Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Paper “On the Misdiagnosis Of Surface Temperature Feedbacks From Variations In Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” By Spencer and Braswell 2011 | Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr.

New Paper “On the Misdiagnosis Of Surface Temperature Feedbacks From Variations In Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” By Spencer and Braswell 2011 | Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr.

July 26, 2011 · 10:52 am
New Paper “On the Misdiagnosis Of Surface Temperature Feedbacks From Variations In Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” By Spencer and Braswell 2011

There is a new paper published which raises further questions on the robustness of multi-decadal global climate predictions. It is

Spencer, R.W.; Braswell, W.D. On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1603-1613.

The University of Alabama has issues a news release on it which reads [h/t to Phillip Gentry]

Climate models get energy balance wrong, make too hot forecasts of global warming

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 26, 2011) — Data from NASA’s Terra satellite shows that when the climate warms, Earth’s atmosphere is apparently more efficient at releasing energy to space than models used to forecast climate change have been programmed to “believe.”

The result is climate forecasts that are warming substantially faster than the atmosphere, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The previously unexplained differences between model-based forecasts of rapid global warming and meteorological data showing a slower rate of warming have been the source of often contentious debate and controversy for more than two decades.

In research published this week in the journal “Remote Sensing” http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/8/1603/pdf, Spencer and UA Huntsville’s Dr. Danny Braswell compared what a half dozen climate models say the atmosphere should do to satellite data showing what the atmosphere actually did during the 18 months before and after warming events between 2000 and 2011.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle. The models forecast that the climate should continue to absorb solar energy until a warming event peaks. Instead, the satellite data shows the climate system starting to shed energy more than three months before the typical warming event reaches its peak.

“At the peak, satellites show energy being lost while climate models show energy still being gained,” Spencer said.

This is the first time scientists have looked at radiative balances during the months before and after these transient temperature peaks.

Applied to long-term climate change, the research might indicate that the climate is less sensitive to warming due to increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere than climate modelers have theorized. A major underpinning of global warming theory is that the slight warming caused by enhanced greenhouse gases should change cloud cover in ways that cause additional warming, which would be a positive feedback cycle.

Instead, the natural ebb and flow of clouds, solar radiation, heat rising from the oceans and a myriad of other factors added to the different time lags in which they impact the atmosphere might make it impossible to isolate or accurately identify which piece of Earth’s changing climate is feedback from manmade greenhouse gases.

“There are simply too many variables to reliably gauge the right number for that,” Spencer said. “The main finding from this research is that there is no solution to the problem of measuring atmospheric feedback, due mostly to our inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in our observations.”

For this experiment, the UA Huntsville team used surface temperature data gathered by the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Great Britain. The radiant energy data was collected by the Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.

The six climate models were chosen from those used by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The UA Huntsville team used the three models programmed using the greatest sensitivity to radiative forcing and the three that programmed in the least sensitivity.

H. R. 1848 - 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Bill Text - 112th Congress (2011-2012) - THOMAS (Library of Congress)

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1848

To prevent a fiscal crisis by enacting legislation to balance the Federal budget through reductions of discretionary and mandatory spending.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 11, 2011

Mr. MACK (for himself, Mr. BROUN of Georgia, Mrs. LUMMIS, Mr. RIBBLE, Mr. STUTZMAN, Mr. CAMPBELL, Mr. BARTLETT, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. ROSS of Florida, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee, Mr. WEST, Mr. GARRETT, and Mr. GINGREY of Georgia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Budget, and in addition to the Committee on Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To prevent a fiscal crisis by enacting legislation to balance the Federal budget through reductions of discretionary and mandatory spending.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) Findings- The Congress finds the following:

(1) The fiscal crisis faced by the Federal Government demands immediate action.

(2) The dramatic growth in spending and debt in recent years threatens our economic and national security:

(A) Federal spending has grown from 18 percent of GDP in 2001 to 24 percent of GDP in 2010.

(B) Total Federal debt exceeds $14 trillion and has increased $4 trillion in the past three years alone.

(C) Without action, the Federal government will continue to run massive deficits in the next decade and total Federal debt will rise to $24 trillion by 2021.

(D) Interest payments on this debt will soon rise to the point where balancing the budget as a matter of policy is beyond the reach of Congress.

(3) From 1980 to 2010, Federal revenues averaged 18 percent of GDP and are projected to return to that level within the next decade.

(4) Absent reform, the growth of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will overwhelm all other Federal programs and consume all projected tax revenues.

(b) Purpose- The purpose of this Act is to address the fiscal crisis by--

(1) acting quickly to balance the Federal budget and eliminate the parade of deficits and ballooning interest payments;

(2) achieving balance by reducing spending one percent per year until spending equals projected long-term revenues; and

(3) reforming entitlement programs to ensure long-term fiscal stability and balance.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT AND ENFORCEMENT OF SPENDING CAPS.

(a) Outlay Caps- The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is amended by inserting after section 253 the following new section:

`SEC. 253A. ESTABLISHING OUTLAY CAPS.

`(a) Outlay Caps- In this section, the term `outlay cap' means:

`(1) FISCAL YEAR 2012- For fiscal year 2012, the aggregate projected outlays (less net interest payments) for fiscal year 2012 shall be $3,382,000,000,000, less one percent.

`(2) FISCAL YEAR 2013- For fiscal year 2013, the aggregate projected outlays (less net interest payments) for fiscal year 2013 shall be the amount computed under paragraph (1), less one percent.

`(3) FISCAL YEAR 2014- For fiscal year 2014, the aggregate projected outlays (less net interest payments) for fiscal year 2014 shall be the amount computed under paragraph (2), less one percent.

`(4) FISCAL YEAR 2015- For fiscal year 2015, the aggregate projected outlays (less net interest payments) for fiscal year 2015 shall be the amount computed under paragraph (3), less one percent.

`(5) FISCAL YEAR 2016- For fiscal year 2016, the aggregate projected outlays (less net interest payments) for fiscal year 2016 shall be the amount computed under paragraph (4), less one percent.

`(6) FISCAL YEAR 2017- For fiscal year 2017, the aggregate projected outlays (less net interest payments) for fiscal year 2017 shall be the amount computed under paragraph (5), less one percent.

`(7) FISCAL YEAR 2018 AND SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEARS- (A) For fiscal year 2018 and each subsequent fiscal year, the aggregate projected outlays shall be 18 percent of the gross domestic product for that fiscal year as estimated by OMB prior to March of the previous fiscal year.

`(B) Notwithstanding paragraph (A), for any fiscal year beginning with fiscal year 2019, the aggregate projected outlays may not be less than the aggregate projected outlays for the preceding fiscal year.

`(b) Sequestration-

`(1) IN GENERAL-

`(A) EXCESS SPENDING- Not later than 45 calendar days after the beginning of a fiscal year, OMB shall conduct a sequestration to eliminate the excess outlay amount.

`(B) DEFINITIONS-

`(i) For fiscal years 2012 through 2017 and for purposes of this subsection, the term `excess outlay amount' means the amount by which total Federal outlays (less net interest payments) for a fiscal year exceeds the outlay cap for that fiscal year.

`(ii) For fiscal year 2018 and in subsequent fiscal years and for purposes of this subsection, the term `excess outlay amount' means the amount by which total Federal outlays for a fiscal year exceeds the outlay cap for that fiscal year.

`(2) SEQUESTRATION-

`(A) On August 15 of each year, CBO shall issue a sequestration preview report as described in section 254(c)(4).

`(B) On August 20 of each year, OMB shall issue a sequestration preview report as described in section 254(c)(4).

`(C) On October 31 of each year, OMB shall issue its final sequestration report as described in section 254(f)(3). It shall be accompanied by a Presidential order detailing uniform spending reductions equal to the excess outlay amount as defined in this section.

`(D) The reductions shall generally follow the process set forth in section 253 and 254, except as provided in this section.

`(3) CONGRESSIONAL ACTION- If the August 20 OMB report projects a sequestration, the Committees on Budget of the Senate and House of Representatives may report a resolution directing their committees to change the existing law to achieve the spending reductions outlined in the August 20 report necessary to meet the outlay limits.

`(c) No Exempt Programs- Section 255 and section 256 shall not apply to this section, except that payments for net interest (budget function 900) shall be exempt from the spending reductions under sequestration.

`(d) Look Back- If, after November 15, a bill resulting in outlays for the fiscal year in progress is enacted that causes excess outlays, the excess outlay amount for the next fiscal year shall be increased by the amount or amounts of that breach.'.

(b) Conforming Amendments to BBEDCA-

(1) SEQUESTRATION PREVIEW REPORTS- Section 254(c)(4) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is amended to read as follows:

`(4) OUTLAY CAP SEQUESTRATION REPORTS- The preview reports shall set forth for the budget year estimates for the following:

`(A)(i) For each of budget years 2012 through 2017: the aggregate projected outlays (less net interest payment), less one percent.

`(ii) For budget year 2018 and each subsequent budget year: the estimated gross domestic product (GDP) for that budget year.

`(B) The amount of reductions required under section 253A.

`(C) The sequestration percentage necessary to achieve the required reduction under section 253A.'.

(2) FINAL SEQUESTRATION REPORTS- Section 254(f)(3) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is amended to read as follows:

`(3) OUTLAY CAPS SEQUESTRATION REPORTS- The final reports shall contain all the information required in the outlay cap sequestration preview reports. In addition, these report shall contain, for the budget year, for each account to be sequestered, estimates of the baseline level of sequestrable budgetary resources and resulting outlays and the amount of budgetary sources to be sequestered and result in outlay reductions. The report shall also contain estimates of the effects on outlays on the sequestration of each outyear for direct spending programs.'.

(3) REPEAL OF EXPIRATION DATE- Section 275 of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is repealed.

(c) Enforcement- Title III of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is amended by adding after section 315 the following:

`SEC. 316. ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES.

`(a) Outlay Caps- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report that includes any provision that would cause the most recently reported, current outlay cap set forth in section 253A of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to be breached.

`(b) Waiver or Suspension-

`(1) IN THE SENATE- The provisions of this section may be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.

`(2) IN THE HOUSE- The provisions of this section may be waived or suspended in the House of Representatives only by a rule or order proposing only to waive such provisions by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.

`(c) Point of Order Protection- In the House, it shall not be in order to consider a rule or order that waives the application of paragraph (2) of subsection (b).

`(d) Motion To Suspend- It shall not be in order for the Speaker to entertain a motion to suspend the application of this section under clause 1 of rule XV.'.

SEC. 4. CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

The table of contents set forth in--

(1) section 1(b) of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 315 the following new item:

`Sec. 316. Enforcement procedures.';

and

(2) section 250(a) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 253 the following new item:

`Sec. 253A. Establishing outlay caps.'.

SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.

This Act and the amendments made by it shall apply to fiscal year 2012 and subsequent fiscal years, including any reports and calculations required for implementation in fiscal year 2012.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top 10 Obama Lies - HUMAN EVENTS

Top 10 Obama Lies - HUMAN EVENTS


Top 10 Obama Lies
by Human Events
07/23/2011

President Obama is becoming a veritable Pinocchio by stretching the truth on a regular basis. Here are the Top 10 Obama Lies.

1. Americans want higher taxes: During the debate over raising the debt ceiling, President Obama said that 80% of Americans support including higher taxes as part of the deal. But a Rasmussen poll taken the same week showed that only 34% believe a tax hike should be included in a debt-ceiling agreement.

2. Mother denied health insurance: During his presidential campaign, Obama said that his mother died of cancer after being denied coverage for a preexisting condition. He used her image in a campaign ad, repeated the claim in debates, and used the same rhetoric as President when he tried to sell ObamaCare to the American people. But a new book by New York Times reporter Janny Scott says that Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, had health insurance through her employer and was only denied disability insurance.

3. Tax restraint for middle and lower class: Obama pledged during his campaign and throughout his presidency not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000. But ObamaCare’s individual mandate will hit many under the $250,000 mark. (Obama’s own Justice Department said the mandate was a tax, not a penalty, when it argued its constitutionality.) Not to mention a higher federal cigarette tax and countless other “fees” in the health care law that hit the middle and lower class.

4. Shovel-ready jobs: When Obama was selling his $787 billion stimulus package, he consistently bragged about how shovel-ready construction jobs would be funded across the nation. Even the President later admitted that was a lie, when he told the New York Times: “There’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

5. Keep your doctor: President Obama repeatedly pledged that under his health care measure, Americans would be able to keep their doctors. However, with rising costs, many employers will dump their health care plans and force workers into the state health care exchanges (unless you belong to one of the unions getting ObamaCare waivers.) A survey by McKinsey & Company found that more than 30% of companies will discontinue coverage for their workers.

6. No lobbyists: During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said: “We have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. … I don't take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won't find a job in my White House.” At least a dozen former lobbyists got top jobs in his administration at the beginning of his presidency, according to Politico, and National Public Radio reported the Obama administration was granting waivers to lobbyists to circumvent the ban.

7. Foreign money in campaigns: During his 2010 State of the Union address, and again during the 2010 midterm elections, Obama railed against foreign money influencing U.S. elections. The only problem was that there was no evidence to support the charge or, as Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in the State of the Union audience, silently mouthed, “Not true.”

8. Arizona immigration law: During the battle over Arizona’s immigration law, President Obama said: “Now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you can be harassed, that’s something that could potentially happen.” Uh, actually, Mr. President, it couldn’t. The law would allow law enforcement officials to inquire about immigration status only when there is suspicion of a crime being committed.

9. Transparency: Obama pledged that transparency would be a top priority, but his administration refused to grant one-third of the Freedom of Information Act requests, according to an Associated Press analysis. He also was dishonest about transparency when he said that health-care negotiations would be televised on C-SPAN and that he would wait five days to sign a bill so people would have a chance to read it online.

10. Constitutional oath: During his January 2009 inauguration, Barack Obama pledged to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” yet he has consistently ignored the 10th Amendment giving powers not enumerated in the Constitution to the states. Exhibit No. 1: ObamaCare.

HUMAN EVENTS is the news source President Reagan called his "favorite newspaper" and we still hold high the Reaganesque principles of free enterprise, limited government and, above all, a staunch, unwavering defense of American freedom.

‘RIGHT OUT OF ATLAS SHRUGGED’: HEAR AN EXASPERATED ALABAMA BUSINESS...

‘RIGHT OUT OF ATLAS SHRUGGED’: HEAR AN EXASPERATED ALABAMA BUSINESS...

‘RIGHT OUT OF ATLAS SHRUGGED’: HEAR AN EXASPERATED ALABAMA BUSINESS...

Posted on July 26, 2011 at 8:50am by Dave Urbanski

Ronnie Bryant was vastly outnumbered.

Leaning against a wall during a recent Birmingham, Alabama, public hearing, Bryant listened to an overflow crowd pepper federal officials with concerns about businesses polluting the drinking water and causing cases of cancer.

After two hours, Bryant—a coal mine owner from Jasper—had heard enough and, in a moment being described as “right out of Atlas Shrugged,” took his turn at the microphone:

“Nearly every day without fail…men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just…you know…what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I see these guys—I see them with tears in their eyes—looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So…basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.”

The Blaze contacted Bryant, and he remains as resolute as he was at last week’s public hearing. To him, it’s just not worth the time, money, and regulatory hassle to open up a new mine—even one located in a remote area with less environmental impact.

“If they want to create jobs, provide health insurance, and increase revenue,” Bryant said in reference to the federal government, “they need to back down on the regulatory burden. It’s like pulling an iron ball with a chain. I’m not saying to make it go away—just the stuff that’s not pertinent or useful.”

Terry Douglas, who owns two mines in Jasper with Bryant, said it costs them about $250,000 per mine in permit fees alone and that paperwork and regulatory inspections are a constant presence (as well as an additional revenue strain). When asked about typical concerns surrounding coal mining—including companies skirting health and safety regulations—Douglas said it “doesn’t make sense” to let safety lapse and risk losing miners to illness or injury when it would only cost more to train new personnel.

“We take care of our equipment and take care of our people,” Douglas said. “The regulations make coal miners out to be criminals; but we’re not outlaws. Coal mining is an art. I have a civil engineering degree; Ronnie has a mining engineering degree. It’s not wildcat whiskey we’re making; this is drinking whiskey we got.”

Bryant pointed to less stringent environmental regulations in countries such as China, saying that the U.S. is falling behind even though it has abundant resources. “But you can’t get to them,” he said, adding that while there are concerns over dwindling wildlife populations, “people are becoming the endangered species.”

Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, regional administrator for EPA’s Southeast Region, attended the Birmingham public hearing but could not be reached for comment.

Monday, July 25, 2011

CURL: Is Obama a pathological liar? - Washington Times

CURL: Is Obama a pathological liar? - Washington Times

CURL: Is Obama a pathological liar?

By Joseph Curl

The Washington Times

7:17 p.m., Sunday, July 24, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

"Mendacity is a system that we live in."

- Brick, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

In the weird world that is Washington, men and women say things daily, hourly, even minutely, that they know deep down are simply not true. Inside the Beltway, we all call those utterances "rhetoric."

But across the rest of the country, plain ol' folk call 'em lies. Bald-faced (even bold-faced) lies. Those folks have a tried-and-true way of determining a lie: If you know what you're saying is patently false, then it's a lie. Simple.

And lately, the president has been lying so much that his pants could burst into flames at any moment.

His late-evening news conference Friday was a tour de force of flat-out, unadulterated mendacity — and we've gotten a first-hand insider's view of the president's long list of lies.

"I wanted to give you an update on the current situation around the debt ceiling," Mr. Obama said at 6:06 p.m. OK, that wasn't a lie — but just about everything he said after it was, and he knows it.

"I just got a call about a half-hour ago from Speaker [John A.] Boehner, who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations," he said.

Not so: "The White House made offers during the negotiations," said our insider, a person intimately involved in the negotiations, "and then backtracked on those offers after they got heat from Democrats on Capitol Hill. The White House, and its steadfast refusal to follow through on its rhetoric in terms of cutting spending and addressing entitlements, is the real reason that debt talks broke down."

Mr. Boehner was more blunt in his own news conference: "The discussions we've had with the White House have broken down for two reasons. First, they insisted on raising taxes. ... Secondly, they refused to get serious about cutting spending and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform."

But back to the lying liar and the lies he told Friday. "You had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that theyve been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues," Mr. Obama said.

That, too, was a lie. "The White House had already agreed to a lower revenue number — to be generated through economic growth and a more efficient tax code — and then it tried to change the terms of the deal after taking heat from Democrats on Capitol Hill," our insider said.

The negotiations just before breakdown called for $800 billion in new "revenues" (henceforth, we'll call those "taxes"), but after the supposedly bipartisan plan came out — and bowing to the powerful liberal bloc on Capitol Hill — Mr. Obama demanded another $400 billion in new taxes: a 50 percent increase.

Mr. Boehner was blunt: "The White House moved the goalpost. There was an agreement, some additional revenues, until yesterday, when the president demanded $400 billion more, which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people."

But Mr. Obama, with a straight face, continued. "We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security."

The truth: "Actually, the White House was walking back its commitments on entitlement reforms, too. They kept saying they wanted to 'go big.' But their actions never matched their rhetoric," the insider said.

Now, Mr. Boehner and the real leaders in Congress have taken back the process. He'll write the bill and pass it along to the president, with this directive, which he reportedly said to Mr. Obama's face in a short White House meeting Saturday: "Congress writes the laws and you get to decide what you want to sign."

Watching the one-third-of-a-term-senator-turned-president negotiate brings to mind a child spinning yarns about just how the living room lamp got broken. Now, though, the grown-ups are in charge; the kids have been put to bed. Ten days ago, the president warned the speaker: "Dont call my bluff."

Well, Mr. Boehner has. He's holding all the cards — and he's not bluffing.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes.com.

Iraq: The War That Broke Us -- Not

American Thinker- Print Article

Iraq: The War That Broke Us -- Not
By Randall Hoven
The Iraq War ends this month. The last combat brigade left August 19. Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began in 2003, will end August 31. September 1 marks the beginning of Operation New Dawn. Now that it's over, what did the Iraq War cost?

Here are examples of what some people had been saying about Iraq War costs.

"It was under Mr Bush that the deficit spiralled out of control as we fought an unnecessary and endless $3,000bn war in Iraq..."
- James Carville, the Financial Times.

"The Iraq adventure has seriously weakened the U.S. economy, whose woes now go far beyond loose mortgage lending. You can't spend $3 trillion -- yes, $3 trillion -- on a failed war abroad and not feel the pain at home."
- Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz, The Washington Post.

"First, the facts. Nearly the entire deficit for this year and those projected into the near and medium terms are the result of three things: the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the recession. The solution to our fiscal situation is: end the wars..."
- Christopher Hayes, The Nation.

The correct answer to my question, according to the Congressional Budget Office, is $709 billion. The Iraq War cost $709 billion. Why Carville, Bilmes, and Nobel-winning economist Stiglitz thought the answer was $3 trillion is anybody's guess. But what's a 323% error among friends?

The CBO breaks that cost down over the eight calendar years of 2003-2010. Below is a picture of federal deficits over those years with and without Iraq War spending.



Sources: CBO and U.S. Statistical Abstract (see below).

Just for grins, use the above chart to dissect Christopher Hayes' statement that our current and future deficits are caused by "three things: the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the recession."

Two of those three things -- the wars and tax cuts -- were in effect from 2003 through 2007. Do you see alarming deficits or trends from 2003 through 2007 in the above chart? No. In fact, the trend through 2007 is shrinking deficits. What you see is a significant upward tick in 2008, and then an explosion in 2009. Now, what might have happened between 2007 and 2008, and then 2009?

Democrats taking over both houses of Congress, and then the presidency, was what happened. Republicans wrote the budgets for the fiscal years through 2007. Congressional Democrats wrote the budgets for FY 2008 and on. When the Democrats also took over the White House, they immediately passed an $814-billion "stimulus." (The $814 billion figure is from the same CBO report as the Iraq War costs. See sources at end of article.)

The sum of all the deficits from 2003 through 2010 is $4.73 trillion. Subtract the entire Iraq War cost and you still have a sum of $4.02 trillion.

No one will say that $709 billion is not a lot of money. But first, that was spread over eight years. Secondly, let's put that in some perspective. Below are some figures for those eight years, 2003 through 2010.

* Total federal outlays: $22,296 billion.
* Cumulative deficit: $4,731 billion.
* Medicare spending: $2,932 billion.
* Iraq War spending: $709 billion.
* The Obama stimulus: $572 billion.


There is an important note to go along with that Obama stimulus number: the stimulus did not even start until 2009. By 2019, the CBO estimates the stimulus will have cost $814 billion.

If we look only at the Iraq War years in which Bush was President (2003-2008), spending on the war was $554B. Federal spending on education over that same time period was $574B.

So the following are facts, based on the government's own figures.

* Obama's stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq War -- more than $100 billion (15%) more.
* Just the first two years of Obama's stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.
* Iraq War spending accounted for just 3.2% of all federal spending while it lasted.
* Iraq War spending was not even one quarter of what we spent on Medicare in the same time frame.
* Iraq War spending was not even 15% of the total deficit spending in that time frame. The cumulative deficit, 2003-2010, would have been four-point-something trillion dollars with or without the Iraq War.
* The Iraq War accounts for less than 8% of the federal debt held by the public at the end of 2010 ($9.031 trillion).
* During Bush's Iraq years, 2003-2008, the federal government spent more on education that it did on the Iraq War. (State and local governments spent about ten times more.)

I've written elsewhere that the Iraq War was totally justified and even executed reasonably well. But even if you believe otherwise, there is no reasonable case that can be made to say it caused grave economic woes then or now.

Not only do the critics of the Iraq War make 300% errors in their numbers, but they also contradict themselves with abandon. When Obama was pushing he stimulus, he said,

Then you get the argument, "well this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill." Whaddya think a stimulus is? (Laughter.) That's the whole point. No, seriously. (Laughter.) That's the point. (Applause.)


So spending $572B in two years stimulates an economy, but spending $554B over six years ruins one?

Aren't these also the same folks who tell us how well JFK and LBJ ran the economy back in the roaring '60s? During the eight years of 1961-69, 46% of all federal spending was on national defense. During President Bush's eight years, defense spending did not even average 20% of federal outlays. Under JFK/LBJ, defense spending was 8%-9% of GDP. Under Bush, it was about 4%.

How did the economy do so well in the 1960s, and so badly in the 2000s, when less than half as much of our resources were devoted to defense in that more recent term?

The questions are rhetorical. Defense spending, and the Iraq War in particular, was not the cause of our economic problems. I don't care if you hear it from James Carville, Ron Paul, or a Nobel Prize-winning economist. It is a lie.

Randall Hoven is the creator of Graph of the Day. He can be contacted at randall.hoven@gmail.com or via his website, randallhoven.com.

[Data sources: All data for 2009 and later are from the CBO's recent budget outlook (pdf here). For an accounting of Iraq war spending, see Box 1-3 of that report. For an accounting of stimulus spending, see Box 1-2 of that report. For summary federal budget numbers in 2009 and later, see Table 1 of that report.

Federal budget figures through 2008 are from the U.S. Statistical Abstract. See Table 457 for overall spending and deficit levels, Table 458 for debt levels, and Tables 459 and 461 for spending in specific categories.]

Media Myth Debunked: Almost No Temperature Records Broken in Last Week's 'Record-Breaking Heat' | NewsBusters.org

Media Myth Debunked: Almost No Temperature Records Broken in Last Week's 'Record-Breaking Heat' | NewsBusters.org

Media Myth Debunked: Almost No Temperature Records Broken in Last Week's 'Record-Breaking Heat'

By Noel Sheppard | July 24, 2011 | 17:04


All last week, global warming-obsessed media were rife with reports about record-breaking heat.

Problem is, according to the National Climatic Data Center, and marvelously reported by the Hockey Schtick Sunday, almost no temperature records were actually broken:

[T]he NOAA database of all-time Max Temperature...shows that there were no records broken on July 17, July 18, July 19, or July 20th. A total of 4 stations broke records on July 21, 20 on July 22, and 10 on July 23, 2011.

That's right. There were only 34 new all-time daily temperature records set during last week's "record-breaking heat."

This is out of over 6000 records previously set for each day since such things have been reported.

For instance, the four set Thursday were out of 6,219 historically for that day. This represented only 0.06 percent.

On Friday, 20 records were set out of 6,108, or 0.3 percent.

As you can see, the actual records broken were statistically insignificant.

Yet a Google search of "record-breaking heat July 2011" produced almost 35 million results.

That's more than a million stories per new record set.

Seems the exaggeration at play is even greater than the number of Americans now claiming they attended Woodstock.

Makes you wonder if all these so-called journalists were smoking something last week as if they were still at Max Yasgur's farm.

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/07/24/media-myth-debunked-almost-no-temperature-records-broken-last-weeks-r#ixzz1T9IPVzI8

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Obama is Determined to Destroy America

Obama is Determined to Destroy America

Neither the White House, nor the Democrats in Congress have put forth any plans, let alone any numbers, other than to propose tax increases, now euphemistically called “revenue” increases
Obama is Determined to Destroy America

- Alan Caruba Friday, July 22, 2011

It is astonishing that Barack Obama seemingly learned nothing from the 2010 national elections in which the Republicans regained control of the House with a net total of 63 seats. For the Democrats it represented the greatest loss in the House midterm election since 1938, which occurred nearly ten years into the Great Depression.

It is the House that determines the spending and borrowing to maintain the nation, though the President traditionally sends a budget. Obama did not. Indeed, as Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has said, Obama has never put anything on paper. Negotiating Obama’s demands have changed week to week and now day to day.

What has happened to “No drama Obama”? The present impasse, topped by an angry press conference late Friday afternoon is entirely of his making. Neither the White House, nor the Democrats in Congress have put forth any plans, let alone any numbers, other than to propose tax increases, now euphemistically called “revenue” increases.

The 2010 Democrat losses in the House are largely attributed to the passage of Obamacare, a piece of legislation that was not only widely protested, but that led to the Tea Party movement and new members of the House representing its common sense agenda. The House subsequently voted to repeal Obamacare and it is being contested in the courts by 26 States.

What Americans have witnessed over the first two years of his term is Obama’s continual blaming of all problems on either his predecessor or the Republicans in Congress. What they are witnessing is the duplicity of a man who appears incapable of telling the truth from day to day.

The nation is in for a week of “high drama”, all of which could have been avoided had Obama agreed to any of the proposals put foreword by Republicans from Paul Ryan to members of the so-called “gang of six.” In the Democrat controlled Senate there has been nothing but obstruction.

One senses that this is exactly what Obama wants. While saying he does not want the U.S. to default on its obligations, what better way to destroy the nation than to destroy its “full faith and credit” regarding its debts?

The emphasis the Founding Fathers put on the necessity to meet the nation’s debts can be found in Article VI of the Constitution. “All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.”

Article I, section 7, states “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”

There is no mystery as to how the U.S. can recover from the present recession. Government spending must be reduced. Tax rates must be reduced for corporations and the middle class to encourage investment, growth and more employment. Entitlement programs will have to be revised to ensure they can meet their obligations. They represent sixty percent of all government expenditures.

A government that must borrow forty cents of every dollar to pay its debts and whose current debt of $14 trillion equals the entire annual gross domestic product of the nation is endangering the present and future economy for present and future generations of Americans.

At this writing, it looks as if Obama intends to deliberately implode the nation’s ability to meet its obligations and he has used the most raw fear tactics to achieve his goal, falsely claiming that Social Security checks would not be sent, that the military would not be paid.

If ever a President was begging for impeachment the time for such action has arrived. The evidence that he was ineligible to run for office and to hold it is beyond question, if only because he was not a “natural born” American whose both parents were citizens. His father was a citizen of Kenya.

Raise the debt ceiling. Impeach Obama. America must be set free. What he is attempting to bring about is the worst “change” imaginable in the nation’s history.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Mass. Healthcare Reform Augurs Badly for Obamacare

Mass. Healthcare Reform Augurs Badly for Obamacare

A new study of the healthcare reform enacted by Massachusetts and its then Gov. Mitt Romney five years ago offers an ominous warning about the likely effects of Obamacare on the nation as a whole.

Researchers at the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) at Suffolk University in Boston found that the Bay State healthcare reform plan has led to increased healthcare expenditures and private health insurance costs, as well as additional payments for Medicare and Medicaid, for a total of $8.5 billion in new outlays.

In 2006, Massachusetts enacted healthcare reform legislation that promised to extend healthcare coverage to all citizens while significantly lowering costs. The law imposes mandates on residents to obtain health insurance and on employers to provide it if they have 11 or more employees.

It also expands Medicaid coverage, establishes a health insurance subsidy program, and creates an insurance exchange that helps those who are ineligible for Medicaid buy competitively priced health plans.

The BHI report states: “Now that the law has been in effect for more than five years, we can begin to assess its impact on the state of Massachusetts.”

Among the findings:

• State healthcare expenditures have risen by $414 million over the five-year period.

• Private health insurance costs have risen by $4.31 billion.

• The federal government has spent an additional $2.41 billion on Medicaid in Massachusetts.

• Medicare expenditures increased by $1.42 billion.

The total cumulative cost over the period is just over $8.5 billion.

But the state has been able to shift the majority of the costs to the federal government, which continues to absorb a significant part of the cost of healthcare reform through enhanced Medicaid payments and the Medicare program — meaning Americans outside Massachusetts are helping to pay the bills for the healthcare plan.

In analyzing the study’s results, the researchers observe: “Cost‐containment is often a major goal of health reform plans. However, this particular healthcare reform legislation did not provide an effective means for containing costs.

“The promise of cost‐containment rested on a vague hope that the newly insured would seek preventive care, access their primary care physicians earlier in their illness and avoid costly emergency room visits. Yet the number of emergency room visits rose from 2.351 million in 2006 to 2.521 million in 2009, or by 7.2 percent over the period. The total cost of emergency visits has soared by 36 percent over the period, or by $943 million.”

The large number of newly insured residents in the state has increased demands on the primary care system, forcing patients to visit emergency rooms at a rate significantly higher than expected.

The BHI report also states that “by increasing demand for healthcare services without an equal increase in their supply, the universal healthcare law guaranteed that the price of healthcare services and health insurance would increase.”

The researchers point out that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010 is “essentially identical” to the Massachusetts law.

Obama claimed the law will lower healthcare costs. But the researchers conclude: “If the federal law is modeled after the Massachusetts law, it stands to reason that Massachusetts’ experience with healthcare reform provides an idea of what is in store for the country under the federal law.”

The Weekend Interview with Bill Gates: Was the $5 Billion Worth It? - WSJ.com

The Weekend Interview with Bill Gates: Was the $5 Billion Worth It? - WSJ.com

Was the $5 Billion Worth It?
A decade into his record-breaking education philanthropy, Bill Gates talks teachers, charters—and regrets.


By JASON L. RILEY

Seattle

'It's hard to improve public education—that's clear. As Warren Buffett would say, if you're picking stocks, you wouldn't pick this one." Ten years into his record-breaking philanthropic push for school reform, Bill Gates is sober—and willing to admit some missteps.

"It's been about a decade of learning," says the Microsoft co-founder whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now the nation's richest charity. Its $34 billion in assets is more than the next three largest foundations (Ford, Getty and Robert Wood Johnson) combined, and in 2009 it handed out $3 billion, or $2 billion more than any other donor. Since 2000, the foundation has poured some $5 billion into education grants and scholarships.

Seated in his office at the new Gates Foundation headquarters located hard by the Emerald City's iconic Space Needle, Mr. Gates says that education isn't only a civil-rights issue but also "an equity issue and an economic issue. . . . It's so primary. In inner-city, low-income communities of color, there's such a high correlation in terms of educational quality and success."

One of the foundation's main initial interests was schools with fewer students. In 2004 it announced that it would spend $100 million to open 20 small high schools in San Diego, Denver, New York City and elsewhere. Such schools, says Mr. Gates, were designed to—and did—promote less acting up in the classroom, better attendance and closer interaction with adults.

"But the overall impact of the intervention, particularly the measure we care most about—whether you go to college—it didn't move the needle much," he says. "Maybe 10% more kids, but it wasn't dramatic. . . . We didn't see a path to having a big impact, so we did a mea culpa on that." Still, he adds, "we think small schools were a better deal for the kids who went to them."

The reality is that the Gates Foundation met the same resistance that other sizeable philanthropic efforts have encountered while trying to transform dysfunctional urban school systems run by powerful labor unions and a top-down government monopoly provider.

In the 1970s, the Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations, among others, pushed education "equity" lawsuits in California, New Jersey, Texas and elsewhere that led to enormous increases in state expenditures for low-income students. In 1993, the publishing mogul Walter Annenberg, hoping to "startle" educators and policy makers into action, gave a record $500 million to nine large city school systems. Such efforts made headlines but not much of a difference in closing the achievement gap.

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Asked to critique these endeavors, Mr. Gates demurs: "I applaud people for coming into this space, but unfortunately it hasn't led to significant improvements." He also warns against overestimating the potential power of philanthropy. "It's worth remembering that $600 billion a year is spent by various government entities on education, and all the philanthropy that's ever been spent on this space is not going to add up to $10 billion. So it's truly a rounding error."

This understanding of just how little influence seemingly large donations can have has led the foundation to rethink its focus in recent years. Instead of trying to buy systemic reform with school-level investments, a new goal is to leverage private money in a way that redirects how public education dollars are spent.

"I bring a bias to this," says Mr. Gates. "I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts." Compared with R&D spending in the pharmaceutical or information-technology sectors, he says, next to nothing is spent on education research. "That's partly because of the problem of who would do it. Who thinks of it as their business? The 50 states don't think of it that way, and schools of education are not about research. So we come into this thinking that we should fund the research."

Of late, the foundation has been working on a personnel system that can reliably measure teacher effectiveness. Teachers have long been shown to influence students' education more than any other school factor, including class size and per-pupil spending. So the objective is to determine scientifically what a good instructor does.

"We all know that there are these exemplars who can take the toughest students, and they'll teach them two-and-a-half years of math in a single year," he says. "Well, I'm enough of a scientist to want to say, 'What is it about a great teacher? Is it their ability to calm down the classroom or to make the subject interesting? Do they give good problems and understand confusion? Are they good with kids who are behind? Are they good with kids who are ahead?'

"I watched the movies. I saw 'To Sir, With Love,'" he chuckles, recounting the 1967 classic in which Sidney Poitier plays an idealistic teacher who wins over students at a roughhouse London school. "But they didn't really explain what he was doing right. I can't create a personnel system where I say, 'Go watch this movie and be like him.'"

Instead, the Gates Foundation's five-year, $335-million project examines whether aspects of effective teaching—classroom management, clear objectives, diagnosing and correcting common student errors—can be systematically measured. The effort involves collecting and studying videos of more than 13,000 lessons taught by 3,000 elementary school teachers in seven urban school districts.

"We're taking these tapes and we're looking at how quickly a class gets focused on the subject, how engaged the kids are, who's wiggling their feet, who's looking away," says Mr. Gates. The researchers are also asking students what works in the classroom and trying to determine the usefulness of their feedback.

Mr. Gates hopes that the project earns buy-in from teachers, which he describes as key to long-term reform. "Our dream is that in the sample districts, a high percentage of the teachers determine that this made them better at their jobs." He's aware, though, that he'll have a tough sell with teachers unions, which give lip service to more-stringent teacher evaluations but prefer existing pay and promotion schemes based on seniority—even though they often end up matching the least experienced teachers with the most challenging students.

Teachers unions can be counted on "to stick up for the status quo," he says, but he believes they can be nudged in the right direction. "It's kind of scary for them because what we're saying is that some of these people shouldn't be teachers. So, does the club stand for sticking up for its least capable member or does it stand for excellence in education? We'll, it kind of stands for both."

Asked if the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have any incentive to back school reforms that help kids but also diminish union power, Mr. Gates responds by questioning the scope of that power. "We have heavy union states and heavy right-to-work states, and the educational achievement of K-12 students is not at all predicted by how strong the union rules are," he says. "If I saw that [right-to-work states like] Texas and Florida were running a great K-12 system, but [heavy union states like] New York and Massachusetts have really messed this up, then I could draw a correlation and say it's either got to be the union—or the weather."

Mr. Gates's foundation strongly supports a uniform core curriculum for schools. "It's ludicrous to think that multiplication in Alabama and multiplication in New York are really different," he says. He also sees common standards as a money-saver at a time when many states are facing budget shortfalls. "In terms of mathematics textbooks, why can't you have the scale of a national market? Right now, we have a Texas textbook that's different from a California textbook that's different from a Massachusetts textbook. That's very expensive."

A national core curriculum, detractors say, could force states with superior standards, like Massachusetts, to dumb down their systems. And even if good common standards could be established, how would they improve going forward if our 50-state laboratory is no longer in operation?

Mr. Gates responds to that by saying there's no need to sacrifice excellence for equity. "Behind this core curriculum are some very deep insights. American textbooks were twice as thick as Asian textbooks. In American math classes, we teach a lot of concepts poorly over many years. In the Asian systems they teach you very few concepts very well over a few years." Nor does he see the need for competition among state standards. "This is like having a common electrical system. It just makes sense to me."

On the fraught issue of school choice, his foundation has been a strong advocate of charter schools, and Mr. Gates is particularly fond of the KIPP charter network and its focus on serving inner-city neighborhoods. "Whenever you get depressed about giving money in this area," he volunteers, "you can spend a day in a KIPP school and know that they are spending less money than the dropout factory down the road."

Mr. Gates is less enamored of school vouchers. "Some in the Walton family"—of Wal-Mart fame—"have been very big on vouchers," he begins. "And honestly, if we thought there would be broad acceptance in some locales and long-term commitment to do them, they have some very positive characteristics."

He praises the private school model for its efficiency vis-à-vis traditional public schools, noting that the "parochial school system, per dollar spent, is an excellent school system." But the politics, he says, are just too tough right now. "We haven't chosen to get behind [vouchers] in a big way, as we have with personnel systems or charters, because the negativity about them is very, very high."

It's a response that in some ways encapsulates the Gates Foundation's approach to education reform—more evolution, less disruption. It attempts to do as much good as possible without upsetting too many players. You can quibble with Mr. Gates about that strategy. You can second-guess him. You can even offer free advice. Or you can shake his hand, thank him for his time and remember that it's his money.

Mr. Riley is a member of the Journal's editorial board.

KUHNER: President's socialist takeover must be stopped - Washington Times

KUHNER: President's socialist takeover must be stopped - Washington Times

KUHNER: President’s socialist takeover must be stopped
378 Comments and 95 Reactions|ShareTweet|Email|Print|

By Jeffrey T. Kuhner


The Washington Times

5:58 p.m., Thursday, July 22, 2010

President Obama has engaged in numerous high crimes and misdemeanors. The Democratic majority in Congress is in peril as Americans reject his agenda. Yet more must be done: Mr. Obama should be impeached.

He is slowly - piece by painful piece - erecting a socialist dictatorship. We are not there - yet. But he is putting America on that dangerous path. He is undermining our constitutional system of checks and balances; subverting democratic procedures and the rule of law; presiding over a corrupt, gangster regime; and assaulting the very pillars of traditional capitalism. Like Venezuela’s leftist strongman, Hugo Chavez, Mr. Obama is bent on imposing a revolution from above - one that is polarizing America along racial, political and ideological lines. Mr. Obama is the most divisive president since Richard Nixon. His policies are Balkanizing the country. It’s time for him to go.

He has abused his office and violated his oath to uphold the Constitution. His health care overhaul was rammed through Congress. It was - and remains - opposed by a majority of the people. It could only be passed through bribery and political intimidation. The Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback, the $5 billion Medicaid set-aside for Florida Sen. Bill Nelson - taxpayer money was used as a virtual slush fund to buy swing votes. Moreover, the law is blatantly unconstitutional: The federal government does not have the right to coerce every citizen to purchase a good or service. This is not in the Constitution, and it represents an unprecedented expansion of power.

Yet Obamacare’s most pernicious aspect is its federal funding of abortion. Pro-lifers are now compelled to have their tax dollars used to subsidize insurance plans that allow for the murder of unborn children. This is more than state-sanctioned infanticide. It violates the conscience rights of religious citizens. Traditionalists - evangelicals, Catholics, Baptists, Muslims, Orthodox Jews - have been made complicit in an abomination that goes against their deepest religious values. As the law is implemented (as in Pennsylvania) the consequences of the abortion provisions will become increasingly apparent. The result will be a cultural civil war. Pro-lifers will become deeply alienated from society; among many, a secession of the heart is taking place.

Mr. Obama is waging a frontal assault on property rights. The BP oil spill is a case in point. BP clearly is responsible for the spill and its massive economic and environmental damage to the Gulf. There is a legal process for claims to be adjudicated, but Mr. Obama has behaved more like Mr. Chavez or Russia’s Vladimir Putin: He has bullied BP into setting up a $20 billion compensation fund administered by an Obama appointee. In other words, the assets of a private company are to be raided to serve a political agenda. Billions will be dispensed arbitrarily in compensation to oil-spill victims - much of it to Democratic constituents. This is cronyism and creeping authoritarianism.

Mr. Obama’s multicultural socialism seeks to eradicate traditional America. He has created a command-and-control health care system. He has essentially nationalized the big banks, the financial sector, the automakers and the student loan industry. He next wants to pass “cap-and-trade,” which would bring industry and manufacturing under the heel of big government. The state is intervening in every aspect of American life - beyond its constitutionally delegated bounds. Under Mr. Obama, the Constitution has become a meaningless scrap of paper.

To provide the shock troops for his socialist takeover, Mr. Obama calls for “comprehensive immigration reform” - granting amnesty to 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens. This would forge a permanent Democratic electoral majority. It would sound the death knell for our national sovereignty. Amnesty rewards lawlessness and criminal behavior; it signifies the surrender of our porous southern border to a massive illegal invasion. It means the death of American nationhood. We will no longer be a country, but the colony of a global socialist empire.

Rather than defending our homeland, Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has sued Arizona for its immigration law. He is siding with criminals against his fellow Americans. His actions desecrate his constitutional oath to protect U.S. citizens from enemies foreign and domestic. He is thus encouraging more illegal immigration as Washington refuses to protect our borders. Mr. Obama’s decision on this case is treasonous.

As president, he is supposed to respect the rule of law. Instead, his administration has dropped charges of voter intimidation against members of the New Black Panther Party. This was done even though their menacing behavior was caught on tape: men in military garb brandishing clubs and threatening whites at a polling site. A Justice Department lawyer intimately involved in the case, J. Christian Adams, resigned in protest. Mr. Adams says that under Mr. Obama, there is a new policy: Cases involving black defendants and white victims - no matter how much they cry for justice - are not to be prosecuted. This is more than institutionalized racism. It is an abrogation of civil rights laws. The Justice Department’s behavior is illegal. It poses a direct threat to the integrity of our democracy and the sanctity of our electoral process.

Corruption in the administration is rampant. Washington no longer has a government; rather, it has a gangster regime. The Chicago way has become the Washington way. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is a political hit man. He is an amoral, ruthless operator. It was Mr. Emanuel who reached out to Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Democrat, offering a high-ranking job in the hopes of persuading Mr. Sestak to pull out of the primary against Sen. Arlen Specter. It was Mr. Emanuel who offered another government position to Andrew Romanoff to do the same in the Colorado Democratic Senate primary. And it was Mr. Emanuel - as the trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has revealed - who acted as the go-between to try to have Valerie Jarrett parachuted into Mr. Obama’s former Senate seat. The only question was: What did Mr. Blagojevich want in exchange?

This is not simply sleazy Chicago machine politics. It is the systematic breaking of the law - bribery, attempt to interfere (and manipulate) elections using taxpayer-funded jobs, influence peddling and abuse of power.

The common misperception on the right is that Mr. Obama is another Jimmy Carter: an incompetent liberal whose presidency is being reduced to rubble under the onslaught of repeated failures. The very opposite, however, is true. He is the most consequential president in our lifetime, transforming America into something our Founding Fathers would find not only unrecognizable, but repugnant. Like all radical revolutionaries, he is consumed by the pursuit of power - attaining it, wielding it and maximizing it. Mr. Obama’s fledgling thug state must be stopped.

If Republicans win back Congress in November, they should - and likely will - launch formal investigations into this criminal, scandal-ridden administration. Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has promised as much. Mr. Obama has betrayed the American people. Impeachment is the only answer. This usurper must fall.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the host of “The Kuhner Show” on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from 5 to 7 p.m.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Progress seen in debt talks, but outrage from Dems over lack of tax hikes - TheHill.com

Progress seen in debt talks, but outrage from Dems over lack of tax hikes - TheHill.com


Progress seen in debt talks, but outrage from Dems over lack of tax hikes
By Erik Wasson and Russell Berman - 07/21/11 08:51 PM ET

A White House gambit to clinch a grand bargain with House Republicans on the debt ceiling ran into trouble Thursday when Senate Democrats decried any attempt to forge a deal without guaranteed new tax revenues.

Reports of an impending deal, coming just 11 days before an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the $14.3 trillion federal debt limit, quickly consumed Capitol Hill and brought immediate denials from House Republicans and the White House.

For the second straight day, President Obama called Democratic congressional leaders back to the White House for budget talks.

Two senior Democratic aides on Thursday said the White House had told Democratic leaders that Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) were moving closer to a deal that would include spending cuts and concrete entitlement reforms, but put off tax reform until next year.

This would represent a major concession by the White House and Democrats to win GOP support for raising the debt ceiling, the aides said, since it would mean no concrete revenue increases would be part of the deficit-reduction package.

Within minutes of the first leak on the possible deal Thursday, a Boehner spokesman, Michael Steel, said there was “no deal” and “no progress to report.” Boehner later called into Rush Limbaugh’s radio show to insist to conservative listeners that he had not signed off on any agreement.

“No deal publicly, no deal privately, there is absolutely no deal,” the Speaker said.

At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney opened his daily briefing with a denial.

“There is no deal. We are not close to a deal,” Carney said. Hours later, communications director Dan Pfeiffer, in a Twitter post, specifically shot down reports that the deal would consist of $3 trillion in spending cuts without revenue increases.

“POTUS believes we need a balanced approach that includes revenues,” Pfeiffer wrote, referring to Obama.

Still, Senate Democrats were incensed at what they heard, underscoring the thorny politics Obama is facing as he seeks a comprehensive deficit deal that can pass muster with conservatives and liberals alike.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) confronted White House budget chief Jack Lew in a closed-door meeting of the Democratic conference; he afterward publicly dismissed a proposal that lacked new revenues.

Reid said there had to be fairness in a “potential agreement” under discussion, and that it could not just include spending cuts.

“What I have to say is this. The president always talked about balance. There has to be some fairness in this. This can’t all be cuts,” Reid said. “There has to be some revenues. The caucus agrees with that. I hope the president sticks with that, and I am confident he will.”

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said many Democrats in the meeting with Lew were “volcanic” over the idea of a budget deal that would not include new revenues.

Asked if he thought a big deficit plan without revenues could pass the Senate, the chamber’s Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) replied: “Obviously I don’t.”

House Democratic leaders similarly denounced an agreement that did not include revenues. “I’ve said that we need revenues if we do a deal,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the House Democratic whip, said as he slipped into the House chamber for a vote.

The reported framework revisits an effort by Obama and Boehner to strike a $4 trillion deal that would combine spending cuts, entitlement reforms and more than $1 trillion in new revenues, with a broader tax overhaul to follow. That deal fell apart over Obama’s insistence on the revenues and conditions for tax reform — the suggestion that he had relented on those issues is what worried Democrats on Thursday.

At the center of the dispute is the question of whether the George W. Bush-era tax rates would be guaranteed to expire as part of the deal.

The rumors heightened an already tense, and sweltering, atmosphere around the Capitol as the Congress barreled toward the possibility of an unprecedented default by the U.S. government. Senior House Republicans professed to be out of the loop on the latest proposal, and Boehner was set to brief the GOP conference on the debt talks in a Friday morning meeting.

The pressure that Boehner faces from both sides was illustrated by a simple walk he took from his suite of offices to the House floor. As he strolled past a group of tourists, one shouted “We’re behind you!” while another chimed in: “Compromise! Compromise!”

While the House GOP steadfastly pushed its “cut, cap and balance” bill to raise the debt ceiling, Boehner told reporters Thursday morning he had prepared his conference for an eventual compromise.

The Speaker was asked to respond to comments from Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, who described the “cut, cap and balance” plan as “the compromise” and signed a pledge opposing other alternatives to raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

“I’m sure that we’ve got some members who believe that, but I do not believe that’s anywhere close to a majority,” Boehner said.

Reid scheduled a Friday vote for the conservative legislation, which is expected to be defeated because of its deep cuts and its requirement that Congress approve a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution before increasing the debt ceiling.

Separately, representatives of the S&P credit ratings agency briefed a group of House GOP freshmen on the consequences of a default and downgrade of U.S. debt. The meeting was organized by Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.).

The meeting drew more than 30 lawmakers, including some conservatives who are staunchly opposed to a compromise budget deal. One of the attendees, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), has gained 86 co-signatories on a letter to the House leadership urging it to block a fallback plan floated by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) that would grant Obama more authority to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts or congressional approval.

Members emerged from the S&P briefing convinced of the seriousness of avoiding a default, but said the ratings agency had reaffirmed their belief that the debt ceiling should not be raised without a credible plan — such as “cut, cap and balance” — to deal with the debt.

Some appeared to show increased openness to compromise on the debt ceiling.


Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) said he came away believing the caucus should be flexible in seeking a deal.

“Speaking for myself, we have to remain flexible … not make statements about what we will never do,” he said.

Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), however, said that he still believes that not raising the debt ceiling before Aug. 2 “won’t be catastrophic.”


Sam Youngman, Alexander Bolton and Mike Lillis contributed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hope and Change or a Man Deranged? | CatchKevin.com

Hope and Change or a Man Deranged? | CatchKevin.com

Hope and Change or a Man Deranged?

By Kevin A. Lehmann on in Kevin's Commentary, Politics

One only needs to look at Obama’s record over the last two and a half years to see a man clearly hellbent on transforming America into at best, an oligarchical nanny state, and at worst, a beaten down America whose moribund patriotism eventually cedes to world socialism.

Since taking office, he’s done everything to undermine his oath, the rule of law and the Constitution. It’s blatantly obvious that he’s selling America out to communists, anti-semites, and Islamic supremists—in lock step with Sorosism or perhaps more apropos – the New World Order.

What we are witnessing are the fruits of the “Hope and Change” envisioned by an extremist whose ideology more than transcends progressive liberalism—it takes it to a whole other level. Using trickery and subterfuge, Obama is slowly, methodically and deliberately usurping the democratic process and blatantly undermining the Constitution in route to enacting his warped sense of hope and change. His vision is far worse than “European Socialism” often espoused by the political pundits, or redistribution of wealth, or even class warfare. His ideology calls for eradicating American wealth altogether by transferring it to a world government, deferring our Constitution and Bill of Rights to the UN, weakening our military might, and assimilating the United States into a global social system controlled—not by the facade of fascism—but by the ruling authority of the Illuminati—the Federal Reserve and the Central Banks. He who controls the wealth controls the world.

Perhaps his most effective constitutional-killing weapon thus far is his army of illegally appointed czars who bypass all constitutional checks and balances and answer only to him. His failed policies are by design—to distract Americans and weaken America as a whole and to push us as far away as possible from that traditional bond of American patriotism until our spiritual backs are broken. The stage is set, and it’s working like a charm. It took decades to setup America and her citizenry this way and Obama is using that weakness to his advantage with the ultra-liberal progressive Democrats who, for example, believe that Muslims are nothing more than a special interest group. Islam’s aim is nothing short of seeing the end of western style democracy and replacing it with a theocracy—their’s of course. And Sharia Law is a political ideology, not a religion.

Islam and Sharia Law are inconsistent with American patriotism and individual freedoms, but very consistent with Obama’s actions as president thus far. The appointment of a multitude of czars speaks clearly to Obama’s vision for America, not only since he entered office, but since the beginning of his childhood and Muslim upbringing.

Below is a list of his strategically placed czars. By not removing Obama and his illegally appointed political thugs, and charging him with high crimes/treason, Congress is ultimately responsible for the fiscal, cultural, judicial and political systems he and his personally appointed minions have clandestinely circumvented and severely damaged.

Read the titles on the list below and it’s easy to understand exactly how King Obama rules. Kickbacks are alive and well in the White House. He has set up his illegal and unconstitutional “shadow” government whose allegiance and accountability is only to the King himself, and every day this shadow government is allowed to continue operating, America is another day closer to the point of no return.

The following is a list of Obama appointed Administration Czars as of April 22, 2011 . . .

Afghanistan Czar: Marc Grossman

Intelligence Czar: James R. Clapper

AIDS Czar: Jeffrey Crowley

IP Enforcement Czar: Victoria A. Espinel

Asian Carp Czar: John Goss

Oil Czar: Ray Mabus

Border Czar: Alan Bersin

Latin American Czar: Arturo Valenzuela

California Water Czar: David J. Hayes

Manufacturing Czar: Ron Bloom

Climate Czar: Todd Stern

Medicare/Healthcare Czar: Donald M. Berwick

Consumer Czar: Elizabeth Warren

Middle East Peace Czar: George Mitchell

Cyberspace Czar: Howard Schmidt

Mideast Policy/Central Region/Iran Czar: Philo Dibble

Domestic Violence Czar: Lynn Rosenthal

Native America Affairs Czar: Kimberley Teehee

Drug Czar: Gil Kerlikowske

Performance Czar: Jeffrey Zients

Economic Czar: Gene Sperling

Regulatory Czar: Cass Sunstein

Economic Czar: Jeffrey Immelt

Safe Schools Czar: Kevin Jennings

Electronic Health Records Czar: Dr. David Blumenthal

Science Czar: John Holdren

Energy & Climate Change Czar: Carol Browner (resigned)

Stimulus Accountability Czar: Earl Devaney

Faith-Based Czar: Joshua Dubois

Sudan Czar: J. Scott Gration

FCC Diversity Czar: Mark Lloyd

TARP Czar: Timothy Massad

Food Safety Czar: Michael Taylor

Technology Czar: Aneesh Chopra

Great Lakes Czar: Cameron Davis

Terrorism Czar: John Brennan

Guantanamo Closure Czar:Danny Fried

Tobacco Czar: Lawrence Deyton

Health Care Czar: Nancy-Ann De Parle

War Czar: Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute

Health Foods Czar: Sam Kass

Weapons Czar: Ashton Carter

Information Technology Czar: Vivek Kundra

Weapons of Mass Destruction Czar: Gary Samore

Workplace Czar: Chai Feldblum

Bottom line—America stands at the brink of destruction! It’s time to Wake Up and Get Real. It’s time for the citizenry of this country to Stand Up, Stand Strong, and Stand United! Whether through treason, impeachment, or the voting booth, ridding our country of Obama is no longer a matter of choice, but survival—survival of the greatest nation the world has ever known, the United States of America—one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL!

If you agree with my discourse, please share this article. Either way, I welcome your comments.

Until next time . . . Get Real America!

Kevin A. Lehmann

31 Foregone Facts Barack Obama Fans Should Ponder! - Tea Party Nation

31 Foregone Facts Barack Obama Fans Should Ponder! - Tea Party Nation
CatchKevin.com

1. If a previous president had doubled the national debt which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in just one year, would you have approved?

2. If a previous president had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

3. If a previous president would have spent nearly a trillion dollars in stimulus and guaranteed unemployment would not exceed 8%, would you have called him a liar?
4. If a previous president would have played golf for thirteen weekends in a row leaving it up to congressional leaders to deal with the greatest financial crisis since the great depression, would you have considered him disengaged and out of touch?

5. If a previous president had criticized a state law that he admitted to never even reading, would you have thought him an ignoramus?

6. If a previous president had passed an unconstitutional law that would have absorbed 1/6th of the America’s entire GDP, forced Americans to purchase a private product (in violation of the commerce clause), fined them if they didn’t, hired 16,000 new IRS agents to enforce it, and exempted 1400 organizations from having to abide by that new law, would you have thought him a mafia boss?

7. If a previous president joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in America to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you have questioned his patriotism and priorities and wonder who his allegiance was to?

8. If a previous president had pronounced Army Corpsman like you pronounce a dead corpse, would you have thought he was stupid?

9. If a previous president had put 87,000 people out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed?

10. If a previous president had used a forged document as the basis of the moratorium that would render 87,000 American workers unemployed would you have supported him?

11. If a previous president had been the first president to need a teleprompter to get through a press conference, would you have thought this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and that he’s really controlled by smarter people behind the scenes?

12. If a previous president had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take his wife to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

13. If a previous president had reduced your retirement plan holdings of GM stock by 90%, given the unions a majority stake in the car maker and shut down 789 perfectly profitable Chrysler dealerships because they were were owned by registered republicans, would you have approved?

14. If a previous president had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

15. If a previous president had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs when Gordon Brown gave him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

16. If a previous president had given the Queen of England an iPod containing audios of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud moment for America, or that a narcissist occupied the White House?

17. If a previous president had bowed to Kings of third world countries while on an apologetic tour, would you have approved?

18. If a previous president had visited Austria and made reference to the nonexistent “Austrian language,” would you have thought it a minor slip?

19. If a previous president had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who don’t pay their own income taxes, would you have approved?

20. If a previous president had said there were 57 states in the United States, wouldn’t you have been shocked?

21. If a previous president would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking out of his front door in his home town, would you not have thought him a conceited, egomaniac?

22. If a previous president had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to “Cinco de Cuatro” in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the fourth of May (Cuatro de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have not been embarrassed?

23. If a previous president had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on “Earth Day,” would you have concluded he’s a hypocrite?

24. If a previous presidents’ administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan that caused widespread panic, would you have thought him insensitive and clueless about what actually happened on 9/11?

25. If a previous president had created the position of 45 Czars who reported directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate and usurping the Constitution, would you have ever approved?

26. If a previous president had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

27. If a previous president had spent nearly $2 million dollars hiding his identity all the way back to his childhood, would you have been suspicious?

28. If a previous president had been raised a muslim, spent more time living abroad in Islamic countries than he did in the United States, hung out with terrorists, and attended a hate church for 20 years, would you have not thought him brainwashed?

29. If a previous president had received a Nobel Peace Prize for nothing more than out campaigning his competitors, would you have thought him the laughing stock of recipients?

30. If a previous president had ordered a botched illegal gun running operation that resulted in American arms winding up in the hands of foreign drug cartels who in turn murdered Americans, would he have not had blood on his hands and been ordered to resign?

31. If a previous president had released a fraudulent long form birth certificate and was factually proven ineligible to even be the president whether he was born on American soil or not, would you have not demanded impeachment?

In summary, when you ask Obama to “Barack Your World,” refer to this list and try not to hurl.

Until next time . . . Wake Up America!

Kevin A. Lehmann

ABOUT KEVIN A. LEHMANN

A fiercely passionate and independent, libertarian-leaning, constitutional conservative, Kevin is an outspoken opponent of the far left progressive agenda. He rails against big government, the ruse of religion - including Islam and commercial Christianity - and the theological, ideological, and financial war that’s being waged against the United States of America. A self-educated Iconoclastic Christian, Entrepreneur and Patriotic American, Kevin A. Lehmann is the purveyor of CatchKevin.com and a prolific writer and blogger. Full of passion, wisdom and wit, his transparent and no-nonsense style makes his talk radio show “Catch Kevin: Unscripted & Uncensored!” not only the (go to) show for relevant stories, business insight, and political punditry, but for tackling the tough issues . . . Head On!

 His high profile guests include politicians, economists, scientists, theologians and business titans. He is also writing his memoir,“Driven: Gambling, Girls, Guts & God.” The first 6 chapters of which are posted on his website.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Do you smell the smoking gun?

Do you smell the smoking gun?

If there was any doubt about high-level administration officials being involved in the BATFE’s “Operation: Fast & Furious,” then what I just found should put those doubts to rest.

Townhall Media uncovered an internal email from the ATF that the operation was essentially a way to, you guessed it, enforce tighter gun control.

It’s just like I’ve been warning you about.

They manufactured a crisis…

…and now they’re taking advantage of it.

The email states:

Can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same FfL and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales.
Thanks
Mark R. Chait
Assistant Director Field Operations.

That’s right.

The Assistant Director of Field Operations was trying to figure out any way possible to force their gun-rationing scheme on citizens like you.

Even if it was by “anecdotal” evidence.

Not that I’m surprised by this.

I’ve been telling you that there is a strong chance this whole operation was designed by Obama’s cronies as a crisis to take advantage of and push their gun control agenda.

Well, this email is enough for me to know what’s going on.

They created an operation, the entire intent of which was to arm criminals, that was then used as an excuse to circumvent Congress and push laws that make it harder for citizens to exercise their Second Amendment.

And they did it on your dime.

Call your Congressman.

It’s time to strip the ATF of this rogue mentality and put them in their place.

Call your Congressman – (202) 224-3121 – and tell them that the ATF has too much power and too much of your hard-earned tax dollars.

Tell them that when – not if – the ATF starts begging for more authority and money to push their left-wing, anti-gun agenda, that it is the job of Congress to simply say “no.”

And tell them that you will be watching how they act and voting accordingly.

These are YOUR rights being attacked by a federal agency.

An agency that doesn't need to exist.

Let’s make them go away.

Call your Congressman at (202) 224-3121 immediately.

Thank you.

For Freedom,

Dudley Brown
Executive Director

P.S. There is no way for the ATF to excuse this behavior unless we let them slide. Help me keep up the pressure on these shady bureaucrats by chipping in a few bucks.

Where Does the Carbon Come From?

Where Does the Carbon Come From?

Okay, here's the bombshell. The volcanic eruption at Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano since it first spewed volcanic ash, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet - all of you. And now with Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano erupting on May 21, 2011, it has been a losing battle.

Of course you know about the evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress - it’s that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and is necessary to synthesize into oxygen for us humans and all animal life.

I know, it's very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of: driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up 'til midnight to finish your kid's "Green Revolution" science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50-cent light bulbs with $10.00+ light bulbs ...well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.

The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth's atmosphere in just four days - yes FOUR DAYS ONLY - by that volcano in Iceland, has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon. And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud at any one time - EVERY DAY.

I really don't want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth. Yes folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over one year - think about it. Discouraging, huh?

Of course, I shouldn't spoil this touchy-feely, tree-hugging moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keeps happening, despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect "Climate Change."

And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud, but the fact of the matter is that the forest fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years. And it happens every year.
Just remember that your government just tried to impose a whopping carbon tax on you on the basis of the bogus “human-caused” Climate Change scenario.

Hey, isn’t it interesting how they don’t mention “Global Warming” any more, but just “Climate Change” - you know why? It’s because the planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past century and those global warming bullshooters got caught with their pants down.

And just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme - that whopping new tax - imposed on you, that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer. It won’t stop any volcanoes from erupting, that’s for sure.

But hey, relax, give the world a hug and Have a Nice Day!

The Global Fairness Madness - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online

The Global Fairness Madness - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online

Victor Davis Hanson

July 18, 2011 3:00 P.M.
The Global Fairness Madness
The more we have, the more we begrudge others who have more.


Whether in the fights over the U.S. debt limit or the rioting in Athens, the common global theme is not poverty in absolute terms, but more often fairness — as in having about the same amount of things as others do.

Here in America, the months-long impasse over the national-debt ceiling continues. President Bush borrowed nearly $5 trillion in eight years. But President Obama easily trumped even that staggering figure with his plan to borrow over $6 trillion in his first four years in office. The architects of his economic policy — Austan Goolsbee, Peter Orszag, Christina Romer, and Larry Summers — have all resigned, and are now either back in tenured academia, making lots of money in the much-criticized revolving door, or writing op-eds about why the president’s plan isn’t working — or all three.

Now Obama is demanding higher taxes to prevent a government default — apparently on the logic that everything he did with his previously borrowed $5 trillion was vital to the republic and all elements of it must remain unquestioned. So his sudden fiscal sobriety assumes the propositions that (1) all his borrowing was necessary, and (2) new taxes must be levied to pay off the borrowing inherited almost entirely from George W. Bush.

Abroad, the Greeks are still demonstrating, and occasionally rioting, over new austerity measures, angry that their northern-European creditors insist on having their $180 billion paid back, with interest. Meanwhile, $120 billion in Irish bonds were just downgraded to junk status — a message to bondholders that even sky-high interest returns are not worth the likely loss of investment. Even larger combined Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian defaults are looming, as most of the southern-European countries now owe more to foreign banks than their economies produce in goods and services in an entire year. The common denominator is anger at those who lent the money — not at those who spent it. No Athenian pauses to consider that Athens in 2011 is far richer than it ever was before 1980.

If one were to add up current American and European aggregate debt, and factor in the trillions more owed in contracted pensions, Social Security, and promised health-care payments, the tab is unsustainable. The only mystery is whether the crash will come hard and quick, as creditors lose their investments — or whether austerity plans can force once-affluent publics to curb consumption while slowly paying back money to those who already have more money than do those who borrowed it.

The most obvious cause of this transatlantic mess is an aging and shrinking affluent Western population. It is retiring earlier, living longer, and demanding more expensive medical treatment. It envisions retirement not as the quiet sunset years, but as a promised payoff in which to live well rather than scale down. Larger governments tend to redistribute and regulate shrinking capital rather than encourage the expansion of new wealth through more industrial production, exploitation of gas, oil, and coal, increases in irrigated agricultural acreage, or development of mining, timber, and maritime resources.

More ominous still, there is increasing furor among the beneficiaries at those who lent the money they borrowed. Greeks do not blame so much their own socialist entitlements for their mess, but more often the supposedly “greedy” German bankers who were foolish enough to lend them the money to pay for those entitlements. The Irish are furious at continental Europeans for insisting that every penny loaned be paid back.

Here in the United States, the 5 percent of the population that pays nearly 60 percent of all the income taxes collected is excoriated as selfish and greedy for not being willing to pay even more. The 50 percent of the population that pays no income tax at all feels that it deserves even more from those who make more.

In other words, we are living in a paradox. Never has the Western public been so rich, lived so long, and been given so much government support — through unemployment insurance, food stamps, generous pensions, and medical care. Never has Western technology extended so many conveniences to so many millions, whether new medical technology, iPhones, GPS systems, or personal computers. Never has free-market capitalism created such wealth to fund redistributive government.

Yet the new good life is seen more as a birthright than as a miraculous extension of the extravagances of the very rich to the common man. Never in the history of civilization have two billion workers, in China and India, produced so many goods that have made everything from tennis shoes to plastic chairs so cheap and available — and never has such newfound largess been so underappreciated.

So in the midst of this surfeit of technology and entitlements, Westerners are furious that they cannot have even more — usually as defined by what a few others who are even better off have. President Obama harps on private jets at the expense of kids’ scholarships, but never mentions the fact that millions of the poor and middle class now have access to jet travel that is just as rapid and safe, and never questions whether some perpetual adolescents on government-subsidized scholarships really belong in college. It is instead assumed that some wrongly have private jets, and all kids rightly deserve college. The West has mostly conquered the existential poverty that plagued it for 2,500 years; obesity, not malnutrition, is a national epidemic in the United States. But the obsession today is ensuring absolute material equality, or the impossible notion that everyone must have more or less the same things regardless of how they are to paid for.

Behind the rioting in Greece and the demagogic speeches in Washington is the common premise that our individual well-being must be judged in relative, not absolute, terms, and only in terms of material rather than spiritual wealth. All sorts of specific constituents “deserve” largess, apparently from a vaguely envisioned “them,” whether German bankers, private-jet owners, or those who surely gamed the system to make over $200,000 a year.

In short, the more we have, the more we want, and the more we will feel deprived at seeing others with more than what we have. That is at the heart of the current Western malaise, from Washington to Athens.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the editor of Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, and the author of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern.