Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quick Hits - June 26, 2012

Spain and Cyprus today formally become the fourth and fifth countries to request assistance from the euro zone's bailout funds - following Ireland, Portugal, and Greece (received 2 bailouts).  This starts a week that will end with a major summit.  The zone continues to struggle with how to address the growing financial crisis.  Egan Jones today downgraded Germany from AA- to A+ - showing the crisis is even affecting the 'giant' of the euro zone.

One of the proposals being floated for discussion at the summit later this week is for a stronger economic union within the euro zone -where member nations would surrender additional fiscal and budgetary sovereignty to the centralized EU bureaucracy. The French Budget Minister, Jerome Cahuzac today announced that France is 'ready to share budget sovereignty'...
France must agree to share sovereignty over its budget with its EU partners, French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac said on Tuesday.

He told BFM TV and RMC radio: "This is what we are talking about, budget solidarity in Europe which implies that not only that the French budget, but also the German, Italian and Spanish budgets be subjected to a review by all our partners."

He said: "This does not mean abandoning sovereignty, it is sharing."

Speaking against a background of strong tensions between France and Germany in the last two weeks, Cahuzac said: "France and Germany have to work together ... Germany has to stop imagining inflation everywhere ... and France has to understand that it is also perhaps in the interest of our country, for France to move towards this sharing of sovereignty."

The minister said that "without a profound reform of Europe, of its organisation, of its governance and of its policies, not a single country can cope."

Even with the 'profound reform', the Euro crisis will remain as the issue at the root cause of the problems are not related to the lack of centralized planning and control - but with the fact that each of these countries are running out of the funds, their own and others, to fund their euro-socialist entitlement societies.

The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed in today's edition that highlights just one aspect of the euro-socialist mindset that is at the root of the financial challenges in a piece titled, 'Employment Italian Style'.

This details just a fraction of the rules, regulations, and bureaucratic burdens a business owner in Italy must face as they try to grow their business. Burdens that actually work as a disincentive to the business owner to grow their business. Collectively, these rules and regulations are fundamentally anti-business and contribute to limiting the economic growth these countries can achieve. Left undocumented within this brief example are other regulations which provide 6 to 8 weeks of annual vacation standard - now where if the employee is sick while on one of their vacation days, they are entitled to get a replacement vacation day from their employer. Also not referenced are the very liberal retirement options available - depending on country and specific job, people can retire as early as 50 and receive a mandated pension equal to nearly their entire annual working salary. In fact, in Greece, even though a calendar year is only 12 months long, those who receive government benefits get 14 months of benefits in every calendar year. With all of this, how can anyone see these as sustainable?

Rather than change their policies which are fiscally unviable, the EU nations continue to look towards Germany and a German bailout - that realistically speaking, Germany cannot afford to deliver.
There are those that wait and hope and pray that there will be Divine Intervention. They cling to the belief that Germany, in the end, will back down and retreat and agree to bail everyone out. Germany’s GDP is only $3.2 trillion and this expectation, believed in by more than a few, is not only ridiculous in my opinion but a mathematical impossibility. If you consider the current EFSF program and that $300 billion has already been used for Greece, Ireland and Portugal and that this new assistance program for Spain will take it up to $425 billion you begin to get some sense of the enormity of the problem. The U.S. equivalent then for the total EFSF would be $4.318 trillion or 30.4% of America’s total GDP which would swamp our nation. This is why when I listen to Frau Merkel say “Nein;” I believe her! It is the twentieth Summit. I predict it will be the twentieth time that almost nothing is accomplished. The beggars want to be the choosers and Germany and the richer nations will hardly allow for that.

Speaking to members of her junior coalition partner, the Free Democrat party, German Chancellor strongly ruled out the establishment of Eurobonds as part of a proposed 'solution' for the euro economic crisis 'for as long as I live'...
The German Chancellor's comments were met with applause as she briefed MPs from the Free Democrats party, her junior coalition partner, at an assembly meeting on Tuesday.

One official told AP that the crowd "reacted with applause to hearing that the Chancellor does not want a joint debt liability," while one participant reportedly shouted: "We wish you a long life!"

Several eurozone leaders, including French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have called for the 17-nation bloc to draw-up plans to issue jointly-guaranteed debt in order to reduce borrowing costs for struggling eurozone nations.

Yields on benchmark 10-year government debt are currently at 6.8pc in Spain, and 6.15pc in Italy. Long term borrowing costs above 6pc are widely viewed as unsustainable in the long term.

While Merkel fights to force Europe to face its unsustainable government spending and excessive entitlement society, the same fight is also being waged here in the United States. Clinton Administration Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, attacked the conservative message of smaller limited government, lower tax rates, and pro-business / pro-growth policies as being 'regressive' and 'unpatriotic'...
Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich savaged conservative “regressives” in a column Tuesday, arguing that “patriotism means paying for America.”

“When arguing against paying their fair share of taxes, wealthy regressives claim ‘it’s my money.’ But it’s their nation, too. And unless they pay their share, America can’t meet the basic needs of our people. True patriotism means paying for America,” Reich writes in a piece for Business Insider.

Instead, he says, conservatives are “out to gut” government.

“True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States. They’re proud of it. Generations of Americans have risked their lives to preserve it. . . . [T]rue patriots work to improve the U.S. government, not destroy it. But regressive Republicans loathe the government — and are doing everything they can to paralyze it, starve it, and make the public so cynical about it that it’s no longer capable of doing much of anything.”

It's shocking to see how many can look at the fiscal disaster in Europe, at the anemic and struggling economic recovery we've now been in for 3 years - and still have a sub-2% GDP growth rate, a non-cooked unemployment rate over 10% - with millions more not working today than on January 2009, are in the midst of the fourth consecutive year with a budget deficit greater than $1.2 trillion, and are on pace to add $6.4 trillion to the country's national debt during the January 2009 - January 2013 term of President Barack Obama - and not see that we are racing down the same path that Europe has.

With this, Hugh Hewitt is looking at the recent actions of the Obama Administration - particularly around the President's unilateral executive decision to grant a defacto immunity to upwards 1.2 million illegal immigrants and concluding that beyond pandering for Hispanic votes, the political calculation around this decision was intended to 'change the narrative' and try to fix a major crisis the President is facing...
The campaign is about a much larger issue --the direction of the country and whether, as Romney argues, a sharp U-turn is urgently needed. All attempts to sidetrack the electorate from that overarching issue have failed, and even Thursday's decision on Obamacare will only matter to the extent it underscores the choice that has to be made.

What worries the Chicago gang, and what ought to worry down ticket Democrats everywhere, is that the economy's doldrums are getting worse, not better, and that November's cake is already baked for most voters on the question of the president's massive incompetence. The latest diversion is the campaign against Romney as an outsourcer, and like the last half dozen attempts to "change the narrative," this one has failed as well. Nobody cares. Voters care about how the country is going to rally from this mess, and they know Obama hasn't got a plan or even a clue.

Thus, as Powerline's John Hinderaker points out today, the growing hysteria in Democratic fundraising circles. The only hope the president has left is to hammer Romney with a billion dollars in attack ads, but the money isn't coming in in anything like the quantity necessary to overwhelm Team Romney. Nor will it any time soon. The president has lost much of his own base who want the economy to grow as well. The president has to be worried about the Rasmussen and Gallup tracking polls that show Romney with a small but steady lead, and he really has to lose sleep over the growing chance that key parts of his party will want to shed him and his gang of incompetents for four years and come back with Hillary at the head of a re-energized party free of the odor of failure on so many fronts.

There are numerous signs highighting the real problems of the President's feckless policies - all of which are contributing to a campaign that seems to be as unable to stimulate a spark as they were flawless in 2008 riding the vapid 'Hope and Change' mantra to victory.

Despite attending over 100 fundraisers this year, and more this campaign season than the last 5 incumbent Presidents did combined in their reelection efforts, the President is failing to meet their fundraising goals or the levels of fundraising that were achieved in 2008. The grassroots / small contributors are not making the contributions to the Obama campaign that they did in 2008. Major unions are announcing that they are not donating to the President - partially in retribution for the President's failure to support them in Wisconsin. Wall Street donations are also down - an effect of the President's class warfare and demonizing of Wall Street.

Even the Democratic National Convention is feeling the pain of a financial backlash against the President as they are being forced to scale down their convention festivities, including canceling the planned kick-off event at Charlotte Motor Speedway...
The move comes as party planners are grappling with a fundraising deficit of roughly $27 million, according to two people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss internal party politics. With a party ban on direct contributions from corporations, the host committee has raised less than $10 million, well short of its $36.6 million goal, said one of the people.

This also comes on top of a growing number of Congressional Democrats who are announcing that they are not going to attend the DNC convention late this summer. A number of these come from West Virginia and Pennsylvania - states that are challenged by the Administration's anti-coal agenda and policies. However, one of the President's top allies, Missiouri Senator Claire McCaskill who is facing a tough reelection bid this November, has announced that she is also skipping the DNC convention.

Political strategist, Dick Morris, is looking at the run that the President has had since at least April, and culminating in a very difficult June that will wrap up with a possible Congressional contempt citation against his Attorney General, a SCOTUS decision on his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare, and what is likely to be a dismal jobs report for June, and sees this as the beginning of the end for President Obama's reelection effort. Anticipating a Reagan-like 1980 landslide, Morris also notes that the fundraising and spending issues of the President's campaign...
More disturbing for Obama is that his June swoon happened despite spending at least $50 million and likely much more on paid advertising during May and June. He threw his best punch – an attack on Romney’s record at Bain Capital – and got nothing for it.

More bad news for the President? How about his immigration pandering costing him support of white democrats in the battleground state of Ohio?
PPP, a democrat-leaning polling firm, is out today with a new poll of Ohio, a critical battleground this Fall. The top-line number getting the most attention is Obama's erosion of support over the past month. A month ago, Obama led Romney by 7. Today's poll shows the lead has fallen to just 3 and Obama remains below the important 50% threshold. Perhaps more interesting in today's poll, though, is the sharp drop-off in Obama's support among white Democrats.

Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Representative Darrell Issa sent a strongly worded letter to President Obama regarding the executive privilege claim asserted last week to deny  DoJ documents requested by Congress under subpoena saying - either you are involved or executive privilege claim is unjustified....
“[Y]our privilege assertion means one of two things,” Issa wrote to the president in a letter dated June 25. “Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it, including the false February 4, 2011 letter provided by the attorney general to the committee, or, you are asserting a presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation.”

Issa said Obama’s assertion of executive privilege “raised the question” about the veracity of how the “White House has steadfastly maintained that it has not had any role in advising the department with respect to the congressional investigation.”

Issa revealed in the letter to Obama that Attorney General Eric Holder had requested the president assert the privilege in a letter last Tuesday evening — shortly after Holder, Issa and other congressional leaders involved in Fast and Furious met to try to come a resolution before last Wednesday’s contempt vote in Issa’s oversight committee. The president’s decision to assert the privilege came via a letter from Deputy Attorney General James Cole to Issa minutes before Issa began the proceedings against Holder.

The California congressman told Obama that Cole’s letter stating that Obama has “’asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011 documents’ raised concerns that there was greater White House involvement in Operation Fast and Furious than previously thought.”

One of the documents that Congressional investigators are seeking is an email that the Congressional committee knows exists, from direct testimony under oath by the former acting Director of the ATF, but which has been not been disclosed to Congress as the investigators have requested.
A single internal Department of Justice email could be the smoking-gun document in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal — if it turns out to contain what congressional investigators have said it does.

The document would establish that wiretap application documents show senior DOJ officials knew about and approved the gunwalking tactic in Fast and Furious. This is the opposite of what Attorney General Eric Holder and House oversight committee ranking Democratic member Rep. Elijah Cummings have claimed.

It appears that email would also prove senior DOJ officials, likely including Holder himself, knew in March 2011 that a Feb. 4, 2011 letter from the DOJ to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley falsely denied guns were permitted to “walk” into Mexico. The DOJ allowed that false letter to stand for nine more months, only withdrawing it in December 2011.

During the June 24 broadcast of Fox News Sunday, House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa cited the email as a “good example” of a specific document his committee knows Holder is hiding from Congress.

Why would the top levels of the DoJ assert, for nearly 10 months, they knew nothing about a program and let a materially false letter to Congress stand?

What was the specific purpose of Fast and Furious? Has any official in the Administration provided a cogent rationale for the existence of the program - and the goals of the program?

Why, after providing 80,000 documents to the internal Inspector General, and 7,600 of those documents to Congress, is the Obama White House now declaring 'executive privilege' regarding internal DoJ communications? How involved was the WH to justify the use of executive privilege?

I don't expect the President's run of bad news and troubles to end anytime soon. This will mean that the President, his advisors and spokespeople, his campaign, and the Obama sycophants in the media to become even more shrill and desperate leading towards November's election.

Today in History

1917 – The first 14,000 US troops land at the French port of St. Nazaire. The troops would undergo major training in France to prepare them for their combat debut in October, 1917.

1940 – Turkey announces its neutrality in the widening world war.

1945 – Delegates from 50 nations sign the United Nations Charter, establishing the world body as a means of saving ‘succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.

1948 – US and British pilots begin delivering food and supplies by airplane to Berlin after the city is subjected to a Soviet blockade.

1956 – Congress approves the Federal Highway Act – allocates $30 billion for the construction of some 41,000 miles of interstate highways.

1959 – Queen Elizabeth II and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower official open the St. Lawrence Seaway – creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.

1963 – President John Kennedy expresses solidarity with democratic German citizens in a speech in West Berlin – declaring ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ – noting that free nations still stood by the people of West Berlin – a strategic foothold for democracy behind the Iron Curtain.

No comments:

Post a Comment