Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Here's To The Late Great American Economy

There seems to be a slowly-building movement in Congress to stop the Obamanomics juggernaut it its tracks. Except for a few smiley face RINOs, Republicans have ranged from total opposition to the Obama money-printing/money-burning plans to reasoned disagreement and major modification. As of this morning the cracks within the Democratic wall continue to spread. At long last, there's hope that there will be a lot less change.

TARP: The Wall Street Journal assessed the looming government debt for TARP, the earliest of the massive government programs, to be as much as $23.7 trillion. Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky, charged with supervising the $700 billion financial sector bailout said the Treasury Department isn't disclosing enough information about how taxpayer money is being spent." Well, there's news. Barofsky said that all programs specifically designed to "save corporations, prop up banks and insurance companies, provide make-work jobs for government employees, and otherwise 'stimulate' the economy, including moneys simply sitting unused," would reach that near $24 trillion level.

Although the TARP provisions can be revised downward to reduce the total indebtedness, the fact is that the main damage has already been done, and the Obama administration is claiming that it isn't enough. The stimulus that doesn't stimulate needs to be made bigger, say the Obamacrats. The money-printers in the White House have begun to sound like high school cheerleaders--do it again, do it again, harder, harder. The quarterback-sneak play we just used three times cost us a negative 85 yards, so let's do it again, only this time with greater feeling!

Barofsky went on to say "It is a scheme to shift toxic assets and that there are 'fundamental vulnerabilities' relating to conflicts of interest and collusion, transparency, performance measures and anti-money laundering." The Treasury Department has essentially been silent about the criticisms, and hasn't responded directly to inquiries from the Journal, The Financial Times and CBS News, except to deny that there is any disagreement that doesn't revolve around certain financial accounting procedures.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Cap and trade and various schemes to play God and regulate the weather would cost American taxpayers dearly. It may cost some politicians dearly as well. Despite a squeak-through in the House, the Senate has not rolled over and played dead for the administration. Many House Democrats along with certain turncoat Republicans have already been targeted by concerned organizations for public humiliation in the media and defeat at the polls. The groups are calling the various bills and proposals out for what they really are. The National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted several freshman Democrats for supporting "a giant energy tax." Roll Call calls climate change the "ticking political time bomb on the Senate's agenda this fall, and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has the timer set to go off in late September." The globaloney climate change enthusiasts are hoping the health care debate will continue to cover up the deep divisions within the Democratic Party over how to approach global warming. To add to their woes, there seems to be no way to appeal to Republicans short of abandoning the whole project entirely. How much will these programs cost us in trillions of dollars? Unknown as yet, but Al Gore and the cap and trade snake-oil salesmen are counting on it costing the taxpayers almost as much as the profit they will make from their gargantuan scam. Speaking of which, there is always:

HEALTH CARE: No matter how sick the economy, the Obamacrats insist that each of us is even sicker. Although the Republic and its citizens have survived since 1789 without a complete government takeover of all things medical, the administration has decided that it's a crisis (yeah, one of those) which has become so horrific that it must be resolved immediately, forthwith, without delay, and before the Congressional August recess. Damn the torpedoes (and the economy and personal choice), full speed ahead! The administration has determined the actual cost of its various plans to be, well, who the hell knows? But it will be a lot, trust us. Still, in the long run, it will all be worth it since we will have universal access to doctors and hospitals--just like Cuba.

Health care is an issue which must be addressed, as demonstrated by the excellent and thorough examination being conducted here at Commentarama by my associate Andrew Price. But it is not a crisis which requires hocking our economic future or our physical well-being for the sake of rushing to judgment simply to satisfy a President's monumental ego. There is no simple solution, and the current proposals are disastrous. How carefully has the administration thought this out? See above ($23.7 trillion, with negligible results).

HOW FARES THE REPUBLIC? The public has been a bit under the weather lately (pun intended), but it seems to be coming out of its coma. There are major rumblings of dissatisfaction with both the administration and Congress popping up all over. TARP revision will have to wait, but it is unlikely that the public will countenance even the suggestion of another bailout package despite Obama's insistence that it should. Polls continue to show downward trends in the numbers of people who support the climate change junk science and the cap and trade scheme. Dissatisfaction is moving quickly upwards with Congressional and Presidential performance. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows Mitt Romney (a potential Republican candidate) in a virtual tie with Barack Obama (an incumbent President) for the nation's highest office. That tends to indicate that Obama's popularity is more apparent than real.

As for health care, Obama has stated as recently as Tuesday morning that there is good progress for passing a bill before his stated deadline of the August recess. But that doesn't seem to fit the facts. His first and biggest problem is his "no tax increase for those earning under $250,000" pledge. Ignoring the complete disingenuousness of that pledge, the "eat the rich" philosophy is wearing thin with the public very quickly. Most recognize that "the rich" includes almost every small business owner who is struggling to make ends meet and keep his or her business from going under. Anybody remember "read my lips--no new taxes?" It is becoming increasingly close to impossible for Obama to hide the immense taxes he is imposing without actually calling them taxes. And on the issue of health care, nobody with an IQ above room temperature believes that the current administration/Congressional proposals can be accomplished without substantial increases in taxes. Even Obama's own top people have been called in, not to discuss how to avoid new and crippling taxes, but how to raise them.

POLITICAL OUTLOOK FOR HEALTH CARE: Two final notes on health care proposals in their present form. First, Roll Call reports that Democrats in the Senate have "determined that the political landscape of health care reform, and their options for bringing up a comprehensive bill [before the August recess] appear to be narrowing with the gradual realization no matter what they do, they're probably going to need 60 votes to pass it." Even with the seating of the joker Democrat Al Franken in the Senate, the number of hostile Democrats combined with even more hostile Republicans makes that less likely by the hour." As AP reports "Backup reconciliation plans could become mired in the same 60 vote problem they currently face on cap and trade, as liberals, centrists and a handful of Republicans battle it out over the direction of a final Senate bill.

Second, the Washington Post reports while the President's "overall rating remains high at 59%, since April, approval of Obama's handling of health care has dropped from 57% to 49%, with disapproval rising from 29% to 44%." The Post goes on to say that the administration is trying a tack which may backfire: "The White House has launched a new phase of its strategy designed to dramatically increase public pressure on Congress: all Obama, all the time." And finally, even the Obama-obsessed New York Times reports on its front page that the nation's governors "Democrats as well as Republicans, voiced deep concern Sunday about the shape of the health care bill emerging from Congress, fearing that the federal government is about to hand them expensive new Medicaid obligations without providing the money to pay for them. There was bipartisan animosity voiced against the Obama administration's plan."

It's time for Congress to slow down, take a deep breath, think before acting, and read before passing chaotic legislation. And it's time for Congress to start asking the big question that the public is increasingly asking: "What's the big hurry?"


patti said...

the big hurry is that barry and crew know we are on to them. time is of the essence for them to get 'er done. it's now or never.

just hoping and praying that they are stymied at every turn.

Unknown said...

Patti: And that is indeed the answer to the rhetorical question. It's like the crooked used car salesman who says "Trust me--you don't have to read the contract--just sign here." The appropriate answer to that is "Hold it. I'm not signing anything I haven't read."

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, nice article, very good summation of the quagmire our President has gotten himself into.

The Republicans are definitely starting to get their act together and it's showing. Look how PelosiCare had to be withdrawn and card check died a silent, unnoticed death, and CapNTax has been declared dead by several key senators.

Now the Republicans just need to outline their vision for where they want the country to head -- nothing too detailed, but a nice, clear vision of what they stand for in principle.

CrisD said...

Deeply appreciate this report.

The fog of war abounds.

DCAlleyKat said...

LawHawk: great job!

Time for the Republicans to get up to speed on the party platform. And get their people out there on the frontlines! They need to cover offense, defense, and all points in between! Americans have rallied, time for some real leaders to emerge. No more spending, no more taxes, no more passing bills you haven't read, time for real hope and change!

BTW: why has there been virtually no discussion on how much of the health care situation is due to illegal aliens?

StanH said...

Great summation Lawhawk on the cluster that is the Obamanation, he is being exposed for the phony that he is. Andrew’s series on healthcare has been informative with solutions that could actually work, …therefore it mustn’t done. All the things that Barry and his minions are doing amount to nothing but a power grab. They’ve forgotten about one thing, the American people, and we’re pushing back like I’ve never seen, right-on America.

Unknown said...

Andrew: The signs of discontent are indeed popping up faster than Obama can play whack-a-mole. As for the Republican vision, I strongly suggest that all Republicans, starting with Michael Steele, start reading your columns on the revitalization of the party.

Unknown said...

DCAlleyKat: It is time for the Republicans to get off their duffs and start going on a very public and unified attack. As for the illegal alien issue, I have no idea why the party would ignore such an important part of the whole determination of the methods and costs involved in revising health care bills. My best guess is that they are once again worrying about losing a constituency that they will never get anyway. The Hispanic vote is not monolithic, and those who support illegal immigration are never going to vote for a Republican anyway. I have many Hispanic friends and two Mexican-descended sons-in-law, all of whom are aware of the problem, and support exclusion of illegals from the phony "uninsured" counts as well as from any future health care bill.

Unknown said...

CrisD: Thank you for your comment, and this is, as Jimmy Carter would say, "the moral equivalent of war."

StanH: The problem with the liberals is that they are aware of the American public, they just choose to ignore them because they firmly believe they know what's best for the public and are going to give it to them whether they want it or not. Well, we don't want it, and they ignore the will of the people at their own peril. The backlash has only just begun.

Writer X said...

True leadership shines when things are bad. Now that the tide has turned for the President, all we're seeing is a crybaby throwing temper tantrums. So much for change. Can you imagine what he'd be like if we really needed him to be Presidential? Tonight's press conference ought to be interesting.

Unknown said...

WriterX: I know exactly what you mean. Ten out of ten days in a row, there's the health care messiah, boo-hooing that he's doing everything he can, and wondering why Congress doesn't just do what he asks. It's great fun watching him dissemble. I'm looking forward to his first true temper tantrum. He'll try to sound like Harry Truman, but he'll come off sounding like Eleanor Roosevelt (except she was prettier).

Writer X said...

Prettier and way tougher, LawHawk. :-)

Anonymous said...

BHO is more desperate every day.

Unknown said...

WriterX: I always thought the dear Elaanor looked a lot like that siren of the sea--the dugong. My favorite faux speech of hers was "If you don't pitch in and do your paht, and I don't pitch in and do my paht, we won't have a paht to pitch in." My favorite Eleanor joke: Mrs. Roosevelt goes to the doctor because she's not feeling well. She tells the doctor "I'm feeling so bad that I don't know whether I'm coming or going." The doctor says "All right, Mrs. Roosevelt, take off your clothes, get down on all fours, and crawl over to that wall. Now, crawl back." Eleanor gets up, puts her clothes on and says "Do you know what's wrong with me?" The doctor says "It's hard to say, but frankly Mrs. Roosevelt, I can't tell if you're coming or going either."

Anonymous: Not only is he getting more desperate, he's starting to show it. He actually moved his arms around at today's press conference.

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