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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Above is a video clip from the hit television series The West Wing where Josh Lyman, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the president, thinks he can easily handle the White House press pool. Notice how he gets stumped at the end of the clip about an “inflation plan”. Instead of admitting that the president doesn’t have a plan to tackle the possibility of inflation, Josh decides to call the press pool stupid and tells that he does have a plan. Entertaining, right?

Now let’s comeback to reality.

Here’s a video clip of President Obama’s White House Press Secretary Jay Carney from earlier today:

Haha… Priceless! It’s crazy how The West Wing can mirror real life at times.

On a serious note, where’s the [real] president’s plan at???

Guy Benson – from Townhall.com – made an interesting point:

Since his unmitigated failure of a budget was unanimously defeated in the Senate, this president has refused to offer a specific plan of his own on virtually anything at all.  Instead, he talks about “visions” and “contours” and “frameworks” — and tries to blame his opponents when his poor leadership is exposed.  Over the last five days, the president has (a) undermined a bargain with John Boehner by introducing an unacceptable eleventh-hour condition, (b) rejected “out of hand” a bipartisan compromise that he found to be politically unpalatable, and (c) delivered a speech that painted his opponents as the intractable extremists.  In light of this behavior, it’s entirely reasonable for Americans to wonder what, precisely, Barack Obama’s proposed solution might be.  Today, the White House dismissively waived off that question as a GOP talking point and condescendingly inquired if the journalist who dared to ask it was capable of taking notes.

Well said.

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Have you ever wondered what the “hipsters” at the SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas thought about Net Neutrality? 

Answer: Steven Crowder finds out.

As a huge computer and social media geek, I believe Net Neutrality is one of the worst concepts jotted down on paper:

Net Neutrality is a proposed set of regulatory powers that would grant the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the ability to control how Internet service providers (ISPs) package their services. Proponents argue that such rules are necessary to ensure that ISPs treat all data on the Internet equally and don’t slow or even restrict access to various websites and other parts of the Internet.

However well-intentioned, the practical effect will be to limit consumer choice and grant the federal government unprecedented power over the Internet, all in the name of fixing a problem that doesn’t exist in any meaningful way. Indeed, examples of the behavior that Net Neutrality will combat are few and far between.

As I have mentioned before on my blog,  David Harsanyi says it best: Why would we want a prehistoric bureaucracy overseeing one of the past century’s great improvements?

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the Democrats’ claim that they can solve the country’s fiscal problems by raising taxes on the so-called “rich”?

Answer: There’s not enough of those “rich people” to raise taxes on. 

Props to the Wall Street Journal and Power Line for reporting this story:

This chart from the Wall Street Journal tells you pretty much all you need to know about the credibility of the Democrats’ claim that they can solve the country’s fiscal problems by raising taxes on “the rich.” The chart, based on 2008 IRS data, shows how much total income was reported by Americans in each income range.

Click to enlarge.

Notice where all the money comes from.

The problem with rich people (or, more properly high income earners) is that there aren’t enough of them. Upper-income taxpayers are already paying around double their fair (pro rata) share of federal income taxes on the average, and there simply aren’t enough dollars at the high end to pay for the Democrats’ spending spree, even if the Dems try to steal them all. The only way to balance the budget through tax increases is by going where most of the money is–the $50,000 to $500,000 adjusted gross income range.

In the end, if President Obama wants to solve our fiscal problems by increasing taxes, he would have to go after the middle-class. Good luck proposing that plan to the American people.

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It’s official folks! US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his budget plan that cuts $6.2 trillion in spending over the next ten years. Also, he released an awesome Path to Prosperity video to go along with it.

His plan eliminates hundreds of duplicative programs, reflects the ban on earmarks, curbs corporate welfare, brings government spending to below 20 percent of the economy, and much more!

US Rep. Ryan (R-WI) and the House Committee on the Budget reports:

The current path – which the President’s irresponsible budget commits us to – will result in a debt-fueled economic crisis, the shredding of the safety net, and a diminished future. Americans deserve better than empty promises from a government going broke. The budget advanced by the House Budget Committee ensures real security through real reform. The House Budget Committee’s FY2012 Budget Resolution helps spur job creation today, stops spending money the government doesn’t have, and lifts the crushing burden of debt. This plan puts the budget on the path to balance and the economy on the path to prosperity.

When it comes to addressing the crushing burden of debt, Rep. Ryan’s budget plan tackles it:

By continuing Washington’s spending spree, the President’s budget adds $13 trillion dollars to the debt over the next decade. Under his budget, debt held by the public would double by 2016 compared with the President’s first year in office, and triple by the end of the budget window.

By failing to address the unsustainable growth of autopilot spending programs, the President’s budget commits this nation to a crushing burden of debt. The CBO estimates that under the President’s budget, debt held by the public will near 90 percent of the entire economy by the end of the decade. The explosive growth of debt will continue in the years ahead. The CBO projects debt as a share of the economy to grow to 146 percent in 2030, 233 percent in 2040, and an unfathomable 344 percent in 2050.

If policymakers continue down the present course, the consequences will be dire.  American families are still reeling from the hardships of the recent economic downturn, and millions of individuals remain out of work. Yet Washington continues to erect to new barriers to growth, to raise the hurdles to sustained private-sector job creation, and – most distressingly – to accelerate the nation ever-faster toward a debt-fueled economic crisis.

[…]

The Path to Prosperity lifts the crushing burden of debt, making it possible for the economy to grow and for Americans to prosper. This budget would cut trillions of dollars from the debt relative to the President’s budget in every year of their long-term analysis. In 2022, the debt would be over 25 percent lower than would be the case under the status quo; 56 percent less in 2030; 79 percent in 2040. By 2050, this budget would cut the debt in half relative to where it stands today, lifting nearly $120 trillion of debt relative to the President’s path.

Click here to view full report!

Although I have only scratched the surface here, I am extremely excited about Rep. Ryan’s Path to Prosperity. There are some mighty big numbers in there and naturally it has quickly come under attack from the Democrats. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has already decided to share her baffling two-cents.

WARNING: Statements about grandma being forced to eat dog food because of heartless Republicans and their insane crusade for solvency will be a staple of Democratic talking points, especially with the White House desperate to win back seniors alienated by ObamaCare.

Oops… It has already started. Go figure.

*UPDATE* – May 25, 2011 – 9:55 pm

Reminder: Americans 55 years old or older will not be affected by Rep. Ryan’s plan, but does that fact stop the opposing political party from creating misleading ads like this?:

Nope.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the Democratic Party two years ago?

Answer: They passed the failed $787+ billion Stimulus Package.

Props the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for the advertisement.

The Speaker of the House Blog reports:

Two years ago today, President Obama signed the trillion-dollar “stimulus” amid promises it would keep unemployment below eight percent and create jobs “almost immediately.”  Today, the Obama Administration has little to show for its trillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded “investment” except for more red ink and more out of work Americans.  Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the budget-busting, job-destroying failure that is the President’s “stimulus”:

  • U.S. Debt on February 17, 2009: $6.48 trillion
  • U.S. Debt today: $9.5 trillion
  • Number of jobs the “stimulus” was supposed to create: 3.5 million
  • Private sector jobs lost since the “stimulus” was signed: 1.8 million
  • Obama Administration’s projected unemployment rate at the two-year mark of the “stimulus”: 7 percent
  • Actual unemployment rate: 9 percent

Do you remember this chart the Obama administration presented to the American public before the failed Stimulus Package was passed into law?:

I realize the chart above is a little outdated, but the unemployment rate is still above 9 percent. Also, just two years ago, our national debt was $10.79 trillion and now it has topped $14 trillion. That’s equivalent to adding an additional $39,660 per household.

Just like the political advertisement said above, “two years of liberal economics have failed America.”

It’s time ignore the spin and wake up to reality: The Stimulus Package has FAILED.

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“My spending cuts would keep 85% of government funding and not touch Social Security or Medicare.” – US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).

Sen. Paul (R-KY) and The Wall Street Journal reports:

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this will be the third consecutive year in which the federal government is running a deficit near or greater than $1 trillion. The solution to the government’s fiscal crisis must begin by cutting spending in all areas, particularly in those that can be better run at the state or local level. Last month I introduced legislation to do just that. And though it seems extreme to some—containing over $500 billion in spending cuts enacted over one year—it is a necessary first step toward ending our fiscal crisis.

My proposal would first roll back almost all federal spending to 2008 levels, then initiate reductions at various levels nearly across the board. Cuts to the Departments of Agriculture and Transportation would create over $42 billion in savings each, while cuts to the Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development would save about $50 billion each. Removing education from the federal government’s jurisdiction would create almost $80 billion in savings alone. Add to that my proposed reductions in international aid, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and other federal agencies, and we arrive at over $500 billion.

My proposal, not surprisingly, has been greeted skeptically in Washington, where serious spending cuts are a rarity. But it is a modest proposal when measured against the size of our mounting debt. It would keep 85% of our government funding in place and not touch Social Security or Medicare. But by reducing wasteful spending and shuttering departments that are beyond the constitutional role of the federal government, such as the Department of Education, we can cut nearly 40% of our projected deficit and at the same time remove thousands of big-government bureaucrats who stand in the way of efficiency.

Hey, it is a start.

The most interesting proposal in Sen. Paul’s plan is the elimination of the Department of Education. Not since President Ronald Reagan campaigned on abolishing the Department of Education had anyone seriously proposed cutting the federal government.

Now it is on to the entitlement cuts!

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked college campuses all over the state of Michigan?

Answer: Bridge Card abuse.

Bridge Cards are an electronic version of food stamps that are issued by the Department of Human Services (DHS). A lot of students, who are not dependents of their parents, are eligible to receive government assistance because they have a so-called “low income”. Some students claim they need them in order to survive fiscally through school. Unfortunately, this is not true and many of these students are abusing the system. Not only do they use the Bridge Card to purchase an unnecessary amount of food, but some also use it to purchase alcohol and cigarettes with the money they are able to get back with it.

Who pays for this abuse? The taxpayer.

Fortunately, a Michigan lawmaker has named college student fraud in the food-aid program as a top priority in the coming year. The Lansing State Journal reports:

Rep. David Agema, R-Grandville, who last month became chairman of a House subcommittee overseeing the budget for the state Department of Human Services, named college student fraud in the food-aid program as a top priority in the coming year.

Though Agema is not sure how many college students are abusing the program statewide, he said he fears the state is wasting millions of dollars annually to provide the aid to students who don’t need it. Bridge Card recipients use the card as kind of an electronic version of food stamps, and critics say students of well-heeled parents are using the aid to pay for food and using their spending money for booze and parties.

“It’s an epidemic,” Agema said Tuesday at a committee hearing. “You can get this just by (applying) on the Internet.”

[…]

Agema spent much of last year criticizing suspected Bridge Card fraud among college students, and, in October, the State Journal reported anecdotal accounts from mid-Michigan store owners suggesting that fraud among college students was widespread in the region.

In recent weeks, Agema said, he has heard from many parents in his House district who say they are astonished their child is receiving the aid in college even though the parents are paying for all expenses.

Last year, the DHS reported that at any given point during the 2009-10 school year, 10,000 to 18,000 college and university students were receiving food assistance (at a maximum of $200 per month each).

Agema said he hoped the state Inspector General would begin a series of “sting operations” this year at retailers statewide to uncover the fraud that may be taking place.

According to a 2008 report from the Office of Inspector General, Michigan lost $17.3 million during a three-year period (2006-2008) from users abusing the system. Unfortunately, that number has probably grown since 10,000 to 18,000 college and university students are receiving food assistance.

Bridge Card abuse is a problem that Michigan lawmakers need to crackdown on. Michigan has one of the worst economies and the second highest unemployment rate in the United States. Not only are these students hurting the people who actually need the assistance, the abuse is also contributing to Michigan’s $1.8 billion budget shortfall. Eliminating the fraud is an absolute must.

Side-Note: As a recent college graduate, I have seen a lot of Bridge Card abuse on Michigan State’s campus. Sadly, a few of these individuals are my friends. Interestingly enough, those individuals are liberals. The same ideology that thinks I stand for the wealthy and discriminate against the poor. Meanwhile, these liberal friends of mine are milking the welfare system and hurting the people they claim to be for… Hypocrisy at its finest.

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