act—otherwise known as ObamaCare—isn't the first attempt to expand health insurance coverage in America. Before Washington passed its law, a number of states took smaller-scale cracks at the job—each of which proved far more expensive than planned. As the nation dives further into debt, the destabilizing fiscal effects of those programs don't bode well for how ObamaCare will shape the U.S. budget.
As spectacular failures go, it's hard to do worse than Tennessee. This early state attempt to dramatically increase health coverage, dubbed TennCare, started off promisingly. In 1994, the first year of its operation, the system added half a million new individuals to its rolls. Premiums were cheap—just $2.74 per month for people right above the poverty line—and liberal policy wonks loved it. The Urban Institute, for example, gave it good marks for "improving coverage of the uninsurable or high-risk individuals with very limited access to private coverage." At its peak, the program covered 1.4 million individuals—nearly a quarter of the state's population and more than any other state's Medicaid program—leaving just 6 percent of the state's population uninsured.
But those benefits came at a high price. By 2001, the system's costs were growing faster than the state budget. The drive to increase coverage had not been matched by the drive to control costs. Vivian Riefberg, a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Company, described it as having "almost across the board, no limits on scope and duration of coverage." Spending on drug coverage, in particular, had gone out of control: The state topped the nation in prescription drug use, and the program put no cap on how many prescription drugs a patient could receive. The result was that, by 2004, TennCare's drug benefits cost the state more than its entire higher education program. Meanwhile, in 1998, the program was opened to individuals at twice the poverty level, even if they had access to employer-provided insurance.
In other words, the program's costs were uncontrolled and unsustainable. By 2004, the budget had jumped from $2.6 billion to $6.9 billion, and it accounted for a quarter of the state's appropriations. A McKinsey report projected that the program's costs could hit $12.8 billion by 2008, consuming 36 percent of state appropriations and 91 percent of new state tax revenues. On the question of the system's fiscal sustainability, the report concluded that, even if a number of planned reforms were implemented, the program would simply "not be financially viable."
Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen declared the report "sobering," and, rather than allow the state to face bankruptcy, quickly scaled the state back to a traditional Medicaid model, dropping about 200,000 from the program in a period of about four months. Though the state still calls its Medicaid program TennCare, Bredesen's decision to scale back effectively shut the program down. In 2007, he told the journal Health Affairs, "The idea of TennCare, as it was implemented, failed."
Maine took a different route to expanding coverage, but it also resulted in failure. In 2003, the state started Dirigo Care, which, it was promised, would cover each and every one of the state's 128,000 uninsured by 2009. The program was given a one-time $53 million grant to get things started, but was intended to be eventually self-sustaining. It wasn't. Indeed, the program managed the neat trick of drastically overshooting cost projections while drastically undershooting coverage estimates.
In 2009, the year in which the program was to have successfully covered all of the uninsured, the uninsured rate still hovered around 10 percent—effectively unchanged from when the program began. Taxpayers and insurers, however, had picked up an additional $155 million in unexpected costs—all while the state was wading deeper into massive budget shortfalls and increased debt. The program has not been shut down, but because expected cost-savings did not materialize, it's been all but abandoned. As of September 2009, only 9,600 individuals remained covered through the plan.
And then there is the Massachusetts plan, the model for ObamaCare. The state's health care program has successfully expanded coverage to about 97 percent of the state's population, but the price tag may be more than the state can bear.
When the program was signed into law, estimates indicated that the cost of its health insurance subsidies would be about $725 million per year. But by 2008, those projections had been revised. New estimates indicated that the plan was to cost $869 million in 2009 and $880 million in 2010, an upwards increase of nearly 20 percent. More recently, the governor's office announced a $294 million shortfall on health care funds, and state health insurance commissioners have warned that, on its current course, the program may be headed for bankruptcy. According to an analysis by the Rand Corporation, "in the absence of policy change, health care spending in Massachusetts is projected to nearly double to $123 billion in 2020, increasing 8 percent faster than the state’s gross domestic product (GDP)." The state's treasurer, a former Democrat who recently split with his party, says that the program has survived only because of federal assistance.
Defenders of the program argue that it's not really a budget buster because the state's budget was already in trouble. But for those worried about ObamaCare's potential effects on the federal budget, that's hardly comforting. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has warned that, without significant change, the U.S. fiscal situation is "unsustainable," with publicly held debt likely to reach a potentially destabilizing 90 percent of GDP by 2020. Democrats managed to get the CBO to score ObamaCare as a net reduction in the deficit, but those projections are tremendously uncertain at best. As Alan Greenspan warned last weekend, if the CBO's estimates are wrong, the consequences could be "severe".
The history of health coverage expansion should make us worry. If ObamaCare's actual fiscal effects look anything like previous efforts to expand health coverage, the federal budget is in for a world of hurt.
Peter Suderman is an associate editor at Reason.
8) Robert Rubin returns
By EAMON JAVERS
Many of the basic assumptions underlying the president's approach to the economy can be traced to the ideas of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, say former colleagues.
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin — who watched his reputation as an economic titan shatter after he left the Clinton White House — is decidedly out of favor in the nation’s capital.
Except for one place — the Obama administration.
Behind the scenes, Rubin still wields enormous influence in Barack Obama’s Washington, chatting regularly with a legion of former employees who dominate the ranks of the young administration’s policy team. He speaks regularly to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who once worked for Rubin at Treasury.
According to Geithner’s public calendar, the treasury secretary spoke or met with Rubin at least four times in the first six months of Geithner’s tenure. Three of those chats, including an hourlong session in Rubin’s New York office, came before President Obama released his Wall Street regulatory reform proposal in June 2009.
Rubin’s is a discreet kind of influence, though, because the veteran Wall Street hand is still dealing with the fallout from his post-White House career. He took a job at Citigroup, where the bank’s collapse was averted only by the injection of $45 billion in taxpayer bailout cash.
And on Thursday, he had to answer for his actions at Citigroup before the congressionally created Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which is exploring the roots of the 2008 global meltdown.
Rubin said he “deeply regrets” that he didn’t see the financial crisis coming in his role as a $15 million per year senior financial statesman at Citigroup. “Almost all of us involved in the financial system, including financial firms, regulators, ratings agencies, analysts and commentators missed the powerful combination of forces at work and the serious possibility of a massive crisis,” Rubin said. “We all bear responsibility for not recognizing this, and I deeply regret that.”
But it’s not just his time at Citigroup that has tarnished Rubin’s image. Some of the ideas he espoused at Treasury in the go-go 1990s — such an aggressive push to deregulate financial markets — were blamed by some people for the recent financial meltdown.
And as Obama battles critics on the left who believe his financial reform push lets Wall Street off the hook, his team can’t afford to be seen taking advice from Rubin — who won a reputation among his party’s liberals as too pro-market and too anti-worker.
“The people whose careers he cultivated are now doing all these things, but Rubin can’t be the kind of sounding board he had been,” said a senior administration official.
“Rubin’s being a lot more careful about who he talks to in government and what he talks about,” the official said. “But it’s not like you can say, ‘Oh, I’m never going to talk to that guy again.’”
Still, with his legion of former employees and regular phone calls, Rubin remains influential in the capital.
The long list of Rubin acolytes working for Obama includes National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, Geithner counselor Gene Sperling, Budget Director Peter Orszag, Deputy Assistant to the President Michael Froman (who worked with Rubin at Treasury and at Citigroup), National Economic Council official Jason Furman, Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Gary Gensler, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Summers and many of the other officials also get regular phone calls from Rubin.
Also, many of the basic assumptions underlying Obama’s approach to the economy can be traced to Rubin’s ideas about the way capitalism should work, say former colleagues.
Although Obama’s team faces very different economic circumstances than Rubin did at Treasury, “the basic philosophy of free-market liberalism is still there,” said Alice Rivlin, who worked with Rubin when she ran Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget.
“If I were running things again, I would certainly want to know what Bob Rubin thought,” Rivlin said. “I wouldn’t necessarily do it, but I’d want to know what he thought.”
Rubin’s critics say they see his fingerprints on proposals in Obama’s regulatory reform agenda. Obama would force derivatives trades onto a public exchange — but still leave Wall Street free to keep “nonstandard” trades hidden from public view. And critics complain that the administration’s resistance to calls to break up the too-big-to-fail banks is classic Rubin. Rubin declined to comment.
Rubin’s tattered reputation is a far cry from where it stood a decade ago, when Rubin, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and then-Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers appeared in an iconic image on the cover of Time magazine after the successful bailout of the Mexican economy, under the headline “The Committee to Save the World.”
Greenspan testified Wednesday before the crisis committee, saying he was right 70 percent of the time during his 21 years in public service. That’s a humbling admission from the man once lauded in a book by Bob Woodward called “Maestro.”
Rubin’s record, too, has been tarnished, to the point that it raised eyebrows inside the Obama administration when CFTC chief Gensler invoked Rubin’s name in a recent interview. “What’s so marvelous about Bob,” Gensler told The New York Times in March, is that “he fostered in people the ability to think. He wanted to hear differing ideas.”
That’s not something many others will say out loud. Gensler “was one of the few people willing to go on the record saying he likes Bob Rubin,” said the senior administration official. “But privately, there’s still a huge amount of respect for Rubin’s thinking.”
The mere mention of Rubin’s name invokes cringes on the political left — where “Rubinomics” is derided as an approach that coddles Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.
“This is the guy whose policies basically allowed Wall Street to play Russian roulette with our future, and now millions of Americans are out of work as a result,” said Daniel Pedrotty, director of the AFL-CIO’s office of investment. “He took his money and fled the scene of the crime.”
Executive pay is one area in which Rubin is very likely to come under fire from the commission. New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin excoriated Rubin on Tuesday for giving outgoing Citi CEO Chuck Prince a $12.5 million bonus even though the company was nearly destroyed under Prince’s leadership.
In his book “The Sellout,” Charles Gasparino argues that Rubin was largely responsible for driving Citigroup’s appetite for risky trades into dangerous territory.
But sources close to Rubin say the former treasury chief isn’t the type to sweat such criticism. Famous for drawing out the pros and cons of any issue on a yellow legal pad and methodically working out the best course of action, Rubin has always been able to maintain a level of intellectual detachment.
“I get the sense that he’s comfortable with his role at Citi,” said a financial industry executive who knows Rubin. “There’s not a lot of angst there. He’s an extremely calm guy.”
Kenneth Posner, the former head of Morgan Stanley's financial services research group and author of the book "Stalking the Black Swan," said he’s wary of placing too much blame on any one of the officials who held office before the crash. “I don’t think it’s about Rubin, or even Greenspan,” Posner said. “The price we pay for a market economy is uncertainty and even surprise.”
Today, Rubin spends the bulk of his time in an office he pays for himself at the Council on Foreign Relations headquarters in New York’s Upper East Side. As co-chairman of the board, he spends his time talking about China and Russia with Henry Kissinger and African development ideas with Kofi Annan. He is the chairman of the Local Initiatives Service Corp., a community development organization. He’s also vice chairman of Mount Sinai Hospital, sits on Harvard’s governing board and oversees the Hamilton Project, an economic initiative of the Brookings Institution.
And in December, he wrote a lengthy article for Newsweek in which he urged Washington not to give up on the global economy. Very few global prognosticators, he wrote, foresaw the possibility of a “megacrisis.”
“I regret that I, too, didn't see the potential for such extreme conditions despite my many years involved in financial matters and my concern for market excesses,” Rubin wrote.
And he warned of a new crisis stemming from a massive federal budget deficit that has grown under Obama. “This cannot continue indefinitely,” Rubin wrote, “and change can occur with great force — and unpredictable timing.”
Alexandra Arkin contributed to this report.
9)Here's why government spending is really out of control.
First of all, half of Americans don't even pay income taxes, but it gets worse. If we look at total federal taxes, 20% of Americans pay 70% of taxes, as shown below. 40% of Americans pay 85% of federal taxes.
Yet when it comes to deciding how these tax dollars are distributed, those that pay 85% of the taxes are outnumbered by the 60% who pay just15%. Thus, when it comes to the politics of government spending, most Americans are arguing about how to use other people's money. No wonder nobody wants to see real spending cuts.
(According to the 2006 data from the Congressional Budget Office's latest tax burden release.)