Implications

So you think the Ministry of Truth’s propaganda about the unemployment rate going down to 7.6 % means things are improving… (that’s the lowest it’s been since Obama took office-by .1% WOW! what an accomplishment!) 🙂

88,000 New jobs! WOW! isn’t Obama Just great!! 🙂

The U6 Unemployment rate is 13.8%  (it was 13.6 in December 2008– the same month as the last time we had 7.6% unemployment! — notice it’s gone up!) 🙂

(The U6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (the more familiar U-3 rate), but also counts “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.” Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week. And the “marginally attached workers” include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work. The age considered for this calculation is 16 years and over)

Things just keep getting worse for the American worker, and by implication US economy, where as we have shown many times before, it pays just as well to sit back and collect disability and various welfare and entitlement checks, than to work .The best manifestation of this: the number of people not in the labor force which in March soared by a massive 663,000 to a record 90 million Americans who are no longer even looking for work. This was the biggest monthly increase in people dropping out of the labor force since January 2012, when the BLS did its census recast of the labor numbers. And even worse, the labor force participation rate plunged from an already abysmal 63.5% to 63.3% – the lowest since 1979! But at least it helped with the now painfully grotesque propaganda that the US unemployment rate is “improving.”

Jimmy Carter II has arrived. 1.2 million people gave up looking.

The drop in the main unemployment rate was driven by a huge drop in the number of people in the labor force. The unemployment rate is based on the number of unemployed — people who are without jobs, who are available to work and who have actively sought work in the prior four weeks. The “actively looking for work” definition is fairly broad, including people who contacted an employer, employment agency, job center or friends; sent out resumes or filled out applications; or answered or placed ads, among other things. The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed by the total number of people in the labor force.

People not in labor force:

Labor participation rate:

The Malaise: The Sequel. Only the Ministry of Truth is out to lie it’s way around it this time. Like they have for the last 4 years.

You know they are just going to focus “like a laser beam” on the one tree in the forest that isn’t on fire and hype that (the 7.6%). Nothing else exists, well, almost…

NPR: While the economy continues to add jobs — and has been steadily since mid-2010 — that growth remains slow and could weaken some more as the effects of the federal government’s sequestration budget cuts take effect.

Sequestration? Seriously…

“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” writes Alan Krueger, the president’s top economic adviser, . He adds that “it is critical that we continue the policies that are helping to build an economy that creates jobs and works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

Krueger also writes that “it is important to bear in mind that the March household and payroll surveys are the first monthly surveys to look at employment since the beginning of sequestration. While the recovery was gaining traction before sequestration took effect, these arbitrary and unnecessary cuts to government services will be a headwind in the months to come.”

So a HALF A MILLION PEOPLE Gave up looking for a job because of Sequestration!!!

<<BARF BAG OVERLOAD IMMINENT>>

“American employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in March, a sign that Washington’s austerity drive could be stealing momentum from the economy. (Reuters)

<<BARF BAG OVERLOAD WARNING!>>>

Though the March payroll employment figure was surprisingly low, BLS also on Friday revised up its estimates of growth in January and February. (NPR)

YIPEEE! Let’s all celebrate!!

Huffington Post: Very First Line in the story–

“Austerity may be starting to squeeze the life out of the job market.”

THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA!!!

Buried own in the story, some class warfare: Worker earnings have gained just 1.8 percent in the past year, not enough to keep up with inflation — even as corporate profits and the stock market have soared to record highs.

THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA!!!

One reason for the drag has been austerity in federal, state and local governments, which have cut 605,000 jobs since February 2010, a drag on the job market’s growth, even as private-sector employers have added nearly 6.5 million jobs.

“Sharp cuts in government spending implemented March 1 are only beginning to show their ugly consequences,” Heather Boushey, an economist with the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress, said in an email. “While it’s too early to know what the full impact will be on the unemployment rate, government spending cuts are stealing wind from the sails of the recovery.”

OMG!!! WE HAVE TO STOP CUTTING SPENDING !!!! IT”S KILLING US!!!!

<<BARF BAG OVERLOAD>>

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Notice

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Dems Vote to Punish School Children

On pretty much a party line vote, Democrats rejected Senator Coburn’s proposal to shift other national heritage funding so as to restore White House tours for taxpayers — the people who, in fact, subsidize the operation of what is supposedly “the people’s house.” (http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/20/senate-poised-vote-forcing-wh-resume-tours/).  Had the positions of the parties been reversed, no doubt most of the MSM would be trumpeting headlines like that above.

Complete with crying children, angry parents and self-servicing and self-righteous Congressman promising vengeance. 🙂

The GOP should be trumpeting that fact to everyone who will listen.  Every time Democrats do this, we should be asking why there seems to be money, for example, for the President to throw swanky St. Patrick’s Day parties for the elite and connected — like Chris Matthews ( http://washingtonexaminer.com/obama-parties-with-chris-matthews-for-st.-patricks-day/article/2524864) — but no Democrat can seem to find a way to let school children into The White House.

If Republicans are serious about improving their standing with normal Americans, it’s a good time to start pointing out that the party of Big, powerful government is the party that fosters exactly the kind of cronyism and insider dealing that should be anathema to a free people.  Democrats loooove to talk about insider dealing on Wall Street — but we have an alphabet soup of agencies designed to inhibit and punish that kind of self-dealing.  In contrast, at the moment, there seems to be no Democrat in the Senate who is at all disturbed at the patent self-dealing practiced by the government class at the expense of the people.

Now that’s a message to take to the country. (Townhall)

I agree, but are the Republican man enough to shout back at the Ministry of Truth and stand up to the bully??

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Democrats’ sequester tower of terror continues to collapse, floor by floor.  Amidst the media fact checks and stomach-turning posturing, Republican members of Congress are using hearings to hold bureaucrats’ feet to the fire over the claims and actions of their departments.  Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) blew the cover off of the administration’s duplicity on supposed cuts to pediatric vaccinations a few weeks ago; yesterday, it was South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy’s turn at bat.  Watch as he grills a Department of DHSHomeland Security Under Secretary as to why his team released ten “level 1” aggravated felons from federal custody,  (And he pretends he doesn’t even know what one is!!) supposedly due to sequester cuts:

GOWDY: “There was nothing else [you] could do as a cost savings measure. Is that your testimony?”

BORRAS: “No, that is not my testimony.”

My personal favorite exchange was the bit where Gowdy “asks” Borras how long the department had to prepare for sequestration, knowing exactly what the correct response would be: More than a year and a half.  And yet they were hoping the American people would simply accept the notion that they couldn’t spare $1,200 bucks to keep violent felons locked up, ostensibly because of small across-the-board federal spending reductions.  Not cuts, reductions in the rate of growth.  Remember, the president proposed and signed this law, then attempted to pawn off its supposed ill-effects onto Republicans — hoping to count on the credulous media the spread the distortions.  When the GOP wouldn’t cave, the administration mobilized to set the vast apparatus of the federal government to work against the interests and well being of the American people in order to justify their hysterical predictions of widespread misery.  I’ll leave you with the infamous quote that sums up this deeply cynical and reckless approach to governance: “It is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.” (Guy Benson)

the administration had approved $37 million in foreign aid for Pakistan at the expense of a tuition assistance program for veterans. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, plans to introduce a bill that will stop foreign aid funding until military tuition is restored:

“Why are we funding education programs for [Pakistan] when we can’t fund — or don’t fund — the education for our military? And to Pakistan of all places, where hatred for America is at its highest. Washington should watch its spending and prioritize.”

Poe went on to defend the program, claiming that:

“The cost of the program is .1 percent of the Defense Department’s budget, and one that has helped graduate 50,000 individuals. The Marines spent roughly $47 million from the program last year”.

Yeah, and sequestration was a 2% cut in an increase in spending and supposedly it was the end of the world!!! 🙂

Veteran unemployment already hovers around 9.4%, almost two points above the national average. And despite the president’s assurance last year that “no one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job”, the elimination of this program tells a contradicting story. Various departments have already made multiple cuts to make Americans feel the effects of the sequester, though as previously reported, the reasoning is purely political. (townhall)

Now the punchline:

The public by nearly 2-1, 61-33 percent, supports cutting the overall budget along the lines of the sequester that took effect last Friday. But by nearly an identical margin, Americans in this ABC News/Washington Post poll oppose an eight percent across-the-board cut in military spending.

Whoops! The Ministry of Truth has a Lot of work to do!

In a similar vein, Matt Yglesias over at Slate calls this poll “deeply misleading,” on the grounds that people tend to favor overall cuts, but when it comes down to deciding what specific areas TO cut, they’re more cautious. In other words, he feels that if the individual programs had been extended beyond simply military cuts, people would have said they were opposed to those, too.

Long story short, public opinion on budgetary matters is poorly structured and there isn’t a clear and internally consistent policy agenda that you can read from the polls. So if you constructed any ABC-style poll where you first ask about spending cuts and then ask about one particular program, you’d get the ABC result that people want big spending cuts but also want to exempt Program X from the cuts. But that’s just a kind of cheap trick. Relative to other programs, cuts to military spending are among the least-unpopular cuts around.

So he takes issue with the idea that Americans want cuts, but not from the military—of course, as he says himself, it’s hard to read the data and find a coherent policy mandate regarding any cuts.

To that end, then, it remains to be seen if the cuts that are about to take effect are as palpably felt—or objected to—as the administration has said they will be. Despite claims that airport lines would double and teachers would be immediately laid off, neither has happened (or in the case of the teachers, certainly not as a result of sequestration).

For all the hype about a 5% budget cut, it’s a pretty small amount compared to the deficit. Who knows? We may find that talking about cuts is more painful than actually executing them. And so long as your airport waiting time isn’t abnormally long, who’s to say you’ll notice? (Townhall)

So you can cut them but not Me!

I see that all day everyday at work. It’s called Narcissism (or NOT IN MY BACK POCKET). And we have generations of them now. From the elderly who created them to their great grand kids who were raised to expect it.

But I support across the board cuts. Even if my Ox gets gored.

But I’m an exception.

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

 Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Course Corrections

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

“My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance,” he said to ABC News. “My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work, and if we do that we are going to be bringing in more revenue.”

Aka, screw balancing a Budget I just want more tax money to Spend!
WHEN IN DEBT SPEND EVEN MORE!

“We’re not gonna balance the budget in 10 years,”

Not after what you’ve done to it! so why bother. Let’s just raise taxes so I can spend even more!

Mr. Obama said. “If you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucher-ize Medicare, you have to slash deeply into programs like Medicaid.”

Grandma off a cliff. Grandma eating dog food. Killing Old People. Heard it all before…

Mr. Obama also said Mr. Ryan’s budget called for higher taxes on the middle class.

You’ve already done that, Mr. President.

Mr. Ryan has claimed his budget plan is balanced — and that it accomplished fiscal solvency without raising taxes.

And, of course, we can’t have that without more Class Warfare, Taxes, and More Spending!!!  Same old…Same old…

NEXT…
The “Education” president

John Harrison was halfway to a bachelor’s degree but financially strapped when Marine recruiters began calling him in 2007.

His wife, Amanda Harrison, recalls their pitches: “Hey, there’s all these different ways to finish your degree and you don’t have to go into a lot of debt to do it.”

That was perhaps true until last week, when the Marines told Sgt. Harrison, 26, that his college tuition would no longer be paid.

“I was furious,” Amanda said. “So many of us cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for our service members to go to school.”

The Army, Air Force and Coast Guard followed suit by also suspending tuition assistance to tens of thousands of active-duty troops. A Navy spokesman told Yahoo News on Wednesday that possible changes to its tuition program would be announced by the end of the week.

The plans reimburse service members $250 per semester hour, up to $4,500 a year, for off-duty college tuition.

The military immediately blamed $85 billion in sequestration spending cuts that went into effect March 1.

Well, they are psychopaths (PTSD) with guns after all… Darn that evil sequestion.
Bit at least it hasn’t deterred The President Golf Game!
“The Secret Service told us that the tours cost $74,000 a week. How much is it going to cost for the President to travel later this week to Illinois? <to play golf>” Karl (ABC News) asked.
“How much does it cost for him to go and play golf?” Karl followed up.
No answer.
Fascinating.
Meanwhile, the People (and school children) can’t tour the The White House.
It’s good to Be The King…
NEXT…

The Obama administration said Thursday it had rearrested and brought back four of the most dangerous immigrants it released from detention last month in the run-up to the budget sequestration.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton testified to Congress that his agency released 10 “level one” offenders, and has gone out and apprehended four of them. He said the other six are nonviolent.

Mr. Morton also acknowledged that overall, 2,228 immigrants were released — far more than the several hundred the agency had initially acknowledged. Of those, 629 had criminal records, though Mr. Morton said they were low-level offenders. (WT)

Gee, that makes me feel so much better… 🙂

“Today’s ICE testimony directly contradicts repeated assurances and explanations peddled by the Obama administration in the days after the mass release of illegal aliens became public knowledge,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. “The American people were initially told there were hundreds, not thousands, of individuals released. We were assured they were low-level detainees of little public risk. As we now know, neither of these claims was accurate.”

Another petulant scare tactic gone wrong.

But Mr. Morton said he made the choice on his own without any input from the White House or Ms. Napolitano. Still, he was unable to give many of the exact figures members have demanded to know.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and one of those who wrote demanding answers, said Mr. Morton didn’t clear up very much.

“Why was the secretary of Homeland Security not aware of the release of convicted criminals by her own agency? Why did she tell us it was only hundreds who were released when we now learn it was thousands?” he said. “This is evidence of serious mismanagement at DHS under Secretary Napolitano.”

Shades of Fast & Furious…Fascinating…Deniability Cover?

The agency said the decision to release immigrants from custody was partly because of sequestration, but also because it had been detaining more people in the first half of the fiscal year, and had to slow down its pace to fit within its budget.

ICE is funded to detain an average of 34,000 immigrants at any one time but had been detaining up to 36,000 in the early months of the fiscal year, which Mr. Morton said meant they were always going to have to cut the number of people they were holding. (WT)

Gee, I thought Illegal Immigration was down… 🙂
Why would detention be up? Unless those “non-violent”  “low-level” unmonitored Illegals were committing more crimes… 🙂

So if you don’t let us Tax you even more and Spend Even more Bad things will happen!

NEXT: ObamaCare

Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people. The nation’s big health insurers say they expect premiums — or the cost for insurance coverage — to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out in January 2014. Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc., one of the nation’s largest insurers, calls the price hikes “premium rate shock.” “We’ve done all the math, we’ve shared it with all the regulators, we’ve shared it with all the people in Washington that need to see it, and I think it’s a big concern,” Bertolini said during the company’s annual meeting with investors in December. To be sure, there will be no across-the-board rate hikes for everyone, and there’s no reliable national data on how many people could see increases.

But the biggest price hikes are expected to hit a group that represents a relatively small slice of the insured population. That includes some of the roughly 14 million people who buy their own insurance as opposed to being covered under employer-sponsored plans, and to a lesser extent, some employees of smaller companies. The price increases are a downside of President Barack Obama’s health care law, which is expected to expand coverage to nearly 30 million uninsured people. The massive law calls for a number of changes that could cause premiums for people who don’t have coverage through a big employer to rise next year — at a time when health care costs already are expected to grow by 5 percent or more.
Throughout the healthcare debate (and his first campaign), President Obama promised that premiums would fall by an average of $2,500 annually per family.  He also pledged that overall healthcare costs would decline, not increase. Wrong, and wrong.  There’s a reason why Republicans are still fighting like hell to repeal and defund this monstrosity.   The Associated Press runs through a few of the reasons behind the looming cost spikes:
 

— Changes to how insurers set premiums according to age and gender could cause some premiums to rise as much as 50 percent, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, an industry trade group that’s funded by insurers.

— A new tax on premiums could raise prices as much as 2.3 percent in 2014 and more in subsequent years, according to a study commissioned by AHIP. Policyholders with plans that end in 2014 probably have already seen an impact from this.

— Requirements that insurance plans in many cases cover more health care or pay a greater share of a patient’s bill than they do now also could add to premiums, depending on the extent of a person’s current coverage, according AHIP.
While we’re at it, let’s address two more shattered promises of Obamacare.  (1) Remember “if you like your plan, you can keep it?”  The Obama administration has announced it’s taking an even bigger meat cleaver to the popular Medicare Advantage program than first anticipated. Democrats attack the Republican budget for “cutting Medicare on the backs of seniors” because the proposal includes a bipartisan reform plan for future seniors.  Democrats have already sliced $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare, and they’re about to slash the popular Medicare Advantage for millions of current seniors.  (2) In spite of the president’s “not a single dime” deficit pledge, the nonpartisan GAO estimates that Obamacare will add $6.2 trillion to our long term deficits.

NEXT…
On a different note: I’m genuinely surprised it took this long.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: ‘The View’ co-host fired for being too ‘right-wing,’ report says

Mrs. Hasselbeck, who continually battles the four other left-leaning women on the show, reportedly is too “right-wing” for the audience.

“The viewers they polled all said she was too extreme and right-wing,” a show insider told UsMagazine.com Friday. “People did not watch the show because of Elisabeth. So they told her yesterday her contract would not be renewed.”

It was not reported who will be taking her place.

Then Barbara Walters come out and denies it.

Miss Walters denied the report on Monday, telling viewers “we have no plans for Elisabeth to leave the show.” (WT)

“Having said that to all of you, [executive producer Bill Geddie] and I have always said that when one of you make the choice to leave, that’s your choice, and we will support your decision,”

Which is Showbiz for “Don’t let the Door hit you in the ass while we throw you out nicely and kill you will faint praise.” You make the decision to leap off the cliff so we don’t have to push you.

It looks better that way, darling, FOR YOU.

So it’s now just the “The View” from the Extreme Left. Gee, what took them so long. 🙂
So don’t “obstruct” us or Else it will get much worse for you! We’ll see to it!

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Hail Armageddon

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

(Charles Krauthammer) “The worst-case scenario for us,” a leading anti-budget-cuts lobbyist told The Post, “is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens.”

Think about that. Worst case? That a government drowning in debt should cut back by 2.2 percent — and the country survives. That a government now borrowing 35 cents of every dollar it spends reduces that borrowing by two cents “and nothing bad really happens.” Oh, the humanity!

A normal citizen might think this a good thing. For reactionary liberalism, however, whatever sum our ever-inflating government happens to spend today (now double what Bill Clinton spent in his last year) is the Platonic ideal — the reduction of which, however minuscule, is a national calamity.

Or damn well should be. Otherwise, people might get the idea that we can shrink government and live on.

To a liberal the horror of you not needing them or not needing them more and more is a their worst nightmare. You have to be dependent on them, for everything, including your thoughts. That’s just the way their universe works.

You can’t possibly survive without their “benevolence”, their “fairness” and their “justice”!

And cutting a few days of overspending is like a mortal wound to these guys.

Remember, they are the drug dealers (money) who depend on you being addicted to them.  But they are also Drug addicts who need a bigger and bigger hit to get that buzz of importance and power they crave.

The Obama administration has every incentive to make the sky fall, lest we suffer that terrible calamity — cuts the nation survives. Are they threatening to pare back consultants, conferences, travel and other nonessential fluff? Hardly. It shall be air-traffic control. Meat inspection. Weather forecasting.

On the local level it’s always, Cops, and Firefighters. It’s an all trick.

Then in Phoenix, they pass a Food Tax to create more Firefighters and Cops and don’t do it and now they have a fight to keep or else…Guess what? 🙂

In Education, they never talk about cutting the Administrators and Bureaucrats. The people who SHOULD be cut.

Nope, it’s all about FEAR.

“Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells.”

― Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

A 2011 Government Accountability Office report gave a sampling of the vastness of what could be cut, consolidated and rationalized in Washington: 44 overlapping job training programs, 18 for nutrition assistance, 82 (!) on teacher quality, 56 dealing with financial literacy, more than 20 for homelessness, etc. Total annual cost: $100 billion-$200 billion, about two to five times the entire domestic sequester.

Are these on the chopping block? No sir. It’s firemen first. That’s the phrase coined in 1976 by legendary Washington Monthly editor Charlie Peters to describe the way government functionaries beat back budget cuts. Dare suggest a nick in the city budget, and the mayor immediately shuts down the firehouse. The DMV back office, stacked with nepotistic incompetents, remains intact. Shrink it and no one would notice. Sell the firetruck — the people scream and the city council falls silent about any future cuts.

After all, the sequester is just one-half of 1 percent of GDP. It amounts to 1.4 cents on the dollar of nondefense spending, 2 cents overall.

Because of this year’s payroll tax increase, millions of American workers have had to tighten their belts by precisely 2 percent. They found a way. Washington, spending $3.8 trillion, cannot? If so, we might as well declare bankruptcy now and save the attorneys’ fees.

The problem with sequestration, of course, is that the cuts are across the board and do not allow money to move between accounts. It’s dumb because it doesn’t discriminate.

Fine. Then change the law. That’s why we have a Congress. Discriminate. Prioritize. That’s why we have budgets. Except that the Democratic Senate hasn’t passed one in four years. (1,402 days) And the White House, which proposed the sequester in the first place, had 18 months to establish rational priorities among accounts — and did nothing.

When the GOP House passed an alternative that cut where the real money is — entitlement spending — President Obama threatened a veto. Meaning, he would have insisted that the sequester go into effect — the very same sequester he now tells us will bring on Armageddon.

Good grief. The entire sequester would have reduced last year’s deficit from $1.33 trillion to $1.24 trillion. A fraction of a fraction. Nonetheless, insists Obama, such a cut is intolerable. It has to be “balanced” — i.e., largely replaced — by yet more taxes.

Which demonstrates that, for Obama, this is not about deficit reduction, which interests him not at all. The purpose is purely political: to complete his Election Day victory by breaking the Republican opposition.

At the fiscal cliff, Obama broke — and split — the Republicans on taxes. With the sequester, he intends to break them on spending. Make the cuts as painful as possible, and watch the Republicans come crawling for a “balanced” (i.e., tax-hiking) deal.

In the past two years, House Republicans stopped cold Obama’s left-liberal agenda. Break them now, and the road is open to resume enactment of the expansive, entitlement-state liberalism that Obama proclaimed in his second inaugural address.

But he cannot win if “nothing bad really happens.” Indeed, he’d look both foolish and cynical for having cried wolf.

Obama’s incentive to deliberately make the most painful and socially disruptive cuts possible (say, oh, releasing illegal immigrants from prison) is enormous. And alarming.

Which was over a thousand BEFORE the Sequester not 300 as claimed. It was a just an excuse to do what THEY wanted to do all along anyhow.

Hail Armageddon.

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

And Obama says he’s “Not a Dictator”. 🙂
It’s just his way or Armageddon!
Vote for Armageddon! 🙂
Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

 Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Michael Ramirez Cartoon
Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

 

 

 

Give the People What they Want III: The Big Government Happy Meal

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

Mark Steyn: Nailed it!

Previously on The Perils of Pauline:

Last year, our plucky heroine, the wholesome apple-cheeked American republic, was trapped in an express elevator hurtling out of control toward the debt ceiling. Would she crash into it? Or would she make some miraculous escape?

Yes! At the very last minute of her white-knuckle thrill ride to her rendezvous with destiny, she was rescued by Congress’s decision to set up . . . a Super Committee! Those who can, do. Those who can’t, form a committee. Those who really can’t, form a Super Committee — and then put John Kerry on it for good measure. The bipartisan Super Committee of Super Friends was supposed to find $1.2 trillion dollars of deficit reduction by last Thanksgiving, or plucky little America would wind up trussed like a turkey and carved up by “automatic sequestration.”

Sequestration sounds like castration, only more so: It would chop off everything in sight. It would be so savage in its dismemberment of poor helpless America that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the course of a decade the sequestration cuts would reduce the federal debt by $153 billion. Sorry, I meant to put on my Dr. Evil voice for that: ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THREE BILLION DOLLARS!!! Which is about what the United States government currently borrows every month. No sane person could willingly countenance brutally saving a month’s worth of debt over the course of a decade.

So now we have the latest cliffhanger: the Fiscal Cliff, below which lies a bottomless abyss of sequestration, tax-cut-extension expiries, Alternative Minimum Tax adjustments, new Obamacare taxes, the expiry of the deferment of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, as well as the expiry of the deferment of the implementation of the adjustment of the correction of the extension of the reduction to the proposed increase of the Alternative Minimum Growth Sustainability Reduction Rate. They don’t call it a yawning chasm for nothing.

As America hangs by its fingernails wiggling its toesies over the vertiginous plummet to oblivion, what can save her now? An Even More Super Committee? A bipartisan agreement in which Republicans agree to cave and Democrats agree not to laugh at them too much? 🙂 (ROTFL!) That could be just the kind of farsighted reach-across-the-aisle compromise that rescues the nation until next week’s thrill-packed episode when America’s strapped into the driver’s seat of a runaway Chevy Volt careering round the hairpin bends on full charge, or trapped in an abandoned subdivision overrun by foreclosure zombies.

I suppose it’s possible to take this recurring melodrama seriously, but there’s no reason to. The problem facing the United States government is that it spends over a trillion dollars a year that it doesn’t have. If you want to make that number go away, you need either to reduce spending or to increase revenue. With the best will in the world, you can’t interpret the election result as a spectacular victory for less spending. Indeed, if nothing else, the unfortunate events of November 6 should have performed the useful task of disabusing us poor conservatives that America is any kind of “center-right nation.” A few months ago, I dined with a (pardon my English) French intellectual who, apropos Mitt Romney’s stump-speech warnings that we were on a one-way ticket to Continental-sized dependency, chortled to me, “Americans love Big Government as much as Europeans. The only difference is that Americans refuse to admit it.”

My Gallic charmer is on to something. According to the most recent (2009) OECD statistics: government expenditures per person in France, $18,866.00; in the United States, $19,266.00. That’s adjusted for purchasing-power parity, and yes, no comparison is perfect, but did you ever think the difference between America and the cheese-eating surrender monkeys would come down to quibbling over the fine print? In that sense, the federal debt might be better understood as an American Self-Delusion Index, measuring the ever widening gap between the national mythology (a republic of limited government and self-reliant citizens) and the reality (a 21st-century cradle-to-grave nanny state in which, as the Democrats’ convention boasted, “government is the only thing we do together”).

Generally speaking, functioning societies make good-faith efforts to raise what they spend, subject to fluctuations in economic fortune: Government spending in Australia is 33.1 percent of GDP, and tax revenues are 27.1 percent. Likewise, government spending in Norway is 46.4 percent and revenues are 41 percent — a shortfall but in the ballpark. Government spending in the United States is 42.2 percent, but revenues are 24 percent — the widest spending/taxing gulf in any major economy.

So all the agonizing over our annual trillion-plus deficits overlooks the obvious solution: Given that we’re spending like Norwegians, why don’t we just pay Norwegian tax rates?

No danger of that. If (in Milton Himmelfarb’s famous formulation) Jews earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans, Americans are taxed like Puerto Ricans but vote like Scandinavians. We already have a more severely redistributive taxation system than Europe in which the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans pay 70 percent of income tax while the poorest 20 percent shoulder just three-fifths of one percent. By comparison, the Norwegian tax burden is relatively equitably distributed. Yet Obama now wishes “the rich” to pay their “fair share” — presumably 80 or 90 percent. After all, as Warren Buffett pointed out in the New York Times this week, the Forbes 400 richest Americans have a combined wealth of $1.7 trillion. That sounds a lot, and once upon a time it was. But today, if you confiscated every penny the Forbes 400 have, it would be enough to cover just over one year’s federal deficit. And after that you’re back to square one. It’s not that “the rich” aren’t paying their “fair share,” it’s that America isn’t. A majority of the electorate has voted itself a size of government it’s not willing to pay for.

A couple of years back, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute calculated that, if Washington were to increase every single tax by 30 percent, it would be enough to balance the books — in 25 years. If you were to raise taxes by 50 percent, it would be enough to fund our entitlement liabilities — just our current ones, not our future liabilities, which would require further increases. This is the scale of course correction needed.

If you don’t want that, you need to cut spending — like Harry Reid’s been doing. “Now remember, we’ve already done more than a billion dollars’ worth of cuts,” he bragged the other day. “So we need to get some credit for that.”

Wow! A billion dollars’ worth of cuts! Washington borrows $188 million every hour. So, if Reid took over five hours to negotiate those “cuts,” it was a complete waste of time. So are most of the “plans.” Any “debt-reduction plan” that doesn’t address at least $1.3 trillion a year is, in fact, a debt-increase plan.

So given that the ruling party will not permit spending cuts, what should Republicans do? If I were John Boehner, I’d say: “Clearly there’s no mandate for small government in the election results. So, if you milquetoast pantywaist sad-sack excuses for the sorriest bunch of so-called Americans who ever lived want to vote for Swede-sized statism, it’s time to pony up.”

Okay, he might want to focus-group it first. But that fundamental dishonesty is the heart of the crisis. You cannot simultaneously enjoy American-sized taxes and European-sized government. One or the other has to go.

Bravo!

So you want everything and you want some else to pay for it because you want what you want when you want it because you deserve it?

Time for Mom and Dad to step up and say, so how are you going to pay for it dear?

I’ll take Mr. Smither’s money, he’s rich, he can afford it.

That’s nice dear, then what it’s not sustainable? And what about Mr. Jones wanting to take your money now because YOU have it?

And how does that solve the problem? You can’t have money for nothing?

Uhhh…. 🙂

beach balls

 

The Book of Revelations

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

…a group calling itself Catholics for Obama had been making push poll phone calls in support of the president’s re-election bid. Among the questions being asked, he said, was “How can you support a ‘Mormon’ who does not believe in Jesus Christ?”

The phone banker making the call, which in this case went to a woman Hudson identifies as “the head of a pro-life committee at a parish I know” reportedly also asserted that “President Obama did not support abortion” and that Planned Parenthood “helps children get healthcare and prenatal care and does not promote abortion.” In fact, the group is one of the nation’s largest abortion providers.

All this amounts to a whispering campaign that is both dishonest about the president’s record on abortion and deviously attempts to divide the Catholic electorate on the issue of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s religion—something the Obama campaign has repeatedly promised it would not do. With the election getting closer, the comments and attacks are getting nastier. Some people, apparently, will do anything to hold on to power. (US News)

He’s Rich. He’s Mormon. He’s a Cultist. He must be Evil! 🙂

FALSE SENSES

A little seen video shows a group associated with Al Qaeda attacking the Red Cross outpost in Benghazi with a rocket propelled grenade. The Red Cross attack took place in May and the group responsible delivered an IED to the front gate of the US Consulate in Benghazi two weeks later.

Still think it was about a Film?

The attack on the Red Cross took place on May 22nd and resulted in no injuries. It was later determined that a group calling itself the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades was responsible.

Two weeks after the attack on the Red Cross, the same group assembled an IED and dropped it at the front gate of the US Consulate in Benghazi. The consulate attack was made in retaliation for a US drone strike in Pakistan that killed Al Qaeda’s 2nd in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi. During the June 5th consulate bombing the group left leaflets at the scene identifying themselves and taking responsibility. However, as with the Red Cross attack, no one was injured in the consulate bombing.

A report Monday by the New York Times suggests that the ineffective attack in June may have led to a false sense of security at the Benghazi consulate. The group which attacked the site on September 11th resulting in the death of four Americans was not the same group that attacked the site in June. (Breitbart)

THE FISCAL CLIFF APPROACHES

On January 2nd, 2013, absent some kind of budget deal, America will fall off the “fiscal cliff” and face a massive tax increase and across the board cuts in government spending. Like most crisis these days, it’s a creation of politicians. 

A new study from the Brookings Institution’s Tax Policy Center finds that the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts at the end of the year will hit Americans with a $500 billion tax hike. While liberal talking points suggest that only the wealthy received a tax cut under Bush, in fact every income group saw their taxes reduced. The rich got “more” tax cuts for the simple reason that they pay more in taxes. The expiration of the Bush tax cuts will hit everybody.

An average middle-class household — making between around $40,000 to $65,000 — would see an almost $2,000 tax hike next year, while those making under $20,000 a year would see their bill rise by an average of just over $400. Both groups would see their after-tax income drop by around four percent. 

But households in the top 20 percent of earners would take a $14,000 hit, and those making a half million dollars or more a year — the top one percent of taxpayers — face an average $120,000 increase. That top one percent would see a more than 10 percent hit to their after-tax income. 

According to the study, almost nine out of ten households would see higher taxes. The economic impact is likely to be disastrous, as the economy is already teetering on the brink of recession.

The companion to this debate will be a fight over “sequestration,” a process triggering across-the-board spending cuts throughout government. The anticipated cuts fall heavily on defense programs, which could lead to wide-spread layoffs and cuts in military forces. This event was caused by last year’s punt on the debt ceiling fight. It was meant to be a “trigger” to pressure the President and Congress to come up with a real plan to reduce government spending. 

The Senate Democrats have failed to produce even an annual budget in the past 3 1/2 years, so no surprise that they failed to agree to a plan to cut government spending. 

Congress will have two months to sort out this mess after the elections. Much of what happens depends on the outcome of the elections. If Obama loses, it’s doubtful he’ll be in any kind of mood to avert the tax hikes or across-the-board cuts. He’s more than petulant enough to let Romney inherit his mess. 

If the GOP makes significant gains in Congress, they too may want to wait until the new Congress is sworn in, when they’ll have greater leverage to take action. 

Keep in mind, though, that this whole “fiscal cliff” mess was brought to you by the very people who are supposed to fix it. At some point, you have to stop punting and actually fix the problem. (Breitbart)

But that might make them unpopular. Giving out free stuff is so much easier.
🙂

FAST & FURIOUS

Irony Alert: Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were shot, one fatally, Tuesday morning in an area south Arizona known as a major drug-smuggling corridor, authorities said.

The identities of the agents were not immediately released, but the shooting occurred at the Brian Terry Station near Naco, Ariz., which is just south of Tucson. The station was named after an agent who was killed in the line of duty in December 2010. The area is considered a remote part of the state and sources tell Fox News that the shooting occurred about eight miles from the border. 

Confirmed: Weapons from Fast and Furious were used to gun down teenagers at a birthday party in Mexico in January 2010.

As news breaks that 57 more Fast and Furious weapons have been found in Mexico, it is also being confirmed that some of those weapons were used to slaughter 14 Mexican teenagers and wound 12 more near Ciudad Juarez.

According to reports, a group of armed commandos parked outside a birthday party attended by high school and college students on January 30, 2010, and opened fire with some of the weapons which had been smuggled across the border during the Fast and Furious operation.

The deaths magnify the already gut-wrenching news of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death by a man armed with Fast and Furious weapons in December 2010. The slaughter of the teenagers also draws renewed attention to the hundreds of Mexican citizens who have been confirmed dead by weapons from Fast and Furious over the last two years.

Is this blood on Attorney General Eric Holder’s hands? (Breitbart)

Yeah, but it’s all Bush’s Fault! 🙂

NOVEMBER IS COMING

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel