And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posts Tagged ‘Politics

A Historic Flood of Red Ink | The Weekly Standard.

Obama has cause a historic flood of red ink and his latest budget will put our nation $7 TRILLION  further in debt (he is trying to tell us it will “save” $3 trillion!).  Yet this “Thing” rather than sticking to his own business is sticking his nose and his political organization Organizing for America in the middle of  a battle to save the state of Wisconsin.   There are simply no words for Obama  anymore, simply none that I and my dictionary find adequate at any rate.

 

The following article from the Weekly Standard is an eye opener.  I have only copied over a portion of the article so to read the entire article do click the reference above.  BB

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Let’s try to put that into historical perspective (the source for all of these figures is the White House Office of Management and Budget’s historical tables):

* In actual dollars, President Obama’s $4.4 trillion in deficit spending in just three years is 37 percent higher than the previous record of $3.2 trillion (held by President George W. Bush) in deficit spending for an entire presidency. It’s no small feat to demolish an 8-year record in just 3 years.  (And yet the MSM aren’t saying a word about this.  In fact they are out there praising their presidents efforts at “budget reform”. BB

* In inflation-adjusted dollars, President Obama’s $3.8 trillion (in constant fiscal-year 2005 dollars) in deficit spending in just three years is nearly double our $2 trillion (in constant fiscal-year 2005 dollars) in deficit spending in the five fiscal years during which we were fighting World War II (FY 1942-46). It’s no small feat to nearly double the United States’ inflation-adjusted deficits during the largest conflict in human history, and to do so in less time than it took American GIs to fight that two-front war.

* As a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), President Obama’s average annual deficit spending is 9.7 percent of GDP. That’s higher than during any single year of the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Korean War, or Vietnam. In fact, the only deficits in more than 200 years of American history that have exceeded even 6 percent of GDP have all involved either the Civil War, World War I, World War II, or President Obama.

* In average annual deficit spending as a percentage of GDP, the nearby chart shows how President Obama stacks up against other presidents who have served during the past four decades.

* The Obama deficit legacy, moreover, will be felt well beyond his tenure in office, especially if that tenure extends beyond a single term. First, Obama’s spending through 2012 essentially doesn’t include Obama-care. The CBO projects that Obama-care will increase spending by more than $2 trillion in the overhaul’s real first decade (2014 to 2023). That’s more than $2 trillion that could -otherwise be used to pay down the debt, rather than allowing the debt to rise continually and then piling a massive new entitlement program on top of it.

Second, President Obama’s gargantuan deficit spending will hamstring future efforts to make ends meet. Under Obama’s own projections, interest payments on the debt are on course to triple from 2010 (his first budgetary year) to 2018, climbing from $196 billion to $685 billion annually. Under his projections for 2018, interest payments on the debt will exceed all defense spending, including wartime spending. Think about that: In the first budgetary year after the next presidential term, our creditors are projected to get more money than our military.

At the end of 2008, just before President Obama took office, the national debt was $9.986 trillion and 69 percent of GDP. Under his projections, eight years later it will be $20.825 trillion and 104 percent of GDP. That’s right: Our debt will soon exceed our national economic output for an entire year. And that’s even if you believe the president’s rosy projections of 4 percent real GDP growth over the next four years, considerably higher than the 2.7 percent achieved over the past quarter-century and the 3.2 percent over the past half-century.

To correct our course, we need to advance real entitlement reform and repeal the looming entitlement that could be the boulder that breaks the camel’s back: Obamacare. House Republicans need to produce a serious budget that offers real entitlement reform, as they appear poised to do. (I very much disagree with this authors opinion because the Old Dog Republicans are pansy butts too!  BB) Actually enacting entitlement reform, however, will require presidential leadership. The most effective champions of bold fiscal prudence on Capitol Hill and in the statehouses, respectively, have been Representative Paul Ryan and Governor Chris Christie. In the wake of President Obama’s wildly unprecedented deficit spending, such leadership is now needed at the presidential level.

Jeffrey H. Anderson was the senior speechwriter for Secretary Mike Leavitt at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Is This How a President Should Act? – Hit & Run : Reason Magazine.

Wow.  A great article on what presidential decorum  Obama would do well to follow.  But, there is no hope for Obama since he began running all over the world bad mouthing America and apologizing for us and of course bowing to Muslims.  This article is also a good history lesson.

I have to thank Spag ( Spagnola Report )  for sending me to this article.BB

Is This How a President Should Act?

| February 18, 2011

From the Washington Post:

The president’s political machine (Organizing for America) worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to mobilize thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.

Their efforts began to spread, as thousands of labor supporters turned out for a hearing in Columbus, Ohio, to protest a measure from Gov. John Kasich (R) that would cut collective-bargaining rights.

By the end of the day, Democratic Party officials were working to organize additional demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, where an effort is underway to trim benefits for public workers. Some union activists predicted similar protests in Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. […]

The White House political operation, Organizing for America, got involved Monday, after Democratic National Committee Chairman Timothy M. Kaine, a former Virginia governor, spoke to union leaders in Madison, a party official said.

The group made phone calls, distributed messages via Twitter and Facebook, and sent e-mails to its state and national lists to try to build crowds for rallies Wednesday and Thursday, a party official said.

Just think–there once was a time (for more than a century, actually), when the president of the United States thought it too imperious to deliver the State of the Union via a speech to a joint session of Congress, since that would smack of telling a co-equal branch of government what to do. Now we have a president not just taking rhetorical sides in a state issue, but actively mobilizing his political organization to affect the outcome(s), even though (to my knowledge) nothing that Gov. Walker or any other belated statehouse cost-cutter is doing has a damned thing to do with federal law.

Actually, "Hosni Hitler" is not a bad band nameI have written in the past about how libertarians are pretty lonely in the political scheme of things in terms of constantly being challenged to defend themselves against the “logical conclusion” of their philosophy. But I think it’s time to amend that. We are witnessing the logical conclusion of the Democratic Party’s philosophy, and it is this: Your tax dollars exist to make public sector unions happy. When we run out of other people’s money to pay for those contracts and promises (most of which are negotiated outside of public view, often between union officials and the politicians that union officials helped elect), then we just need to raise taxes to cover a shortfall that is obviously Wall Street’s fault. Anyone who doesn’t agree is a bully, and might just bear an uncanny resemblance to Hitler.

The president’s heavy-handed involvement, along with House Republicans’ refusal to sign off on any new bailout of the states, means that this may very well be America’s biggest and most widespread political fight in 2011. It’s a cage match to determine first dibs on a shrinking pie. A clarifying moment.  (This statement is right on.  This is as I see it the most important moment in the fight to save our nation.  If Wisconsin fails then the nation is in dire straits. If Wisconsin Republicans and Gov. Walker hold then it might be what is needed to the other state governors who are facing this problem the needed support to get control of their state and local employees.

 


What ever happens in Wisconsin will also have a great deal to do with how the national government will handle the national debt. This is why it is so important to the Democrats and Obama that the Republicans and Gov. Walker do not get their legislation passed.  This is why they are sending in thugs from outside the state of Wisconsin to march and create chaos.  This people is war regardless of whether  anyone is ready to use that war.  This is a civil war and class warfare.  The unions are saying to simply tax the “rich”  and keep paying them their  outrageous salaries and benefits.  BB)

Obama to call for $53B for high-speed rail – Yahoo! News.

Every time I think this man has hit the top rail in stupidity he one ups me.  Amtrack has been a white elephant from it’s beginning and we have bridges and tunnels all over our country  caving in and falling into rivers  not to mention a national debt that is about to bankrupt us and turn the United States into a banana republic so what does the wise one in the White House propose?  A $53 billion start up fund for high speed rail.

You can read the whole story if you want.  I just couldn’t stomach bringing it over to my web site.  BB

Republican Sellout Watch | Cato @ Liberty.

As most of you know I was royally peed off when the lame duck

Republicans caved and gave Obama everything  and more. Those miserable whimps!  So now we have come to the new House and the new Republicans and I am afraid to hope.  the first problems is the debt ceiling and raising it.  I say NO! NO! NO!  Let our so-called credit rating fail.  Not one thing  will happen to the life of Brenda B or Joe Blow.  the only thing that will happen is that maybe the rest of the world will have to find some other soft touch country to extort billions from year after year.  Maybe it will mean our politicians in Washington will not be able to take their little all expense paid overseas junkets and be sucked up to in order to sucker these political thieves into giving up more billions of our money to pay the host countries for their free golf holidays.  Abut aside from that the world will not end!

 

What may happen is that our politicians will have to get serious bout cutting or the government will shut down.  Frankly I personally could easily see the country getting by with out the Education Department for half a year or forever.  then there is the Transportation Department that I fail to see any real need for. Perhaps some politicians in congress can google “ineffective government programs” like I did and find 341,000 entries.  This would be a good place to start in making cuts!

 

So here I sit watching the big whigs and experts and good old boys tell me again and again how we can not allow the United States to hit bottom by not lifting the Debt Ceiling.  I say a big BS to you all.  BB

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Republican Sellout Watch

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

Grousing about the GOP’s timidity in the battle against big government will probably become an ongoing theme over the next few months. Two items don’t bode well for fiscal discipline.

First, it appears that Republicans didn’t really mean it when they promised to cut $100 billion of so-called discretionary spending as part of their pledge. According to the New York Times,

As they prepare to take power on Wednesday, Republican leaders are scaling back that number by as much as half, aides say, because the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, will be nearly half over before spending cuts could become law.

This is hardly good news, particularly since the discretionary portion of the budget contains entire departments, such as Housing and Urban Development, that should be immediately abolished.

That being said, I don’t think this necessarily means the GOP has thrown in the towel. The real key is to reverse the Bush-Obama spending binge and put the government on some sort of diet so that the federal budget grows slower than the private economy. I explain in this video, for instance, that it is simple to balance the budget and maintain tax cuts so long as government spending grows by only 2 percent each year.

It is a good idea to get as much savings as possible for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, to be sure, but the real key is the long-run trajectory of federal spending.

The second item is the GOP’s apparent interest in retaining Douglas Elmendorf, the current director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Many of you will remember that the CBO cooked the books last year to help ram through Obamacare. Under Elmendorf’s watch, CBO also was a relentless advocate and defender of Obama’s failed stimulus. And CBO under Elmendorf published reports saying higher taxes would improve economic performance.

But Elmendorf’s statist positions apparently are not a problem for some senior Republicans, as reported by The Hill.

The new House Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), gave a very public endorsement of the embattled head of the Congressional Budget Office during his first major speech as committee head Wednesday night. …“You’re doing a great job at CBO, Doug,” Ryan said after receiving the first annual Fiscy Award for his efforts at tackling the national debt. He added that he looked forward to crunching budget numbers with him in the future.

In the long run, the failure to deal with the problems at CBO (as well as the Joint Committee on Taxation) may cause even more problems than the timidity about cutting $100 billion of waste from the 2011 budget. Given the rules on Capitol Hill, it makes a huge difference whether CBO and JCT are putting out flawed numbers.

I’ve already written that fixing the mess at CBO and JCT is a critical test of GOP resolve, and I actually thought this would be a relatively easy test for them to pass. It is an ominous sign that Republicans aren’t even trying to clean house.

Big Nannies of the Year – Michelle Malkin – National Review Online.

When we have one too many government employees for getting the specified job done  they have nothing to do but push pencils and complain that their job responsibilities are too heavy and that they require an assistant.  This  continues and continues and continues until we now have our federal government made up of a million or more pencil pushers.  Requirements for any given job, especially at the top rank, is knowing the man who does the hiring or a person of higher rank than him.  Hell, you don’t even have to know how to say or spell the name of the  position you are going to fill someone will check the right box for you.  AND, you certainly needn’t concern yourself about the required functions of that position because they are unimportant as you have your own agenda.  This then is the nanny State.  The United States governments at all levels are crowded with these  creatures who know better what is best for the public than the public itself.  This article lists some really unbelievable Nannies,  the only thing is that the are real and they are functioning alive and well in real time for your and my benefit and good.  BB

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December 29, 2010 12:00 A.M.

Big Nannies of the Year
God save us from more busybody bipartisanship in 2011.

It was a nefarious year for nettlesome busybodies employed by the Nanny State. Here are the top power-grabbers of 2010 — those who just can’t leave us alone:

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg
Two feet of snow paralyzed trains, buses, snowplows, and emergency vehicles in the Big Apple this week. Perhaps if Bloomberg — the nation’s top self-appointed municipal food cop — spent more of his time on core government responsibilities instead of waging incessant war on taxpayers’ salt, soda, trans-fat, and sugar intakes, his battered bailiwick would have been better equipped to weather the storm.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
He proposed meddling mileage taxes, mused about a system to track drivers’ routes, lobbied for high-speed-rail boondoggles, and promoted a “livability initiative” to limit suburban growth and force suburb-dwellers into public transportation. Then America’s driving czar floated a plan to disable cell phones in automobiles. LaHood backed off that creepy crusade, but he is still intent on waging war against drivers who choose to use cell phones, entertainment systems, and GPS devices on the road. Just last week, the unstoppable control freak proposed a new rule banning truck and bus drivers from any use of cell phones while driving — including emergency calls on hands-free devices. His anti-car agenda is stuck in overdrive.The city of Cleveland (Cleveland by the way is one of those Rust Bel;t cities that is just about flat on it’s can with unemployment in double digits so naturally all the government can think to do is make it more difficult for the economy and their city to get up off of it knees.  BB)
The green police in this Midwestern metropolis made headlines in February with an intrusive plan to roll out snooping trash cans — “smart” rubbish bins bugged with electronic identification chips and bar codes to monitor residents’ recycling habits. Violators could be fined $100. Federal stimulus money has gone to fund a similar program in Dayton, Ohio. The technology originated in Germany, was adopted by eco-authoritarians in England (where at least 500,000 trash cans now have snitch chips embedded in them), and has spread across Europe. Welcome to the age of Bin Brother.

The city of San Francisco (Another  city now flat on its back and on life support in a state in the same morbid condition.  BB)
The board of supervisors recently took the “happy” out of McDonald’s Happy Meals by forbidding all restaurants to offer toys with children’s meals that exceed limits on calories, fat, salt, and sugar. Even the mayor of the People’s Republic of San Francisco opposes this latest food-control scheme. But the bossy City by the Bay continues to assault consumer freedom with bans on everything from plastic bags to pet sales to soda pop. This summer, Mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning Coke, Pepsi, and Fanta Orange drinks from vending machines on city property. The decree dictates that “ample choices” of water, “soy milk, rice milk, and other similar dairy or non-dairy milk” must instead be offered. (Have you ever tasted soy milk? YUCK! BB  ) It’s not clear how vendors will be able to circumvent the city’s hostility toward plastic bottles. Maybe beverages will be served straight out of those noxiously trendy reusable cloth bags?

The architects of Obamacare
After ramming a trillion-dollar package of unconstitutional federal health mandates down our throats, they said children and seniors would be saved, we could keep our doctors, costs would go down, and the economy would get a boost. Reality: Premiums have continued to skyrocket. Insurers nationwide have dropped child-only plans in the individual market. Obamacare taxes forced the AARP to raise its members’ rates. Hospitals have stepped up layoffs and shutdowns. And millions of Americans have been able to keep their doctors and coverage only because their employers, unions, or health-care providers begged the feds for special waivers. Heckuva job, health bureaucrats.

First lady Michelle Obama and former governor Mike Huckabee
Mrs. Obama first played the childhood-obesity card in September 2009, as a rationale for using her office to crusade for taxpayer subsidies for the Olympics bid of her hometown, Chicago. Her argument: Kids would stay fat, lazy, and uninspired if the Daley machine didn’t get its share of massive sports corporate welfare. Next came Mrs. O’s push for the $5 billion expansion of federal child-nutrition programs. As I first reported in February 2010, the legislation was a pet project of the Service Employees International Union, which seeks to swell the ranks of dawn-to-dusk year-round public-school food-service workers, who organize under the progressive activist slogan “serving justice and serving lunch.” In addition to school breakfasts and lunches, the kiddie-food patrol is now pushing subsidized dinners and summer food service to create a “stronger nutrition safety net.” 

Nanny State Republican Mike Huckabee, who used his bully pulpit as Arkansas governor to campaign for Big Government–endorsed “healthier living” in public schools and private life, naturally sided with Mrs. Obama — and took a swipe at Sarah Palin last week for criticizing the White House’s usurpation of parental responsibility and rights. Huckabee scoffed at the idea that the feds are “trying to force the government’s desires on people.” But school bake sales are already under siege, and Mrs. Obama’s childhood-obesity task force has already called for new and dramatic controls on the marketing of unhealthy foods. Did Huckabee miss (or does he agree with) Mrs. Obama’s officious rallying cry on child nutrition: “We can’t just leave it up to parents”? God save us from more busybody bipartisanship in 2011.

— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. © 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

CBO on Fannie, Freddie and Mortgage Finance Options | Cato @ Liberty.

One of the many messes the unhousebroken Obama Administration and Democratic Congress has made for  We the People to clean up is the full federal ownership of the two giant mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.  These companies under the influence of Rep. Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd have gobbled up every toxic mortgage  mortgage bankers made in order to make the initial profit and knowing they could then sell them to Fannie or Freddie.    It is probably the biggest mess this last democratic congress has made that we really can not just simply  de-fund and therefore destroy as may be the case with Obamacare and some other stupidities.  So what will the next Republican controlled House Congress do with the mess?  This is the advise of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office which has consistently;y advised against the government control of these once privately held  companies.

CBO on Fannie, Freddie and Mortgage Finance Options

Posted by Mark A. Calabria

Just in time for the holidays,CBO  ( Congressional Budget Office) has released its analysis of the costs and benefits of various alternatives to our current system of mortgage finance, particularly the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The report examines three possibilities:

  1. A hybrid public/private model in which the government provides explicit guarantees on privately issued mortgages or MBSs;
  2. A fully public model in which a wholly federal entity would guarantee qualifying mortgages or MBSs; or
  3. A fully private model in which there would be no special federal backing for the secondary mortgage market.

The report doesn’t really push one option over another, but simply lays out the advantages and disadvantages of each.  Some highlights worth keeping in mind as the debate continues into the new year:

“Relying on explicit government guarantees…would also have some disadvantages…If competition remained muted, with only a few…firms participating in the secondary market, limiting risk to the overall financial system and avoiding regulatory capture could be difficult…federal guarantees would reduce creditors’ incentive to monitor risk. Experience with other federal insurance and credit programs suggests that the government would have trouble setting risk-sensitive prices and would most likely end up imposing some cost and risk on taxpayers. In addition, a hybrid approach might not eliminate the frictions that arise between private and public missions.”

“Privatization might provide the strongest incentive for prudent behavior on the part of financial intermediaries by removing the moral hazard that federal guarantees create.  By increasing competition in the secondary market, the privatization approach would reduce the market’s reliance on the viability of any one firm. Private markets may also be best positioned to allocate the credit risk and interest rate risk of mortgages efficiently, and they would probably be more innovative than a secondary market dominated by a fully federal agency. Further, privatization would eliminate the tension between public and private purposes inherent in the traditional GSE model.”

It is worth remembering that over the years, the CBO has actually been quite strong in warning against the dangers of the GSE model.** Sadly Congress simply chose to ignore those warnings.  Here’s hoping that the CBO has little more influence on this issue than they’ve had in the past.

**The government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are a group of financial services corporations created by the United States Congress. Their function is to enhance the flow of credit to targeted sectors of the economy and to make those segments of the capital market more efficient and transparent. The desired effect of the GSEs is to enhance the availability and reduce the cost of credit to the targeted borrowing sectors: agriculture, home finance and education. Congress created the first GSE in 1916 with the creation of the Farm Credit System; it initiated GSEs in the home finance segment of the economy with the creation of the Federal Home Loan Banks in 1932; and it targeted education when it chartered Sallie Mae in 1972 (although Congress allowed Sallie Mae to relinquish its government sponsorship and become a fully private institution via legislation in 1995). The residential mortgage borrowing segment is by far the largest of the borrowing segments in which the GSEs operate. GSEs hold or pool approximately $5 trillion worth of mortgages

U.S. Deficit Commission Recommends Changes to Social Security – FoxNews.com.

This article from FOXNEWS Home page.   I personally am all for every one of them except I don’t think they have gone far enough.  Yes, I will be “hurt” by some of the cuts and my children even more so.  BUT, my grandchildren and great grandchildren will not have to pay  my debts and the debts of my generation.   What do you think?  BB

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U.S. Deficit Commission Recommends Changes to Social Security

Published November 10, 2010

| FoxNews.com

A draft proposal by the deficit commission suggests curbing Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age.

AP

A draft proposal by the deficit commission suggests curbing Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age.

A draft proposal by the deficit commission suggests curbing Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age.

The co-chairmen of the panel appointed by President Obama to cut the U.S. deficit recommend raising the retirement age to 68. It is currently 67 years for retirees to receive full benefits. The panel leaders also propose reducing the annual cost-of-living increases in Social Security.

The increase to age 68 would be implemented by 2050 and then would increase again to 69 by 2075. A “hardship exception” would be provided for certain occupations where older retirement would be unrealistic.

According to a source who spoke to Fox News, the 18-member panel led by former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, also may propose reducing the base rate on corporate taxes, phasing in spending cuts over time, reducing foreign aid by $4.6 billion, freezing federal salaries for three years and banning congressional earmarks. It is unclear how the commissioners would define a congressional earmark.

The proposal would also set a tough target for curbing the growth of Medicare. And it recommends looking at eliminating popular tax breaks, such as mortgage interest deduction. The plan also calls for cuts in farm subsidies and the Pentagon’s budget.

The goal is to reduce $1 trillion-plus budget deficits. The panel, which was meeting Wednesday, was expected to provide a full set of recommendations on Dec. 1.

But any recommendations require a supermajority of 14 members of the panel for approval and that seems unlikely.

Cuts to Social Security and Medicare are anathema to liberals on the panel. Conservatives have difficulty with options on raising taxes.

“This is not a proposal I could support,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. “On Medicare and Social Security in particular, there are proposals that I could not support.”

“It’s a very provocative proposal,” said GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. “Some of it I like. Some of it disturbs me. And some of it I’ve got to study.”

Speaking to reporters after the draft leaked, Bowles said it would be great if Congress could come to some agreement about the plan before the next term, but said there is no need to vote on anything right now. The approved proposals would have to go to the Senate for a vote before heading to the House.

Bowles said he is certain that this is a real plan that Congress can work from, and the draft will help “educate the American people” as to the “massive” task before them.

Bowles also joked that he and Simpson are now headed into “the witness protection program.”

“This is the first time in my memory in Washington … where it’s all there. We have harpooned every whale,” Simpson added.

 

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Another article with comments from some deficit commission members comments:

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  • Commission Offers Controversial Solutions to Axe Deficit — Members Balk

    by Trish Turner | November 10, 2010

    AP Photo

    AP Photo

    The top Republican and Democrat on President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission introduced an ambitious draft proposal Wednesday to slash the nation’s deficit by by $4 trillion over ten years, but both chairmen conceded that the focus is more on starting a national debate rather than actually accomplishing legislative action this year.

    The draft, laid out in detail to commission members during two closed-door, hours-long sessions, spares virtually no “sacred cow” programs, proposing dramatic changes to Social Security, once called the “third rail” of politics, pushes for limits to Medicare, axes the popular mortgage interest deduction in favor of lower income tax rates for all, freezes Defense Department salaries and bonuses for three years and noncombat pay at 2011 levels for the same period, and the list goes on.

    Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, a commission member, did not sound confident that 14 of the 18 members could agree on any proposal in order to move it to a vote in Congress. “We’ve had trouble getting 14 people to agree on what time of the day to meet,” the Budget Committee Chairman said.

    The often-comedic co-chairman Alan Simpson sheepishly exited the meeting, telling reporters, “We’re entering the witness protection program,” referring to his fellow co-chairman and proposal author Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.

    Commissioners mostly commended the chairmen for attacking the problem and offering real, detailed solutions, but to a letter, not one member embraced the proposal, though Simpson and Bowles said they did not expect that. Still another member, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., called the Social Security changes “a nonstarter.”

    Schakowsky questioned the equity in the cuts, noted the “growing gap between rich and poor in this country,” and said, “This is not at all something I could support.”

    Outside the bipartisan group, members slung arrows at the draft proposal, as well. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., decried the plan as “extremely disappointing and something that should be vigorously opposed by the American people. The huge increase in the national debt in recent years was caused by two unpaid wars, tax breaks for the wealthy, a Medicare prescription drug bill written by the pharmaceutical industry, and the Wall Street bailout.”

    But some members cautioned against snap judgments. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a member of the panel, said, “The greatest national security threat facing America today is our national debt and a Congress that has avoided tough choices for decades. The discussion draft describes some of the tough choices facing Congress and the nation,” and warned, “I would encourage taxpayers to view with great suspicion the beltway, interest group culture that often prefers demagoguery over honest debate. In the real world, no family facing tough economic times has the luxury of treating portions of their budget as sacrosanct. Neither should Congress.”

    Simpson encouraged people to read the proposal and said there is more than enough time for Congressional action, saying he and Bowles “laid it all out on the table. Let the American people start to chew on it..As I say, we didn’t leave anybody out of the crosshairs.”

    But Sanders was having no part of that, particularly the Simpson-Bowles proposal for Social Security that gradually increases the retirement age for benefits, possibly to 69 by 2075. Sanders blasted, “It is reprehensible to ask working people, including many who do physically-demanding labor, to work until they are 69 years of age. It also is totally impractical. As they compete for jobs with 25-year-olds, many older workers will go unemployed and have virtually no income. Frankly, there will not be too much demand within the construction industry for 69-year-old bricklayers.”Commission Executive Vice President Bruce Reed told reporters that the panel intends to reconvene next week to get down into the details of the draft document and offer alternative proposals. And though he said members are still aiming to have a plan released on December 1, Reed did acknowledge that if members do not agree, the co-chairmen will certainly promote their own product separately to the American people.

  • Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/11/10/commission-offers-controversial-solutions-axe-deficit-members-balk#ixzz14zxDHCBX


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