Here’s something no one wants to talk about, whether Republican or Democrat. Well, I should not say no one, but pretty much every Republican and Democrat who participated in the terms of the debate over the debt ceiling has ignored this.Government spending is going above 25% of GDP.Tax revenue, up until the last two years has averaged 18.5% GDP.Let’s give the Democrats, for the sake of argument, their Clinton tax increases back. The 1998 to 1999 years saw the highest amount of federal revenue come in. But it was only in the 21% of GDP range.In fact, 1945 and 1999 are the only two years I can find where tax revenue into the federal government surpassed 20%.In other words, with the economy firing on all cylinders, only twice has revenue into the federal treasury been over 20% of GDP and spending has now gone well above 20% of GDP.Today the Senate will vote on the compromise debt ceiling plan. If the plan is implemented to the letter as intended, we will add $12 trillion in debt over the next decade.Please click here for the rest of the post.
This isn’t Monday-morning quarterbacking. For one thing, it’s not football season yet. For another, the game wasn’t played on Sunday afternoon. It’s been going on for weeks, with twists and turns more reminiscent of comic opera than football.Even so, today’s media game has been all about deciding who got the better deal. Many of the partisans think they came up short, and are looking to blame their guys. In the media (which sees any legislation as an achievement, no matter how hollow, cynical, or ultimately ineffectual), many are scoring this as a win for both sides. (That’s to say, all of the parties will be able to go back to their respective bases with something to brag about.)Around the middle of last week, I lost track of the specific content of the deals, which was in constant flux. And the media lost track of it too! The only reporting, it seemed, was about who was up (Boehner, Reid, Obama) and who was down at any point in time. That tells you all you need to know about how cynical and empty this whole process has been.Please click here for the rest of the post.
He’s got the Democrats to take the fall with the base, convinced Obama is an inept negotiator.He’s got the GOP befuddled thinking they’ve had some success.Meanwhile, Obama himself gets several loose ends sewn together that could complicate his re-election, including the debt ceiling, spending cuts, and tax reform.And if he pulls it all off and wins re-election, he’s also secured full funding for Obamacare, killed off the Bush tax cuts for good, and probably cut defense spending enough to be re-allocated elsewhere in 2013.People saying the Democrats were big losers are right. On policy.But politically, Obama is a massive winner and if he wins re-election will also have some long term liberal policy victories greeting him January 1, 2013.Please click here for the rest of the post.
A second terrorist attack on soldiers stationed at Fort Hood, Texas in under two years was discovered last week, and its plotter, Private First Class Naser Jason Abdo, was arrested before the attack could be carried out. The latter fact, of course, differentiates this plot from the successful attack carried out by Major Nidal Hasan in November 2009, when the Army officer and Islamist radical gunned down thirteen people – including a pregnant woman – and wounded thirty-two more, while yelling “Allahu Akbar!” after receiving counseling and religious justification for the attack from the Yemen-based, American-born al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.Abdo was formally charged in federal court Friday with possession of an “unregistered destructive device.” The plot that was foiled last week, allegedly inspired by Hasan’s rampage (Abdo reportedly yelled “Nidal Hasan, Fort Hood 2009!” in court Friday), involved attacking a popular (and still unspecified) off-post restaurant with pipe (pressure cooker) bombs, and then using a handgun to shoot any who survived the blast. According to law enforcement officials, the attack was planned for Thursday – the day after Abdo was arrested. His next appearance in court is reportedly scheduled for 2 pm on August 4, at the Waco Federal Courthouse.Please click here for the rest of the post.
That’s the rather bombshell allegation being made today; the gist is that Rodney Young (a retiring psychologist for the Department of Juvenile Justice has reported that his colleagues were the target of an attempt to extort $500 contributions to Steve Beshear’s re-election campaign, with the threat that they could lose their jobs if they did not so contribute. The major argument against this happening is that it would be EXTREMELY STUPID of anyone affiliated with the Governor to make this kind of threat.Please click here for the rest of the post.
An article by Sarah Kent in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, “Traders Eye Oil Tanker Play”, (full text requires subscription*) purports to explain current action in the oil market, as 30 million barrels of crude oil are due to be released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) before August 31.Please click here for the rest of the post.