I don’t believe it! I agree with something that the White House said about the economy. Ordinarily, I might feel a little dirty at that, but since it’s a position that I’ve long held, I’ll just accept that the White House is coming around to reality. What is that reality? Well, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said last week that “the White House doesn’t create jobs.” Who knew?
Oh yeah, I know I did. I wasn’t alone on that either. The White House only creates jobs in the government and nowhere else.
After a month devoted to raising the debt limit, on Tuesday Obama announced a new focus on boosting employment — at least his seventh such announcement in his presidency.
Facing tough questions from reporters on what Obama is doing to create jobs today, Carney responded that Obama was meeting with senior advisors to plot a way forward on the issue.
Carney listed legislative priorities the president believes will create jobs, including an infrastructure bank, the passage of free trade agreements, and tax cuts. But he would not say what was being done to further those goals while Congress takes a month-long vacation.
“The White House doesn’t create jobs,” Carney said, adding “the government, together — White House, Congress — creates policies that allow for greater job creation.”
Of course, there’s also the flip side, that the government, together – White House, Congress – create policies that stifle greater job creation. I’m not surprised that Carney didn’t mention that one.
With the debt ceiling being increased by Congress and subsequently signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this week, it’s a good time to note that for the first time since World War II our national debt now equals the size of our economy:
US debt shot up $238 billion to reach 100 percent of gross domestic project after the government’s debt ceiling was lifted, Treasury figures showed Wednesday.
The new borrowing took total public debt to $14.58 trillion, over end-2010 GDP of $14.53 trillion, and putting it in a league with highly indebted countries like Italy and Belgium.
Public debt subject to the official debt limit — a slightly tighter definition — was $14.53 trillion as of the end of Tuesday, rising from the previous official cap of $14.29 trillion a day earlier.
Treasury had used extraordinary measures to hold under the $14.29 trillion cap since reaching it on May 16, while politicians battled over it and over addressing the country’s bloating deficit.
The official limit was hiked $400 billion on Tuesday and will be increased in stages over the next 18 months.
And as we cannot emphasize enough, the “cuts” pushed through earlier this week will not decrease government spending. Unless Washington is willing to, not just cut spending, but reform entitlements; our dependence on government will turn us into the next Greece.
Once again, I am in agreement with Dennis Kucinich:
A liberal Democrat on Tuesday called the “super committee” included in the debt-limit deal “anti-democratic.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said the committee reduced the governing majority down to a seven-person agreement on a 12-member committee. “It’s like ‘Honey, I shrunk the Congress,’” he said on ABC’S “Topline.”
The debt-limit agreement cuts federal deficits by nearly $1 trillion over 10 years while raising the debt ceiling at least $2.1 trillion through 2012. It also establishes a bipartisan, bicameral committee of 12 legislators charged with putting together an additional $1.5 trillion deficit-reduction package.
Of course our agreement ends at the establishment of the so called “Super Committee.” It is difficult to tell if Kucinich is genuinely opposed to this cessation of power to a small group because of its “anti-democratic” nature or if he’s simply trying to prevent any cuts any way possible. For now, however, I’ll take him at his word since he is one of the only Democrats to consistently oppose the wars regardless of who is president.
Well, the debt plan has been passed by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama. While Republicans are trying to save face by continuing to say this deal will cut spending, the fact is they’ve done next to nothing, especially since the cuts are largely placed at the end of the 10 year period; meaning that they’ll likely never come to pass. And the most glaring short-coming is entitlements. This deal does nothing to rein in entitlements, programs that represent over $61 trillion in unfunded liabilties.
Economists at the Cato Institute, Dan Mitchell, Chris Edwards and Jagadeesh Gokhale, also express skepticism that the so-called “Super Commission” is going to be able to get anything accomplished other than kick the can down the road:
In case your head has been buried in the sand this evening, you know that the debt deal struck between the White House and leaders from both parties in Congress cleared the House of Representatives by a vote of 269 to 161. The vote was made even more surreal when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was the target of an assassination attempt during a constituent even earlier this year, showed up to cast a vote in favor of the deal.
The debt plan now moves over to the Senate where it is expected to clear tomorrow, though several conservatives, including Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Mike Lee (R-UT), are expected to vote against it.
We’ll have more on the deal in tomorrow.
[UPDATE] In case you’re wondering, Republicans voted 174 to 66 on the bill and Democrats were split down the middle, 95 to 95.
I don’t think there’s a soul who has read my writings would classify me as an Obama fan. There hasn’t been a lot he’s done that I’ve supported. Going forward, I doubt there’s a lot he will do that I’ll support either. We are diametrically opposed on many issues. I generally don’t agree with him on most budgetary issues either. However, I’m going to defend him a bit, because the conservative website Human Events has gone a little mad:
It’s time to face the unpleasant truth. President Barack Hussein Obama has gone mad.
He’s mad in both senses of the word. Later on Friday, after House Speaker John Boehner declared he would no longer waste his time “negotiating” with Obama, the President gave an astonishing press conference that played out like a nervous breakdown. I don’t know why the press covered it. They really shouldn’t cover any of his press conferences anymore. The price of a seat at the negotiating table is a plan, and Obama doesn’t have one.
There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to anything else the President says, until he produces a concrete proposal with real numbers. Otherwise, as Boehner discovered, no meaningful “negotiation” can occur.
So President Obama must have a plan, huh? Just FYI, President Obama can have all the plans he want, but they have to come through Congress anyways, so why does he have to have one in the first place. He, like many people on both sides, have a vague idea of what they want. I don’t necessarily agree with him on that one, but he’s not that different from most other folks, including more than a few in Congress.
This debate about the debt ceiling is really getting annoying. Yes, I do think a lot more spending cuts need to be made than most anyone is really trying to make. Yes, I understand why Republicans are hesitant to raise taxes. That’s all kind of irrelevant though. You see, the reason it’s irrelevant is that the pretty much everyone agrees that the debt ceiling will be raised. It’s going to go up, because almost every politician in Congress is terrified of what will happen if it doesn’t.
With that in mind, I ask once again, why even bother having the blasted thing? Oh, I understand the original reasons for it, but I also know that it really doesn’t serve a purpose.
The debt ceiling has been raised I don’t know how many times in the last ten years. It’s usually pretty routine, and most folks seem to feel that it simply has to be increased. So I say we just do away with the damned thing. Frankly, I’m sick of the posturing by both sides. We know it’s going to be raised, and we know that most spending cuts promised will really be illusionary as they will extent well beyond the current terms for all parties making the agreement. It’s just kind of silly.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of public debt. I can’t help but think that with $4.46 trillion dollars in current revenue, we should be able to pay for what we need to pay for without borrowing money. I really do think it’s entirely possible to function without raising the debt ceiling. I just know that the American people wouldn’t be real crazy about what all would have to be cut…despite my feelings that those things really need to be cut.
Yesterday was one of the most interesting days we’ve seen during this debate between Republicans and the Obama Administration. With Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warning that Congress only has a few days to increase the debt ceiling, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered a peculiar proposal:
McConnell’s proposal would authorize Obama to raise the debt ceiling in three steps, and would not require any corresponding spending cuts.
Under the legislation, Congress could only block Obama’s requests by passing resolutions of disapproval, which would have to be supported by two-thirds of both the Senate and House to overcome an expected presidential veto.
McConnell described his proposal as a “last choice option” to avoid a national default if Congress fails to reach a compromise to raise the debt limit by Aug.
McConnell’s plan would benefit Republicans politically by placing the responsibility for raising the debt limit almost entirely with Obama. It would allow Republicans in both chambers to vote en masse against it without causing a national economic catastrophe.
It could also hurt Senate Democrats by forcing them to support several hikes to the debt ceiling ahead of an election in which they must defend 23 seats, though Republicans expect centrist Democrats would be able to vote against the requests, given the high threshold for overriding a veto.
“Tomorrow, Roger Clemens goes on trial for lying…to politicians. Which is like trying a woman for flashing her breasts at a stripper.” – Radley Balko
Roger Clemens went on trial this week for lying during an investigating into the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in baseball. Mind you, he is not being put on trial for actually using the drugs – and he shouldn’t be; rather telling a the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2008 that had not used them.
I get that no one forced him to come forward, but it’s laughable for Clemens to be indicted for lying to and “obstructing” a parliament of whores, to quote P.J. O’Rourke. And let’s face it, there are plenty of other things more important that a trial to avenge the delicate sensibilities of members of Congress.
John Stossel rightly notes that this is both a waste of time and taxpayer resources (emphasis mine):
When the Feds went after Barry Bonds, the taxpayers had to cough up more than $55 million to pay for it. I bet Clemens’ case will cost at least that. Why should you have to pay for this?
At the time Clemens allegedly took steroids, lots of players did, and the substances weren’t even illegal in private MLB.
Congress loves such hearings because they bring the narcissists the media attention they crave. Since 2000, there have been 11 congressional hearings related to Major League Baseball.
Clemens may have lied to Congress about using Performance Enhancing Drugs.
In a new video from the Cato Institute, John Samples and Gene Healy explain how President Barack Obama’s war in Libya, which is being conducted without the consent of Congress, expands the War Powers Resolution (WPR) far beyond what it was intended. If allowed to stand, this new interpretation of WPR a president can now bomb a country whenever he wants, a precedent that could have negative consequences for the United States: