Government Shutdown Didn’t Kill Economy

Jobs Report

It was guaranteed. The Republicans destroyed the economy last month with the government shutdown. That’s what we were told would happen. Fortunately, it didn’t kill much. In fact, the numbers are much better than expected.

What effect did the government shutdown really have? It gave us something to gripe about. It pointed to the partisan nature of the way the country is run. It put the democrats in a bad light over decisions they made about what to shut down and what to keep up and running. It put the republicans in a worse light because they were to blame for tanking the economy…

…except it didn’t tank.

According to the LA Times:

Despite forecasts that job growth would be sapped by the budget impasse and government shutdown, employers in the U.S. stepped up their hiring last month by adding 204,000 new jobs across a wide spectrum of industries.

Read More: LA Times

What the US Government Can Learn from Israel About Budgeting

Netanyahu Face the Nation

This morning on Face the Nation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a lot to say about Iran and the potential for lifting sanctions without a firm agreement in place about nuclear weapons. That was standard an expected, but he did have one sound byte regarding the budget that’s worthy of discussion.

The concept is pretty simple:

“We introduced one change. If you don’t get a budget by the end of the year, an automatic budget goes into place, 1/12th each month of last year’s budget. If you don’t get a budget within six months, you go to elections. Guess what, Bob – we always get a budget.”

When American jobs are at stake, there are roadblocks, leveraging of positions, a mad blitz in the press, and petty bickering. When the politicians’ jobs are at stake, the situation would likely be remedied quickly. If the US government took a cue from our allies in the Middle East, perhaps there wouldn’t be hundreds of thousands of Americans not working, children not getting their clinical trials for cancer, and national parks closed.

Just a thought.

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Krauthammer is Right About Poor Republican Strategy

Krauthammer

The good news is that  Republicans in Congress are finally starting to stand up and demonstrate the conservative principles that guided the party until the mid- to late-90s. The bad news is that they handled this situation like silly schoolboys too shy to make the right move at the right time, so they botched it mightily when they finally asked a girl to dance.

They could have, should have, been courting the American people over the debt ceiling. The upcoming debate already has most Americans believing that the government should not continue to raise the debt ceiling whether Obamacare defunding is attached or not. Had they used this popularity as leverage to make a win out of the eventual backwards step of raising the debt ceiling once again, the American people would have heralded it as a properly played political move and would have participated in having action taken. Instead, the Republicans shot their argument out there prematurely over and are now faced with a lose-lose situation.

The longer they keep going with the government shutdown, the more they’ll lose. The moment they relent (and they will relent) is the moment that the White House wins.

This whole situation was handled about as poorly as the last presidential election campaign. Here’s the video:

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The Truth About the National Debt Ceiling

National Debt Clock

Ah, the good ol’ days. Remember when the national debt was a mere 413 trillion? Good times.

It is, of course, much higher than that now and the debt ceiling continues to go up. Here’s a great video and infographic explaining the debt ceiling and how it’s affecting the country courtesy of Bankrupting America.

National Debt Infographic

IRS Head of Exemptions Lois Lerner to Plead the 5th

Internal Revenue Service

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In essence, Lois Lerner does not want to incriminate herself. In court, it sticks nicely. In the court of public opinion, Lois Lerner is guilty, as is the Internet Revenue Service.

“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Vista). The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.

Nobody seems willing to admit that some conservative groups were treated unfairly, but they’re not willing to defend their actions, either. As far as the world is concerned, they’re guilty as can be.

Sequestration furloughs have no impact on ObamaCare workers

ObamaCare Signing

The politicization of the sequester has been a clear central point of the furloughs that have affected millions of Americans as high profile programs and events have been affected. White House tours, the Blue Angels, and airport slowdowns have been pushed as “see, I told you so” items that the Democrats cling onto when demonstrating the evil ways of the fiscally conservative right. Those working to administer and organize ObamaCare, however, appear to have been vaccinated from the impact.

“We’re talking about at least a 15 percent furlough of current air-traffic controllers, resulting in delays and perhaps safety concerns, but yet this has been a selective political item by the administration,” said Rep. Greg Harper (R-Miss.).

The sequestration has resulted in several government agencies furloughing employees, reducing hours, and cutting pay. The fact that the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight was not forced to make these cuts while air traffic controllers vital to the safety of travelers across America are facing furloughs is a brilliant political move by the Obama administration. They selected agencies that would provide pain points to citizens and get press from mainstream media in an effort to pressure Republicans to raise taxes even further, but they did not select anything, including ObamaCare, in which the negatives of the furloughs would reflect badly on the administration.

This is a clear case of using the sequestration for political agendas first and foremost. The use of logic by creating a hierarchy for the cuts to actually make sense is something that this administration is unwilling to do. It’s not about what will be best for the country. It’s about what will be best for the administration. They have done many things over the last five years that have been questionable, even criminal in the case of Benghazi and other incidents, but this is the most glaring example of “politics at all costs” while also saying “the citizens be damned”.

America is in a state of great need in the way of leadership and responsibility. This administration seems to hold both of these qualities as very low on their list of attributes.

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Flashback to June 2012: “The private sector is doing fine.” ~ POTUS

Obama Chair

The tune in Washington changes quickly depending on the needs. When there was an election around the corner, the problems of this country weren’t as bad as everyone seemed to think according to President Barack Obama. This video is from June 8, 2012. It seems that today, we aren’t sharing the same sentiment.

Of course, it’s probably the Republicans’ fault, right?

There are More Unemployed Americans than there are People in Australia

Unemployment

The country is facing the greatest economic challenge of its history. It isn’t just the continuously-punted fiscal cliff that keeps getting kicked down the road that has economists concerned. It’s the terrible state of unemployment in the country and the programs that are pushing us towards low-end, part-time employment as a “solution”. A thriving America can not be sustained on limited job opportunities.

[Read more...]

Detroit Section 8 Housing Voucher Event Demonstrates Fed’s Inability to Grasp the Problem

Detroit Section 8 Riot

It was bad. It could have been much worse. If the issues aren’t faced properly, things will get much worse.

When 3,000-5,000 people showed up to collect one of 1,000 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers being distributed at the Taylor Human Services Center in south Detroit, all of them left empty handed. The line, which had been forming since the day before, became unmanageable the moment that the doors were open and the event was shut down immediately by authorities. Chairs and other items were thrown. The physically stronger people pushed aside the weak. Everyone lost out.

The federal government’s inability to understand and cope with the problems they have created was clearly demonstrated. This event and the program itself was designed to help very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to live in safe and sanitary housing. The voucher will pay a portion of the housing costs for those who need it most. All of this sounds like a good idea. The only thing missing was a true understanding of the scope of the problem.

In places like Detroit (and just about every other major city in America), the needs of those in the worst shape are piling up. The “hope” that they were promised four years ago has simply not materialized and efforts such as these to distribute hope must be handled with better planning, methods through which the overflow (as there will always be an overflow of need when the government tries to make people dependent on it) can be managed, and security to control those who will do anything to move up a spot or two in line.

How they couldn’t see this coming goes against logic and common sense.

There are better ways to help those in the greatest need. These sorts of programs must be funded by taxes, of course, but they must also be relieved by lowering the numbers of those who need help at this level. That means creating jobs, promoting a business-friendly economic structure, and asking people to do their fair share as much as they’re asked to pay their fair share. It’s a series of complicated mathematical problems that drive the economy, but the equations aren’t impossible. They simply require a willingness to make the tough choices that may hurt one’s re-election chances but that will help the country get back on track.

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Don’t #MintTheCoin – The Biggest Reason the Trillion Dollar Coin is a Bad Idea

Trillion Dollar Coin

Today, the United States is viewed with disdain and distrust abroad. Even our allies scratch their heads at the way we “do business” in Washington. We have maintained our presence not based upon decisions of our leadership over the last 12 years but because of military, technological, and financial might.

The trillion dollar coin being tossed around as a loophole solution to our impending debt ceiling problem will be the final straw for a world that really doesn’t want us to have the power that we have. It is so ludicrous, so manufactured, that the outrage from the international community will be harsh at best. We will be rewriting our own rules to fit our current needs, a trend in sentiment that has been building for a while but that will be propelled to another level with a trillion dollar coin solution.

There are countries that don’t see that kind of money in years. If America decides to arbitrarily make money that way, the international community will react poorly. The backlash will be heavy. The repercussions will be severe.

This is not by any means saying that America needs to set policy based upon the opinions of the international community. It’s to say that perception is important when it comes to international affairs. We have to be trusted to uphold our own laws and our own financial rules if we want to maintain the perceived value the dollar holds. Through a misunderstanding of how were able to bend our own rules, a confused and skeptical international community will devalue the dollar. The markets will have a severe response. Interest rates will rise. The dollar will fall.

To underestimate our reliance on the opinions of the rest of the world would be a huge mistake. The value of the dollar is relative to the value of the other currencies of the world. Risking that value through manipulation of powers granted will avert the immediate mess but propel us into much more dire straits.

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“Trillion Dollar Coin” image from Leaksource.

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