Tag Archives: sequestration

Welcome to the Liar’s Club

liars club

liars clubWhat is it with this administration? Have they become so used to media not questioning them that facts are no longer relevant? Do they believe there are so many ‘low information voters’ that whatever they say will be believed without question?

Consider just this week. As you recall, the Obama administration was for the sequestration before they were against it. But, as Jay Carney says, “It’s irrelevant.”

Still…hail, fire and brimstone. All hell would break loose if the sequestration was allowed to happen.

Or so they said…

Obama on March first said, “Starting tomorrow everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody’s going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage. They’re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.”

But that statement was worthy of a Four Pinocchio fact check by the left leaning Washington Post. The head of Capitol employees had to rush out a memo stating, “We do not anticipate furloughs for AOC employees as a result of Sequestration.” (You can see the memo at the above link…)

Not to be outdone, Education Secretary Arne Duncan had to backtrack when he recently claimed schools were already firing teachers in anticipation of sequester cuts taking effect.

Caught in his exaggeration, Duncan admits he misspoke, saying, “When I said ‘pink slips’ that was probably the wrong word,” he said to reporters, according to multiple reports. “Language matters, and I need to be very, very clear.”

On Monday, even after signs that the sequestration might have less impact than previously stated by the administration, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano cited Chicago, LA, and Atlanta’s airports as suffering from security checkpoint lines that were “150 to 200 percent as long as we would normally expect”. Specifically, she said: “We’re already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry, the big airports, for example. Some of them had very long lines this weekend.”

Au contraire Ms. Napolitano.

Officials with airports cited by Napolitano as examples of how the sequester would delay airline travelers say she’s wrong — they’re not delaying flights one bit. “We haven’t had any slowdowns at all,” said Marshall Lowe, a spokesman for Los Angeles International Airport who was on duty all weekend.  Hartfield and O’Hare airport spokemen also denied delays.

Four Pinocchio’s to all. Welcome to the Liar’s Club.

Happy Day-After Sequester Day

Obama failures

For weeks leading up to the big sequestration event, we were told how the country’s critically needed services were going to come to a grinding halt. Thousands of planes would be grounded because FAA air traffic controllers would be laid off, houses would burn down due to all of the laid-off firemen, and we wouldn’t be able to count on the police because there would be fewer of them (and with people having fewer guns, we would be in real trouble, wink wink).

Rep. Maxine Waters said 170 million Americans would lose their jobs. (I hope you guys are smarter than this; there aren’t that many jobs in the U.S.) I think I even heard the Earth could possibly move in the opposite direction. Well, maybe not, but close.

Democrats are good at spinning fairy tales.

Why do Democrats think we are such idiots? Well, maybe we are. They need to cut $82 billion from a $4 trillion budget. That’s 2 percent of the budget. It’s negligible. Budget? There is no budget. So why is it so difficult to cut 2 percent from something that doesn’t exist?

We do have $4 trillion in expenses, but certainly we could cut 2 cents on every dollar, considering the federal government overpays as much as $50 billion for goods and services every year (according to Sen. Tom Coburn).

Mr. President, stop playing games and act like a leader. I have been saying on my radio show that he needed to stop campaigning and get back to Washington, lock himself in a room with House and Senate leaders and – taking the lead from Sheriff Joe Arpaio – feed them bologna sandwiches, give them pink underwear, and don’t let them out until they have a plan. The American people deserve that.

Apparently the president heard my show, flew back to D.C. on Friday, went into a room with only Republican leaders and tried to browbeat them into dropping the cuts and giving him more revenue (read: tax increases). When they refused, he walked out. Great negotiating skills.

After that, he went to his pre-arranged press conference and miraculously had a 20-minute speech prepared (because he can’t just “talk” to the public), in which he proceeded to blame Republicans for everything.

The president got his tax increase in the first round of negotiations back in January. He was downright deceitful because, as he said in his speeches, after those meetings he would meet with “the other side” to lay out meaningful cuts and take a balanced approach moving forward.

Republicans should have learned from the days of President Reagan. At the time, Democrats agreed to give Reagan the funds to secure the border, both physically and with human resources, in exchange for amnesty. What did the Democrats do in Congress?They reneged on the deal. Amnesty came, but nothing else did. And we, the American people, got screwed. Now we have eight times the number of illegals in a relatively short period of time.

Once again, Democrats are hiding the facts. Why exactly does money have to be taken from first responders? Is that really the only place we can cut? I guess if you’re looking to bamboozle the American public, it might be a good idea.

There’s more than $32 billion in grants for green and alternative energy research and development. Why can’t we start there instead of public safety? We don’t need green energy to keep our homes from burning down, or crime out of the streets, or our emergency rooms open. Friday, another green energy company that received a government grant closed its doors. Why doesn’t the president just flush the money? It wouldn’t be as painful.

According to Sen. Coburn, there are a few other areas we can make cuts without impacting vital services for public safety:

* Nearly $700,000 went from the National Science Foundation to a New York-based theater company so it could develop a musical about climate change and biodiversity.

* Close loopholes in the food stamp system to reduce widespread abuse such as the exotic dancer who earned more than $85,000 a year in tips, but also collected nearly $1,000 a month in food stamps while spending $9,000 during that time period on “cosmetic enhancements.”

* Although NASA has no plans or budget for any manned spaceflights to Mars, the agency spends about $1 million each year on developing “the Mars menu.” It’s an effort to come up with a variety of food that humans could eat one day on Mars.

* A $325,000 grant was awarded for the development of “Robosquirrel,” a robotic rodent designed to test the interaction between rattlesnakes and squirrels.

* An estimated $70 million is lost on the production of pennies. According to the Waste Book, “The cost to produce a penny in 2012 is more than two times its actual value.” After billions of one-cent coins are manufactured and sold at face value every year, taxpayers are left to cover the loss.

* Billions of dollars of government-owned real estate sits empty while we rent or lease billions of dollars in office space.

And these guys want to manage health care? Buy your plot while there is still room.

These guys couldn’t manage growing grass.

“I Am Not A Dictator!”

obama assertive

“O Duck Luck, ” says Hen Pen, “the sky is falling!”
“Why, how do you know it?” says Duck Luck.
Obama Chicken Little told me.”

And so goes the story of another famous alarmist, Chicken Little. President Obama has attempted for the past few weeks to raise alarm about the awful “cuts” that would affect everything. The economy will be hurt and crippled for years, other results include millions of furloughed federal employees, and a non-functioning military. All because those darned Republicans would not agree with him to further increase spending.

Stoking more fear and animus, the president now seeks to paint the entire fallout from the ever-so-slightly decreased future spending on Republicans. The president specifically named John Boehner and Mitch McConnell as the responsible parties. And although Obama has to yet figure out how to paint the reluctance to support spending as either racist, or to invoke class warfare narratives, we need only to give it time, and his friends will spin furiously until a good excuse develops. It is their nature.

The president, when asked by the adoring press, what more he could have done to ensure sequestration did not take effect, blurted out, “I am not a dictator…”, and says he could not send the Secret Service after Republicans to prevent their planes from taking off. From your mouth to Uncle Joe’s ears, eh Mr. President? If only leadership were that easy – but, then again no one has ever made a good case for your leadership abilities.

In blurting out his most recent excuse for his failure (or was sequestration itself the failure? Obama previously supported it), the president again reveals his juvenile mindset when it comes to politics. It is frequently his way or else. If things do not go his way, then the most dire circumstances will occur. How can you nudge people into thinking or behaving the “right way”? Send your sycophants out to do the dirty work for you. Bob Woodward’s being threatened by a White House insider is the most recent example.  Have your supporters engage in some name-calling and belittle your opponent. It is all in a day’s work for any grade-school bully.

For a president who has also: bemoaned the fact he has to work with Congress and wished he could work around them, threatened to use executive orders to accomplish things that Congress balks at doing, and who actually has a “kill-list” that gives him the final ability to determine who has the ultimate right, that is, to exist – when he claims, “I am not a dictator…”, if he is not, he is the closest thing the country has ever had to one. The rights so valued and inherent in each of us have slowly continued to erode away, and with a president such as Obama, this will be a long four years.

Obama: I was FOR Sequestration Before I was AGAINST it.

Obama failures

Remember this? In 2011 President Obama threatened to veto any attempt by Republicans to change the Sequestration cuts.

But last week? President Obama talks of Armageddon, chaos will erupt and life as we know it will end.

Oops…maybe the pendulum swung too far…and the president again rethinks his position telling the Business Council that this is not a cliff but a tumble… (at the 2 minute mark)

But perhaps this ‘finger in the wind’ method is working. Rasmussen reported today that Obama has a 52% approval rating.

Obama’s Weekly Address: Congress Must Act Now to Stop the Sequester

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This is the transcript of President Obama’s Weekly Address for Saturday, February 23, 2013, released by the White House.

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WASHINGTON, DC—President Obama used this week’s address to urge Congress to stop the harmful automatic cuts that threaten thousands of jobs and affect our national security—called the sequester—from taking effect on March 1st. The President and Congressional Democrats have already put forward solutions to avoid these cuts and reduce the deficit in a balanced way, and now it’s time for Congressional Republicans to compromise by closing some loopholes that protect the wealthiest Americans so that we can reduce the deficit in a balanced way and create jobs for the middle class.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, February 23, 2013.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
February 23, 2013

Hi, everybody. Our top priority as a country right now should be doing everything we can to grow our economy and create good, middle class jobs.

And yet, less than one week from now, Congress is poised to allow a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will do the exact opposite. They will slow our economy. They will eliminate good jobs. They will leave many families who are already stretched to the limit scrambling to figure out what to do.

But here’s the thing: these cuts don’t have to happen. Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little compromise. They can pass a balanced plan for deficit reduction. They can cut spending in a smart way, and close wasteful tax loopholes for the well-off and well-connected.

Unfortunately, it appears that Republicans in Congress have decided that instead of compromising – instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans – they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class.

Here’s what that choice means. Once these cuts take effect, thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off, and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, causing delays across the country. Even President Bush’s director of the National Institutes of Health says these cuts will set back medical science for a generation.

Already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf – affecting our ability to respond to threats in an unstable part of the world. And just this week, the Pentagon announced that if these cuts go through, almost 800,000 defense employees – the equivalent of every person in Miami and Cleveland combined – will be forced to take unpaid leave.

That’s what this choice means. Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners? Are they really willing to slash military health care and the border patrol just because they refuse to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies? Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?

These are the questions Republicans in Congress need to ask themselves. And I’m hopeful they’ll change their minds. Because the American people have worked too hard for too long to see everything they’ve built undone by partisan recklessness in Washington.

I believe we should work together to build on the more than $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved. But I believe we should do it in a balanced way – with smart spending cuts, entitlement reform, and tax reform. That’s my plan. It’s got tough cuts, tough reforms, and asks more of the wealthiest Americans. It’s on the White House website for everyone to see. And it requires Democrats and Republicans to meet half way to resolve the problem. That’s what the American people expect. And that’s what you deserve.

We just need Republicans in Washington to come around. Because we need their help to finish the job of reducing our deficit in a smart way that doesn’t hurt our economy or our people. After all, as we learned in the 1990s, nothing shrinks the deficit faster than a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs. That has to be our driving focus. That has to be our North Star. Making America a magnet for good jobs. Equipping our people with the skills required to fill those jobs. Making sure your hard work leads to a decent living. That’s what this city should be focused on like a laser. And I’m going to keep pushing folks here to remember that.

Thanks.

Why deep defense cuts MUST be avoided at all costs

I could just as well title this article “why defense must always be fully funded” or “why America must always maintain a strong, second-to-none defense”, but all three titles effectively mean the same thing, so I have chosen the above one.

We are being told from all directions by various kinds of people – from liberals like Clinton Admin official Gordon Adams to libertarians like Justin Amash and Mick Mulvaney to supposed conservatives like Rush Limbaugh that America can afford deep cuts in the defense budget and still have a strong military; or, in the case of other libertarians, like the Students For Liberty/Ron Paul crowd, that America doesn’t need a strong military, that it would only be a tool of oppression, and that America can safely retrench and hide behind oceans and nothing will threaten it.

But all of those claims are garbage, and in this article, I’ll show you why. They might’ve made some sense during the 18th century, when any attack on America would’ve had to be a seaborne invasion or one from Mexico or Canada.

But in the 21st century, when America has vital interests around the world, when its economy is deeply interconnected to those of its allies and friends (such as Japan and South Korea), and in the era of nuclear weapons, ICBMs, ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental bombers, EMP weapons, and cyber attacks, such beliefs are utterly ridiculous. Those who indulge them live in a kum-ba-yah world.

Let us start with this timeless principle taught by Sun Tzu in his Art of War (ch. 8, v. 11):

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

We should not delude ourselves that we will never be attacked, or not for a long time, or that America is somehow invincible or unassailable, or that its military is overwhelmingly superior when this is clearly not the case.

Providing for the common defense is not only necessary, it is the Federal Government’s #1 Constitutional DUTY. Art. IV, Sec. 4 of the Constitution clearly imposes this obligation on the government; the majority of enumerated powers granted to the Congress deal with military matters; and the Preamble to the Constitution – makes it clear that one of the reasons why the federal government was create in the first place is to “provide for the common defense”. Furthermore, the military is the ONLY significant expenditure authorized by the Constitution. Federal entitlement and welfare programs are utterly unconstitutional and thus illegal.

Furthermore, the claim – often made by proponents of deep defense cuts in order to lull Americans into a false sense of security – that the US military is still overwhelmingly superior to those of other countries – is completely false (although I wish it was true). The militaries of China and Russia, as documented in detailed analysis here, have already closed the vast majority of the gaps between their and the US military’s capabilities, and are now working hard on closing the remaining few gaps. Where those gaps still exist, as in aircraft carriers, for example, China and Russia have created asymmetric advantages of their own with anti-access/area-denial weapons such as aircraft carrier killing missiles.

For a detailed analysis of China’s and Russia’s military capabilities, see here.

Another oft-made false claim which is supposed to justify deep defense cuts is that they could supposedly be done safely if the military were just granted the flexibility to decide where to make the cuts and that if such reductions are made “strategically”, in a “targeted” manner, they can supposedly be done safely.

The “studies” produced by CATO, the “Project on Defense Alternatives”, the Center for American Progress, POGO-TCS,  the NTU, and Sen. Tom Coburn (RINO-OK) are often invoked as examples and as supposed “proof” that deep defense cuts can be done safely.

But I have read and analyzed virtually all of these “studies”, and ALL of them would, if implemented (God forbid), result in the utter gutting of the US military. Why? Because the vast majority of the cuts they call for would be directed at the muscle and bone of the US military – the force structure (i.e. the size of the military), its personnel, weapons, munitions, and forward deployments.

These “studies” call for deep personnel, weapon inventory, weapon program, and force size cuts across the board to all four Services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force) and to the already barely-adequate nuclear deterrent. They call for killing dozens of crucial modernization programs, including the Long Range Strike Bomber, the ICBM replacement program, the V-22 Osprey, the F-35, the Virginia class, and many others.

If one were to plan on how to completely gut the US military, one could not come up with a better plan than those produced by the above-mentioned leftist think-tanks (most of which, including CATO, POGO, and the CAP, are co-funded by George Soros) and by Sen. Coburn. These plans seem to be deliberately designed to gut the US military.

And NONE of these proposals or “studies” are really “strategic”, because none of them are underpinned by any strategy, only by a desire to gut the US military. Strategy is about setting priorities, funding them fully, and cutting back only on non-priority programs/objectives/activities; failure to set priorities and to fund them adequately is essentially the same thing as sequestration.

But in those “studies”, there are no priorities – like sequestration, they all call for deep, across-the-board cuts to everything the US military has and does – mostly to the muscle and bone of the military.

The first and only “priority” of these studies’ authors is to gut the US military, plain and simple.

I have refuted these ridiculous “studies” here, here, here, and here among other articles.

For his part, HumanEvents columnist Robert Maginnis wrongly claims that the US can make these cuts safely if it simply scraps a number of current missions.

But that is wrong. To make cuts on the scale of sequestration, the US military would have to jettison dozens of missions – including many crucial, necessary missions connected to America’s own national security (not just that of its allies). For example, air, naval, and ground superiority, nuclear deterrence, and missile defense.

Those who call for jettisoning many military missions and cuts on the scale of sequestration need to be made to say what exact missions they think the military should scrap and be forced to admit that doing so would mean not meeting America’s security needs and thus imperiling national security.

As then-SECDEF Robert Gates said in 2011:

“These are the kinds of scenarios we need to consider, the kinds of discussions we need to have.  If we are going to reduce the resources and the size of the U.S. military, people need to make conscious choices about what the implications are for the security of the country, as well as for the variety of military operations we have around the world if lower priority missions are scaled back or eliminated.  (…)  To shirk this discussion of risks and consequences – and the hard decisions that must follow – I would regard as managerial cowardice.

In closing, while I have spent a good  deal of time on programmatic particulars, the tough choices ahead are really about the kind of role the American people – accustomed to unquestioned military dominance for the past two decades – want their country to play in the world.”

Then there are those like Rush Limbaugh and Rand Paul who falsely claim that sequestration would be a mere cut to the growth rate of defense spending. But that is a blatant lie.

As the CBO has proven, and as I have documented here, sequestration would cut the base defense budget from $525 bn today to $469 bn in March and keep it well below today’s level (and even below $500 bn) for the next decade at least. By FY2022, the last year of the “sequestration decade”, the base defense budget would be at $493 bn – still below $500 bn and well below today’s level of $525 bn.

defensebudgetaccordingtothecbo2

Meanwhile, OCO (war) spending is shrinking annually from its FY2011 peak and is set to disappear in FY2016, once all US troops leave Afghanistan.

The DOE’s defense-related (nuclear) programs and the DOD’s unspent balances from previous years are also subject to sequestration, as are all other national-security-related agencies.

In other words, sequestration would be an IMMEDIATE, REAL, DEEP, and PERMANENT cut in defense spending. It would not be a mere cut in the rate of growth. In other words, Rush, Rand, and other sequestration pooh-poohers are blatantly lying. (And the people spreading that lie are children of the Father of Lies himself.)

President Ronald Reagan articulated the need for a strong military – and the case against defense cuts – well here and here.

Let Robert Gates – a man of whom I’ve been very critical – nonetheless have the last word here:

“Since I entered government 45 years ago, I’ve shifted my views and changed my mind on a good many things as circumstances, new information, or logic dictated.  But I have yet to see evidence that would dissuade me from this fundamental belief: that America does have a special position and set of responsibilities on this planet.  I share Winston Churchill’s belief that “the price of greatness is responsibility…[and] the people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility.”  This status provides enormous benefits – for allies, partners, and others abroad to be sure, but in the final analysis the greatest beneficiaries are the American people, in terms of our security, our prosperity, and our freedom.

I know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war.  But there is no doubt in my mind that the continued strength and global reach of the American military will remain the greatest deterrent against aggression, and the most effective means of preserving peace in the 21st century, as it was in the 20th.”

White House Release: President Obama on the Sequester

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South Court Auditorium

10:50 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  (Applause.)  Please have a seat.  Well, welcome to the White House.

As I said in my State of the Union address last week, our top priority must be to do everything we can to grow the economy and create good, middle-class jobs.  That’s our top priority.  That’s our North Star.  That drives every decision we make.  And it has to drive every decision that Congress and everybody in Washington makes over the next several years.

And that’s why it’s so troubling that just 10 days from now, Congress might allow a series of automatic, severe budget cuts to take place that will do the exact opposite.  It won’t help the economy, won’t create jobs, will visit hardship on a whole lot of people.

Here’s what’s at stake.  Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce our deficits by more than $2.5 trillion.  More than two-thirds of that was through some pretty tough spending cuts.  The rest of it was through raising taxes — tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.  And together, when you take the spending cuts and the increased tax rates on the top 1 percent, it puts us more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.

Now, Congress, back in 2011, also passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach that $4 trillion goal, about a trillion dollars of additional, arbitrary budget cuts would start to take effect this year.  And by the way, the whole design of these arbitrary cuts was to make them so unattractive and unappealing that Democrats and Republicans would actually get together and find a good compromise of sensible cuts as well as closing tax loopholes and so forth.  And so this was all designed to say we can’t do these bad cuts; let’s do something smarter.  That was the whole point of this so-called sequestration.

Unfortunately, Congress didn’t compromise.  They haven’t come together and done their jobs, and so as a consequence, we’ve got these automatic, brutal spending cuts that are poised to happen next Friday.

Now, if Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research.  It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness, or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day.  It doesn’t make those distinctions.

Emergency responders like the ones who are here today — their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded.  Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced.  FBI agents will be furloughed.  Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.  Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country.  Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off.  Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.

And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.  And as our military leaders have made clear, changes like this — not well thought through, not phased in properly — changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in unstable parts of the world.

So these cuts are not smart.  They are not fair.  They will hurt our economy.  They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls.  This is not an abstraction — people will lose their jobs.  The unemployment rate might tick up again.

And that’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists, they’ve already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as sequestration, are a bad idea.  They’re not good for our economy.  They’re not how we should run our government.

And here’s the thing:  They don’t have to happen.  There is a smarter way to do this –- to reduce our deficits without harming our economy.  But Congress has to act in order for that to happen.

Now, for two years, I’ve offered a balanced approach to deficit reduction that would prevent these harmful cuts.  I outlined it again last week at the State of the Union.  I am willing to cut more spending that we don’t need, get rid of programs that aren’t working.  I’ve laid out specific reforms to our entitlement programs that can achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms that were proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.  I’m willing to save hundreds of billions of dollars by enacting comprehensive tax reform that gets rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well off and well connected, without raising tax rates.

I believe such a balanced approach that combines tax reform with some additional spending reforms, done in a smart, thoughtful way is the best way to finish the job of deficit reduction and avoid these cuts once and for all that could hurt our economy, slow our recovery, put people out of work.  And most Americans agree with me.

The House and the Senate are working on budgets that I hope reflect this approach.  But if they can’t get such a budget agreement done by next Friday — the day these harmful cuts begin to take effect — then at minimum, Congress should pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would prevent these harmful cuts — not to kick the can down the road, but to give them time to work together on a plan that finishes the job of deficit reduction in a sensible way.

I know Democrats in the House and in the Senate have proposed such a plan — a balanced plan, one that pairs more spending cuts with tax reform that closes special interest loopholes and makes sure that billionaires can’t pay a lower tax rate than their salary — their secretaries.

And I know that Republicans have proposed some ideas, too.  I have to say, though, that so far at least the ideas that the Republicans have proposed ask nothing of the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations, so the burden is all on first responders or seniors or middle-class families.  They double down, in fact, on the harsh, harmful cuts that I’ve outlined.  They slash Medicare and investments that create good, middle-class jobs.  And so far at least what they’ve expressed is a preference where they’d rather have these cuts go into effect than close a single tax loophole for the wealthiest Americans.  Not one.

Well, that’s not balanced.  That would be like Democrats saying we have to close our deficits without any spending cuts whatsoever.  It’s all taxes.  That’s not the position Democrats have taken.  That’s certainly not the position I’ve taken.  It’s wrong to ask the middle class to bear the full burden of deficit reduction.  And that’s why I will not sign a plan that harms the middle class.

So now Republicans in Congress face a simple choice:  Are they willing to compromise to protect vital investments in education and health care and national security and all the jobs that depend on them?  Or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations?  That’s the choice.

Are you willing to see a bunch of first responders lose their job because you want to protect some special interest tax loophole?  Are you willing to have teachers laid off, or kids not have access to Head Start, or deeper cuts in student loan programs just because you want to protect a special tax interest loophole that the vast majority of Americans don’t benefit from? That’s the choice.  That’s the question.

And this is not an abstraction.  There are people whose livelihoods are at stake.  There are communities that are going to be impacted in a negative way.  And I know that sometimes all this squabbling in Washington seems very abstract, and in the abstract, people like the idea, there must be some spending we can cut, there must be some waste out there.  There absolutely is.  But this isn’t the right way to do it.

So my door is open.  I’ve put tough cuts and reforms on the table.  I am willing to work with anybody to get this job done. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want.  But nobody should want these cuts to go through, because the last thing our families can afford right now is pain imposed unnecessarily by partisan recklessness and ideological rigidity here in Washington.

As I said at the State of the Union, the American people have worked too hard, too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause yet another one.  And it seems like every three months around here there’s some manufactured crisis. We’ve got more work to do than to just try to dig ourselves out of these self-inflicted wounds.

And while a plan to reduce our deficit has to be part of our agenda, we also have to remember deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan.  We learned in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was President, nothing shrinks the deficit faster than a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs.  That should be our driving focus — making America a magnet for good jobs.  Equipping our people with the skills required to fill those jobs. Making sure their hard work leads to a decent living.  Those are the things we should be pushing ourselves to think about and work on every single day.  That’s what the American people expect.  That’s what I’m going to work on every single day to help deliver.

So I need everybody who’s watching today to understand we’ve got a few days.  Congress can do the right thing.  We can avert just one more Washington-manufactured problem that slows our recovery, and bring down our deficits in a balanced, responsible way.  That’s my goal.  That’s what would do right by these first responders.  That’s what would do right by America’s middle class.  That’s what I’m going to be working on and fighting for not just over the next few weeks, but over the next few years.

Thanks very much, everybody.  Thank you, guys, for your service.  (Applause.)

END
11:05 A.M. EST

Obama and Defense Spending

black_helicopter

Here is a quote from Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., in a great article at The Foundry:

Military strategy should drive the budget, not the other way around. The mission of the United States military is determined by America’s vital interests and an assessment of the threats to those interests. We must spend what is necessary to fully fund our military. Of course there is waste and inefficiency in the defense budget. But the core and undisputed responsibility of the U.S. government to provide for the nation’s security must not be up for negotiation.”   [emphasis mine]

Spalding illustrates just how far down our military has fallen in the name of the budget. He also says:

“… while government spending is soaring, defense spending relative to the size of the economy is near historical lows. The Obama Administration is promising to hollow the military even more in the years ahead.”

Spalding paints a rather sobering picture of the current condition of our military, but with sequestration cuts of almost $500 billion just around the corner the worst is yet to come! The Army alone says that troop readiness and equipment repair will be affected by the cuts, as well as many family support programs. Sequestration is set to start on March 1, 2013, unless Congress enacts a preventative deal, which sources say is unlikely.

Here’s more news about the military. America’s enemies are increasing defense spending (as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product), while America does just the opposite. Current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says, “Instead of being a first-rate power in the world, we’d turn into a second-rate power. That would be the result of sequester.” Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey said that about a third of the cuts would have to come from forces. He also said that two-thirds of the cuts will be taken from spending on modernization, compensation, and readiness.

Compromise readiness. I guess that means that when Americans are being attacked, as they were in Benghazi, the solution is to “stand down.” But, what the heck? Obama could not care less. He, according to Leon Panetta, never communicated with Obama or anyone at the White House. Is this just a forecast of what is to come?

And let’s not forget this bit of information about former senator Chuck Hagel from PJ Media:

“Senate sources [say] that one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.'”

When it rains, it pours! Just when you think Fearless Leader Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrats can’t get any lower, they do.

But that’s just my opinion.
Please visit RWNO, my personal web site.

Ryan: ‘Sequester is going to happen’

Paul Ryan

Paul RyanOn NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) said, “I think the sequester is going to happen.”

Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said that the $1.2 Trillion in automatic spending cuts is likely to happen because Democrats have opposed every replacement spending plan the Republicans put forward while offering no alternatives of their own.

The President and Congressional Democrats have signaled that they expect more tax increases and are not planning to cut federal spending in any appreciable way. GOP leadership has taken a strong stance against additional revenues.

Having failed to secure any actual spending cuts in the recent “fiscal cliff” deal, Ryan says that “the president got his additional revenues. So that’s behind us” indicating that more tax increases or other revenue generation proposals will be rejected and that only spending cuts will be considered going forward.

Sequestration was a device put forward by the White House that focused on $1.2 trillion in forced spending cuts over ten years to defense and domestic spending beginning with $110 billion in cuts in 2013.

Social Security, Medicaid, supplemental security income, refundable tax credits, the children’s health insurance program, the food stamp program and veterans’ benefits will all be spared from cuts – everything else is going to get hit.

 

It Is the Liberal Apocalypse – Watch Out for Mayans and Zombies!

My Name is Randy (CC)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly heard that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. If you haven’t started making preparations for the inevitable end, there’s no shortage of places to find suggestions for the last hurrah!

My Name is Randy (CC)


Of course NASA took some time out of their busy schedule of improving American relations with Muslims to claim that the end is not near. Obviously, they missed the definitive statements by the CDC about the impending zombie apocalypse. Maybe that just proves that agencies within the government really aren’t talking to each other, and conspiring against the public. But maybe that’s intentional, to get us off the track when it comes to their plans.

Even the Republicans in Congress are showing signs that they know the world is going to end. After all, why else would they abandon the voters’ mandate to reduce governmental spending and keep the Bush taxes intact with a political game of chicken with the Democrats? I’m telling you folks! As REM put it, “it’s the end of the world as we know it!”

* Thanks to Eye Desert and our show on The 405 Radio.

WaPo: To blunt ‘fiscal cliff’, administration could assert broad powers

obamaSnooty-300x180

More than not, it seems as though the Washington Post is from another country – if not another planet. In proposing a solution to the “fiscal cliff”, Washington Post writer Zachary Goldfarb proposes that the White House should take unilateral action and assert broad powers to re-arrange tax and fiscal policy – all from the executive branch.

First, the “fiscal cliff” is only an issue because the White House decided to force sequestration down the throats of Harry Reid and John Boehner in response to earlier budget crisis – a remedy neither leader wanted but saw as a compromise with the President. Reid felt it risked too many cuts and Boehner expressed concerns over using it as a budgeting tool.

Mr. Goldfarb now sees the same opportunity that perhaps the White House did when they pushed sequestration and the fiscal cliff:

The Obama administration could blunt the economic harm caused by the “fiscal cliff” at the end of the year by using its unilateral powers over spending and taxes, for instance, by freezing how much in taxes is taken out of payroll checks, according to former senior officials and other tax and budget experts.

Unfortunately for the ill-informed WaPo writer, taxation is function of Congress. The President cannot simply choose to not collect taxes that Congress has imposed. We don’t have a king or dictator here Mr. Goldfarb. Actions such as the author proposes would be against the President’s oath of office and reason for impeachment – if Congress had the gumption to take action.

What Goldfarb fails to understand is the fundamental framework of our government set forth in the Constitution. Congress debates and passes legislation and the President makes sure those laws are enforced. If the President fails to do so, he is certainly failing in his duties.

The reason the separation of powers are so ingrained in the Constitution is to prevent the type of power-grab that the Post article proposes the administration should enact.

At one point in the article, it’s not even clear if Goldfarb understands what he’s proposing:

But the Treasury Department could try to blunt the impact by freezing withholding tables at 2012 levels. The law gives the Treasury secretary the authority to set withholding tables at his discretion, though they are supposed to comply with the law.

What does that even mean?

Ignorance of our system of government is exactly why liberal/socialistic ideas seem plausible. Only those taking the time to understand the long term consequences of such short-term thinking will see it as dangerous.

The President must not usurp the taxing authority of Congress to ease the pain that the President’s administration caused in the first place. Actually, Congress must not allow the President to usurp its authority at all.

As if to prove that the maneuver would be unconstitutional the author dedicates the final paragraph to quoting Gregory F. Jenner on how the tactic is viable because no one will call the President on it:

“I think it’s possible. Who’s going to challenge him?”

If Congress will not, we will replace them. So to answer Mr. Jenner’s question – We the people will challenge him.

Reviewing the news: Benghazi, Bad polls, bad ads, Mitt-mentum and more

The last week has brought some incredible news to light about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, showed us that many of the battleground polls being cited are weighted wrong, saw Mitt Romney’s momentum accelerate and taught us that voting for the President is like sex.. or something.

Benghazi and the Obama Administration

The murder of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya has taken a startling turn ever since the Obama administration made the incorrect claim that their deaths were at the hands of protesters angry about a YouTube video.

It has since been shown that there was no protest and that terrorists tied to Al-Qaeda executed a well-planned attack, one that may have been intended to take the ambassador prisoner to use as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the White House.

Shortly after the attack, it was reported that former President Bill Clinton told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that she should resign. As Secretary Clinton has already stated that she won’t be staying long into President Obama’s second term if he wins re-election, perhaps she’s just riding it out. Of course, we also learned that she’s doing so with the help of a new legal defense team – just in case any of the Benghazi fall-out drops on her.

And then yesterday, Lt. Col Schaffer told Fox News that he had sources telling him that the President was watching the Benghazi attack as it happened. So exactly where did the idea of a protest and YouTube video come from? Why didn’t the President authorize back-up for the team trying to defend the consulate staff and ambassador when they asked three times?

Polls have too many Democrats in them

Gallup released a poll this week that demonstrated most election polling is using incorrect weightings. In the 2008 election, voters went with democrats 12% more than republicans, or D+12.  In the new Gallup poll, it suggests that likely voters are going Republican by a 4% margin (R+4), but pollsters are using weightings of D+3 to D+7 in many states. These mis-weighted polls show mis-leading figures in key states. As HotAir.com’s Ed Morrisey put it, the models being used in states like Virginia (D+4) are “rather laughable.”

Mitt Romney’s surge accelerating

Ever since the first Presidential debate showed that Mitt Romney is not the monster Obama has portrayed him to be, Romney started surging in key polls and fund raising.

That momentum has accelerated with Romney raising $21 million more than Obama in the first half of October leaving the Obama campaign so desperate to raise cash they went to Bank of America for a $15 million loan.

Spinning Jeeps and Cliffs

In the Presidential debates and on the campaign trail, Obama and company mentioned several times that sequestration (aka “the fiscal cliff”) came from congress, not his administration. In fact, the White House pushed sequestration on Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. John Boehner even though neither wanted it.

Left-leaning news outlets, the Obama campaign and liberal blogs have been attempting to paint Mitt Romney’s citing of a Bloomberg.com article as an attempt to scare Ohio voters. Although the article clearly shows that company officials had been considering moving some or all Jeep production to China, the liberal slant is that Romney lied.

Voting for the President is like sex for virgins .. or something

The Obama campaign elicited the help of actress, writer, director Lena Dunham to be featured in an advertisement for the President’s re-election bid. In poor taste, Dunham compares voting for Obama for the first time to having sex for the first time.

 

Mitt Romney Is Wrong On Defense Department Cuts

Pentagon

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.

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