Friday, July 15, 2011

Sun Block vs Media Block and Sole not Soul Goal!

Subj: White House bias against Fox??

The first move of all dictators is to muzzle the media where and if possible. Why did it take eighteen months for the Obama administration to respond to the request under the Freedom of Information Act which revealed what was already obvious - Obama' s thin skin cannot take criticism and negative exposure. Instead of sunblock he resorts to media block.

Again we see the Obama at his pissyfanny best.
A rational explanation of the debt ceiling matter from a Tea Party member. (See 1 below.)
Krauthammer writes: Call Obama's bluff rather than execute a short term solution which is good for the soul but poor strategy. To get the economy under control Republicans must win the presidency and to do that they need to keep their eye on that 'sole not soul' goal. (See 3 below.)

Strassel presents a different view. It is the Mitch McConnell view that Republicans should allow Obama the privilege of owning the economy and raising the debt limit. (See 3a below.)

Obama is clever and, as president, controls the bully pulpit. With an assist from a biased media and press, Obama has been able to maneuver Republicans into the Tea Party corner of adhering to their pledge to end profligate government, to which all politicians have historically made their contribution.

Obama has been able to frighten a gullible and ignorant public with threats of withholding Social Security, etc. and they have, seemingly, bought the argument.

My own view is, and has always been, demonstrate some principle, stick to your spoken word and though it may cost Republicans in the short run in the long run they and the nation will be better for it. Thus, I repeat what I have said - force Obama to stick to his word, ie. spend the nation into a steep financial hole, as he threatens, and then allow him to dig himself out if he can.

Unbridled spending must stop and now is as good a time to begin as any!
Mort Zuckerman seems to agree and suggests the solution is to embrace austerity. Whether we embrace it or not it is coming our way. (See 4 below.)
Have a great weekend - off to the beach and lots of sun block!
1)Making Sense of the Debt Ceiling

Dear Fellow Citizens and Taxpayers,

The federal debt ceiling is front and center and the media is doing it's usual poor job of explaining what's going on.

The very short version is that the House Republicans are demanding that any increase in the debt ceiling be matched with spending cuts. Obama is participating in negotiations, but is actually pushing for a plan that is farther to the left than the one released by his own fiscal commission.

So far, John Boehner and the House Republicans are standing firm, but Obama is busily threatening to withhold Social Security checks and sending Tim Geithner out to lie about the risk of default (more on that in a moment). As a result of the Democratic lies, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is going wobbly. He is worried about the political ramifications of the fight and has proposed allowing the President to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally in order to push the political risk back in Obama's direction.

Below is an essay by our Clermont County leader Ted Stevenot that explains the situation with the debt ceiling in more detail. I want to highlight one point.

There is absolutely no reason why the US Treasury should default on our debt or withhold Social Security checks. If they do so, it is solely due to a decision by the Obama administration.

Each month, there is sufficient government revenue to pay for interest on the debt, social security, medicare, medicaid, necessary defense spending, and veterans benefits. Default is a choice, not a reality. Obama does not want to prioritize government expenditures. Obama wants to use the debt ceiling as leverage to lock in tax increases and bigger government.

Mike Wilson ,President

Cincinnati Tea Party

The Debt Ceiling and How to Take Back America
By Ted Stevenot, Clermont County Tea Party

I think we have an opportunity to make a significant difference in turning around America's fiscal outlook via the current debt ceiling debate. But, before explaining this idea fully, let's consider a brief analogy.

Imagine a two income couple blissfully, but unenviably, traveling through life while spending all the money they make. One spouse makes about 60% of the household income, the other the remaining 40%. One day, the spouse making 40% of the income, comes home and says, "Bad news today dear. I lost my job!"

Meeting at the kitchen table that night, the couple sits down to prioritize how to survive on the money they have left. Quickly, they must determine which expenses are essential and which are not.

Together, they consider expenditures such as;

Season tickets or the mortgage?
Cable TV or the electric bill?
Family vacation or the car payment?
Eating out or buying groceries?

At the end of the discussion, the couple will hopefully have determined their priorities. They can now put in place a plan to carry their family forward until the unemployed spouse is either able to find new work or achieve some other remedy.

The Debt Ceiling Debate

With the above portrait of "everyday" prioritizing in mind, let's consider the debt ceiling and appropriation debate currently raging in DC.

As long as spending is prioritized properly, there will be no risk of default or of seniors going without Social Security checks. But, if the figurative couple "goes on vacation" and "buys the season tickets," they could end up losing their house. There is roughly $50 billion leftover for the month even after critical expenditures have been fully met.

Saving the Country by Controlling Spending

It is a very good thing that James Madison and the founders thought to separate the powers of our government in the Constitution. As a result of this, the President today needs two favors from Congress to keep moving forward with his statist agenda - namely, (1) higher taxes and (2) a higher debt ceiling. Yet, he puts a new twist on "audacity of hope," by demanding he be given one favor in order to get another. He says in effect, "You must first wash my car before being allowed to mow my lawn."

The President is in this position because, in these circumstances, and by Constitutional design, the Speaker of the House holds all the cards. The Speaker has the "gavel." As such, he (or she) controls the schedule for what gets voted on and who gets to speak. Without the Speaker's direct consent, nothing can get through the Congress. No debt increases, no appropriations, no new taxes, no new legislation, no nothing. Ultimately, the President can only accept or reject what has first been permitted through the Speaker's hands.

So, Here Is the Basic Plan...

The Republicans can write an appropriation bill that directly stipulates spending to service the current debt, Social Security, Medicare and Essential Defense. No new debt. No new taxes. After that, they can prioritize what to do with the remaining cash receivables such as funding federal law enforcement, border patrol, VA benefits, etc.

Pass this bill in the House and send it to the Senate. It will then be the Senate's turn to decide whether to pay for "season tickets or the mortgage." The burden will be on them to pass the bill that will head off any impending doom. Once the Senate "eats their peas," the bill can be served up to the President where he can, subsequently, eat his.

Redistributing the Haircuts

As alluded above, the Speaker of the House is in the driver's seat on any new legislation and the nation's purse. Let the progressives whine about how disastrous it will be when entities like the Department of Education, NPR, the NEA, ACORN, the IMF, PBS and over half of the EPA's budget do not rate high enough to be funded. It's tough love. All agencies of government will have to hold "kitchen table meetings" of their own. Bring on the thousand legislative and spending cuts we were promised during the 2010 midterm elections. Defund Obamacare. The leverage is there and the people will support a sincere effort to restore fiscal sanity.

Key fact: As of this session of Congress - and many thanks to Tea Party folks like you - there are fewer Democrats in the House of Representatives then at any time since 1937.

It is therefore time for the Republicans to act decisively to save our nation from crushing and irresponsible spending and debt. As long as the double-threat of default and suspension of essential services is removed, the people will get on board with the plan. The fact is, the people have been taking haircut after haircut in recent years. It is now time for the federal government to take one too.
3)Call Obama’s bluff
By Charles Krauthammer

President Obama is demanding a big long-term budget deal. He won’t sign anything less, he warns, asking, “If not now, when?”

How about last December, when he ignored his own debt commission’s recommendations? How about February, when he presented a budget that increases debt by $10 trillion over the next decade? How about April, when he sought a debt-ceiling increase with zero debt reduction attached?

All of a sudden he’s a born-again budget balancer prepared to bravely take on his own party by making deep cuts in entitlements. Really? Name one. He’s been saying forever that he’s prepared to discuss, engage, converse about entitlement cuts. But never once has he publicly proposed a single structural change to any entitlement.

Hasn’t the White House leaked that he’s prepared to raise the Medicare age or change the cost-of-living calculation?

Anonymous talk is cheap. Leaks are designed to manipulate. Offers are floated and disappear.

Say it, Mr. President. Give us one single structural change in entitlements. In public.

As part of the pose as the forward-looking grown-up rising above all the others who play politics, Obama insists upon a long-term deal. And what is Obama’s definition of long-term? Surprise: An agreement that gets him past Nov. 6, 2012.

Nothing could be more political. It’s like his Afghan surge wind-down date. September 2012 has no relation to any military reality on the ground. It is designed solely to position Obama favorably going into the last weeks of his reelection campaign.

Yet the Olympian above-the-fray no-politics-here pose is succeeding. A pliant press swallows the White House story line: the great compromiser (“clearly exasperated,” sympathized a Post news story) being stymied by Republican “intransigence” (the noun actually used in another front-page Post news story to describe the Republican position on taxes).

The meme having been established, Republicans have been neatly set up to take the fall if a deal is not reached by Aug. 2. Obama is already waving the red flag, warning ominously that Social Security, disabled veterans’ benefits, “critical” medical research, food inspection — without which agriculture shuts down — are in jeopardy.

The Republicans are being totally outmaneuvered. The House speaker appears disoriented. It’s time to act. Time to call Obama’s bluff.

A long-term deal or nothing? The Republican House should immediately pass a short-term debt-ceiling hike of $500  billion containing $500  billion in budget cuts. That would give us about five months to work on something larger.

The fat-cat tax breaks (those corporate jets) that Obama’s talking points endlessly recycle? Republicans should call for urgent negotiations on tax reform along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles commission that, in one option, strips out annually $1.1 trillion of deductions, credits and loopholes while lowering tax rates across the board to a top rate of 23 percent. The president says he wants tax reform, doesn’t he? Well, Mr. President, here are five months to do so.

Will the Democratic Senate or the Democratic president refuse this offer and allow the country to default — with all the cataclysmic consequences that the Democrats have been warning about for months — because Obama insists on a deal that is 10 months and seven days longer?

That’s indefensible and transparently self-serving. Dare the president to make that case. Dare him to veto — or the Democratic Senate to block — a short-term debt-limit increase.

This is certainly better than the McConnell plan, which would simply throw debt reduction back to the president. But if the House cannot do Plan A, McConnell is the fallback Plan B.

After all, by what crazy calculation should Republicans allow themselves to be blamed for a debt crisis that could destabilize the economy and even precipitate a double-dip recession? Right now, Obama owns the economy and its 9.2 percent unemployment, 1.9 percent GDP growth and exploding debt about which he’s done nothing. Why bail him out by sharing ownership?

You cannot govern this country from one house. Republicans should have learned that from the 1995-96 Gingrich-Clinton fight when the GOP controlled both houses and still lost.

If conservatives really want to get the nation’s spending under control, the only way is to win the presidency. Put the question to the country and let the people decide. To seriously jeopardize the election now in pursuit of a long-term, small-government, Ryan-like reform that is inherently unreachable without control of the White House may be good for the soul. But it could very well wreck the cause.

3a)The Real GOP Debt Choice Do the Republicans want a showdown now, or in 2012?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is taking heat from some in his caucus for "caving" on debt-limit talks. They might instead be thanking him for finally laying out the real choice Republicans face in this debate: 2012 or 2010.

Put another way: With President Obama now committed only to bad options, does the GOP allow him to unilaterally take ownership of his spending mess going into the 2012election? Or does the party remain so rigidly committed to its own 2010 promises of spending cuts that it joins the president in irresponsibility?

Republicans took a flyer on the debt debate, betting that the high stakes gave them enough leverage to force Mr. Obama to accede to spending cuts. It was bold. It was a potential shot at serious spending reform. It hasn't worked.

Instead of blinking, Mr. Obama has stubbornly dug in, committing himself either to whacking the country's credit or whacking the country's economy—or both. He's made clear to Republicans that the only deal he'll cut will require their help in those ruinous objectives.

Option No. 1 is for the GOP to do a $4 trillion "big deal," in which it gets some cuts, including to Medicare, though only in return for agreeing to significant tax hikes. The president forces Republicans to make a mockery of their own tax promises, and he gets cover for what's been his goal all along. He also gets to brag to his base about that victory, even as he demoralizes conservative voters.

Option No. 2 is the smaller, $2 trillion Biden deal. Even here the White House is demanding some tax increases, while Democrats insist a significant chunk of the cuts take place in future Congresses (which can ignore them). The conservative base will deride this as budget gimmickry, and the GOP will get little credit. The president, however, will boast to the rest of America that he has clocked "significant" spending reductions, and he'll run as a deficit-cutter.

Option No. 3 is for the GOP to go to the brink and share the turmoil or shutdown that follows default. Ask Newt Gingrich how that worked out for him in 1995. Mr. Obama today owns a failing economy. Republicans are begging for joint custody. Come turmoil in August, the president will lay every unemployment uptick, every poor economic statistic, at the foot of whatever panic or pain came out of the debt-ceiling mess—and the Republicans who helped push it to that point.

All this is why Mr. McConnell earlier this week proposed to step back and give the president authority to raise the debt ceiling. If he's so committed to his positions, let him swim in them. Let him own a deficit that's on track to hit $1 trillion for his third presidential year running. Let him tell America why he's cut nothing. Let him explain a credit downgrade caused by his failure to get serious about American debt.

Let him explain the slowing economy, the high unemployment and his proposals for new taxes—next summer. Let the Democrats up for re-election have to vote (as Mr. McConnell's proposal requires) to back up Mr. Obama's profligacy. Let Americans understand, clearly, that this is what they will continue to get if they re-elect him.

Resisting this position are dozens of House Republicans who were elected in 2010 on the promise that they would get America's spending problem under control immediately. This promise has been the animating principle behind all of Speaker John Boehner's and Mr. Cantor's negotiations with the White House. This crowd is aching for a giant spending-cut number to flaunt to the base, proving they are as good as their 2010 campaign word.

Yet despite campaigning on the Constitution, most appear to have missed the whole "separation of powers" bit. You know, the part that provides a presidential veto. Republicans cannot run government from the House alone, yet many have bought into their own debt-limit rhetoric. Rather than see this as the failed gamble it is, they truly believe they have the leverage to make this president give them all they want. "Call his bluff," goes the cry.

These are the same Republicans who have spent years rightly describing Mr. Obama as ideologically committed to giant government—the architect of stimulus, ObamaCare, blowout budgets. The same Republicans who believe Mr. Obama is pursuing a deliberate strategy to turn America into a European entitlement state. Yet now they believe he'll just roll over and give up all he's attained?

If the GOP is so eager to call an Obama bluff, how about this: Call him on his argument that he is acting like a leader, working to fix the debt problem, offering the GOP the opportunity to go big. That's the story line Americans are being fed right now, and the GOP shores it up every time it agrees to another White House summit. A shame, since in fact the only Obama offers are for mediocre cuts, higher taxes, and the opportunity for Republicans to help permanently enshrine big government. That, or for joint ownership of a failing economy and/or shutdown turmoil.

Let him own it.
4)Mort Zuckerman: America Must Embrace Austerity

Brookings Institution senior fellow Mort Zuckerman says the U.S. must embrace austerity.

"A new era of American austerity is the only way to put things right," Zuckerman writes in the Financial Times. "Who could dispute, when our government must borrow $4.5 billion a day just to keep going, that our national debt is now an existential threat?"

"No wonder this is being called the most predictable crisis in U.S. history."

Zuckerman points out knowledgeable people in finance are aware the U.S. Federal Reserve has been buying 70 percent of all new Treasury paper, making the government by far the largest client of its own debt.

"This is possible only by increasing the money supply and the balance sheet of the Fed itself, a practice that sooner or later must blow up," he says.

Economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff have shown that economic growth deteriorates as total government debt exceeds 90 percent of gross domestic product, Zuckerman notes.

"America is already in that range," he says. "Indeed, the real facts are even worse, for we are also now in the midst of the familiar Washington game of kidding ourselves about the size of the deficit. It is already at $1,645 billion for the next fiscal year."

"The Congressional Budget Office concludes that President Obama’s most recent budget underestimates spending while also overestimates revenues."

The Wall Street Journal reports that Standard & Poor’s has taken the unprecedented step of putting U.S. short- and long-term debt on CreditWatch negative and saying there’s now a one-in-two chance they will downgrade the U.S.’s debt within three months.

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