The Beginning Of The End
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What In The World Are Barack Obama And John Boehner Thinking?

What In The World Are Barack Obama And John Boehner Thinking?Barack Obama and John Boehner both seem absolutely determined to drive U.S. government finances off a cliff.  The mainstream media would have you believe that there are vast ideological differences between the two of them and that they are bitter enemies, but that is simply not the case.  Both of them say that tax increases are “necessary”, but they disagree over the details.  Both are seeking about a trillion dollars of spending cuts and about a trillion dollars of new “revenue”, but they don’t see eye to eye on how to get there.  But overall, they are both definitely playing in the same ballpark.  And those numbers certainly do sound impressive until you realize that they are talking about a time span of ten years.  Personally, I would love to see federal spending cut by a trillion dollars this year.  But that will never happen.  A trillion dollars over the course of a decade breaks down to about 100 billion dollars per year.  That still sounds like a lot of money until you put it up next to the trillion dollar deficits that we have been running for four years in a row.  Even if somehow those spending cuts turned out to be real (which they aren’t), they would still only put a very small dent in our yearly budget deficits.  Obama and Boehner both want to continue to have a gigantic federal government that showers people with government money, and both of them want to continue to pass much of the burden for paying for this gigantic government on to future generations.  And both of them want to continue to steal more than 100 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren in order to maintain the false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity that we are enjoying right now.  This is incredibly foolish and they are leading us down a path that will lead to national ruin.

Sadly, even the pathetically small “budget cut” and “new revenue” figures that they are floating around turn out to be quite hollow when you inspect them more closely.

For example, the “new revenue” figures that both Obama and Boehner are talking about rely on extremely unrealistic assumptions about U.S. economic growth.  In order to meet their revenue projections, the U.S. economy would need to grow significantly faster than it is right now and we would need to get through the entire decade without having a single recession.

What do you think the chance of that happening is?

But that is the way that things work in Washington D.C. – our politicians function in a world where it is assumed that everything will work out just perfectly in the future.

For example, if the figures put out at the beginning of the Bush administration were to be believed, we should be absolutely swimming in government surpluses by now.

That didn’t work out too well, did it?

The “spending cuts” are even more illusory.

Obama is projecting that we will save 130 billion dollars by manipulating the way that inflation is calculated for annual increases in Social Security benefits.

But our politicians are already pretending that there is hardly any inflation when any rational person can see that prices are soaring.

So can they really manipulate the numbers to make them look even smaller?

By doing so, they would be cheating elderly Americans out of 130 billion dollars.  But I guess this is more convenient for our politicians than going after real government waste.

Obama also plans to save $290 billion by having lower interest payments on U.S. government debt.

Try not to laugh.

The average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 2.534 percent at the end of November.  That is ridiculously low.  The only place it is going to go in future years is up.

Back in the year 2000, the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 6.638 percent.  If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rose back to that level, we would be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

So Obama’s projection that we are going to save 290 billion dollars over the next ten years by forcing interest rates on U.S. government debt even lower is insanely optimistic.  Only a delusional person would make such an assumption.

And most of the savings from the “projected spending cuts” that Obama and Boehner are proposing would not happen until later in the decade.

After all, they don’t want to “hurt the economy” right now.

In fact, Obama is actually proposing that we should increase spending by $80 billion this year so that we can encourage economic activity.

So don’t let anyone fool you with any nonsense about how Obama and Boehner are working on a plan that would get U.S. government finances in order.

No matter how their “negotiations” turn out, we will continue to run trillion dollars deficits year after year with no end in sight.

If Americans want a monstrous federal government that passes out government checks like candy, then they should pay for it.  Personally, I think that taxes are already way, way too high and that the government already brings in more than enough money.

If Americans don’t want to pay much higher taxes, then they should tell the government to quit spending money that we don’t have.

But all of this trying to have it both ways has got to stop.  We are destroying the future for our children and our grandchildren.  We have already run up 16 trillion dollars in debt and we can’t even seem to slow down our reckless debt binge.  If they get the chance, someday future generations will curse us for what we did to them.

The funny thing is that John Boehner was supposed to be a “conservative” that was going to do something about all of this debt.  But since John Boehner has been Speaker of the House, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation that has increased the size of our national debt by approximately $18,944 per household.

Thanks John.

Meanwhile, our economy continues to unravel, good jobs are becoming even more scarce, and poverty continues to explode.

For example, did you know that there are now more than one million homeless students in America?  Sadly, it’s true…

The number of homeless students in America topped one million for the first time last year as a result of the economic recession, a number that has risen 57 percent since 2007.

The US Department of Education found that of these 1,065,794 children, many lived in abandoned homes, cheap hotels, stations, church basements and hospitals. Some spent their time sleeping over at the houses of various friends whenever they could. Others fell victim to drugs and sexual abuse, in some cases trading sexual acts for food, clothing and shelter or selling illegal drugs.

Even in the midst of our debt-fueled prosperity, the number of Americans that are dependent on the government just continues to rise.

According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all Americans have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.

So how bad will things get when we eventually quit borrowing so much money and we start living within our means?

Nobody is looking forward to that day.  Certainly not our politicians.  They don’t want to be blamed for all of the painful adjustments that will happen once the party ends.

So they just keep borrowing and spending.  But at some point the music will stop and the house of cards will come crashing down.

It won’t happen this week or this month, but it will happen soon enough.

I hope that you are ready.

Obama And Boehner

The Debt Ceiling Deal From Hell

Is the debt ceiling deal supposed to be some sort of a cruel joke?  Is this what the American people have been waiting months and months for?  The “debt ceiling deal from hell” is a complete and total fraud.  Barack Obama will not need to worry about the debt ceiling again until after the 2012 election, and no “real” spending cuts will happen until after the 2012 election.  The way the political game in Washington D.C. is played today, if you don’t get something right now, you probably will never end up getting it.  The Republicans have traded a massive debt ceiling increase right now for the possibility of very skimpy budget cuts in the future.  Meanwhile, this deal establishes a new “Super Congress” that threatens to fundamentally alter our political system (and not in a good way).  The funny thing is that everyone is running around proclaiming that the Tea Party won this battle.  That is a complete and total lie.

So what about the $917 billion in “immediate” spending cuts that the Republicans are getting as part of this deal?

Well, they aren’t really spending cuts at all.  Rather, they are spending caps.  Basically what is happening is that future spending increases are being cancelled and our politicians are selling that to us as “spending cuts”.

What is even sadder is that the $917 billion is spread over ten years and the vast majority of the “cuts” are in the latter years.

For example, even if you consider these to be “spending cuts” (which they are not), the deal calls for only about $25 billion in “cuts” in 2012 and only about $47 billion in “cuts” in 2013.

25 billion dollars is far less than one percent of the federal budget, so needless to say these “cuts” are not very impressive at all.

Okay, so how about the second stage of the deal which will produce “spending cuts” of between 1.2 and 1.5 trillion dollars?

Well, yes, these would actually be spending cuts and they would be spread over 10 years.

Near the end of the year, the new “Super Congress” (more on that in a minute) will submit a proposal to Congress which could cut spending over the next 10 years by a total of up to 1.5 trillion dollars.

If the recommendations of the “Super Congress” are not implemented, then “automatic” spending cuts of $1.2 trillion will go into effect over the next 10 years.

However, there are some very important things to remember about these “spending cuts”.

First of all, none of these “automatic” spending cuts would even go into effect until 2013.  The face of American politics will be dramatically different by then, and there is absolutely nothing that makes these cuts binding on Congress.

As Gregg Easterbrook recently noted, Congress can cancel spending cuts at any time and for any reason….

By projecting the only tangible savings — which aren’t even specified, but are merely caps — into the future, the plan allows Congress to cancel them. In 2012 or any future year, Congress will say, “We can’t have caps this year because of the [INSERT ANY WORD CHOSEN AT RANDOM] crisis. We are postponing action till next year.” Rinse and repeat.

As I have written about so many times before, the U.S. national debt is completely and totally out of control.  This was supposed to be the moment when at least some members of Congress were finally going to get serious about our exploding debt.  Unfortunately, our politicians have sold us down the river once again.

Even if the best case scenario happens (which it never does) and Congress sticks to this deal for the full ten years (which is about as likely as hell freezing over), the “savings” that this deal would produce are quite pathetic as Peter Schiff recently explained….

The Congressional Budget Office currently projects that $9.5 trillion in new debt will have to be issued over the next 10 years. Even if all of the reductions proposed in the deal were to come to pass, which is highly unlikely, that would still leave $7.1 trillion in new debt accumulation by 2021. Our problems have not been solved by a long shot.

Keep in mind that Congress can change this deal whenever it wants.

So nobody should get excited about these “spending cuts”.  After all, when was the last time that “future spending cuts” actually materialized in Washington?

The reality is that neither political party seems to want to do much to cut government spending.

So the band will play on and the can will get kicked even farther down the road.

When Obama was inaugurated, the U.S. national debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08.

Today, it is $14,342,358,440,969.10.

But what this “debt ceiling deal” will do is it will give the congressional leadership of both parties much more power.

The new “Super Congress” that this deal establishes will be granted “extraordinary new powers” that regular members of Congress do not possess.

For example, The Huffington Post says that any new legislation produced by the “Super Congress” will not be able to be filibustered or amended….

Under the reported framework, legislation the new congressional committee writes would be fast-tracked through Congress and could not be filibustered or amended.

So who will be a part of the “Super Congress”?

The members will be chosen by the leadership of both parties.

So anyone that is not part of the “establishment” is not likely to be included.

The following is what U.S. Representative Ron Paul had to say about this new “Super Congress”….

“Nothing more than a way to disenfranchise the majority of Congress by denying them the chance for meaningful participation in the crucial areas of entitlement and tax reform. It cedes power to draft legislation to a special commission, hand-picked by the House and Senate leadership.”

It is this new “Super Congress” that will decide what will be in the package of “spending cuts” that will be voted on by the end of the year.

Regular members of Congress will be frozen out of the process.

On December 23rd, Congress will be required to vote up or down on the spending cuts proposed by the “Super Congress”.  Regular members of Congress will not be allowed to amend the legislation in any way, and no filibusters will be permitted.

Does that sound very “American” to you?

The more that one examines this “debt ceiling deal”, the worse it looks.

Meanwhile, many Democrats are running around and acting as if their lunch money was just stolen.

For example, the following is what Politico is reporting that U.S. Representative Mike Doyle said about this deal….

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”

Democratic congressman Emanuel Cleaver was even more dramatic when he proclaimed that this deal “looks like a Satan sandwich“.

Well, this deal is a total nightmare, but not for the reasons that Cleaver is suggesting.

This deal opens the door for more rampant deficit spending, and nearly all of the “spending cuts” are put off until after the 2012 election.

Basically, the Republicans got taken out behind the woodshed and beaten to a pulp on this one.  Any Republican that is trying to proclaim that the debt ceiling deal is a “great victory” is a complete moron.

But in the end, it really does not matter which political party gets a “victory” out of all this.  What matters is that our federal government is still steamrolling toward a date with financial oblivion.

If this is the best that our politicians can come up with, we are absolutely doomed.

 

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