Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas—For the past few years, we’ve been led to believe that America has a debt crisis. A crisis is constantly being created where none exists. At the end of the year, the Obama administration was making a lot of noise about the fiscal cliff. It came and went—America was still intact. We then recently had to endure those who catastrophized the sequester.
“Are you willing to see a bunch of first responders lose their job because you want to protect some special interest tax loophole?” Obama asked Republicans. “Are you willing to have teachers laid off, or kids not have access to Head Start, or deeper cuts in student loan programs just because you want to protect a special tax interest loophole that the vast majority of Americans don’t benefit from? That’s the choice, that’s the question.” he added.
Meanwhile, the national debt continues to grow. Both Republicans and Democrats do not seem to be interested in balancing the budget. Someone suggested that if Obama really wanted to see the budget balanced, he would give the congressmen and senators an ultimatum: “Balance the budget, or else you don’t get a salary.” With such a strong stance, the budget would be balanced.
Speaker Boehner had this to say about the deficit: “Without a plan to control spending and balance the budget, our national debt will keep piling up on the backs of our children and grandchildren; our most important safety net programs will grow weaker and weaker, and the prospects for long-term economic growth will dim.”
The New York Times has a piece comparing this manufactured debt crisis to the manufactured narrative about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. Paul Krugman then asks and answers his own question: “So did our political elite and our news media learn from this experience? It sure doesn’t look like it.”
In regard to paying off the Federal/National debt, a retired judicial official who wishes to remain anonymous says the government is lying to the people.
“The money they have been borrowing since 1933 is not real money but “negotiable debt instruments,” which is the same thing as Monopoly money. This means that, in order to pay off the Federal/National debt, all they ever have to do is print a money order without any account numbers on it for the entire debt, sign it and present it to the lender [The Federal Reserve Bank] and the debt is paid in full!”
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Challenges lie ahead for President Obama, who was officially sworn in for his second term Sunday, but more so for Speaker John Boehner, who faces rebellious freshmen congressmen as the House deals with the debt ceiling, automatic spending cuts and government funding over the next few months.
If Congress fails to raise the federal government’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling by the end of next month, the nation will default. By March, action will be needed to avert deep spending cuts to military and domestic programs that were delayed by two months in the fiscal cliff deal. And the nation will face another threat of a government shutdown at the end of March.
As he deals with these challenges, Boehner faces a thinned majority given that Democrats won eight seats last November, and worse, 29 new Republicans can be expected to flout the leadership as they seek fiscal austerity.
Many House Republicans believe that bondholders can be paid off and Social Security checks can be filled even if the nation’s borrowing power runs out. For example, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) calls the default a “fake red herring,” according to The Washington Post. All the president needs to do is “prioritize spending,” he says.
When Boehner sought re-election earlier this month, four of the new Republicans refused to back him. Of a conference of 234 Republicans, 220 supported Boehner during the tension-filled vote on the House floor on Jan. 3. If just five more Republicans had refused to back him, there would have been a second ballot.
Conservatives within and outside Congress were unhappy with Boehner for his handling of the final “fiscal cliff” legislation.
However, some of the newcomers believe Boehner’s re-election despite their votes against him will lead the speaker to be tough with Obama. “Boehner has been too nice of a guy, frankly. The president has not been coming to the table. … He’s the one who’s out to lunch and John Boehner has been too nice,” Politico quoted Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) as saying. Broun feels the speaker will be “very tough” on the president in the coming months.
Besides, Boehner’s decision to have a vote this week on extending the debt limit for three months, with a requirement that both chambers pass a budget in that time or go without pay, will likely placate House conservatives.
“Before there is any long-term debt limit increase, a budget should be passed that cuts spending,” Boehner said in his closing remarks at the Republican Party’s three-day retreat in Williamsburg, Va., which ended Friday. The speaker warned that if a budget resolution is not passed by the two chambers, members of Congress will be prevented from being paid. “We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government’s spending problem,” he said. “The principle is simple: no budget, no pay.”
At the retreat, Boehner sought help from former GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to brief members about the forthcoming battles.
Ryan later told reporters that his party would try its best to ensure that the House goes in for strong deficit-reduction measures. However, the House Budget Committee chairman added, “We also have to recognize the realities of divided government that we have.”
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Tea Party Leaders are expressing outrage and disappointment over the House passing a bill late New Year’s Day that allows President Obama and Congressional Democrats to raise taxes on wealthy Americans with no guarantee of future spending cuts.
“Sadly, our New Year’s predictions have all come true,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. “Congress and the president had all year to do their jobs and be fiscally responsible – and, just like we said they would, they waited until the last possible moment to fail their nation miserably with a ‘fiscal cliff’ scheme to raise taxes and keep overspending.
The issue for those who believe the nation has a spending problem and not a revenue problem suddenly became a nightmare when 85 Republicans in the House joined 172 of their Democrat colleagues in supporting the measure that was sent over in the wee hours of the morning on New Year’s Day.
For the past 17 months the fiscal game of chicken rarely changed. Obama and liberal Democrats demanded higher taxes on families making over $250,000 annually and Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner with some assistance by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wanted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and reduce spending, especially on the big entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare.
But in the end it was Obama and his team that got Boehner to go off the road as opposed to risk getting blamed for raising taxes on most every American taxpayer.
The final version that President Obama is expected to sign will extend the tax cuts for some taxpayers but individuals making over $400,000 and families over $450,000 will owe Uncle Sam more money in 2013 and beyond. Additionally, estate and capital gains taxes will go up for the same group. The bill also extends jobless benefits for one-year and cuts Medicare reimbursements for doctors.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will add almost $4 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.
Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation is even more outraged that some Republicans – including Boehner – voted in favor of the bill.
“The Republican Party has now cast itself as the Official Tax Collector for the Great Obamacare State,” Phillips wrote in an email to The Christian Post early Wednesday morning.
“Once again Republicans have surrendered their position of strength and given in to everything the Democrats wanted. This bill punishes Americans with new taxes that go not to reducing the deficit but for even more government spending. Today the Republicans stand under John Boehner’s freshly laundered white flag of surrender and America loses.”
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann was one of those elected in the GOP tidal wave of 2010 that voted against the bill.
“Months ago, the House passed bills that extended tax cuts for all Americans and responsibly dealt with sequestration. Unfortunately, the Senate waited until the final days of the year to look at any solutions. What they produced does nothing more than kick the can down the road on the most serious issue facing our nation.
“As I have long said, we have a spending problem not a revenue problem. The bill sent back to the House not only allowed taxes to increase but increased spending by $330 billion. It was simply something I could not support.”
Although Boehner voted in favor of the bill, his top lieutenants, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California joined Fleischmann and other House Republicans in voting against the measure. House Budget Chairman and 2012 vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin also joined Boehner in voting for the bill.
Martin also applauded members of the House and Senate who voted against the bill and chastised those who voted in favor of the measure, calling on them to step aside.
“The conservatives who stood firm for the principles they were elected to uphold are to be applauded, but those who negotiated this deal and those who went along with it should be ashamed and should consider stepping down. The American people deserve representatives who will do the right thing, even in a crisis.”
by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The day before the ‘fiscal cliff’ deadline and as Congress continues to work on an agreement, President Barack Obama appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to blame Congressional Republicans for not reaching a deal. In a panel discussion after the interview, journalists criticized Obama for not doing more to build trust with Republicans and not displaying more leadership on entitlement reform.
“We have been talking to Republicans ever since the election was over. They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers,” Obama explained Sunday. The problem has not been with the Democrats, Obama said, but with Republicans because they have been unwilling to ask the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
“So far, at least, Congress has not been able to get this [fiscal cliff] stuff done. Not because Democrats in Congress don’t want to go ahead and cooperate, but because, I think it’s been hard for Speaker [of the House John] Boehner and Republican [Senate Minority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthy Americans should go up a little bit as part of an overall deficit reduction package,” he said.
The interviewer, David Gregory, asked Obama if he holds any accountability for the lack of an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. He answered that it was the Republicans’ fault because he has moved “more than halfway” to their position. That agreement, Obama said, would offer two dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax increases.
In the panel discussion after the interview, most of the journalists criticized Obama for not showing more leadership on entitlement reform. If Obama had shown more willingness to take on the long-term drivers of the nation’s debt problem, NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw explained, he would have a better chance of getting Republicans to go along with a last-minute fiscal cliff deal.
“I think it would have been helpful this morning to have said, ‘look, we get this tax deal done, I’m here to help on Medicare and Social Security reforms, we’ve got to address those,’ Brokaw advised. “Instead of just saying, ‘I’m going to protect the seniors who are there and the Medicare and Medicaid recipients.’ Give a little something to show good faith about what needs to be done on deficit reduction in the entitlement programs.”
Gregory recalled that when Brokaw interviewed Obama in 2008 he promised to take on entitlement reform before the end of his first term, but in Sunday’s interview he showed no commitment to entitlement reform.
“I asked him to make a commitment for the first year of his second term, he’s not prepared to do that. This is the driver, … you’re going to run out of discretionary money to do [the] things the president wants to do if you don’t take on entitlements,” Gregory complained.