Spending in general has caused the country’s present fiscal havoc. Despite the lip service paid to prudence on both sides of the aisle, the pork barrel process is still alive and well in Washington. This is true across the board — with the Pentagon as well as with the Department of Health and Human Services.
During the George W. Bush years, defense spending averaged 3.7 percent of GDP. However, under President Obama, these outlays have continued to grow. Despite his vociferous platitudes of peace during the campaign season, defense spending under Obama has reached 4.7 percent of GDP, the highest since the early 1990s.
President Bush, who created a new federal department charged with domestic security, waged two new offenses in the Middle East and initiated the War on Terror, kept spending an entire percentage point lower than the current average. With the disengagement in Iraq and Afghanistan and a supposedly anti-war president, war hawks in both parties could comfortably support returning to these spending levels without sacrificing American security. It’s a perfectly acceptable conservative position that George W. Bush’s average level of defense spending should be a reasonable target to both protect America and promote fiscal responsibility.
In an appearance last week on Fox and Friends, Glenn Beck discussed the need for spending, including for defense, noting that “we have more admirals then we have ships.” His comments, which you can view below, are much different from Sarah Palin, who in speaking at tea party rallies tells crowds that we should cut spending for everything but defense.
If we’re going to bring about fiscal sanity in this country, or at least a semblance of it, defense spending has to be on the table.
Though they will not officially release it until later today, the House GOP’s “Pledge to America,” a play on “Contract with America” from 1994, leaked yesterday afternoon (you can view it at the bottom of the page):
Many of the reforms envisioned by House Republicans are highly unlikely ever to become law, but others foreshadow tough fights with President Barack Obama’s administration over spending, taxation and national security policy if Republicans win control of the House in November’s mid-term election. Another set would require simple changes to House rules.
The plan is divided into five parts: spending, jobs, government reform, national security and health care.
To cut spending, Republicans say they are committed to canceling remaining expenditures from the 2009 stimulus law, return domestic appropriations to 2008 levels, impose “hard” budget caps on discretionary spending accounts, reduce spending for congressional operations, have weekly floor votes on winners of the “YouCut” program that allows citizens to vote online for programs that should be slashed, end the Troubled Asset Relief Program, end government control of the secondary home-mortgage lending giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, freeze federal hiring for non-security jobs, sunset programs after a certain number of years, and use more straightforward budgeting for entitlement programs.
I’m not going to keep score, that will be decided by history, but am I right in assuming that Islam is opposed to Free Speech? We are seeing again and again how Muslims around the world threaten violence and take violent action when Westerners exercise Free Speech. I’d even go so far to say that it’s American to be offensive and get offended.
I wanted to share several quotes from a well written article on newsjunkiepost.com, where Liam Fox analyzes the offensive actions of Free Speech and their affects.
When demonstrations started in Indonesia, the President of that country, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, called President Obama and requested that he intervene and stop the planned burning of the Korans in Gainesville, Florida. American and NATO embassies were threatened by angry mobs. Rather than hold the protesters in his own country accountable for their violent and destructive actions, the chosen strategy was to ask the President of the United States to require one of his citizens to adhere to Islamic law. No one asked what President Yudhoyono did, or said, to have his citizens take responsibility for their own reaction.
The principle that offence trumps the right of expression is the foundation of the censorship that allows blasphemy laws. The fact that the restriction is imposed by society on itself, because of a sense of fear, creates an even greater chance that such an injustice may take hold and become institutionalized.
Earlier this week, I told you about a poll from Rasmussen showing Republicans leading Democrats on 10 major issues ranging from the economy to health care and national security to Social Security.
Gallup came out with a similar poll yesterday showing the GOP leading in seven out of nine issues important to voters. Democrats are statistically tied with Republicans on health care and corruption in government. The only issue they are running away on is the environment.
Here is a look at the poll:
Voters rank the economy and jobs as the most important issues, which the GOP has to hammer home in the coming months to do what they need to do to win. Other issues, such as Afghanistan, the environment and immigration are not as important to voters, according to the Gallup survey.
On Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama delivered an address to the American people telling us that combat operations in Iraq had come to an end, though the speech also gave him an opportunity to talk about the economy.
In case you missed it, here it is:
I know you’re not shocked to learn that we still have a vast presence in Iraq as some 50,000 “advisors” (ie. troops) remain in the country to assist the Iraqi government and they are still in danger, as President Obama said. But not every thing he said was accurate as the Associated Press pointed out in a fact check after the speech:
Rasmussen released a poll at the end of last week showing where both political parties stand with voters on 10 issues. The survey shows Republicans leading with voters on all 10, including issues that have been traditionally owned by Democrats such as Education, Healthcare and Social Security.
Not only do voters trust the GOP on each of the 10 issues below, the crosstabs show that independent voters, which are the key to the mid-term election, swing overwhelmingly to the GOP on each issue as well.
None of this is good news if you’re a Democrat in a swing district.
There was a mild joy among friends who paid attention to politics as the last of American troops left Iraq. There were a few people saying “It’s not really over. The US will be there until 2050,” like my friend Doug Mataconis, but you’d be hardpressed to find anyone who shares William Kristol’s hope for future wars.
Then there is the poll numbers. The war in Afghanistan, once the “good war,” the just war that everyone supported, has an overwhelming negative decline in support:
LAWRENCE, Mass. — A majority of Americans see no end in sight in Afghanistan, and nearly six in 10 oppose the nine-year-old war as President Barack Obama sends tens of thousands more troops to the fight, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
With just over 10 weeks before nationwide elections that could define the remainder of Obama’s first term, only 38 percent say they support his expanded war effort in Afghanistan — a drop from 46 percent in March. Just 19 percent expect the situation to improve during the next year, while 29 percent think it will get worse. Some 49 percent think it will remain the same.
This doesn’t mean America has become pacifist, but when you’re not experiencing large scale terrorist attacks, don’t have connections to the military or family or friends of Middle East or Islamic origin, there really is no reason to pay attention or care either way beyond seeing it as a massive misuse of taxpayer dollars in the middle of a Great Recession. Even Time magazine covers with shots of Afghan women whose noses have been sliced off by the Taliban isn’t quite enough to get the unemployed gung-ho about a war that doesn’t benefit them.
The Wall Street Journal reports the findings of a new poll conducted in coordination with NBC showing that Americans are becoming more pessimistic about the state of the nation:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the economy has yet to hit bottom, a sharply higher percentage than the 53% who felt that way in January.
The sour national mood appears all-encompassing and is dragging down ratings for the GOP too, suggesting voters above all are disenchanted with the political establishment in Washington. Just 24% express positive feelings about the Republican Party, a new low in the 21-year history of the Journal’s survey. Democrats are only slightly more popular, but also near an all-time low.
The results likely foreshadow a poor showing in November’s mid-term for Democrats, whose leaders had hoped the public would grow more optimistic about the economy and, as a result, more supportive of the party agenda. Now, despite the weak Republican numbers, the survey shows frustrated voters on the left are less interested than impassioned voters on the right to in the election.
“Even with Republicans having low numbers, they are the opposition party and are going to benefit from people saying, ‘We’re ticked off and we want a change,”’ said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart. “The way you vote your discontent is to say you’re going to vote Republican.”
Mr. Hart said the 2010 contest is being pulled by the sentiment associated with the JetBlue flight attendant who fled his plane via the emergency chute after an altercation with a passenger. Calling it the “JetBlue election,” Mr. Hart said: “Everyone’s hurling invective and they’re all taking the emergency exit.”
Judge Napolitano On Wikileaks: The Government Needs To Be Exposed Because The Government Lies To You
This is pretty much how I feel about the Wikileaks story: