Posts Tagged ‘address’

The Pathological Stupidity Of Obama’s ‘Fairness’ Meme Of Taxing The Rich

April 13, 2011

We need to balance our insane budget deficit, Democrats say.  And it’s time the rich paid their fair share.

All the top 10% of earners paid is 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.  That’s nothing.  It’s those poor poor who suffer the most.  The bottom 50% have to pay a whole bunch of nothing.  It’s just brutal for them every April.  They want to write a check to the government, but only the rich get to do stuff like that.  And the bottom 40% are so screwed by our federal income tax system that they actually are forced to accept free money in addition to paying a whole bunch of nothing.  Unless the Associated Press is lying about it.

Nothing makes me more annoyed than the phrase “give the rich tax cuts.”  Because it presumes that the government owns us and graciously allows us to keep some of what we earn.  The way liberals understand things, they own all the means of production.  They own my labor and whatever I earn from my labor.  And I am lucky if the commissars allow me to keep enough to feed myself.  It derives from a tenant of Marxism: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  At the core is central planning; government stands above us, it stands above God (which is why consistent Marxists deny God exists and religion is merely an opiate of the masses), and government should redistribute everything according to its divine power.

That is the intrinsic logic of their view that allowing the rich or anyone else to keep more of their own money is considered a cost to the government.  But it ISN’T a cost to the government to allow me to keep more of my own money; anymore than it is a cost to me to allow my next door neighbor to keep more of his own tools.

Obama gave an address in which he paid lip service to reducing spending – even though his budget that he released only TWO MONTHS AGO didn’t reduce any spending at all – and in fact stated that it would be dangerous to do so.  Obama has no plans to cut spending; in fact, the deficit in just the first six months of this year shot up another 15.7%.  Obama is going to do what he’s been doing since he started running for president; he’s going to offer meaningless rhetorical platitudes about cutting spending and reducing costs, while demonizing the rich and demanding that the ONLY people who pay REALLY START TO PAY.

Obama is going to talk about “fairness.”

The ‘fairness’ meme
April 12, 2011 – 4:47 am – by Roger Kimball

We don’t know exactly what Barack Obama is going to say when he fires up his teleprompters at George Washington University tomorrow. The color, we do know, however: it’s red, as in “red ink,” what Mitch Daniels at his speech at CPAC earlier this year called “the new red menace.” (I like to think that the invocation of the old “red menace,” the Communist, socialist one, was deliberate: it is, I would argue, apt.)

The substance of the speech, as ABC notes, is “closely held.” Everybody thinks that there will be at least pro forma acknowledgement that spending on such programs as Medicare and Social Security needs to be reined in. But the big O will also return to one of his favorite themes, a by-word from his 2008 campaign: “increased taxes on the wealthy” (that’s according to “White House officials”).

Here’s my bet: the operative word in Obama’s speech tomorrow night, the mantra that will be repeated endlessly not only by O but also by the left-wing commentariat, is “fairness.” You remember his campaign shtick: the Saddleback Church event, for example, when Rick Warren asked candidates John McCain and B.O. about taxes. “Define rich,” he asked. McCain tossed out an income of $5 million, which elicited derision. But the gravamen of his response came in the elaboration: “I don’t want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich.”

How different was B.O.’s response: What he was looking for, he said, was “a sense of balance, and fairness in our tax code. It is time for folks like me who make more than $250,000 to pay our fair share.”

“Our fair share.” That, as I noted at the time, is B.O.’s refrain. “[W]e will save Social Security for future generations by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.” It’s a small step from the invocation of “our fair share” to Obama’s call for a tax on “the windfall profits of oil companies,” a tax increase on capitals gains, elimination of the tax on Social Security tax, etc., etc.

The crucial point here is that what Obama is interested in is not increasing revenue but in promulgating redistributionist policies that make it harder for people to prosper economically. William McGurn, writing in The Wall Street Journal back then, recalled Obama’s response to ABC’s Charlie Gibson when Gibson observed that raising taxes led to decreased revenues: “Well, Charlie,” Obama replied, “what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”

“For purposes of fairness”: that means, “for purposes of economic egalitarianism.”

McGurn observed:

[I]t doesn’t really matter whether a tax increase actually brings in more revenue. It’s not about robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Robbing from the rich will do, especially if it’s done in the name of fairness.

Now there are good reasons Mr. Obama is not likely to pursue the revenue side of the fairness question. As this newspaper noted in a recent editorial, the latest data from the Internal Revenue Service does not show to Mr. Obama’s advantage. As we come to the end of the Bush administration, the top 1% of American taxpayers already pay 40% of all income taxes — the highest level in 40 years. The top 10% of income earners pay 71% of the taxes.

The bottom line is that when Obama invokes “fairness,” he wants us to feel guilty about economic success. This is the secret of his appeal to the socialistically inclined.

It worked in 2008. Let’s see how it goes down tomorrow. Over the last two years, Barack Obama has presided over an economic Armageddon. Everyone knows about that $14 trillion that is the federal debt. Few people, I suspect, really appreciate what that unimaginable figure represents. And the kicker is, $14 trillion is only a tithe of the trouble. As Kevin Williamson and others have pointed out, the country’s real debt, when you facotr in state indebtedness and unfunded so-called “entitlement” liabilities, is closer to $130 trillion. That horror-movie figure is just too awful to contemplate, so I will draw a veil.

[…]

For the record, I wrote an article entitled, “Tax Cuts Increase Revenues; They Have ALWAYS Increased Revenues,” in which I documented that every single time the United States has reduced the income tax rate, federal revenues have gone up.  I go back to Warren Harding to document that.  I include John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush – who increased federal revenues by lowering tax rates.

But this recurring documented fact of U.S. history is tantamount to rocket science to liberals.  Because they adhere to the entirely unrealistic premise that if I were to double your taxes, I would collect double the revenue, because people wouldn’t react to the tax increase by altering their behavior.

Recent developments give me a crystal clear example of why liberals couldn’t be more wrong:

Gas Price Rise, Americans Drive Less
By Rachel Smith
Posted: Apr 12, 2011 10:30 a.m.

Americans are taking rising gas prices seriously. They’re already driving less, “reversing what had been a steady increase in demand for fuel,” the Associated Press writes. “For five weeks in a row, they have bought less gas than they did a year ago.”

The average price of gas is an obvious indicator of why national fuel consumption is dropping. At the end of March, AAA reported that gas reached an average of $3.60 nationally. Today, AAA says the national average is $3.79 for regular grade, a 29 cent jump in about two weeks. Business Week reports that many analysts forecast that these numbers will worsen, and expect that consumers could pay as much as $5 a gallon this year due to political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, which supply much of the United States’ oil. The $5 per gallon speculation has been floating around the industry for some time, but last year, CNN stated that former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister predicted that Americans could pay $5 a gallon by 2012. Analysts have bumped that date up.

“Drivers are already reacting to the change,” writes Kicking Tires. “In the first week of April, consumption was down 3.6%, or 2.4 million gallons of gasoline,” based on data from MasterCard Spending Pulse.

One of the best ways to combat rising gas prices is to drive less, but there are other simple things you can do. […]

Even uneducated, ignorant and frankly stupid people understand this incredibly basic concept: cost goes up, activity goes down.  And yet you have liberals with PhDs staffing agencies such as the Congressional Budget Office utterly fail to understand that if they make taxes go up, they will end up with reactions that will invariably produce less revenue for the government.

If even high-school dropouts understand that if the price of gasoline goes up, they need to drive less, how is it that brilliant businessmen won’t realize that if their tax rates go up, they need to protect their money?

Here’s another analogy that might be spot on the money.  Suppose your going to work and a mugger jumps you and takes all your money.  As he’s walking off, counting your (well, his now) cash, he says, “I hope you’ve got as much dough tomorrow, because I’m going to mug you again.”  Now, if you’re smart, you won’t be happening by that way at all the next day.  But if you’ve absolutely got to go that way to get to work, will you have as much money that next day?  Not if you’ve got a single functioning brain cell.  On my analogy, if you figure out some other way to get to work, that’s tax avoidance.  If you stash your cash somewhere so you don’t have it for the robber to take, that’s tax sheltering.  And if you’re too stupid to understand that this is what people do when their taxes go up, that’s liberalism.

The more taxes increase, the more activities that were previously not worth doing – such as sheltering assets, moving assets overseas, investing in collectibles, purchasing tax-exempt investment vehicles, or just dodging taxes – become worth doing.

And so,what happens every single time happens yet again.  Raise taxes expecting more revenue, get less revenue, and hurt the economy in the process by penalizing productivity and investment risk and thereby restricting growth.  And when you encourage growth by reducing the tax burden and allowing people to keep what they earn, lo and behold, cetaris parabis, there is a surge in activity, an increase in economic growth and a corresponding increase in federal tax revenue.

I say “cetaris parabis” because if you throw in a socialist Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that undermine something as vital as our housing mortgage market by imposing morally and fiscally insane policies until the system comes crashing down, such as what occurred leading up the crash in 2008, the best tax rates in the world can’t save the system.

Here are just a few articles I wrote on that subject, in order of date written with the earliest listed first:

Biden: ‘We Misread The Economy, And It’s All Republicans’ Fault

AEI Article: How Fannie And Freddie Blew Up The Economy

Barney Frank And Democrat Party Most Responsible For 2008 Economic Collapse

More Proof Democrats Destroyed The Economy In 2008: The Ongoing Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Disaster

We need to have intelligent economic policies.  If we don’t have such policies, we’re going to struggle regardless of our tax rates.

Quickly, another liberal policy that will not even possibly work is the Federal Reserve QE2 (that’s the second shot at quantitative easing) that artificially reduces interest rates by artificially increasing the money supply in order to increase lending.

Here’s the problem with that.  Short term, it might seem to work.  The stock market looks at the apparent backstopping of our economy and follows the leader (Uncle Sam) up until the ship starts to sink.  After which they will sell, sell, sell.  But the ship ALWAYS sinks.  Why?  Because you have a lot more dollars chasing after the same supply of finite goods and services (if anything, in the last few years, we have a LOWER supply of finite goods and services).  So what happens?  More dollars chasing less stuff.  That’s inflation.  It will INVARIABLY require more devalued dollars to buy the same things.  The more you inflate the money supply, the worse that inflation gets.  And we have massively increased our money supply.

Let me go back to what I wrote going on a year ago now:

An increase in the money supply is rather like an overdose of drugs.  And in this case the effect of the overdose will be hyperinflation.  Basically, the moment we have any kind of genuine recovery, our staggering deficit is going to begin to create an ultimately gigantic inflation rate.  Why?  Because we have massively artificially increased our money supply beyond our ability to actually produce real wealth, and that means that money will ultimately be devalued.  There’s simply no way it can’t be.  If simply printing money solved financial problems, the government could just mail everyone several million dollars, and we could all retire.  The problem is that more money chasing a limited supply of goods simply pushes up prices higher and higher without doing anything to solve the underlying economic problems.  If we have a recovery, with increased economic activity, there will be increased demand on the money supply, forcing an upward climb in interest rates as a means of controlling the currency.  And then we’ll begin to seriously pay for Obama’s and the Democrat Party’s sins.  Paradoxically, the only thing preventing hyperinflation now is the recession, because people aren’t buying anything and therefore aren’t competing for those limited goods.

And let me point out that we’re looking at huge inflation now – even as Obama declares victory over the recession – in insanely rising gas prices, food prices, clothes prices, all prices:

Hope ‘n Change Coming To Fruition: Cost Of EVERYTHING About To Go Up

Instability, Food Riots And A Heaping Dose Of ‘I Told You So’

Just like I said would happen.  And just like the long list of economists said would happen when they begged Obama not to do the $3.27 trillion stimulus.

This phenomenon is going on all over the world because most of the world is tied to the U.S. dollar – the currency that Obama has been poisoning hoping for short-term political gains.

And, again, a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts (which doesn’t help businesses and individuals who are desperately searching for consistency so they can predict their costs) is not going to help us out of this kind of moral and fiscal insanity.

But what we are going to see is Obama now demagoguing all the massive economic failure that his own policies are responsible for creating in the first place to demand that the rich “pay their fair share.”

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From Bad To Worse: Japan Was On Path To Debt Default BEFORE Earthquake, Tsunami And Meltdown. America Next.

March 15, 2011

Meltdown.  That’s a good word for Japan these days.

And I’m not talking about the nuclear reactors, either.  I’m talking about what had been one of the most powerful economic engines on the planet.

Look at the facts in late 2010 BEFORE the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor.  They didn’t look pretty then; they’ve become nightmarish since:

Japan Will Default as Economy Unravels, Bass Says
October 13, 2010, 4:19 PM EDT
By Nikolaj Gammeltoft and Susanne Walker
 
Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) — Japan will be forced to default on its debt, Greece’s economy is “done” and Iceland is worse off than Greece, said J. Kyle Bass, the head of Dallas-based Hayman Advisors LP who made $500 million in 2007 on the U.S. subprime collapse.

Nations around the world will be unable to repay their debt and financial austerity in a country such as Ireland is “too late,” Bass said today at the Value Investing Congress in New York.

Japan’s economy may unravel in the next two to three years, and its interest payments will exceed revenue, he said. “Japan can’t fund itself internally,” Bass said.

The country’s year-over-year gross domestic product was 2.4 percent as of June 30. It has the world’s largest public debt, approaching 200 percent of its GDP amid a 5.1 percent jobless rate. Consumer price fell by one percent in September and has been negative each month since May 2009, as deflation has taken hold.

Pricing on Japanese interest-rate swaps is the best he’s ever seen, Bass said. Investors could make 50 to 100 times their capital betting on them, he said, calling them a lottery ticket on Japan’s economy.

Japanese bonds have returned 3.3 percent this year, according to Merrill Lynch Indexes, compared with a return of 0.872 percent in 2009.

Crisis

Bank Of Japan’s Governor Masaaki Shirakawa refused to expand monthly purchases of government bonds this year even as deflation persisted. The bank on Oct. 5 instead created a 5 trillion yen ($60 billion) fund to buy bonds and other assets, and pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at “virtually zero” until the end of deflation is in sight. Deflation has been entrenched in the economy since 1998. The GDP deflator, a gauge of prices across the economy, has fallen 14 percent since 1997, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A financial crisis in 1997-98 precipitated by bad loans on Japanese lenders’ balance sheets stemming from burst land and stock-price bubbles of the early 1990s set off Japan’s deflation. Property prices have slumped for 17 of the past 19 years, and stocks remain 76 percent off of their 1989 peak, according to the Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

Japan’s currency traded at 81.79 per dollar, compared with 81.72. It touched 81.39 on Oct. 11, the strongest level since April 1995.

Bass began buying securities with shorter durations last year as he predicted central bank and government actions globally to rescue the financial system will result in “outright currency debasement.”

He began buying shorter-term debt and precious metals then, anticipating hyperinflation will lead to higher interest rates. Bass also said in May that Europe’s debt crisis will not be solved by the $1 trillion loan package the International Monetary Fund and the European Union agreed on earlier that month.

–Editors: Nick Baker, Dave Liedtka

And that was all BEFORE Japan went from the frying pan into the nuclear fire.

What’s being said now?

Quake shattered Japan poses global debt worry
GARETH COSTA, The West Australian
March 15, 2011, 6:11 am

Concerns have emerged in global credit markets over how heavily-indebted Japan will be able to pay for its biggest economic reconstruction effort since World War II.

The Bank of Japan’s promise yesterday of a ¥15 trillion ($182 billion) cash injection into its banking system managed to soothe global equities, but not debt markets as Japanese government credit default swap rates used to insure against debt default soared 13 points to 92.

Although not yet at critical levels, analysts said yesterday’s sharp spike in the CDS rates highlighted debt market concerns about Japan’s funding pressures within a cash-strapped global economy.

“When you have a market the size of Japan down this much, it’s going to affect everybody,” Stephen Halmarick, head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, said.

“A tragedy of this proportion is going to take up a lot of economic resources.

“It’s going to have quite a negative impact on growth.”

Credit markets were already concerned that Japanese government debt had ballooned to $US12.2 trillion, or 200 per cent of GDP.

Insurance experts estimate the repair bill carried by foreign reinsurers will be capped at $US34 billion, with the rest borne by Japanese insurers, the Government and uninsured homeowners.

Japan has so far managed to function under its debt because it has predominantly been funded by domestic investors and because it runs a steady trade surplus.

However, analysts caution that short-term liquidity constraints could prompt strong yen repatriation flows out of foreign markets as occurred after the Kobe earthquake.

Early estimates suggest the cost of the Sendai earthquake will easily exceed the $US100 billion Kobe earthquake in 1995.

Japan’s increased funding pressures are also occurring in a global economy far more cash-constrained than in 1995, and unless export earnings begin flowing soon, escalating funding costs could push the country’s financing costs over the tipping point.

Japan has been one of the biggest buyers of US Treasury debt and in January pledged to also buy up to one-fifth of bonds from the European Financial Stability Fund that was created to bail out Greece and Ireland, all of which will become secondary to Japanese funding needs for the next few months.

The country is also one of the world’s biggest holders of gold bullion.

Any decision to cash in on bullion’s record price and offload much of its sovereign holding would likely depress the gold price.

Japan’s Nikkei equities index slumped 6.2 per cent, its worse daily performance in two years.

[…]

What impact will it have on the global markets if the 3rd largest economy in the world defaults?  What effect will it have on the ability of the world’s largest debtor – that’s YOU, America – to continue to get credit as WE begin to look more and more like a default-likely credit risk???

Japan was the second largest purchaser of American debt, and was so far ahead of #3 (Japan buys 3 1/4 times more of our debt than Britain), that it’s not even funny.  The U.S. needs a sucker, I mean an investor, to continue to artificially prop-up our insane lifestyle.  Who’s going to do that now?

What you’re going to see is either the Fed dramatically hasten the rate at which it devalues the dollar, which in turn will hasten the inevitable result of America becoming a banana republic, or a giant spike in interest rates as other U.S. debt buyers demand more reward for their risks.

A third alternative is that Japan could begin to sell off its US debt to raise money to rebuild.  While that seems like the obvious course, it turns out in this crazy world it isn’t; were Japan to sell it’s U.S. debt, the result would surely kill the U.S. dollar, but it would also dramatically strengthen the yen and hurt Japan’s export market just when they need it most.

My point is it’s a lose-lose.  And the U.S. loses right along with Japan.

Yet “no drama” Obama didn’t care.  He didn’t even bother to mention Japan or it’s earthquake or its tsunami or its nuclear meltdown in his address the day after the disaster.  And just to demonstrate that he truly truly, truly didn’t give a damn, he played 18 holes of golf.

See the photos of Obama’s golf outing from Sadhill.

Then there’s the unfortunate fact that this disaster has coincided with the far more important NCAA basketball tournament.  A president has to choose his priorities, and clearly the basketball won out.

Note #1: this is hardly new behavior from the man who promised “hope and change.”

Note #2: the mainstream media excoriated Bush for golfing a tiny fraction as often as Obama.  One example is the liberal Washington Post headline from August 5, 2002, “Before Golf, Bush Decries Latest Deaths in Mideast.”  I wonder what the Post’s headline would be about Obama if they had even a shred of fairness in their coverage?

We’re in trouble.  And our leader is a fool.  And we have a media that is hell-bent (literally) on ignoring or explaining away this fool’s actions and responses.

One of the things I came to believe as I realized that Obama would actually quite possibly get elected president was that our economy was dead meat.  I entirely got out of the U.S. stock market entirely and won’t return until Obama and the Democrats are out of power.  The reason is that I believed – and STILL believe – that when our economy collapses, it will happen very suddenly, like a house of cards falling down.  And it might not start in America; rather, an event in another country will set off a spiral that will envelope us and expose us for what we truly are.

And just where truly are we?

News from globeandmail.com
The scary real U.S. government debt
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NEIL REYNOLDS

Ottawa — reynolds.globe@gmail.com

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion – 840 per cent of current GDP. “Let’s get real,” Prof. Kotlikoff says. “The U.S. is bankrupt.”

Writing in the September issue of Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund, Prof. Kotlikoff says the IMF itself has quietly confirmed that the U.S. is in terrible fiscal trouble – far worse than the Washington-based lender of last resort has previously acknowledged. “The U.S. fiscal gap is huge,” the IMF asserted in a June report. “Closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment equal to about 14 per cent of U.S. GDP.”

This sum is equal to all current U.S. federal taxes combined. The consequences of the IMF’s fiscal fix, a doubling of federal taxes in perpetuity, would be appalling – and possibly worse than appalling.

Our actual debt is not the fourteen trillion dollars that would be scary enough; it is $200 TRILLION.

That isn’t some rightwing thinktank saying that; it’s the IMF.

Japan had a literal meltdown.  It is about to have a financial meltdown.

And America will not be far behind.

As you look at the current fiscal situation, with Democrats not just fighting to keep the status quo of reckless and morally and mentally insane spending that will necessarily bankrupt America – and with Democrats literally sitting back waiting to demonize Republicans as “mean-spirited” the moment they try to do what is absolutely necessary to get our skyrocketing spending under control – realize that the United States is necessarily going to explode and collapse just like those reactors in Japan.

Democrats murdered America.  It was Democrats who were responsible for nearly ALL of those $200 trillion in debt that will destroy us (it is a simple fact that the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that constitute virtually all of our actual debt were all Democrat programs).  And it is Democrats who will literally fight to America’s death to prevent the nation from doing what is necessary to fix our situation before it is too late.

Social Security is now paying out more than it takes in.  Workers under forty are rightly quite confident that the system will collapse before they get a chance to collect.  Republicans want to fix the system before it collapses in order to save it.  But Democrats lie about the Republicans efforts (which would kick in slowly and not affect current retirees at all).  And Democrats race us faster, ever faster toward the collapse and nightmare that surely awaits America.

We’re a dead nation walking.  We just don’t realize it yet.

That’s the hope and change you voted for, America.  I hope you enjoy your starving in the soon-coming banana republic your false-messiah president created for you.

Obama Refuses To Take Any Responsibility For His Failing Presidency

December 10, 2009

There comes that moment in every great man’s life when he realizes that it’s time to put up or shut up.

Obama hasn’t reached that moment yet.  And I personally don’t believe he ever will.  Or even can.

Obama gave a speech at the Brookings Institute yesterday, December 8.  He said:

One of the central goals of this administration is restoring fiscal responsibility. Even as we have had to spend our way out of this recession in the near term, we have begun to make the hard choices necessary to get our country on a more stable fiscal footing in the long run. Despite what some have claimed, the cost of the Recovery Act is only a very small part of our current budget imbalance. In reality, the deficit had been building dramatically over the previous eight years. Folks passed tax cuts and expensive entitlement programs without paying for any of it – even as health care costs kept rising, year after year. As a result, the deficit had reached $1.3 trillion when we walked into the White House. And I’d note: these budget busting tax cuts and spending programs were approved by many of the same people who are now waxing political about fiscal responsibility while opposing our efforts to reduce deficits by getting health care costs under control. It’s a sight to see.

To begin with, sixty percent of the overall deficit from the last ten years has occurred during the last three year period that the Democrats have been in control of both the House and the Senate.  Any claim that Democrats were the fiscally responsible party is just frankly a complete lie.

And as we look to which party is accumulating debts that have never been seen in the history of the human species, take a look at this graph of reality, to the tune of Joe Wilson’s hit song, “You lie!”

Link

You don’t have to be an economist or financial expert to see that the Marxist red Obama bars utterly dwarf the gray Bush bars.

Let’s take a look at the real numbers:

The Obama Administration Budget released today contains a total $2.867 trillion in red ink, just 38 days after Obama’s inauguration on January 20.

In contrast, the Bush Administration ran up a $2.7519 trillion deficit over an 8-year period that included 7 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan; the economic downturn after 9-11; the addition of a prescription drug benefit to Medicare; a massive increase in federal education spending under No Child Left Behind; and the current recession and 2008 Wall Street bailout.

Bush Surplus/Deficit Fiscal Years 2001-2008 (billions of dollars)
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Statistics
2001    128.2
2002    -157.8
2003    -377.6
2004    -412.7
2005    -318.3
2006    -248.2
2007    -160.7
2008    -454.8
TARP    -750.0
Total  -2751.9

Obama Budget Deficit FY 2009/10*
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Statistics
2010       -1750
2011       -1117
Total      -2867

*The Obama deficit total does NOT include the impact of the $787 billion Stimulus package approved by House Democrats in February.  It also excludes any effect of an Obama contingency request for an additional $750 billion to use for bank rescue.  If the contingency amount is included the total deficit for FY 2009/10 is $3.617 trillion

So what we basically learn is that Obama’s deficits in just two years are greater (which means worse) than Bush’s entire 8 years in office.  And if you factor in the spending that Obama racked up all by his lonesome, he accumulated greater deficits in just ONE year than did Bush in eight.

We need to realize that the $787 billion stimulus – which is not counted under Obama’s deficit that STILL outdoes the deficits racked up during Bush’s entire eight year presidency – was not a “mere” $787 billion.  It was actually $3.27 TRILLION according to the Congressional Budget Office.

As Newsmax reporter David Patton put it:

The gargantuan stimulus bill Congress has rubber-stamped with virtually no Republican support contains tens of billions of the very spending projects that made the legislation a lightning rod for criticism.

And although the bill is generally described as costing $787 billion, the Congressional Budget Office reports the actual figure is now closer to $3.27 trillion.

That stems from the $744 billion it will take to pay for the additional debt the legislation will create, and $2.527 trillion in increased spending from the new and expanded programs the bill will spawn over the next decade.

That put-us-into-the-poorhouse stimulus spending was ALL on Obama.  And while we go from fiscal year to fiscal year (i.e. October 1 to September 30) to “officially” calculate a president’s deficits, it is simply a moral crime to saddle George Bush with Obama’s $3.27 trillion porkulus that no Republicans voted for, and then blame Bush for the most massive spending program in human history that was passed by Obama and for Obama.

Nor do the numbers reflect that President Bush only used HALF of the $750 billion TARP money, and left the rest of it for Obama to spend.  That money all went on Bush’s deficit “tab,” but thanks to George Bush’s efforts, Obama got half of it for himself.  Pretty sweet deal for Obama.  And yet he still bit the hand that fed him:

(CBS/AP) Acting at Barack Obama’s behest, President George W. Bush on Monday asked Congress for the final $350 billion in the financial bailout fund, effectively ceding economic reins to the president-elect in an extraordinary display of transition teamwork.

Obama also sharply criticized Bush’s handling of the money and promised radical changes.

Bush’s move sets the stage for Obama to get swift access to the $350 billion and the opportunity to overhaul the much-criticized rescue package after taking office next Tuesday.

Bush’s classiness was outmatched by Obama’s classlessness.

In any event, no matter how you slice it, we are looking at Obama red ink that so profoundly drowns out the Bush red ink that only a fool would say anything else.

And yet that is precisely what Obama is doing.

Here we are, just today, with Democrats passing another $1.1 trillion in spending in a 1,088 page, earmark-laden pork package, with not one single Republican supporting it.

And they are determined to pass a health care that’s going to cost this country at least $2.5 trillion every ten years.

And take a moment to calculate America’s “share” of the $10 TRILLION dollar tab that Barack Obama and many in the Democrat Party are trying to commit this country to pick up in the guise of saving the planet from “global warming.”

We’re seeing more spending and more deficits and more debt under Barack Obama than any human being who has ever lived has ever seen in human history.  And he blames Bush for it?

What’s wrong with him?

Any real leader worth a dog turd in the back yard doesn’t waste time blaming the leader before him for problems.  Rather, he puts that “the buck stops here” sign on his desk, he takes responsibility for the situation he is facing, and he solves the problem.

If I had a nickle for every time Obama has said that he “inherited” the crises he is now facing, I would be very rich indeed.  As it is, the president who promised that he would put “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics” has defined himself by doing the precise opposite.  George W. Bush, by contrast, inherited a severe recession following the dot com bubble collapse beginning in December 1999 just as Clinton was leaving office that led to $10 trillion in equity being erased.  And of course he inherited the foreign policy and domestic security failures that led to the 9/11 attack – which damaged the economy even further.

But you didn’t find Bush giving speech after speech (or any speeches at all) blaming his predecessor.  Rather, Bush “manned-up” and took responsibility for the nation as it was.

That may be why Bush has made such a dramatic comeback in public opinion:

Perhaps the greatest measure of Obama’s declining support is that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having him as President to George W. Bush, with 44% saying they’d rather have his predecessor. Given the horrendous approval ratings Bush showed during his final term that’s somewhat of a surprise and an indication that voters are increasingly placing the blame on Obama for the country’s difficulties instead of giving him space because of the tough situation he inherited. The closeness in the Obama/Bush numbers also has implications for the 2010 elections. Using the Bush card may not be particularly effective for Democrats anymore, which is good news generally for Republicans and especially ones like Rob Portman who are running for office and have close ties to the former President.

More and more Americans are getting furious that Obama is spending all his time and energy blaming Bush for what is going on during Obama’s presidency.

The very real question is whether Obama can do anything OTHER than blame Bush.  Thus far, he hasn’t solved much of anything.

Bush’s Address To Nation Over Finance Crisis (Transcript)

September 25, 2008

Transcript: President Bush Address to Nation on U.S. Financial Crisis, September 24, 2008

(Source: White House Press Office)

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. This is an extraordinary period for America’s economy. Over the past few weeks, many Americans have felt anxiety about their finances and their future. I understand their worry and their frustration. We’ve seen triple-digit swings in the stock market. Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse, and some have failed. As uncertainty has grown, many banks have restricted lending. Credit markets have frozen. And families and businesses have found it harder to borrow money.
We’re in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the federal government is responding with decisive action. We’ve boosted confidence in money market mutual funds, and acted to prevent major investors from intentionally driving down stocks for their own personal gain.

Most importantly, my administration is working with Congress to address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets. Financial assets related to home mortgages have lost value during the housing decline. And the banks holding these assets have restricted credit. As a result, our entire economy is in danger. So I’ve proposed that the federal government reduce the risk posed by these troubled assets, and supply urgently-needed money so banks and other financial institutions can avoid collapse and resume lending.

This rescue effort is not aimed at preserving any individual company or industry — it is aimed at preserving America’s overall economy. It will help American consumers and businesses get credit to meet their daily needs and create jobs. And it will help send a signal to markets around the world that America’s financial system is back on track.

I know many Americans have questions tonight: How did we reach this point in our economy? How will the solution I’ve proposed work? And what does this mean for your financial future? These are good questions, and they deserve clear answers.

First, how did our economy reach this point?

Well, most economists agree that the problems we are witnessing today developed over a long period of time. For more than a decade, a massive amount of money flowed into the United States from investors abroad, because our country is an attractive and secure place to do business. This large influx of money to U.S. banks and financial institutions — along with low interest rates — made it easier for Americans to get credit. These developments allowed more families to borrow money for cars and homes and college tuition — some for the first time. They allowed more entrepreneurs to get loans to start new businesses and create jobs.

Unfortunately, there were also some serious negative consequences, particularly in the housing market. Easy credit — combined with the faulty assumption that home values would continue to rise — led to excesses and bad decisions. Many mortgage lenders approved loans for borrowers without carefully examining their ability to pay. Many borrowers took out loans larger than they could afford, assuming that they could sell or refinance their homes at a higher price later on.

Optimism about housing values also led to a boom in home construction. Eventually the number of new houses exceeded the number of people willing to buy them. And with supply exceeding demand, housing prices fell. And this created a problem: Borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages who had been planning to sell or refinance their homes at a higher price were stuck with homes worth less than expected — along with mortgage payments they could not afford. As a result, many mortgage holders began to default.

These widespread defaults had effects far beyond the housing market. See, in today’s mortgage industry, home loans are often packaged together, and converted into financial products called “mortgage-backed securities.” These securities were sold to investors around the world. Many investors assumed these securities were trustworthy, and asked few questions about their actual value. Two of the leading purchasers of mortgage-backed securities were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because these companies were chartered by Congress, many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government. This allowed them to borrow enormous sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk.

The decline in the housing market set off a domino effect across our economy. When home values declined, borrowers defaulted on their mortgages, and investors holding mortgage-backed securities began to incur serious losses. Before long, these securities became so unreliable that they were not being bought or sold. Investment banks such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers found themselves saddled with large amounts of assets they could not sell. They ran out of the money needed to meet their immediate obligations. And they faced imminent collapse. Other banks found themselves in severe financial trouble. These banks began holding on to their money, and lending dried up, and the gears of the American financial system began grinding to a halt.

With the situation becoming more precarious by the day, I faced a choice: To step in with dramatic government action, or to stand back and allow the irresponsible actions of some to undermine the financial security of all.

I’m a strong believer in free enterprise. So my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention. I believe companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business. Under normal circumstances, I would have followed this course. But these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly. There’s been a widespread loss of confidence. And major sectors of America’s financial system are at risk of shutting down.

The government’s top economic experts warn that without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic, and a distressing scenario would unfold:

More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically. And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs. Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.

Fellow citizens: We must not let this happen. I appreciate the work of leaders from both parties in both houses of Congress to address this problem — and to make improvements to the proposal my administration sent to them. There is a spirit of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, and between Congress and this administration. In that spirit, I’ve invited Senators McCain and Obama to join congressional leaders of both parties at the White House tomorrow to help speed our discussions toward a bipartisan bill.

I know that an economic rescue package will present a tough vote for many members of Congress. It is difficult to pass a bill that commits so much of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. I also understand the frustration of responsible Americans who pay their mortgages on time, file their tax returns every April 15th, and are reluctant to pay the cost of excesses on Wall Street. But given the situation we are facing, not passing a bill now would cost these Americans much more later.

Many Americans are asking: How would a rescue plan work?

After much discussion, there is now widespread agreement on the principles such a plan would include. It would remove the risk posed by the troubled assets — including mortgage-backed securities — now clogging the financial system. This would free banks to resume the flow of credit to American families and businesses. Any rescue plan should also be designed to ensure that taxpayers are protected. It should welcome the participation of financial institutions large and small. It should make certain that failed executives do not receive a windfall from your tax dollars. It should establish a bipartisan board to oversee the plan’s implementation. And it should be enacted as soon as possible.

In close consultation with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and SEC Chairman Chris Cox, I announced a plan on Friday. First, the plan is big enough to solve a serious problem. Under our proposal, the federal government would put up to $700 billion taxpayer dollars on the line to purchase troubled assets that are clogging the financial system. In the short term, this will free up banks to resume the flow of credit to American families and businesses. And this will help our economy grow.

Second, as markets have lost confidence in mortgage-backed securities, their prices have dropped sharply. Yet the value of many of these assets will likely be higher than their current price, because the vast majority of Americans will ultimately pay off their mortgages. The government is the one institution with the patience and resources to buy these assets at their current low prices and hold them until markets return to normal. And when that happens, money will flow back to the Treasury as these assets are sold. And we expect that much, if not all, of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back.

A final question is: What does this mean for your economic future?

The primary steps — purpose of the steps I have outlined tonight is to safeguard the financial security of American workers and families and small businesses. The federal government also continues to enforce laws and regulations protecting your money. The Treasury Department recently offered government insurance for money market mutual funds. And through the FDIC, every savings account, checking account, and certificate of deposit is insured by the federal government for up to $100,000. The FDIC has been in existence for 75 years, and no one has ever lost a penny on an insured deposit — and this will not change.

Once this crisis is resolved, there will be time to update our financial regulatory structures. Our 21st century global economy remains regulated largely by outdated 20th century laws. Recently, we’ve seen how one company can grow so large that its failure jeopardizes the entire financial system.

Earlier this year, Secretary Paulson proposed a blueprint that would modernize our financial regulations. For example, the Federal Reserve would be authorized to take a closer look at the operations of companies across the financial spectrum and ensure that their practices do not threaten overall financial stability. There are other good ideas, and members of Congress should consider them. As they do, they must ensure that efforts to regulate Wall Street do not end up hampering our economy’s ability to grow.

In the long run, Americans have good reason to be confident in our economic strength. Despite corrections in the marketplace and instances of abuse, democratic capitalism is the best system ever devised. It has unleashed the talents and the productivity, and entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens. It has made this country the best place in the world to invest and do business. And it gives our economy the flexibility and resilience to absorb shocks, adjust, and bounce back.

Our economy is facing a moment of great challenge. But we’ve overcome tough challenges before — and we will overcome this one. I know that Americans sometimes get discouraged by the tone in Washington, and the seemingly endless partisan struggles. Yet history has shown that in times of real trial, elected officials rise to the occasion. And together, we will show the world once again what kind of country America is — a nation that tackles problems head on, where leaders come together to meet great tests, and where people of every background can work hard, develop their talents, and realize their dreams.

Thank you for listening. May God bless you.

Jimmy Carter Addresses Barak Obama’s Convention: How Appropriate

August 25, 2008

It is ironically appropriate that Jimmy Carter will be one of the first speakers to address the Democratic National Convention. The worst President in recent American history should be present to pass on the baton of naive incompetence to his successor.

A Newsmax article, appropriately titled, “Jimmy Carter’s Trail of Disaster,” underscores just how colossal a failure Jimmy Carter has been in foreign policy for years. But nowhere was that failure more costly or pathetic than his failure on Iran. Christopher Ruddy writes:

The media would have us forget Jimmy Carter’s presidential record.

But I won’t.

Remember Carter’s human rights program, where he demanded the Shah of Iran step down and turn over power to the Ayatollah Khomeini?

No matter that Khomeini was a madman. Carter had the U.S. Pentagon tell the Shah’s top military commanders – about 150 of them – to acquiesce to the Ayatollah and not fight him.

The Shah’s military listened to Carter. All of them were murdered in one of the Ayatollah’s first acts.

By allowing the Shah to fall, Carter created one of the most militant anti-American dictatorships ever.

Soon the new Iranian government was ransacking our embassy and held hostage its staff for over a year. Only President Reagan’s election gave Iran the impetus to release the hostages.

The man who will be addressing the Democratic National Convention personally presided over the abandonment of an Iranian government that had been America’s strongest ally in the Middle East under the Shah and actually enabled its transformation into America’s greatest enemy in the Middle East under the Ayatollah.

It’s not all Carter’s and Obama’s fault. Failure, weakness, and appeasement are in their blood as Democrats. Read the INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY piece titled, “97 Reasons Democrats Are Weak On Defense And Can’t Be Trusted To Govern In Wartime“, for more on that. Jimmy Carter features prominently in those 97 reasons.

When Jimmy Carter speaks, don’t bother listening to any of his pseudo-humanitarian blather. Think rather of the similarities between the failure Jimmy Carter and the failure-waiting-to-happen Barack Obama.

Think of how Barack Obama has already demonstrated an astonishing failure of naiveté and ignorance when he said that “Iran does not pose a serious threat to us.” And that “If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance.”

Iran is clearly determined to progress into a nuclear-armed state, and could even have the bomb within six months if it pulled out all the stops. With nuclear weapons, Iran would be impervious to attack – even if it masterminded the next 9/11 attack against us. To underestimate either their threat or their evil is the very worst kind of folly.

We have seen Barack Obama issue horrible double-minded statements that reveal both frightening weakness and indecisiveness. Obama said that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel to Jewish groups, and then said to Palestinians that the issue of Jerusalem would be subject to negotiation. Jerusalem is the hottest, most easily-ignitable flash point in the history of the world; you simply DO NOT commit such massive blunders with this piece of real estate. Obama’s indecision and pandering weakness on Jerusalem reveals exactly the sort of man who would ignorantly empower our worst enemies and then indecisively sit on his hands while they made us look like fools, as Carter did with Iran before and after the Ayatollah seized our embassy and held Americans as hostages.

The similarity between Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama does not end with naiveté and indecisiveness. It extends into their philosophy.

Both men have exhibited a degree of moral equivalence that prevents them from seeing the difference between the good and the evil.

Jimmy Carter has displayed a shocking inability to see the difference between democratic Israelis trying to protect themselves from terrorism, and nihilist terrorists out to kill as many Jewish women and children as possible:

I don’t consider… I wasn’t equating the Palestinian missiles with terrorism. But when the Palestinians commit terrorist acts, and I mean when a person blows himself up within a bus full of civilians, or when the target of the operation is women and children – such acts create a rejection of the Palestinians among those who care about them. It turns the world away from sympathy and support for the Palestinian people. That’s why I said that acts of terrorism like I just described are suicidal for the popularity and support for the Palestinian cause. In my book, I talk about violence from both sides, and I describe very carefully and accurately the number of casualties among Palestinians and Israelis, including children. The number of Palestinian children who died because of the violence is five times greater than the number of Israeli children, and I condemn this kind of violence on both sides.

Carter was forced to apologize for what he claimed were misconstrued statements. But Alan Dershowitz has come to see two Carters – what he calls the “Brandeis Carter” who says the right things in democratic forums, and the “Al Jazeera Carter” who makes shocking statements about the state of Israel.

The very title of Jimmy Carter’s book – Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid – reveals not only an incipient antisemitism, with Israel depicted as an apartheid (and therefore racist and illegitimate) state, but also a shocking degree of moral equivalence.

American Thinker has an article titled, “Obama’s Moral Equivalence Problem,” that discusses this very same tendency on the part of Barack Obama. Obama not only demonstrated this in his initial patronizing statement for both Georgia and Russia to stop fighting (lumping the invaded democracy in the same category as the attacking autocracy), but he then proceeded to go even further by comparing Russia’s actions to the United States’ action in its invasion of Iraq.

If that is not bad enough, Joe Biden – Obama’s pick for running mate – also has a significant history of failure to understand Iran or deal with the threat that this terrorist state presents to the United States.

As Jimmy Carter speaks, and throughout this convention, we should seriously consider the Carter years, and the return to unmitigated disaster the Obama years would bring.