Saturday, December 1, 2012 - 10:57pm

GOP Women

We all know that Republicans lost the election last month as they got crushed by any group other than white males.  As a result, we can see the new strategy emerging.  While they can't place conservative minorities in high profile positions, because um, they're aren't any, what they can do is put women in more prominent roles in the party.  We've seen the beginnings of this strategy with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) pushed to the forefront to speak against U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and now the GOP has appointed Representative Candice Miller (R-MI) as chair of the House Administration Committee.

Speaker John Boehner and his people had been criticized for not appointing any females or minorities.  However, in his defense, he doesn't have many choices.  There will be almost no conservative minorities and only four women GOP Senators in the 113th Congress.  In fact, although 2013 will reflect a record number of women in Congress, Republican numbers are down in both the House and Senate.  With Miller, Republicans will have but one female committee chair of the 19 different committee chairs.  They do have one man of Lebanese heritage, so only 17 of the 19 leadership posts are white guys.

The future of the Republican Party needs to be Collins, Ayotte, and Miller.  Throw in Marco Rubio and conservatives can pretend to be diverse.  With few minorities in office, the women need to take center stage and bridge the gap until the party can further diversify their ranks.  The flaw in this prediction is that old, white men will have to sacrifice their positions of power.  I find it hard to believe the 17 white men who were awarded committee chairs will somehow step aside for the good of the party.  It's the direction they should move, but they won't go without kicking and screaming.

 


Friday, November 30, 2012 - 10:28pm

Obama Pressures GOP

President Tax and Spend took to the stump at a toy factory in Pennsylvania this morning to coerce Republicans into voting for his irresponsible fiscal cliff offer.  Apparently, he believes he can use the bully-pulpit to sway American opinion on the matter.  Despite extolling the virtues of the Simpson-Bowles proposal, his plan completely ignores the bipartisan approach.  His solution is to suck the private sector dry, remove money from the system, and continue spending recklessly.

Even though the federal government spends a staggering $3.5 trillion against only $2.4 trillion in revenue, barely a thought was given to reducing spending.  The administration would only cut $40 billion per year, which amounts to about 1% of federal spending.  It's a drop in the bucket and would have virtually no impact on the deficit.  In addition, Mr. Obama looks to further expand his powers with a permanent extension of the debt ceiling.  While this ceiling is generally raised by both parties whenever necessary, this would allow BHO and any future President to have complete control over their credit card limit.

With this plan, the President showed a complete lack of understanding about the fiscal issues facing this country.  Republicans say it all the time, but the reality is the government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.  They cannot continue in this manner indefinitely.

Sure, the United States can get away with massive debt levels for a number of years since they have control of their currency and thus bond interest rates, but eventually the market will force rates higher.  When that occurs, the debt service level will be staggering.  Just imagine if interest rates were 4.5% instead of the current 1.6% Treasury rates.  That would nearly triple the interest on the debt, which is currently $250 billion per year.  In that scenario, another $500 billion would be necessary to pay interest on the debt.

These are the potential issues facing the nation.  Rather than address them and lead us, Barack has taken the default Democratic position of the last few decades:  tax the wealthy and spend more money.  Of course, his version of wealthy is $250,000 for a married couple, which means only $125,000 per person.  Now that's comfortably middle class or even upper-middle, but it surely is not rich.

 


Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 9:45pm

White House Proposes Monster Tax Increase

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented a proposal to congressional Republicans to raise taxes by a stunning $1.6 trillion over the next ten years.  The plan includes $960 billion from increasing income tax rates and increasing taxes on investment dividends and other income.  It also calls for $600 billion in other additional taxes.  The spending cuts the liberals proposed amount to virtually nothing.  A total of $400 billion in cuts would come from "curbing health programs", a non-specific grouping that appears to be greatly inflated.

The Obama administration would also block every dime of the $109 billion in spending cuts set to take place in January.  The so-called sequestration would be halted.  According to the proposal, the cuts would be delayed, but we all know the cuts will never happen.  He also wants another $50 billion in new spending, the debt ceiling permanently removed and a one-year increase in jobless benefits,

This plan reflects a 4-1 difference of tax increases to spending cuts.  It's supposed to be the other way around.  The Simpson-Bowles proposal that everyone reportedly loves, called for a 3-1 margin of cuts to increases.  In order for the Obama folks to match that general framework, they would need to reverse the numbers.  If they had $400 billion in tax increases and $1.6 trillion in real, actual spending cuts, it would be more palatable.  Instead, their offer reflects typical Democratic positions of the last five decades.  Spend as much money as humanly possible and raise taxes when you run out.

This is why I didn't vote for President Obama this time around.  This proposal is complete garbage.  BHO is leading us down the same path that every generic, tax and spend liberal has taken us.  When in doubt, jack up taxes.

We need to get our fiscal house in order, but not with crushing tax increases.  What we need is hundreds of billions of dollars in real spending cuts, but we know that'll never happen.  It just goes to show you that politicians will never cut spending, no matter how much debt they've created.

 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 10:26pm

Two Down, One to Go

The new Senate that will be seated in January has only 4 Republican women.  Lisa Murkowski (AK), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Susan Collins (ME), and newly elected Deb Fischer (NB) are the only conservatives.  Senators Olympia Snowe (ME) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX) are retiring, so although the Senate will boast a record 20 women, the number of GOP members has declined.

Republicans do not want their recent attack on Susan Rice, a black woman, to be seen as coming from a bunch of old, white men. Therefore, they are trotting out the only women they have in their corner.  Today, it was Susan Collins, the moderate from Maine. 

The only conservative women left to attack Susan Rice are a Senator from Alaska, who is rarely in the continental United States, and a Senator-elect who has yet to take office.  Collins stuck to the party line by claiming she was "troubled" and had many unanswered questions.  She also revealed the true nature of the conservative strategy.  Collins pushed for John Kerry (D-MA) to get the nomination for the next Secretary of State instead of Susan Rice.  Republicans would prefer to see John Kerry receive the nomination because his appointment would require a special election for his open seat in Massachusetts.  Senator Scott Brown is very popular in the state despite losing by a few points in the recent election.  An open seat in an abbreviated time-frame would favor the GOP in picking up the seat. 

However, it appears President Obama will stick with Rice through this convoluted process.  He knows how difficult it will be for conservatives to continue criticizing a prominent black female at a time when they need minority and women voters on their side. 

At this point, I'm waiting for Senator Lisa Murkowski to chime in.  Maybe she'll be in town to vote on the fiscal cliff.  She's the only GOP female left that is seated and staying in office.

 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 9:37pm

Ayotte Takes Role as TWG

The party of old, white guys stood ready to bash the black lady, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice.  They knew it would look bad if it was only Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-NC) doing the hammering.  So rather than take another veteran, white male, Republican politician to question her, they threw Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) into the mix.  It was painfully obvious that Ayotte was there for appearances sake and political positioning.  She was the classic, token white girl.

Senate Armed Services Committee member, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.,speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill following a closed-door meeting with UN Ambassador Susan Rice. | AP Photo

The 44-year old junior Senator from New Hampshire has never been on the national scene before, but suddenly appears with McCain and Graham to question the woman who could be our next Secretary of State?!?  While certainly qualified, she's only been in office since 2011 and has been relatively non-existent on the big stage.  Hmmm, could it be that Republicans just lost a major election and need to broaden their base...especially when attacking another woman?

Liberals are screaming that opposition to Rice is somehow racist and sexist, but I find that to be ridiculous.  Republicans would attack any democratic administration official if they could score political points, regardless of sex or race.  That's all the Benghazi / Susan Rice story is at this point.  Conservatives think they can paint President Obama and his team as incompetent on foreign policy.  They feel he tried to  cover up the issue and wasn't honest with the American people.  That may well be true, but nobody cares...really...except old, white guys.

The Republican party needs to right the ship and fast.  They didn't lose the election over foreign policy matters.  They lost because they do not appeal to any minority group.  While Mr. Obama won 93% of the African-American vote, he also won 73% of the Asian-American vote and 71% of Hispanic voters.  Those are staggering numbers in ethnicities that are growing rapidly.

If the GOP keeps harping on Benghazi and using the few conservative women they have to make the argument, they will push themselves further into oblivion.  If they don't get their act together, liberals will take over the House again and exert even more control on the system.

 


Monday, November 26, 2012 - 9:00pm

Obama Job Approval Soars

Barack Obama is enjoying some of the highest approvals of his presidency since winning re-election.  Two Republican leaning polls have been released in the last two weeks and both have Mr. Obama over 50% approval.  Despite both Gallup and Rasmussen forecasting a Mitt Romney victory, they show significant increases in approval for the man who will be president for another four years.

Poll Date Sample Approve Disapprove Spread
Gallup 11/23 - 11/25 1500 A 53 39 +14
Rasmussen Reports 11/19 - 11/25 1500 LV 54 45 +9

Gallup had Romney up as much as seven percent in the weeks leading up to the November election.  They likewise had President Obama's approval in the tank, but have since reversed course and now give him a strong +14 percent spread over Americans that disapprove.  The same is true for Rasmussen, who puts BHO at 54 percent approval.

Perhaps the two organizations are trying to make up for their terrible poll results.  While Nate Silver correctly predicted every state and the margin of victory in the popular vote, these professional organizations had it wrong for months.  Therefore, we cannot be too sure of their approval surveys.  However, much like other polling firms, their results show direction.  In this case, the trend is clearly higher for the president.  However, when the 2013 calendar rolls around and tax increases hit our wallets, we may see his numbers slide back to where they've been for the last few years...at less than half the population.

 


Sunday, November 25, 2012 - 11:01pm

Graham and King Rebuke Pledge

A new Republican strategy is taking hold and it involves giving the middle finger to Grover Norquist.  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Congressman Peter King (R-NY), two prominent conservative politicians, took to the Sunday morning talk shows to cave on tax increases.  Graham specifically said "I would violate the pledge" and raise taxes in the form of capping deductions, but only if Democrats agreed to entitlement reform.  Like Saxby Chambliss, he claimed it was for the good of the country.

Graham aimed his fire at Grover Norquist, attempting to vilify him and take the focus away from their broken promises.  Therein lies the strategy.  Republicans want to raise your taxes.  The only person holding them back is Grover Norquist, the man responsible for getting conservatives to sign a pledge to never increase taxes.  See, Norquist can run more conservative candidates against a few Senators and Congressman that break his tax pledge in the next election, but he doesn't have enough money and influence to run against them all.  If GOP members stand together and attack Norquist, they can nullify his power and protect what they hold dearest...their jobs.

I now expect many Republicans to agree on tax increases in the form of lower deductions.  They will give liberals what they want and avoid the fiscal cliff at the beginning of calendar year 2013.  The talk show circus is just to lay the groundwork for sticking it to American citizens.  Once again, politicians in Washington will take more money away from hard-working people to cover their mistakes.

 


Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 9:33pm

Another Repulican Caves on Taxes

Add Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) to the growing list of conservatives willing to increase taxes and break their pledge to American citizens.  Chambliss, along with the vast majority of Republicans, signed the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" when he ran for Senate twenty years ago.  Now that it's inconvenient, he plans on breaking that promise and sticking it to taxpayers.  His rationale is that he "cares too much about his country" and that he cares more than Grover Norquist, the head of the organization responsible for creating the pledge.

Sen. Saxby Chamblsis (left) and Grover Norquist are shown. | AP Photos

This is all too familiar with politicians in Washington.  Keep them in power for too long and they'll sell their soul for the sake of expediency.  If Saxby Chambliss cared about his country, he wouldn't have signed off on all those massive spending increases under the last administration.  You know, that was the administration with a Republican President and Congress six of their eight years in power.  The size of their government increased every year to record levels.  If Chambliss cared, he would've stopped spending money when they had control.  Instead, he stuck to the generic GOP mantra of cutting taxes without paying attention to the ever-growing government.

The problem Norquist and Chambliss have is that they've never addressed the spending problem.  They talk a very good game, but when conservatives had full power, they increased spending over and over again.  Republicans will cut your taxes, but they never pay for them with budget reductions.  Where is the "Spending Protection Pledge?"  If politicians signed a pledge to stop spending, we'd solve this mess.

The truth is that both parties want big government and both generate enormous federal deficits.  Raising taxes is the easy way out, so you can be damn sure that Saxby Chambliss will not be alone when he sides with liberals on fiscal cliff negotiations.  Without real budget cuts, our economy will continue to spiral downward.  It will not be long before our finances look like Greece, Spain, and Italy.

 


Friday, November 23, 2012 - 10:11pm

Animals Out on Black Friday

Nobody was trampled to death in a Wal-Mart this time around, but we did have a shooting, along with arrests, robberies, hit-and-runs, and fights.  There was no shortage of deadbeats and lunatic shoppers out for deals on Black Friday last night and this morning.

The shooting honors belong to the Wal-Mart (shocker) of Tallahassee, Florida.  There was a fight outside the store, which led to shots being fired and sending two victims to the hospital.  At last check, their injuries were not life threatening..

At the Sears store in San Antonio, a man pulled a handgun over a dispute about who was ahead in line.  The sad part is the man was not arrested because he had a concealed weapons permit.  Gee, I didn't know that allowed you to pull a gun on whomever you want.  Only in America.  Land of the free, home of the brave armed and dangerous.

In Springfield, Mass, the sketch town where I unfortunately work, a man abandoned his girlfriend's two-year old son in the car while he shopped at Kmart for a nice 51-inch high definition television.  The police found the child sleeping and was unharmed.  The man claimed he lost track of the child in the store and lost him.  Of course, he never reported him missing.

Those are just a few examples of deranged animals that came out this year.  We also had a man threatening to stab shoppers in Sacramento, California, a hit-and-run in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Washington state, and an arrest of a shopper at a Wal-Mart in Florida for disorderly conduct.  The last one was cutting in line...if she tried that crap in Texas, they'd have pulled a gun on her.

All in all, the Christmas season got off to a rollicking good start.  If only we could shut down all the Wal-Marts, the world may be a safer place.  However, I guess Black Friday is just not the same without some anger and violence.  At least nobody died (yet), so we can consider this year a modest improvement for society.  Until next year.

 


Thursday, November 22, 2012 - 10:45pm

Fat Man's Approval Surging

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) may be getting a hard time from national Republicans who believe he helped President Obama get re-elected, but his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is winning high praise from voters.  Two polls were released in the last few days that show the governor with a 65% and 77% overall approval rating, numbers unheard of a few months ago.  In addition, more than 90% of his constituents approve of his management of the hurricane.  Voters also applauded his embrace of President Obama in a show of bipartisan leadership immediately after the storm.

This sets Governor Christie up perfectly for a run in 2016.  Not only did he solidify President Obama's victory and insure himself access to the nomination in four years, he gave himself the opportunity to boost his own image ahead of a presidential campaign.  National GOP figures will soon get past his friendship with BHO and realize he's their best chance of winning the White House back in 2016.  If they can see past Romney's flaws leading up to the election, they can certainly overlook the fat man's embrace of the Democratic President.

 


Thursday, November 22, 2012 - 12:24pm

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy turkey day holiday.  I'm most thankful for my beautiful family and great friends.

 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 1:06pm

House Calendar

A full 40 days remain until the end of the year, but I was shocked to discover how few days Congress will be in session between now and December 31st.  The House Calendar below shows the dates where Congress is actually at work in Washington.  The shaded brown areas on the calendar reflect their time in the office.  They're predominantly on recess otherwise, or what they like to call 'Constituent Work."  That's code for working from home, which Representatives can basically choose to do whatever they like.

In reviewing the Congressional calendar, it's no wonder these politicians don't get any work done.  They work only five days in October, eight in November, and eight in December.  Even more ridiculous is that many of the shaded days on the calendar do not allow for votes until 6:30pm at the beginning of a given week and no voting after 3:00pm at the end of the week.  This allows members to show up very late on Monday and leave early on Friday.  What a country!  What I wouldn't do for a job like that!

The problem, of course, is the coming fiscal cliff.  Congress has only twelve days left on the 2012 calendar in which to create legislation and vote on the Bush tax cut extension, payroll tax extension, and sequestration.  Of those twelve days, only six of them are full working days.  The rest are late arrival or early dismissal.

If you believe the fiscal cliff will be resolved, and I do, there is little time on the calendar for Congress to take action.  My best prediction is that they come to a resolution during the week of December 11th.  They will likely have a framework for a deal by the beginning of the week, with a vote coming toward the end of the week.  It's a virtual guarantee that they will not work beyond the 14th of December.  We wouldn't want to interfere with their month-long holiday recess.

 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 10:55pm

West Finally Concedes

It took a full two weeks, but tea-party favorite Congressman Allen West (R-FL) has finally conceded to Democrat Patrick Murphy in Florida's 18th District.  Murphy had defeated West by 0.6%, which was outside the margin that would trigger an automatic recount.  Rather than congratulate Murphy on his victory, West turned to a team of lawyers in an attempt to overturn the results.  He claimed errors, double-counting, and inaccuracies in St. Lucie County and won the right to re-tabulate votes in the county.  However, after re-counting the votes in that area, no significant changes occurred.  West came to his senses today and admitted defeat.

With one more incumbent Republican going down in defeat, Democrats have cemented their gains in this election.  At last count, liberals had picked up eight seats in the chamber.  Fortunately, Republicans have maintained control of the House and can keep Democrats in check in the Senate and White House.  Without a GOP majority, liberals would have complete power in Washington and would enact legislation far more detrimental to our economy than what took place during Obama's first term.  With a split, we can at least be assured of a reasonable balance of power.  Perhaps both parties can work together this time around.  Not likely, but who knows.

 


Monday, November 19, 2012 - 9:44pm

Congress Goes on Vacation...Again

With only 42 days remaining before our economy falls off the fiscal cliff, you would assume Democrats and Republicans are hard at work hammering out an agreement.  Unfortunately, you would be incorrect.  Congress has already taken Thanksgiving recess.  In fact, they've been on vacation since Friday and will not return to work until the calendar shows Tuesday, November 27th.  That must be why both parties were so happy last week.  We thought it was from optimism about the framework of a deal close at hand.  We thought wrong.  Senator Harry Reid literally said "We're going to do it now." right before he busted out of Washington.  How pathetic.

In fact, Congress will be on vacation for most of the 42 days that are left in the year.  The House is actually set to adjourn for the year on December 14th, less than half-way through the month.  This schedule will make it very difficult to get a deal done.  However, with that date pre-set, you can be sure that a resolution will be complete on or before that date.

According to USA Today, this 112th Congress is the least productive in history.  The legislation produced has been the lowest recorded since the end of World War II.  It's no wonder they can't get anything done.  They're never there.

While Congress left town, the President did one better.  He left the country.  BHO is on a diplomatic trip to Asia, so you can see how seriously he's taking the looming fiscal cliff.  What great leadership Obama is showing.

 


Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 5:06pm

Will Democrats Address Entitlements?

Now that liberals have won the election, they're feeling empowered to get their way on the fiscal cliff negotiations.  To that end, they're hinting at absolutely no reforms for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said outright that he will not touch Social Security.  The braindead politician refuses to even look at fixing the Social Security program so that it will exist for future generations of Americans.  Without significant change and fast, Social Security is projected to be bankrupt by 2031.  We will have tens of millions of poverty-stricken senior citizens in less than 20 years.

Social Security is actually the easiest of the three programs to fix.  All you need to do is raise the retirement age by three years, remove the cap on salary, and reduce benefits by ten percent for people under fifty-five years old.  It's simple enough, but Democrats view Social Security as a sacred cow that cannot be touched, regardless of how screwed up it has become.

The more difficult issues are Medicare and Medicaid.  Together, they account for $750 billion of the $3.5 trillion federal budget each year.  That's 21% of the entire budget and 31% of federal tax revenue.  Those figures are higher than nearly every industrialized nation, yet they are projected to grow rapidly in the next ten years.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Medicare/Medicaid will grow to $1.1 trillion by the end of President Obama's second term, which projects to 27% of the entire budget.  If you don't believe the CBO, you can look at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which shows Medicare/Medicaid at $1.0 trillion, but also 27% of the budget.  Either way, these entitlement programs are sucking up  more and more of federal spending with no end in sight.

Harry Reid and all the clowns on the Hill are slowing bankrupting this great country as they refuse to correct the most major domestic issue of our lifetime.  They are content to stay in power as long as possible without making any tough decisions.  The same can be said for President Barack Obama, who's had four years to take a crack at reforming entitlements, but also didn't lift a finger.  Like Reid, he didn't want to take any action that could cost him votes in his next election.  God forbid.  However, now that he's not running for office, perhaps he can grow a pair, stop pandering to his various constituencies, and lead us into a better future.  I doubt it, but one can hope.

 


Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 9:27pm

Allen West Still Clinging to Power

Poor Allen West.  The Republican Florida Congressman lost his seat to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy nearly two weeks ago, but he refuses to concede defeat.  He lost by 0.6%, outside the 0.5% margin required for a recount.  Recounts are rarely successful to begin with, and rarely still when it's further than the maximum range.  However, West is undeterred.  He has decided to wage a legal battle in St. Lucie County to prevent them from certifying their election results and to re-tabulate the ballots cast.

Rep. Allen West is shown. | Reuters

West would like to keep counting until he somehow gets the results in his favor.  Then he would most definitely declare victory and tell Patrick Murphy to admit defeat and go home.  That doesn't appear likely though.  His thinly veiled argument is that some votes, in a Murphy-heavy area, had accidentally been double-counted.  I doubt he believes anything similar occurred in conservative regions.

West's team of lawyers lost their first fight to stop the county from certifying the results, but he did succeed in getting officials to re-tally the early ballots in the county.  St. Lucie officials conducted a re-tally of early votes, but Murphy's lead was not dramatically different.  Regardless, the pathetic West will still not concede.  They're still pushing for a full recount, even though the law doesn't allow for it.  In addition, his team believes they're just getting started.  Apparently, his advisors are as moronic as their soon-to-be former Congressman.

 


Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 9:20pm

How to Balance the Budget

The federal government takes in $2.4 trillion each year in revenue, but spends $3.5 trillion, creating a staggering $1.1 trillion annual deficit.  Since they run behind every year, the total national debt has recently surpassed $16 trillion.  Balancing the budget is simple math really.  You only need to match those two numbers.  This can be done by increasing taxes/revenue, decreasing government spending, or inflating/growing your way out of the problem.  Let's briefly look at all three possible solutions.

While the Republican Party is vehemently against raising taxes, they have softened their position in the days since the election.  They have yet to concede a specific piece, but seem willing to negotiate.  Unfortunately, increasing taxes during a slow economic environment is never a good thing.  Whether it's through closing loopholes or letting the Bush tax cuts expire, the effect is generally the same.  It would take money out of the private sector and reduce economic growth.  If GDP was near 4.0%, the economy could arguably handle higher taxes.  However, with GDP registering at 2.0% in the last report, a significant tax increase would push us toward recession.  If the tax hike is not substantial, it would have a negligible effect on balancing the budget.

Cutting spending is another mantra the GOP likes to trumpet, but the truth is they don't reduce spending any more than Democrats.  The Republicans had full control of the House and Senate during George Bush's first six years as President.  In that time, federal spending increased every year to record levels and the deficit grew as a result. 

The sequestration bill that would cut $120 billion per year starting in January, 2013 amounts to only 3.4% of spending.  Despite the relatively small dollar amount, it would also reduce economic growth and push us in the direction of a recession.  Coupled with the Bush tax cut expiration at year-end gives you the fiscal cliff.  As everyone knows, the real spending problem are entitlements programs. By the way, Washington hasn't agreed to any major reform in that area in over a generation.

You can balance the budget without ever raising taxes or cutting spending.  This is the most politically palatable solution.  By inflating the economy while controlling spending, you can raise revenue over time and balance the two figures.  Federal revenue in the year 2000 was only $2.0 trillion.  Taxes have actually decreased in that time, yet inflation has helped grow revenue by 20%; and that's with a low inflation rate over the last decade.  If the rate of inflation and growth increases in the next twelve years versus the last twelve, we can easily balance the budget. 

Consider that the Federal Reserve has enacted three rounds of quantitative easing (i.e. printing money) to the tune of $3 trillion and counting.  Their current stance is to print $40 billion every month indefinitely.  As a result of their, um, efforts, the Fed has now supplanted China as the largest buyer of U.S. debt.  While many disagree with their money printing strategy, they're creating an inflationary environment.  They've also pushed the cost of borrowing down to record low levels with rock-bottom interest rates, which stimulates the economy.  If they continue these tactics for the foreseeable future, we will have growth and inflation, which will result in higher federal revenue.  As long as Congress can keep spending near their current levels, I estimate Ben Bernanke and the money-printing Federal Reserve can help balance the budget in less than ten years.

 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 9:33am

Anyone But Kerry

Now that President Obama has won re-election, many high-level posts are up in the air.  With Hillary Clinton set to step down from Secretary of State and a potential shift for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a couple replacements are needed.  Unfortunately, Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) name has been floated for each position.  The 68-year old former Democratic Presidential nominee of 2004 has already proven during his time in the national spotlight that he's as out of touch with the electorate as Mitt Romney.

While his career has been distinguished on paper, he is not a trustworthy individual, proving in the past that he'll say and do anything to win political office.  He was the face of anti-war activism upon his return from the Vietnam War and testified before Congress in 1971, but when he became a politician, he lost his soul.  He used his military career to get elected, but ran away from his record and anti-war stance when running for President years later.  He then made sure everyone knew he won three purple hearts, yet admitted to committing many atrocities along with fellow soldiers.  While he was swift-boated by the angry, old, white people party, he brought much of the criticism onto himself.  Surely, President Obama can find someone besides the tired, old guard to fill these important roles.

 


Monday, November 12, 2012 - 9:58pm

Many House Seats Still Undecided

With the election nearly a week old, you would assume that every race has been decided.  However, a total of seven House seats are still up in the air due to small margins of victory that often trigger automatic recounts.  Two seats in Arizona and California are outstanding as well as contests in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Florida.  While some of these may take a while, others are more clear-cut. 

The most prominent race is the one in South Florida, where incumbent Congressman Allen West (R) declined to concede to Patrick Murphy (D), despite losing by 0.6%.  An automatic recount is only triggered when the votes are within 0.5%.  However, the arrogant West refuses to accept the outcome and is using the court system to attempt to overturn the final result.

Kyrsten Sinema is shown on election night.

In Arizona, the 9th district has been called for the Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who is ahead by 5,800 votes.  Her GOP challenger, Vernon Parker, also has not given up.  In Arizona's 2nd district, the Democrat is winning by a few hundred votes, but many ballots are still to be counted.  North Carolina and California's two races also have Democrats holding small leads.

The Louisiana contest is headed to a run-off between two Republicans, so that won't be decided for some time.  Their contest won't be held until the calendar turns to December 8th.  Either way, this contest is going to the conservatives.

All told, Democrats lead in six of the seven remaining House races.  If these battles stay as is, the new Congress will be 234 Republicans to 201 Democrats.  While this still favors conservatives, it would be a net gain of eight seats for the Democrats and not nearly as many Republicans as initially believed.  It would take the GOP down from a 49 seat advantage to only 33.  While still impressive, the overall election losses are a stunning defeat for the angry, old, white people party.

 


Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 9:13pm

GOP Folding Quickly on Taxes

Never before have I seen the Republican Party capitulating so fast on the issue of tax increases.  Less than a week removed from losing the presidential election, a slew of prominent conservatives have conceded that tax hikes on the wealthy is not such a bad idea.  First  came Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and then came commentator Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard.  Others doing the talk show circuit have implied as much, knowing the vast majority of Americans favor taxing the rich.

President Obama is holding most of the cards here and Republicans are licking their wounds.  The Grand Ole Party is starting to realize that they've become a group of angry, old, white people who need to stop their obstructionist tactics.  They took the strategy four years ago to say no to everything Barack Obama and fellow Democrats proposed, including letting tax cuts for the wealthy expire.  While the strategy worked in 2010, it backfired badly in 2012.  In a year with high unemployment, a slow economy, and a generally unpopular President, conservatives still could not win.  Not only did they lose the White House, they lost seats in the Senate after believing they would take it back or at least narrow the gap.

To be clear, taxing the wealthy will not close the budget deficit.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, it only amounts to $350 billion over ten years, or an average of just $35 billion per year.  With an annual deficit of $1.2 trillion, I don't think anybody believes that  reducing it to $1.165 trillion is going to do much.  Therefore, this discussion is pure political posturing.  Like many have said before, change needs to take place with entitlements.  Taxing rich folks sounds great, but it only tricks the public from focusing on the real issues.

 


Saturday, November 10, 2012 - 9:00am

BHO Draws Line in Sand

Newly re-elected President Obama has threatened to veto any extension of the Bush-era tax cuts that includes the higher marginal tax brackets.  Mr. Obama calls it a tax break for wealthy Americans, but depending on where you live and how long you've been making over $250,000, most would not deem that wealthy.  Bear in mind that figure is for a married couple filing jointly, so it's really $125,000 per person.  The amount for a single individual is much lower.  If you reside in New York, San Francisco, Boston, and elsewhere, that amount doesn't get you very far.  $250k in Iowa is a lot different than $250k in Manhattan.

Regardless, the larger issue is raising taxes on anyone during a slow economic environment.  With Gross Domestic Product (GDP) barely at 2 percent, now is not the time to increase taxes and take money out of the system.  If "revenue" absolutely needs to go higher, the government should wait until GDP is closer to 4 percent in order to absorb the reduction of funds in the private sector. 

Of course, since BHO has never worked in the private sector, he probably doesn't understand that concept of expansionary versus contractionary fiscal policy.  He only sees an enormous deficit.  Although he didn't create most of it (despite what the right would have you believe), he fails to acknowledge that his government has a massive spending problem.  He's had four years to address entitlement reform, which is 2/3 of the entire budget, but has completely ignored it.  Instead, he focuses on taxing the so-called wealthy, which will barely even make a dent in the deficit.  Why?  Because it's politically popular to raise taxes on the rich.

The stock market does not appreciate Washington waiting until the last minute to avoid the fiscal cliff and pass these laws.  If politicians continue to play games, the market will continue to decline.  What needs to happen is a full extension of the Bush tax cuts until such time that the economy can handle tax increases.  That extension would represent $229 billion of the $339 billion of the fiscal cliff. 

Congress also needs to address the $110 billion sequestration portion of the cliff.  Spending cuts are desperately needed, but they need to be done responsibly and at the right time.  These were purposely ugly cuts established only to force Republicans and Democrats to agree to something more reasonable.  They obviously didn't.  None of the cuts focused on entitlements, which is the real problem.  Both sides need to get together, cancel these spending cuts and enact real reform.  They also need the reductions to take place gradually over time to avoid damaging our fragile economy.

 


Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 11:09pm

Market Down 430 Points Since BHO Victory

In only two days of trading since Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States, the stock market has declined over 430 points.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 312 points yesterday and another 121 today.  The fear of falling off the fiscal cliff is suddenly front and center, despite no significant changes in Washington.  The Senate will remain in Democratic hands, the House is strongly Republican, and President Obama will be in office four more years.  However, Wall Street is already anxious for a fix of the cliff.

Politicians have trouble enacting any legislation that isn't imminently necessary.  They will wait until the last possible minute to fix a problem they've known about all year.  Unfortunately, it may take a stock market crash correction before any of these buffoons decide to get together and extend the Bush era tax cuts and correct the fast-approaching spending cuts.  Speaker of the House John Boehner has already extended an olive branch to the President to work on averting the fiscal cliff, but it remains to be seen if his party will allow him to negotiate with the liberals on more palatable spending cuts and revenue raising techniques.

The closer we get to year-end without a resolution to the fiscal cliff, the more volatile the stock market will act.  Remember that leading up to the debt-ceiling deadline, the market dropped nearly 20% in two and a half weeks.  We could easily see that happen again before the calendar reaches January.  That would imply another 2,000 point haircut for the Dow.  Might that be the impetus to get Congress off their collective arses and prevent American investors from losing their shirt?  I hope it doesn't come to that, but we know that politicians rarely  get things done until there's a pressing problem in the world.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 9:45pm

Dems Pick Up 2 Senate Seats

Thanks to the backwards tea party, Democrats added to their advantage in the Senate and picked up two additional seats.  They will now hold a 55-45 margin over the GOP.  The most stinging results for Republicans come out of Missouri and Indiana, where extremist Todd Akin got buried by Claire McCaskill (D) and Joe Donnelly (D) soundly defeated tea party favorite Richard Mourdock (R).  Despite both conservative states voting comfortably for Mitt Romney, neither Republican was able to put up much of a fight in the Senate.

Akin and Mourdock sealed their fate after bizarre comments on rape and abortion.  Akin proved utter incompetence by proclaiming that women couldn't become pregnant from rape, whereas Mourdock thought God intended women to be raped if it resulted in a pregnancy. 

This is what the Republican party has been reduced to across the nation.  Nominate a couple wingnuts in conservative, red states and watch them lose when their fanatic, radical nature rises to the surface.  Rather than focus on economic and fiscal issues, the GOP has devolved into fighting over social issues that were resolved in the courts over forty years ago.

The problem is not the two extremists.  These type of right-wing wackos will always be roaming around political circles.  The problem is that the Republican Party continues to throw these clowns in the ring to run in statewide elections for crucial Senate seats.  Missouri and Indiana should be easy wins for the GOP, but instead they go to liberals by default for the next six years.  Missourit was technically a hold for the Democrats, but Republicans lost seats elsewhere to make it a net two for the left.

Democrats won throughout the country, but these two races stand out as ones that got away.  Republicans need to do a lot of soul searching in the next few months as they no longer seem capable of winning competitive, statewide races.  The tea party fanatics pushing them further to the right have marginalized the party. If they don't fix their leadership structure soon, they'll be out of power for a long time.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 11:59pm

President Obama Wins Re-Election

As expected, Barack Obama has won a second term as President of the United States.  He was declared the winner of Ohio by all the major networks at approximately 11:15pm EST to push his Electoral College total over 270.  States still outstanding as of this writing are Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Alaska.  Mr. Obama is currently slightly ahead in all the remaining states save for Alaska.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 8: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a keynote address during the 18th Annual Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Gala Dinner on May 8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. APAIC is a non-profit group that works to develop Asian American leaders and politicians.

Governor Romney is not yet ready to concede the election as he trails in Ohio by less than 2,000 votes with only 77% of precincts reporting.  President Obama's cushion is projected to grow, but there is still the problem of provisional ballots.  In Ohio, more than one hundred thousand provisional ballots were submitted and none of them can be counted until ten days after the election.

That said, President Obama also leads in Florida by 48,000 votes with 91% reporting.  The state has not been called yet, but if there is an issue in Ohio, the twenty-nine electoral votes in Florida could also push Obama above the 270 vote threshold.  If he somehow loses Florida and Ohio is in question, he would just need a victory Colorado to make them irrelevant. 

The popular vote is too close to call, but it appears that President Obama should win that metric once California and other west coast states report their full results.  That aligns fairly close to national polling averages that have been released in the last few days.

The Senate will remain in Democratic hands and the House will stay strongly Republican.  The bottom line is that nothing will change, despite the vast amount of money spent on all these elections.  If anything, the Senate will become more liberal and the House of Representatives will be more conservative as both parties project to add seats in their respective chambers.

The narrative for the losers will be that conservatives struggle to win statewide elections in this country and they have not been able to appeal to any minority group.  They will need to purge themselves of extremist, tea-party nuts and find a voice that speaks to moderates.

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Monday, November 5, 2012 - 9:40pm

If the Polls Are Correct...

This election will not be close tomorrow night.  President Obama has held a consistent lead in every state he needs to get 270 electoral votes for some time now.  The twelve swing states listed below are where the election will be decided.  In the supposed battleground State of Ohio, the president is ahead by 2.9%.  He's also crushing Mitt Romney in early voting by a reported 2-1 margin. 

Mr. Romney has attempted to expand the map by campaigning in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.  However, as you can see from the polling averages, he's losing by 4.2%, 4.0%, 5.2%, and 3.8%, respectively.  The spread was a little smaller in all of these states last week, but Romney has never led any group of polls in these states.  The Obama camp does seem a bit nervous about Pennsylvania, but he shouldn't have too much trouble winning these, especially if Philadelphia and Pittsburgh come out in typical fashion.

State Obama Romney Spread
Colorado 48.8 47.3 Obama +1.5
Florida 48.2 49.7 Romney +1.5
Iowa 48.7 46.3 Obama +2.4
Michigan 49.5 45.5 Obama +4.0
Minnesota 49.6 44.4 Obama +5.2
Nevada 50.2 47.4 Obama +2.8
New Hampshire 49.9 47.9 Obama +2.0
North Carolina 46.2 49.2 Romney +3.0
Ohio 50.0 47.1 Obama +2.9
Pennsylvania 49.4 45.6 Obama +3.8
Virginia 48.0 47.6 Obama +0.3
Wisconsin 50.4 46.2 Obama +4.2

With those states locked up, President Obama needs only Nevada or Iowa to surpass 270 votes.  He's winning in both.  He's also ahead in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Virginia, but he doesn't need victories in any to remain President.  Further, polls have moved in his direction in the last two weeks, so he has the momentum.  This often means a candidate can outperform their numbers, if only because the trailing poll data has yet to catch up.

For Mitt Romney to become President, he first needs to succeed in Florida and North Carolina.  He then needs to virtually run the table and overturn a lot of states leaning the other way.  His next best chances are Colorado and Virginia, but he trails in both.  He then needs to take Ohio, which isn't looking too good.  If he loses Ohio, he would have to flip Iowa and Nevada, which also lean to the President.

The bottom line is that polls need to be very wrong for Mitt Romney to win.  With an vast number of polling organizations in the field throughout this campaign process, it's difficult to imagine them being wrong in so many states, especially with momentum on BHO's side.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 9:32pm

Obama Takes National Lead

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy and Governor's Christie's ringing endorsement of the President's response, polls are beginning to show a slight move in Barack Obama's direction.  Mitt Romney had a 1.8% advantage in the national polls only ten days ago.  That lead has since vanished and Mr. Obama now claims a 1.2% margin with not one recent poll showing him behind the Republican candidate.

Poll Date Sample MoE Obama (D) Romney (R) Spread
CNN/Opinion Research 11/2 - 11/4 693 LV 3.5 49 49 Tie
Pew Research 10/31 - 11/3 2709 LV 2.2 50 47 Obama +3
Politico/GWU/Battleground 10/29 - 11/1 1000 LV 3.1 48 48 Tie
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl 11/1 - 11/3 1475 LV 2.6 48 47 Obama +1
Rasmussen Reports 11/1 - 11/3 1500 LV 3.0 49 49 Tie
ABC News/Wash Post 10/31 - 11/3 2069 LV 2.5 49 48 Obama +1
FOX News 10/28 - 10/30 1128 LV 3.0 46 46 Tie
CBS News/NY Times 10/25 - 10/28 563 LV 4.0 48 47 Obama +1
National Journal 10/25 - 10/28 713 LV 4.4 50 45 Obama +5

With Gallup suspending their poll since the storm, nine organizations have data from the field beginning from October 25th.  They show President Obama ahead in five surveys and tied in the other four.  Virtually all nine have moved in his direction in the last ten days.  Heck, even the FOX News poll, a bastion for conservative Republican folk, thinks the race is tied.  If the unfair and unbalanced network can't bring themselves to show Mitt Romney winning, then nobody will.

With less than 48 hours to go on the calendar before Election Day, it's pretty clear the momentum is with President Obama.  Although the national polls have little relevance to battleground state math, they do point to trends and Obama has gained 3 percent in less than two weeks time.  We know the president polls even stronger in swing states, so he's definitely the favorite on Tuesday.  Anything can happen, especially with voter suppression tactics under way in Florida, but Mr. Romney is going to have a tough time overcoming these numbers.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 9:02pm

BHO Pulling Ahead

Courtesy of fivethirtytight.com, here is a look at yesterday's swing state polls.  A total of twenty-two were released in the battlegrounds on Friday and President Obama led in nineteen of them.  Two reflected a tie and Mitt Romney led in just one poll.  While North Carolina was not surveyed, what's important to note is that Mr. Obama does not need to win all these states to win re-election.  He can lose Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Colorado and still claim victory with more than 270 electoral votes.

If Obama happens to win every state listed above, it will be a crushing, electoral landslide.  Besides Florida, Virginia is also a state crucial to Mitt Romney's chances.  Unfortunately, Ipsos/Reuters has him down 3% and We Ask America tracks him behind 0.9%.  Colorado is another state he desperately needs, but Barack Obama leads by 4% in the Democratic-leaning PPP poll and 2% in SurveyUSA.   Obama leads in three of four polls in Ohio, all three surveys in Michigan, and both polls in Iowa.

Today's polls were not much better for the former Governor from Massachusetts.  President Obama is up 6 points in Pennsylvania, according to PPP, he leads by 5 points in the Des Moines Register Poll of Iowa voters, ahead by 3 in Wisconsin by PPP, and tied in New Hampshire by the Granite State poll via the University of New Hampshire.  Nationally, Mitt Romney is faring better, but those polls are not very relevant other than to signal a general direction.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 8:53am

Can Obama Win Florida?

President Obama has been moving ahead in many state polls in the last few days, but if he's able to wrench Florida away from Mitt Romney when the calendar turns to Tuesday night, this race will be over before it gets started.  Mr. Obama won the Sunshine State by 2.8% in 2008, but has been trailing Romney since the Denver debate last month.  Since the last debate, however, the numbers are tighter.

FLORIDA

Poll Date Sample MoE Romney (R) Obama (D) Spread
TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon 10/30 - 11/1 800 LV 3.5 51 45 Romney +6
NBC/WSJ/Marist 10/30 - 11/1 1545 LV 2.5 47 49 Obama +2
WeAskAmerica 10/30 - 10/30 1146 LV 3.0 50 49 Romney +1
Gravis Marketing 10/30 - 10/30 549 LV 4.2 50 47 Romney +3
CNN/Opinion Research 10/25 - 10/28 770 LV 3.5 50 49 Romney +1
SurveyUSA 10/25 - 10/27 595 LV 4.1 47 47 Tie
PPP (D) 10/26 - 10/28 687 LV 3.7 48 49 Obama +1
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac 10/23 - 10/28 1073 LV 3.0 47 48 Obama +1

Of the eight polls above, President Obama leads in three, one is tied, and Governor Romney is ahead in four.  The combined average gives Romney a mere 0.9% advantage.  If not for the recent TBT/Herald poll released yesterday, this would be considered a tie. 

Early voting suggests the President is slightly ahead.  Republicans have gone out of their way to restrict early voting in Florida and make it more difficult for individuals to vote.  Despite that fact, about 3.5 million Floridians have voted thus far, with 43% being Democrats and 40% Republicans.  Four years ago, then Senator Obama won Florida's early vote by 10%.  On the surface, this would imply that Mitt Romney has greatly narrowed the gap versus John McCain.  However, many more people are taking advantage of early voting this time around, so the gap should naturally track back toward the state averages. 

Governor Romney is still expected to squeak out a small victory in Florida, but if he can't take home the 29 electoral votes, he has no chance of getting to 270 and winning the election.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 9:40pm

Barack Polls High on Sandy Response

The presidential race may be a statistical tie, but the country overwhelmingly approves of the job President Obama is doing in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  A new Washington Post/ABC Tracking poll shows that 78% of voters believe the President is doing a good or excellent job in response to the natural disaster.  The same poll gave Governor Mitt Romney a 44% net positive rating for his response, although many offered no opinion since he was not the sitting President and less able to take action.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/files/2012/10/Sandy-response.jpg

With only five days left before the election, these numbers should clearly help President Obama in his re-election efforts.  In times of crisis, people come together and turn to their leader for support and assistance.  It also helps that the Republican Governor of New Jersey, the state devastated the most by the Hurricane, went out of his way to praise the President for his help and personal efforts.

A natural disaster allows any President to show leadership and bring the nation together.  Add in the fact that his team's response has been lauded in many circles, including his political foes, and you have all the ingredients for a bounce in the polls in the days leading into the election.  Considering the race is a statistical tie at the national level and nearly as close in swing states, the events of the last few days could very well propel President Obama to a second term.

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