When public debt abounds, politicians look to slippery ways to keep buying votes with tax dollars while reassuring skittish markets that everything is okay. America, of course, faces a deficit showdown driven, largely, by the explosion in federal expenditures during the reign of Obama. The glut of mandated money (currency backed by the “full faith and credit of the United States” — and nothing else) has produced predictable economic behavior.
People invest in what they believe will be safe. Real estate, historically, has been a good investment for most Americans. But when the federal government pushes and bribes big lenders to make imprudent loans, and the predictable avalanche of defaults occurs, then an artificial glut of housing drives down the market price and strips hard-working families of the investment that had been the principal economic asset of the family.
At last Friday’s press conference, President Obama reviewed the status of talks with Republicans over the debt ceiling and reiterated his determination to “get our fiscal house in order.” He added:
"We have a unique opportunity to do something big. We have a chance to stabilize America’s finances for a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years, if we’re willing to seize the moment."
"Now, what that would require would be some shared sacrifice and a balanced approach that says we’re going to make significant cuts in domestic spending. And I have already said I am willing to take down domestic spending to the lowest percentage of our overall economy since Dwight Eisenhower.”(emphasis added)
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest labor unions in the country, is reported to have released a 70-page manual, the "Contract Campaign Manual" on "Pressuring the Employer," which encourages union members to use coercion and scare tactics to intimidate managers and corporate authority figures in the private sector.
According to Vincent Vernuccio of the Washington Times, the manual explains how "outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds." Further, the manual blatantly encourages members to engage in unlawful activities, as it suggests, "Union members sometimes [should] act in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King and Mohatma Gandhi and disobey laws which are used to enforce injustice against working people."
JBS CEO Art Thompson's topic this week — We Have Met the Enemy and it is You; Yes, you are to blame for the economic mess we are in.
Just a month ago one of the most accurate economic forecasters on the planet looked at the economy and concluded that another recession is 99 percent certain.
David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff, a Canadian private money management firm, noted at the time that consumers were still trying to reduce their debt load, which reduces their ability to purchase consumer goods and services. That continued reduction in demand is being felt all across the economy with no end in sight:
We still have this credit contraction shock as it pertains to the broad consumer sector…. Recession risks are as acute as they were a year ago, but with far less certainty that the Fed and Congress have another rabbit to pull out of the hat.
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.
Before I get into the main topic today, let me say by way of introduction: I hope every single U.S. Representative and Senator who votes to raise the U.S. debt limit has to find a new job after the next election.
I don’t care what kind of pressure he or she faces as a member of Congress; I don’t care how many more lies the Obama administration and its henchmen tell; I don’t care how spineless and weak-kneed the Republican leadership becomes. For the November 2012 elections, I propose the simplest test in U.S. history: If you vote to burden my children and my children’s children with more debt, then I want you out of office. Period.
Despite being swept into the office of Speaker of the House atop a wave of newly elected Republican Congressmen, John Boehner (R-Ohio) may be sensing that, more often than not, this wave is crashing in on him and threatening to drown his little empire.
Quite a different feeling from the day when 87 Republicans worn sworn in as Congressmen for the first time in 2011 and John Boehner rejoiced to welcome this freshman class of colleagues. On that heady day Boehner rightly reckoned that he would soon be handed the Speaker’s gavel and, with it, control of the House of Representatives and of the policy agenda of the Congress specifically and the federal government generally.
The debt “crisis” has Speaker Boehner wondering if the troops have received the marching orders, however.
Donald Trump, master of the deal, is right. The Republicans are stupid, not only as politicians but also as political psychologists. He criticized Paul Ryan for bringing up the subject of Medicare reform that the Democrats could use to turn the elderly against the Republicans. Their video of grandma being shoved over the cliff by Republicans is a stark indication of how the Dems will fight to win four more years for Obama. As the discussions over increasing the debt limit go on, the Democrats are portraying themselves as the more flexible party in the negotiations. They are willing to cut “cherished programs” such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, provided Republicans agree to some increases in revenue. They want the Republicans to agree to raise taxes and cut spending on programs that the elderly hold sacred. A perfect recipe for Republican defeat in November 2012. Thursday’s meeting was supposed to focus on spending cuts in the two health care programs and on new revenue. And only stupid Republicans would attend such a meeting.
Congressman Ron Paul has joined the presidential race again, but with a difference: This time around, there’s no House seat to return to as a consolation prize. The Texas congressman, long known for holding the line on the U.S. Constitution, limited government, and sound economics, has announced his retirement from the House of Representatives, regardless of the outcome of his latest bid for the White House.
Perhaps it’s an early indicator of how seriously Ron Paul is taking his presidential campaign this time around that he has already released a fireball of a campaign TV ad, focusing squarely on the debt limit debate and holding fellow lawmakers in both parties accountable for the budgetary mess we’re in. Not that Ron Paul didn’t take his 2008 run seriously — he ended up astonishing Beltway insiders for his ability to raise funds and for the innovative track his campaign took. But one sensed four years ago that Ron Paul himself was a bit surprised at how his campaign took off, fueled as much by the enthusiasm and creativity of his support base as by Ron Paul’s own initiative.