Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quick Hits - February 1, 2012

As reported last night, Mitt Romney won a sweeping victory in the Florida GOP Presidential Primary yesterday, returning himself to front runner status in the race for the GOP nomination.  This was a closed primary, where only those registered as Republicans were entitled to vote.  7 out of 10 of those who voted described themselves as conservative or very conservative.   Romney won big in the Hispanic vote, gaining 54% of that crucial bloc as compared to Newt Gingrich only gaining the support of 14%.  Romney also did extremely well with women in Florida, besting Gingrich by a 22 point margin.

With 100% of the vote counted, Mitt Romney had 46.4% support, Newt Gingrich 31.9%, Rick Santorum 13.4% and Ron Paul 7%.

In a high profile Los Angeles fundraiser attended by a number of progressive mover / shakers from Hollywood, First Lady Michelle Obama cited the 'remarkable progress' made by her husband on the national economy since taking office as the reason that the President should be re-elected.

This brings us to a couple of interesting memes...

Even though he is proclaiming himself as a champion for the 99% in his strong support for the OccupyWallStreet class warfare movement, over 60% of the campaign funds being raised by Barack Obama for his re-election come from the big money campaign bundlers - the 1%.  Of the $120 million that his campaign raised in 2011, at least $75 million came from 445 major bundlers.

Yet, President Obama's money advantage for his re-election campaign is disappearing.  Despite large numbers of fundraisers, the cash he is raising is lagging behind the levels set by George W. Bush in 2004 - and the amounts being raised have dropped each of the last 2 quarters from the previous quarter.  This trend could reflect lagging excitement towards Obama as the nation's economic woes linger. 

Also lagging are the President's approval ratings on a state by state basis.  Hot Air reviews the Gallup release of approval ratings on a state by state for 2011 - where the President has over a 50% approval in just 10 states plus the District of Columbia.  This cannot bode well for the President since his approval numbers in 2011 are worse than in 2010 where the President and the Democrats suffered a historical defeat in the midterm elections Nov. 2010.

On the economic front, the President is also in significant trouble. 

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released their report on the status of the federal budget and national debt.

Obama's four years in office have seen the 4 highest deficits since 1946...
Even the Keynesians who run CBO concede that the 2013 tax hike—on capital gains, dividends, estates and small business—would knock economic growth down to 1% next year and raise unemployment to 9.1% (from 8.5%). That means about 750,000 more jobless Americans. You can't have such a lousy economy and cut the deficit in half.
CBO also indulges in the fantasy that discretionary spending will fall by nearly $2 trillion over the next decade—with almost all the cuts after 2015. About $1.25 trillion of those cuts come from the automatic across-the-board reductions that Congress and Mr. Obama agreed to last year. But wait. More than half of those cuts will come from the military budget and even Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said these reductions could be "devastating" to national security.

To sum it all up, CBO's facts plainly show that Mr. Obama has the worst fiscal record of any President in modern times. No one else is even close.
The 2013 tax hike referenced above is part of the 30% increase in federal taxes that will occur over the next 2 years. Among these are the expiration of the Bush-era across the board tax cuts at the end of this year.

Ironically, this is the 3rd anniversary of this interview between NBC's Matt Lauer and President Obama...

“I WILL be held accountable. You know, I’ve got four years. … A year from now, I think people are gonna see that we’re starting to make some progress, but there’s still gonna be some pain out there. If I don’t this done in THREE years, then there’s gonna be a one-term proposition.
Fresh off the first ever downgrade of the US credit rating, Standard & Poors is looking at the latest economic info and projections and is warning the US of the potential for another downgrade of the US rating.

One of the programs the President intends to use as a tool to 'fix' the national economy and reduce the record setting deficits is the 'Buffett Rule' - dramatically increasing the taxes on the ultra-rich in the name of 'fairness'...

Oh wait, the fairness of the top 10% of wage earners already paying 70% of the Federal Income Taxes isn't really the point I want to make, it's this flashback from Warren Buffett..

'Higher taxes on the ultra rich is not going to solve the deficit problem...'

Which we knew since $75 billion in additional revenues doesn't cover very much of a $1.2 trillion budget deficit...

The latest jobs report reflects that during January 2012, the private sector added 170,000 jobs.  I suspect supporters of the President will be touting this as more evidence that the economy is rebounding, but this is about half of what is needed every month to start to reduce unemployment levels.  The low level of private sector hiring reflects continued concerns about the economy.

Still on the jobs front, American Airlines, the world's fourth largest airline, and in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since November 2011, has announced that it will be eliminating between 10,000 and 15,000 jobs across the US.

One of the major causes for the 2008-9 recession was the collapse of the US housing market.  This was caused by a combination of issues ranging from the requirements made by progressives in Congress and at Fannie / Freddie that mortgages needed to be provided even to those who could / should not qualify in the name of 'fairness' and 'social justice'.  Combined with job losses, many faced the loss of their homes - with the sales / foreclosures dropping home values.

Even though the President has previously announced efforts to provide 'assistance' to homeowners who are 'under water' with homes worth less than their mortgage amounts or out of jobs by developing programs to allow these homeowners to refinance their mortgages  - none of which have been really successful, he has introduced a new vote buying scheme related to another program directed homeowners...
The Obama administration is trying to fix a stubborn drag on the economy by allowing all homeowners to refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates even if they owe more than their homes are worth, tackling a difficult issue of vital concern in states key to President Barack Obama‘s re-election.
The President intends to pay for this program with a new fee on large banks - which those banks will pass onto their customers...and ultimately will be far from sufficient to cover the costs.

Even though it hasn't worked before, let's do it the name of 'fairness' and 'social justice'.  It's easier to repackage it than to actually stimulate economic growth, job growth, and stop lending on the basis of 'social justice'.

The Head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrel Issa, is threatening to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with Congressional subpoenas for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.  In a letter to the AG, Issa nots that the DoJ has 'misrepresented facts and misled Congress' during their investigation into the DoJ program to run guns to Mexican Drug Cartels. 

The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure, which is the leading breast cancer charity, has announced that it is ending its relationship with and stopping all financial contributions to Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood is under investigation for using taxpayer funds for abortions.  Prior to this decision, the Komen Foundation provided grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer prevention screenings and breast cancer education. 

A US / Nato report indicates that the Pakistani-backed Taliban is poised to reclaim control of Afghanistan after the departure of Nato forces in 2013-2014.  If the case, this will represent a major failure in policy to protect human rights and limit bases that can be used by jihadists against the West.  It also reflects the policy of the Taliban to either wait out the clock for the announced withdrawal or gain so faster via a 'peace treaty'.

Pakistan has responded to this by rejecting the accusation that it provides support for the Taliban.

4 Muslim men inspired by al-Qaeda, specifically Anwar al-Awlaki,  the American born terror leader who was killed last year in a drone strike, have pled guilty to charges of planning to bomb / attack the London Stock Exchange in a 'Mumbai-style' terror attack.  With their guilty plea, they could be released from prison in as little as 6 years.

Anwar al-Awlaki was also connected with the terrorist attack on the US at Fort Hood, Texas where Major Nidal Hassan shot and killed 13, wounded 29.

On This Day in History

1790 - The first session of the Supreme Court of the United States took place in New York City.  Chief Justice John Jay was presiding...

1943 - The Japanese began their evacuation from Guadalcanal - ending the first major US offensive campaign in the Pacific theater.

1968 - Vietnam's Chief of National Police, Lt. Col. Nguyen Ngoc Loan was photographed by AP photographer Eddie Adams summarily executing a captured Viet Cong guerrilla in Saigon.  Adams won a 1969 Pulitizer Prize for this photo - which helped galvanize the anti-war movement in the United States.

1979 - Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran in triumph after 15 years in exile

2002 - Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was decapitated by Salifist barbarians.  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, has claimed credit for the murder.

2003 - Space shuttle Columbia breaks up while reentering the earth's atmosphere over Texas, killing all 7 crew members on board.  Lost were Rick D. Husband, Mission Commander; William C. McCool, Pilot; Michael P. Anderson, Payload Specialist; Ilan Ramon - the first Israeli astronaut, Payload Specialist; Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist; David M. Brown, Mission Specialist; and Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist.

No comments:

Post a Comment