State of the Union: Mammoth Government is the New Normal

State of the Union: Mammoth Government is the New
Normal

January 27th, 2011

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

In his 2011
State of the Union Address
, Barack Obama gave himself five more years of
trillion-dollar deficit spending, a $678 billion income tax hike, a Social
Security tax increase, and the permanent extension of ObamaCare – and he gave
Republicans medical malpractice reform and a joke about a salmon.
Since his inauguration, the president has gone on a two-year spending orgy
unrivaled since the days of Lyndon Johnson or FDR. Faced with a national
backlash against towering debt, he has come up with a “compromise”: Americans
should accept the big government expansion he has forced down their throats and
move on. This follows the president’s familiar pattern of forcing through costly
and unpopular measures, then promising “discipline” after the fact.
The most reported aspect of the speech was Obama’s pledge to freeze
discretionary, non-military spending at their current levels – exempting such
major programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Homeland
Security.
At the risk of stating the obvious, which perhaps no one has yet stated,
there is no “savings.” As President Obama would say, “Let’s be
clear”: Savings is when you reduce the amount of money you are spending. The
president’s proposal is to spend the same amount of money. The only “savings”
would come from the fact that inflation
unleashed by deficit
spending
and quantitative
easing
will devalue the dollar – but this is hardly a cause for cheer.
History shows that spending freezes rarely freeze anything. The most
ambitious attempt was the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which attempted to
control deficit spending by future Congresses, but many of the same politicians
who voted for the bill decided they would not abide by its terms the next year.
Deficits continued to mount. To give a more recent example, last year Congress
approved slightly more
than half
of the whopping $11.5 billion in spending cuts Obama requested
last year.
The amount of the budget actually affected is rather modest, indeed. It would
apply to approximately
12 percent of the budget
. Alec Phillips, an analyst with Goldman Sachs,
estimates that if every Congress for the next five years holds to current
levels, it would “save” $200 billion. The New York Times noted its
higher estimate of “$250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3
percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is
expected to accumulate
over that time.” Obama’s plan would cost
half-a-trillion dollars more
than returning
to 2008 spending levels
, as proposed by the most moderate Republicans. Sen.
Rand Paul has proposed a half-a-trillion
dollar spending cut
this year, which includes cutting food stamps
and eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National
Endowment for the Arts. Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan and Senator Jim DeMint
introduced a bill to cut
$2.5 trillion
over ten years, eliminating the aforementioned programs as
well as Amtrak and the president’s “high-speed rail” and rolling back spending
to 2006 levels. Obama’s freeze is small beer in its own terms and hypocritical
when paired with his calls for new spending.
The State of the Union made only passing reference to the greatest budgetary
crisis facing us: out of control entitlements (and most of his “solutions” are
bad ideas; see below). “Mandatory” spending alone exceeds projected federal
revenues – the amount of money the government took in all year. If we eliminated
100 percent of discretionary spending – privatized the Post Office, dismantled
the military, and fired every federal prosecutor and judge – we would still run a
deficit
.
Nonetheless, the president instructed us, “The final step to winning the
future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.” As though we
are not already buried under a mountain of debt. As though this were not a
mountain of his own making. As though it were not one he wished to greatly
enlarge
.
What Obama intends to freeze is big government. His proposal to hold-the-line
comes after he jacked
up federal spending by 84 percent
. After inflating the federal government
beyond the free market’s carrying capacity, he now wishes to maintain the status
quo.
As usual Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, had the best analysis of Obama’s spending
freeze, calling it “a plan for deficit preservation.” The day
after the State of the Union speech, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
predicted the deficit for 2011 will be….
Read
more
.

The Rest of the World and Obama

The Rest of the World and Obama

By Steve
McCann

 

One of the primary narratives of the Democrats and the media during the
entire tenure of the George W. Bush’s term was that the United States was held
in historically low regard throughout the rest of the world.  This became, after
“Bush lied,” the second-most frequently repeated talking point.  Whether there
was any basis for this claim was immaterial; it was a handy cudgel for defeating
and humiliating the president.
For the past twenty-five-plus years, I have been involved in the
international marketplace, having dealt in countries as varied as the United
Kingdom, China, and Ghana.  Never in that period of time, from Ronald Reagan to
Barack Obama, have I found it more difficult to defend the polices of the United
States and listen to more overt criticism of any sitting president than I do
today.
Over the years, it has been my experience that at nearly all business
meetings or conversations, domestic politics, either in the United States or any
other country, is rarely discussed unless there has been a major event such as
an election or a natural disaster.  Normally, all focus is on the transaction at
hand.  At times, there has been good-natured banter about the generic American
character, but that is more reflective of the fact the United States has, for
nearly seventy years, overwhelmingly dominated the world scene.  When one is at
the top of the heap, an element of envy mingled with grudging respect is to be
expected.
During the Bush years, while encountering some criticism of the Iraq war
decision and a media-driven reflexive belief in Bush’s “cowboy mentality”
(promoted to some degree by his Texas drawl and demeanor), there was no
noticeable difference in the conversations and attitudes of the many people I
met overseas.
By stark contrast, today, virtually every conversation includes a variation
of the following: “Do you people have any idea of what you are doing?”  The
primary reason for this reaction is the stark reality that the current world
order, which has been historically successful and dominated by the United
States, is beginning to unravel.  That unraveling is primarily because of
American government-induced financial policies that triggered a worldwide
catastrophic collapse in 2008 and the nearly incomprehensible economic policies
pursued since.
Over the past two years and into 2011, the United States has gone on the
most astounding spending and money-printing binge in the history of mankind.
From the end of 2008 through the end of 2011, over $4.3 trillion will
have been added to the national debt.  That is the same as the annual Gross
Domestic Product of the third-largest economy in the world: Japan.
Further, the Federal Reserve has increased the money supply by an equally
astounding $1.5 trillion, engulfing the world in dollars and thereby triggering
inflation, disrupting the normal flow of capital, and promoting additional
apprehension of the future.
Yet there does not appear to be any real effort to change course.  Instead
and despite many underlying factors, such as a stubbornly high unemployment
rate, real estate values still declining, a potential stock market bubble due to
too many dollars looking for a home, and inflation that the government refuses
to recognize, there no indication that Washington D.C. — particularly after the
State of the Union speech — is taking the current state of affairs
seriously.
Despite the obligatory bows to Beijing, the international marketplace does
not want to see China replace the United States as the preeminent economic and
military power in the world.  China is inherently unstable with its population
time bomb, and its government cannot be considered benign based on its human
rights abuses, totalitarian governing philosophy, and overt desire to dominate
the planet.
If the United States collapses under its own weight, the world will be
thrown into chaos, and many in the international marketplace recognize that very
real possibility.
Thus, in my many conversations with those overseas, the subject matter
turns quickly to Barack Obama.  The most frequent adjectives used to describe
our current president are “incompetent,” “amateurish,” “narcissistic,”
“inexperienced,” and “haughty.”  This is often followed by a confession that
accusers too were impressed with Obama during his campaign and fell for his
smooth delivery, rhetoric, and appearance.
They felt, along with many Americans, that no one could possibly do this
much damage in such a short time, considering the sheer size of the United
States and its economy.  Barack Obama has become the butt of many jokes and
satire.  Virtually everyone I talk to wants to discuss his failings.  Recently,
the Swiss Marc
Faber
, an internationally renowned investor and author whom I have met, said
the following on Bloomberg TV’s “Street Smart”: “Obama has done a horrible job.
He’s dishonest … Foreigners laugh at him … He’s like a
prostitute.”
Mr. Faber is not alone in his sentiment; it has become common not only in
the boardrooms, but also the halls of government.  I was told by an acquaintance
that during the recent G-20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea, there was near-open
mocking of Obama behind the scenes.  It is not a coincidence that the number of
Mr. Obama’s trips overseas has been curtailed.
The most telling comment made to me was by a business associate in London
when he said, “When the world needs a firm hand and competent leadership, we are
given a fool whose only interest is himself and his ideology.  His level of
incompetence knows no bounds, yet we all must suffer for it.”
Throughout the world today, strategies and plans are being put in place on
how to survive and prosper without the United States as the major global player
if America does not come to its senses, reverse course, and change leadership.
Never has worldwide esteem for the United States fallen to such a low
point.
As for me, I can only tell those I deal with that I still have faith in the
American people — their determination, their ingenuity, and their ability to
finally wake up to reality and change course.  I firmly believe that they will.
The response when I say those things?  “We hope you are right; the world needs
your country to be strong and resolute.”

 

Sharks Are Not Misunderstood Dolphins, and Islam Is Not a Religion of Peace

Sharks Are Not Misunderstood Dolphins, and Islam Is Not a Religion of
Peace

By Kevin
DuJan

 

I’ve often been told rumors from very old, wise people about a time, long
before I was born, when “Saturday Night Live” was both funny and relevant.  It’s
hard to believe, but in those unimaginably distant days deep into the past,
Chevy Chase played a Land
Shark
who wore various disguises in attempts to break into people’s
apartments and eat them.  When subterfuge and gimmicks failed, he just lied and
told various idiots he was a dolphin.
[Knock, knock]
“Who’s there?  It’s not that Land Shark I’ve heard about, is it?”
“Nope.  Just a candygram, Ma’am.”
“Candygram?  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  I think you are that Land
Shark.”
“No, Ma’am.  I am just a misunderstood dolphin.”
“A dolphin?  Well, okay then.  No cause for alarm if you are only a
dolphin.  I certainly wouldn’t want to appear to be species-ist by having
reservations about trusting a dolphin.”
In case you haven’t seen it in late-night reruns, that scene ends with
a monstrous foam shark head bursting through the door to devour Jane Curtin,
Gilda Radner, Laraine Newman, Lily Tomlin, and other unsuspecting New York City
victims in one hungry gulp.
Whenever there’s a new Islamic terrorist attack somewhere in the world (and
that’s somewhat redundantly phrased because just about the only terrorist
attacks that occur in this world are Islamic, unless of course you have heard of
murder sprees the Amish and Buddhists often go on whenever someone draws a
cartoon they don’t like or names a dog after a self-proclaimed prophet they
revere…oh wait, no, those are Muslims who do that, as usual…never mind), I
always think of this dusty old SNL skit.  The American media deliberately plays
the role of stunned bystander shocked that there really was a Land
Shark at the door.
The idiots.
No matter how many times the delusional fools in the American media try to
convince you otherwise, sharks are not misunderstood dolphins, and Islam is not
a religion of peace.
I think that even the media knows this, on some level, because I’ve noticed
that few journalists ever cover Islamic terror attacks the way they’d report on
other murder sprees and tragedies committed by non-Muslims.
In the case of the latter, great effort is made to explain precisely why
someone like Jared
Lee Loughner
picked up a gun, killed six, and injured a dozen more in his
assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  His parents,
friends, teachers, distant relatives, acquaintances, and kindergarten teacher,
and a kid who sat next to him for an hour and a half on the ride to summer camp
fifteen years ago, are all scrutinized for clues into his behavior, then blamed
for being bad influences on him.  The media stokes an abusive outrage against
these people — the parents in particular — for not catching the warning signs
that could have prevented these murders.  Simultaneously, the media and the left
join together in politicizing the tragedy, invoking Rahm Emanuel’s corollary to
the Alinsky Rules for Radicals that no good crisis should go to waste.  This
means that in addition to the people a murderer like Loughner actually knew, the
entire conservative movement in this country must also be held responsible for
this single man’s actions, including people Loughner never met, spoke to, or
even knew much about, like Governor Sarah Palin.
When a Muslim commits an act of mass-murdering terrorism, in contrast, the
left does not camp out in front of the shooter/assassin/bomber’s home and
scrutinize every person he ever in his life came in contact with and blame them
all for his actions.  Instead, the media personalities report on acts of
terrorism the way they do shark attacks.
When great whites gobble a surfer
or menace a beach somewhere, the media runs footage of vacationers running
screaming from the water, family members of the victims shocked and in tears
huddled together by the lifeguard station, and plenty of stock footage of
ambulances racing to hospitals with helicopters overhead surveying the carnage.
No effort is made to track down the family of the sharks responsible for
the attacks, and not much effort at all is made to get inside the mind of the
sharks to figure out why they did what they did, or to pretend Governor Palin
was behind it after all, just as everyone in the media suspected.  Palin is
behind everything, you know, except the things the media likes, which
she’s singlehandedly responsible for making less likable just because she’s
breathing.  Always breathing, somewhere, living rent-free in the media’s
nightmares.
There is no attempt in the media to connect shark attacks to any political
ideology, because the sharks are of course brutes composed entirely of teeth,
fins, and bite, churning the waters with blood, guts, and foam because that’s
just what sharks do.  Everyone accepts that, even the most delusional bleeding
hearts in the media ranks.
Sharks are just animals.  Animals like sharks kill people sometimes.  It’s
horrific and frightening, but there’s no one to blame.  After a day in the
headlines, it’s back to reporting on how terrible the Tea Party is and how
Governor Palin hunts werewolves from helicopters she, Todd, and her children
make themselves in their backyard in Wasilla — or some other nonsense the likes
of Ashley Judd are bound to parrot at the next red-carpet gala.  “Did you hear
what Sarah Palin did now?”  Because the entire Palin family has been
ascribed everything the media elite detest about regular, hardworking Americans,
including the twisted fixation the media has on the conceit that these regular
Americans are virulent racists.
But have you realized how intensely condescending and bigoted the left is
toward Muslims in all of its reporting?  The actions of a non-Muslim mass
murderer like Loughner are pinned on everyone he ever met (and conservatives
like Governor Palin whom he never in fact met), but the carnage caused by
Muslims and sharks alike isn’t blamed on anyone or anything and just chalked up
to “tragedy.”  Nothing more to see here, just move along now, and stay out of
the water or don’t get on an airplane for a while, and you’ll be just fine.
The reason terrorist attacks are reported on with the same style of
coverage reserved for shark attacks is because the left sees both sharks and
Muslims as just dumb animals who do what they do, unexpectedly, in gruesome
fashion, without any blame assigned for their actions.
Sharks aren’t people who can be held accountable for what they do — and
neither are Muslims in the eyes of the left.
When is the last time you saw MSNBC devote hour-long news specials to the
parents, friends, teachers, and other relatives of Muslim terrorists responsible
for mass murders and assorted bombings?  When was the last time CNN scheduled an
in-depth look into the Koran and the very clear recipes for murder and mayhem
contained in its instructive pages?  Probably about the last time the Discovery
Channel set aside a night of Shark Week to explore the familial relations of the
deep’s apex predators and why their behavior is influenced by blowfish with
chalkboards or barracudas who put targets on treasure maps at the bottom of the
sea.
If a big story about some explosive, horrific event comes knocking at the
door, rest assured the New York Times and rest of the dinosaur media will first
ask if a Muslim’s involved before they decide on the course and tone of their
coverage.
If it’s a member of the “Religion of Peace” who blew dozens to pieces, then
the trusty old shark attack template for reporting is dusted off, with no blame
assigned to anyone or anything for this lone animal’s aggressive actions.
If it’s anyone at all with a link to conservatism who held the gun or lit
the fuse, especially anyone connected to Governor Palin, no matter how remotely,
then the story is covered obsessively, for months, with the full resources of
the Gray Lady dumped into an indictment of every Republican less than a thousand
miles away from the scene of the crime.
It is as predictable and tired as a stale old “Saturday Night Live” skit.
Only it’s half as funny, and ten times as stomach-turningly tragic.
Kevin DuJan is the editor of Hillbuzz.