Posts Tagged ‘Heritage Foundation’

Obama’s Vs. Bush’s Deficit In One Truly Scary Picture

July 15, 2009

Want to see something really scary?

Stop and think about this picture.  Realize that Democrats – who are and have been demagogues in every sense of the word – repeatedly positioned themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility against Bush spending.

And then the moment they get the chance – from the very first nanosecond – they blow up the budget deficit the way terrorists blew up the World Trade Center towers.

And, before anyone object to the comparison to terrorism, let me clarify myself even further.  Terrorists can only do so much damage.  What Obama did to the federal budget dwarfs anything terrorists could have done to us.  The commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation in history has declared total war on fiscal responsibility.  It’s actually woefully inadequate to compare what Obama did to the budget to a mere terrorist attack.

The Heritage Foundation introduces the discussion this way:

President Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed that his budget would cut the deficit by half by the end of his term. But as Heritage analyst Brian Riedl has pointed out, given that Obama has already helped quadruple the deficit with his stimulus package, pledging to halve it by 2013 is hardly ambitious. The Washington Post has a great graphic which helps put President Obama’s budget deficits in context of President Bush’s.

Let me put it another way: Suppose I punch you in the mouth 100 times, sending you to the hospital on life support with a face that will never again be the same no matter how many reconstructive plastic surgeries you have.  Would it make you feel better if I told you that – next time around – I’d only punch you in the mouth fifty times?

The man who exploded a nation’s debt in a way never before seen in the entire history of the human  species is poising himself to take credit for his fiscal responsibility by only exploding it half as much as his initial nuclear blast.  And we’re actually supposed to be grateful for it!

It needs to be mentioned that this is just the spending Obama has proposed in the first 6 months of his term along with the forecasted trends that spending will entail.  It only stands to reason that the actual future spending will only increase, and these already truly terrifying numbers will only get worse over the next few years.  We literally aint seen nothin’ yet.

The generally reliably liberal Washington Post has said this:

President Obama’s ambitious plans to cut middle-class taxes, overhaul health care and expand access to college would require massive borrowing over the next decade, leaving the nation mired far deeper in debt than the White House previously estimated, congressional budget analysts said yesterday.

In the first independent analysis of Obama’s budget proposal, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that Obama’s policies would cause government spending to swell above historic levels even after costly programs to ease the recession and stabilize the nation’s financial system have ended.

Tax collections, meanwhile, would lag well behind spending, producing huge annual budget deficits that would force the nation to borrow nearly $9.3 trillion over the next decade — $2.3 trillion more than the president predicted when he unveiled his budget request just one month ago.

Although Obama would come close to meeting his goal of cutting in half the deficit he inherited by the end of his first term, the CBO predicts that deficits under his policies would exceed 4 percent of the overall economy over the next 10 years, a level White House budget director Peter R. Orszag yesterday acknowledged would “not be sustainable.”

The result, according to the CBO, would be an ever-expanding national debt that would exceed 82 percent of the overall economy by 2019 — double last year’s level — and threaten the nation’s financial stability.

“This clearly creates a scenario where the country’s going to go bankrupt. It’s almost that simple,” said Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, who briefly considered joining the Obama administration as commerce secretary. “One would hope these numbers would wake somebody up,” Gregg said.

Probably not, given that we are a ship of fools captained by the worst fool in American history.

You know what is interesting?  Look at what the Democrats said against Bush’s – now in historical context against Obama’s – incredibly tiny deficits (you DO realize that Bush’s deficits virtually amount to a rounding error compared to Obama’s massive ocean of red ink, don’t you?).  From the Left Coaster:

CBO Budget Deficit Estimates Too Low-Dems Attack Bush

After the Congressional Budget Office officially issued the staggering news of $400+ billion deficits for this year and next, the Democratic candidates on the campaign trail in unison hit Bush hard today on his fiscal mismanagement. Several even got in some good lines while doing so. […]

Those figures prompted criticism from Democrats, such as Howard Dean, who has called for a repeal of Bush’s tax cuts. “The president has not only destroyed three million jobs, he is destroying the financial future of our children with these crazy tax cuts for the top 1 percent,” the former Vermont governor said in a telephone interview.

“It’s obvious this administration doesn’t have the slightest clue about how to get this economy back on track, get Americans back to work and get our nation’s finances under control,” said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who added, “it is time to admit what millions of unemployed Americans already know – that the economic policies of George W. Bush are the worst in our nation’s history.”

Said Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut: “The tide of red ink is rising higher than ever before. And the best George W. Bush can do is ask the American people to hold their breath. That’s unfair to our kids and unacceptable for our economic health.”

John Edwards, a senator from North Carolina, said the record deficits indicate it’s time to say “enough of the unaffordable tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy … and enough of pretending that deficits just don’t matter.”

Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, cited the deficits as well as job losses as proof that the president’s “tax-cut economic policy is failing, it’s not helping ordinary taxpayers.”  […]

But the best line of the day came from Bob Graham.

Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, in a variation of a line from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, said Bush “is telling the world that Americans shall defer any price, unload any burden on our children, postpone any hardship for ourselves to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.” […]

There are three items from the CBPP analysis that should be in the Democrats’ line of attack next year: […]

In other words, two-thirds of the $10 trillion deterioration is a direct result of actions taken by George W. Bush. […]

If the Democrats cannot win an election on those issues, then frankly the country deserves what it gets. These are George Bush’s deficits, and the voters need to be reminded of that every day between now and next November.

For the record, unemployment was 4.4% in 2006 when Nancy Pelosi and Democrats took over the House and Harry Reid and Democrats took over the Senate.  And the Dow was close to 12,000.  But, apparently, total Democrat control of the House and the Senate somehow still never translated into any kind of Democrat responsibility for the slide that only began after they took power over Congress.

Democrats – being demagogues – repeatedly blamed the deficits on the Bush tax cuts (because it enrages them that the American people should be allowed to keep more of the money that they earn).  But the reality is actually quite straightforward, as the Wall Street Journal evidences:

Tax rate reductions increase tax revenues. This truth has been proved at both state and federal levels, including by President Bush’s 2003 tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends. Those reductions have raised federal tax receipts by $785 billion, the largest four-year revenue increase in U.S. history.

Liberals cannot even allow for the possibility that tax cuts might generate more revenue.  So – as the following New York Times article exemplifies – they must be perennially surprised when tax cuts create larger tax revenue by stimulating more investment.  It simply astonishes liberals that if government allows me to keep more of what I produce, that I might be inspired to try to produce even more.

“For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February.”

It wasn’t Bush’s tax cuts that created deficits; they clearly RAISED revenues, rather than lowered them.  What created the deficits was massive spending (on 9/11, on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on Katrina, on the huge Bush Medicare drug benefit, etc. etc.).

Massive spending.  You know, like Obama is doing now – ONLY A HELL OF A LOT WORSE THAN ANYONE IN HUMAN HISTORY HAS EVER EVEN CONTEMPLATED BEFORE.

But let’s put blame where blame belongs: Presidents are responsible for deficits.  As Democrats repeatedly pointed out.  Which is why any fair-minded Democrat (as though there actually were any) should be screaming in rage at the Obama insanity.

Now we see what massive hypocrites and incompetents Democrats truly are.  They didn’t scream at Bush’s deficits because they wanted fiscal responsibility; they only demagogued an issue for rhetorical benefit.  They falsely positioned themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility – which was a joke even before Barack Obama came along and demonstrated it for the sickest and most twisted joke ever told.

As a conservative, I DO criticize the huge deficits under George Bush.  And I apply that same “fiscal responsibility” lens on Obama and see the worst economic manager in the history of the world.

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Obama’s Plan To Destroy America’s Farms Moving Full Steam Ahead

June 13, 2009

The bill is House Resolution 2454, imposing a domestic carbon emissions cap-and-trade program on the American economy.

The goal seems to be nothing short of eradicating American farms and self-sustainability.

Even DEMOCRATS are opposing the Obama Energy Bill. Climate change legislation will be utterly devastating for American farmers. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) of the House Agriculture Committee says that not only will he not vote for it, but no one else on his committee will support it either. The bill would increase the cost of everything that farmers depend on, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, fertilizers, pesticides, and a host of other things. It would raise taxes on energy by $846 billion over the next ten years. Due to the fact that farming is so energy intensive, one major study shows that it would reduce farm income by $8 billion or 28% over the next four years, by $25 billion (or by 60%) through 2024, and by $50 billion (or by 94%) by 2035 [source: Heritage Foundation study]. Many are shaking their heads in amazement over the proposed impact.

Cap and trade legislation would utterly devastate the agricultural community with stratospheric operating costs, and would just as utterly destroy rural America.

To make matters even worse, the 1,000 page bill pushed through by Henry Waxman and Ed Markey has barely been examined in spite of its sweeping consequences as Democrats play cutthroat politics with America’s future.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) is complaining that the Agriculture Department has little if any role in the climate change bill, and that the EPA is driving it. Peterson said, “A lot of us on the Committee do not want the EPA near our farms.”

Agriculture Department Secy Tom Vilsack repeatedly said, “There is obviously work yet to be done on this bill.”

Nevertheless, Nancy Pelosi is trying to rush the bill through the House, demanding that it be finished by the end of next week – leaving almost no change lawmakers could change it. And Barack Obama is pushing hard to impose his agenda before Americans have a chance to know more about it and oppose it.

The economic aspects are terrible enough:

WASHINGTON, DC, June 9 — A US House bill that would introduce a domestic carbon emissions cap-and-trade program would cost $846 billion in new taxes, the Congressional Budget Office said on June 5. [….]

American Petroleum Institute President Jack N. Gerard said on June 8 that the analysis confirmed the bill would be “massively costly.”

“The $846 billion price tag on emission allowances, borne disproportionately by oil consumers, will drive up costs of producing and refining gasoline, diesel, and other fuel products while doing nothing to protect fuel consumers, including American families, trucking, the airlines, the construction industry, and many other businesses that rely on oil to make or transport products,” Gerard said.

API: ‘A job-killer’
API said that based on allowance costs in CBO’s study, impacts could be as much as 77¢/gal for gasoline, 83¢/gal for jet fuel, and 88¢/gal for diesel fuel.

“This is what happens when market-based regulation is abandoned in favor of picking winners and losers,” Gerard said. “Putting most of the burden on one sector also helps explain why this legislation promises to be a job-killer.”

The bill was cosponsored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

But the impact on industries such as farming will be utterly devastating:

For Farmers, Cap and Trade is a Permanent Drought Season

Economists at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis are digging deeper into the effects of the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation that includes a cap and trade plan to reduce carbon dioxide by 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020 and by 83 percent below 2005 levels in 2050. Today’s victim: Farmers. Our CDA analysts found that Waxman-Markey would adversely affect farmers in a number of ways:

• Farm income (or the amount left over after paying all expenses) is expected to drop $8 billion in 2012, $25 billion in 2024, and over $50 billion in 2035. These are decreases of 28%, 60% and 94%, respectively.
• The average net income lost over the 2010-2035 timeline is $23 billion – a 57% decrease from the baseline.
• Construction costs of farm buildings will go up by 5.5 percent in 2025 and 10 percent by 2034 (from the baseline).
• By 2035, gasoline and diesel costs are expected to be 58 percent higher and electric rates 90 percent higher.

And for the rest of us, including those of us on fixed incomes and already struggling in these tough economic times:

• The cost of producing everything from wheat to beef will increase. Indeed, the price deflator for private farm inventories goes up over 20 points by 2035. This increase gets quickly translated into much higher food prices for consumers at the grocery stores.
farm-inventory-costs

Most of our readers know cap and trade is an energy tax in disguise. The goal of cap and trade is to drive up energy costs so much that Americans use less. But there’s a fundamental problem with this. Just about everything we do and everything we consume uses energy, so even after consumers turn up their thermostats in the summer and down in the winter, consumers are still using a lot of energy. But under a cap and trade, they’ll be paying an exorbitantly high price for it.

Farming is no exception; in fact, farming is very energy-intensive, with fuel, chemical, electricity and fertilizer costs. They have to purchase a lot of equipment and have to construct a lot of buildings. The Heritage Foundation’s CDA estimates that the price of constructing farm buildings will go up by 4.5 percent in 2024 and by over 10 percent in 2034 (from the baseline) solely because of the upward pressure cap and trade puts on energy prices.
farm-construction

The price of tractors– and every other piece of farm equipment you can think of– will increase as well.
farm-transportation

Worst of all is what happens to farmers’ net income. Farmers live off their gross income; what they earn in addition to that is their net income or marginal income. Waxman-Markey significantly shrinks farmers’ net income pie. Farm income is expected to drop $8 billion in 2012, $25 billion in 2024, and over $50 billion in 2035. These are decreases of 28%, 60% and 94% from the baseline, respectively.
farm-income-lost

Waxman-Markey increases the costs of farm inventories, which in turn raises the cost of food sold to the consumer. At first glance, this may appear to be a good thing for farmers. Higher prices equals higher profit. But this would only be true if all other things were equal. That’s certainly not the case here. Higher energy prices hurt the overall economy, which means less demand for all goods, less production, higher unemployment, and reduced income. This overall economic slowdown reduces demand for agricultural goods, too. And, as we’ve seen above from the charts, a lot changes for farmers; particularly, their overall cost of operations rise and their net incomes fall.

Waxman-Markey’s effect on farmers should raise a red flag for those in the farm belt and will put U.S. agriculture at a tremendous competitive disadvantage if enacted. Consumers will feel the pain as well, not only from the increase in their own energy prices, but increased food prices. And for what? A change in the temperature too small to notice.

For more, check out The Heritage Foundation’s Rapid Response Page

This won’t just undermine the American farmer; it will force him out of farming altogether.

How is it NOT a truly terrible idea to annihilate America’s ability to feed its own people?

This goes beyond undermining the US economy; it may well literally create starvation conditions for millions of Americans.

Last May, while on the campaign trail, Barack Obama said:

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama said.

“That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen,” he added.

And now we see what Obama’s “leadership” looks like: it looks like a bigger version of North Korea.  Nationalizing the auto industry and imposing tiny little clown cars on the country; an energy policy that will tax us into freezing in the dark at night (or conversely sweltering in the summer heat); and of course the whole famine thing.

You can’t say he didn’t warn us, I suppose.

Revelation 6:5-6 “When he opened the third seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wage, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wage, and do not harm the oil and wine.”

The beast is coming. That approaching reality is becoming clearer every single day.

Heritage Foundation: Five Reasons EPA Should Not Deal With Global Warming

April 26, 2009

Five Reasons the EPA Should Not Attempt to Deal with Global Warming
The Heritage Foundation ^ | April 23, 2009 | Ben Lieberman and Nicolas Loris

Posted on 04/26/2009 12:42:44 PM PDT by Conservative Coulter Fan

On April 17, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an endangerment finding, saying that global warming poses a serious threat to public health and safety. Thus, almost anything that emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. This is the first official action taken by the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide.

The endangerment finding is the initial step in a long regulatory process that could lead to the EPA requiring regulations for almost anything that emits carbon dioxide. Automobiles would likely be the first target, but subsequent regulations could extend to a million or more buildings and small businesses, including hospitals, schools, restaurants, churches, farms, and apartments. The following five reasons explain why this would be a big, costly mistake.

1. It’s an Economy Killer

Above anything else, any attempt to reduce carbon dioxide would be poison to an already sick economy. Even when the economy does recover, the EPA’s proposed global warming policy would severely limit economic growth.

Since 85 percent of the U.S. economy runs on fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide, imposing a cost on CO2 is equivalent to placing an economy-wide tax on energy use. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis study of the economic effects of carbon dioxide cuts found cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses of $7 trillion by 2029 (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars), single-year GDP losses exceeding $600 billion in some years (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars), energy cost increases of 30 percent or more, and annual job losses exceeding 800,000 for several years. Hit particularly hard is manufacturing, which will see job losses in some industries that exceed 50 percent.[1]

High energy costs result in production cuts, reduced consumer spending, increased unemployment, and ultimately a much slower economy. But importantly, higher energy prices fall disproportionately on the poor, since low-income households spend a larger percentage of their income on energy.

2. Negligible Environmental Benefit

The extraordinary perils of CO2 regulation for the American economy come with little, if any, environmental benefit. In fact, analysis by the architects of the endangerment finding, the EPA, strongly suggests that a 60 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050 will reduce global temperature by 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2095.[2]

Some environmental alarmists believe saving the environment should come at any cost, but when the benefit is barely noticeable, such an extreme viewpoint still cannot be justified.

3. Lack of Scientific Consensus

The decision to regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases was supported by supposed compelling scientific evidence. For example, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson “relied heavily upon the major findings and conclusions from recent assessments of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPPC].”[3] Additionally, the EPA cited harmful impacts including increased droughts, floods, wildfires, heat waves, and sea level rises as a result of climate change. But the reality is that natural disasters are just that–they occur with or without global warming.

The scientific consensus behind global warming, especially the seriousness of the impacts, is anything but strong. Last December, the U.S. Senate Minority released a report that included 650 dissenting scientists refuting claims made in the IPCC report.[4] That number has grown to over 700, more than 13 times the number of scientists (52) who had a direct role in the IPCC report.

4. Backdoor Policy

The United States Congress has been reluctant to pass any global warming legislation or engage in international climate reduction treaties. Last year’s most noted global warming legislative proposals was S. 2191, the America’s Climate Security Act of 2007, originally sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA).

This cap-and-trade bill would have set a limit on the emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. A number of concerns existed, chief among them the impact on already-soaring gasoline prices, and consequently the bill was withdrawn by its Senate supporters after only three days of debate.

While some Members of Congress undoubtedly support the EPA’s attempt to curb global warming, the fact that unelected and unaccountable EPA bureaucrats are trying to bypass legislative efforts makes it all the more objectionable.

Equally indefensible is any attempt to use the threat of EPA regulations to induce Congress into enacting a cap-and-trade bill it would not support otherwise. Members should not be forced to prematurely pass a bill without fully understanding its effects and consequences.

5. Expanded Bureaucracy

Having EPA bureaucrats micromanage the economy, all in the name of combating global warming, would be a chilling shift to a command-and-control system in which EPA officials regulate just about every aspect of the market.

Beyond the costs of such actions, the red tape and permitting delays are almost unfathomable. Though the Administration recently enacted a stimulus bill and touted “shovel ready” construction projects to boost the economy, EPA regulations would essentially assure that a great deal of such economic activity would be held up for months, if not years.

For instance, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to file environmental impact statements for EPA review before moving forward with projects. According to the Government Accountability Office, normally it takes a federal construction project an average of 4.4 years to complete a NEPA review. Along with the Clean Water Act’s Section 404 requirements, before a shovel can break ground, it could take 5.6 years for a project to jump through all the normal environmental hoops.[5] Granting the authority for one of the largest and unprecedented regulatory undertakings in U.S. history would greatly expand the EPA’s power.

The kind of industrial-strength EPA red tape that routinely imposes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in compliance costs could now be imposed for the first time on many commercial buildings, farms, and all but the smallest of businesses. Not only would these costs and delays hamper the private sector, but the paperwork could paralyze federal and state environmental regulators, drawing resources away from more useful endeavors.

A Dangerous Step

The EPA’s official announcement commences a 60-day public comment[6] period before the agency issues a final ruling. Using the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 would likely be the most expensive and expansive environmental regulation in history and will bypass the legislative process completely. In essence, the decisions of few will drastically alter the lives of many–all for a change in the Earth’s temperature too small to ever notice.

Ben Lieberman is Senior Policy Analyst in Energy and the Environment and Nicolas D. Loris is a Research Assistant in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.


[1]David Kreutzer and Karen A. Campbell, “CO2-Emission Cuts: The Economic Costs of the EPA’s ANPR Regulations,” Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report No. 08-10, October 29, 2008, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/cda08-10.cfm.

[2]David Kreutzer, “The Economics of Cap and Trade,” testimony before the Ways and Means Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, September 18, 2008 at http://www.heritage.org/cda/upload/KreutzerTestimonyTrade.pdf.

[3]Environmental Protection Agency, “Overview of EPA’s Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act,” April 17, 2009 at http://epa.gov/climatechange
/endangerment/downloads/Determination.pdf
(April 23, 2009).

[4]Marc Morano, “UN Blowback: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent over Man-Made Global Warming Claims,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, December 10, 2008, at http://epw.senate.gov
/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=2158072e-802a
-23ad-45f0-274616db87e6
(April 23, 2009).

[5]U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, “Evaluating the Performance of Environmental Streamlining: Development of a NEPA baseline for Measuring Continuous Performance,” at http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/baseline/section2.asp (April 23, 2009).

[6]Comments can be submitted at StopEPA.com, (http://www.stopepa.com/).