SEA ISLE, N.J. — I should be worrying about how the politicians are killing the nation financially, but that's on the back burner today because the 25th annual Red, White and Blueberry Festival is right up the road and they're estimating that 10,000 of us will show up and eat a million blueberries.
That works out to just 100 blueberries each -- a piece of cake. Or a nice stack of blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup and a side of blueberry sausages.
The party is in Hammonton, N.J., the "Blueberry Capital of the World." What lobsters are to Maine, what wings are to Buffalo, that's what blueberries are to Hammonton, home to sandy soil and dozens of blueberry farms.
The one unmistakable conclusion that can be drawn from Monday's dueling press statements on the debt limit battle is that President Barack Obama is losing the argument for endless deficit spending. But a second conclusion is equally important. House Speaker John Boehner, whom Obama accused of trying to sell out the fiscally responsible Tea Party faction of his Republican party, is losing as well.
President Obama bemoaned in his July 25 address to the nation that "a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a different approach — a cuts-only approach." That was a clear reference to the Tea Party movement. And because the U.S. Constitution allows the House to stop any legislation, Obama's only remaining strategy is to appeal to the American people. "So I’m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your member of Congress know. If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message."
The big news, as far as the media are concerned, is the political game of debt-ceiling chicken that is being played by Democrats and Republicans in Washington. But, however much the media are focused on what is happening inside the Beltway, there is a whole country outside the Beltway — and the time is long overdue to start thinking about what is best for the rest of the country, not just for right now but for the long haul.
However the current debt-ceiling crisis turns out, the current economic turmoil in financial markets around the world should cause some serious thoughts about the long run, and about the whole idea of a national debt-ceiling.
Some people may have been shocked when the credit-rating firm Moody's recently suggested that the debt-ceiling law be repealed, in order to avoid fiscal crises which can throw world financial markets into turmoil that can injure countries around the world.
According to President Barack Obama, Franklin D. Roosevelt, long regarded as a free-spending President, was actually “fiscally conservative.” What’s more, said Obama, Roosevelt’s “austerity” hampered the economic recovery being wrought by the New Deal, leading to a downturn in 1937 — a warning to leaders who think now is the time to begin slashing federal spending.
Obama offered this analysis of FDR’s alleged fiscal conservatism during the course of a July 22 town hall meeting at the University of Maryland, reports CNSNews.com. Said the President: “FDR comes in, he tries all these things with the New Deal; but FDR, contrary to myth, was pretty fiscally conservative.”
According to no less a source than Forbes magazine, a U.S. default is no longer a question of if. It’s when. In a July 23 article, Forbes’ Addison Wiggin warned readers not to get caught holding U.S. dollars when the United States government defaults — again.
Judging from President Obama’s lack of knowledge of basic free-market economics, I suggest that he invite Professor Walter E. Williams and author Thomas Sowell, two of America’s most eminent economists, to the White House to teach the President a course in basic economics — not the economics of Karl Marx, Nicolai Lenin, or Saul Alinsky, but the economics of Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, Jean-Baptiste Say, Milton Friedman, Ludwig Von Mises, and Friedrich Von Hayek, on which our free society and capitalist system are built. And since both Williams and Sowell are black Americans, he will see that free-market economics is not racially biased toward whites. Indeed, he will discover that two and two are four no matter what color you are.
That our President is economically illiterate can be proven by his strange assertion that the way to increase jobs is by raising taxes. Yes, higher taxes will create jobs but only in government. But government jobs do not create wealth, they consume it. The more money you give government, the more money government has to spend and the bigger government becomes. By taking more money out of the private sector, fewer jobs will be created by private business. None of this is so terribly difficult to understand.
A "super-Congress" is being proposed by Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. The left-wing Huffington Post summarizes the plan — which they claim is also supported by Republican House Speaker John Boehner — this way:
"Legislation approved by the Super Congress — which some on Capitol Hill are calling the 'super committee' — would then be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it couldn't be amended by simple, regular lawmakers, who'd have the ability only to cast an up or down vote. With the weight of both leaderships behind it, a product originated by the Super Congress would have a strong chance of moving through the little Congress and quickly becoming law."
The National Governors Association Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 15-17, was a smashing success — at least from the viewpoint of China's Communist Party officials and its state-controlled mega-corporations. A major component of this year's annual NGA confab was the first-ever U.S.-China Governors Forum, which brought the U.S. governors together with four of their Chinese counterparts, the governors of Zhejiang, Anhui, Yunnan, and Qinghai provinces. Leading the official Chinese delegation was Zhao Hongzhu, Communist Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province.
Secretary Hongzhu told China Daily that the summit exchange was "direct, practical and effective." According to China Daily, billions of dollars in trade deals were signed:
When Standard and Poor’s moved up their timeframe for a downgrade on U.S. sovereign debt from three to five years to just 90 days, Dave Beers, Director of the Sovereign Debt Division explained that the rating of U.S. debt is not on the verge of falling because the debt ceiling debate in Congress hasn't been resolved:
The debt ceiling is not the central preoccupation that we have. We put the United States on credit watch because we’re growing less certain that this political debate can be resolved. This was not merely about the debt ceiling.
The problem with the U.S. is that there is no strategy. There is a debate about what the strategy would be. But there’s nothing close to a consensus.
With the landing last week of America’s last space shuttle, the nation stands at a critical point in the history of space exploration. For some, the last flight of Atlantis — a mission officially designated as STS-135, was “bittersweet,” as one writer termed it. The landing of Atlantis may presage a difficult era in the “Space Age,” or it may herald the beginning of the end of the government’s virtual monopoly on mankind’s exploration of the heavens.
As reported previously for The New American, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has been marked by significant controversy regarding both the future of his agency, and the future of manned space flight. The Obama administration quickly killed George Bush’s “Constellation” program, which had set a return to the Moon and an eventual mission to Mars as part of U.S. space policy. However, NASA’s new, Obama-era goals quickly put the Moon and Mars back on the timetable — but pushed them farther away. Meanwhile, NASA’s budget remains fundamentally stable, despite the end of a shuttle program which had previously consumed a substantial portion of the budget. As Mike Wall recently wrote in an article for Space.com: