The Buck Stops

Political Cartoon by Gary Varvel

One of the best, Thomas Sowell:

President Barack Obama boldly proclaims, “The buck stops here!” But, whenever his policies are criticized, he acts as if the buck stopped with George W. Bush.

The party line that we are likely to be hearing from now until the November elections is that Obama “inherited” the big federal budget deficits and that he has to “clean up the mess” left in the economy by the Republicans. This may convince those who want to be convinced, but it will not stand up under scrutiny.

No President of the United States can create either a budget deficit or a budget surplus. All spending bills originate in the House of Representatives and all taxes are voted into law by Congress.

Democrats controlled both houses of Congress before Barack Obama became president (January 2007 to be precise). The deficit he inherited was created by the Congressional Democrats, including Senator Barack Obama, who did absolutely nothing to oppose the runaway spending. He was one of the biggest of the big spenders.

The last time the federal government had a budget surplus, Bill Clinton was president, so it was called “the Clinton surplus.” But Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, where all spending bills originate, for the first time in 40 years. It was also the first budget surplus in more than a quarter of a century.

The only direct power that any president has that can affect deficits and surpluses is the power to veto spending bills. President Bush did not veto enough spending bills but Senator Obama and his fellow Democrats in control of Congress were the ones who passed the spending bills.

Today, with Barack Obama in the White House, allied with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in charge in Congress, the national debt is a bigger share of the national output than it has been in more than half a century. And its share is projected to continue going up for years to come, becoming larger than national output in 2012.

Having created this scary situation, President Obama now says, “Don’t give in to fear. Let’s reach for hope.” The voters reached for hope when they elected Obama. The fear comes from what he has done since taking office.

“The worst thing we could do is to go back to the very same policies that created this mess in the first place,” he said recently. “In November, you’re going to have that choice.”

These risky loans, and the defaults that followed, were what set off a chain reaction of massive financial losses that brought down the whole economy.

Was this due to George W. Bush and the Republicans? Only partly. Most of those who pushed the lowering of mortgage lending standards were Democrats– notably Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd, though too many Republicans went along.

At the heart of these policies were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who bought huge amounts of risky mortgages, passing the risk on from the banks that lent the money (and made the profits) to the taxpayers who were not even aware that they would end up paying in the end.

When President Bush said in 2004 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be reined in, 76 members of the House of Representatives issued a statement to the contrary. These included Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel.

If we are going to talk about “the policies that created this mess in the first place,” let’s at least get the facts straight and the names right.

The current policies of the Obama administration are a continuation of the same reckless policies that brought on the current economic problems– all in the name of “change.” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still sacred cows in Washington, even though they have already required the biggest bailouts of all.

Why? Because they allow politicians to direct vast sums of money where it will do politicians the most good, either personally or in terms of buying votes in the next election.

Another political fable is that the current economic downturn is due to not enough government regulation of the housing and financial markets. But it was precisely the government regulators, under pressure from politicians, who forced banks and other lending institutions to lower their standards for making mortgage loans.

Amen! And those were Democrats by and large.

The RINOs still have to learn that getting along with Socialist Democrats is not possible and that even if they win Obama will be ideologically opposed to them on everything.

But at least it can’t get any worse and there is some hope, especially from the Tea Party Candidates.

Now that’s real “Hope and Change”. 🙂

Political Cartoon by Glenn McCoy

25 Reasons to “jaws” the Democrats…

But first, I would add #26: “Though the job losses we were experiencing earlier this year have slowed dramatically, we’re still not creating enough new jobs each month to make up for the ones we’re losing,” Obama said last week. “For families and communities across the country, this recession will not end until we completely turn that tide.”

Was this last week?

No.

It was December 2009.

Sounds like last week doesn’t it?

“We all know that there are limits to what government can and should do, even during such difficult times,” he said, alluding to the concerns about the soaring budget deficit. “But we have an obligation to consider every additional, responsible step that we can to encourage and accelerate job creation in this country.”

This week?

No.

November 2009.

“Democrats have to reassure voters we are not being reckless,” said a Democratic official involved in the planning. “The White House knows this and that’s why we’ll be hearing a lot about reducing the deficit early next year. Democrats owned this issue for the past four years and cannot afford to cede it to Republicans now.”

You got it. November 2009!
You be the Judge, Jury and hopefully executioner.

1) Remember the stimulus bill? Republicans strongly opposed it and said it wouldn’t work. Democrats said it would revive the economy and keep unemployment under 8 percent. So, what happened? Democrats shoved through a bill that cost $1.1 trillion when you add in the interest. It cost more than the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase (the real one not the Health Care one 🙂 ), and putting a man on the moon — combined. The result? The economy didn’t take off, the unemployment rate is still at 9.6 percent, and Democrats are calling for…you guessed it, another stimulus bill.

2) Perhaps the biggest problem with the economy right now is that businesses are so afraid of what the government will do that they’re stockpiling cash instead of spending it. Having a pro-market, Republican Congress that will oppose tax hikes, red tape, and damaging new legislation will reduce uncertainty and help give businesses the confidence they need to start hiring and expanding again.

3) While he was campaigning, Barack Obama promised to cut the deficit in half, but in his first 100 days alone, he quadrupled the deficit. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his budget blueprint adds more, debt than all previous presidents — from George Washington to George W. Bush — combined.” No civilization in human history has spent like America has over the last two years of Democratic rule and unless we can get more Republicans in office, this country’s economic future is going to be deader than King Tut and uglier than a 7 day old chunk of roadkill.

4)The Democrats seem hellbent on taking over as much of the private sector as possible. In a relatively short period of time, our government has taken over much of the banking industry, auto industry, health care industry, and student loans. There are currently no viable plans to get out of any of these industries either. This sort of Sovietization of the American economy can only end badly. After all, look what similar policies did to the Soviet Union.

5) In the middle of a recession, the Democrats in Congress still seem to be on track to enact the largest tax increase in American history by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Here we are with a struggling economy and businesses that are afraid to move because they can’t be sure of what the Democrats will do, and Pelosi, Reid, and Obama still haven’t addressed this massive tax hike. How incompetent. How short-sighted. How foolish.

I would add (#27): In the middle of a recession, with joblessness hovering around the 10% mark, the Obama administration made a deliberate decision to impose a drilling moratorium knowing it would cost at least 23,000 jobs. Why?

Senior Obama administration officials concluded the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling would cost roughly 23,000 jobs, but went ahead with the ban because they didn’t trust the industry’s safety equipment and the government’s own inspection process, according to previously undisclosed documents.

Never mind the fact that an event like this had never happened before in deep water.   Never mind there were hundreds of deepwater wells functioning properly and well.  Never mind that those jobs were well paying jobs  and that through their elimination would cause ripple-effect unemployment down the supply chain.

Instead, deliberately trash the lives of 23,000 workers – and their families – because of unfounded fears.

And a deep seated radical environmentalist “green” agenda. They weren’t the right kind of jobs, after all.

Yeah, that’s leadership, isn’t it?

6) “Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.” — Joe Biden

7) Our economy is no longer suffering from the recession. At this point, the economy is suffering from the policies the Democrats put in place that were supposed to create a “recovery.”

So how was the “summer of recovery” for you?

8) I don’t mind a President taking a vacation now and then or playing a little golf, but Barack Obama has taken it to a ridiculous extreme. The man has already played more golf in two years than George W. Bush did in his whole presidency. Is he planning to try out for the PGA after he gets out of office? And what’s with the never ending vacationinh? It’s like the presidency is a distraction from taking time off for this guy. Wait, is that the phone ringing? Oh, it’s Marie Antoinette. She is just calling to say that Obama needs to show more sensitivity to the people during tough economic times.

9) “I wouldn’t dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn’t be worth wasting the urine.” — Democratic Congressman Pete Stark to a constituent at a Townhall.

10) “But I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.” — Barack Obama explains his views on bipartisanship.

11) The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home… What I think we know — separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact. — President Barack Obama explains that racism was behind the arrest of his friend, Bill Gates

12) “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” — Attorney General Eric Holder

12a) Suing Arizona. Period.

13) Iran, a nation that’s known for supporting terrorism and chanting “Death to America,” is about to get nukes and Barack Obama’s reaction has been…well, pretty much nothing.

14) On the other hand Israel, a nation that’s known for being a bastion of freedom in a backwards region and for supporting America, is just trying to survive and Obama’s reaction has been cold and hostile. Maybe if Benjamin Netanyahu started leading “Death to America” chants in the Knesset, Obama might become a little friendlier.

15) The President of the United States should not bow to foreign leaders.

16) Nancy Pelosi once promised to run the most “ethical and honest Congress in history.” She wasn’t alone. Yet, how have the Democrats been doing on that front? Perhaps we could ask Eric Massa, Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, Roland Burris, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Alan Mollohan, Laura Richardson, Pete Visclosky, and William Jefferson among others. Sorry that all the charges aren’t laid out, but covering all the Democratic corruption that has occurred would be a double sized article in and of itself.

17) In one of the most corrupt deals in American history, Barack Obama broke existing contracts and tossed away billions in taxpayer dollars to give his union pals an outsized ownership stake in Chrysler and General Motors. Now, every time you buy a car from one of those companies, you’re essentially contributing to the Democratic Party. Calling that sleazy is like calling the ocean “wet.”

18) “The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act. The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.” — Energy Secretary Steven Chu on the public’s lack of concern over greenhouse gasses

19) “How about just tracking down every single person who said drill baby drill and putting them all in prison. Why don’t we do that? Starting with Michael Steele.” — Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson

19a) By Grayson himself on the floor during the Health care debate: Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) warned Americans that “Republicans want you to die quickly” during an after-hours House floor speech Tuesday night, highlighted by a sign reading “The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly.”

Then the apology for this hyper-partisan rhetoric: “I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t voted sooner to end this holocaust in America,” he said on the House floor Wednesday afternoon.

Now that’s your Obama Post-Partisan Congress for you.

20) “There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the (Ground Zero) mosque being funded. How is this being ginned up that here we are talking about Treasure Island, something we’ve been working on for decades, something of great interest to our community as we go forward to an election about the future of our country and two of the first three questions are about a zoning issue in New York City — Nancy Pelosi

20a) If you disagree with a Democrat you’re a racist, a bigot, or a terrorist. Or all three. Isn’t that enough right there? 😦

21) “When I became the NASA administrator — or before I became the NASA administrator — (Obama) charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering.” — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden explaining that Democrats no longer view space as one of NASA’s top priorities

22) The Democrats in the House actually managed to pass a cap and trade bill that’s supported by Barack Obama. This bill would impose massive new energy costs on American consumers. Estimates range from $1600 to $4000 in new costs per family. Although the Senate hasn’t passed this legislation yet, in an almost unbelievable show of arrogance, they’re considering trying to push it through during the lame duck session. If they try that, the American people should rise up as one and proclaim that it will be a “cooked duck session” for anybody who tries to shove significant legislation through before the next Congress arrives.

22a) The massive, seismically so, tax increases that the Democrats want to see on 1/01/11  when the Bush Tax Cuts expire. They actually think it’s a good idea to raise taxes on everyone during a recession. But they will be dishonest and say “it’s only the rich” we want to target. This kind of Class Warfare has never worked out in the past and won’t now.

23) How about Obama’s big, oily Katrina? Know what the difference was between the oil spill in the Gulf and the other programs Obama has pushed? With most of the other programs, it’ll take years for people to see how bad they are. With the oil spill, the country could see the complete and utter incompetence of the Obama Administration in real time.

24) It’s bad enough that the federal government ignored the law, isn’t trying to finish the fence, and refuses to secure our southern border. But now, not only are they still talking up amnesty, they’re actually harassing and suing Arizona because that state has decided to do the job that the federal government is refusing to do. If only the trial lawyers, unions, or ACORN were demanding that the border be secured, we might get some action.

25) You’d have to go all the way back to the days when the British were bossing around American colonists at the point of a bayonet to find the sort of government arrogance that led to Obamacare being shoved through in Congress. No matter how loudly the American people said they didn’t want the bill, Democrats insisted that they knew best. So now, the quality of American health care will be destroyed, private health insurance will end, rationing will occur, death panels will be instituted, the deficit will soar, and taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortion — but on the upside, Democrats think over the long-term, it will be good for their political prospects. However, there is an alternative. The GOP House Leadership has pledged to defund and repeal Obamacare. If we can get them into power, we can start putting the brakes on now and start working on health care reform that will actually improve what we have now instead of destroying it utterly and replacing it with an inferior system. (John Hawkins- Townhall.com)

So when the Democrats trot out their bribes in the next few months, don’t buy it. It’s just more Marxist Snake Oil.

We don’t need anymore Snake Oil. That buck has to stop.

Set You TV on Spin!

I’m so glad I will be working hard to pay liberals need to spend and tax tonight instead of having the option to watch Obama’s ‘Kick ass’ spin that should knock the planet off it’s axis.

Not only shouldn’t our global messiah be expected to plug the damn hole — he’s not Superman, people! — but evidently he shouldn’t be expected to find out if there’s any containment boom sitting in a warehouse somewhere {Maine} waiting to be used either. What he’s supposed to do, apparently, is go around reminding people why he’s really not to blame. I’ll say this for him: He’s awfully good at that, at least.

Obama on the spill:“Even though I am President of the United States my powers are not limitless,” Obama said last Friday at Camardelle’s Live Bait and Boiled Seafood, “So I can’t dive down there and plug the hole. I can’t suck it up with a straw.  All I can do is make sure that I put honest, hardworking, smart people in place.”

So that’s why he refused the Dutch offer of oil skimmers 3 days after the incident!

Why people who have technology to deal with the spill are being given a deaf ear.

Because he’s doing everything he can to make it not his fault that he’s not doing enough to convince people he has no blame for being unconcerned, really, about it.

So we get the Campaign Speech tonight. Not leadership.

He’s worried about the politics. And after nearly 2 months, now he wants to “kick ass” because the politics is kicking his ass. That’s why he’s now “engaged”.

The White House is the one that released the video of the above meeting, after all!

It’s a PR stunt. Nothing more.

And tonight is no different.

The bottom line: Oil Week in Washington — complete with CEO testimony, a presidential address to the nation and the release of damaging documents about BP’s safety record — may represent a turning point in the way the public views the domestic oil industry if Waxman and the White House succeed in their efforts. Longtime environmentalists like Waxman see the oil spill crisis as their moment to put the industry on its heels after decades of having its way on Capitol Hill — much like Waxman did with the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

President Barack Obama is expected to challenge lawmakers to complete climate change legislation in his first address from the Oval Office Tuesday night — right after evening newscasts featuring oil company executives defending their businesses and safety standards.

While Markey’s global warming subcommittee is the opening venue, Waxman has ensured that he will be a dominant force in the oil spill investigation and the planned legislative response. Another of Waxman’s panels, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, will bear down on BP CEO Tony Hayward on Thursday.

Waxman has been assiduously building his case against Big Oil for years, and now he has the documents and the forum to carry on his mission. On Monday, Waxman released a scathing 14-page letter to Hayward that outlined his charge that BP sacrificed safety for profit and cut corners on drilling procedures.

Industry and government sources expect that the other oil company executives — including those from Exxon, Conoco and Chevron — will echo the charge that BP cut corners, further isolating the company at the center of the oil spill. The strategy for these other companies is to help Waxman throw BP down the well in hopes of appeasing him. (Politico)

The Angry Environmentalist Political Gods demand a Sacrifice!

Then they will come after you later. 🙂

Everyone is looking forward to President Obama’s speech about the Gulf of Mexico. After all, he promised that he was taking in information from experts throughout the land in order to determine, in his words, “whose ass to kick.”

However it comes across from the presidential lectern on Tuesday night or from the media analysis afterwards, the Gulf of Mexico spin will direct our attention away from a matter that has more of an impact on how the nation is riding along under this administration.

The latest retail numbers came back from May, indicating that they are down over 1%. With the continued unemployment rate hovering around 10% (even after the addition of some 400,000 temporary consensus position with the federal government) and the failure of the private sector to pick up with job creation, the nation’s dizzying focus on President Obama’s butt-kicking ventures with BP pale in comparison with the butt-kicking endeavors his administration should be undertaking to get this economy going. After a massive stimulus package, bank bailouts (started under President Bush), and government interference that included the presidential firing of a corporate CEO, not much is changing for Americans that are growing weary and finding their economic options dwindling without a boom in the economy or a change in Washington this fall.

Through both unplanned (e.g., the BP oil spill) and planned (e.g., the sudden prioritization of health care reform in 2009-2010 to the top of legislative importance) issues, the Obama Administration has continued to remain distracted, failing to keep focus on the top issue that put him into the White House after the 2008 election. Many forget that Senator John McCain was leading the national polls in early September – even with swing states such as Virginia leading towards Mr. Obama – until the economic crisis of 2008 hit America. Health care reform, the wars overseas, and even a shaky set of Sarah Palin interviews could not catapult the Obama Candidacy to comfortable leads in the polls. Each became a cementing factor only after the economic crisis broke public perception and mood Mr. Obama’s way.

Now, President Obama wades through oil slicks in the Gulf and the muck of a stagnant economy that does not show signs of recovery for “Main Street” – the group of Americans he vowed to put before the “Wall Street fat-cats” that, by the way, have received billions and recovered since the initial crisis some 2 years ago. With the choice of reporting on the blotched efforts of an oil corporation whose dereliction of duty is well-documented versus answering to the failures of his administration to improve the lives of everyday Americans economically, the president has chosen the former. It is more believable – and thus easier for the White House – to support President Obama as he details the storyline of the BP spill and the administration’s efforts henceforth than it is to allow President Obama, Robert Gibbs, and others within the administration to continue propagating the myth of a “jobless recovery” with the latest unemployment numbers and retail figures out from May noting otherwise for America’s economy.

The spin from the BP and administration actions around the oil spill in the Gulf may make the nation dizzy, but the more important spin is the one that has been given for some time now: namely, the talk of this continued “economic recovery” in the midst of economic disappointing numbers. That spin should make America sick. What we are finding out is that the more that we follow this supposed butt-kicking ride with the president, the more that everyday Americans are feeling light-headed, queasy, and uncertain of continuing on this downhill ride much longer.(Daily Caller).

The state and local grants in Porkulus acted as a federal bailout package for state bureaucrats, who otherwise may have lost their jobs as state and local governments cut spending in order to balance budgets.  The White House sold this as rescues of teachers and first responders, but as a series of local newspapers reported, those jobs were never in jeopardy.  The money that got added to those budget items got transferred elsewhere to save less politically sensitive bureaucrats elsewhere, while the Obama administration claimed to have saved millions of jobs through these bailout transfers.

Of course, that only works for a single budget year, and the same structural cost issues that existed over the last year continue today, thanks to the federal bailout.  What’s the Obama administration answer for that?  Another bailout:

President Obama urged reluctant lawmakers Saturday to quickly approve nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments, saying the money is needed to avoid “massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters” and to support the still-fragile economic recovery.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Obama defended last year’s huge economic stimulus package, saying it helped break the economy’s free fall, but argued that more spending is urgent and unavoidable. “We must take these emergency measures,” he wrote in an appeal aimed primarily at members of his own party. …

With the letter, however, Obama makes a direct and unequivocal case for additional “targeted investments,” including state aid and several less-expensive initiatives aimed at assisting small businesses. He specifically calls for passage of the measure that is before the Senate, which would extend unemployment benefits and offer states additional aid, increasing deficits by nearly $80 billion over the next decade.

Obama asks lawmakers to be patient on the deficit, noting that a special commission is at work on a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan.

That’s a laugh.  Obama wants people to believe he’s serious about deficit reform, and so he’s proposing making the deficit worse until someone forces him to stop spending.  It’s the action of an addict. I can stop spending any time I want.  I just don’t want to do it right now.

Besides, the jobs targeted by these bloc-grant bailouts are the exact same ones claimed by the White House last year.  When do people in Minnesota get to stop bailing out California bureaucrats?  Shouldn’t the states themselves start working on making rational judgments about the size and sustainability of their own governments?  If it takes Minnesota money to float California, and Texas money to float Minnesota, then there is no accountability to the citizens of a state at all. It’s a shell game and nothing more.

And this is all money just going down a rathole anyway.  The bailout last year didn’t solve the problem, but it did add over a hundred billion dollars to the national debt.  Obama now proposes to send $50 billion more in imaginary money after bad imaginary money to, once again, avoid tough economic choices by kicking the can down the road at the expense of future generations.  It’s becoming the theme of his presidency, which is profligate irresponsibility combined with an utter lack of strategic comprehensive growth policies.

John Hinderaker agrees, and points out the only real beneficiary of this bailout:

The original “stimulus” bill was all about keeping state and local government spending, and the salaries it supports, sky-high. It doesn’t appear that President Obama has a game plan to help the economy, other than continuing to feed the already-bloated public sector. This is consistent with his apparently complete ignorance of basic principles of economics. Democrats in Congress, however, can see the writing on the wall. It will be interesting to see whether they are willing to brave voter wrath by stimulating the public sector still further.

This is a $50 billion bailout to Big Labor — the SEIU, AFSCME, and the NEA.

But don’t worry, with Teleprompter One’s help, he’ll look “presidential” and he’ll be forceful and The Ministry of Truth will be gushing all over him with more praise that if you could see if physically it would leak more than the Deep Water Horizon.

Meanwhile, nothing will have actually been done.

Unemployment will still be near 10%.

There will be more bailouts of his base.

More government control of everything and everybody.

And more people will struggle when the Democrats pass their Cap & Trade monster.

But at least he’ll look “presidential”.

Just ask the Ministry of Truth. 🙂