National Debt Surpasses $16 Trillion
Bankrupting America, an en educational project of Public Notice, writes, “The national debt yesterday surpassed an unprecedented $16 trillion, amounting to more than $50,900 of debt for every man, woman and child in the United States. Since 2009, the debt has increased 50 percent, and the U.S. Senate hasn’t passed a budget in more than three years. For the first time in history America’s creditworthiness has been downgraded, yet time and again, Washington has refused to make the rational decisions necessary to get our fiscal house in order. ‘Today’s sad milestone of a $16 trillion national debt will probably not garner much attention in Washington or the media since we are in the midst of political party conventions. Americans are worried though. The debt and government spending are top concerns for Americans, according to our recent poll, with large majorities seeing the connection between the debt and the health of both the economy and their personal financial well-being,’ said Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice.”
DNC Day One: No Mentions of America’s Now More Than $16 Trillion Debt
After the first day of the Democratic National Convention there was no mention by any of the prime-time speakers that the national debt surpassed $16 trillion earlier in the day. Last week the Republican National Convention featured a debt clock in Tampa, putting the issue of our skyrocketing debt front and center each day. Bankrupting America will continue to urge both parties to address our debt reduction and monitor the prime-time speakers at the Democratic National Convention. While the debt and government spending may not be top concerns for our members of Congress, it’s at the top of the minds of the families and small businesses they represent.
BlogHer: “$16 Trillion Debt Now Larger Than The U.S. Economy: Dems, Please Discuss.”
Gretchen Hamel writes in BlogHer, “The national debt just eclipsed $16 trillion, according to a press reports on a statement released by the U.S. Treasury — which caused $16Trillion to trend on Twitter. Our debt is larger than the entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product; that is every good and service produced in the U.S. each year. … The Republican National Convention included a debt clock, a heartening step to ensure a focus on the problem — but little more than a gimmick without a plan of action to fix it. … There have been no reports that Democrats plan to incorporate a debt clock into their convention; it is unclear how much, if it all, they intend to address it during the official program.”
August Jobs Growth Likely Slowed, May Prompt Fed Action
Reuters reports, “Jobs growth likely cooled in August with the elevated unemployment rate remaining stuck as businesses worried over an uncertain economic outlook, an outcome that could potentially seal the case for a further easing of monetary policy. Employers are expected to have increased payrolls by 125,000 workers last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, a step down from July’s 163,000-job gain. The unemployment rate is seen holding steady at 8.3 percent. The fresh U.S. jobs tally will be released on Friday at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), a week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke left the door wide open to more monetary stimulus and described the labor market’s stagnation as a ‘grave concern.’”
European Economic Crisis Leads to Rise in Depression and Suicide
CNBC reports, “Europe is approaching a crisis as the region’s debt crisis and austerity measures increase the rates of depression, suicide and psychological problems – just as governments cut healthcare spending by up to 50 percent, according to campaigners, policy makers and health organizations. Europe is approaching a crisis as the region’s debt crisis and austerity measures increase the rates of depression, suicide and psychological problems – just as governments cut healthcare spending by up to 50 percent, according to campaigners, policy makers and health organizations.”
Re-employed Settle For Lower-Paying Jobs
Bloomberg reports, “A surge in long-term U.S. unemployment, which Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has cited as evidence of a ‘far from normal’ labor market, finally is abating. That’s good news for American companies, which are taking advantage of a pool of 5.2 million people whose career hardships have made them eager to return to work. Most of the re-employed have had to settle for reduced pay, allowing businesses to keep labor costs low while boosting profits amid sluggish sales gains following the deepest recession since the 1930s. … Workers have become less selective after benefits of as much as 23 months expire. Fifty-four percent of the long-tenured unemployed have had to settle for lower wages to secure another job, according to a Labor Department report released Aug. 24. One in three said their compensation was at least 20 percent below what they made at previous employers.”
California Environmental Law Abused, Hurting Jobs Growth Efforts
The New York Times reports, “Environmentalists in this greenest of places call the California Environmental Quality Act the state’s most powerful environmental protection, a model for the nation credited with preserving lush wetlands and keeping condominiums off the slopes of the Sierra Nevada. But the landmark law passed in 1970 has also been increasingly abused, opening the door to lawsuits — sometimes brought by business competitors or for reasons unrelated to the environment — that, regardless of their merit, can delay even green development projects for years or sometimes kill them completely. With California still mired in what many consider its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the law, once a source of pride to many Californians and environmentalists across the country, has turned into an agonizing test in the struggle to balance environmental concerns against the need for jobs and economic growth.”
Manufacturing Report Indicates Slowing Recovery
The Wall Street Journal reports, “The U.S. factory sector contracted for the third straight month in August, a worrying sign from a corner of the economy that has been a bright spot in a lackluster recovery. A closely watched gauge of the factory sector, released Tuesday by the Institute for Supply Management, showed manufacturing activity slipped to 49.6 from 49.8 in July. It was the third consecutive month in which activity fell. Readings below 50 indicate contraction. The ISM report was the latest signal that two engines of the recovery—exports along with business spending on capital equipment and other investments—are running on fumes. Exports contracted during the month, though less than in July.”
Food Stamp Use at Record High
Bloomberg reports, “Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million people in June, the government said, as Democrats prepare to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term with the economy as a chief issue in the campaign. Participation was up 0.4 percent from May and 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier and has remained greater than 46 million all year as the unemployment rate stayed higher than 8 percent. … Food-stamp spending, which more than doubled in four years to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s biggest annual expense. … Reductions to the program have also emerged as a point of contention in debate over a farm bill to replace current law that expires Sept. 30.”
Tough Months Ahead for Europe
Real Clear Markets reports, “The European debt crisis took a breather in the summer months as thinner markets and promises of central bank intervention from both the U.S. and Europe bolstered equity prices. … As the calendar turned to September, Europe’s debt crisis began to flare up almost immediately. New data from the ECB shows that funding costs for businesses in the European periphery are at the highest level in a half decade. Meanwhile, Moody’s lowered the debt rating outlook for the EU on September’s first day of trading. Neither story implies good things for the already-depressed and uncompetitive economies of the southern portion of the continent. But the darkest days for Europe might come this fall. Over the next two months, it will be forced to either face the reality that the monetary union is unsustainable, or face certain backlash from a dissatisfied and vitriolic European electorate.”
With Sequestration Pending, Defense Industry Braces for Cuts
Reuters reports, “U.S. defense companies are bracing for additional cuts in Pentagon spending, even if Congress reaches a deal to avert a controversial $500 billion across-the-board budget cut due to go into effect in January, industry officials said on Tuesday. Dennis Muilenburg, head of Boeing Co’s defense and security unit, said in an interview with Reuters reporters and editors that his firm anticipated the Pentagon would face more spending reductions even if Congress acts to avert the cuts looming in January under the process known as sequestration. ‘We know that there’s still a gap to close in terms of the overall budget deficit,’ Muilenburg said. ‘Certainly the defense budget, being one of the large components of the overall federal budget, will have to be considered in that process.’ … The Pentagon is facing $500 billion in across-the-board cuts to defense spending over 10 years beginning in January, after Congress failed to reach a compromise deal to reduce federal spending by an equivalent amount. A similar amount will be cut from non-defense government programs.”
The 90-second web video, titled “16 Trillion”, focuses on repeated warnings from national leaders (including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin) about how mounting government debt endangers our national security. The video also urges Congress to focus on entitlement spending reform and pro-growth tax policies to spur the economy and reduce the national debt.
“Veterans and active duty troops are deeply concerned about our stagnant economy and towering national debt, and rightly see them as drivers of our economic weakness,” said Pete Hegseth, CEO of CVA. “We understand that a strong economy is key to ensuring a robust defense, and that our government’s addiction to spending and debt is a sure path to weakness and vulnerability.”
“The $16 trillion national debt mark should set off alarm bells in Washington—it’s time to stop playing political games and get to work reforming government spending,” Hegseth concluded.
The new CVA web video follows the August 14th release of polling results the organization conducted with the Winston Group among troops and veterans, revealing that 72 percent of them see the national debt and the economy as their top concerns. Military voters are clearly interested in the national discussion about the economy and national security, and are looking for solutions to address the economy and debt.
Harry Reid just might be the stupidest person in the United States Senate.
It’s time for him to go!
Look at him. He’s the Senate Majority Leader. He’s one of the most powerful men in the free world…and yet here he is babbling like a buffoon.
What an absolute embarrassment. It’s an outrage that this clown is one of our leaders. And tragic proof of the old saying, ‘You get what you vote for.’
We must do better. We must vote new blood into the Senate.
Please select here to help remove Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader. Your best gift of $25, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, $2,500 or more will help us elect sound Constitutional Conservatives this November. It’s time to end Harry Reid’s reign once and for all. Please, help us kick him out with your most generous donation.
Crazy Harry isn’t your average politician…
…He’s in charge of the United States Senate.
As Majority Leader, he sets the Senate agenda. He decides what bills come to the Senate floor… and he can block votes on just about anything.
It’s a scary thought. The most important decision-making body in the world is run by a deranged man with a head full of nutty images.
It’s time for a little hope and change in the Senate. Only by electing solid conservatives to the Senate can we finally send Crazy Harry packing.
No Budget passed — but time enough for slander
When Harry Reid isn’t hiding from the goblins in his attic, or raving about ‘angry old white men’, he’s just plain mean:
“[Mitt Romney] didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain. But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. … His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son.”
What a pathetic bully this guy is! He has no evidence – none! – that Mitt Romney didn’t pay his taxes.
But that didn’t stop him from accusing Mitt of tax fraud – or using Romney’s dead father as a weapon against him.
It also didn’t stop him from going to the Senate floor and telling the same lie again.
The guy hasn’t passed a budget in three years…but somehow he finds the time to slander Mitt Romney from a Senate podium.
That’s Harry Reid for you: out of gas, out of steam, and out of ideas.
Here at the Senate Conservatives Fund, we’re dedicated to getting tough, politically sound, and constitutionally conservative leaders elected to the Senate.
After all, we know what a REAL Constitutional Conservative looks like.
We were founded by U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, one of the most consistent conservatives in the Senate.
This November, we’re backing more true conservatives, including Ted Cruz in Texas, Richard Mourdock in Indiana, and Josh Mandel in Ohio.
I know these candidates. And I can assure you that they’re totally committed to shrinking government and restoring the Constitution.
And like Jim DeMint, these leaders won’t back down in a fight with Loony Toon lefties like Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, John Kerry, and Barbara Boxer.
Which is why we need to work together to help elect them to the Senate this fall. It’s the only way to restore common sense and — sanity — to the Senate.
Please select here to make your best possible gift to help us stop Harry Reid from further embarrassing our nation. Your secure donation of $25, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, $2,500 or more will help us elect strong, Constitutional Conservatives to the United States Senate.
Harry engages in race-baiting politics
Interestingly, one of our endorsements two years ago was for conservative Senator Marco Rubio. What does Crazy Harry think of Latinos like Rubio?
“I don’t see how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay? Do I need to say more?”
Really Harry? The only good Hispanic is a Hispanic Democrat?
I know everyone is asking you for support right now…
…but your help today is so important. If we are going to send more leaders to the Senate like Marco Rubio and Jim DeMint, it’s going to take a lot of resources.
Unlike other political groups, we help you donate directly to our endorsed candidates so they receive 100% of your contributions. This is our guarantee to you.
That’s right. If you direct donations to one or more of conservative candidates for U.S. Senate, every dollar will go to their campaigns and every dollar will help end Harry Reid’s disastrous reign in the Senate.
Please make your best possible gift now of $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, $500 or $250, or maybe $100 or $50, or $35 or even $25. Your contribution will go straight to the front lines of the battle for the future of this country. Together, we can put real, honest-to-goodness Constitutional Conservatives in the U.S. Senate and say goodbye of Harry Reid forever.
Thank you for your support. And God Bless the United States of America.
As of today, the vast majority of American students have begun a new school year. As lunches are packed and carpool lines grow, Heritage reviews the good, bad, and ugly in education.
Support for school choice is at an all-time high. In a poll released in August, school choice favorability jumped 10 percentage points since last year, a sign that the proliferation of options such as vouchers, education savings accounts, and online learning is creating a welcome choice for families across the country.
Options like the education savings accounts implemented in Arizona, statewide vouchers in effect in Louisiana, and tuition tax credits benefitting children in Florida provide families with greater control over education—something more and more parents are expressing they want.
Social promotion is becoming less popular. In North Carolina, legislators approved a measure to end social promotion. Rather than automatically passing students on to the next grade, all third-grade students will be required to read at grade level before advancing to the fourth grade. Other states that have implemented this policy suggest that it is helpful in boosting student achievement.
Online, customized learning is on the rise. Individualized online learning options allow more emphasis on areas where students are struggling, without holding back their peers who may be ready for the next level.
Teachers union membership is declining. The National Education Association is projecting a loss of 308,000 members since 2010. One of the union’s top officials, treasurer Becky Pringle, blames “stupid” education reform: “We’re living with a recession that just won’t end, political attacks that have turned brutal, and societal changes that are impacting us—from stupid education ‘reform’ to an explosion of technology—all coming together to impact us in ways that we had never anticipated.”
The Administration is singling out minority students for government “help” instead of raising them up through increased options. Over the summer, President Obama signed an executive order to form the new White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. According to the White House, the new initiative, which will work across federal agencies, “aims to ensure that all African American students receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion, and productive careers.”
Parents and taxpayers would be correct to be skeptical of a new Washington initiative to improve student outcomes. A new evaluation by Matthew Chingos of the Brookings Institution and Paul Peterson of Harvard shows a far more promising route to improving academic opportunity for the students the President’s initiative aims to help: school vouchers. The study of low-income students in New York City found a 24 percent increase in college enrollment among African-American students who were awarded and used vouchers to attend private schools.
This success has already proven the vital role of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. Students who have used vouchers to attend private schools in the nation’s capital have a 91 percent graduation rate, while graduation rates in D.C. public schools hover around 60 percent.
Average per-pupil spending in public schools is reaching historic highs. Nationally, average per-pupil spending exceeds $11,400 this year, meaning a child entering kindergarten today can expect to have no less than $148,000 spent on his or her education by the time the child graduates high school. In all, more than $570 billion will be spent on public K-12 education this year.
Continual increases in the money spent per child and in overall spending haven’t led to increases in academic achievement. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke notes:
We continue to fund institutions—sending that money to schools—instead of actually funding children. Imagine if a child could put those dollars in a funding “backpack” and take that $11,400 to any school—public, private, or virtual. As in every other sector of American life, we would likely see outcomes improve as a result of competitive pressure placed on the government school system.
Despite the successes of more individualized learning and school choice, the Obama Administration wants to further centralize education in Washington through national standards and tests. It has been trying to entice states with waivers from the onerous No Child Left Behind law, which it gives to states that agree to adopt the Administration’s standards instead.
Implementing Washington-controlled education standards means that states, local school boards, and ultimately parents will have less say in their children’s education. This year’s homework assignment for conservatives: continue the fight for increased parental control, individualized options for students, and decreased government interference in education.
Uh-oh. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is thinking again. The central bank elites recently had a confab in posh Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where a consensus emerged that the Bernanke team is pondering another round of “Quantitative Easing” (QE). (One wonders if they would get better results if they hobnobbed in less upscale places, like Cleveland.)
Don’t get me wrong. Bernanke is a dedicated public servant, and has occupied the helm of the Fed during some of the most challenging moments in our economic history. But non-economists (most of us) know that the credentialed elites work for us (thank you, Clint Eastwood) and have to divine as best we can whether their nostrums are working.
The actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and rate of growth of the money supply, which in turn affects interest rates. Monetary policy is maintained through actions such as increasing the interest rate, or changing the amount of money banks need to keep in the vault (bank reserves).
Under Quantitative Easing, the central bank conducts massive purchases of treasury securities. The demand drives bond prices up, and thus yields down (yield is determined by the mathematical relationship between a bond’s price and its coupon). Since treasury yields are a hugely important reference framework for the entire bond market, as they decline interest rates fall across the board.
Alas, massive rounds of QE in the past have had less than stellar results. While QE was almost certainly necessary to unfreeze the credit markets at the height of the 2008 meltdown, continuing doses of it don’t seem to work very well. We are in stagnation hell with high unemployment (currently in the 8% range) and anemic economic growth, generally below 2% annually.
Clearly, the American public needs to use our common sense to try and figure out why it isn’t working. Stay tuned.
Pantech leaps forward with surprisingly high-end features for a budget Android phone, plus a dual-boot mode aimed at beginners.
CNET – Well, this is a new one for AT&T and Pantech. The two have teamed up to offer the Pantech Flex, a budget Android phone designed to ease first-time smartphone users into the Android experience.
PCWorld – Java, the programming language designed to make the web fun and interactive, has become one of the weakest links in a PC’s and Mac’s defenses against external threats. Consider the most recent Java vulnerability, a weakness currently being exploited by malware distributors: When Oracle, Java’s maker, released an emergency update to fix the software, security analysts reported that even the hot-off-the-presses code contains additional vulnerabilities.
But the most recent security problems with Java are far from unique. Security firm Sophos, for example, blames underlying Java vulnerability for attacks by the Flashback malware last April that infected one out of five Macs.
The risks don’t outweigh the rewards, security experts say. “I’d say 90 percent of users don’t need Java anymore,” says Dominique Karg, the founder and chief hacking officer of AlienVault, a security software company. “I consider myself a ‘power user’ and the last and only time I realized I had Java installed on my Mac was when I had to update it.”
If you own a PC you know that nagging feeling of insecurity when you’re asked to update your Windows PC for the umpteenth time. It may only be moderately disruptive, but it’s a monthly reminder that your computer, and the personal information contained therein, remains a target for criminals.
Candice Lanier – Microsoft’s first offering of Xbox titles for Windows 8 will include 40 games, 29 of which come from Microsoft Studios. Included are several familiar titles such as Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space, Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, as well as some older games–Solitaire, Minesweeper and Mahjong. As Engadget previously reported, all Xbox games will be accessible from within the pre-installed Games app. Each will also have most of the Xbox Live features you would expect, including achievements, leaderboards and some multiplayer games. The following is a partial list of the games and the rest can be found at Engadget.
- Angry Birds
- Angry Birds Space
- Big Buck Hunter Pro
- BlazBlue Calamity Trigger
- Collateral Damage
- Gravity Guy
- Gunstringer: Dead Man Running