Tag Archives: federal spending

Financial Crisis…a “Top Down, Bottom Up, Inside Out” Designed Collapse from Home Loans to Student Loans

As the fiscal cliff looms, it is prudent to discuss how we got here. As our crisis moves from housing to student loan and then into health care, it should be noted what, how and who got us into this situation.

“…because this financial crisis just wasn’t the result of decisions made in the executive suites on Wall Street, it was also the result decisions made across kitchen tables across America by folks who took on mortgages and credit cards and auto loans,”

Barrack Obama, Wall Street, April 22, 2010

     During a 2010 speech at Wall Street, President Obama blamed Wall Street and Main Street for irresponsible financial practices but he neglected the true culprit of the housing crisis…the federal government. When third parties such as Washington politicians, bureaucrats and community organizations get involved, it perpetuated the housing disaster in what we have today.

So, how do you collapse the housing market? You start with the philosophy of “Overloading the system” with an approach known as “Top Down, Bottom Up and Inside Out. Van Jones explains this concept below. Politicians and bureaucrats wrote legislation that entice community organizations, citizens and lawyers to force banks in giving loans they should not have given. This concept begins with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act, then relaxing HUD policies with unrealistic goals. The Clinton Administration and Congress put pressure on banks, this represents the “Top Down” portion. This placed the legal ability for banks to make risky “subprime” loans. The “Bottom Up” is community organizations, like ACORN and lawyers who push the written law through the court system. These community organizations put pressure or extorted banks through threats of lawsuits. With Fannie and Freddie’s loan goals increased, pressure from federal agencies and community groups demanding risky loans to be made, this is the “Top Down, Bottom Up” scenario. The “Inside Out” scenario is where people within the system begin to work with the community organizations or replaced with people who are friendly to organizations that caused the problems.

So, what caused the subprime lending crisis? Let’s start with the Community Reinvestment Act.

In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) established the foundation for the housing crisis and “encouraged” financial institutions to provide loans to low- and moderate-income communities. It eliminated “redlining”, a practice where banks identify and eliminate lending to certain high-risk communities. But one of the most damaging aspects of the act was the creation of a rating system that evaluated banks on several factors, one being their subprime loan record. The CRA addressed concerns of the deteriorating conditions of cities like urban flight and declining neighborhoods, this was due to limited credit availability. After the CRA was enacted, the federal government continued to tweak previsions for the next 30 years to provide loans to risky borrowers, loosen restrictions so banks were able to give these loans and provided legal grounds for community organizations and lawyers to force these loans.

After the passage of the CRA, trends of outstanding consumer credit skyrocketed. (See chart below)

     The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 kept banks in check. It limited the affiliation between commercial banks and security firms, this also eliminated financial transactions being granted within the same credit, lending and investing institutions, also known as “too big to fail.” What this would do is tie loans to the banks physical assets. Back in 1933, this act gave additional oversight authority to the Federal Reserve. In addition, the FDIC would be able to guarantee loans up to a certain amount.

     Ben Bernanke explained that the CRA encouraged many banks to make high-risk loans to low and middle-income communities at low interest rates. The Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) publicized these CRA reports public. This allowed community organizations and lawyers to “perform more-sophisticated, quantitative analyses of banks’ records.” If a bank’s ratings were not adequate, community organizations such as Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) sued banks for the lack of loans in low income communities.

     In 1980, Jimmy Carter signed the HR 4986, “Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act” forcing banks to adhere to Federal Reserve rules. It allowed the merger of banks and raised deposit insurance from $40,000 to $100,000.

     In 1992, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 “establish(ed) specified housing goals for each enterprise, including goals for purchase of mortgages on housing for low- and moderate-income families”. These two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged “subprime” lending by authorizing a “flexible” criteria whereas high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans. These GSEs were intermediaries who loan to banks and not directly to homeowners. Banks were directed to accept welfare payments and unemployment benefits as “valid income sources” in qualifying for mortgages. If banks didn’t accept these documents, they could face lawsuits.

     In 1994, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) instituted a “top down” policy where ten federal agencies adopted a policy, entitled “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending”. According to the news release “The following Federal Agencies—HUD, OFHEO, DOJ, OCC, OTS, the Board, FDIC, FHFB, FTC and the NCUA—sharing a concern that some prospective homebuyers and other borrowers may be experiencing discriminatory treatment in their efforts to obtain loans, formed an Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending to establish uniform policy against discriminatory lending.”

     Community organizations increasingly used the public comment process to pretest bank applications on CRA grounds. When applications were highly contested, federal agencies held public hearings to allow public comment on the bank’s lending record. In addition, this policy “seek(s) to promote fair lending” and “seeks to prevent lending discrimination and redlining by requiring public disclosure of certain information about mortgage loan applications.” In essence, the federal government established a grading program to evaluate how these programs lent to the poor. Due to these changes in lending practices and activism, homeownership would soar as shown below.

     According to the Chicago Daily Observer, Barrack Obama represented 186 African-Americans in a 1995 discrimination lawsuit against Citibank. These individuals were not approved loans but Citibank settled in 1997. Since then, roughly half of those represented have gone into bankruptcy or received foreclosure notices. Today, only 19 of the 186 still own their homes with a clean credit record. This demonstrates how community organizations can pressure banks into giving subprime loans.

     In 1999, President Clinton and a Republican majority Congress repealed the Glass-Steagill Act. This allowed banks, lenders and investments firms to practice across different environments, reintroducing “Too Big Too Fail.”  The bill passed the house (362-57) and Senate (90-8). At the same time, the Clinton Administration put pressure on Fannie Mae to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people. HUD increased Fannie/Freddie’s subprime lending goals to over 40 percent for low- and moderate-income families.

    Bill Clinton in an interview describes how much CRA loans were given out during his time as President.

In 1999, Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s Chairman and CEO stated ”Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990’s by reducing down payment requirements.” “Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.”

According to Milkeninstitute, “The rate of foreclosures on subprime loans originated increased each year from 1999 to 2007 and accounted for approximately half of all foreclosures over the same period.” When the collapse occurred in the third quarter of 2007, subprime ARMs made up only 6.8 percent of US mortgages outstanding but accounted for 43 percent of the foreclosures that began in that quarter.

In November 2000, Fannie Mae announced HUD would increase the dedicated amounts to 50%. According to CSR Press Release, to expand the secondary market, Fannie Mae committed to purchase $2 billion through a suite of flexible mortgage options purchasing one-to-four unit homes. Fannie Mae injected a process where previous loans would be negotiated on an individual basis. Dan Mudd, from Fannie Mae stated “By teaming with lenders, Fannie Mae can not only help increase lending to minorities and other underserved market segments, but we also can assist depository institutions in meeting their own community investment goals and objectives. We look forward to working with our customers to create increased liquidity for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) -eligible loans.”

In 2001, the US Department of Treasury warned, “Subprime borrowers typically have weakened credit histories that include payment delinquencies and possibly more severe problems such as charge-offs, judgments and bankruptcies. They may also display a reduced repayment capacity as measured by credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, or other criteria that may encompass borrowers with incomplete credit histories.”

Although most home loans were not subprime mortgages, their numbers rapidly grew in the early part of the 21st Century. Subprime loans accounted for 9 percent in 1996 and 20 percent in 2007, one-fifth of US home loan market. Throughout the 2000s, there were calls to reform Fannie and Freddie because they were “systemic risks”. In 2003, Barney Frank stated that Fannie and Freddie are “not in a crisis” and Republicans were crying wolf in calling Fannie and Freddie not financially sound. Democrats blocked Republican-sponsored legislation. From a servicing standpoint, these loans have a statistically higher rate of default and are more likely to experience repossessions and charge offs. Lenders use the higher interest rate and fees to offset these anticipated higher costs.

In April 2005, there was rumble of fixing the housing debacle but some lawmakers said that it undercut the ability of the CRA to “meet the needs of low and moderate-income persons and communities.” Senator Shelby introduced legislation to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that was causing a “systemic risk for our financial system.” The carrot was subprime loans that would be purchased and backed by federal GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Community Organizations felt this legislation would only weaken CRA. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned of Fannie and Freddie’s debt. “We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk,” he said. Senator Charles Schumer (D) says, “I think Fannie and Freddie over the years have done an incredibly good job and are an intrinsic part of making America the best-housed people in the world.” No legislation would be passed to address the looming bubble.

On August 15, 2007, concerns about subprime mortgages caused a sharp drop in stocks across Nasdaq and Dow Jones. Record lows were observed in stock market prices across the the world. The US market recovered all those losses within 2 days. Concern in late 2007 increased as the August market recovery was lost, in spite of the Fed cutting interest rates by half a point (0.5%) on September 18 and by a quarter point (0.25%) on October 31. Stocks are testing their lows of August now.

On December 6, 2007, President Bush announced a plan to voluntarily and temporarily freeze the mortgages of a limited number of mortgage debtors holding ARMs by the Hope Now Alliance. He also asked Congress to: 1. Pass legislation to modernize the FHA. 2. Temporarily reform the tax code to help homeowners refinance during this time of housing market stress. 3. Pass funding to support mortgage counseling. 4. Pass legislation to reform GSEs like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

In 2008, Troubled Asset Relief Program was enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis. Citizens do not have access to Fannie and Freddie’s records because they are considered a GSE, so the Freedom of Information Act does not apply. Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still have an open checkbook in buying loans.

So, what changed to cause the subprime mortgage crisis? Was it a conspiracy contrived by the Fannie, Freddie, bankers, lawyers or community organizations? NO! Legislation and courts were used to position third parties such as federal agencies, community organizations, GSEs and lawyers who determined the validity of banks’ lending practices based off a banks’ CRA rating rather than the practice for each individual. These players used the law to force banks to lend money to people who could not afford it. The housing collapse was caused by third party intervention intervening into the free market…not capitalism!

According to Maxine Waters (5:08), “Under the outstanding leadership of Frank Raines, everything in the 1992 Act has worked just fine. In fact, the GSEs has exceeded their housing goals. What we need to do today is focus on the regulator and this must be done in a manner so as not to impede their affordable housing mission. A mission that has seen innovation flourishes from desktop underwriting to 100 percent loans.”

According to a 2010 House Oversight Committee Report, top banks such as Countrywide, Bank of America, Chase, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo established relationships with community organizations such as ACORN. The report also stated “ACORN used provisions in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 to challenge bank mergers and acquisitions. These challenges successfully forced banks to make lending agreements with ACORN Housing.” ACORN became a HUD approved housing counselor. According to the report, ACORN has “waged savage public campaigns and delivered subtle private threats to large banking institutions for its own financial gain, defeated former political allies…and formed powerful alliances with the SEIU, Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama.”

With federal legislation pushed banks to make high risk loans and provided upward pressure from community organizations that ensure the subprime. The problem cannot be entirely blamed on the CRA but it laid the foundation. CRA reports enabled community organizations and lawyers to force banks into making subprime loans, and this extortion probably extended elsewhere…and to some degree partnerships. Fannie & Freddie was able to guarantee and provide cheap subprime money.

Ron Paul provided some insight that the very people who was instrumental in creating the legislation are there to fix it.

The next financial  bubble will be “Student Loans” while the housing bubble’s intrinsic issues were not addressed.

OF COURSE WE SEE OUR PATH!

The Day After…

Well, we lost.  Mitt Romney didn’t win comfortably.  BUT, Republicans maintained control of the House of Representatives.  In one of the most ignominious highlights of the night, the GOP lost two senate seats – increasing the Democratic majority by two.  The current makeup is 55 Democrats to 45 Republicans.  In a milestone for the ladies, 20% of the U.S. Senate will be represented by women.  However, the night ended a bit like 2004 in reverse.

While the notions of GOP turnout seemed assured, it was rarely monitored, and turnout for the youth (and voter turnout in general) was unexpectedly high.  To no one’s surprise, young voters broke for the president (60-36), but represented a larger share of the electorate than four years ago.  Romney’s lead amongst independents wasn’t enough to overcome the Latino vote, which he lost to Obama miserably 72%-23%.  Lastly, Romney wasn’t able to cut into the gender gap quite as effectively as he wanted to, with the president winning women, overall, by eleven points.  However, it’s with unmarried women that Romney had a fatal disadvantage with, as they broke for Obama 67% to 31%.

On states, betting on Pennsylvania proved to another catastrophic play.  We haven’t won the Keystone State in almost a quarter century, and it may be time to part company completely.  Concerning Wisconsin, the state may have swung right on recent elections, but perhaps the ‘fairness voters’ – voters who may not agree with Walker’s policies, but are appalled that unions would want to revoke an election result – turned out to vote for the president this time.  In Ohio and Virginia, Romney’s failure to execute the war on coal narrative sooner, and formulating a response to the Bain ads, contributed to his defeat.

Without a doubt, the Bain ads – the Obama campaign’s first official salvo in their ‘Kill Romney’ strategy –  released right after Mitt unofficially clinched the Republican nomination resonated with Buckeye residents, and shame on the Governor’s communications team, who were on the defensive for most of the election cycle.  In short, like with Goldwater in ’64, the Obama campaign was able to define Romney – before Romney could define himself.  It’s another costly misfire.

However, I truly feel that Mitt Romney ran a good campaign, and did the best he could’ve with what he had regarding resources.  It’s hard to be successful when you don’t have a Karl Rove, James Carville, or David Plouffe on your side.  It also hurt that he couldn’t run on health care, since Romneycare served as the blue print for one of the most egregious affronts to the constitution since the Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams administration.

Yet, if you looked at the field from the beginning, It was either going to be Mitt Romney or Rick Perry fighting for the nomination.  Newt and Cain treated this serious event in American politics with the maturity of eight year olds at a lemonade stand – with the lemonade being books.  For many Americans, Michele Bachmann failed the threshold question of any presidential candidate, which is do I trust this person with nuclear weapons?  Disgraced former Pennsylvanian Senator Rick Santorum failed the conservative test, in my opinion, by voting for Medicare Part D, which added $ 7 trillion to the unfunded liability of the program. That’s 20% of the entire unfunded liability, which we now have to deal with before the fiscal cliff.  He voted for Sonia Sotomayor for circuit judge. Santo voted against National Right to Work, Food Stamp reform, a flat tax, and Medicaid reform.  He voted for internet taxes, the unionization of FedEx (twice), and No Child Left Behind.  He took that one for the team.

Rick Perry, my choice for president, flamed out in one of the most epic derailments we’ve probably seen in a long time.  Jon Huntsman was too moderate.  Ron Paul was well, Ron Paul. So, we were left with Mitt Romney.  Sometimes the pickings of the field aren’t too stellar, and we have to deal with that.

Again, I don’t blame Romney for the loss.  Yes, Obama’s record of economic pain, which he has inflicted without mercy on the American people, is long, but his political team, along with the media, were able to spin it just enough to trivialize the fallout.  As Ralph Reed, Founder and former Executive Director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said at CPAC 2012 last February – we’re about to face “the meanest, toughest, most vicious political team we’ve ever faced.”  He was right, and we paid dearly for it.

Given Obama’s record, and Republicans’ inability to defeat him, it begs the question if the GOP should have any business being in American politics.  Yes, they still do, but renovations need to be made.  We need to do better with women – cough nix the rape talk cough cough – hispanics, and younger voters.  The hispanic vote ruined the California GOP back in 1994 when Prop. 187 established a citizenship screening process and barred illegals from using state services was construed as ‘anti-immigrant.’  It was really protecting the territorial integrity of the United States, a core function of a nation in the international system, but that’s a different debate. Regardless, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and California Republicans have been in the bunker ever since.

We need to find ways to protect our sovereign soil, but in a way that doesn’t come off as nativist.  Hispanics are hard-workers, religious, and pro-traditional marriage.  Or, at least, that’s what was the conventional wisdom at the time.  Heather MacDonald posted on National Review yesterday that:

a March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.

spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”

So, despite Mitt’s shaky conservative credentials, without a doubt, he’s the most hard-lined presidential candidate on immigration we’ve had in the past ten years – and that didn’t hurt him with these voters.  Bain, on the other hand, probably didn’t help.

Nevertheless, I’m not saying we should be for amnesty.  We shouldn’t be.  Amnesty is unfair and unethical – as is the president’s Dream Act light, which requires illegals to bribe the government $465 from doing it’s job enforcing federal law.  However, what 2012 should show all conservatives is that our coalition, which to Paul Krugman’s chagrin truly represents the ‘Real America,’ is static.  It’s more rural, blue collar, and white.  That’s not enough to win elections.  We need to improve outreach with minorities and venture back into the cities, or places where the people are, to make these contests competitive again.  George W. Bush won 44% of the Latino vote in 2004, with increased majorities in the House and Senate.  It’s not impossible. But it’ll be very difficult trying to chip away at the government’s “role in helping people,” which in Democrat speak for getting these people so dependent on us as possible, so they’re a lock when Election Day arrives.

Concerning the ladies, we need to exert a little more discretion when we talk about rape.  While the Democratic National Convention could’ve been Abortion Fest 2012,the senate races in this cycle should have been more appropriately called Rape Fest.  It’s odd that we even have to mention this, and some blame the Tea Party for these mishaps. I don’t.  The Tea Party is the heart and soul of the Republican Party.  As George Will once noted, they’re the best thing to happen in American politics since the Goldwater insurgency.  Republicans would not be where they are now without the Tea Party, but that does not mean we should accept every one of their primary victors as serious candidates.

As Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel wrote in The Daily Caller yesterday:

The tea party believes the GOP establishment is ideologically corrupt. They’re right. But replacing the current leadership with obviously unqualified buffoons is no remedy. Republicans have lost at least five winnable Senate races in the last two cycles because they fielded candidates whose only real qualification was being anti-establishment. Many will argue the GOP can only win going forward with more liberal candidates. That’s not true. But the genuine conservatives they find will have to come with political skills, policy smarts and impressive resumes in order to get elected.

The sad truth is that even if the Republican Party did all this — sent its current leaders home and stopped nominating losers — it still wouldn’t be enough. The country is changing too fast. Most people have the sense that America is different demographically from what it was 20 years ago. But unless they’ve been reading the latest census data, they have no real idea. The changes are that profound. They’re also permanent and likely to accelerate. In order to remain competitive outside Utah, the GOP will have to win new voters, and soon.

That’s the Republican reformation plan, Stage B. They may get there. First they’ll have to tackle the basics, like finding fresh leadership and candidates who aren’t embarrassing.

That will take some serious vetting.  Furthermore, we’re Republicans.  We’re pro-life, and the American people know that about our movement.  In elections centered on the economy, you can easily pivot away from such issues.  Sadly, some of our fellow party members couldn’t help themselves, they shot their mouths off, and got trounced.  There is much intra-party work to do – and it starts now.

Meanwhile, a divided America exists and the government we elected is representative of that partisanship.  Michael Barone wrote also wrote in National Review that Americans on the right, and the others of the left, are no longer becoming culturally cohesive.

Ronald Reagan, speaking the language of the old, universal popular culture, could appeal to both Americas. His successors, not so much. Barack Obama, after an auspicious start, has failed to do so.

As a result, there are going to be many Americans profoundly unhappy with the result of this election, whichever way it goes. Those on the losing side will be especially angry with those whose candidate won.

Americans have faced this before. This has been a culturally diverse land from its colonial beginnings. The mid-20th-century cultural cohesiveness was the exception, not the rule.

We used to get along by leaving each other alone. The Founders established a limited government, neutral on religion, allowing states, localities, and voluntary associations to do much of society’s work. Even that didn’t always work: We had a Civil War.

An enlarged federal government didn’t divide mid-20th-century Americans, except on civil-rights issues. Otherwise, there was general agreement about the values government should foster.

Now the two Americas disagree, sharply. Government decisions enthuse one and enrage the other. The election may be over, but the two Americas are still not on speaking terms.

It’s sort of like this exchange between President Bartlet and Governor Ritchie.

Right now, Obama is in a good position to increases taxes, which will happen when Obamacare’s fully implemented in 2014, nominate SCOTUS appointments, which threaten to curtail our constitutional rights, and to continue this destructive surge in government spending that only shackles people to the will of the state through dependency.  It’s up to House Republicans to obstruct Democratic plans, and put forward a deluge of alternatives of their own. Granted, we won’t be able to filibuster Supreme Court appointments, but this president’s agenda, and that of the Democrats, is inherently dangerous to the socioeconomic fabric of the country and we must fight them all the way.  Concerning the fiscal cliff, maybe compromise can be reached.  Yet, we should also remember that compromise is how we got Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and the first round of federal stimulus under the Bush administration.  Policies that attributed to the near collapse of the conservative movement in this country.

I’m pessimistic that a deal will be reached.  This president’s ego would bust the marble in the Capitol dome – and he exuded poor presidential leadership as described in Bob Woodward’s new book The Price of Politics.  Yet, Mr. Will again reminds us that throughout the course of American history there is not a single thing that the American people wanted intensely and protractedly that they did not eventually get from the federal government.

My Prediction: Romney Wins Comfortably

The day has arrived.  In about twenty-four hours, the stains of Barack Obama will be wiped clean and honor and dignity will be restored to The White House under President-elect Mitt Romney.  It hasn’t been an easy road.  Conservatives waged a brutal primary battle that left us with a scarred nominee – Romney – coming out of the gate to take on President Obama in the general.  However, he licked his wounds, redeployed his campaign assets, and was laser focused on Barack Obama’s miserable record of debt, deficits, and high unemployment.  As a result, he’s polling slightly ahead of the President on Election Eve, and I’m confident Governor Romney will be the next President of the United States.

Granted there were some bumps in the road.  The last week of August and the whole month of September were especially lackluster – but his resounding and decisive victory in the first, and most important, presidential debate altered the electoral map in a way liberals couldn’t imagine.  His surge in the polls with women decimated Obama’s double-digit lead amongst women, and Romney’s double-digit lead amongst independents will prove valuable in the generals, as well as the down ticket races in the House and Senate.  Right now, I have Gov. Romney winning the 2012 Election with 289 electoral votes to Obama’s 249.  Some pundits, like George Will, predict a 321 Electoral landslide for Mitt Romney, but I’m more reserved.

First, to even begin to contemplate such a mandate, Romney needs to win Pennsylvania – a state that hasn’t gone Republican since 1988.  While some polls show that the races is tied (Romney is shown trailing by 2-4 points on D+8 polls) – I’m just not ready to bet the mortgage on a state we have failed to lock up for almost a quarter century.  Granted, the 2011 county courthouse races were indicative that Democrats in the western part of the state – the bitter clingers who are mostly pro-life and pro-gun rights – were getting sick of liberal policies.  Republicans took Westmoreland County for the first time in fifty years.  Now, Republicans control 51 of the 67 counties in PA, with most of the inroads being in the western part of the state.  Republican media consultant Michael  Hudome wrote on The Daily Caller on Nov. 2 that “half of the NRA membership in the entire country is within a four-hour drive of Pittsburgh.”

Recent electoral results signal a Republican surge in the Commonwealth. Conservative Pat Toomey was elected to the Senate in 2010 despite the best efforts of the White House.

Republicans control 12 of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats. In the crucial Philadelphia suburbs, Democrats were only able to offer token opposition to Congressmen Mike Fitzpatrick and Patrick Meehan this year. In those critical counties near Philly, Governor Romney is a perfect fit for Independent and Republican women. Polls suggest there is no gender gap.

This election, voter intensity favors Republicans. Senator Bob Casey (of the Potted Plant Party) has his hands full with a challenge from businessman Tom Smith. Recent polls show that race is a toss-up.Given all these factors, it’s no wonder Romney and his allies have started an air war. In fact, Republicans have spent enough money on ads in Pennsylvania in the past week to fund a solid, month-long ad campaign in the state.

Furthermore, “semi-defrocked” Republican strategist Mike Murphy recently tweeted that if Romney is trailing by two in the PA polls – he wins Ohio.

In the end, it’ll all be about turnout, but I’m cautiously pessimistic about the Keystone State.  I think Obama will eek out a win here.  However, I will bet that  Tom Smith, the Republican Senate candidate, will defeat incumbent Democrat Bob Casey, Jr.  He made up a deficit of almost twenty points in the polls, and flooded the state with ads to hammer at Casey.  It has worked.  The race is a virtual tie. With Casey’s nonexistent campaign and low enthusiasm from Democratic voters, I think Smith will win.

Now, concerning the Buckeye State, Obama is trying to over-perform in the auto/industrial areas of Toledo and Akron.  However, in an election where Democratic enthusiasm isn’t nearly as high as Republicans, it’ll be an uphill struggle.  Whereas Mitt Romney is taking a page from George W. Bush in ’04 centering on the southeast portion of the state – coal country – and the swing suburbs around Cincinnati.  As of now, the race is tied – but The American Spectator’s Robert Stacy McCain has been on the Romney campaign crawl and posted this on Election Eve.

[ Ali] Akbar [Republican operative] stayed up all night Saturday poring over Ohio early-voting totals, comparing them to previous elections, studying recent Buckeye State polls, and crunching the numbers before waking me up before 8 a.m. Sunday to declare, “We’ve got Ohio.” His analysis of the early-vote numbers and his interpretation of the latest Columbus Dispatch poll as bad news for Obama quickly inspired an online buzz among Republicans who have been worried sick over Ohio. Even at the mid-October apex of Romney’s surge, the Republican never led the Real Clear Politics average of polls in this crucial battleground state. Although Obama’s lead has never been large — as of Sunday, he led the RCP Ohio average by 2.8 points — it has been remarkably persistent, prompting much theorizing about the factors behind it. The economy in Ohio hasn’t been quite as hard-hit as some other states; unemployment is only 7 percent. Ads from the Obama campaign have hit Romney hard for his opposition to the GM and Chrysler bailout, a reasonably popular measure in Ohio, where auto manufacturing jobs are a vital part of the state’s economy.

However, it’s a false narrative considering that Mr. Romney’s plan would have also saved the auto industry, which was reaffirmed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by auto expert Edward Niedermeyer.  However, the trend with overall early voting doesn’t favor Obama.  Gallup stated that 15% of the electorate has already voted and they’re splitting 52%-46% in Romney’s favor.


Given the Obama administration’s ‘War on Coal,’ I will hedge my bets that there will be a high turnout from these counties adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, but if Hamilton County swings Republican, we can all breath a sigh of relief.

In Wisconsin, I didn’t give this to Romney because it’s Paul Ryan’s home state, and therefore, a safe win.  As George Will aptly noted back in April:

 …in the 16 elections since World War II, 10 presidential candidates have failed to carry the home state of their vice presidential running mates. Gov. Earl Warren could not carry California for Tom Dewey in 1948; Sen. Estes Kefauver could not carry Tennessee for Adlai Stevenson in 1956; former senator Henry Cabot Lodge could not carry Massachusetts for Richard Nixon in 1960; Rep. Bill Miller could not carry New York for Barry Goldwater in 1964; Gov. Spiro Agnew could not carry Maryland for Nixon in 1968; Sargent Shriver could not carry Maryland for George McGovern in 1972; Rep. Geraldine Ferraro could not carry New York (or women, or even her congressional district) for Walter Mondale in 1984; Sen. Lloyd Bentsen could not carry Texas for Michael Dukakis in 1988; Jack Kemp could not carry New York for Bob Dole in 1996; Sen. John Edwards could not carry North Carolina for John Kerry in 2004.

No, it’s because no state has swung more to the right in the Midwest than Wisconsin.  They booted incumbent Democratic Senator Russ Feingold for Ron Johnson, elected Gov. Scott Walker, and took tow formerly Democratic congressional districts that covers most of the northern part of the state in 2010. Additionally, Republicans took control of both chambers of the state legislature as well.  Furthermore, Gov. Scott Walker became the only governor in American history to survive a recall attempt last June receiving more votes than he did in the 2010 gubernatorial race.  Wisconsin State Senate Republicans also faced a recall of their own on two separate occasions.  The first salvo being fired in August of 2011, where Republicans maintained the majority. The second occurred in 2012, where Democrats gained control, but turned out to be a useless exercise since the the general session will not begin until after November 2012, when the seats will be contested again.

While the race is tied, given the reaffirmation of Walker’s policies, the infrastructure Walker has built to successfully maintain his residency in the Governor’s Mansion, and the conservative swing of the state’s electorate – suffice to say that a Romney victory here is likely. Disrupting the pattern where Wisconsin has gone Democratic in nine of the last ten presidential races.

In Indiana, Romney is ahead – on average – by 9.5 points.  Safe state.

In North Carolina, Romney is up by 3.  Given that the State Democratic Party of NC was distracted by a sex scandal and was saddled with an unpopular Democratic Governor, Bev Purdue, Romney should win the state. And Republicans will take the Governor’s mansion for Pat McCrory – the Mayor of Charlotte.  When he’s elected, McCrory will be the third Republican in the past thirty-nine years.

In Florida, it looks as if “Romney has pretty much nailed [it] down,” according to Guy Benson.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air added to this sentiment noting a poll from the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald showing Gov. Romney with a comfortable six point lead.

Florida continues to look good for Mitt Romney. The Republican holds a 6-point lead in the state essential to his hopes of defeating President Barack Obama, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll.

The poll shows slight tightening, with Romney’s 51-45 lead down 1 percentage point from the Times’ statewide poll a month ago. …

Still, nearly every key indicator in theTimes’ pre-Election Day poll reveals Romney’s advantage in a state Obama won four years ago.

Florida voters trust Romney more to fix the economy and give him an edge, 50 percent to 48 percent, on who will look out more for the middle class — a stark turn from past months when Obama and his allies unleashed a barrage of TV ads portraying Romney as an out-of-touch corporate raider.

Romney even has a slight advantage on foreign policy, with 2 percent more voters saying they trust him over Obama, who has faced criticism over the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.

The Herald has an interesting analysis, one that confounds the national media narrative.  Romney now gets more crossover votes than Obama, contra to the common assumption that independents are proto-Republicans and Romney has trouble with his base:

Romney’s strengths: independent voters and more crossover support from Democrats relative to the Republicans who back Obama, according to the survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Real Clear Politics Average has Romney with a 1.5 point advantage over the president going into Election Day.

 

Virginia will be a squeaker, but given the coal counties to the far western parts of the state, especially around the town of Grundy, I think Mitt will have success.   Ed Morrissey, who along with Allahpundit and most of the full-time staff, have been doing an excellent job detailing the recent polls and debunking the liberal drivel.  He wrote that:

Mitt Romney still earns 50% support in Virginia just before Election Day.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Virginia Voters shows Romney with 50% of the vote to President Obama’s 48%. One percent (1%) likes another candidate, and another one percent (1%) is undecided.

This is unchanged from two weeks ago and the week before that when it was Romney 50%, Obama 47%.

This one’s tight enough to look at the internals, which are somewhat surprising given the closeness of the toplines.  Obama actually loses the overall gender gap by three points (-7 among men, +4 among women), but he’s also losing independents in Virginia by 21 points, 58/37.  In 2008, Obama had a +11 in the gender gap and won independents by one point, 49/48.  The D/R/I in this sample is D+2 at 38/36/25; in 2008 it was 39/33/27 but in 2009′s gubernatorial election it was 33/37/30.

Romney wins the economic argument by six points, 51/45 over Obama.  There’s a significant gender gap on this question as well, but it also favors Romney (+10 among men, +1 among women).  Romney has a 25-point lead among independents on this question, 58/33.  On the other hand, Obama does have a positive job-approval rating at 51/49, which is probably why the toplines look as close as they do.  I’d guess, though, that Virginia’s going to break significantly for Romney

Lastly, New Hampshire is a bet.  Obama is ahead of Romney by two points, but I will take a gamble, and say  that Romney will take the “Live Free or Die” state due to depressed turnout and a little luck.  It’s my wild card.  Either way, it doesn’t matter.  It’s for fun.

Right now, it’s all about turnout.  Republicans are more enthused to vote this cycle.The Huffington Post posted about Chuck Todd’s breakdown of  Republican voter enthusiasm.  Here’s what he said on Meet The Press on October 7, which was the Sunday after the first presidential debate.

CHUCK TODD: Well, it’s simply an enthusiasm gap. And we’re seeing it across the board. Look at here in this first one. 79% of Republicans call themselves extremely interested in this election. On a scale of one to ten, that means they said they’re a nine or a ten on interest in the election. 73% of Democrats.

Look at four years ago. It was a 13 point gap in favor of the Democrats. Let me go through some various voting groups. This is an important voting group. Seniors are an important voting group to Mitt Romney now. He leads them by about 10 points in our NBC Wall Street Journal poll. Look at this in engagement in the election. Four years ago was 81%, pretty higher. Even higher this time at 87%. And Romney’s doing better among seniors than McCain did.

Let me go to an important voting group for the president, young voters. Look at this engagement level: 52% now they call themselves, voters 18 to 34, call themselves extremely interested in this election. Four years ago it was 72%. That 20 gap. The president wins young voters by huge margins. He’s winning them by some 20-plus points. But if you don’t have this kind of enthusiasm, they’re not going to show up to the polls.

And then let me give you this last one here, because this is, I think, the most important one. And that’s Hispanics. The President’s winning Hispanics by 50 points. He hit the 70% mark. However, look at this in terms of interest in the election. 59% now, it was 77%. What does that mean? President got 65%, I believe, of Hispanics four years ago.

So even though he’s going to get more Hispanics, if less of them turn out, it’s a net zero. And yet, you look at Republican enthusiasm, up, senior enthusiasm, up. It’s a huge problem. And by the way, all of this, pre-debate.

Furthermore, liberals are citing polls based on 2008 turnout levels that oversample Democratic voters.  A D+13 poll isn’t an accurate gauge in this election.  We’ve had an unemployment rate above 8% for over forty consecutive months – with the rate being over 9% for twenty-six of those months.  We have $6 trillion in new debt, 23 million unemployed, and a litany of new regulations.  What has Obama shown for this investment in trickle down government?   

We have seen an anemic economic recovery, with our third quarter growth at an insipid 2%.  President Obama is the personification of the dependency agenda.  A pernicious crusade to establish a hyper-regulatory progressive state and break all institutions within our nation to the will of Washington.  More women have lost their jobs under the Obama administration, and with women more on the economic frontlines, they’ve seen that the president may not be the best choice for their checkbook.

Granted, tonight will be a LONG night. So, make sure those coffee mugs are filled, Red Bulls are plentiful, and champagne fully stocked – because Republicans should be optimistic that Gov. Romney will soon be called ‘President Romney’ fairly soon.

 

 

Slate Writer: White Guys Voting for Romney ‘In Defiance of Normal Americans’

Remember when liberals scoffed at the fact that Romney could win more than 60% of the white vote? Not only has Romney successfully tackled that hurdle, and liberals are apparently mad about it. Tom Scocca of Slate Magazine wrote on November 2 about the “tribal appeal” that Mitt Romney has with whites and why “white people think” he’ll be a better president. I’ll give you a hint: It’s R _ C I S M.

After proudly declaring his support for President Obama (and how Slate will traditionally list all its staffers’ votes for the Democrats), Scocca insists they are not in a liberal bubble. He channels the insufferable and dismissive tone American liberalism has successfully monopolized over the past years.  He claims “White men are supporting Mitt Romney to the exclusion of logic or common sense, in defiance of normal Americans.”

“White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being. Other demographic groups set themselves apart, to pursue their distinctive identities and interests and agendas. Whiteness, to white people, is the American default,” according to Scocca.

He then cited the National Journal piece stating that Obama needs to win 80% of the minority vote to win the election.  Scocca laments “again, why are “minorities” treated as a bloc here? The story mentions no particular plan by the Obama campaign to capture the nonwhite vote. Instead, it discusses how the Romney forces hope to get a bigger share of white voters than John McCain did—by “stressing the increased federal debt” and attacking “Obama’s record on spending and welfare.”  Yes, as if, spending, welfare, and debt are code words for racism.  I wonder if Scocca will share his secret race decoder because Americans don’t have enough time to drink the amount of Ovaltine for a device of their own.

In all, Romney is polling better amongst whites, especially women, which is all due to the racism of the Romney campaign.  This   is based on “the foundation of Republican presidential politics for more than four decades, since Richard Nixon courted and won the votes of Southerners who’d turned against the Democratic Party because of integration and civil rights. The Party of Lincoln became the party of Lincoln’s assassins, leveraging white anger into a regional advantage and eventually a regional monopoly.”  Or, it could be that the economy is bad.  Women are surging in the workplace, therefore, more on the frontlines of the economic decisions in the household – and they don’t like what they see from this president.  It should also be noted that Democrats in the south supported Jim Crow legislation.  Does Gov. Ross Barnett ring a bell?

Nevertheless, Scocca claims there are two races going on right now.

And so we have two elections going on. In one, President Obama is running for re-election after a difficult but largely competent first term, in which the multiple economic and foreign-policy disasters of four years ago have at least settled down into being ongoing economic and foreign-policy problems. A national health care reform bill got passed, and two reasonable justices were appointed to the Supreme Court. Presidents have done worse in their first terms. In my lifetime—which began under the first term of an outright thug and war criminal—I’m not sure any presidents have done better. (The senile demagogue? The craven panderer? The ex-CIA director?)

In the other election, the election scripted for white voters—honestly, I’m not entirely sure what the story is. Republican campaigns have been using dog-whistle signals for so long that they seem to have forgotten how to make sounds in normal human hearing range. Mitt Romney appears to be running on the message that first of all, Obama hasn’t accomplished anything, and second of all, he’s going to repeal all the bad things that Obama has accomplished. And then Romney himself, as a practical businessman, is going to … something something, small business, something, restore America, growth and jobs, tax cuts, something. It’s a negative campaign in the pictorial sense: a blank space where the objects would go. A white space, if you will.

Granted, racism does exist in the United States, but to construe this as the overall mentality of the white electorate is disingenuous, ignorant, and outright nonsensical.  In the world of Scocca, it’s all due to the alleged race baiting.  He noted how it was racist to partake in the “baiting of Obama, throughout his term, for supposedly being unable to speak without a teleprompter.”

More bizarrely, Scocca says that “Republicans predicted, over and over, that the president would be exposed and humiliated in face-to-face debate with an opponent (Newt Gingrich especially fantasized about being that foe). Eventually this led to Clint Eastwood haranguing the empty chair. And then in the first presidential debate, Obama was slack and ineffectual against a sharp Romney. See? It was true!”  Yes, it was true.  He came unprepared, and even The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank made a citation of the president’s debate performance.  Adding that Obama’s lack of press conferences – his last one was in June – contributed to an insular mindset that produced and insipid showing in Denver.  Is Dana Milbank racist?

Concerning the 47 percent comments, Scocca noted how this was a giant race baiting move to court whites.

Here, Romney is speaking fluent White. In white people’s political English, “personal responsibility” is the opposite of “handouts,” “food stamps,” and particularly “welfare,” all of which are synonyms for “niggers.” This was Ronald Reagan’s rallying cry, and it was the defining issue for traumatized post-Reagan white Democrats. Like George Wallace vowing not to be out-niggered again, the Democratic Leadership Council and the New Republic and Bill Clinton made Ending Welfare as We Know It the policy centerpiece of the 1990s.

The actual policy never mattered. Now the Romney campaign is running ads in Ohio saying that Obama “gutted the work requirement for welfare” and “doubled the number of able-bodied adults without children on food stamps.” In mixed company, Romney glosses the food-stamp lines as concern about the country’s economic status, but that’s not why “work requirement” and “able-bodied” are in there. It’s the rusty old Confederate bugle, blown one more time.

So, is this whole get out the white vote is based on coded racism and dog whistling, or is it that Scocca is so frustrated that his favorite in this race isn’t performing as well as he did in ’08?  It’s petulant.  Forgetting the fact that Democrats haven’t won the so-called “white vote” since 1964, Scocca is saying that the whites who decided to leave the president in 2012 are racists.  Therefore, they’ve lost their credibility and their sanity as well.  They’re not “normal.”

If liberals ever get a chance to look in the mirror and ask themselves why they’re so bad at winning elections, they need to go no further than Tom Scocca’s laughable attempt at ‘white people’s studies’.  It seems the seeds of the bitter narrative liberals will hurl against Republicans in a plausible post-Obama defeat have already been laid.

Originally posted on NewsBusters.

Mitt Romney Is Wrong On Defense Department Cuts

Mitt Romney has made the prevention of President Barack Obama’s sequestration plan one of his primary campaign talking points. He’s probably done this for two reasons: it plays well with voters in Virginia and veterans, but it also helps with those who want the U.S. to have the strongest military possible.

There’s nothing wrong with the U.S. having a strong military; the Constitution says the country must be able to defend its borders. However, the country is dealing with $16-trillion in debt which means some cuts have to happen. It’s here where Romney is wrong on an increase in defense spending.

For the sake of America’s financial future, there have to be cuts to defense and changes to how the Pentagon doles out cash. Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz wants the State Department to start prioritizing spending. The Defense Department needs to do this as well. The way to figure this out is through Senator Rand Paul’s suggested audit of the Pentagon.

The best example of how wasteful the Pentagon can be is a look at military auctions websites. Listings include a stroller, weights, a driving simulator, a Piper Arrow IV aircraft, a Vantage Motor Scooter and a 1978 Corvette. The weights make sense because soldiers need to be in shape. The driver simulator makes sense as well, because it’s cheaper to use a simulator than wreck a vehicle. But having a motor scooter or a Corvette in our military inventory makes zero sense whatsoever. Here is where cuts help the military prioritize spending and eliminate waste.

There can also be reforms into how military contracts are handed out. Citizens Against Government Waste has done an excellent job at pointing out some of the problems, including analysis on defense issues (anyone remember the $640 toilet seat?).

Just because spending cuts happen doesn’t mean the U.S. military can’t recoup some of the money lost. The simplest way is to go through some of the surplus warehouses, find things which are valuable and sell them. Michelle Ray has told the story of how someone she knows made a 200% profit minimum by stripping the copper from spools of wire and selling it. If private citizens can do this, why can’t the military?

The military could also save money by selling aircraft and weapons it doesn’t use. Obviously there are concerns about Iran getting a hold of some technology; however, completely scrapping the entire F-14 Tomcat fleet in 2006 makes zero sense. The sale of the airplanes to Israel or Brazil or Taiwan would help offset some of the cuts. A similar solution could be devised for our fleet at sea.

Military cuts don’t have to mean gutting the armed forces. Senator Pat Toomey has proposed a plan which reduces spending in all areas and yet still makes sure the military is strong. A strong military ensures the country can defend itself from foreign threats the natural borders with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans can’t. It also makes sure our bases and embassies across the globe are protected from threats.

But as former Joint Chief of Staff chair Admiral Mike Mullen has said, the national debt is the greatest threat the U.S. has. Spending and the growth of government need to be stopped.

This means no sacred cows. Not if there’s going to be a financial future for the U.S.

**A CDN reader sent us a response to this article in which he disagreed with the author – you can see the response HERE.

Sen. McCaskill Testy Over Question about her Husband’s ‘Dining Room’ Deals

Incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill got a little testy with Dana Loesch, editor of Breitbart’s Big Journalism, during a press conference after Thursday night’s senate debate where Loesch asked the senator about her husband’s business deals, which involved selling tax credits tied to stimulus money.  McCaskill’s husband, Joseph Shepard, allegedly conducted these deals in the U.S. Senate Dining Room. The Gateway Pundit posted video of the exchange last night.

The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle posted the story yesterday where these developments were exposed by “whistle-blower Craig Woods [who is] a longtime high-ranking official within Shepard’s business empire, serving first as chief financial officer and then as vice president and chief underwriter for Missouri Equity Investors LLC and JA Shepard Companies.” DC obtained audio of the senator’s husband cutting deals and Boyle reported that Woods’ “LinkedIn page indicates he left the company in January 2011, a few months before debriefing a Republican operative who made the recording.  According to the McCaskill campaign, Woods pled guilty in the 1990s in two different cases of felony larceny and spent some time in prison after that. The campaign also said that Woods lied to McCaskill’s husband about his past on his job application, and submitted a resume detailing “jobs” he held when he was actually in prison.”

Nevertheless, on the tape:

“He [McCaskill’s husband] did four projects — these were rural development deals where he came in and stole from a guy and he did the federal credits and he got Enterprise Bank to invest in those four deals and those have been really iffy,” Woods said on the tape. Woods said those four projects — housing developments — were “all here in Missouri.” He explained how Shepard brokered deals with investors who counted on high returns in the form of federal and state tax credits that came with these projects. In return for the deals, Woods said, the investors gave Shepard cash he could use elsewhere in his business. “The reason these [specific projects] were so attractive to him, the reason he wanted to do them, was they got ARRA funds, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds,” Woods said, referring to how some programs were tied to President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package. Woods said one such project, in Clinton, Missouri, got “$5.5 million in stimulus funds. They didn’t have to borrow a dollar.” Woods said Shepard “bundle[d]” that stimulus-funded project with two other projects that didn’t get stimulus money in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Hannibal, Missouri, and took the tax credits from all three to an investor in “the Baltimore-DC area.” Woods added the the “free cash” from the stimulus-funded project packaged with the other two projects was a more “attractive” tax credit deal for investors than three separate deals in which the tax credits from each project were sold separately.

As to why these business discussion were conducted in the Senate Dining Room, Woods said Shepard  “thought that was fantastic…he could take them to the Senate Dining Room and entertain them.”

The McCaskill campaign emailed the DC a statement on the subject saying, “there is absolutely no merit to these claims. It is shocking that Todd Akin would pin the hopes of his campaign on a twice-convicted felon and a proven liar, but I guess Todd Akin is incredibly desperate at this point. This is a despicable new low, especially for Todd Akin, and he should be ashamed of himself.”

However, Akin isn’t desperate.  McCaskill isn’t popular.  The people of Missouri want change and Akin’s within 2.3 points of Senator McCaskill, on average, despite his serial gaffes – one of which is the infamous “legitimate rape” slip-up.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Ed Morrissey wrote on October 15 that:

A new poll from Wenzel Strategies (via James Hohmann at Politico’s Morning Score) might show a glimmer of that hope, however.  The likely-voter survey puts Akin up four points over McCaskill, 48.9/44.7, with 87% of the vote firm.  The sample on this poll has a D/R/I of 38/37/25, more Democratic than the 2010 midterm turnout in Missouri of 34/37/28, although not as Democratic as the 2008 turnout model of 40/34/26 that nonetheless gave John McCain a narrow win in the state. However, a couple of points should be kept in mind.  First, this is a poll conducted on behalf of a partisan client, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, and Wenzel does a lot of work for Republicans.  We’d be suspicious of PPP polls, so it’s fair to note this.  Second, the poll also shows Mitt Romney ahead of Barack Obama by almost 14 points, 54.9/41.1, while the RCP average for MO is Romney +5.2%.  The last poll in that series, though, was conducted before the first debate, and it’s entirely possible that the race in Missouri has shifted significantly since.  It’s worth noting that Obama’s favorability in the poll is 49.5/49.1, so it’s not as though this has an overwhelming tilt.

However, the plot thickens when Woods alleges that Shepard doesn’t do anything without Claire’s full knowledge.  We shall see how this story plays out, but it certainly isn’t good press, especially since her husband also received $40 million in government funds for low-income housing projects.  This egregious feeding from the government trough demonstrates that ‘Potomac Syndrome’ has hit McCaskill hard.  It appears that her fiscal hawk credentials crumble when it comes to her husband. As a result, Akin has labeled McCaskill “Corrupt Claire.”

Originally posted on Hot Air.

Generation Debt

Every child born in the United States since the year 1980 comes into this world saddled with trillions of dollars in debt.
What are you going to do about it?

Yes, budget cuts can help the economy

The left tells us that there is no way to keep the economy going if federal spending is reduced – they are wrong.

On a simplistic and illogical level sure, taking any money out of the economy might shrink it, but that is the same short-term thinking that has led to a non-recovery from the prior recession, lackluster employment and seeing manufacturing output in the tank.

In more realistic terms, there are only two things that will allow us to cut the overall taxation of American workers and corporations: 1) broadening the tax base and 2) Cutting federal spending.

As it stands, many Americans have far too little exposure to income tax rates to feel the pain of allowing their government to spend more than it makes. This makes the class warfare rhetoric from the Obama campaign seem attractive. Also, there are not enough wealthy people, by Obama’s definition, in the U.S. to tax at even 100% to cove0r entitlement spending. Spending is the issue, taxes are the symptom – fix the issue, and taxes will follow.

You see, we only need to raise taxes so that Congress can spend more. If we decided that they cannot spend more, they will have no need to increase taxes.

The United States currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Companies like GM are making a large number of their products overseas because it’s financially advantageous to do so. The tax advantage for not manufacturing in the United States is far too great at this time.

Obama would enact penalties for not producing in the U.S. – which could also lead to the trade wars of past Democrat administrations. Romney would lower the overall corporate rate so that company accountants could inform their CFOs that it makes sense to manufacture in the United States again. That’s an actual conversation – unlike Obama’s dream-world scenario.

If federal spending is cut, the government can responsibly cut tax rates. Ergo – if we don’t spend so much, businesses can invest and grow the economy with the money that they used to send to the federal government.

If the base is broadened so that we all share in the cost of the things the government provides, tax rates can be cut. If tax rates are cut, American businesses can again compete in the global economy and we can all get the jobs we need and want. Trickle-down economics isn’t about money flowing from the wealthy to the poor as the left would have American voters believe – it’s about money flowing from employers to employees, businesses to other businesses. That is how an economy is re-ignited.

Biden Unhinged in VP Debate, while Ryan exuded self-control

 

Last night’s Vice Presidential debate did put more pressure on Vice President Biden, who was tasked with delivering the same old progressive talking points about taxes, foreign policy, abortion, and health care – albeit with a little more spiritedness.  However, the pervasive grinning, smiling, and interrupting came off as egregiously arrogant and condescending.  Biden conveyed a “I’m gonna kill that kid” demeanor with his impatience and exuded the same entitled disposition that plagued President Obama in his first debate with Gov. Romney.  You don’t get bonus points for being the incumbent – or at least you shouldn’t.

Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post wrote last night that:

…Biden’s aggressive performance is a sure winner for him (and the president) within the Democratic base. But, it felt to us like he went a little bit overboard and, at times, bordered on bullying Ryan.  Biden’s derisive smiles and laughs while Ryan tried to answer questions weren’t great optics for the vice president and his repeated interruptions won’t make those who think politics should be more civil happy. Biden’s agenda was clear during the debate: he was set on erasing the passive performance of Obama last week. That he did, but in so doing it felt like he went a bit overboard.

However, while Cillizza admitted that the Vice President acted like a ‘tool,’ that commentary was tempered since he also rated Biden’s last fifteen minutes in the debate as a win. Guy Benson cited The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan in his post on Townhall this morning reiterating Biden’s obstreperous demeanor.

Another way to say it is the old man tried to patronize the kid and the kid stood his ground. The old man pushed, and the kid pushed back. Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy!” he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere.Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore’s sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting. Mr. Ryan was generally earnest, fluid, somewhat wonky, confident. He occasionally teetered on the edge of glibness and sometimes fell off.

[…]

[Furthermore,] CNN’s Gloria Borger and NBC’s David Gregory both said Biden was condescending.

When you interrupt your opponent 82-96 times throughout the debate, you certainly deserve this criticism.

Paul Ryan, like Romney, had command of the facts that demonstrated how the Obama/Biden ticket had policies that are anathema to American business.  He showed that the Obama administration have no plans to deal with the looming fiscal crisis we face.  For all the left-wing agitation over the Ryan budget, it received more votes in Congress than Obama’s alternative and is empirical evidence that Republicans have a plan.  Obama’s secret weapon to pay down our debt and deficit still centers on raising taxes on the job creating and investing class. As Congressman Ryan said, if these individuals were taxed at 100%, it would only fund government for 98 days.  We would still have a $300 billion dollar deficit.  As many in the conservative movement have noted, increasing taxes on an incrementally shrinking base of  taxable recipients, while not reforming our welfare state, is the flawed logic of leaping a chasm in two bounds.

On taxes, Biden hurled ‘malarkey of his own.  As Human Events’ David Harsanyi wrote on October 12,  Biden “continually swatted away claims that small business would be hit by President Obama’s tax hikes, even though an Internal Revenue Service recently found that Bush-era tax rates would mean around 1 million companies would be hit with new taxes.There aren’t enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all their spending,’ Mr. Ryan said, attacking the central promise of a second term – tax hikes. ‘Watch out middle class, the tax bill is coming to you.”

However, Biden pivoted by invoking the middle class and defended the 47% of Americans ,who don’t pay any federal income taxes, who have been labeled as freeloaders.  Everyone knew this jab was coming, but when Biden said “it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy [Mitt Romney] who says 47% of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives,” he forgets that there is some truth to Romney’s remarks.  American liberalism is centered on destroying responsibility and filling that void with the government.  You saw this when the Obama administration called unemployment benefits and food stamps a form of economic stimulus, instead of viewing it as a temporary solution to keep economically hard hit Americans from becoming destitute.

Concerning health care reform, Harsanyi wrote that “Biden also claimed falsely asserted that the Obama Administration had not raised taxes on the middle class, when in fact there are over a dozen middle class hike in Obamacare alone. Relying on a single left-wing study, Biden continued to make the Obama campaign’s case that Romney’s tax reform plan was mathematically impossible, despite the fact that other studies find that it’s feasible. And Ryan laid out the job numbers in proper perspective – as stagnant.”

On the 15% of Americans living in poverty and the 23 million struggling to find employment, the vice president asserts that the Obama administration will focus on “leveling the playing field.”  Again, showing that American liberalism has radically shifted away from emphasizing equality of opportunity and towards equality of outcome.   In doing so, we must sacrifice more freedom to achieve that goal. This is an aspect progressives omit when they, for example, push for the expansion of social programs, which they feel enhances the public good.  By the way, the Dependency Index has increased 23% under President Obama – which is a whopping 67 million Americans who are sustained by at least one federal program.

On foreign policy, the vice president was again mistaken.  Regarding Syria, the vice president feels that Assad will fall.  However, with Iran flying over Iraqi airspace with impunity with supplies to keep Assad in power – that’s a presumptuous statement.  Assad’s army is still strong and there is a chance he can survive this insurrection, which we should stay out of at all costs.  Although, if the Obama administration wanted to ensure such an outcome, they shouldn’t have pulled out of Iraq.  Iraq doesn’t have the capability to protect its skies since we provided for their air defense.  Yet, we shouldn’t be surprised by Biden’s foreign policy inaccuracies.  He, after all, advocated to partition Iraq into three semi-autonomous countries along racial lines that would be “held together by a central government.”  It was an Iraqi version of the Articles of Confederation and we know how that turned out.

On Benghazi, some are saying Biden has damaged the administration irrevocably.  Instead of saying it was a terrorist attack, Biden decided to throw the State Department and the intelligence community under the bus. Oh – and did I mention that he lied about the need for security. He said last night “We weren’t told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there.”

Well, Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy magazine wrote yesterday that:

In fact, two security officials who worked for the State Department in Libya at the time testified Thursday that they repeatedly requested more security and two State Department officials admitted they had denied those requests.

“All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources,” the top regional security officer in Libya over the summer, Eric Nordstrom, testified. “In those conversations, I was specifically told [by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb] ‘You cannot request an SST extension.’ I determined I was told that because there would be too much political cost. We went ahead and requested it anyway.”

Nordstrom was so critical of the State Department’s reluctance to respond to his calls for more security that he said, “For me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building.”

Concerning the intelligence community, Bryan Preston at PJ Media’s Tatler posted early this morning that Biden’s insinuation that:

…the Benghazi assault resulted from a protest because that’s what the intelligence community told them. It’s possible that the presidentially-appointed head of the CIA, Gen David Petraeus, blamed the assault on a video. Petraeus was quoted on Sept 13 doing just that in a briefing to Congress. But by that point it was already evident that the assault was a pre-planned terrorist attack and the administration had begun its pushback against that view. The question is, did the larger intelligence community agree with Petraeus?

In a word, no.

Flashback to Sept 26: The US knew that Benghazi was a terrorist attack within the first 24 hours.

Flashback to Sept 28: The US listened in as Benghazi attackers bragged to al Qaeda.

Flashback to October 3: The Obama administration had been told Benghazi was a terrorist attack within hours.

Flashback to October 10: The State Department says that it never thought Benghazi resulted from a protest over a movie.

[…]

By calling out both State (on the security) and intelligence (on the video) during the debate, Biden did two things. He expanded the cover-up to now include himself, in front of the entire nation.

Concerning Iran, nixing a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in New York – or with any other world leader for that matter – speaks volumes on how seriously this administration thinks about America’s image abroad.  It’s a second tier concern.  It’s not like Obama skipped out to be on The View – oh wait.  I’ll just leave it at that.

I think were Paul Ryan made his strongest points dealt with the social issues.  Concerning contraception and the HHS mandate, the vice president was fact checked today by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in this statement.

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.” [Vice President Joe Biden]

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

The bishops are right.  Furthermore, some colleges, like Franciscan University have dropped their coverage rather than submit to the unconstitutional assault on religious freedom led by the Obama administration.  However, it may be a cost saving move in the long run as Ben Domenech, Transom editor and research fellow for the Heartland Institute, wrote back in May – “the mandate is currently slated to be an annual tax penalty of $2,000 for every full-time employee (or equivalent) beyond the first 30 workers. For some organizations, this will be a high price to pay. But they may find it worth it to retain their right to exercise their religious beliefs. And given the rising premium costs under Obama’s law–according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, premiums for a family policy exceeded $15,000 a year in 2011, increasing an average of $1,300 from 2010–this might actually make fiscal sense, too.”

On abortion, the debate took a more ordered and somber tone. Ryan told a poignant story concerning his daughter Liza and where he and his wife, Janna, first saw her heartbeat when she was seven weeks old.  He reiterated his belief that life begins at conception and how a Romney/Ryan administration would oppose abortion, except when in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk.  Ryan also detailed the Obama administration’s war on religious liberty.

The vice president, on the other hand, walked a waffled line on abortion.  He accepted the church’s notion that life begins at conception, but stated that he does not wish to impose that view on others in this country.  He made the silly claim about the HHS mandate, as mentioned above, and basically said he was a pro-choice, pro-lifer on the subject.

In total, last night the vice president, as a man who ran for the highest political office twice before, came off as cantankerous and grossly unpresidential.  His schoolyard bullying persona was immensely off putting and immature.  Did he miss the early bird special at the Old Country Buffet or a nap?  His incessant need to interrupt Ryan, since he probably knows that Obama record is atrocious, may have delighted the left since it made up for Obama’s flaccid debate performance, but the impatience showed that he too didn’t want to be there.  Although, once you get Joe’s mouth running, one must begin praying that nothing ridiculous slips out.  In the end, grandpa and his facial expressions throughout the night read ‘how dare this kid challenge me.’  It’s an election, Joe.

As for Ryan, he had some faults minor faults as well. While I felt his composure and knowledge of the facts were positives that added to the narrative that, not only is the Republican ticket more serious about the economy, they have a better understanding of it.  However, Ryan should have pushed against Joe much more aggressively due to Biden being afflicted with diarrhea of the mouth.

In all, it was a slight victory for Ryan.  I only say that because all Joe Biden had to do was not come off as soporific, lazy, or disengaged like Obama.  Surely, the threshold for Biden was at shoe level.  For Ryan, all he had to do was not look out of his league on the national stage.  If some sort of event were to make a Mitt Romney unable to execute executive function, I would feel comfortable having the poised and presidential Paul Ryan to fill that role, instead of grumpy uncle Joe.  When George Will slammed some of the more opportunistic Republican candidates at the start of the 2012 race, he stated that their involvement in this election would produce a nominee”much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.

I think “careless, delusional, egomaniacal, and spotlight-chasing” are rather appropriate terms to characterize Joe Biden, who shouldn’t be anywhere near the nuclear football.

ICYMI:

Romney Destroys Obama in First Debate, Left-wingers Go Nuts

Romney took Obama to school Wednesday night

We all got a shot of life Wednesday night from Mitt Romney.  I received a lot of flak, and some insults, for my previous post castigating Romney for lacking joie de vivre, but he came out swinging and left the president looking for his teleprompter.  While some posted polls in the comment section to show Romney’s campaign wasn’t in trouble since we’re in a dead heat – we should all be thanking Obama’s poor economic policies for that buffer. Regardless, Romney was prepared for battle, while the president was utterly unprepared and began to ramble towards the end of the debate.

Romney was animated.  He was, as Steve Schmidt put it, “clear, cogent, and concise.”  He also delivered his remarks in a tone we haven’t heard before. It displayed a sense of confidence that is a critical quality for the position Obama currently occupies.  In all, it was polished and presidential.  One could easily see Mitt Romney in the Oval Office with his cool delivery that seemed to make the president very uncomfortable.  However, detractors will say that he’s had plenty of debate preparation concerning the grueling Republican primaries, although I’m not sure how being prepared can be construed as a negative.  After all, the president called his own debate preparation a “drag.”  Even though it was made with facetious overtones, it conveyed a sense of arrogance and unseriousness that has been one of the main criticisms hurled at the president.  He assumed he would get bonus points for being the leader of the free world and he was grossly and ignominiously mistaken after his first bout with Romney.

Concerning Romney, I think it was for the first time that we saw him begin to understand what it means to be a conservative.  The comparing and contrasting between private markets and government-oriented programs within the health care market was a good example.  The notion that states are the “laboratories for democracy” was one of my favorite lines of the night.  However, when the question about the role of government was asked – Romney successfully channeled his inner Madison and reiterated that the role of the state is to”promote and protect the principles” outlined in the constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  Furthermore, he stated that our rights come from our creator, not from government.  Our founders, especially Madison, believed that rights preceded government and drafted a constitution to embed those rights so that other may not take them away.  Adhering to that notion is a  ”severely” conservative affirmation.

While the president may have had a brief moment of exuding his presidential attributes with Medicare, he was often dominated by the litany of facts thrown at him by Romney highlighting the economic pain his presidency has inflicted upon the nation.  The right hooks Romney delivered on jobs, the economy, and the crony capitalism connected to green energy rendered Obama’s statement on corporate welfare for oil companies moot.  Furthermore, Obama seemed to sabotage his own efforts to scare seniors with the false narrative that Romney wants to destroy Medicare.  He agreed that Romney’s reforms to our entitlement programs aren’t that much different from his policies.

As a result, the president gave Romney the death stare midway through the debate.  There’s no doubt that the stare, coupled with the puckered up lips, were indicators that Romney got under Obama’s skin.  In an ironic twist, Obama seems to have become John McCain concerning the feelings of indignation towards those who dare to have opposing views on the issues.  For Obama, Romney disagreeing with him isn’t just wrong – it’s somehow reprehensible.

However, there are still some conservative critics, who agree that Romney crushed the president, but ceded policy ground.  Philip Klein of The Washington Examiner posted a buzzkill column on October 3 reiterating the:

…two reasons why for conservatives to keep their exuberance in check. In past elections, it isn’t uncommon for the rusty incumbent to come off lousy in the opening debate. This was the case when Walter Mondale won the first 1984 debate against Ronald Reagan and John Kerry won the first debate against George W. Bush. In both cases, the incumbents recovered in the subsequent debates, and ended up winning the election.

Another reason for caution is that Romney, as part of his efforts to disarm Obama’s criticisms, made a number of policy concessions that could box him in and make it more difficult for him to govern as a limited government conservative if elected. At various times during the debate Romney said that he wasn’t interested in cutting taxes, particularly on the wealthy; that he would cover individuals with pre-existing conditions; that he wouldn’t touch Medicare and Social Security over the next decade and would be willing to give more money to seniors for prescription drugs; and that he’d be open to hiring more teachers. Should he be elected president, all of the major fights – repealing Obamacare, overhauling the tax code and reforming entitlements – will trigger a massive campaign by liberals to portray him as trying to hurt the poor to the benefit of the rich. If he is so willing to concede policy points during the campaign, will he fight for limited government as president?

However, as Joel Pollack wrote on Breitbart, “on health care–which might have been Romney’s weakest issue–Romney argued for the repeal of Obamacare as the best Tea Partier might have done, attacking the board that the law sets up to ration care as a cost control mechanism. The best that Obama could do was remind voters–as if they did not already know–that Romney had passed a health insurance law in Massachusetts. He had to concede one of the best arguments Romney offered–that Obamacare has actually increased the cost of insurance so far.”

Furthermore, if you go to Mitt Romney’s campaign site, coupled with his support for the Ryan budget, you can see that not only will taxes be lowered for everyone – he’ll eliminate the death tax and push for tax reform.  However, the deductions he’ll eliminate has been a rather nebulous subject. Lastly, with an active and vocal Tea Party contingent in Congress – Mitt, if elected, would have to operate as a small government conservative since (a) he owes us and (b) nothing would get done with Democrats and Tea Partiers forming an unintentional coalition to block his agenda.  Democrats obstructing because he’s Mitt Romney and tea partiers obstructing because it doesn’t cut enough spending, reform the welfare state enough, or does enough to pay down the national debt.  Politics sometimes makes strange bedfellows.  Lastly, the reaffirmation to uphold the principles of the constitution is a tacit agreement that Romney would adhere to the Madisonian ideals of limited government.  If he’s elected president and becomes squishy – he should be prepared for a primary challenge, despite the historical ramifications of such an action.

However, while Republicans rejoiced, Democrats must have felt like the world was ending.  It brought on reactions of disbelief and abject anger from MSNBC.  Chris Matthews, Obama’s number one fan, was quite agitated during MSNBC’s post-debate coverage.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Tonight wasn’t an MSNBC debate, was it? It just wasn’t. It didn’t mention all the key fighting points of this campaign. […] I don’t know what he was doing out there, he had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it.

Romney on the other hand, came in with a campaign, he had a plan. He was going to dominate the time, he was going to be aggressive. He was going to push the moderator around, which he did effectively. He was going to relish the evening, enjoying it. Nothing to do with the words he spoke.

Here’s my question for Obama. I know he says he doesn’t watch cable television but maybe he should start. Maybe he should start. I don’t know how he let Romney get away with the crap he threw out tonight–about Social Security.

Listen to the stuff he got away with. He said, you know, emergency room–the latest thing we got from Romney because he said so was you know what I want to do with people when they’re poor? Shove them in the emergency room. Why didn’t Obama say that? Why didn’t he say that?

You talk about Social Security and Medicare people, they’re part of your 47 percent, you want to drop them from the list of eligible Americans. You don’t have any care for these people. What are you talking about? We’ve got it on tape, Governor! We’ve got it on tape what you think of these people! Don’t come out here and pretend you care about old people because you met somebody at some campaign event, you’ve written off 47 percent of the country before you even started!

Where was Obama tonight?! He should watch, well not just Hardball, Rachel [Maddow], he should watch you, he should watch the Reverend Al [Sharpton], he should watch Lawrence [O’Donnell]. He would learn something about this debate.

There’s a hot debate going on in this country and you know where it’s being held? Here on this network is where we’re having this debate. We have our knives out, we go after the people on the facts, what was he doing tonight?! He went in there disarmed, he was like, ‘oh wait, an hour and a half, I think I can get through this thing and I don’t even look at this guy.’

Whereas Romney — I love the split-screen — staring at Obama, addressing him like prey. He did it just right. ‘I’m coming at an incumbent. I got to beat him. You’ve got to beat the champ and I’m going to beat him tonight. And I don’t care what this guy, the moderator, whatever he thinks he is because I’m going to ignore him.’

What was Romney doing? He was winning. […] If he does five more of these nights, forget it. […]

Obama should watch MSNBC, my last point. He will learn something every night on this show and all these shows. This stuff we’re watching, it’s like first grade for most of us. We know all this stuff.

Ed Schultz’s blood pressure went through the roof lamenting how he was “stunned” that Obama was “off his game.”  I think liberals are finally coming to the realization that President Obama isn’t a good debater and lost almost every battle with Hillary Clinton back in the ’08 primaries.  Allahpundit posted about the mayhem from Twitter concerning the president’s debate performance.

Michael Moore tweeted:

Lastly, Bill Maher commented on Obama’s utter lack of direction during the debate with this:

Yes, liberals were in shock and awe concerning how bad the president, the best thing since the resurrection of Christ, performed, but that’s not to say it’ll be the same the next time Obama and Romney duke it out.  However, I’m confident that Romney won’t be the push over that some in the media were conveying before Wednesday night’s smackdown.

Mitt surely stepped up his game during the debate and I found myself enthused for the first time, in a long time, since Romney began his campaign for the presidency last year.  However, I admit that I backed Perry before his epic meltdown.  Nevertheless, Romney has shaken off the criticism that he’s robotic and proved to his skeptics that he’s passionate, hungry, and ready to lead this nation towards economic prosperity.  Mitt is definitely here.

ICYMI:

Originally posted on Hot Air.

For the millionth time, Social Security adds to the deficit

 

In a bit of new old news, Social Security adds to the federal deficit.  This non-shocking piece of news continues to be either ignored or underreported since the political class is petrified of having the geriatric brigade occupying the front lawns of their homes.  The current unfunded liability of Social Security is $8.6 trillion over the next 75 years.  It adds $165 billion to the budget deficit. This is all due to the payroll tac cut, a dismal economy, and an incremental number of Americans entering retirement age.  So, the real question, which has been asked 576432 times, is when will we do something about this.

When Social Security was instituted the average time between retirement and death was two years.  With advancements in medical fields and pharmacology, we have been able to increase American life, and retirement age, by two decades.  If such developments were factored into the methodology of how benefits were distributed – and on an incremental scale – then this wouldn’t have been such an issue.  That is the pain would have been felt to a lesser degree.

However, Democrats aren’t going to budge.  Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise institute and former principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administrationwrote on Real Clear Markets on October 3 that “in late September, 29 Senate Democrats signed a letter opposing Social Security benefit cuts, for either current or future retirees, as part of any budget deal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, ‘Social Security has contributed not a single penny to the deficit. So we can talk about entitlements as long as you eliminate Social Security.’ The AARP is nine cents less hardline, with CEO Barry Rand merely claiming, ‘The fact is, Americans pay for Social Security, and it hasn’t added one dime to the deficit.’

Concerning the AARP claims, Biggs wrote that:

Budget wonks use two main measures of the budget deficit: the “on-budget” balance, which includes everything except Social Security and the postal service, and the “unified budget,” which merges the on- and off-budgets together. If, for example, the on-budget was running a deficit of $100 billion while the off-budget ran a surplus of $100 billion, the unified budget would be in balance.

The unified budget approach is by far the most common for both budget wonks and the media. As a 2005 AARP policy analysis stated, “The [Congressional Budget Office], the U.S. General Accounting Office, and other agencies that produce budget documents and analyses think that the unified budget concept gives the most complete picture of total federal revenues, spending, surpluses, and deficits.” When you read that the Obama White House projects a 2013 budget deficit of $901 billion, that’s the unified budget deficit they’re referring to.

And on a unified budget basis, when Social Security’s financial position worsens the budget deficit grows. Social Security today contributes about $53 billion to the budget deficit-$165 billion if we include the temporary payroll tax cut designed to stimulate the economy-rising to $100 billion by 2020 and never looking back. It’s as simple as that. Is Social Security the main driver of today’s $1.3 trillion unified budget deficit? Of course not, and no one said it is. But it’s not pennies or dimes either, as the left would have you believe.

By the way, AARP is the lobbying group that swindled the taxpayers out of $2.8 billion dollars and blocked health care reforms that would’ve save their members $415 in premiums.  Stay classy folks.

However, for the executive leadership at the AARP and the Democratic Party, it’s time to face facts.  It’s not 1940.  A time where there was 42 workers for every retiree.  Now, it’s a paltry 3.1 worker per retiree.  By 2030, when all the baby boomers are retired, it’ll be 2.1 workers per retiree.  As George Will noted in a lecture at the U.S. Naval War College in Providence Rhode Island in February of 2011, those numbers, especially the 2030 figure, is based on the assumption that our country will maintain a healthy level of immigration – both legal and illegal.  Today, tomorrow, and every day for the next two decades 10,000 baby boomers will became eligible to receive Social Security and Medicare  benefits in their respective states.  The population that is classified as “very elderly,” people who are 85 or older, are the fastest growing demographic in the country  as a percentage of the population.  That also spells trouble for Medicare, but that’s a different story.

Biggs wrote that “in the end, Social Security is similar to other federal programs-the government collects money in a given year and it pays it out the same year… Congress shouldn’t change Social Security rules precipitously -after all, older Americans have made their retirement plans and reform shouldn’t pull the rug out from under them. But most reforms would be implemented only gradually.”

We can start by raising the retirement age to at least 69 and, as George Will has advocated, “change the indexation of benefits from wages to inflation and half of the unfunded liability disappears.”

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Lately, the phrase “Chose your neighbors wisely.” has become increasingly important.  For years, the significance as to what the government was doing, or how the government was growing, was a distant thought in my mind because my life itself was so busy and all consuming.  Like many people  I guess I had the mindset that our government was meant to protect us, and deal with all the cumbersome issues pertaining to our country.  I mean, honestly, how many of us sit there and read the bills and amendments and so on?   How many of us even truly understand the Constitution and the Republic we live in dispite the fact we take it for granite daily?

I realize now,  that most of us unknowingly sat idle, unaware, or preoccupied with our daily lives while the movement toward big government, economic downfall, and total government control grew out of proportion.  Its members blind-sighted us as they began to dismantle our Constitution from right underneath our feet.  Most recently, with the issue of gun control I have heard many people say, “I don’t like guns and I don’t own one anyway, so who cares?”  Clearly, the lack of knowledge pertaining to our Constitution would lead to that mindset.   It make sense to me why the liberal government controlled media, here in the U.S., chooses to portray people like Ron Paul as to far to the right, when in fact, he is one of a limited few who have a clear understanding of what is actually happening today in this United States of America.  Now realize this is not an endorsement for any one person or party, but rather an a wake-up call which will hopefully spark something in all American’s so they do some research, question, and find answers, as opposed to being “told” what they want to hear from either side.  It is truly a time in America to take the blinders off, and see for yourself what is going on with this government and our government in general for decades. Go out on a limb and see the movie 2016: Obama’s America. Learn about the author, read the Constitution, find out what all the talk is truly about, get involved in some way, most importantly teach your children.

I think for most American’s everything is black and white.  Rarely to they visit the shades of gray that make the mind ponder and question, for if they did, it would lead them to  research, learn about the issues, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as set forth by our forefathers. Rather, living in the black and white allows people to be led, misinformed, and it keeps them from visiting the elusive areas where the grays would eventually take them. That is precisely how we got where we are today, and why so many people are preoccupied with a sanctity they don’t even realize is disappearing before their very eyes.

The idea behind, “chose your neighbor wisely” was in an article I read recently.  While reading and doing further research I suddenly felt the sense of urgency behind that statement, and I knew precisely what it meant.  As our country proceeds in a direction of lost ideals and shattered fundamental beliefs, I have come to  realized my own importance not just as a writer or journalist, but as Oath Keeper sworn to protect the country and our Constitution and all it stands for.  We are all Watchmen in our right, but how many of you are seeing and truly understanding what the truth is, and are able to visulize the direction this Republic is moving?  How many even realize we, the United States of America, is not a Democracy it is a REPUBLIC ? How many people believe the fears that exist are just Republican’s using scare tactics?   How many Americans’ truly understand and see that the freedom they love,  cherish, and take for granite is gradually disappearing while government grows and its power becomes all inclusive?  The intrusiveness of our government, in our daily lives, represents the complete opposite of  the Constitution of the United States of American as well as the freedoms you think you have.

Don’t you feel as though you owe it it your kids and your grand-kids to seek out and find the facts on your own?  Isn’t it time to stop dismissing everything as some right wing radical ranting and raving, for lack of anything better to do?  Ask yourself if you sincerely believe government should control what you think, what you eat, learn, and speak?  Should they really be taking away rights set forth in the Constitution, but more importantly why are so actively pursuing these things in the first place?  Keep in mind these people running our country were put there by us, they are the same as us, so why are they getting richer, more controlling, and invading the lives of American’s?  Why is so important to them to create division in this country? Why?  What would motivate them to do this?  Why is government in education, banking, auto industry, or business anyway?  What is the motivation of this administration to destroy our economy, but more importantly what happens when they succeed?  Just trying to find answers to these questions, independent from the media, right, left, whom-ever will be an eye-opening experience — I guarantee it.

 

 

Paul Ryan’s Defense Of 2008-2009 Votes

One of the big questions since Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as is running mate is whether it would bring in small government conservatives and libertarians on the Romney bandwagon. Ryan is well-liked by people due to his “Roadmap For America’s Future” and his 2009 verbal destruction of Obamacare to the President’s face.

There are still a few questions regarding Ryan’s voting record in the House. He supported TARP, the auto bailout and the taxes on AIG bonuses. He also supported the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act. These are things conservatives and libertarians don’t support because they expand government power and ended up supporting crony capitalism.

Ryan’s defense of the some of these votes are very interesting. In a 2010 interview with The Daily Caller, Ryan points out voted against the original auto bailout because he didn’t want them to get the money. His reasoning for eventually voting for the bailout was because it was limited money at $17.4 billion.  As Ryan put it, he was concerned it would become a “slush fund” with no limit if it were connected to TARP. It’s a strange reason, considering that Ryan eventually voted for TARP, however he deserves a bit a credit for his original no vote.

The vote Ryan probably regrets the most, is the one to put a tax on the AIG bonuses. It’s a key example of politicians reacting to a situation, instead of responding to it.  Ryan himself admits he was angry and made a “snap judgement” on the bill. He makes a good point at saying TARP was becoming a new avenue of crony capitalism. This has been pointed out several times in Peter Schweizer’s book, “Throw Them All Out,” which everyone should read. It’s nice Ryan says he made a mistake, even if hindsight is 20/20.

The decision to vote for TARP is one of the most interesting, and logical, defenses out there.  Ryan says it was to keep an even bigger government agenda from sweeping the nation, as well as, preventing a Depression. His key worry was to keep from happening, “a complete evisceration of the free market system we have…” This argument is actually something not many politicians have used.

In fact, it sounds a bit like the justification behind the Louisiana Purchase.

According to Harlow Unger’s book on President James Monroe called “The Last Founding Father,” President Thomas Jefferson wanted Monroe to tell the Spanish and French what American traders believe about New Orleans and Louisiana. As Jefferson said, “They have a natural…right to trade freely through the Mississippi,” and authorized $9 million to buy New Orleans. Congress authorized only $2 million. Monroe ended up paying $15 million.

Jefferson wasn’t sure whether to approve the purchase because he believed it violated the Constitution. As Unger writes, he apparently had problems the Constitution, “did not grant the government authority to acquire foreign territory…” Jefferson decided to approve the measure because Napoleon was going to back out of the sale.

Ryan’s defense of the TARP bill sounds a bit Jefferson’s defense of the Louisiana Purchase. Both sacrificed their constitutional beliefs to make sure something worse didn’t happen. In Jefferson’s case it was losing out on Louisiana and New Orleans and possibly never getting a shot at it again. In Ryan’s case, it sounds he was worried about another New Deal coming which would have increased the government even more.

It’s not an argument most of the Tea Party would agree with, but Ryan does a better job at saying why TARP should have been passed than John Boehner does.

Someone should ask Ryan about his votes for the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA. This type of information is important and we need to hear why Ryan did what he did.

To steal a line from Dan McLaughlin, Paul Ryan is a good pick for Mitt Romney because, while he’s not a complete Tea Party pick, he does hold more Tea Party values than Chris Christie. He’s also got a defined budget which isn’t perfect, but better than what the Democrats have. Which is nothing.

U.S. National Debt is a Threat, Veterans Say

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff said last year that, “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt…” and a new poll sponsored by Concerned Veterans for America and conducted by The Winston Group, reveals that the majority of military voters agree with his statement and believe debt is a growing and insidious threat to our national security.

Pete Hegseth , CEO of Concerned Veterans for America said the following:

“It’s not surprising that the majority of military voters are aware of Admiral Mullen’s powerful statement. Our warfighters and veterans understand that our military might comes from economic strength. That’s why we’re fighting for policies here at home that will preserve the precious freedom and liberty we risked our lives to defend.”

Key findings:

  • Concern about the future of the U.S. economy is reflected in military voters’ views that economic threats are greater dangers to national security than terror threats.

    Greatest threats to national security (combined first and second choices):

    •      Economy – 42 %
    •      Debt – 30 %
    •      Cuts to the military – 30 %
    •      Traditional powers like China, Russian and Iran – 30 %
    •      Foreign terror groups – 29 %
    •      Cyber terror – 14 %
  • 54% of military voters were aware of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen’s statement the national debt was the most significant threat to our national security. There was a clear agreement with his statement in that 71% agreed and only 20% disagreed.  Among those who agreed, 46% strongly agreed.
  • There are serious concerns about where the U.S. is headed both longer term and with economic threats to the future of the country. In thinking about the U.S. economy in the next 20 years, 54% believe the economy will either be weaker (34%) or about the same as it is now (20%).
  • Takeaway: Military voters view the economy and fiscal issues as part of the overall security of the country, are clearly interested in the national discussion about the economy, and are looking for solutions to address the economy and debt.

This survey was conducted  July 18-22, 2012  and the results noted above are from 800 military voters both veterans and active duty.

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