As the debate over the debt ceiling heats up, and as time ticks down, heroes and villains are emerging. Of course, who they are depends on who is asked, but for Tea Party activists, perhaps the greatest disappointment has been House Speaker John Boehner.

Fox News reports on the progress of Boehner’s bill:

Boehner revised his plan after congressional budget analysts said it would save $850 billion over the next decade instead of the $1.2 trillion advertised. The latest figures put the savings above $900 billion, more than the bill's proposed debt limit increase. The House is expected to vote on the revised plan Thursday.

The federal government just can’t stay out of agriculture. From subsidy programs that decide winners and losers in the markets by favoring corporate farms over family farms to ethanol rules that sacrifice food for fuel to laws that give undue influence and power to a select few pesticide and seed producers, Washington has maintained a stranglehold over farming that has forever altered the industry’s competitive landscape and doomed consumers to pay ever-higher prices at the grocery store.

It wants even more power. Now, another assault comes from the Capitol and the unlikeliest of agencies: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an arm of the Department of Transportation. The DOT/FMCSA has new standards currently in the public comment period that, were they to become law, would override states’ rights — and the rights of the individual farmer — and have a detrimental impact on how business is done.

Watching DC’s spendthrifts and Keynesians try to resolve the nation’s catastrophic debt is like watching witch doctors try to cure cancer: We know the patient’s gonna die, and painfully, no matter how many goats they sacrifice.

Nonetheless, Leviathan’s lackeys in the media keep leading more goats to the altar. Catch this article from the Associated Press, “States eye fee increases as alternative to taxes.” Rather than asking why government at any level should license us to go about our daily lives or charge us an additional fee for using what our taxes supposedly subsidize, AP’s propaganda inquires instead whether jacking those fees is an acceptable substitute for raising taxes.


Here's what President Barack Obama said about our high rate of unemployment in an interview with NBC's Ann Curry: "The other thing that happened, though — and this goes to the point you were just making — is there are some structural issues with our economy, where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," adding that "you see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate." The president's statements suggest that he sees labor-saving technological innovation as a contributor to today's high rate of unemployment. That's unmitigated nonsense. Let's see whether technological innovation causes unemployment.

In 1790, farmers were 90 percent, out of a population of nearly 3 million, of the U.S. labor force. By 1900, only about 41 percent of our labor force was employed in agriculture. By 2008, fewer than 3 percent of Americans were employed in agriculture. Through labor-saving technological advances and machinery, our farmers are the world's most productive. As a result, Americans are better off.

In her essay "For the New Intellectual," Ayn Rand warned that the United States would go bankrupt — financially and morally — if we allowed intellectuals and political leaders to define commercial pursuits as inferior to noncommercial pursuits, if we permitted the productive and the creators of wealth to be defined as looters, and if we refused to see the unrestricted growth of government power as a threat to freedom. To avoid national bankruptcy, Rand called for an intellectual defense of business and capitalism, a defense of productivity, success, individualism and wealth. She said we are fed instead a steady diet of "the whining injunctions that we must love everything, except virtue, and forgive everything, except greatness."

Said Austrian economist and social philosopher Ludwig von Mises, "Under capitalism, the common man enjoys amenities which in ages gone by were unknown and therefore inaccessible even to the richest people."

The latest poll by the Washington Post-ABC News, published last week, provided one more indication of President Obama’s increasing difficulties in generating support for his reelection campaign. When 1,001 people were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?” almost half responded negatively, with one-third strongly disapproving, up from 24 percent just two months earlier.

And when they were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy?” nearly six in 10 disapproved, with more than four in 10 strongly disapproving. When asked how he was handling the federal budget deficit, 60 percent disapproved, an increase of eight percentage points since January.

One of many creepy features of the Obama administration is the dearth of people in its ranks who have real-world commercial business experience. This might help account for the rise of real-estate mogul Donald Trump to become, briefly, the front-runner (according to polls of Republican voters in April) in the effort to unseat Obama. After using his high-profile presidential bid to secure a new two-year contract from NBC for his Celebrity Apprentice show (for which he will personally pocket, reportedly, $65 million per year), Trump announced that he was dropping the White House run to pursue his real passion: business. However, he has continued his regular appearances on Fox news, criticizing President Obama and threatening to run as an independent candidate, if the Republicans nominate a “loser.”

Many conservative-leaning Republicans, it appears, continue to be held in thrall to “The Donald.” Trump, after all, is a businessman, they reason, and surely we need someone like that in the White House, especially given the gross ignorance of business that is replete in the Obama administration.
 

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.

Claiming that presidential candidate Ron Paul leads the “economic suicide wing” of the Republican Party, Brent Budowsky, writing for The Hill, says that Paul is the “worst possible role model” for Republicans because he suggested that a default by the government “would be OK.” Budowsky calls Paul a “Banana Republican,” claiming that Paul is taking an extremist position, adding that keeping the debt ceiling in place and putting the government on a diet would “literally crash American and global markets … that would do grave damage to our nation.”

The extreme hard-line attitude of many Republicans [including Paul] has significantly raised the prospects for a national default and rating agency downgrades that would sweep across the nation and many states, causing an economic cataclysm and public outrage unlike anything ever seen in the history of the republic.

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.
 

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