Had a busy weekend, so here’s a late LinkSwarm:
Posts Tagged ‘deficits’
Write your senators and congressmen to let them know you oppose any “Fiscal Cliff” deal that doesn’t include substantial entitlement reform and real spending cuts, not dummy out-year cuts that will never happen. Write them now, because they will come under tremendous pressure to cave into big spending, big taxing Democrats desperate to keep that deficit spending heroin flowing.
Deficit spending will destroy our economy. The problem is not that we’re undertaxed, the problem is that the federal government spends insanely more money than we have in order to fund a vast array of crony capitalists, special interest groups, and permanent dole underclass for Democrats to milk for votes. If we continue down the current road, we will end up like Greece. There’s time to avoid going over the falls, but it’s getting shorter all the time.
Without spending reform, there’s a good chance that this nation of the people, by the people and for the people may very well perish from this earth.
I hope you’ve been enjoying your mythical Mayan Apocalypse.
But there’s a real, slow motion apocalypse that’s been going on all around you, and nobody is panicking about it, at least not in the open. I’m not talking specifically about the fiscal cliff, which is only a symptom of the problem rather than the problem itself.
The real apocalypse is out-of-control federal spending, and the tsunami of debt it’s creating. And I don’t feel “apocalypse” is too strong a word. Excessive debt destroys economies. When the money printing presses run unchecked for years on end, hyperinflation is the inevitable result.
The only reason we’re not suffering from hyperinflation right now is that Europe is sucking worse than we are. The Spanish economy is failing. The Greek economy has already failed. Were it not for that, it’s likely our huge budget deficits and the Fed’s printing presses would have already caused the Euro to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. And, as Mark Steyn is fond of pointing out, Germany’s economy is big enough to bail out Greece and Spain. No one’s economy is big enough to bail us out.
Obama and the Democratic Party has wagered our future on the proposition that they can run trillion dollar deficits for years on end without destroying the value of the American dollar. If they’re right, they deserve to win, since everything we know about economics is wrong, and we can just print dollars until we’re all rich.
But the fundamental laws of economics haven’t been repealed. A reckoning is coming, and it’s going to destroy savings, economies and lives. And professional politicians, the Democratic Party, lobbyists and their mainstream media enablers would prefer to talk about anything else but the looming catastrophe. No wonder they want to talk about gun control and “the war on women.” Anything to keep the con game going until they’ve sucked the body politics dry. Just keep that deficit spending heroin coming.
The only question about that reckoning is exactly when it’s coming, and exactly how bad it will be. If we’re lucky, it will only be as bad as Argentina 2001. If we’re not, then we’re talking Weimer Germany 1921-23.
FADE IN: Long shot of funeral.
CUT TO: Shot of Obama in a black suit standing near an open grave.
Obama: The American Dream enjoyed over 200 years of life.
CUT TO: Men with Obama For America t-shirts with shovels picking up dirt from a pile labeled DEFICIT SPENDING and tossing it down into the grave.
Obama: But it’s time for us to bury it today. It’s outlived its usefulness.
CUT TO: Several young children at the bottom of the grave, already partially buried, as dirt rains down on their heads.
Child: Wait, we’re not dead! Stop burying us!
CUT To: Obama.
Obama: It was a fine dream, but we have to move on to another dream: Of a government welfare state present at every moment of every American’s lives…
CUT TO: Men shoveling in more dirt.
Obama: From the cradle…
CUT TO: Children in hole.
Obama:…to the grave.
Children: Stop! Just give us a chance! We want our dreams too!
CUT TO: Obama.
Obama: Farewell American dream. It was nice while it last.
CUT TO: Children in grave.
Children: Stop! Stop!
CUT TO: Long shot of funeral, as the men continue to fill the grave.
Children: (screaming) STOOOOOOOP!
Anyone know the best way to send this to Romney, Restore Our Future, or American Crossroads?
This piece by Dan McLaughlin encapsulates why the Tea Party exists, and why it has to fight a willfully heedless Republican establishment, so well that I’m going to quote whopping great chunks from it:
As anyone with a passing familiarity with Republican politics over the past four or five decades knows, conservative magazines and think tanks have been making detailed entitlement reform proposals for most of those years, and Republicans running for offices high and low have been running on platforms of reducing the size and cost of government for just as long. And then nothing happens.
That’s why Congress’ battles over the debt ceiling and related issues provide such a potent example. Basically all Republican Senators profess to be in favor of smaller government, and yet so few are willing to go to the barricades to make it a reality. Now, I’m a realist – there are limits to how much we could expect even a completely united GOP to bring home as long as Obama is the President and Harry Reid the Senate Majority Leader. But the repeated spectacle of leading pundits and Beltway Republicans tut-tutting Boehner and company for even trying to use their leverage to exact real concessions is a sign that the message Republican voters have been sending is not getting through to everyone.
The related point here – and one that says much about why RedState has put so much energy into intra-party primary battles rather than the production of white papers – is that personnel is policy. The ideas are already there; what is lacking is the necessary corps of people with the will to fight for them.
The point of my essay was not to denounce anyone, but to explain the history and depth of the current popular distrust on the Right of leaders who seem unwilling to lead. The battle to restrain runaway government spending is so much smoke and mirrors unless the people who profess to support it in word are dedicated to it in deed. No wealth of position papers, endorsements and Power Point presentations can demonstrate that. Voters and activists who have figured this out are rightly skeptical of those who don’t seem to “get it”. And they are more than willing to embrace flawed champions – even such a creature of the Beltway as Newt Gingrich – if they demonstrate the willingness to actually do something to stop the runaway train of federal spending. Every time some Beltway figure calls Newt or some Tea Party candidate crazy, voters think again, “he might actually be crazy enough to upset some applecarts to get things done.”
Read the whole thing.
(Hat tip: An American Housewife in London, more about which anon.)
Ace of Spades makes his case for Rick Perry here.
Since that piece came out December 19, it’s hardly cutting edge news. But I’ve been ruminating on it for a while to try and figure out if I have anything more to add. I think I do. And with the Iowa Caucuses looming, I probably should.
I haven’t covered much of the 2012 Presidential race, mainly because I’ve been focusing on the Texas Senate Race and everyone and their dog was blogging every twist in the POTUSA race.
Plus I don’t have cable, so I wouldn’t be able to watch the
interminable numerous debates.
Which is why I didn’t see Perry commit his brain freezes, of which there were many. (My theory is that he was still hopped up on goofballs from his back operation.)
Having lived in Texas for the entirety of Rick Perry’s tenure as governor, I can attest that he is not a perfect candidate. There have been times (Gardasil, the Trans-Texas Corridor) when he’s strayed from conservative principles. And he’s not as polished as Mitt Romney or as articulate as Newt Gingrich.
But Perry isn’t running against the second coming of Ronald Reagan, or even Sarah Palin. Every other major Republican contender is not only at least as flawed, they’re considerably more so.
By process of elimination, that leaves Perry. As I said before, Perry isn’t perfect, but he has a record on holding the line on government spending and enabling job creation that puts Romney to shame. One again, let’s go to the charts that the indispensable Will Franklin of Willisms has provided on Texas job creation:
And the case for Perry over Romney (again thanks to WILLisms) is even more stark:
More on the Texas job success story here.
While I have criticized Perry’s campaign budget proposals for being too timid, Perry insisted on balancing the Texas budget without tax hikes. I assure you that California would love to have Texas’ budget. Indeed, adjusted for inflation, population growth, and federally-mandated spending, the Texas state budget has actually gone down under Perry. His guiding principle has been “don’t spend all the money,” and it’s one that Washington desperately needs.
One final, very big reason to support Perry: He can win. Perry’s never lost a race, because he’s a tough and tenacious campaigner who’s not afraid to hit his opponent\s hard. Everyone thought Kay Bailey Hutchison was going to cream Perry in the 2010 governor’s race, and he beat her like a rented mule.
In the general election against Bill White, he ran an ad featuring a police widow talking about how her husband had been killed by a multi-arrested illegal alien while White was touting Houston as a “sanctuary city.”
Even professional MSM Perry hater Paul Burka says that Perry is a hard man. “He is the kind of politician who would rather be feared than loved.” Perry will have absolutely no fear of taking the fight to Obama and going negative early and often, and he won’t let political correctness cow him into treating Obama with kid gloves.
Will the media savage Rick Perry for his flubs? Of course they will. But, as Ace noted, they’ll always find a way to crucify any Republican candidate to make Obama look better. They’ll use the same “he’s an idiot” line of attack they used on Reagan and Bush43…and you so how far that got them.
If you’re still undecided on Perry, this video should at least give you a more rounded picture of him:
For those who think Perry is already out of the race, remember that at this point in 2004, the consensus was that Howard Dean was going to be the nominee. There’s a reason Americans actually get to vote, and they frequently prove the pundits wrong.
One final reason to vote for Perry: he’s a pretty good shot.
So Rick Perry unveiled his tax and spending reform plan. (His Wall Street Journal piece provides a brief overview.) It’s a serious compilation of a variety of solid conservative ideas for reforming the federal government. Serious, that is, in every area except spending.
But before we get to the sour let’s look at the sweet. There is a great deal to like in Perry’s proposals:
So outside of the budget provisions, there is an awful lot for conservatives to like about the Perry plan.
Even when it comes to the budget section, there’s a lot of conservative red meat: a non-tax hike balanced budget amendment, an end to baseline budgeting and concurrent resolutions (which bake bigger government into the process), and an end to earmarks. All solid initiatives, though the problem here is less presidential will than getting them through congress.
So, given all that, what am I complaining about?
What makes the Perry budget timid and unserious is his proposal to “balance the budget by 2020.” Given the way Washington works, a promise to balance the budget eight years from now is a promise to never balance the budget. It’s tea so weak it might as well be water. A balanced budget target that far out means that Congress can keep putting off difficult decisions by passing bills that place imaginary savings in out years where they will soon be rendered moot by the next congress. It’s once again a chance to sell out budget discipline for a handful of magic beans.
It’s, yet again, kicking the can down the road.
It’s also a big step back from the Ryan plan, which demanded a balanced budget in the 2015 timeframe. This was the plan seen by conservative Republicans and Tea Party activists as the minimum necessary for a serious reduction in the federal budget deficit. Given serious action wasn’t taken for it this year, it’s reasonable to push it that deadline out one more year to 2016, but pushing the target out beyond that amounts to preemptive surrender.
While Perry’s $100 billion first year down-payment would be an improvement over the weak, phony-baloney deficit reduction enacted as part of the debt limit deal, it’s a ridiculously small cut for the $1 trillion+ Obama deficits being racked up each fiscal year.
Bad as it is as policy, the Perry 2020 date is utterly disasterous as an opening position for negotiations with congress. Perry is going to have to set hard, early deficit targets to have any chance of taming the Leviathan, and then use his veto pen early and often if he doesn’t get them. The truth is that Democrats will scream bloody murder at any attempt at deficit reduction, so the next President might as well (to use the classic Ronald Reagan analogy) “throw long.” Every debt ceiling vote will have to come with both serious budget cuts and the other budget-taming proposals in the Perry plan. Democrats may still filibuster, but then they’ll have to deal with the crushing realities of living under a budget that actual matches spending to revenues. Even with a Republican House and Senate, to actually balance the budget the next President will need to push relentlessly to pass the most stringent budget that can muster 51 senator votes via reconciliation. Setting a 2020 date does nothing to prepare the media and ideological battlespaces for those difficult choices.
Out-of-control federal spending is at the heart of almost all our economic problems, and the single biggest factor behind Tea Party discontent. Thus it has to be at the top of the next President’s agenda. Despite many other solid economic idea, the Perry plan doesn’t meet the test for serious deficit reduction. The shame is that Perry accomplished real spending reform in Texas. To impose such discipline on the out-of-control federal budge will be an order of magnitude more difficult. But to achieve real spending reform, you first have to campaign for it. Setting a goal for a balanced budget at the end of a theoretical Perry presidency’s second term rather than the first actually hampers that goal.
Actually, less rumblings than the roar of an approaching train. And since I temporarily seem to be ahead of the latest Ace of Spades Doom roundup, I’m going to try and give you a nice clear view of the coming crash.
“No longer a question of if, but when – that is the tone of discussions over Greece which has dominated the summit of finance ministers in Washington over the weekend.” Former Britain’s former finance minister Alistair Darling agrees, calling default “only a matter of time.”
The talk now is of how to put in a “firewall” to prevent the contagion of an inevitable Greek default from spreading throughout the European banking system.
Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age — they were right for the right reasons. They foresaw with lucid, prophetic accuracy exactly how and why the euro would bring with it financial devastation and social collapse.
I think at this point UK residents should be feeling vrey glad indeed that they didn’t abandon the Pound for the Euro.
Bret Stephens talks about the long line of deceit and fraud that lead Europe to the current crises. “What is now happening in Europe isn’t so much a crisis as it is an exposure: a Madoff-type event rather than a Lehman one.”
Mark Steyn, using the ever popular music and political metaphor gambit, compares the breakup of the Eurozone with the breakup of R.E.M. while bringing the usual Steyn goodness: “Attempting to postpone the Club Med welfare junkies’ rendezvous with self-extinction will destabilize internal German politics (which always adds to the gaiety of nations).” And this:
As its own contribution to the end of the world as we know it, the Obama administration has just released a document called “Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction.” If you’re curious about the first part of the title — “Living Within Our Means” — Veronique de Rugy pointed out at National Review that under this plan debt held by the public will grow from just over $10 trillion to $17.7 trillion by 2021. In other words, the president’s definition of “Living Within Our Means” is to burn through the equivalent of the entire German, French, and British economies in new debt between now and the end of the decade. You can try this yourself next time your bank manager politely suggests you should try “living within your means”: Tell him you’ve got an ingenious plan to get your spending under control by near doubling your present debt in the course of a mere decade. He’s sure to be impressed.
There may even be a taxpayer revolt brewing in the Aegean.
And if the other PIIGS are doing better than Greece, it is only a matter of degrees: “Italy is the new Lebanon, Portugal the new Venezuela, Spain the new Vietnam, Ireland the new Argentina and nothing is more risky than Greece, according to today’s credit default swap market.”
But it’s not just Greece and Europe that are hitting the wall. China’s housing bubble may finally be bursting. Worse still: “growth in China may be zero [and] China has ‘European kind of numbers’ when it comes to debt.”
And the Chinese housing bubble isn’t just affecting China. It’s also affecting Canada.
And at least one observer has drawn parallels to a certain hopemonger currently residing in the White House:
Obama has no intention of really solving the debt crisis. And that brings us back to Greece. That government has been doing the same thing for a decade and the chickens have now come home to roost. Greece’s debt is 150 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. Our debt has just reached 100 percent of GDP and the debt is accumulating faster than it ever has. If we were looking out the windshield down the road, we could see the crash that’s just up around the bend.
But rather than put on the brakes, the president has chosen to pick a fight with the other passengers in the car he is driving. Talk about distracted driving! He is gambling that this fight will convince the passengers to let him stay behind the wheel for another four years. But we certainly can’t wait that long. He’s turned up the radio in hopes we won’t hear the ambulance sirens.
It looks like its going to be another rough week for world markets…
Since leaving the Reagan Administration, Patrick Buchanan has been, at best, an erratic conservative, on any number of issues (Israel, Iraq, Free Trade, etc.), flogging a philosophy (“paleoconservatism”) that failed to catch on with any but a tiny fringe, and carried out political adventures ill-advised at best and amazingly stupid a good portion of the time. (I mean, why would you even want to take over the Reform Party? That’s like stealing a half-chewed bone from a blind dog; even if you succeed, you’ve disgraced yourself for a worthless prize.)
But on the debt limit debate, Buchanan has penned an essay that is coolly rational in articulating why House Republican must stand firm aginst Democratic promises of future spending cuts in exchange for tax hikes now.
Behind the GOP opposition to tax hikes is the party’s word given to the country that elected it in 2010, its political principles, its traditional view of what not to do when the nation is in a slump, and party history.
Fully 235 Republican House members signed a 2010 pledge not to raise taxes. And by giving their word they were rewarded with victory.
Should they now dishonor that pledge, what would differentiate them from George H.W. Bush, who famously promised in 1988: “Read my lips! No new taxes!” then went back on his word and took the party down to defeat with him?
It also does a fine job dissecting David Brooks’ panicked appeal for them to take Obama’s handful of magic beans in exchange for their good word:
In 1982, President Reagan agreed to the same deal being offered the party today: three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases to which he assented. As he ruefully told this writer more than once, he was lied to. He got one dollar in spending cuts for every three in tax increases.
Buchanan at least has learned the lesson Brooks hasn’t: Future budget cuts are non-existent budget cuts, and only a sucker believes they’re real. The only budget cuts that count are the ones to this year’s budget. Democrat promises of future spending cuts are always lies to be taken back in the next budget session. Even ironclad budgetary mechanisms to limit spending (i.e. Gramm-Rudman) will be jettisoned at the first opportunity.
No one should mistake Buchanan for a reliable mainline conservative these days, but he’s dead right on this issue. But given David Brooks’ swooning over Obama and his heresy on tax hikes, perhaps we should stop mistaking him for a conservative at all.