Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Obama’s Budget: It’s Absolutely Insane!
By Peter Ferrara
Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy, Institute for Policy Innovation
At his press conference last night, President Obama insisted once again that he inherited the budget deficit, and “we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.”
But the deficits over the next 10 years that Obama proposed in his budget are not George Bush’s deficits. They are the deficits that Obama has proposed, resulting from the $1 trillion in increased spending he adopted in the no-stimulus stimulus bill, and the $400 billion supplemental spending bill he supported and also adopted the following week, and the $275 billion housing bailout he proposed the next week, and the $1 trillion bank bailout plan his Treasury Secretary just proposed this week, and the $638 billion he has proposed as a “downpayment” on a new national health insurance entitlement. The health insurance plan will be the most expensive entitlement of all — serious estimates are that it will cost at least $1.2 trillion or more. Does this sound like he is “doing everything we can to reduce that deficit?”
The budget Obama proposes for this year increases federal spending by a fiscally insane 34% over the budget adopted for last year, with a total of $4 trillion in federal spending, the highest EVER.
Under the Obama budget, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the national debt will more than double over the next 10 years from 40% of GDP today to a shocking 82%! Ronald Reagan left office with the national debt at 42% of GDP. At the end of World War II, the national debt was just under 114% of GDP. If the economy does not recover permanently next year, as even the Congressional Budget Office (now controlled entirely by Democrats) assumes, Obama could even top that World War II record — spending mostly on welfare and entitlements rather than on fighting the Nazis and Imperial Japan.
Does this sound like we’re “moving from an era of borrow-and-spend to one where we save and invest,” as Obama also said last night?
In fact, there is not one item in Obama’s budget that promotes actual saving and investment. Quite to the contrary, the tax rate increases he proposes for the top income tax brackets, for capital gains, and for dividends will all reduce saving and investment.
The budget Obama proposes for this year increases federal spending by a fiscally insane 34% over the budget adopted for last year, with a total of $4 trillion in federal spending, the highest ever. That spending would equal 28.5% of GDP, an increase in the size of the federal government in Obama’s first year of 42% compared to the postwar average relative to GDP.
The deficit would reach a $1.845 trillion this year, according to the CBO — the highest ever except for World War II. That would be more than 4 times Reagan’s largest deficit, which caused so much howling among liberals and Democrats.
The CBO further estimates that this Obama budget deficit will total an astounding 13.1% of GDP, more than one-eighth of the entire U.S. economy, for the federal deficit alone! That is again the largest in U.S. history except for World War II and more than twice Reagan’s highest deficit as a percent of GDP.
Reagan adopted budget cuts soon after he entered office equal to close to 5% of the federal budget at the time. Even with his defense buildup — which won the Cold War without firing a shot — total federal spending declined from a high of 23.5% of GDP in 1983 to 21.3% in 1988 and 21.2% in 1989. That’s a real reduction in the size of government relative to the economy of 10%.
Obama last night also taunted Republican critics of his budget, saying, “we haven’t seen an alternative budget out of them.” But next week when Congress starts debating the budget, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, will present precisely such an alternative budget. Then we will see what we could have had if we hadn’t elected left-wing extremists to the White House and to run the Congress.
Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy for the Institute for Policy Innovation, among other posts. He served in President Reagan’s White House Office of Policy Development, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
Posted by Falling Panda at 1:12 PM
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
If one of the Obamabots shows up at your door, here's what you do. Debate them until they realize that they don't know anything and be sure to take up enough of their time so that they can't push the President's snake oil to your less attuned neighbors.
Here's Some stuff From Michelle Malkin:
Too funny. The Obama Message Machine doesn’t want the Tea Party movement showing them up. So, they’ve sent out a mass e-mail and YouTube video link urging their cultists to go out and gather pledge signatures to support the president’s economic plan. Yep, a top-down, “grass-roots movement” directed by the DNC/Team Obama “because we can’t leave this important debate up to a Washington establishment that doesn’t welcome change.”
Well, this will really fire up the Obama-tic troops:
Posted by Falling Panda at 5:01 PM
Monday, March 23, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Set aside your outrage over the actual bonuses for a second. If I didn’t hear you screaming and wailing over the millions in wasteful pork contained in the stimulus and omnibus packages then you have absolutely no right to complain about this comparatively miniscule amount of taxpayer money going to a few AIG employees. Chuck Schumer I’m looking in your direction
The real significance of this particular mess is that it’s the first Obama screw up where he won’t be able to get away with blaming George W. Bush. This is entirely on him.
Connecticut Democratic Senator and friend of Angelo Chris Dodd has now taken responsibility for adding the loophole into the stimulus package that permitted AIG and other companies that received bailout funds to pay bonuses. But only after lying about it the day before.
Dodd claimed that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ordered him to add the provision. We can’t be sure why, but it’s important to note that Obama and Dodd were the two biggest recipients of AIG contributions during the 2008 election cycle.
This is why it’s so infuriating watching Obama feign indignation over the bonuses when all indicators point to the fact that he allowed them to go through in the first place. Now, maybe Obama was ignorant of the loophole. Maybe his anger is genuine. Perhaps, the language that allowed the AIG bonuses to occur, wouldn’t have gotten through had Obama actually READ THE STIMULUS BILL!!! Maybe someone would have caught it had he given Congress and the public TIME TO READ THE BILL!!!!
At this point Barack Obama has a lower approval rating than George W. Bush did at this point in his first term. It’s good to know that Americans are finally using their deductive reasoning abilities and waking up from the rhetoric induced coma of the last six months.
It’s a good thing that it happened now, before other Obama ideas were allowed to be put into place without debate. Such as his short lived plan to drop severely injured veterans from the public health care roles in order to free up cash for God knows what.
I wonder if Leno will ask him about that one tomorrow night?
Posted by Falling Panda at 10:00 PM
Saturday, March 14, 2009
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It’s nearly impossible for your average citizen to differentiate between “teachers” and “teacher’s unions”.
When Republicans attack teachers' unions the response we get usually comes from some middle aged house frau, who voted for Obama because he was a “dreamboat”, and who counters our policy ideas by saying something like:
“Don’t attack the teachers! They teach our children! Children are the future! Teachers, Children, Future! Why do you hate children?!!”
This is why teacher's unions tend to get a free pass from the American public, despite the fact that they are among the most greedy and self-serving institutions in the country.
Not only do they routinely advocate rewarding incompetence, supporting tenure without regard to ability and opposing merit pay, but folks like National Education Association Vice-President Lily Eskelsen have been the nation’s staunchest defenders of the status–quo in our public education system.
Now if you think that our public school system is perfect and is not in need of reform then you can stop reading here.
Truthfully, the vast majority of our nation’s public schools are just fine. The problem lies in the fact that the public schools in America’s poorest communities are a complete mess.
President Bush attempted to address this problem through No Child Left Behind and it worked to a certain extent. If nothing else, NCLB put a magnifying glass over our country’s worst schools and forced them to adopt a structured test-based curriculum which has resulted in vast improvements across the board in the reading comprehension and math skills of kids who would otherwise be looking forward to a future of handling the mayonnaise applicator at their local Hardee's.
It would be understandable if Ms. Eskelsen opposed NCLB because it’s uniformly applied to a state’s schools without regard to demographics or the cultural and economic differences of the given area. Or due to the fact that the tests vary from state to state making accurate, nationwide, comparative analysis impossible. But, that’s not her beef. The problem Eskelsen has with NCLB is that it hampers the teacher’s ability to use “creative” teaching methods. I assume that these are the same “creative” methods that made sweeping education reform a necessity in the first place, but I digress.
To Eskelsen the happiness of the teachers trumps the progress of the students. To her and her ilk the fact that Billy can’t read isn’t nearly as important as the method by which teachers attempt to teach him how to read, regardless of how well those methods work.
Eskelsen is an equally enthusiastic cheerleader for the status quo when it comes to school choice. She’s against it.
With school choice, a student who is attending a gang-infested school inhabited by teachers who are themselves hooked on phonics, would be given a voucher which they could put towards the tuition at a private school. This gives more power to parents who care deeply about their child’s education but who can’t afford to send them to a school where the principal doesn’t moonlight as a stripper.
On its surface, it would appear that only an individual with the conscience of say…Bernie Madoff could oppose such an idea. But in a fashion similar to a Wall Street short seller, Eskelsen has put greed ahead of poor students.
You see, public schools get their funding based on how many students they have, but obviously they don’t spend every penny of the allotted money that they get per student on the student himself. They buy other things with it, like dodge balls and computers and a cappucino machine for the teacher’s lounge. So if Billy takes his voucher and goes to a public school, they can kiss their cappucino machine goodbye. I’m exaggerating of course, but the point I’m trying to make is that the only reason for Eskelsen’s opposition to vouchers is that it forces the public schools to actually earn their government money rather than automatically receiving it, even if Billy is sixteen years old and spells his name with a “K”. No questions asked.
Eskelsen’s solution? Go back to the way things used to be. The good old days when the less academic prowess a school’s students exhibited, the more cash was thrown at the school in hopes that Billy would magically learn his state capitals despite the fact that he was dodging bullets in the lunchroom.
Eskelsen and her teachers' union cronies have enjoyed the naive good-will of the American public for far too long. It is time that folks woke up and realized that unions such as the NEA and people like Eskelsen are the primary obstacle to meaningful school reform in this country. However, as long as politicians like Barack Obama an Ted Kennedy are having their campaign coffers filled by folks like Eskelsen the status quo will remain.
I’ll leave you with one last example of the double standard that is keeping our nation’s poorest children from receiving a chance at a real education.
Here in D.C. we have what is widely considered to be one of the nation’s worst public school systems. Recently two siblings, Sarah and James Parker used an experimental voucher program and escaped a school that was rotting from the inside. With the voucher they began attending The Sidwell Friends School, one of D.C.’s best.
But because of pressure put on Barack Obama by folks like Lily Eskelsen and others at the NEA, these kids are going to be forced back into their decrepit D.C. public school regardless of the sub-par education they will be receiving in D.C.’s violent and decaying system.
President Obama’s daughters are now matriculating at Sidwell Friends. I wonder if he considered placing the First Daughters in a D.C. public school before making the move from Chicago? I’m guessing not. After all he wouldn’t want Sasha and Malia associating with public school riff raff like Sarah, James and Billy.
So Sarah. James. If you are reading this, just remember: when you’re flipping burgers and scrubbing toilets twenty years from now, you have Lily Eskelsen to thank.
"I Could have been president if Lily Eskelsen hadn't taken away my voucher. Oh well, guess I'll go rape some tourists."
Posted by Falling Panda at 5:14 PM
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
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Let me be perfectly honest here. I hope with every fiber of my being that 95% of President Obama’s agenda fails to become law.
Do I want the stock market to continue its slide and the economy to remain in the gutter? Of course not.
Am I hoping for another attack on the homeland? God no.
I simply don’t want to see America adopt policies such as Obama’s, which punish success, squash entrepreneurial spirit and force responsible folks to pay for some mother of seven’s mortgage because she lied on her loan application.
You see, all this talk of Rush Limbaugh and “failure” is being used as a straw man by the administration right now, in order to obfuscate the fact that Geitner and Obama have absolutely no clue how to stop the economic bleeding. It also serves as a distraction allowing Obama to push though items, without debate, that have absolutely nothing to due with the current crisis. Things such as health care reform and “cap and trade”.
The fact that Obama and his advisors are spending so much time talking about a radio talk show host, shows us that Obama is running a far more politically charged administration than his predecessor. But then again, he is a Democrat. Let’s look back to 2006 when Democrats were polled about George W. Bush.
A FOX News/ Opinion dynamics poll asked:
“Regardless of how you voted in the presidential election, would you say you want President Bush to succeed or not?”
51% of Democrats answered “no” to that question. Keep in mind what the central issue at the time was. Iraq. Essentially what 51% of Democrats were saying was that they wanted enough American soldiers to die in Iraq to force a premature withdrawal, set American foreign policy in the Middle East back to pre-9/11 times and all in order to damage the president politically. Petty enough for you?
The difference between Limbaugh and the majority of Democrats, as well as other Dem operatives such as James Carville who professed that he wanted President Bush to “fail” as far back as 2001, is that while the hopes of Limbaugh and myself are based on the desire to avoid policies that hurt us in the long term, the hopes of the left were simply to destroy a president that they didn’t like. Remember, liberalism is almost exclusively an emotional pursuit. This explains why outrage, hatred and dreams of harm befalling their political opponents are par for the course in Democratic circles. It also explains why Obama is president right now.
The first 50 days of this administration have been very messy, but have been primarily defined by the fact that Obama has been exposed as an individual who will say he’s going to do something and then either not do it or do the opposite. This is the ultimate dog and pony show presidency. One where Obama has falsely framed choices such as : a massive spending package to stimulate the economy vs. “doing nothing” or science vs. ignorance (stem cells). Now he hopes to frame the choice as being between his own political successes vs. the failure of the nation as a whole. This is why politicians who are this charismatic and who garner an almost messianic, albeit politically naïve following are so dangerous.
This poses yet another reason that all concerned Americans should hope for failure on Obama’s part. Perhaps it will lead to a change in this administration’s tactics and in turn give American’s a chance to take a breath, get beyond the fancy rhetoric and actually think about the actual effect that the president’s policies will have on the nation.
But please, no more sanctimonious whining from the left about how we on the right want the country to fail. You know it’s untrue and now you also know how incredibly hypocritical it is.
Posted by Falling Panda at 1:23 PM
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
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I've always considered Ms. Maddow to be little more than an MSNBC Affirmative Action hire. Now we know she's a dishonest Affirmative Action hire as well.
As you can see here, like all supporters of Big Labor's latest power grab, she obfuscates--either intentionally or due to ignorance--what's actually in this monstrosity of a bill.
Posted by Falling Panda at 11:15 PM
Monday, March 09, 2009
The fact that the Chinese did almost exactly the same thing to the Bush Administration eight springs ago begs the question as to whether this is a coincidence or the second instance in what is becoming a pattern of the Chinese government testing new American presidents early in their administrations.
China says US navy ship was breaking law-HK website
Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:35am
BEIJING, March 10 (Reuters) - China said a U.S. naval vessel was conducting illegal surveying activities off its southern island of Hainan, a Hong Kong television website reported on Tuesday, after the Pentagon said Chinese ships had harassed the vessel in international waters.
"The U.S. navy vessel concerned has been in China's special economic zone conducting illegal surveying activities," said a statement from the Chinese embassy in Washington, reported by the website of Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television (news.ifeng.com).
"China cannot accept these baseless accusations. China demands that the United States halt all illegal surveying activities," said the statement
OK China. Whatever you say.
Posted by Falling Panda at 6:22 PM
Friday, March 06, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
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Obama is planning on screwing over two of his daughter's classmates by siding with the teacher's unions on school vouchers instead of with the poor families who care about their child's education.
If he's going to force these kids back into the DC public school system he should have the courage to send his daughters there as well.
By William McGurn
Dick Durbin has a nasty surprise for two of Sasha and Malia Obama's new schoolmates. And it puts the president in an awkward position.
The children are Sarah and James Parker. Like the Obama girls, Sarah and James attend the Sidwell Friends School in our nation's capital. Unlike the Obama girls, they could not afford the school without the $7,500 voucher they receive from the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. Unfortunately, a spending bill the Senate takes up this week includes a poison pill that would kill this program -- and with it perhaps the Parker children's hopes for a Sidwell diploma.
Sarah and James Parker attend Sidwell Friends School with the president's daughters, thanks to a voucher program Sen. Dick Durbin wants to end.
Known as the "Durbin language" after the Illinois Democrat who came up with it last year, the provision mandates that the scholarship program ends after the next school year unless Congress reauthorizes it and the District of Columbia approves. The beauty of this language is that it allows opponents to kill the program simply by doing nothing. Just the sort of sneaky maneuver that's so handy when you don't want inner-city moms and dads to catch on that you are cutting one of their lifelines.
Deborah Parker says such a move would be devastating for her kids. "I once took Sarah to Roosevelt High School to see its metal detectors and security guards," she says. "I wanted to scare her into appreciation for what she has at Sidwell." It's not just safety, either. According to the latest test scores, fewer than half of Roosevelt's students are proficient in reading or math.
That's the reality that the Parkers and 1,700 other low-income students face if Sen. Durbin and his allies get their way. And it points to perhaps the most odious of double standards in American life today: the way some of our loudest champions of public education vote to keep other people's children -- mostly inner-city blacks and Latinos -- trapped in schools where they'd never let their own kids set foot.
This double standard is largely unchallenged by either the teachers' unions or the press corps. For the teachers' unions, it's a fairly cold-blooded calculation. They're willing to look the other way at lawmakers who chose private or parochial schools for their own kids -- so long as these lawmakers vote in ways that keep the union grip on the public schools intact and an escape hatch like vouchers bolted.
As for the press, complaints tend to be limited to the odd column or editorial. That's one reason it was so startling back in 2000 when Time magazine's Tamala Edwards, during a live televised debate at Harlem's Apollo Theater, asked Al Gore about the propriety of sending his own son to private school while opposing any effort to extend the same choice to African-Americans without his financial wherewithal. As CNN's Jeff Greenfield would note later in the same debate, Mr. Gore "bristled" when Ms. Edward's put the question to him.
Virginia Walden-Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice, wouldn't mind making a few more politicians bristle. "I'd like to see a reporter stand up at one of those nationally televised press conferences and ask President Obama what he thinks about what his own party is doing to keep two innocent kids from attending the same school where he sends his?"
As for Sidwell, the school has welcomed the Opportunity Scholarship program. Though headmaster Bruce Stewart declines to get into either politics or the Obamas, he says that a program that gives parents more educational options for their children is not only good for their kids, it's good for the community. Plainly he's not doing it for the money: Even the full D.C. voucher covers only a small fraction of Sidwell's actual costs.
All of which leaves the First Parent with a decision to make: Will he stand up for those like his own children's schoolmates -- or stand in front of the Sidwell door with Mr. Durbin? It's hard to imagine white congressional Democrats going up against him if he called them out on an issue where they have put him in this embarrassing position. This, after all, is a man who has written of the "anger" he felt as a community organizer, when his attempts to improve things for Chicago school kids ran up against an "uncomfortable fact."
"The biggest source of resistance [to reform]," he said, "was rarely talked about . . . namely, the uncomfortable fact that every one of our churches was filled with teachers, principals, and district superintendents. Few of these educators sent their own children to public schools; they knew too much for that. But they would defend the status quo with the same skill and vigor as their white counterparts of two decades before."
Let's just say that Sarah and James Parker -- and thousands just like them -- could use some of that same Obama anger right about now.
Posted by Falling Panda at 12:34 PM