Disable the Throttle

The Social Security program ran a $47.8 billion deficit in fiscal 2012 as the program brought in $725.429 billion in cash and paid $773.247 for benefits and overhead expenses, according to official data published by Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration also released new data revealing that the number of workers collecting disability benefits hit a record 8,827,795 in December–up from 8,805,353 in November.

The overall number of Social Security program beneficiaries—including retired workers, dependent family members and survivors and disabled workers and their dependent family members—also hit a record in December, climbing from 56,658,978 in November to 56,758,185 in December.

In 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an average of 112.556 million full-time workers in the United States, of whom 17.806 million worked full-time for local, state or federal government. That left an average of only 94.750 million full-time private sector workers in the country.

That means that for every 1.67 Americans who worked full-time in the private sector in 2011, there is now 1 person collecting benefits from the Social Security administration.

Despite its fiscal 2012 “net cash flow” deficit, as SSA describes it, the agency was able to book an on-paper “increase” of $64.580 billion in the Social Security Trust Funds. That, SSA says, is because the U.S. Treasury “paid” the trust funds $112.398 in “interest” in fiscal 2012 on the historial surpluses in Social Security taxes that the Treasury siphoned off to cover other spending by the federal government.

As of the end of calendar year 2011, according to SSA, the Social Security Trust Fund equaled approximately $2.678 trillion.

The last time the Social Security program ran a “net cash flow” surplus was in fiscal 2009. In that year, Social Security’s revenues exceeded its benefit and overhead payments by $19.358 billion. In fiscal 2010, Social Security ran a $36.8 billion deficit; and, in fiscal 2011, it ran a $47.975 deficit.

There are two Social Security Trust Funds: the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. The OASI Trust Fund covers benefits to retired workers and their families and deceased workers families. The DI Trust fund covers benefits to disabled workers and their families. The trust funds are required by law to hand over all surplus revenues to the Treasury and the Treasury then provides “special issue” non-marketable bonds—essentially electronic IOUs—to the trust funds in return for the cash. These “IOUs” become part of the national debt. When the Treasury pays “interest” that increases the value of the Social Security Trust Funds it does so by increasing the number of IOUs it owes the trust funds.

When the Social Security program runs a net cash flow deficit, as it has in the last three fiscal years, the Treasury needs to borrow cash from the “public” to keep the program funded. As of Dec. 21, the federal government’s debt was $16.336 trillion. (CNS)

Bur don’t worry, everything is fine, that Cliff we are going over is no big deal. We just have to spend even more and tax rich people more and everything will be fine.

Enjoy your ObamaCare taxes…. 🙂

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Did I Build That?

OBAMA EMBRACED BY CATHOLICS!

ROMNEY DINES WITH RICH PEOPLE!
ROTFL! 🙂

The Latest Benghazi screw up by Obama: “If four Americans get killed, it’s not OPTIMAL”

“Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.”(Daily Mail)

That’s why they knew within hours that it was terrorist attack but refused to say it for weeks and let others give totally false information and he, himself, has refused to say “terrorist attack” to this day.
Oh, and the ‘The left is already saying that the ‘not optimal’ quote has been taken out of context; they were saying that Stewart used the word ‘optimal’ first.

So it must be Jon Stewart’s Fault!

I guess Obama didn’t build that! 🙂
But he did build this:
In the wake of the Treasury Department’s newly released summary of federal spending for 2012, it’s now possible to detail just how profligate the Obama years have been.  Here’s the upshot:  Under Obama, for every $7 we’ve had, we’ve spent nearly $11 (or, to be more exact, $10.95).  That’s like a family that makes $70,000 a year — and is already knee-deep in debt — blowing nearly $110,000 a year.
In fiscal year 2012(which ended on September 30), the federal government acquired $2.449 trillion in tax revenue and other receipts.  It spent $3.538 trillion — 44 percent more than it had available to spend.  The resulting deficit was $1.089 trillion.In fiscal year 2011, the federal government acquired $2.303 trillion in tax revenues and other receipts.  It spent $3.603 trillion — 56 percent more than it had available to spend.  The resulting deficit was $1.3 trillion.But, as well all know by now, that was Bush’s fault. He forced them to spend the money like some Puppet Master behind the scenes or a drug addict who blames his pimp for his addiction. Either way, it’s all BS, but that’s the left for you.

Federal welfare spending has grown by 32 percent over the past four years, fattened by President Obama’s stimulus spending and swelled by a growing number of Americans whose recession-depleted incomes now qualify them for public assistance, according to numbers released Thursday.

Federal spending on more than 80 low-income assistance programs reached $746 billion in 2011, and state spending on those programs brought the total to $1.03 trillion, according to figures from the Congressional Research Service and the Senate Budget Committee.

That makes welfare the single biggest chunk of federal spending — topping Social Security and basic defense spending.

And this doesn’t even include Entitlement Spending (Social Security, etc)!!
Jonah Goldberg:  “Now Gov. Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place.” — President Obama in an ad released Sept. 27. This is Obama’s core message. In one way or another, he says it all the time. It’s his kicker on the stump. You cannot watch an interview with the president or one of his subalterns without hearing it. 

And yet, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a TV interviewer, host or pundit ask, “What are you talking about?” 

Finally, the Washington Post’s “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, (not exactly a darling of the political right) tackled it recently. He found that it’s a lie, giving it three “Pinocchios” out of four. He also found that the Obama campaign has virtually no citations to back up the claim. The supporting material for the ad quoted above cites a single column by the Post’s liberal blogger, Ezra Klein, who told Kessler: “I am absolutely not saying the Bush tax cuts led to the financial crisis. To my knowledge, there’s no evidence of that.” 

Klein is right. So is Kessler. “It is time for the Obama campaign to retire this talking point,” Kessler concluded, “no matter how much it seems to resonate with voters.” He would have given it the full four Pinocchios save for the fact that Obama occasionally throws in “deregulation” along with “tax cuts” as part of the explanation. In its defense, the Obama camp says it means all of Bush’s policies, not just the tax cuts it harps on almost exclusively — never mind that even Obama admits Bush issued more regulations than he did. 

The question of what caused the crisis is obviously still controversial (though, Kessler notes, the official inquiry makes no mention of Bush’s tax cuts). But a consensus seems to be forming around the following narrative: The federal government, out of an abundance of concern for the plight of the poor and middle class, made it too easy to buy a home. Congress, on a bipartisan basis, set unrealistic affordable-housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President Clinton used those goals to expand access to mortgages to low-income borrowers. Then President George W. Bush, with the approval of Congress, expanded the practice, until way too many low-income or otherwise underqualified Americans owned mortgages they couldn’t afford.

A mixture of greed, idealism, cynicism and stupidity led to the practice of bundling those iffy mortgages into financial instruments that Wall Street didn’t know how to handle and regulators didn’t know how to regulate. As Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) put it in 2003, he wanted to “to roll the dice a bit” on regulating subprime mortgages. When the Washington-abetted housing boom went bust, regulators demanded immediate markdowns of mortgage-backed securities, which required financial institutions to sell them, creating a fire-sale atmosphere that fueled the panic even more. The Federal Reserve responded by letting money tighten in a way it hadn’t since the 1930s. 

Some Obama defenders will say that Bush’s deficits made it harder to deal with the crisis. That seems reasonable, even if it’s a red herring in the debate about what caused the crisis. And Obama’s record on deficits hardly gives him much standing. 

I once thought that Obama’s relentless Bush-blaming was simply a mix of political expediency and gracelessness. But the truth is more complicated. Liberals have smartly, albeit cynically, laid the case that Bush was Herbert Hoover in order to make the claim that Obama is Franklin D. Roosevelt. For this to work, Hoover must be remembered as a do-nothing free-market guy. But Hoover was no such thing. He nearly tripled government spending in response to the Depression. FDR used Hoover’s spending as a baseline for his own, even as he dishonestly decried Hoover’s passivity. 

Obama has done largely the same thing. The first bailouts of the crisis were supported by Obama but launched by Bush. The same goes for the first stimulus. Obama simply tripled down on all that while claiming he was breaking with Bush. 

Or maybe I have that all wrong. Maybe we could get some clarity by asking the president, “What are you talking about?”

But it’s much pithier, especially for your class warrior base to give the Chicken McNuggets battle cry of “Bush did it”.
Much simpler for your mindless drones to comprehend.
Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson
Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

State of the Union

I enjoyed “Chopped” last night, amusingly it was a “Redemption” episode where they brought back contestants there previously chopped.

The winner, a guy who was previously homeless and has kicked and scratch and worked himself up to being a chef. He got beat one the first show. But now he was back to try again.

He fought hard and he won.

How the perfect anti-Obama. Redemption and Hard Work Rewarded. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

The Republican National Committee has compiled this video comparing lines President Obama used tonight in his State of the Union Address with lines he used in previous addresses before Congress:

Obama 2010

: “It’s time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs.

Obama 2012

: “Colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.”

***

Obama 2010

: “And we should continue the work by fixing our broken immigration system.”

Obama 2011

: “I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration.”

Obama 2012

: “I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration.”

***

Obama 2010

: “We face a deficit of trust.”

Obama 2012

: “I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust . . .”

***

Obama 2010

: “We can’t wage a perpetual campaign.”

Obama 2012

: “We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign.”

The good news is that after a couple years these sorts of speeches begin to write themselves. (KFYI)

So I didn’t miss much apparently. 🙂

2009: “I will be held accountable,” Obama said. “I’ve got four years and … A year form now, I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress, but there’s still going to be some pain out there … If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

So it’s 3 years later. Leave already… 🙂

But as we all know Liberals can say things like that but when it come to fruition they have forgotten they even said it and when you remind them they blow it off because they didn’t mean it then and they don’t mean it now.

And the new sound bites, lofty rhetoric, they don’t mean that either. Never did.

They just want you to buy it on the moment, then forget it, just like they do.

It’s not like they have principles or anything.

Thomas Sowell: This may be the golden age of presumptuous ignorance. The most recent demonstrations of that are the Occupy Wall Street mobs. It is doubtful how many of these semi-literate sloganizers could tell the difference between a stock and a bond.

Yet there they are, mouthing off about Wall Street on television, cheered on by politicians and the media. If this is not a golden age of presumptuous ignorance, perhaps it should be called a brass age.

No one has more brass than the President of the United States, though his brass may be more polished than that of the Occupy Wall Street mobs. When Barack Obama speaks loftily about “investing in the industries of the future,” does anyone ask: What in the world would qualify him to know what are the industries of the future?

Why would people who have spent their careers in politics know more about investing than people who have spent their careers as investors?

Presumptuous ignorance is not confined to politicians or rowdy political activists, by any means. From time to time, I get a huffy letter or e-mail from a reader who begins, “You obviously don’t know what you are talking about…”

The particular subject may be one on which my research assistants and I have amassed piles of research material and official statistics. It may even be a subject on which I have written a few books, but somehow the presumptuously ignorant just know that I didn’t really study that issue, because my conclusions don’t agree with theirs or with what they have heard.

At one time I was foolish enough to try to reason with such people. But one of the best New Year’s resolutions I ever made, some years ago, was to stop trying to reason with unreasonable people. It has been good for my blood pressure and probably for my health in general.

A recent column that mentioned the “indirect subsidies” from the government to the Postal Service brought the presumptuously ignorant out in force, fighting mad.

Because the government does not directly subsidize the current operating expenses of the Postal Service, that is supposed to show that the Postal Service pays its own way and costs the taxpayers nothing.

Politicians may be crooks but they are not fools. Easily observed direct subsidies can create a political problem. Far better to set up an arrangement that will allow government-sponsored enterprises — whether the Postal Service, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Tennessee Valley Authority — to operate in such a way that they can claim to be self-supporting and not costing the taxpayers anything, no matter how much indirect subsidy they get.

As just one example, the Postal Service has a multi-billion dollar line of credit at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Hey, we could all use a few billions, every now and then, to get us over the rough spots. But we are not the Postal Service.

Theoretically, the Postal Service is going to pay it all back some day, and that theoretical possibility keeps it from being called a direct subsidy. The Postal Service is also exempt from paying taxes, among other exemptions it has from costs that other businesses have to pay.

Exemption from taxes, and from other requirements that apply to other businesses, are also not called subsidies. For people who mistake words for realities, that is enough for them to buy the political line — and to get huffy with those who don’t.

Loan guarantees are a favorite form of hidden subsidies for all sorts of special interests. At a given point in time, it can be said that these guarantees cost the taxpayers nothing. But when they suddenly do cost something — as with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — they can cost billions.

One of the reasons for so much presumptuous ignorance flourishing in our time may be the emphasis on “self-esteem” in our schools and colleges. Children not yet a decade old have been encouraged, or even required, to write letters to public figures, sounding off on issues ranging from taxes to nuclear missiles.

Our schools begin promoting presumptuous ignorance early on. It is apparently one of the few things they teach well. The end result is people without much knowledge, but with a lot of brass.

Bravo!

Now does that sound like Liberalism today and Obama in particular… 🙂

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

Political Cartoons by Larry Wright

Moral Hazard

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc-ra-cy)- a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing,and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed,are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

THE $7 Trillion Dollar Secret

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.
‘Change Their Votes’

“When you see the dollars the banks got, it’s hard to make the case these were successful institutions,” says Sherrod Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio who in 2010 introduced an unsuccessful bill to limit bank size. “This is an issue that can unite the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. There are lawmakers in both parties who would change their votes now.”

The size of the bailout came to light after Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, won a court case against the Fed and a group of the biggest U.S. banks called Clearing House Association LLC to force lending details into the open.

The Fed, headed by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, argued that revealing borrower details would create a stigma — investors and counterparties would shun firms that used the central bank as lender of last resort — and that needy institutions would be reluctant to borrow in the next crisis. Clearing House Association fought Bloomberg’s lawsuit up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the banks’ appeal in March 2011.

$7.77 Trillion

The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

“TARP at least had some strings attached,” says Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, referring to the program’s executive-pay ceiling. “With the Fed programs, there was nothing.”

Bankers didn’t disclose the extent of their borrowing. On Nov. 26, 2008, then-Bank of America (BAC) Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis wrote to shareholders that he headed “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” He didn’t say that his Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm owed the central bank $86 billion that day.
‘Motivate Others’

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders in a March 26, 2010, letter that his bank used the Fed’s Term Auction Facility “at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” He didn’t say that the New York-based bank’s total TAF borrowings were almost twice its cash holdings or that its peak borrowing of $48 billion on Feb. 26, 2009, came more than a year after the program’s creation.

Howard Opinsky, a spokesman for JPMorgan (JPM), declined to comment about Dimon’s statement or the company’s Fed borrowings. Jerry Dubrowski, a spokesman for Bank of America, also declined to comment.

The Fed has been lending money to banks through its so- called discount window since just after its founding in 1913. Starting in August 2007, when confidence in banks began to wane, it created a variety of ways to bolster the financial system with cash or easily traded securities. By the end of 2008, the central bank had established or expanded 11 lending facilities catering to banks, securities firms and corporations that couldn’t get short-term loans from their usual sources.
‘Core Function’

“Supporting financial-market stability in times of extreme market stress is a core function of central banks,” says William B. English, director of the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs. “Our lending programs served to prevent a collapse of the financial system and to keep credit flowing to American families and businesses.”

The Fed has said that all loans were backed by appropriate collateral. That the central bank didn’t lose money should “lead to praise of the Fed, that they took this extraordinary step and they got it right,” says Phillip Swagel, a former assistant Treasury secretary under Henry M. Paulson and now a professor of international economic policy at the University of Maryland.

The Fed initially released lending data in aggregate form only. Information on which banks borrowed, when, how much and at what interest rate was kept from public view.

The secrecy extended even to members of President George W. Bush’s administration who managed TARP. Top aides to Paulson weren’t privy to Fed lending details during the creation of the program that provided crisis funding to more than 700 banks, say two former senior Treasury officials who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak.
Big Six

The Treasury Department relied on the recommendations of the Fed to decide which banks were healthy enough to get TARP money and how much, the former officials say. The six biggest U.S. banks, which received $160 billion of TARP funds, borrowed as much as $460 billion from the Fed, measured by peak daily debt calculated by Bloomberg using data obtained from the central bank. Paulson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The six — JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Morgan Stanley — accounted for 63 percent of the average daily debt to the Fed by all publicly traded U.S. banks, money managers and investment- services firms, the data show. By comparison, they had about half of the industry’s assets before the bailout, which lasted from August 2007 through April 2010. The daily debt figure excludes cash that banks passed along to money-market funds.
Bank Supervision

While the emergency response prevented financial collapse, the Fed shouldn’t have allowed conditions to get to that point, says Joshua Rosner, a banking analyst with Graham Fisher & Co. in New York who predicted problems from lax mortgage underwriting as far back as 2001. The Fed, the primary supervisor for large financial companies, should have been more vigilant as the housing bubble formed, and the scale of its lending shows the “supervision of the banks prior to the crisis was far worse than we had imagined,” Rosner says.

Bernanke in an April 2009 speech said that the Fed provided emergency loans only to “sound institutions,” even though its internal assessments described at least one of the biggest borrowers, Citigroup, as “marginal.”

On Jan. 14, 2009, six days before the company’s central bank loans peaked, the New York Fed gave CEO Vikram Pandit a report declaring Citigroup’s financial strength to be “superficial,” bolstered largely by its $45 billion of Treasury funds. The document was released in early 2011 by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a panel empowered by Congress to probe the causes of the crisis.
‘Need Transparency’

Andrea Priest, a spokeswoman for the New York Fed, declined to comment, as did Jon Diat, a spokesman for Citigroup.

“I believe that the Fed should have independence in conducting highly technical monetary policy, but when they are putting taxpayer resources at risk, we need transparency and accountability,” says Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.

Judd Gregg, a former New Hampshire senator who was a lead Republican negotiator on TARP, and Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who chaired the House Financial Services Committee, both say they were kept in the dark.

“We didn’t know the specifics,” says Gregg, who’s now an adviser to Goldman Sachs.

“We were aware emergency efforts were going on,” Frank says. “We didn’t know the specifics.”
Disclose Lending

Frank co-sponsored the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, billed as a fix for financial-industry excesses. Congress debated that legislation in 2010 without a full understanding of how deeply the banks had depended on the Fed for survival.

It would have been “totally appropriate” to disclose the lending data by mid-2009, says David Jones, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who has written four books about the central bank.

“The Fed is the second-most-important appointed body in the U.S., next to the Supreme Court, and we’re dealing with a democracy,” Jones says. “Our representatives in Congress deserve to have this kind of information so they can oversee the Fed.”

The Dodd-Frank law required the Fed to release details of some emergency-lending programs in December 2010. It also mandated disclosure of discount-window borrowers after a two- year lag.
Protecting TARP

TARP and the Fed lending programs went “hand in hand,” says Sherrill Shaffer, a banking professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and a former chief economist at the New York Fed. While the TARP money helped insulate the central bank from losses, the Fed’s willingness to supply seemingly unlimited financing to the banks assured they wouldn’t collapse, protecting the Treasury’s TARP investments, he says.

“Even though the Treasury was in the headlines, the Fed was really behind the scenes engineering it,” Shaffer says.

Congress, at the urging of Bernanke and Paulson, created TARP in October 2008 after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. made it difficult for financial institutions to get loans. Bank of America and New York-based Citigroup each received $45 billion from TARP. At the time, both were tapping the Fed. Citigroup hit its peak borrowing of $99.5 billion in January 2009, while Bank of America topped out in February 2009 at $91.4 billion.
No Clue

Lawmakers knew none of this.

They had no clue that one bank, New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), took $107 billion in Fed loans in September 2008, enough to pay off one-tenth of the country’s delinquent mortgages. The firm’s peak borrowing occurred the same day Congress rejected the proposed TARP bill, triggering the biggest point drop ever in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDU) The bill later passed, and Morgan Stanley got $10 billion of TARP funds, though Paulson said only “healthy institutions” were eligible.

Mark Lake, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

Had lawmakers known, it “could have changed the whole approach to reform legislation,” says Ted Kaufman, a former Democratic Senator from Delaware who, with Brown, introduced the bill to limit bank size.
Moral Hazard

Kaufman says some banks are so big that their failure could trigger a chain reaction in the financial system. The cost of borrowing for so-called too-big-to-fail banks is lower than that of smaller firms because lenders believe the government won’t let them go under. The perceived safety net creates what economists call moral hazard — the belief that bankers will take greater risks because they’ll enjoy any profits while shifting losses to taxpayers.

Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not take the full consequences and responsibilities of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. For example, a person with insurance against automobile theft may be less cautious about locking his or her car, because the negative consequences of vehicle theft are (partially) the responsibility of the insurance company.

If Congress had been aware of the extent of the Fed rescue, Kaufman says, he would have been able to line up more support for breaking up the biggest banks.

Byron L. Dorgan, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, says the knowledge might have helped pass legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which for most of the last century separated customer deposits from the riskier practices of investment banking.

“Had people known about the hundreds of billions in loans to the biggest financial institutions, they would have demanded Congress take much more courageous actions to stop the practices that caused this near financial collapse,” says Dorgan, who retired in January.
Getting Bigger

Instead, the Fed and its secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble.

Total assets held by the six biggest U.S. banks increased 39 percent to $9.5 trillion on Sept. 30, 2011, from $6.8 trillion on the same day in 2006, according to Fed data.

For so few banks to hold so many assets is “un-American,” says Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “All of these gargantuan institutions are too big to regulate. I’m in favor of breaking them up and slimming them down.”

Employees at the six biggest banks made twice the average for all U.S. workers in 2010, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics hourly compensation cost data. The banks spent $146.3 billion on compensation in 2010, or an average of $126,342 per worker, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s up almost 20 percent from five years earlier compared with less than 15 percent for the average worker. Average pay at the banks in 2010 was about the same as in 2007, before the bailouts.
‘Wanted to Pretend’

“The pay levels came back so fast at some of these firms that it appeared they really wanted to pretend they hadn’t been bailed out,” says Anil Kashyap, a former Fed economist who’s now a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “They shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of people find some of the stuff that happened totally outrageous.”

Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch & Co. at the urging of then-Treasury Secretary Paulson after buying the biggest U.S. home lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. When the Merrill Lynch purchase was announced on Sept. 15, 2008, Bank of America had $14.4 billion in emergency Fed loans and Merrill Lynch had $8.1 billion. By the end of the month, Bank of America’s loans had reached $25 billion and Merrill Lynch’s had exceeded $60 billion, helping both firms keep the deal on track.
Prevent Collapse

Wells Fargo bought Wachovia Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. bank by deposits before the 2008 acquisition. Because depositors were pulling their money from Wachovia, the Fed channeled $50 billion in secret loans to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank through two emergency-financing programs to prevent collapse before Wells Fargo could complete the purchase.

“These programs proved to be very successful at providing financial markets the additional liquidity and confidence they needed at a time of unprecedented uncertainty,” says Ancel Martinez, a spokesman for Wells Fargo.

JPMorgan absorbed the country’s largest savings and loan, Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., and investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. The New York Fed, then headed by Timothy F. Geithner, who’s now Treasury secretary, helped JPMorgan complete the Bear Stearns deal by providing $29 billion of financing, which was disclosed at the time. The Fed also supplied Bear Stearns with $30 billion of secret loans to keep the company from failing before the acquisition closed, central bank data show. The loans were made through a program set up to provide emergency funding to brokerage firms.
‘Regulatory Discretion’

“Some might claim that the Fed was picking winners and losers, but what the Fed was doing was exercising its professional regulatory discretion,” says John Dearie, a former speechwriter at the New York Fed who’s now executive vice president for policy at the Financial Services Forum, a Washington-based group consisting of the CEOs of 20 of the world’s biggest financial firms. “The Fed clearly felt it had what it needed within the requirements of the law to continue to lend to Bear and Wachovia.”

The bill introduced by Brown and Kaufman in April 2010 would have mandated shrinking the six largest firms.

“When a few banks have advantages, the little guys get squeezed,” Brown says. “That, to me, is not what capitalism should be.”

Kaufman says he’s passionate about curbing too-big-to-fail banks because he fears another crisis.

‘Can We Survive?’

“The amount of pain that people, through no fault of their own, had to endure — and the prospect of putting them through it again — is appalling,” Kaufman says. “The public has no more appetite for bailouts. What would happen tomorrow if one of these big banks got in trouble? Can we survive that?”

Lobbying expenditures by the six banks that would have been affected by the legislation rose to $29.4 million in 2010 compared with $22.1 million in 2006, the last full year before credit markets seized up — a gain of 33 percent, according to OpenSecrets.org, a research group that tracks money in U.S. politics. Lobbying by the American Bankers Association, a trade organization, increased at about the same rate, OpenSecrets.org reported.

Lobbyists argued the virtues of bigger banks. They’re more stable, better able to serve large companies and more competitive internationally, and breaking them up would cost jobs and cause “long-term damage to the U.S. economy,” according to a Nov. 13, 2009, letter to members of Congress from the FSF.

The group’s website cites Nobel Prize-winning economist Oliver E. Williamson, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, for demonstrating the greater efficiency of large companies.
‘Serious Burden’

In an interview, Williamson says that the organization took his research out of context and that efficiency is only one factor in deciding whether to preserve too-big-to-fail banks.

“The banks that were too big got even bigger, and the problems that we had to begin with are magnified in the process,” Williamson says. “The big banks have incentives to take risks they wouldn’t take if they didn’t have government support. It’s a serious burden on the rest of the economy.”

The Moral Hazard.

Dearie says his group didn’t mean to imply that Williamson endorsed big banks.

Top officials in President Barack Obama’s administration sided with the FSF in arguing against legislative curbs on the size of banks.
Geithner, Kaufman

On May 4, 2010, Geithner visited Kaufman in his Capitol Hill office. As president of the New York Fed in 2007 and 2008, Geithner helped design and run the central bank’s lending programs. The New York Fed supervised four of the six biggest U.S. banks and, during the credit crunch, put together a daily confidential report on Wall Street’s financial condition. Geithner was copied on these reports, based on a sampling of e- mails released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

At the meeting with Kaufman, Geithner argued that the issue of limiting bank size was too complex for Congress and that people who know the markets should handle these decisions, Kaufman says. According to Kaufman, Geithner said he preferred that bank supervisors from around the world, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, make rules increasing the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve. Passing laws in the U.S. would undercut his efforts in Basel, Geithner said, according to Kaufman.

Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Geithner, declined to comment.
‘Punishing Success’

Lobbyists for the big banks made the winning case that forcing them to break up was “punishing success,” Brown says. Now that they can see how much the banks were borrowing from the Fed, senators might think differently, he says.

The Fed supported curbing too-big-to-fail banks, including giving regulators the power to close large financial firms and implementing tougher supervision for big banks, says Fed General Counsel Scott G. Alvarez. The Fed didn’t take a position on whether large banks should be dismantled before they get into trouble.

Dodd-Frank does provide a mechanism for regulators to break up the biggest banks. It established the Financial Stability Oversight Council that could order teetering banks to shut down in an orderly way. The council is headed by Geithner.

“Dodd-Frank does not solve the problem of too big to fail,” says Shelby, the Alabama Republican. “Moral hazard and taxpayer exposure still very much exist.”
Below Market

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, says banks “were either in bad shape or taking advantage of the Fed giving them a good deal. The former contradicts their public statements. The latter — getting loans at below-market rates during a financial crisis — is quite a gift.”

The Fed says it typically makes emergency loans more expensive than those available in the marketplace to discourage banks from abusing the privilege. During the crisis, Fed loans were among the cheapest around, with funding available for as low as 0.01 percent in December 2008, according to data from the central bank and money-market rates tracked by Bloomberg.

The Fed funds also benefited firms by allowing them to avoid selling assets to pay investors and depositors who pulled their money. So the assets stayed on the banks’ books, earning interest.

Banks report the difference between what they earn on loans and investments and their borrowing expenses. The figure, known as net interest margin, provides a clue to how much profit the firms turned on their Fed loans, the costs of which were included in those expenses. To calculate how much banks stood to make, Bloomberg multiplied their tax-adjusted net interest margins by their average Fed debt during reporting periods in which they took emergency loans.
Added Income

The 190 firms for which data were available would have produced income of $13 billion, assuming all of the bailout funds were invested at the margins reported, the data show.

The six biggest U.S. banks’ share of the estimated subsidy was $4.8 billion, or 23 percent of their combined net income during the time they were borrowing from the Fed. Citigroup would have taken in the most, with $1.8 billion.

“The net interest margin is an effective way of getting at the benefits that these large banks received from the Fed,” says Gerald A. Hanweck, a former Fed economist who’s now a finance professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

While the method isn’t perfect, it’s impossible to state the banks’ exact profits or savings from their Fed loans because the numbers aren’t disclosed and there isn’t enough publicly available data to figure it out.

Opinsky, the JPMorgan spokesman, says he doesn’t think the calculation is fair because “in all likelihood, such funds were likely invested in very short-term investments,” which typically bring lower returns.
Standing Access

Even without tapping the Fed, the banks get a subsidy by having standing access to the central bank’s money, says Viral Acharya, a New York University economics professor who has worked as an academic adviser to the New York Fed.

“Banks don’t give lines of credit to corporations for free,” he says. “Why should all these government guarantees and liquidity facilities be for free?”

In the September 2008 meeting at which Paulson and Bernanke briefed lawmakers on the need for TARP, Bernanke said that if nothing was done, “unemployment would rise — to 8 or 9 percent from the prevailing 6.1 percent,” Paulson wrote in “On the Brink” (Business Plus, 2010).
Occupy Wall Street

The U.S. jobless rate hasn’t dipped below 8.8 percent since March 2009, 3.6 million homes have been foreclosed since August 2007, according to data provider RealtyTrac Inc., and police have clashed with Occupy Wall Street protesters, who say government policies favor the wealthiest citizens, in New York, Boston, Seattle and Oakland, California.

The Tea Party, which supports a more limited role for government, has its roots in anger over the Wall Street bailouts, says Neil M. Barofsky, former TARP special inspector general and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor.

“The lack of transparency is not just frustrating; it really blocked accountability,” Barofsky says. “When people don’t know the details, they fill in the blanks. They believe in conspiracies.”

In the end, Geithner had his way. The Brown-Kaufman proposal to limit the size of banks was defeated, 60 to 31. Bank supervisors meeting in Switzerland did mandate minimum reserves that institutions will have to hold, with higher levels for the world’s largest banks, including the six biggest in the U.S. Those rules can be changed by individual countries.

They take full effect in 2019.

Meanwhile, Kaufman says, “we’re absolutely, totally, 100 percent not prepared for another financial crisis.”(Bloomberg)

Feel better now? 🙂

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

 Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Bad Day For BO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration’s signature health overhaul law, under relentless assault by Republicans, has suffered its first major casualty – a long-term care insurance plan.

The program, expected to launch in 2012, had been dogged from the beginning by doubts over its financial solvency.

Proponents, including many groups that fought to pass the health care law, have vowed a vigorous effort to rescue the program, insisting that Congress gave the administration broad authority to make changes. Long-term care includes not only nursing homes, but such services as home health aides for disabled people.

Known as CLASS, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program was a long-standing priority of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

Although sponsored by the government, it was supposed to function as a self-sustaining voluntary insurance plan, open to working adults regardless of age or health. Workers would pay an affordable monthly premium during their careers and could collect a modest daily cash benefit of at least $50 if they became disabled later in life. The money could go for services at home or to help with nursing home bills.

But a central design flaw dogged CLASS. Unless large numbers of healthy people willingly sign up during their working years, soaring premiums driven by the needs of disabled beneficiaries would destabilize it, eventually requiring a taxpayer bailout.

After months insisting that could be fixed, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally acknowledged Friday she doesn’t see how.

“Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time,” Sebelius said in a letter to congressional leaders.

The law required the administration to certify that CLASS would remain financially solvent for 75 years before it could be put into place.

But officials said they discovered they could not make CLASS both affordable and financially solvent while keeping it a voluntary program open to virtually all workers, as the law also required.

Monthly premiums would have ranged from $235 to $391, even as high as $3,000 under some scenarios, the administration said. At those prices, healthy people were unlikely to sign up. Suggested changes aimed at discouraging enrollment by people in poor health could have opened the program to court challenges, officials said.

“If healthy purchasers are not attracted … then premiums will increase, which will make it even more unattractive to purchasers who could also obtain policies in the private market,” Kathy Greenlee, the lead official on CLASS, said in a memo to Sebelius. That “would cause the program to quickly collapse.”

Gee, someone just discovered this? My how cluelessly ideological were they? 🙂

You mean government health care isn’t “free” or “cheap”. Gee, no one saw that coming… 🙂

That’s the same conclusion a top government expert reached in 2009. Nearly a year before the health care law passed, Richard Foster, head of long-range economic forecasts for Medicare, warned administration and congressional officials that CLASS would be unworkable. His warnings were disregarded, as President Barack Obama declared his support for adding the long-term care plan to his health care bill.

The demise of CLASS immediately touched off speculation about its impact on the federal budget. Although no premiums are likely to be collected, the program still counts as reducing the federal deficit by about $80 billion over the next 10 years. That’s because of a rule that would have required workers to pay in for at least five years before they could collect any benefits.

“The CLASS Act was a budget gimmick that might enhance the numbers on a Washington bureaucrat’s spreadsheet but was destined to fail in the real world,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Administration officials said Obama’s next budget would reflect the decision not to go forward. Even without CLASS premiums, they said the health care law will still reduce the deficit by more than $120 billion over 10 years.

Kennedy’s original idea was to give families some financial breathing room. Most families cannot afford to hire a home health aide for a frail elder, let alone pay nursing home bills. Care is usually provided by family members, often a spouse who may also have health problems.

“We’re disappointed that (Sebelius) has prematurely stated she does not see a path forward,” AARP, the seniors lobby, said in a statement. “The need for long-term care will only continue to grow.” (and we want to exploit them for it!)

Sebelius said the administration wants to work with Congress and supporters of the program to find a solution. But in a polarized political climate, it appears unlikely that CLASS can be salvaged. Congressional Republicans remain committed to its repeal.

As should we all. The government does need and we should not desire for them the power of life and death.

MORE UNFLATTERING NEWS:

The Treasury has recorded the second highest annual deficit in US history:

The government ran a $1.3 trillion deficit for the budget year that ended last month, the third straight year it has operated more than $1 trillion in the red.  The 2011 budget deficit was the second highest on record. It’s slightly ahead of the previous budget year’s $1.29 trillion deficit but below the $1.41 trillion imbalance record in 2009.  A decade ago, the government was running surpluses and trillion-dollar deficits seemed unimaginable. But those deficits now loom over tense negotiations in Washington.

But don’t worry, That’s Bush, The Republicans, and The Tea Party’s fault. They forced the Keynesian Economics of Socialist Democrats to do it!! 🙂

Billionaire Obama donor backer and major Solyndra investor, George Kaiser, has paid almost zero taxes over the last decade:

the Solyndra scandal is far from Kaiser’s first brush with political controversy. As the Sunlight Foundation’s Bill Allison reports today, Kaiser has become extraordinarily wealthy by taking advantage of the federal tax code in ways that some tax experts – including the IRS – believe to be illegal.  As Allison describes it in his Sunlight post today, “in one six year period, during which he increased his net worth enough to land him on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, Kaiser reported taxable income to the Internal Revenue Service just once, totaling $11,699–equivalent to a full-time hourly wage of $5.62.”  During the 1980s bust in the oil industry in Oklahoma and Texas, Kaiser bought up struggling energy companies whose losses provided him with tax deductions that effectively hid his own income.
The president prattles on endlessly about the rich paying “their fair share.”  Perhaps he should lecture his own buddies first.  Incidentally, during today’s Solyndra hearings on Capitol Hill, a veteran Treasury official admitted he’d never seen a federal loan structured in such a way that taxpayers are “subordinated” to private investors (as was the case with Solyndra, despite the recommendations of OMB, and after the company had already defaulted on the terms of the loan):

But don’t do as I do, do as I say! 🙂

THE OCCUPIERS

Yet more stirring words of wisdom from the mindless hoardes.

DENVER — “We’re really tired of the government fucking everyone over,” one “Occupy Denver” protester told Daily Caller roving Colorado video reporter Kelly Maher this week.

“There’s a lot of stuff that needs to change,” our boy added, “and if it doesn’t, violent revolution will come.”

How to change things for the better? Apparently it just takes a box of bullets and some rope.

If you get the thirteen families that own the world, including George Bush and his administration, get them in front of the White House and hang them and shoot them, because they deserve that.

Talking to protesters, Forrest Gump might have said, is like a box of chocolates: You never know what sort of lunatic, homicidal flavor you’re going to get.

Now there’s one flavor I could do without.

Political Cartoons by Gary McCoy

 

Zombie Nation

The Obama administration passed another fiscal milestone this week, according to new data <http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np> released by the Treasury Department. As of the close of business on Oct. 3, the total national debt was $14,837,099,271,196.71—up about $44.8 billion from Sept. 30.

That means that in the less-than-three-years Obama has been in office, the federal debt has increased by $4.212 trillion–more than the total national debt of about $4.1672 trillion accumulated by all 41 U.S. presidents from George Washington through George H.W. Bush combined.

(and as much as George W Bush in 8 years! BTW)…

This $4.212-trillion increase in the national debt means that during Obama’s term the federal government has already borrowed about an additional $35,835 for every American household–or $44,980 for every full-time private-sector worker.

The Unemployment rate (those reporting that they are unemployed NOT the ones who have given up) is still 9.1% in the last jobs report. Half of the jobs “created” were union people who were on strike and not anymore.

But don’t worry, Obama’s Son of Stimulus where he SPENDS EVEN MORE will save us all! 🙂

OCCUPY WALL STREET 

“God bless them,” Pelosi said, “for their spontaneity. It’s independent … it’s young, it’s spontaneous, and it’s focused. And it’s going to be effective.”

“The message of the protesters is a message for the establishment everyplace,” said the House Democrats’ leader. “No longer will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness on Main Street.” (Weekly Standard)

Pelosi on The Tea Party 2009:  protesters are “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.”

“This [tea party] initiative is funded by the high end — we call call it astroturf, it’s not really a grassroots movement. It’s astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class.”

“However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue,” the two leaders write…. “These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”

“This isn’t about politics,” Obama said. “This about people’s lives… That’s why we must get this done – and why we will get this done – by the end of this year.

Now onto the Demands (hold onto your sanity):

All Debt world wide must be forgiven.

Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.

Has your brain processed how insane and naive that is yet?

From the Occupy Wall Street website:

Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

Demand four: Free college education.

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand. (the fact that that is technologically impossible right is immaterial to these loons)

Demand six:
One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now. (OH, THE STIMULUS and The American Jobs Acts!!) 🙂

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.

Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union. (Gee the Union backers of this couldn’t have been behind this one!)

These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.

“this is what democracy looks like” — The Occupiers.

Has your brain exploded yet? Well…

OBAMACARE

The federal government is taking on a crucial new role in the nation’s health care, designing a basic benefits package for millions of privately insured Americans. A framework for the Obama administration was released Friday.

The report by independent experts from the Institute of Medicine lays out guidelines for deciding what to include in the new “essential benefits package,” and how to keep it affordable for small businesses and taxpayers, as well as scientifically up to date.

The advisers recommended that the package be built on mid-tier health plans currently offered by small employers, expanded to include certain services such as mental health, and squeezed into a budget. They did not spell out a list of services to cover, but they did say that treatments should be cost-effective.

Until now, designing benefits has been the job of insurers, employers and states. But the new health care law requires insurance companies to provide at least the federally approved package if they want to sell to small businesses, families and individuals through new state markets set to open in 2014.

Existing workplace plans won’t be required to adopt the federal model, but employers and consumer advocates alike predict it will become the nation’s benchmark for health insurance over time.

“The federal government has never before attempted to define what constitutes essential medical benefits for Americans with private insurance,” said Stephen Finan, a top policy expert for the American Cancer Society.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement that officials would hold “listening sessions” around the country before any final decisions are made, a process that could take months.

“Before we put forward a proposal, it is critical that we hear from the American people,” Sebelius said. The law would expand coverage to about 30 million uninsured people.

Hear this: KILL THE WHOLE THING AND GO AWAY!

Not “Listening” to that are you? 🙂

Red State.com: It is time to face reality. I am not nearly well-informed enough to offer even an educated guess as to the immediate cause of the market crash and subsequent recession/depression. But it seems painfully clear at this point that a substantial portion of the economic growth we enjoyed in the years prior to 2007 was entirely illusory and funded by ill-advised and unsustainable lending practices. This is a problem that doesn’t solve itself overnight. And moreover, when it is “solved,” a substantial portion of us will nonetheless have to accept a lifestyle that is much less comfortable than the ones we enjoyed 5 years ago.

What scares me – I mean, truly terrifies me – about this entire situation is not what I am going to do about my own predicament (although I would be lying if I said it did not cause me substantial amounts of stress). It is that no Presidential candidate who stands a chance of winning can afford to say anything like the preceding paragraph. It would be political suicide for any candidate – Republican or Democrat – to suggest aloud, “You know what? As a candidate I can fix things around the edges and start us on the road to recovery, but if we’re being perfectly honest with each other, it’s going to be a long time (if ever) before things get back to the way they were.”

And if the American people cannot stand to hear that message even when it is the manifest truth, we are in serious trouble. Because what it means is that we have become a nation in which people cannot be told to act like adults because we are no longer capable of doing it. And a nation where people have to be promised free ponies and unicorn dust even when everyone can see there’s no more ponies in the stable is a nation that’s just biding its time until final collapse.

America is going to go through a difficult time of readjustment and we will only get through it by knuckling down, determining to generate more productivity and make do with less – in other words, doing the things that brought us through before. If we have become so cushy and coddled that we can’t even stand to hear that it needs to be done again, then we are lost.

47% of poeple pay no income taxes. 48% of them are on government assistance.

The bottom 50% of all people pay 3% of the taxes.

So are you ready to make real sacrifices or do you want someone else to do it for you?

Only, there is no one else.

The truth doesn’t care if you don’t like it. A lesson I learned several years ago.

But Obama is here to save you. Rejoice!

And if disagree  you’re a greedy, rich-loving, sicko racist. 🙂

And the Occupiers are the future of America and the liberal media will be egging them on. 🙂

“Because what it means is that we have become a nation in which people cannot be told to act like adults because we are no longer capable of doing it.”

Rejoice.

Pissed off!

I am so Pissed off right now I think I could chew through adamantium!

The first downgrade in America’s credit rating happened at the last second of the business week yesterday and you know that both parties, but most especially the Democrats are strategizing on who to blame (the other guy) for this turn of events that could easy hurt every single american alive and to come.

They aren’t really worried about doing anything substantial about the problem that led to this. They are all on holiday after successfully managing to fix the political problem they got themselves into. That was the “debt deal” made on Tuesday.

They just don’t have the maturity or the political will do deal with the ACTUAL problem.

And the Democrats and their Media apparatchiks are already denying it’s anyone’s fault but theirs.

And the Republican haven’t got the balls to deal with it. They caved last week.

So the Titanic has now struck the iceberg that was in full F*cking View. But it’s not their fault!

It’s the Rightwingers!

It’s The Left Wingers!

It’s The Tea partiers!

It’s Bush’s Fault!

And the American people are just as immature. They can’t handle the truth either.

And the ones that can, they’ll be to blame for it because they bring it up.

Ignorance is Strength! Ignorance is Bliss!

And “The Other guy” Is an Asshole!

And above all, it doesn’t “feel” right!

AAAAARRRRGGGHHH!!

The self-delusions and the hyper-partisanship is so out of control I’m not sure there is any hope left.

Obama and his policies can’t possibly be to blame. After all, as the Left maintains all the Spending he’s done is because of all of Bush’s Spending!

It can’t possibly be their fault!

And not enough Republicans own up to the problem either.

So ultimately, the people who are yelling “It’s the Iceberg Stupid!” are going to be to blame as the ship of state sinks and takes everyone with them.

And the idiot sheep will believe them.

AND THAT PISSES ME OFF!

The ratings action immediately fueled partisan wrangling Friday night. Allies to President Obama said it underscored his call for a “grand bargain” that would trim $4 trillion from the federal budget involving a mix of tax revenue and spending cuts.

Do now the Republicans will be blamed for it because they didn’t heed President Obama’s call for a “grand bargain” and the Liberal Media will beat us to death with this Talking Point.

Only problem is, there was a “grand bargain” on the table (actually two if you count the Ryan Budget) but the Democrats demagogued it as trying to throw “grandma off a cliff” and trying to “kill Medicare” and “well, if we don’t have more revenue we won’t be able to pay Social Security and Medicare” and all the other extortions they trotted out.

So it was the Republican’s fault for proposing a grand bargain, then after the downgrade it was the Republicans fault for agreeing to Obama’s version of it (which he never actually proposed by the way- speeches are not legislation).

So we’re all damned if we do and damned if we don’t. But at least it’s not anyone’s fault!

In short, the Democrats will blame the Republicans for the downgrade for not agreeing to the “grand bargain” THEY REFUSED to even vote on or consider!

And the Liberal media will trumpet this to the highest.

And stupid people with very short memories will buy it!

And the Republican will whine and complain. But no one, certainly no one in the Liberal Media will care about the Actual Truth.

And certainly not CUT SPENDING!

They’ll only care about the politics of it all!

The Drug Addicts just OD’d and we all get hammered.

Mind you, Standard & Poors itself is far for Lilly white and godly since they refused to deal with the fake credit run (Fannie and Freddie and Co.) up that led to all this.

So everyone is to blame, but no one will take it. No one is mature enough to face reality.

It will be given to those who pointed it out — The Tea Party.

And everyone will vent on them.

And it will “feel” good.

Meanwhile, the ship continues to sink.

4/19/11: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Tuesday there is “no risk” the U.S. will lose its top credit rating amid a new analysis that revised its outlook on American debt to “negative.”

Well, as usual, Turbo Tax was wrong. But don’t expect the liberal to remember. Hell, they can’t even remember Obama’s Civility Speech in Tucson 7 months ago when they call people who disagree with them “terrorists”.

So let the Blame game commence!

And everyone will argue that the house is on fire but they are not to blame and no one is going to do anything real about it. But at least it won’t be their fault!

So get ready for the Solution: Spend More and TAX everyone more!

After all, it’s Bush’s Fault! 🙂

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a
human face – forever.”–George Orwell

Welcome to Hell.

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy