Bill Clinton

New poll shows Americans fear more debt over default

A new poll from the Washington Post and Pew Research shows that Americans worry more about Congress increasing the debt ceiling than defaulting on debt payments:

[W]hen pressed to name their biggest concern, nearly half of respondents say they are alarmed by the prospect that the debt could grow beyond its current limit of $14.3 trillion, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. Only 35 percent say they are more worried about the risk of default and economic destabilization if Congress does not raise the debt limit.
Among those who believe they are well-informed, 52 percent say they worry more about Congress raising the limit and permitting additional borrowing. By comparison, 37 percent worry more about the possibility of default. Those who consider themselves less well-informed are more evenly split, with 45 percent more worried about borrowing and 34 percent more concerned about default.

The poll also notes that independent voters, which strongly rejected Democrats in last year’s mid-term election, are mostly siding with Republicans over Democrats:

Independents — crucial to the reelection prospects of as many as a dozen Senate Democrats, as well as President Obama — tend to side with Republicans. Among independents, 49 percent say they worry more about additional debt, while 34 percent say their bigger fear is the risk of default.

And even Bill Clinton isn’t buying the predictions of armageddon that Tim Geither and other Democrats would have us believe, as Dave Weigel notes:

Ryan budget goes down in the Senate

A day after the election in NY-26, where Republicans lost a seat because of the misinformation being peddled on Medicare (though Bill Clinton is warning Democrats not to get over-confident, which it appears they are), the Senate held a vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan. As you may have guess, it failed:

The Senate on Wednesday resoundingly rejected a budget sponsored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that calls for significant cuts to future Medicare benefits.

The 40-57 vote came one day after Republicans suffered an upset defeat in a special election in upstate New York where Democrats made Medicare cuts the primary issue.

Five Republican senators voted against a motion to take up the ambitious House budget plan, which suffered only four Republican defections when it passed the lower chamber earlier this year.

Four centrists voted no: Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who favored larger budget cuts than what was proposed in Ryan’s budget, was the fifth no vote.

You can see how your Senators voted here.

Why I’m a heartless bastard

I’ve been called a heartless bastard before.  It’s happened a number of times as a matter of fact.  It tends to revolve around the fact that I don’t want tax dollars to be spent on people who are to sorry to try and earn it.  For many people, that’s more than enough to saddle me with that label.  The question then becomes, why am I that way?

Let’s ignore the recent revelations about where a significant portion of our tax dollars assigned for helping the poor have actually ended up.  There’s a lot more to it than that.

You see, I’ve been dirt poor before.  I’ve been so broke people brought me groceries so I wouldn’t starve.  I was as sorry as sorry could be.  I’ll be blunt: I was a loser.  A complete and total loser.  If my wife had left me, she would have been well within her rights and I couldn’t blame her if she had.  But, luckily for me, she didn’t.

That loser path continued on until almost ten years ago.  That was the day my son was born.  I knew then that I couldn’t keep screwing up for the rest of my life.  I had to do something.  He deserved better.

Today, I’m not rich but I’m a damn sight away from poor.  Uncle Sam seems to think so anyways, based on my taxes.  I didn’t get here through some secret means.  I worked hard and did good work where I was.  Eventually, I found myself in a position where I was actually pretty fair off financially.  I’m solidly middle class at the moment, though I do have dreams of moving way on up that ladder.  It wasn’t particularly tricky either.

Club for Growth slams Trump on eminent domain

A day after slamming Donald Trump, who is apparently considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, as a liberal for supporting nationalized health care and bad trade policies (obviously, he played down the criticism), the Club for Growth hit the real estate mogul and host of The Apprentice for abuse of eminent domain - the taking of private property by government for what was intended to be public use:

“First we find out Donald Trump is a liberal on taxes, health care, and trade. Now we find out he’s an abuser of eminent domain. Eminent domain abuse is an assault on freedom, pure and simple” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “No real conservative would ever use eminent domain in order to take the private property of citizens. I’m shocked and appalled by these revelations. Club members and conservatives ought to know where Donald Trump stands on the issues.”
In 1997, Trump tried to evict an elderly widow to expand an Atlantic City casino: Vera Coking agreed to drop her lawsuit against Donald Trump yesterday and accepted a settlement of $90,000 from Trump’s demolition contractor for damage to the rooming house she has long refused to sell. The settlement does not affect the longstanding battle over ownership of Coking’s house on South Columbia Place, a block from Trump Plaza. Coking is still fighting a court battle to keep her home in the face of a state eminent domain action to assist Trump with the expansion of his casino. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/19/97)

Clinton criticizes delay in issuing drilling permits

As gas prices continue to climb due to unrest in the Middle East, even Bill Clinton is wondering why it is taking so long to approve permits for oil drilling, especially as the economy sputters along:

Former President Bill Clinton said Friday that delays in offshore oil and gas drilling permits are “ridiculous” at a time when the economy is still rebuilding, according to attendees at the IHS CERAWeek conference.

Clinton spoke on a panel with former President George W. Bush that was closed to the media. Video of their moderated talk with IHS CERA Chairman Daniel Yergin was also prohibited.

But according to multiple people in the room, Clinton, surprisingly, agreed with Bush on many oil and gas issues, including criticism of delays in permitting offshore since last year’s Gulf of Mexico spill.
Clinton said there are “ridiculous delays in permitting when our economy doesn’t need it,” according to Noe and others.

“That was the most surprising thing they said,” Noe said.

The two former presidents both generally agreed on the need to get offshore drilling workers back on the job.

Clinton and Bush also agreed on the need for more domestic shale gas production, with Clinton noting that it has been done safely for years in his home state of Arkansas.

Climate czar to leave Obama Administration

Carol Browner, who has served President Barack Obama’s climate change czar and previously as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in under Bill Clinton, will be leaving the administration:

Senior administration officials confirm reports that Carol Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate change, is departing the White House in the next few weeks.

A White House official says Browner will stay on as long as necessary to ensure an orderly transition.

“Carol is confident that the mission of her office will remain critical to the president and she is pleased with what will be in the State of the Union address tomorrow and in the budget on clean energy,” the official says. “She is proud of the administration’s accomplishments – from the historic investments in clean energy included in the Recovery Act to the national policy on vehicle efficiency that will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and lower consumers’ prices at the pump.”

That said, it’s unclear that Browner will be replaced. When Democrats controlled the House and Senate, they were unable to pass major energy legislation addressing climate change, and now that Republicans control the House and Senate, Democrats have an even narrower margin.

“On the question of what will happen to the position, the president’s commitment to these issues will, of course, continue but any transition of the office will be announced soon,” the official says.

Republicans poised to take 30+ seats, possible control of the House

Charlie Cook, a brilliant political analyst, sees Democrats losing at least 30 seats in November, and also says that control of the House may well be up for grabs:

Combining its own race-by-race calculations with the results of national polls, The Cook Political Report officially projects a Republican gain of 30 to 40 seats. I suspect that the GOP will do even better if the trend over the past seven months continues.

Cook also points out that this may boost Obama:

Despite all of this disagreement over whether the House will flip, there is pretty much of a consensus in the political community that President Obama’s chances of getting re-elected will rise if his party loses the House or Senate. (In my book, the latter is quite unlikely.)

There are two arguments supporting the notion that the president might benefit from divided government. First, a GOP-controlled House would provide Obama with a foil. Republicans would have some governing responsibility; Democrats wouldn’t “own” Washington and automatically get the blame for everything that does or doesn’t happen. A strong case can be made that President Clinton would not have been re-elected in 1996 had Democrats not lost control of Congress in 1994.

The second contention is that losing control of the House would allow (or force) Obama to take a more centrist approach, to replicate the “triangulation” that worked well for Clinton in 1995 and 1996. Positioning himself and his administration as less liberal than congressional Democrats and less conservative than congressional Republicans, Clinton became the moderate honest broker in policy, riding that course to victory over Republican Bob Dole.

North Korea Pardons, Releases American Journalists

In a move apparently related to Bill Clinton’s arrival there today, North Korea has released the two American journalists convicted of spying earlier this year

SEOUL, South Korea — The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, pardoned two jailed American journalists, the official KCNA news agency has reported, according to Reuters. The report came after former President Bill Clinton met with the reclusive and ailing Mr. Kim in Pyongyang on Tuesday.

About that Rasmussen Poll

There has been a lot of reaction in the blogosphere about a new Rasmussen poll which shows that 53% of Americans believe capitalism is better than socialism:

Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

On Tea Parties and Republican Hypocrisy

As you may already know, there will be nationwide protests on April 15th, Tax Day, to protest spending and tax hikes by the Obama Administration. These protests, referred to as Tea Parties, have taken place nearly every week since Friday, February 27th (yours truly attended the Atlanta Tea Party and was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News about the events) and have been gaining notoriety and slowly more people are attending. The protest here in Atlanta had around 300 people, not bad for a cold, rainy day.

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