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May 27, 2010

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This will respond to Harrycat's Post of May 31. A majority of the voters found Bush and a Republican Congress guilty of most of these criticisms and voted for change. Obama and the Democratic Congress have been given breathing room to "right the ship", but it is getting a bit old to blame Bush/Cheney/Rove for every ill besetting the Republic. Unfortunately, the current crowd has no more self control on spending than the last and is taking on debt at an accelerated rate.

Maybe the Tea Party movement reflects that many regular people instinctively believe that our spending is not sustainable? Not partisan--several stalwart Republicans having the image of being big spenders have gone down in the primaries. Hard numbers are virtually impossible to find, but the Heritage Foundation posting of June 3 estimates that 41 Cents of every Dollar the Fed spends this year will be borrowed. Might quibble about the number, but common sense says that the policy is not sustainable unless our currency is substantially devalued to help offset the interest.

I was just reviewing the latest expenditures of stimulus funds. $106 Million for research on Advanced Energy(electric car battery development,biofuels, and carbon removal from coal burning pilot plants. Of that 75% went to schools and 25% to small businesses. $220 million to the Department of Human Services for health information exchange mostly to Universitiers and clinics. $1 Billion to build and improve medical research labs mostly to Universities and public Health Departments. Looks like the stimulus bailout is now targeted to fund energy and healthcare services.($9.5 Million to San Francisco for AIDS research) I wonder if those costs were added into the CBO Healthcare estimates? This sounds like a discretionary budget outside the Congressional budget for pet projects of --- ? This is the American Recovery Act?

ok I can't help myself. Obama's latest tirade against the oil companies and the Republicans is the sign of a leadr who is desperate and has no idea what to do. In today's speech he:

1. Wants to take all the tax breaks away from the oil companies and use the money to fund natural gas, nuclear energy and energy efficiency. What money? Taking away the tax breaks for the oil companies may create a deficit reduction but there is no money for the "new energy plan". It has been spent for healthcare expansion and "pork" programs for Democrats running for reelection in the name of stimulus (the Anerican Recovery Act). He just called for an investigation of the mess and sent Holder packing to see who he could charge with criminal negligence or civil lawsuits. How about we begin with the Feds who issued the permits without the safeguards and failed to make sure the oil companies could recover from and accident in deep water? Lets charge them and sue them along with BP. The last "investigation" of Three Mile Island shut down nuclear construction in this country for 3 decades. Now--with an oil leak--the Dems want to restart construction? Now--after ten years of listening to T Boone Pickens and others ask for us to use natural gas the Dems want to do it? Oh yes part of the deficit is the stupid "tax breaks" for changing your windows, or insulating your attic, or driving a half electric car--none of which amount to a hill of beans in energy conservation. Or you could install your own windmill in the yard. The reason oil companies are drilling a mile deep is because the Feds have capped all the shallow water wells in California, closed Alaska from drilling so the raindeer can sleep at night, and the Federal government owns 66% of the land west of the Mississippi and has most of it closed to oil exploration and production. And, now we listen to this? More smoke and mirrors don't blame me from the I man who hasn't a clue why all those fancy promises he used to get elected aren't working.

2. Republicans on the sidelines while he "fixes" the economy. GWB fixed the banks with TARP. That was #1 and he did it with a one time expense of $250B of which the banks have repaid almost $200B. The other $500B sits unspent waitng for Obama to take credit for it when he puts it back. The economic mess was largely created by the housing mortgage crisis. Who's fault that is we may never know for sure. But, it certainly belongs somewhat to Barney Franks, Bill Clinton and Chris Dodd for loosening the screws on the requirements to get a home loan. And, it certainly belongs somewhat to the GWB administration for their failure to scream loud enough when they found the system failing and get it fixed. And the banks loose play with derivatives added to it. The stimulus bill was Obama's first attempt to fix the economy. Anyone on unemployment liked it because most of the money has gone to unemployment benefits, welfare, social programs and pet projects for politicians. Nearly $1 Trillion. Infrastructure got 3% in Virginia. The Pennsylvania Governor, an Obama fan, said his infrastructure money was way too low. So, then to fix the economy Obama gave us healthcare expansion disguised as healthcare reform. He just today said Republicans fought him on giving tax breaks to small business. Huh? Republicans were fighting tax breaks? Democrats were giving them? Earlier this week the courts in NY ruled that the Governor of NY could not furlow workers or cut hours to reduce costs. ie the courts supported the public workers unions as they did in LA. So now the Governor plans to layoff workers--the only way he can reduce his budget. Unions are getting the benefit of priority on Government contracts, healthcare exemptions, and there are bills in Congress to bail out their pension plans. Obama's ties to the Unions are undermining the American system. Republican's are not sitting on the sidelines they are opposing the mountain of debt being thrust on Americans in the name of change. Already 41 % of Americans work for the government. How many can before the system collapses? Or is it? Can 59% of us employ the other 41% with our tax dollars? What is really scary is that governement workers wages and benefits are rising far faster than the private sector who pay for them.

Obama is panicing. His immigration policy is being denied. He can't plug the leak. He has now been accused by the "denied" PA candidate of meddling in the PA primary--Chicago style using Bill Clinton as the messenger. Holder and the Homeland Security boss don't read anything before they testify and judge. The economy is stalling. The gulf state Governors are furious with him. Transparancy was smoke. More states are voting in their own immigration laws. His policy of ocean drilling for oil has been reversed. He has troubles with Isreal, Europe, North Korea and Arizona. Iran is now said to have two bombs worth of nuclear material--that was quick--just a week ago they were sending it all to Turkey. Iran now works on the delvery system. Remember that line in the sand-- just 7 months ago?
His administration acts like college professors who are never on duty. Academics who think about things and then give us theory. Holder more interested in our enemies rights than our safety. I'd panic too. The elections are only 5 months and 2 years 5 months away. Hillary Clinton, if she wasn't thinking of a challenge, must be feeling pretty good about the advice Her husband has given the "I" man and seeing an opening on the right!
I hate to give him credit for anything but the best thing this man does is fight wars and campaign.

Harrycat---- Nothing to set you straight about. You are right, mostly. In today's political environment everything appears to be free. My view is that it is caused by the control of the Democrats by the left as was clearly seen as Obama steamrolled and bribed the "blue dog" fiscal conservatives of his own party into a stimulus bill that contained nearly $1 Trillion of nothing but social welfare expenses, pet projects for Democratic Congressional leaders and 3% Infrastructure projects in the name of savcing the economy. Then he did it again with his healthcare expansion in the name of reform. And, it is caused becasue Republicans suffer from the opposite problem: control of the party by the right who can't seem to stomach any fixes to the healthcare system, solve the immigration problem, increase tarrifs or make sensible changes to solve the environmental problems. In a nutshell I believe that the problem is that there is no government by the middle 50% of America. That would be you-- slightly left of middle and me --slightly right of middle. I believe that if the two of us sat down we could come to some agreement on the amount of taxes to impose and then a budget compromise that would balance the budget. This would require that we together figure out fixes to the Social security system, medicare, true healthcare reform, education allocations to the states, changes to the Military budget, etc. These two parties we use to govern us can't even agree on their own plans of action as we are now seeing as the left is becoming angry with Obama's moves toward the center. And, the Republicans actually can't figure out what they stand for except it isn't Obama.
But, like you and me, the American people recognize rediculous when they see it and this print all the money you need, ignore bipartisan approaches to everything, leadership by political rewards for your base, and immature, incompetant lead by selling rather than doing executive branch has angered them. They will change things.
You, perhaps, are buying Obama's "George Bush made me do it" philosophy for a while but it will not hold water long. He did not need to commit the country to an extra $10 Trillion of debt in order to fix the problems. That would be like me telling someone who is spending $50,000 a year more than they earn to just borrow a million dollars and they can have everything they want for 20 years as a solution rather than cutting their spending and getting a second job.
So the reason you are left of center and I am right of center: you buy his logic and I don't. But, we could agree on most everything needed to help solve the country's problems. Why can't they? Thanks for the comments.

Have you forgotton already that the deficits were created by the last Republican administration. At the least a very good argument can be made:

Tax cuts for the most wealthy with no decrease in spending.

Drug plan for seniors with no increase in income to pay for it.

A war in Iraq financed off the budget with no attempt to ask for sacrafice to pay for it.

A war in Afghanistan with no attempt to pay for it.

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Obama did what needed to be done to lessen the collapse we were in, and you feel that the debt crisis is Obama's fault. It certainly is Obama's to deal with, but he didn't create it.

If you feel that this short analysis is seriously incorrect, then try to set me straight.

Why should we believe that a Republican congress or administration should the party to fix the problem? In recent years Republicans have been even more profligate than Democrats. It is just not true that Republicans have been better guardians of the national purse strings.

I am a slightly left of center,not registered in either party and never have been.

Bo, this is excellent. You know my pet peeve with Congress is that it is basically there to do two things and it should do them well.
First --to pass laws that are subject to oversight by the Supreme Court to protect Americans and establish the rules under which our society operates. In this task they balance our desire for protections against our competative position in a world of nations. If they tighten too much then we cannot compete. If they are too loose then people are exploited whether it is in workplace safety, healthcare services, the environment, etc.
Second --they tax and spend for the necessary administration and security of the nation. Taxing and spending are supposed to be in balance. Taxing is politically dangerous. People don't like to be taxed so to the maxium extent possible politicians avoid it on the voters. Therefore, they tax businesses and products and services where voters don't see it as easily. These taxes cost voters jobs and benefits. The cause and effect of this process is not easily seen by the voters. But the effect is the same as the regulatory costs to those of us who run businesses. They make us less competative and we reduce benefits and cut jobs.

Now we get to the real probelm with congress: spending. Spending is fun. Voters like it when money comes their way. And they don't like it when you cut it. That's the major problem with residual programs where spending is renewed every year. So all this back and forth about issues that Bo writes about and politicians argue over is not about a one time spending project to build a Dam or a Hospital or a road. It is about the residual spending. And, the common thing about these issues is that there is no "right amount" to spend. There is no right amount to spend on education--more would be better. There is no right amount for police--more would be better. There is no right amount for environmental protection--more would be better. There is no right amount for drug treatment and intervention--more would be better. There is no right amount for the arts--more would be better. But there is a limit to "More". The limit is the amount of money that taxes bring in each year. As soon as that limit is reached then there is "no more". Congress and the California legislature have never understood that. So someone authorized borrrowing. And that made politicians happy---all of a sudden "More" became "unlimited". Except all of a sudden another thing happened: A group of voters began to emerge who didn't like spending "more". And they are the Tea Party people. A big problem for the politicians---anyone who wants to spend "more" is their target. Republican or Democrat. And, they are led by a mother, Sarah Palin, who balanced her budget and who balanced her state budget. So she isn't listening to anyone who wants to borrow another Trillion dollars a year with the excuse that the guy before him did it or made him do it.

And, why all this to get to my point? Because what Bo is pointing out here is that America cannot have "more" of everything. There has to be a limit on the budget for each item . And to get to that limit we need honest debate, negotiations and agreement on the priorities and allocation of the resources (and regulations) for each line item. To this end the middle of the two parties have to come together and take back control from the two fringe elements that control their parties and that now exploit and freeze the system. Until that happens the American debt will grow. Nothing shows the vulnerability we are making for ourselves more than the negative effect on financial markets this week when the Chinese were rumored to be considering not supporting their European debt. They denied that rumor yesterday and the markets recovered. But, the handwriting is on the wall for the EU and America if we don't get our act together soon.

First--let me comment on the oil leak:

The oil leak is a very dangerous event for America. It is already having it's repercussions and it is not even plugged yet.
First, we have the President playing politics with it. A stupid thing to do. His comment yesterday that he isn't the one saying "drill baby drill" made him look like a teenager explaining away some foolish act. He just finished announcing his plan to open Million of miles of ocean for drilling. Can the man ever lead and not politicize everything he does? As Ive pointed out time and time again the key is regulation of the environmental safety issues. And this clearly was not done by the Feds. All he had to do was say "we fell down on our job to regulate BP's drilling operation, I've fired the Person responsible and appointed another one to fix the problem. If you drill in American waters you will safeguard the environment or someone else will get the permit. Period. That is leadership not "it's the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night"--who cares--his daughter wants to know if he fixed the problem, just like the American people.
Second, the knee jerk response is to shut down and slow down drilling operations and exploration. Fix it. Give the work to the people who do it right. Period.
Secondly, The American economy and treasury is in shambles. This is not the time to send shock waves through the nation with proclamations of "stop the drills and shut down the pumps". We need oil and we need American oil. We need jobs. We need tax revenue derived from profits and increased wage bases not from increased taxes. We need a President who will fix things and stop the blame game. We've got it: BP will pay the bill. They probably have the bill amortized on their books from when they decided to proceed without adequate safeguards years ago. Now the President needs to have the leadership to spend their money. That means long ago having a meeting with the state governors and approving a plan of action for each of them to initiate long before the oil reached their shores. I just don't think this man knows what leadership is--he's an academic and a salesman. The "I" man is a man without a clue on mamagement. How many times yesterday did he use the word "I"? I am responsible, I wake up to, I go to sleep to it, I didn't know she resigned, I am President and I don't endorse---or condemn boycotts (between states). Leadership or wishy washy political BS?

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