Friday, August 17, 2012

Paul Ryan and Hypocrisy: Yahoo News

After repeated denials, Paul Ryan has admitted he requested stimulus cash even after sharply criticizing the program.
As recently as Wednesday in Ohio, Mitt Romney's running mate told ABC's Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO, he did not.
"I never asked for stimulus," Ryan said. "I don't recall… so I really can't comment on it. I opposed the stimulus because it doesn't work, it didn't work."
Two years ago, during an interview on WBZ's NewsRadio he was asked by a caller if he "accepted any money" into his district. Ryan said he did not.
"I'm not one [of those] people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money. I did not request any stimulus money," the congressman answered.
But as we've now learned, Ryan did write letters. He did request stimulus funds.
"The Olympics may be over but Paul Ryan could have gotten a gold medal in hypocrisy," a senior administration official told ABC's Jake Tapper. "As someone who spends all day every day railing against government spending, but then secretly seeks millions in funds for pet projects, he is as Washington as it gets."
In 2009, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking for stimulus money to cover costs on two energy conservation projects in his home state of Wisconsin. In the letter, Ryan said the funds would help create jobs and reduce "energy consumption" in the state. At least one of the companies received the requested cash.
The letters were first obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act back in early 2010. The Boston Globe turned them up for the first time during this campaign season Wednesday. At that point, a Ryan aide referred ABC News back to what a Ryan spokesman said when the letters first went public.
"If Congressman Ryan is asked to help a Wisconsin entity applying for existing Federal grant funds, he does not believe flawed policy should get in the way of doing his job and providing a legitimate constituent service to his employers," the spokesman told the Milwaukee (Wisc.) Journal Sentinel.
Thursday, Ryan responded to the questions himself.
"After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled," Ryan said in a statement. "This is why I didn't recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that.
"Regardless, it's clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fiscal Conservatives Food for Thought...

There is no question that entitlements are part of the problem with government spending.  One would also have to cite continued military commitments as well.  However, tax cuts are rarely seen as part of the problem.  However, some tax cuts are detrimental to the National Debt.  Here is an article that should shed a new ray of light on spending during the Obama Administration.
It’s enough to make even the most ardent Obama cynic scratch his head in confusion.
Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Who knew?
Check out the chart –

So, how have the Republicans managed to persuade Americans to buy into the whole “Obama as big spender” narrative?
It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% —going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I’ll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives…but you would be wrong.
The first year of any incoming president term is saddled—for better or for worse—with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House. Indeed, not only was the 2009 budget the property of George W. Bush—and passed by the 2008 Congress—it was in effect four months before Barack Obama took the oath of office.
Accordingly, the first budget that can be blamed on our current president began in 2010 with the budgets running through and including including fiscal year 2013 standing as charges on the Obama account, even if a President Willard M. Romney takes over the office on January 202013.
So, how do the actual Obama annual budgets look?
Courtesy of Marketwatch-
  • In fiscal 2010 (the first Obama budget) spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.
  •  In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.
  • In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.
  • Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion. Read the CBO’s latest budget outlook.
No doubt, many will wish to give the credit to the efforts of the GOP controlled House of Representatives. That’s fine if that’s what works for you.
However, you don’t get to have it both ways. Credit whom you will, but if you are truly interested in a fair analysis of the Obama years to date—at least when it comes to spending—you’re going to have to acknowledge that under the Obama watch, even President Reagan would have to give our current president a thumbs up when it comes to his record for stretching a dollar.

Of course, the Heritage Foundation is having none of it, attempting to counter the actual numbers by pretending that the spending initiated by the Bush Administration is the fault of Obama. As I understand the argument Heritage is putting forth —and I have provided the link to the Heritage rebuttal so you can decide for yourself—Marketwatch, in using the baseline that Obama inherited, is making it too easy on the President.
But then, with the Heritage Foundation being the creator of the individual mandate concept in healthcare  only to rebut the same when it was no longer politically convenient, I’m not quite sure why anyone believes much of anything they have to say any longer. With their history of reversing course for convenience, I can’t help but wonder, should they find themselves reviewing the spending record of a President Romney four years from today, whether they might be tempted to use the Obama numbers as the baseline for such a new Administration.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Eye Off the Ball... Unique Political Ads.

As we gear up to be bombarded by political ads for the Presidency, it is important to note that our eyes are taken off the ball.  Sure, we can get behind a candidate and believe they truly represent our political views.  But in reality, most Americans agree with neither party completely.  Others look at Presidential candidates and have decided to vote for the lesser of two evils... in essence they choose the candidate who they think to do the least amount of damage to our country.

Interestingly enough, a Presidential election takes our eye off the ball.  The true power of democracy lies in the legislative branch of government.  Article I Section I of the U.S. Constitution describes powers vested in Congress.  It should be noted that Congress is in charge of spending.  Congress declares wars.  Congress sets tax policies. And, it is Congress that passes laws.  The Executive Branch directs Congress.  But Congress has the power to vote yes, no, or completely ignore a President's wishes.

One of biggest issues facing D.D. right now is the demographics of people who are in power.  The vast majority of leadership is of the Baby Boom generation.  This generation is characterized as revolutionary.  When there are extremists of both groups in power... nothing big is accomplished.  Nothing except the push of radical agendas.  It is a sad state of affairs when political moderates like Steve LaTourette leave Congress.  He described the political atmosphere of Congress, and a radical agenda of his own party as motivating factors of an early retirement.

Our country has been based on the art of compromise.  Actually, compromise is the foundation of it.  Our Constitution had a Great Compromise, a Three-Fifths Compromise, and even a compromise between Federalists and Anti-Federalists over ratification.  Democracies fail when the art of compromise is lost.  One needs no other example that the American Civil War.

Interesting Interactive Political Ad.  (Click the Link)  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Presidential Election Promises More of the Same...

Once again, Ohio is center stage of another Presidential Election.  Most of us have had our minds made up long ago as to the candidate we will support.  Neither candidate is much to get excited about.  This is about as exciting as Bush v. Kerry.  That wasn't exciting to anyone!  Still though, there is approximately 5% of the state's population that are "undecided".  Hundreds of millions of dollars will be dumped in Ohio trying to convince us that Obama deserves another four years, or that Romney really cares about people who do not contribute to the RNC.  Then of course we would be remiss if we didn't mention the PAC monies that are flowing into the state as well.  National organizations believe they know what's good for Ohio.  They go to great lengths to smear the other candidate.  Indeed, big money will rule the day.  U.S.S.C. Citizens United will prove to be one of the biggest blunders in democratic history.  In fact, big money can very well destroy what it hoped to save.  Big money will rule the airwaves...  But I wanted to remind readers that Ohioans are a fickle lot.  And at the end of the day, that will make up their own mind.  Here is a nice read by Robert Reich.  He always has so intelligent insight:

The Terrible Economy and the Anti-Election of 2012

SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2012
The worst economy since the Great Depression and you might think at least one of the candidates would come up with a few big ideas for how to get us out of it.
But you’d be wrong. Neither candidate wants to take any chances by offering any large, serious proposals. Both are banking instead on negative campaigns that convince voters the other guy would be worse.
President Obama has apparently decided against advancing any bold ideas for what he’d do in the second term, even if he has a Congress that would cooperate with him. 
He’s sticking to a worn script that says George W. Bush caused the lousy economy, congressional Republicans have opposed everything he’s wanted to do to boost it, it’s slowly on the mend anyway, the Bush tax cuts shouldn’t be extended for the rich, and we shouldn’t take a chance electing Romney.
Yet the public wants bigger ideas from the President, and wants to know what he’ll do in his second term to get us out of this mess. A New York Times-CBS News poll released last week showed that a majority of voters believe the president “can do a lot about” the economy. That’s a double-digit jump from the fall of 2011.
The President could propose a new WPA, modeled after the Depression-era jobs program that hired hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, or a new Civilian Conservation Corps.
He could suggest permanently exempting the first $25,000 of income from payroll taxes, and making up the lost revenues by eliminating the ceiling on income subject to it. He could propose resurrecting the Glass-Steagall Act and breaking up the big banks, so Wall Street doesn’t cause another financial collapse.
But you won’t hear any of this, or anything else of this magnitude, because the White House doesn’t want to take any risks. Polls give Obama a slight edge in the critical eight or so battleground states, so, the thinking goes in the Obama camp, why say anything that might give Romney and the GOP a target?
Besides, polls also show Romney isn’t well-liked by the electorate.
So Obama has decided to campaign as the anti-Romney.
Mitt Romney is playing it even more cautiously. His economic plan is really a non-plan: more tax cuts for the rich, undefined spending cuts, and no details about how he’d bring down the budget deficit. No presidential candidate since Herbert Hoover in 1928 has been more vague about what he’d do on the critical issues facing the nation.
Romney’s advisors assume Obama can’t possibly be reelected with the economy this bad. Just 44 percent of registered voters in a Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this month approve of the job the president is doing on the economy, while 54 percent disapprove. Even more encouraging for Romney is that 41 percent of those polled “strongly” disapproved of Obama’s economic performance, while just 21 percent “strongly” approved — an enthusiasm gap of major proportion.
So Romney’s advisors have concluded that all Romney has to do between now and Election Day is avoid a mistake that might give Obama and the Democrats something to shoot at.
Romney has decided to campaign as the anti-Obama.
The two anti-the-other-guy strategies fit with a ton of negative advertising that’s just begun but will reach mammoth proportions after Labor Day. Much of it will be financed by super-PACs and by political fronts already taking in hundreds of millions of dollars in secret donations. Romney’s camp hopes to out-negative Obama by almost two to one.
So whatever happens on Election Day, the next president will have to contend with two handicaps. The public won’t have endorsed any new ideas or bold plans, which means he won’t have a clear mandate to do anything on the economy.
The only thing the public will have decided is it fears and distrusts the other guy more. Which means the winner will also be burdened by almost half the electorate thinking he’s a scoundrel or worse.
The worst economy since the Great Depression, but we’re in an anti-election that will make it harder for the next occupant of the oval office to do a thing about it.