Jeb Bush says he is not thinking about presidential bid – yetLawmakers: Obama wooing might break budget logjamPresident Reaching Out To Lawmakers From Both Sides For Budge ResolutionObama eases export controls on some military spare parts
President Reaching Out To Lawmakers From Both Sides For Budge ResolutionObama eases export controls on some military spare partsObama to address energy issues in trip to Illinois lab March 15All but one major U.S. bank passes Fed’s stress test
President Reaching Out To Lawmakers From Both Sides For Budge ResolutionObama eases export controls on some military spare partsObama to address energy issues in trip to Illinois lab March 15Obama presses on with GOP charm offensive
As President Obama’s sequester is set to take effect today, it’s important to remember the genesis of these arbitrary, across-the-board cuts – the White House. “The Adventures of Bob Woodward and the Obama Spin Machine” about how legendary Washington, DC reporter Bob Woodward continues to confirm that the sequester was President Obama’s idea. Now it is time for the President to work on finding smarter spending cuts and reforms to replace his sequester without raising taxes on hardworking Americans.
According to President Obama, the world is going to end after sequestration.
What will the world look like on the day after?
President Obama is crisscrossing the country to scare Americans about sequestration. But what’s really frightening are the 13 Obama tax hikes that took effect in 2013.
By ROBERT LAURIE – three cheers for the most transparent administration in history
Yesterday, Barack Obama addressed the 2013 Winter Meeting of the National Governor’s Association. The assembly included governors from all across the country and, after his speech, the President wanted to be sure he opened the floor to questions. After all, he’s nothing if not forthcoming with information. He simply loves discussing the facts of his tenure in a free and open fashion.
That’s particularly true when the people asking the questions are fellow elected officials.
Unfortunately, the leader of “The Most Transparent Administration In History” made sure you’ll never know what your Governor asked. Perhaps concerened about how he’d look when faced with an actual, tough, question, Obama gave the press the boot.
Heaven forbid the concerns of America’s Governors find their way to C-Span.
Spending Daily | February 25, 2013
Congress Prepares for Cuts to Take Effect in Four Days
The Washington Post reports, “Lawmakers will return to work Monday after a week-long break, with $85 billion in automatic spending cuts set to take effect in four days. Congressional offices and agencies have remained largely quiet on the issue compared with the executive branch, where top officials — from President Obama to Cabinet members such as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta — have warned against the budget cuts known as sequestration, in speeches and with testimonies before congressional committees. But that doesn’t mean the legislative branch would escape cuts. The sequester would not affect lawmaker salaries, since their pay does not come from discretionary spending. But the reductions would hit their individual offices, as well as all legislative-branch agencies such as the Library of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office and U.S. Capitol Police. … Although the sequester could have an impact on lawmakers’ local and Capitol Hill offices, it remains unclear how many members of Congress would impose layoffs, furloughs or pay cuts to meet the reduction targets. Only those who expect to avoid such measures commented for this report.”
Woodward: Sequester Idea Originated in White House
Bob Woodward editorializes in The Washington Post, “Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday. What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened? The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. ‘The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,’ Obama said. ‘It is something that Congress has proposed.’ … ‘There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,’ [former White House Chief of Staff Jack] Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It ‘was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure.’ The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book ‘The Price of Politics’ shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government. Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.”
“Devastating Sequester Spending Cuts? Give Me a Break!”
Jonathan Karl writes in ABC News, “The Sky is Falling! Maybe, but it really shouldn’t be. The Obama administration’s list of what will happen if upcoming spending cuts go into effect is downright terrifying. In recent days, officials have warned of more forest fires, workplace deaths and, heaven-forbid — chicken shortages. … There’s no doubt that the automatic spending cuts set to go into effect on March 1 will cause some real pain and many economists believe they would hurt the economy. But all the dire warnings give the impression the cuts are much larger than they actually are. Take today’s White House example: The Department of Transportation. The Department of Transportation’s budget for 2013 is $74.2 billion. The automatic spending cuts would slice $1 billion out of its budget: that is a cut of less than 1.4 percent. And consider this: even if the cuts go into effect, the Department of Transportation will spend more money this year ($73.2 billion) than it spent last year ($72.6 billion).”
“The Manufactured Crisis of Sequester”
George Will editorializes in The Washington Post, “Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives — the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. … As in: Batten down the hatches — the sequester will cut $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget! Or: Head for the storm cellar — spending will be cut 2.3 percent! Or: Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending! … Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama mustendure a 5 percent cut! … Obama, who believes government spends money more constructively than do those who earn it, warns that the sequester’s budgetary nicks, amounting to one-half of 1 percent of gross domestic product, will derail the economy. A similar jeremiad was heard in 1943 when economist Paul Samuelson, whose Keynesian assumptions have trickled down to Obama, said postwar cuts in government would mean ‘the greatest period of unemployment and industrial dislocation which any economy has ever faced.’ Federal spending did indeed shrink an enormous 40 percent in one year. And the economy boomed. Because crises are government’s excuse for growing, liberalism’s motto is: Never let a crisis go unfabricated. But its promiscuous production of crises has made them boring.”
Samuelson: “True National Debt” Could Be $11-$31 Trillion
Robert J. Samuelson editorializes in The Washington Post, “How big is the national debt? You’d think this would be an easy question. Surely we know how much the government owes. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The true national debt could be triple the conventional estimate, anywhere from $11 trillion to $31 trillion by my reckoning. The differences mostly reflect explicit and implicit ‘off-budget’ federal loan guarantees. In another economic downturn, these could result in large losses that would be brought ‘on budget’ and worsen already huge deficits. That’s the danger. My purpose is not to scare or sensationalize. It’s simply to illuminate the problem. Broadly conceived, the national debt covers all debts for which the federal government assumes final responsibility. For politicians, the appeal of ‘off-budget’ programs is that they allow the pleasure of spending without the pain of taxing. But they also create massive exposure for government.”
Poll: Majority of Voters Believe in Defense Cuts
The Hill reports, “A majority of voters believe cutting America’s debt is more important than maintaining domestic and military programs at their current levels, according to a new poll for The Hill. But the public also feel strongly that the budget should be balanced on the back of reductions to defense spending rather than through cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare. … In order to reduce America’s debts and deficits, more than twice as many voters said they would support defense cuts as said they would supportcuts to social programs. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they would support cutting military spending, while just 23 percent said they would support slashing Social Security and Medicare. An overwhelming majority, 69percent, said they would oppose cuts to social programs.”
Americans Tired of Government Drama
The Wall Street Journal reports, “In Washington, leaders of both political parties are warning of dire effects if across-the-board federal budget cuts aren’t averted. Here in this swing congressional district in Arizona, voters all along the political spectrum say they aren’t moved by the alarms. After two years of creating and then resolving a series of budget showdowns, lawmakers are losing the power to summon concern—or even much interest—among the public, voters here say. ‘It just happens so often, it’s white noise to me,’ said Eric Jones, general manager and partner of the Glenn Jones Ford dealer in Casa Grande, who is aRepublican. The budget cuts, known in Washington parlance as sequestration,would come less than two months after a fight between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over tax increases and spending cuts, called the fiscal cliff, which were resolved right as they were kicking in. … But many voters here say they don’t see harm to themselves in the looming cuts—”not a bit,” said Flagstaff resident Patrick Shiels, a registered libertarian and a professional artist and engineer. He said he thinks all $1.2 trillion in planned cuts over the next decade ought to be implemented this year.”
Governors Agree Federal Gov’t “must shrink the deficit”
Reuters reports, “Less than a week before billions of dollars of U.S. spending cuts are set to begin, governors meeting in Washington ratcheted up the pressure on Congress and President Barack Obama to find an alternative to the reductions and give states more say in bringing down the federal debt. ‘I certainly join the chorus of voices that are calling for that administration and members of Congress to come together and find more responsible cuts,’ said Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a Republican who served in the House of Representatives during the 2011 negotiations that led to the cuts. … Republican and Democratic governors agree the federal government must shrink the deficit. They have already met with the White House and lawmakers in the first two months of 2013 to discuss sequestration alternatives.”
New Healthcare Law Hindering New Hiring
The Wall Street Journal editorializes, “Here’s a trend you’ll be reading more about: part-time ‘job sharing,’ not only within firms but across different businesses. It’s already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the Affordable Care Act. In some cases we’ve heard about, a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King or Wendy’s to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts. Welcome to the strange new world of small-business hiring under ObamaCare. The law requires firms with 50 or more ‘full-time equivalent workers’ to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says ‘equivalent’ because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don’t offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well.”
“Sen. Tom Coburn: Obama ‘absolutely’ exaggerating impact of sequester”
The Washington Post reports, “President Obama is exaggerating the impact of the across-the-board federal spending cuts known as the sequester, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Sunday. ’Absolutely,’ Coburn responded on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ when asked whether Obama was overstating the impact of the cuts, which are set to begin Friday. The Republican later added: ‘There [are] easy ways to cut this money that the American people will never feel.’”
For all you Mystery Science Theater fans…
In case you missed the American Crossroads video on Obama’s State of the Union speech:
American Crossroads presents: Mystery Logic Theater, 2013 – SOTU Edition
Spending Daily | February 13, 2013
Photos: Bankrupting America Tells Washington to “Show Us Your Cuts!”
In honor of Mardi Gras and the State of the Union address, Bankrupting America, a project of Public Notice, yesterday handed out Mardi Gras beads and doughnuts on Capitol Hill with a simple message for Washington: “Show Us Your Cuts!” Click here to view photos from the event, and read more about it in The Hill.
“Let The Bleak Times Roll”
Dana Milbank editorializes in The Washington Post, “There is something entirely appropriate about holding the State of the Union address on the same day as Mardi Gras. One is a display of wretched excess, when giddy and rowdy participants give in to reckless and irresponsible behavior. … The standoff gives new meaning to Fat Tuesday: The nation’s finances are a mess, but — what the heck? — let’s have another round. No wonder a new Washington Post poll found that 56 percent of Americans have a dim view of the country’s political system. … Washington’s version of Mardi Gras had begun early in the day, at the Capitol South Metro station, where members of a nonpartisan balanced-budget group, Bankrupting America, offered beads to passersby willing to ‘show us your cuts.’ By that standard, few necklaces would be distributed. Democrats and Republicans alike would sooner bare their private parts than come clean about what government programs they would cut.”
“Obama Gets Tweet Heat Before State of the Union”
Christopher Heine writes in AdWeek, “President Obama’s State of the Union address has politically minded marketers trying their hand at real-time ad buying on Twitter today. … Chevron, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bankrupting America, Heritage Foundation, the National Association of Manufacturers and Society for Human Resource Management are among the names purchasing Promoted Tweets for the #SOTU hashtag. … Bankrupting America—part of the fiscal watchdog organization Public Notice—is handing out ‘Show Us Your Cuts’ flyers in Washington, D.C., today. The flyers have a Mardi Gras theme and promise to award multiple Twitter users who tweet #showusyourcuts with a dozen donuts delivered to their homes on Wednesday morning. Of all the aforementioned advertisers, Bankrupting America is the only one employing Twitter’s new video-sharing app, Vine, in the brand’s ad.”
Obama’s SOTU Tone: I’m Not Compromising
Carrie Budoff Brown writes in POLITICO, “The speech President Barack Obama delivered in his State of the Union address Tuesday night was aggressive — but not nearly as aggressive as the message he was sending to Congress between the lines of what he said. For all the talk about bipartisan cooperation, Obama couldn’t have been clearer: He’s confident his agenda has popular support, he’s not going to compromise too much and he’s prepared to spend as much time going around the country pressing his case as it’ll take. As for the Republican lawmakers who complain that he’s been too rough on them already — he’s just getting started. And Democrats better be on notice, too.”
Rubio, Federal Spending and the Sip Tweeted Round the World
The Associated Press reports, “Republicans dismissed President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address as nothing more than big government spending and more tax increases. But a brief sip of water may have gotten more immediate attention than any policy ideas. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s mid-speech swig from a small Poland Spring water bottle during his GOP response generated instant reaction in social media circles and on cable television, even as Republicans offered fresh appeals on the economy and promises to rein in federal spending. … In his GOP address, Rubio urged Obama to ‘abandon his obsession with raising taxes’ and said the president had shifted the nation away from free-market economic principles that had helped middle-class families achieve prosperity.”
GOP: Obama’s Speech Sounded Like a Christmas Wish List
POLITICO reports, “President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address landed with a loud thud for most congressional Republicans. For the 278 House and Senate lawmakers locked in legislative battle with the White House, President Barack Obama’s State of the Union was a mix of liberal line items and lofty rhetoric that they worry will stretch the government’s thin resources beyond the breaking point. A call for tax reform, which always sounds good to conservative ears, was offset by Obama’s request that Congress increase the minimum wage to $9. The president’s expressed commitment to deficit reduction was blunted by a prominent mention of climate change. ‘It seemed like an amazing wish list, it sounded likeChristmas,’ Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said in an interview with POLITICO. ‘At the end of the day, there are just so many things that are in conflict and contradiction that it’s difficult for us to sit back and digest it all, reflect on what we’ve already done and see how they come together without raising the deficit, raising the debt, without substantial tax increases.’”
Obama: “Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan”
The Washington Post reports, “Just about every argument in Washington since the 2010 midterm elections, which returned control of the House to Republicans, has centered on reducing the federal deficit. On Tuesday night, President Obama leaned into his second term by declaring that a single-minded focus on deficit reduction would jeopardize the nation’s future. And he sounded an urgent call to rebuild. … The time has come, Obama indicated, to pivot away from the politics of austerity. ‘Most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of the agenda,’ he said. ‘But let’s be clear: Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. A growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs — that must be the North Star that guides our efforts.’”
Analysis: Obama Wants to Do It His Way
Nedra Pickler writes in The Associated Press, “President Barack Obama had a simple message for Republicans in Congress: Do it my way. Forget about shutting down the government to force spending cuts, he told the GOP in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. Don’t think about defaulting on the debt and, while you’re at it, close tax loopholes. Clearly, Obama wasn’t in a mood to compromise. The president’s speech doubled down on his hard-charging inaugural address in promoting liberal Democratic policy ideas, without ceding any ground to Republicans in Congress. … ‘Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan,’ Obama said. ‘Let’s set party interests aside and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let’s do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. The greatest nation on earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next,’ Obama said to a sustained standing ovation from Democrats in the chamber while Republicans sat silent.”
Obama Calls for Return to ‘Grand Bargain’ On Deficit
The Hill reports, “President Obama used the State of the Union to call on Congress to go beyond small fiscal fights, such as delaying the $85 billion sequester, and return to a grand bargain on the deficit. Obama argued that Washington has already enacted $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction and needsonly a $1.5 trillion deal to ‘stabilize’ the debt relative to size of the economy. ‘Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion — mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficitreduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances,’ Obama said. ‘Now we need to finish the job.’”
Congress “nowhere near” Agreement to Avert Sequester
Bloomberg reports, “Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress are nowhere near a plan to avert $1.2 trillion in spending cuts about two weeks before they are set to begin. It’s the latest in a series of fiscal deadlines created by Congress that in the past two years took the U.S. to the brink of a debt default, a government shutdown and middle-class tax increases that neither party wanted. Unless lawmakers act, the across-the-board spending reductions will begin March 1. Leaving the cuts in place would shave U.S. economic growth this year by 0.6 percent and cost 750,000 jobs by the fourth quarter, Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf said yesterday at a hearing.”
Seven Year Budget Plan ‘Depressing Reminder of EU’s Skewed Priorities’
Bloomberg editorializes, “The seven-year budget plan announced by the European Union’s governments last week came as a diplomatic win for U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, for which he has been showered with praise at home. As that surprise wears off, the deal serves mainly as a depressing reminder of the EU’s skewed priorities. EU leaders agreed to cap spending commitments at 960 billion euros ($1.3 trillion) from 2014 to 2020. That’s a cut from the previous seven-year budget, to 1 percent of the EU’s economic output from 1.12 percent — the first reduction in the bloc’s history. It is also peanuts. Europe’s national governments typically spend 40 to 50 times more as a share of their respective economies. Reducing the fiscal impact further is the EU’s lack of budget deficits or surpluses: Revenue always matches spending.”