Patterico's Pontifications

7/27/2011

Harry Reid’s Odd Definition of “American”

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:36 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

This is a quickie post, but this morning Jim Hoft caught Harry Reid declaring that Tea Partiers are not Americans:

But it is worth remembering that this is the same person who once called illegal immigrants “undocumented Americans.”

I look forward to him clarifying further who does and doesn’t count as an American.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Layoffs at L.A. Times — Tim Rutten Gone

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 5:58 pm

Can’t say I’m too devastated. After all the dishonest nonsense that guy pulled over the years, it’s about time.

UPDATE: Commenter angeleno says I lack “grace” over this event. He is right. I have left the following comment:

angeleno,

I have re-thought your comments and I was wrong. Wrong to exult in Rutten’s layoff. Some of the things he wrote did not aid the search for the truth but we are all human. I would rather not be someone who derives joy from another’s pain, and so grace it is.

Megrahi Still Alive

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:39 pm

August 20 will be the second anniversary of his release. We were told he would die within 90 days.

He did not.

The Boehner Plan, the Reid Plan, and tax hikes

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:59 am

[Posted by Karl]

The CBO score for Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid’s debt-reduction plan comes short of its advertised spending cuts.  Indeed, overall, it fell further short than House Speaker Boehner’s plan (which is being rewritten, whereas I would bet Reid’s won’t be).  But for all of the media narratives about the GOP in disarray, I suspect the House will end up backing Boehner for lack of a politically viable alternative, even in the House.  Moreover, in terms of approach, it is the basis for a deal with the Senate. As Douglas Holtz-Eakin notes:

The plans are quite similar. Indeed, the best way to think about the Reid plan is that it is simply the Boehner plan with fake cuts (largely war spending) added on. Put differently, executing the Reid plan is the same as executing the Boehner plan and then adding an unrestricted debt limit increase on at the end. Since so-called “clean” increases are a signal to markets that the U.S. cannot address its fundamental problems, this is extremely dangerous and undesirable.

The other major difference is that Reid wants to kick the next debt ceiling hike past the 2012 election.  Moreover, Holtz-Eakin is a bit out of line on the potential for the Boehner plan to spawn tax increases:

[T]here is not a single dime in taxes. David Addington at the Heritage Foundation has argued that the Boehner plan “greases the way for tax hikes.” This is truly unhinged. The Boehner plan envisions a “select committee” of six Republicans and six Democrats that would require a majority vote — that is, seven votes — to propose entitlement reforms for an up-or-down vote in Congress. The six Republicans (and any Democrats who are not renting their brain from an amoeba) can easily stop any notion of tax increases. And there is simply zero chance that the House would pass such an increase if it did emerge over the next six months.

How Holtz-Eakin could dismiss this concern, mere days after the bipartisan Gang of Six proposed roughly $2 trillion in tax hikes, remains anyone’s guess.  This is not to say that defusing the debt bomb won’t ultimately require new “revenue.”  However, successful fiscal consolidatons have a much higher ratio of real spending cuts to tax hikes than anything the Democrats have ever offered.  Moreover, the right remembers how past compromises have traded tax hikes for imaginary future spending cuts.  The historical context explains why the lack of current spending cuts is a sticking point for the right, no matter how much the establishment try to bury that history.  It is true that the House GOP would likely reject any recommended tax hikes, but the Dems and the media would surely use them (as they tried with the Gang of Six) to try to split the GOP and paint the right as extreme.

–Karl

The “I Miss Aaron” Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Happy meals, budgets, whatever you like.

7/26/2011

Is Obama’s base crumbling?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:27 am

[Posted by Karl]

Andrew Malcolm seems to think so, based on the new ABC News/Washington Post poll:

Strong support among liberal Democrats for Obama’s jobs record has plummeted 22 points from 53% down below a third. African Americans who believe the president’s measures helped the economy have plunged from 77% to barely half.

Obama’s overall job approval on the economy has slid below 40% for the first time, with 57% disapproving. And strong disapprovers outnumber approvers by better than two-to-one.

Malcolm may be overstating his case by a smidge. Obama’s overall approval rating in the new ABC/WaPo is almost exactly what it was in June… and marginally better than it was in April or last September. The ratio of strong dissapproval to strong approval may be the most significant internal Malcolm cites. Remember, 90% of the public is partisan and about 80-90% of those voters vote for their party’s candidate. Thus, presidential elections tend to turn on the difference in turnout between Republicans and Democrats and the distribution of the so-called Independent vote. The strong disapproval/approval ratio may bode well for the GOP in terms of turnout.

The ABC/WaPo does not break out numbers for true Indies, but Gallup suggests approval of Obama is not at an all-time low with them yet. Ruy Teixeira frets over Obama’s erosion with minorities and the youth vote, but the data is mixed. According to Pew, the GOP has recently made gains with the youth vote, but lost traction among Hispanics, despite the fact that the latter have been among the hardest hit in the recession (expect more pandering on immigration and more media avoiding reporting that Dems killed Bush’s immigration reform bill).

The latest polls may show some cracks in Obama’s foundation, but not the sort of collapse Pres. George W. Bush saw in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Most of the erosion will matter only if it results in reduced turnout for Obama in 2012. And no one will know for sure about that until it is too late.

Update: Link fixed.

–Karl

7/25/2011

Open Thread: Obama’s Big Spending Ceiling Speech

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:12 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

So around 9 p.m. Obama is going to make some kind of speech on the so-called debt crisis.  That title is deliberate because I am about to share some facts on this whole silly debate which will expose that this isn’t about the debt.  It’s about our spending.

Of course it is worth noting that right now the Federal Government is taking in more than enough to actually make every single payment on the debt.  Let me express that mathematically:

Debt payment < total monthly income of the federal government.

You see right now that money that the government is garnishing from your wages?  They are getting that.  And in my case, and the case of everyone else I know, that amounts in significant part to an interest free loan in that they always take too much and give me back some of my money in the form of a refund at the end of the year.  Kind of them to do that, huh?

(note: I am being sarcastic.)

For instance, right now they estimate that the Federal Government will take in about $2.6 trillion dollars in revenue this fiscal year.  And how much do we have to pay on the interest this year?  $386 billion.

So the debt crisis?  It’s completely illusory.  The only reason why we are having a crisis is because of this:

Debt payment + Spending > total monthly income of the federal government.

That’s it, that’s all it is.  If you take out the spending we have no trouble paying our debts.  And smarter people than me have crunched the numbers and pointed out that you could still for social security, national defense, and still make the payments.  Which is why part of me says, f— it, no deal, no debt limit increase, no how, no way. It’s time to starve the beast.

Anyway, so Obama will continue this bogus debate tonight.  He will pretend to be fiscally responsible (while defending his desire to spend beyond our means), and he will claim to be a grown up, when nothing could be more child-like than to be completely unaware of where money really comes from.

And I invite you to sound off on the subject.  As if you needed any encouragement from me.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The political effect of a short-term debt ceiling hike

Filed under: General — Karl @ 3:22 pm

[Posted by Karl]

What would be the political implications of a deal for a short-term hike in the debt ceiling? The following tweets from Jonathan Alter, Nate Silver and Mickey Kaus shed light on the gap between the establishment media’s narrative of the debt ceiling fight and political reality: (more…)

Since Y’all Probably Want to Spend the Day Arguing About to What Extent Right-Wing Bloggers Are Responsible for All Those Shootings in Oslo…

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

…here’s a New York Times article to start the ball rolling.

The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam, lacing his 1,500-page manifesto with quotations from them, as well as copying multiple passages from the tract of the Unabomber.

I missed the part where those bloggers advocated shooting and killing dozens of people — I had this impression they were against mass murder — but I admit to being fuzzy on the details.

UPDATE: Robert Spencer on being blamed for inspiring the murderer:

If I was indeed an inspiration for his work, I feel the way the Beatles must have felt when they learned that Charles Manson had committed murder after being inspired by messages he thought he heard in their song lyrics. There were no such messages. Nor is there, for any sane person, any inspiration for harming anyone in my work, which has been consistently dedicated to defending human rights for all people.

Thanks to aunursa.

7/23/2011

Class Warrior-in-Chief awash in cash from Wall Street, Fatcats

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:11 am

[Posted by Karl]

As Pres. Obama prattles on about the evils of tax breaks for corporate jets, the Center for Responsive Politics notes:

President Barack Obama has relied more on well-connected Wall Street figures to fund his re-election than he did four years ago when he campaigned as an outsider and an underdog.

One-third of the money Obama’s elite fund-raising corps has raised on behalf of his re-election has come from the financial sector ***.

***

Meanwhile, employees of law firms and lobbying shops are responsible for at least $6.9 million so far this year, money which has gone to the Obama re-elect campaign and the DNC.

During Obama’s presidential bid four years ago, individuals in this economic sector were responsible for a minimum of $16.1 million — with the legal industry being the No. 1 industry among all of Obama’s bundlers.

This is no shocker.  Obama’s 2008 campaign received loads of cash from people and groups associated with the top ten issuers of subprime loans.  He then packed the key economic positions in his White House with the people he claimed caused the financial crisis. (more…)

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