White House

A One Term President

His opposition all hopes that President Obama follows in the footsteps of George H.W. Bush and becomes a one term President.  However, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air wrote a piece pondering the possibility that Obama will simply not seek re-election rather than lose the election outright.  He cites parallels with post FDR presidents who did just that, with the closest parallel being with Lyndon Johnson.

Obama’s popularity has plummeted recently, as Morissey cites that it’s also dropped in places where the President should be strong:

But the decision may end up being out of his hands if the political environment doesn’t improve.  Obama’s numbers are plummeting in places Democrats can hardly afford to lose.  In Pennsylvania, where Obama will top a ticket that also includes Bob Casey’s bid for a second Senate term, he’s either at 43% approval (Quinnipiac) or at 35% (Muhlenberg).  Wisconsin turned Republican last year and a series of elections this year confirmed it, and Herb Kohl’s seat in the Senate is up for grabs.  Obama can be expected to drag down the ticket in Virginia (James Webb’s seat is open), Florida (Bill Nelson), Ohio (Sherrod Brown), Maryland (Ben Cardin), and Michigan (Debbie Stabenow).  Obama is underwater in New York and New Jersey already, two normally staunch Democratic states, both with Senate races on the line as well.  If Obama runs at the top of those tickets, he might eke out victories in the two states, but his presence on the ticket will depress Democratic turnout and might endanger Kirsten Gillibrand and Robert Menendez; Democrats would almost certainly have to spend a ton of money to bolster them that they’d normally spend elsewhere.

Budget deficit for 2011 tops $1 trillion

It’s official, the budget deficit for the 2011 fiscal year, and for the third year in a row, has topped $1 trillion:

The United States’ budget deficit has topped $1 trillion for a third straight year, adding pressure on Congress and the White House to make more progress on a long-term plan to shrink the growing imbalance.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the deficit through July totaled $1.1 trillion. Three years ago, that would have been a record high for the full year.

This year’s deficit is on pace to exceed last year’s imbalance of $1.29 trillion. But it is likely to fall short of the record $1.41 trillion set in 2009.

Two of those years with trillion dollars deficits are on President Barack Obama, whose first budget would have been for FY 2010. The budget deficit for FY 2009 belongs to George W. Bush.

I doubt anyone is surprised that the net spending cut that Obama promised during his campaign hasn’t happened since all he did in his first two years, when Democrats controlled Congress, was jack up spending higher than his predecessor, who wasn’t exactly a fiscal conserative.

The hubris of Barack Obama is astounding

The smugness of this administration is never ending:

President Obama today will announce new fuel efficiency standards that will save American businesses that operate and own commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program. These work trucks, buses, and other medium- and heavy duty vehicleswill be required to meet fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for the first time ever beginning in 2014.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with the companies that met with the President today as well as other stakeholders, following requests from companies to develop this program.

“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” said President Obama.  “We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks.  They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks.  And today, I’m proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks.”

That liberals believe they know what’s best for everyone else is nothing new. What’s fascinating to me is seeing the Barack Obama, the President of the United States, purport that others harbor the same religious reverence for him that he has for himself. He claims that the very individuals that run private corporations have more faith in him to run their businesses than they have in themselves. Here Obama is painting the picturing of the economy bowing at his feat, begging “tell us what to do, oh mighty one!”

Progressing Right Along

The following was submitted by Nick Nottleman, a reader and concerned American, on the debt ceiling debate and subsequent downgrade in our credit rating by S&P.

Newt Gingrich recently said that his biggest regret while Speaker of the House was not addressing baseline budgeting.  This is the mechanism that says Federal Government Spending is automatically increased each year based on a given percentage.  For Example, our 2011 Federal Budget is approximately 3.9 TRILLION dollars.  Using the baseline of 8 percent, our spending should automatically increase 312 BILLION in 2012.

It is also the mechanism that projects these increases in spending and thus a projected budget for the next 10 years.   And the really neat part is that if you decide to spend a little bit less than what these projections indicate, you get to call it a “cut”.

Now here’s the kicker…  Anything you add to the annual spending, call it something crazy like “Stimulus”, “Omnibus”, or heck, even “Socialized Medicine”, well, that stuff sneaks right in there and receives it’s nasty little automatic increase.

ICYMI: S&P downgrades our credit rating

As you’ve no doubt heard, on Friday, Standard & Poors (S&P) downgraded the United States’ AAA credit rating because the debt deal reached by the White House and Congress failed to cut the $4 trillion deemed necessary by the credit rating agency during the debate the debt ceiling:

S&P removed for the first time the triple-A rating the U.S. has held for 70 years, saying the budget deal recently brokered in Washington didn’t do enough to address the gloomy outlook for America’s finances. It downgraded long-term U.S. debt to AA+, a score that ranks below more than a dozen governments’, including Liechtenstein’s, and on par with Belgium’s and New Zealand’s. S&P also put the new grade on “negative outlook,” meaning the U.S. has little chance of regaining the top rating in the near term.

The unprecedented move came after several hours of high-stakes drama. It began in the morning, when word leaked that a downgrade was imminent and stocks tumbled. Around 1:30 p.m., S&P officials notified the Treasury Department that they planned to downgrade U.S. debt and presented the government with their findings. Treasury officials noticed a $2 trillion error in S&P’s math that delayed an announcement for several hours. S&P officials decided to move ahead, and after 8 p.m. they made their downgrade official.

More about that “Super Committee”

Since Tuesday, there have been a lot of concerns expressed about the “Super Committee” created as part of the debt deal hashed out between the White House and Democrats and House Republicans, including whether it has the ability to raise taxes. Republican leaders in both chambers have played down this possibility, but Philip Klein writes that they aren’t being honest with themselves, let alone taxpayers:

It’s an ominous sign that, even before the legislation creating the committee actually became law, the parties were already sending out dueling press releases about what it could and could not do.

If Republicans were smart, they would take Democrats at their word. But instead, they have been publicly in denial about the obvious risks of this committee for conservatives.

The key problem lies with the enforcement mechanisms, or “triggers,” created to compel the committee members to reach an agreement. While Republicans wouldn’t agree to a tax-hike trigger, they did agree to one that would slash defense spending by up to $600 billion, depending on how far short the committee falls of the deficit-reduction goal. This puts anti-tax Republicans who favor a robust military in a bind.

Democrats on the committee could insist on raising taxes, and Republicans will either have to give in to their tax demands or accept the deep defense cuts.

When I posed this clear dilemma to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., as he was leaving the Capitol after Monday’s vote to raise the debt limit, he was dismissive.

Debt deal passes the House

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.

House rejects Reid’s debt plan

Last night, the House passed Speaker John Boehner’s debt proposal by a vote of 218 to 210 (22 Republicans opposed it, no Democrats voted for it). As we noted yesterday, the House Republican leaders made changes to attract support from fiscally conservative members. However, the bill was almost immediately tabled in the Senate; effectively killing it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan doesn’t have enough support to bypass a Republican filibuster in the Senate, but Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) introduced it and it failed by a vote of 173 to 246 - no Republicans voted for it and 11 Democrats voted against it, that’s far-short of the 2/3 needed to pass it (the threshold for this bill was higher because House rules were suspended to bring it forward):

The House voted 173-246 on the bill, short of a majority and well short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage, which was required because Republicans brought up the bill under a suspension of House rules. Every Republican voted no, along with 11 Democrats.

There was some discussion among Democrats of voting “present” to protest the vote and show it up as a political stunt by Republicans, but ultimately all voting members voted for or against the measure.

Debt ceiling talks between Obama and Boehner collapse

News broke not too long ago that talks between the White House and Speaker John Boehner have apparently collapsed:

House Speaker John Boehner abruptly broke off talks with President Barack Obama Friday night on a deal to make major cuts in federal spending and avert a threatened government default, sending already uncertain compromise efforts into instant crisis.

Within minutes, an obviously peeved Obama virtually ordered congressional leaders to the White House Saturday morning for fresh negotiations on raising the nation’s debt limit. “We’ve got to get it done. It is not an option not to do it,” he declared.

For the first time since talks began, he declined to offer assurances, when asked, that default would be avoided. Moments later, however, he said he was confident of that outcome.

My wife and I were out to dinner while the press conferences were going on (obviously, I didn’t watch them), so I’m still catching up on what exactly happened. As noted above, Obama came across angry and chastized Republicans, asking if they could agree on anything. Here is the video (you can read his comments here):

Rumors of a debt ceiling deal heat up

There were signs of movement yesterday a deal that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling. According to a report from The New York Times on Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner were close to a $3 trillion deficit reduction deal:

Congressional and administration officials said that the two men, who had abandoned their earlier talks toward a deal when leaks provoked Republicans’ protests at Mr. Boehner, were now closing in on a significant package calling for as much as $3 trillion in savings that would be obtained through substantial spending cuts and future revenues produced through an overhaul of the tax code. If it could be sold to Congress, the plan could clear the way for a vote to increase the federal debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline.

What does each side want? Here is an idea:

[T]he president and Mr. Boehner were moving ahead with their plan, aides said, trying to agree on matters like how much new revenue would be raised, how much would go to deficit reduction, how much to lower tax rates and, perhaps most critical, how to enforce the requirement for new tax revenue through painful consequences for both parties should they be unable to overhaul the tax code in 2012.

The White House wants a trigger that would raise taxes on the wealthy; Mr. Boehner wants the potential penalty for inaction to include repeal of the Obama health care law’s mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance after 2014.

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