PatriotPost.US12 June 2009 Vol. 09 No. 23
The $787 billion "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," otherwise known as the stimulus package, was signed into law by President Barack Obama in February. Since then, the economy has lost two million jobs, and unemployment has risen to 9.4 percent, -- well beyond the administration's top-end prediction of 8 percent if Congress would only spend the money. In Obama's parallel universe, his so-called stimulus has thus far "saved or created" 150,000 jobs, and The One now promises to "save or create" another 600,000 jobs in the next 100 days. After that, he'll part the Red Sea and turn water into wine.
Obama's oft-repeated and utterly ridiculous "save or create" mantra has gone unquestioned by what radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh calls the "state-run media." In fact, while 49,000 jobs lost in a month was deemed disastrous when George W. Bush was in the White House, 345,000 jobs lost in a month is reason for hope with Obama. However, at least one Democrat isn't fooled. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) recently told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, "You created a situation where you cannot be wrong. If the economy loses 2 million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would've lost 5.5 million jobs."
Obama also said this week, "We've done more than ever, faster than ever, more responsibly than ever, to get the gears of the economy moving again. ... We're in a position to really accelerate." Accelerate what? Why, spending, of course.
The administration intends to accelerate the pace of stimulus spending, much of which is not slated to occur until 2010 or later. As Vice President Joe Biden put it, "We're going to get more dollars out the door, more shovels into the ground and more money into the pockets of workers and families who need it most." He cautioned, however, "A lower job-rate loss [sic] is not our goal. 'Less bad' is not how we're going to measure success."
Outside of Obama World, "less bad" means "more bad." A look at this chart of unemployment numbers reveals what we mean. The Washington Times further notes, "The stimulus actually has dampened economic projections. In January, before the stimulus was passed, 53 business economists and forecasters surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expected gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter (July through September) to rise by 1.2 percent at an annual rate. Predictions became gloomier after the stimulus passed.... In May, these experts forecast only a 0.6 growth rate for the third quarter."
Despite these facts, Obama addressed his skeptics with a combination of smooth talk and sophistry: "Now, I know that there's some who, despite all evidence to the contrary, still don't believe in the necessity and promise of this recovery act. And I would suggest to them that they talk to the companies who, because of this plan, scrapped the idea of laying off employees and, in fact, decided to hire employees. Tell that to the Americans who received that unexpected call saying, 'Come back to work.'" Uh, Barry, what about the two million Americans put out of work since Congress passed your stimulus package?
Meanwhile, the president had the audacity to call for a return to the pay-as-you-go, or "Paygo," rule for federal spending -- a rule under which each expense or tax cut would have to be offset by another spending cut or tax increase. The principle sounds good enough, but Paygo has been little more than a Democrat gimmick in the past. In an outstanding summary of "The 'Paygo' Coverup," The Wall Street Journal reveals that it "only applies to new or expanded entitlement programs, not to existing programs such as Medicare, this year growing at a 9.2% annual rate. Nor does Paygo apply to discretionary spending, set to hit $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2010, or 40% of the budget." Furthermore, Obama has exempted his health care plan. And isn't it odd that as Obama blames the "reckless fiscal policies of the past," he pleas with Congress to return to Paygo in order to feign control over his own reckless spending?
This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award "I have studied the Constitution as a student; I have taught it as a teacher; I have been bound by it as a lawyer and legislator. I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution as commander in chief, and as a citizen, I know that we must never -- ever -- turn our back on its enduring principles for expedience sake." --Barack Obama
Obama must be taking his cues from a famous tyrant: "All this was inspired by the principle -- which is quite true in itself -- that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods." --Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf," vol. I, ch. X
News From the Swamp: Culture of Corruption Redux Democrats were able to make big gains in the 2006 and 2008 congressional elections in large part by tying Republicans to corrup t lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a series of other corruption scandals. Thanks to the antics of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and his most ardently unapologetic supporter, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Democrats are now finding out what it's like to be on the receiving end of such allegations.
Murtha, who has loudly and proudly brought home barrels of pork to his district for more than three decades, may become ensnared in an ever-widening federal criminal investigation into PMA Group, a lobbying shop founded by one of Murtha's former aides. It is believed that House members may have traded earmarks to PMA and its clients in exchange for campaign contributions. And this is no small scandal -- more than 100 members of Congress have sponsored earmarks for PMA clients.
Murtha alone directed $78 million to PMA companies in the last two years. He has not been officially accused of any wrongdoing, but one of his close House colleagues, Peter Visclosky (D-IN), has received subpoenas in connection with PMA. Federal investigators have raided PMA and Kuchera Defense Systems, another recipient of Murtha's largesse.
Pelosi and her team have circled the wagons around Murtha, but even her famous veiled threats may not keep Democrats from drifting off the reservation. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is about to propose his ninth resolution calling for an ethics committee investigation into PMA. Each time he puts the resolution before the House, he picks up a few more Democrat votes. There are many first-term Demos who owe their seats to the Abramoff scandal, and they aren't inclined to defend a dirty pol like Murtha.
Kennedy Unveils Health Care Plan The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released a draft health care bill this week, and longtime supporters of committee Chair Ted Kennedy (D-MA) are lauding it as his legislative masterpiece. (Translation: It's an unrealistic piece of liberal claptrap that can only be paid for by nailing the American taxpayer to the wall.) The "American Health Choices Act" is calling for a complete overhaul of how the American health care system works by transferring all the power to the federal government. The price tag is, ominously, yet to be determined.
According to the bill, insurance companies will be expected to offer a basic level of care to all comers regardless of pre-existing conditions or other factors, and they will be required to provide coverage for children through age 26. (Of course, most liberals remain children even after age 26, but we digress.) Private insurers are also expected to cut their own throats by allowing the government to cap profits, by providing mandatory detailed reports about how premiums are spent, and to compete with a government-sponsored health care access plan that will offer cheaper insurance for Americans not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
Furthermore, all employers would be required to provide health insurance to their employees regardless of company size, a mandate that will crush a large number of small companies. Medicaid would be expanded to 150 percent of the poverty level, and since everyone will be required to have health insurance, aid will be provided to people earning up to 500 percent above the poverty level, or $110,000 for a family of four.
New & Notable Legislation The 900-page House energy bill sponsored by Democrats Henry Waxman (CA) and Edward Markey (MA), on the surface, is all about cap-and-trade (a.k.a. "cap and tax"). But there are also regulations about building codes. Once the purview of local and state governments, the bill demands that building codes for new buildings after 2012 must be 30 percent more efficient than they would be under current regulations. By 2016, the requirement rises to 50 percent more efficient. The idea is that a unifying national standard for building codes will develop as localities and private developers scramble to meet the new requirements. If a new standard does not develop, then the Energy Department will have the power to step in and draft a national code all by itself. States that don't comply will have their codes overwritten without consultation.
Meanwhile, House Republicans introduced an alternate energy bill this week with a heavy focus on nuclear power -- 100 new reactors over the next 20 years. None have been built since 1978. There are also incentives for further oil drilling, particularly off the Gulf Coast and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
The Senate passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act this week, granting regulatory power over the tobacco industry to the Food and Drug Administration. The House first passed the bill in April and Barack Obama has promised to sign it.
GOP Blocks Census Nominee With preparations well underway and time winding down before the new national census commences early next year, Senate Republicans are blocking confirmation of President Obama's choice to conduct the count, Dr. Robert Groves. Without Republican strategists officially saying so, the most likely reason for the delay is Dr. Groves' expertise in the practice of sampling, or the inexact "science" of making up a count based on the number someone believes would be populating an area had everyone been willing to stand up and be counted. In other words, counting votes ACORN style.
Despite the insistence by Dr. Groves that sampling would not be used to conduct the count, GOP leaders see that too much is at stake in future elections and federal appropriations to take the chance, and, accordingly, have held up the nomination. Given the Democrats' propensity to count every vote as many times as needed, a bit of skepticism is certainly warranted.
No Land Seizure for Flight 93 Monument With controversy already swirling around the United Airlines Flight 93 monument planned for rural Pennsylvania -- its crescent shape evokes images of Islam -- federal bureaucrats avoided another black eye by announcing they would refrain from taking land for the site through eminent domain. Instead they have uncharacteristically chosen to negotiate further with landowners. The government wants 500 more acres in order to build a 2,200-acre, $58 million memorial for the plane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field southeast of Pittsburgh on September 11th. The National Park Service is still hoping to have the monument ready for dedication on 9/11/11, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A heroic passenger rebellion kept Flight 93's Islamic hijackers from slamming the plane into a Washington-based target, most likely the U.S. Capitol building.
From the Left Field Bleachers Asked recently if he had spoken to the president, Barack Obama's former pastor and "spiritual mentor" Jeremiah Wright said: "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office. ... They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is." Not surprisingly, Obama's pastor of 20 years wasn't finished. "I said from the beginning: He's a politician; I'm a pastor. He's got to do what politicians do."
Wright also said Obama should have sent a U.S. delegation to the World Conference on Racism held recently in Geneva, Switzerland, but that the president did not do so for fear of offending Jews and Israel. "Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing [by] the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don't want Barack talking like that because that's anti-Israel." Sounds like Iran really does have an ambassador in the U.S.
Around the World: European Elections The current global political climate brings to mind a large, bizarre scale. While the U.S., long the bastion of free-market capitalism, slides so quickly leftward, Europe seems to be moving right. While many Americans still hang their hats on the pipe-dream socialism of the Obama regime, European voters are protesting these same socialist ideals, due to their experience with decades of socialism's failures.
Left-leaning parties were dealt a severe blow across Europe last weekend when the citizens of several of the 27 nations composing the European Union -- England, France, Poland, Germany, Spain and Italy, to name a few -- voted in favor of center-right parties. These parties, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, are choosing to forego the tax-and-spend plan favored by American Democrats and are earning the voters' approval for it.
The European Parliament, which for many years held little actual power, can now vote or amend two-thirds of EU laws. But the EU's parliamentary elections also serve as a gauge for political leanings throughout Europe, and the recent results have socialists scrambling to re-evaluate their policies before the individual countries next vote on their own leadership. "The most striking feature of the election results," said Thomas Klau of the European Council on Foreign Relations, "is the fact that center-left parties across Europe, the Social Democrats and Socialists, have not been able to give a plausible answer, political answer, to the economic crisis."
So why haven't American conservatives enjoyed this electoral success in the last few years? As The Washington Post's Anne Applebaum puts it, "Lip service was paid to 'small government' and 'reduced spending' while successive Republican-led Congresses, hand in hand with a Republican White House, enlarged government and spent like crazy. How can they now criticize Obama's possibly lethal budget deficits when their own were so vast, so recently?" Vast is relative, of course -- George W. Bush's last deficit was less than a quarter of Obama's first one. Still, point taken.