Canaries and coal mines

So the French have no stomach for austerity measures. Do we? This would seem a good gauge: if we aren’t capable of cutting the truly unnecessary, then those who feel robbed of their free goodies will rise up a la Cloward-Piven to ensure future reward. Via Hot Air, a test of intestinal fortitude for the GOP:

Say — how’d you like to get a free cellphone?  No strings attached, no contracts, and no payments ever.  Don’t stop at one phone, either — get two, three, five, ten, twenty or more!  The cost is covered by people who are dumb enough to pay for their own cell phones … like you and me.  We’ve been doing it for a decade or more, and it’s now costing us over a billion dollars a year, as Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) argues as he fights to bring the program to a halt.

Griffin doesn’t plan on cutting the subsidized landline access–which doeshave safety implications–but cellular only. Even then, will the GOP survive the onslaught of taking-granny’s-phone-away media? Or are we finally able to stand up to false vilification?


“Not everyone in the conference agrees with cutting that fast and giving that much responsibility back to the state”

So argues U. S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla. to justify the failure of passage of a bill which would have capped federal discretionary spending next year to less than a trillion dollars. Of that failed plan:

That budget plan, authored by the conservative Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, called for replacing federal support of Medicaid with block grants to the states in an effort to curb runaway spending on that program.

Too much power to the states. But aren’t they supposed to have that power anyway? I suppose fiscal sinkholes like Illinois could be problematic–the money would get strangely siphoned away somehow–but then it would be the state’s responsibility to answer to its citizens, no? And if citizens don’t like it, they can vote with their feet.

Lankford did add:

“I’m going to support the most conservative budget we can get out of here […] I’d love to see more cuts faster.”

You and me both.

The good news: after Jordan’s budget failed–which would have balanced the budget in 5 years compared to Ryan’s 28–Ryan’s passed.

House on Thursday voted to pass a budget blueprint for the next decade that would cut billions of dollars in planned federal spending, reduce taxes and reform Medicare.

The bill, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., passed 228-191, over the objection of House Democrats, who said the proposal would cut taxes for the wealthy at the expense of seniors and the poor.

The Ryan budget has virtually no chance of passage in the Democratically held Senate. But putting it on the floor for a vote gave the GOP a chance to showcase its fiscally conservative credentials before upcoming elections that may serve as a referendum on the job they have done upholding their 2010 pledge to reduce the country’s massive debt and the ever expanding size of government.

I’ll take 28 years over nothing.

When do facts ever matter to liberal (Congressmen, no less)?

Charlie Rangel can’t help himself. Via Hot Air, a choice tidbit of liberal nonsense from The Hill:

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) on Wednesday called for the redistribution of America’s riches and hammered the wealthy for benefitting from a war effort fought by the poor and middle class.…

Rangel offered no specific remedy for adjusting those figures during his comments on the House floor, but argued further that the wealthiest one percent have the added benefit of not needing to get involved in military service.

“Why is it that we know, or that we can suspect, that in this war where we lost so many lives, that so many people have been wounded, that our brave men and women coming home will subject themselves with a lack of funds to deal with their physical or mental problems?” he asked. “Any yet we somehow know that that 1 percent was not involved in defending our great nation.”

“We can almost know without any investigation that the wealthiest of Americans never found themselves protecting our flag,” he added.

Truth matters not to liberals, especially when invoking the 99%. They want socialism because it’s the greatest. Who cares about truth? When confronted with it, they deny vociferously.

In Rangel’s case, The Heritage Foundation has debunked this mythology for years. A refresher from last month:

Who serves? It isn’t the poorest of the poor with no other option

Quite the contrary. From the WSJ [emphasis mine]:

In 2008, using data provided by the Defense Department, the Heritage Foundation found that only 11% of enlisted military recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth, or quintile, of American neighborhoods (as of the 2000 Census), while 25% came from the wealthiest quintile. Heritage reported that “these trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which 40% of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods, a number that has increased substantially over the past four years.

Indeed, the Heritage report showed that “low-income families are underrepresented in the military and high-income families are overrepresented. Individuals from the bottom household income quintile make up 20.0 percent of Americans who are age 18-24 years old but only 10.6 percent of the 2006 recruits and 10.7 percent of the 2007 recruits. Individuals in the top two quintiles make up 40.0 percent of the population, but 49.3 percent of the recruits in both years.

Go figure. I guess Rangel doesn’t read The Journal. Nor does he–or any liberal for that matter–care about the blatant lie of perpetuating demonstrated untruths on the House floor no less.  Never forget the mantra of liberalism: All’s fair in the name of wealth redistribution

H/t: Pundette.

A Pundette ”Recommended Read.” Thanks!

What happens when government intervenes in the free market, part 9,998

A fee for using debit cards for purchases?

Banks used to charge businesses for each credit/debit transaction, and the transaction rate fluctuated. Timothy Carney explains:

How is that rate — the “interchange fee” — set? Until this year, it was set by market forces. Visa and MasterCard offer stores a service that facilitates sales and brings in more business. In return, they demand a cut of the sale. Wal-Mart and Joe’s Corner Store aren’t required to accept debit cards or credit cards, but they do, which means that they decided the price was worth it.

Alas, all good free market things come to an end in the Age of Obama. That’s illegal now. The idea–as all liberal intentions–was to stick it to someone in favor of some poor, poor constituent. In this case, it was to stiff the banks:

After Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., successfully added his “swipe fee” amendment to last year’s Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, he promised, “By requiring debit card fees to be reasonable … small businesses and their customers will be able to keep more of their own money.” That was the theory, at least.

Ah, the theory. It’s humorous that after years of government intervention the boobs in charge still can’t accurately predict what the market will do in response. I can. Maybe I should be a Senator, eh? Heh.  To send your proper thank yous to Senator Durbin and Wal-mart lobbyists, a little more: 

As the Federal Reserve prepared its rules setting the maximum per-purchase interchange fee, a Home Depot executive told investors on a conference call “Based on the Fed’s draft regulations, we think the benefit to the Home Depot could be $35 million a year.”

That $35 million Home Depot gain is a $35 million loss for banks and credit-card processors. Their interchange revenue was central to the business model that allowed banks to offer free checking and free debit-card use.

That business model is now illegal, and so Bank of America has switched to the model they find second best. If they can’t make the stores cover the costs of debit cards, make the consumers pay a share. The American Bankers Association calls Bank of America’s $5-a-month charge “the Durbin fee.”

Durbin, needless to say, doesn’t like being blamed for this highly unpopular new fee. He blasted B of A for instituting the fee, calling it “unfair.” Other liberals say B of A is just making excuses for fleecing their customers. But Bank of America was always free to charge a monthly fee to debit card customers. It didn’t because it thought it could get more customers by charging the stores instead.

Debit-card users don’t have the lobbying clout of Wal-Mart and the retail industry. Bank of America customers can’t get together and hire Durbin’s old staffers.

It’s the standard tale of government intervention in the economy: The guy with the best lobbyists wins, and the little guy — this time, the consumer — loses.

Banks–like Home Depot and Wal-mart–provide a service and employ people. As employers, each entity needs to make money. Why do banks receive the lion’s share of demonization for providing service thereby requiring a profit to, you know, pay employees and fund benefits, rather than Home Depot and Wal-mart? In this case, the retailers win big, and the banks will still get their share of the transaction. We’re the ones who get screwed.

That should be a lesson to liberals, but it won’t sink in–it never does. Business works in favor of the consumer when market forces decide what’s fair, not the government.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey calls it “deja vu all over again” for those who lived through the 70s.

“People feel betrayed, disappointed, furious, disgusted, hopeless”

The people in question are disillusioned Democrats upset with Barry O and in the aftermath of the two House seat losses. From the Politico:

“Let’s face it — it has been a tough summer for Democrats,” said Jack Quinn, a top lobbyist and former White House Counsel to President Clinton. “But I really do think that people are feeling better.”

Quinn said, however, that Obama must confront the GOP.

“They didn’t get the House and say, ‘We want half a loaf.’ They’ve said, ‘we want the whole g——— oven,’” he argued. “It’s time for the president to really draw some hard lines here.”

Oh, yes. Please. Draw some hard lines. As if anything will make it better. (And no, people aren’t “feeling better.”)

Professor Jacobson laughs at DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s asinine assertion that it was “difficult” for Democrats to hold Anthony Weiner’s old NY seat:

Well yes, if you define “difficult” as having a 3-1 registration advantage, being held by Democrats since the 1920s, being the seat formerly held by Geraldine Ferraro and Chuck Schumer, and being in New York City.  With odds like that, the Democrat didn’t stand a chance.

Heh. The exit numbers don’t look good for the White House. (As if anything does at this point). Or, as Pundette put it, the White House has been “Rebuked, Routed, and Rejected.”


Say what?

Via Gateway Pundit, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen made a surprise stop in Afghanistan today. 

What do you tell troops in harm’s way when your boss says screw with ’em and make ’em worry? A soldier asks what will happen when the government defaults, and this is what he gets in return:

As we move into a changed likeness there are some other benefits … we’re pretty focused on making sure we don’t break faith with the people who are already in the military.

A changed likeness? Of what, choosing demagoguery and scare tactics and sending a four-star admiral to scare his troops over making the real decisions to put our country on a viable fiscal path again? Some other benefits? Like savaging defense spending rather than shoring up entitlement programs?  Never let a crisis go to waste.

So the military gets the shaft while Joe Biden charges rent to the Secret Service detail protecting the VP and family. Rent. $13,000 thus far and eligible to make $66,000 more. One would think Joe Biden would recognize where that money ultimately comes from, as I doubt anyone could argue that he’s seriously that stupid. He’s not. He just thinks we are.


Ah, a deal: does it even matter?

After reading Mark Steyn at his most scathing, no:

The Democrat model of governance is to spend $4 trillion while only collecting $2 trillion, borrowing the rest from tomorrow. Instead of “printing money,” we’re printing credit cards and pre-approving our unborn grandchildren. To facilitate this proposition, Washington created its own form of fantasy accounting: “baseline budgeting,” under which growth-in-government is factored in to federal bookkeeping as a permanent feature of life. As Arthur Herman of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out this week, under present rules, if the government were to announce a spending freeze — that’s to say, no increases, no cuts, everything just stays exactly the same — the Congressional Budget Office would score it as a $9 trillion savings. In real-world terms, there are no “savings,” and there’s certainly no $9 trillion. In fact, there isn’t one thin dime. But nevertheless, that’s how it would be measured at the CBO.

Like others, I have a hard time fathoming “trillion.” Steyn points out $9 trillion eclipses the combined GDP of Japan and Germany. Still having trouble? Try this. It adds a certain dimension to the debate, no? If we’re incapable of honestly cutting money from our budget now, then we’re headed down the tubes in no uncertain order unless we kick the charlatans out of DC. A goodly number of Republicans included. For-ev-er.

So what lies ahead? Steyn paints a rather dismal picture. Read the rest.

Related: Friday Limbaugh, “You can be proud, Conservatives: Tea Party puts country over party.”

Cross-posted at Pundit & Pundette.

“Everyone’s standards are different, but to be elected to Congress and sit there all day on Facebook and chatting?”

So says Megan Broussard in an interview with ABC news of her Facebook “friend” Anthony Weiner.

Ain’t that the truth, eh? Weiner now admits to sexting or twitching or whatever with multiple young ladies. Busy man.

As for the Weiner presser, The Other McCain says it best: incroyable. For the minute-by-minute Weiner roast, read Stacy. He’s got it all.

A Republican would have resigned. But a Democrat? Nevah. Further proof:

The last question shouted at a Weiner as he left the podium was “Were you fully erect, Congressman?”

Dollars to donuts that Weiner ends up more popular than before among his liberal constituency. 

UPDATE: Genius at work here:

“I don’t know the exact ages of the women,” he said. “But they’re all adults, at least to the best of my knowledge, they were all adults and they were engaging in these conversations consensually. Someone could theoretically have been fibbing about [their age] and that’s a risk.”

UPDATE: A Pundette Recommended Read. Thanks!

Chart of the day

Via Hot Air, household “income” from government entitlements and handouts exceeds taxes:

Note the two times this has happened historically: the Great Depression. What strikes me, however, is that the level of entitlements is four times higher now than it was then.

Ed Morrissey states the obvious:

The clear problem in this chart isn’t that the red line has moved downward into historically low territory; it’s that the blue line has kept moving up into historically high territory.  The long-term solution isn’t to raise taxes, but to wean the American public off of its historic dependence on welfare and social spending.

Exactly. Read the rest.

Friends in the know told us we were crazy to buy gold after Obama’s election

And now I only wish we had bought more.

Gold lept to new highs today. Why? MSNBC:

Standard & Poor’s on Monday downgraded the outlook for the United States to negative, saying it believes there’s a risk U.S. policymakers may not reach agreement on how to address the country’s long-term fiscal pressures.

“Because the U.S. has, relative to its ‘AAA’ peers, what we consider to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable,” the agency said in a statement.

The S&P said the move signals there’s at least a one-in-three likelihood that it could lower its long-term rating on the United States within two years.

The U.S. dollar fell broadly on word of the revision. Gold prices, meanwhile, hit a new record above $1,496 an ounce.

“The headline has enough of a shock value. The initial reaction is that this is negative for dollar assets across the board.” said Lou Brien, a market strategist with DRW Trading in Chicago.

So, to recap: food and gas prices have risen exorbitantly and soon we’ll be using the dollar as toilet paper if the bozos in DC aren’t able to cut the debt.

Related: Rand Paul has an interesting proposal.