This hasn’t gotten much play yet, at least from I’ve seen, but Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) lost her bid for re-election on Tuesday to Brad Wenstrup, a doctor who was supported by the Tea Party movement in the district. John Fund has the story:
The Tea Party is alive and kicking. House Speaker John Boehner can’t help but notice that Representative Jean Schmidt, one of his fellow GOP House members from the Cincinnati area, just went down to defeat at the hands of a political neophyte. Brad Wenstrup is a physician and Iraq War veteran whose only prior political experience was in a losing race for mayor of Cincinnati.
Jean Schmidt had a conservative social and economic voting record in her seven years in Congress, winning “zero” ratings from liberal groups and an 88 percent rating from the National Taxpayers Union in 2010. But she had vulnerabilities, including votes to raise the debt ceiling and for the Wall Street bailout, support for the pro-union Davis-Bacon Act, and a record of supporting tax increases when she was in the state legislature. She was also dogged by accusations she had accepted free legal help from a Turkish-American interest group, although she was cleared of wrongdoing by the House Ethics Committee. But the real mark against her was that she was a Washington incumbent.
Wenstrup hammered Schmidt from the right, and his opposition to pork-barrel spending and support for a flat tax won him the backing of the Ohio Liberty Council, a coalition of tea-party groups. But Schmidt still had an overwhelming financial advantage, outspending Wenstrup by three-to-one in the last Federal Election Commission report.
In a new ad airing in Michigan, Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign slams Rick Santorum for voting to raise the debt ceiling, doubling the size of the Department of Education, and supporting Medicare Part D, a multi-trillion dollar expansion of an already broken entitlement.
Paul also hits Santorum on voting to send money to Planned Parenthood, which is frequently targeted by social conservatives (heads may have just exploded), via his votes in the Senate forcing taxpayers to pay for contraceptives.
Reuters reported yesterday that President Barack Obama will ask Congress for yet another increase in the nation’s borrowing limit — this time a crisp $1.2 trillion, which raise the debt ceiling to $16.394 trillion:
The White House plans to ask Congress by the end of the week for an increase in the government’s debt ceiling to allow the United States to pay its bills on time, according to a senior Treasury Department official on Tuesday.
The approval is expected to go through without a challenge, given that Congress is in recess until later in January and the request is in line with an agreement to keep the U.S. government funded into 2013.
The debt is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by December 30, when the United States has $82 billion in interest on its debt and payments such as Social Security coming due. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for authority to increase the borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion, part of the spending authority that was negotiated between Congress and the White House this summer.
Under the agreement struck in August during the showdown over the government’s debt limit, the cap is automatically raised unless Congress votes to block the debt-ceiling extension. Lawmakers have 15 days within receiving the request to vote, which is largely symbolic because the president can veto it and Congress would be unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority to override it. Moreover, the U.S. House of Representatives also is in recess until January 17.
Earlier this week, CBS News erroneously reported that the national debt had increased by $4 trillion since President Barack Obama had been in office. Several conservative blogs picked it up, but didn’t bother to note that Obama’s first budget was submitted in February but didn’t take effect until October 2009, well after he assumed the presidency.
From October 1, 2009 to August 24, 2011, debt held by the public has increased by more than $2.4 trillion (this figure excludes intragovernmental holdings), in just over two years in office. During the four years of Democratic control of Congress (specific to budget years), the national debt increased by more than $3.9 trillion.
Needless to say, reigning in spending hasn’t been much of a priority. Of course, that doesn’t absolve the spending spree of George W. Bush and his Republican enablers; but it makes Obama’s past comments on spending laughable considering that he has done half the damage of his predecessor in just over two years. Take for instance, his comments from a campaign stop back in 2008, which I leave you without remark:
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.
Here is the video:
The folks over at the National Taxpayers Union have reviewed the 12 members of the
“Super Committee,” which was formed as a result of the debt ceiling deal, and found that they have 18 non-overlapping proposals to cut spending totaling over $89 billion. But as you can see in the numbers below, these members are coming from completely mindsets, especially as the federal government is running a massive budget deficit.
The folks over at Bankrupting America have put out this new infographic that shows that the recent debt ceiling deal, which supposedly comes with around $1 trillion in spending cuts (not counting the other $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in cuts from the Super Congress), doesn’t really do anything to address the deficit (click to enlarge). Rather, the deal only slows the increases in the rate of future spending.
Since his first day in office, many supporters of President Obama have claimed some or all of his opponents are racist, that their opposition to him stems from their desire to see a black man fail as President of the United States. Recently, Atlanta television station decided to take a look at it themselves.
Tuesday, David Scott said racism did motivate some of the President’s debt-ceiling opponents.
“Who’s to say? We do know it permeates society. The first African-American president, there are some people who have difficulty accepting that. Not all, he never would have gotten to be President. So I don’t throw a blanket, racial indictment on this. But you asked me to give you all of the elements. I think that’s a part of it, there…. You throw that into the situation where now we’ve got to raise the debt ceiling. And under (President) Reagan it was raised 18 times. 18 times under Reagan…. This President, Barack Obama, is being tested with a different standard… We shouldn’t hold this President to a different standard.”
But Michael McNeely, the Chairman of the Georgia Black Republican Council, told 11Alive’s Jon Shirek Tuesday night that the focus of the debate is economic, not race. Period.
As you know, Standards & Poors downgraded the United State credit. Let’s face it folks, that’s not a good thing. Despite the rise in the debt ceiling – you know, that was supposed to prevent just that from happening – S&P downgraded the US credit worthiness. There has been much wailing an gnashing of teeth in the corridors of government over this, and with some pretty good reason.
Since our government is so dependent on debt, a downgrade in the nation’s credit rating can result in higher interest payments, which will mean more tax payer money will go towards paying back money borrowed. Let’s be honest, while we all want our national debt paid, we don’t want to see more money going towards doing just that.
Luckily, it was just S&P who slashed the rating. Moody’s and Fitch have both seen no need to do similarly. However, the move has still angered many throughout the nation.
Folks on both sides of the issue are busy pointing fingers and blaming whatever boogeyman their side currently enjoys. John Kerry blamed the Tea Party for not agreeing to a bigger deal. Former White House adviser David Axelrod actually called it a “Tea Party downgrade”.
We got some much needed good news on Tuesday as stock jumped 430 points, following a Monday that ranks as one of the worst single day losses in history. The good day is attributed to an annoucement that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low over the next two years, though all is not peachy given the economic forecast:
In a highly anticipated statement, the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said the economy was growing at a pace “considerably slower” than it expected, pointing to a struggling labor market and continued problems in housing.
Encouraged by the promise of cheap cash, markets ended the day on a strong rally, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 430 points. The Fed’s economic pessimism, however, does not bode well for President Obama, as it suggests the White House can expect to continue to fight stubbornly high unemployment and slow economic growth through the election year.
In its statement, the FOMC painted a picture of an economy that is losing steam.
“Household spending has flattened out, investment in nonresidential structures is still weak, and the housing sector remains depressed,” it said. Temporary factors, including the supply chain disruption from the tsunami in Japan, only accounted for “some of the recent weakness,” according to the statement.
This video from the Cato Institute was released just before Standard & Poor’s downgraded the United States’ credit rating. It explains what the ramifications of such an action, including higher interest payments on borrowed money, and they note that the problem is long-term fiscal problems: