Tim Geithner

Of Hobbits and Acid-Tongued Democrats

On January 8th of this year, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was one of nineteen people shot, six fatally, by crazed gunman Jared Loughner. For nearly a week the national press and Democrats excoriated the TEA Party in general, and Sarah Palin in particular, for creating the environment that nurtured this horrifying act of political terrorism. President Obama, apparently in another example of leading from behind, eventually called for “more civility in our public discourse”, and admonished us to refrain from “lay[ing] the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happened to think differently than we do”.

Democrats finally heeded their leader’s advice, although it is uncertain whether that resulted from an epiphany that such inflammatory rhetoric was producing more of the division they claimed to deplore, or because they’d lost the moral high ground when it was discovered that the shooter, supposedly driven to his murderous rampage by seeing target symbols on a map of political districts, was actually a liberal, anti-Christian pot-smoker who hated George Bush.

The civility truce was short-lived however, and soon liberal Democrats went right back to ascribing the worst possible motives to their political enemies, simply for holding opposing policy positions. This last week or so, though, has seen liberal vitriol march back into full attack mode. The TEA Party and conservative Republicans have been repeatedly called “terrorists” by the mainstream press and prominent Democrats.

Rejecting False Choices and Exposing Lies

As August 2nd approaches, stipulated by Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Timothy Geithner as the date when the U.S. will reach its statutory debt limit, our illustrious president, Barack Obama, becomes more and more unhinged. From highly partisan, contemptuous and fact-challenged press conferences, to his angry and petulant exit from a meeting with Republicans on the issue, it is clear that Obama is feeling the pressure. This is compounded by the fact that the historically weak-willed Republicans seem shockingly willing to be proven vertebrates, and actually refuse to back down on principle (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent suggestion to completely abdicate constitutional duty and give all power to the president notwithstanding).

From class warfare rhetoric about tax breaks for corporate jet owners (signed into law by Obama in the 2009 stimulus bill, and less than a rounding error on the federal budget) to fear mongering the elderly to think Social Security checks will not go out, nothing is beneath this integrity-challenged president in his quest for power. He tirelessly repeats his Marxist mantra of needing to get “millionaires and billionaires” to “pay their fair share” and be a part of the “shared sacrifice”, despite the fact that the top 1% of all income earners (a group starting at $380,354/year and including millions of small businesses that file taxes under personal returns…hardly millionaires and billionaires) paid 38% of total tax revenue, while the bottom 50% paid only 2.7%. The top 5% starts at $159,619 and accounts for 58.7% of taxes paid.

Coming to Expect the Unexpected

Shortly after the 2008 presidential election, historian Michael Bechloss gushed with praise for President-Elect Barack Obama, declaring him to be “probably the smartest guy ever to become President”, and raving that his IQ is “off the charts”. When interviewer Don Imus inquired as to what Obama’s IQ is, Bechloss admitted that he did not know, but that did not keep him from gushing effusive praise. We are left to take a historian’s word for it, because Obama has steadfastly refused to release his college transcripts, and his policies while in office certainly do not lend credence to the claims of his brilliance. In fact, if we had to judge the president by the effectiveness of his policies, Obama would be the functional equivalent not of the class valedictorian, but of that weird kid that sat in the corner and ate paste while talking to himself.

On matters of the economy, the president and his advisors seem to be particularly clueless. Consider some statements from the administration of late:

In a recent video clip making the rounds, Obama responds to a question about the near $1 trillion “stimulus” package and its effect on the economy by laughing and then declaring “ ‘Shovel-ready’ was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” This is, you will recall, the same stimulus package that Obama demanded must be passed immediately if we were to stem the possibility of another Great Depression. We were promised (by Christina Romer, the first chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors) that if we passed it, unemployment would stay below 8%. Well, we DID pass it, and we have been rewarded with unemployment levels between 9-10+% for well over two years. Now, we have high unemployment AND staggering quantities of additional debt crippling the economy.

Today in Liberty: White House wanted Geithner to lie on Sunday shows, Boehner won’t arrest Lerner

“Increasing the minimum wage is political pandering, pure and simple. It does nothing to increase economic growth, which would create millions of jobs and lead to higher wages for everybody. The government shouldn’t set the price of labor, the free market should. It’s sad that some would rather play politics instead of making the case for pro-growth policies like tax reform and passing new trade deals with other nations.”Club for Growth President Chris Chocola

— White House wanted Geithner to lie about Social Security: In his new book, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says that the White House wanted him to lie about Social Security’s impact on the federal deficit on Sunday talk shows. “I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute,” Geithner writes. “Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.” By the way, Social Security consumed 4.9 percent of the economy in 2013, slightly more than major government healthcare programs. Over the long-term, the Ponzi scheme will be outpaced by Medicare, but not by much.

National debt crosses $16 trillion threshold

National Debt Clock

As Democrats kicked off their convention yesterday in Charlotte, North Carolina, the United States crossed an ominous threshold as the national debt clock crossed the $16 trillion mark — nearly $51,000 per citizen. While we should understand that the national debt and unfunded liabilities were already unsustainable over the long term, President Barack Obama has done little to rein them in.

During his term in office, President Obama has overseen four consecutive years of $1+ trillion budget deficits, adding some $5.375 trillion dollars to the national debt since during that time. This is the same man who slammed the deficits of George W. Bush on the campaign trail in 2008. Obama, then a U.S. Senator from Illinois, told supporters, “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 — [Bush] 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.” Obama said that this was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”

Geithner Favors Fannie Mae Debtholders over Taxpayers … Again

Tim Geithner

Written by Mark A. Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

You have to give Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner some credit for spin: today the Treasury announced “Further Steps to Expedite Wind Down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” The only problem is that the steps announced largely put the taxpayer at greater risk in order to protect holders of Fannie and Freddie debt.

Essentially, the Treasury has amended its agreements with Fannie and Freddie so that the companies no longer have to pay a fixed dividend to the U.S. taxpayer, but instead “every dollar of profit” from the companies to the taxpayer. The problem is that the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) have never had a year where their profits would have covered the dividend payments, so while we can debate if the taxpayer will recover anything from the GSEs, shifting to just collecting profits definitely means the taxpayer’s potential recoupment is lower.

The GSE’s regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was at least a little more honest in its announcement of the changes, stating that, “as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shrink, the continued payment of a fixed dividend could have called into question the adequacy of the financial commitment contained in the PSPAs.”  Read “financial commitment” to mean protecting debtholders from loss.

Obama’s Treatment of Pensions at Delphi

Let Freedom Ring has released a good video about Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and President Barack Obama’s treatment of salaried retirees at Delphi:

While the left is trashing Mitt Romney’s primary economic rationale for election—- his experience at Bain Capital—- it’s important to note Obama’s heavy-handed economic manipulation.

Because automotive unions donated heavily to Obama, their unionized employees were allowed to increase their pensions, while current retirees were ripped off. Is this what Obama means when he claims to have “saved the auto industry?”

Alex Cortes of LFR says the ad is destined for television and online ads in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virgina.

Infographic: Americans’ budgets impacted by Washington

As President Obama tells Americans that his economic policies have worked, there is a lot that say the measure taken haven’t done as they were sold. One need only look at the United States’ poor economic growth numbers, which are constantly being revised downward. Even Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner doesn’t deny that economic growth has been slow.

But perhaps the most important information comes from Americans, who have beared the brunt of this slow economy. Bankrupting America put together an infographic on the results of a poll conducted last month. As you can see (it doesn’t need anymore commentary, believe me), Americans are heavily impacted by Washington not being able to get its act together (click on the image to expand):

Bankrupting America poll

Tim Geithner: “We don’t have a definitive [debt] solution…We just don’t like yours”

Jeremy has already discussed this today, but it’s worth bringing back up. While defending — or at least attempting to defend — President Barack Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposal last week before the House Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said something very profound to Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

The two were going over the proposal, with Geithner insisting that the budget, which includes steep tax hikes, would stablize deficits over the next 10 years. However, Ryan noted that the 10-year budget window in Obama’s plan doesn’t at all address long-term budget issues with Medicare and Social Security, showing this chart as his proof:

You can see, following Obama’s budget, that the national debt does indeed stablize for a short time; but again, it goes out of control in subsequent years. Ryan was quick to point out that his own budget plan, the Path to Prosperity, addresses the national debt and unfunded liabilities from entitlements head on, pointing Geithner to this chart:

Ryan Budget

Realizing that he had no real response for bringing an unsustainable budget before Congress, Geithner to Ryan, “You are right to say we’re not coming before you today to say ‘we have a definitive solution to that long term problem.’ What we do know is, we don’t like yours.” At least he’s honest.

Geithner won’t say whether or not Obama’s budget increases spending

During a hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was asked by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) whether or not the budget submitted by President Barack Obama — you can see the budget by the numbers here — spent less than or at levels agreed to between the White House and the Congress in August.

As you can see in the video below, Secretary Geithner never really answers the question. What he did give was a long, drawn out “no”:

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