Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quick Hits - August 15, 2012

Guy Benson, writing on has a very interesting post on Barack Obama in 2010...
The president calls Paul Ryan's initial reform package "serious" (it's since been updated to incorporate a bipartisan solution), he tells the truth about the drivers of our long term and unsustainable debt, and he acknowledges that Ryan's proposal "grandfathers in" those who are 55 or above (a fact that his campaign and surrogates now purposefully elide):

In this thoughtful exchange with Ryan himself, the president calls the GOP plan "entirely legitimate." He also asks, "at what point can we have a serious conversation?"
Serious conversation?  Benson highlights today's Barack Obama and a new Obama campaign advertisement featuring ultra-liberal / ultra-partisan Paul Krugman attacking 'Ryan's voucher plan' with numerous misstatements of key facts...
Obama's new ad neglects to mention that simple math "ends Medicare as we know it" within 12 years, and that he has no plan to avoid that outcome. This is far and away the biggest point. The spot also enlists Left-wing columnist Paul Krugman to muddy the waters on the bipartisan Romney-Ryan framework, insinuating that it would affect "tens of millions of older Americans." It would, in fact, not affect anyone over the age of 54. It also fails to mention that the Romney-Ryan proposal is means-tested, so sicker and poorer future seniors will get the most help. It's telling that Obama must distort the GOP plan in order to attack it.
While on the campaign trail in Iowa, the President continues to misrepresent his actions regarding Medicare - claiming that his actions 'extend Medicare by more than a decade' - even as the Medicare trustees say in their annual report that Medicare will be insolvent by 2024.

One of the main points of disagreement on Medicare remains the $500 billion, now $716 billion, that Obamacare pulls out of Medicare in order to help fund Obamacare - which the Administration today vehemently denies is the case.  But, when Obamacare was being fiercely debated, Barack Obama did admit to ABC's Jake Tapper that billions are being taken from Medicare to fund Obamacare...

TAPPER: “One of the concerns about health care and how you pay for it — one third of the funding comes from cuts to Medicare.”


TAPPER: “A lot of times, as you know, what happens in Congress is somebody will do something bold and then Congress, close to election season, will undo it.”

OBAMA: “Right.”

TAPPER: “You saw that with the ‘doc fix’.”

OBAMA: “Right.”

TAPPER: “Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance, one third of it, that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?”

OBAMA: “Yes. I actually have said that it is important for us to make sure this thing is deficit neutral, without tricks. I said I wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t meet that criteria.”
Deficit neutral without tricks?  Funny, Obamacare is far from deficit neutral - costing $2.4 trillion in the first full decade of being in effect - and adding over $1 trillion to the deficit in that time frame after pulling $716 billion over 10 years from Medicare.

One thing that I'm extremely pleased about with the actions of the Romney-Ryan 2012 team is their willingness to really press the President and his progressive allies on the subject of Medicare and entitlements.  I think that this is a huge win - and far beyond the fact that one side is willing to discuss and debate substantive issues like Medicare and the other is restoring to demonizing and scaring....

Jay Cost, writing in the Weekly Standard notes that the Democrats are very vulnerable on Medicare...
Rather than instituting free market reforms, the Democrats are applying governmental infrastructures like the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). This, they hope, will tame the runaway cost of Medicare, but it also will ruin traditional Medicare for future recipients as well. The program will be fundamentally different in the future than it is today, thanks to the IPAB, which will be unelected and largely free to act without interference from Congress. If the GOP is vulnerable on premium supports, Democrats are at least as vulnerable on the IPAB.

But it gets worse for LBJ’s party, which two years ago altered Medicare in ways that would have made the ornery old Texan spit nickels. Obamacare mandated hundreds of billions of dollars be cut from the Medicare program, which creates two, enormous political vulnerabilities for Democrats.
These vulnerabilities?

1. The Obama plans undermine the availability of care.

2. The claimed 'efficiencies' being created in Medicare aren't being used to extend Medicare - but to fund a brand new entitlement (Obamacare) to provide insurance for perhaps as many as 30 million at a huge cost - and double count dollars by using the same funds to both 'fix' Medicare and 'pay for' Obamacare.

And, referencing the first, the Wall Street Journal has this item - 'Why the Doctor Can't See You'...
Most provisions of the Obama health law kick in on Jan. 1, 2014. Within the decade after that, an additional 30 million people are expected to acquire health plans—and if the economic studies are correct, they will try to double their use of the health-care system.

Meanwhile, the administration never seems to tire of reminding seniors that they are entitled to a free annual checkup. Its new campaign is focused on women. Thanks to health reform, they are being told, they will have access to free breast and pelvic exams and even free contraceptives. Once ObamaCare fully takes effect, all of us will be entitled to a long list of preventive services—with no deductible or copayment.

Here is the problem: The health-care system can't possibly deliver on the huge increase in demand for primary-care services. The original ObamaCare bill actually had a line item for increased doctor training. But this provision was zeroed out before passage, probably to keep down the cost of health reform. The result will be gridlock.
The thing is - this isn't an aberration for the the Obama Administration when it comes to fiscal responsibility - it's standard operating procedure...just like the 2009 stimulus package which was to deliver a vibrant economic recovery by now.  Instead, we're on the path to adding over $6 trillion to the national debt during the 4 years of Obama's term in office and 4 consecutive years of deficits over $1.2 trillion.

'Clueless' Joe Biden, on the campaign trail in Danville, Virginia, reaches a new low in despicable campaign rhetoric as he embraces outright full on race baiting...

... addressing the African-American members of the audience that a Romney / Ryan Administration would put 'y'all back in chains'...

The Romney campaign quickly hammered back at this latest baseless accusation...
“After weeks of slanderous and baseless accusations leveled against Governor Romney, the Obama Campaign has reached a new low. The comments made by the Vice President of the United States are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama Campaign will say and do anything to win this election. President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden’s comments.”
Unsurprisingly, the Obama campaign sees no problems with the rhetoric used by the Vice President.  Obama Deputy Campaign Manager, Stephanie Cutter, who last week was caught lying, spinning, and supporting the vile attack ad accusing Mitt Romney of complicity in the cancer death of a steelworker's wife, said that the Obama campaign has no issue with the comments made by the Vice President.
"I think he probably agrees with Joe Biden's sentiments," Cutter said on behalf of President Obama. "He's using a metaphor to talk about what's going to happen."

"I appreciate the faux outrage from the Romney campaign," Cutter said in reaction to a statement from the campaign. "If you want to talk about the use of words then take a look at Mitt Romney's stump speech where he basically calls the president un-American."

"The bottom line is that we have no problem with those comments," Cutter said.
Mitt Romney continued to fire back at the Obama campaign over their new step into 'gutter politics' - both at a campaign event Tuesday evening and during a long interview with CBS 'This Morning' early Wednesday.

In addition, there are two other elements of note in this interview.  First, Mitt Romney again confirms what both he and Paul Ryan have been saying since Saturday - that the Romney-Ryan campaign is running on the Romney budget plan - not the budget plan submitted by Paul Ryan, passed by the House of Representatives, and has been the target of attacks by the Obama campaign.  Romney notes that both plans 'are on the same page', but there are still some differences in spending, maximum tax rates, and how quickly they would bring the federal budget into balance.

The other aspect of note from the interview is picked up by the team at 'Ace of Spades' - which notes the degree of questioning spent by the CBS interviewers grilling Mitt Romney as to why he's so upset over Joe Biden's 'They Gon' Put Y'all Back In Chains' comment...  

Unsurprisingly, NBC News continues to be one of the most fundamentally dishonest when it comes to shilling for the Obama Administration.  First, there is NBC's vapid Today Show host, Savannah Gutherie, hammering RNC chair Reince Priebus regarding Paul Ryan's House budget - and misstating all of the basic facts wrong.
"And the Ryan budget makes some very hard decisions and has some huge spending cuts....But how can you justify in the Ryan budget defense spending that stays flat and then giving a massive tax cut, which predominantly benefits the wealthy?"
Let's ignore the obvious - the repeated statements from Romney / Ryan that they are running on the Romney plan- not the Ryan plan.  Ryan's plan, which passed the House before being shot down on a party-line vote in the Senate, does not make 'huge spending cuts'.  In fact, under the Ryan budget, government spending still increases - but at a far slower rate than we've seen in the last 3 years - and far slower than the Obama budget which was defeated 0-414 in the House and 0-97 in the Senate.  But in today's Democrat-speak, slowing the rate of spending, even when still increasing spending, is a 'huge spending cut'.

The second comes from the former DNC communications director, now serving as a substitute host on MSDNC, who asserts that the Democrat controlled Senate passed their first budget in over 3 years just two weeks ago - a fact that no other news organization apparently knew about.  When called on it by the RNC communications director, she doubles down on the assertion.

The Co-Chair of the Obama 2008 Campaign is hitting the campaign trail - campaigning for Mitt Romney.  Congressman Artur Davis, who in May switched his affiliation from Democrat to Republican in disgust over the actions of the Obama Administration, and who seconded Obama's nomination for President at the 2008 Democrat National Convention, is not only actively campaigning in Virginia for Mitt Romney, but blasted Joe Biden and Barack Obama during this interview on CNN....

The Wall Street Journal notes that as President Obama spends three full days crisscrossing Iowa, he's also holding the state hostage....
Instead, the House passed a stand-alone $383 million emergency drought relief bill before it left for recess. The Senate could also have passed the relief measure and debated the $1 trillion farm bill another day, but Mrs. Stabenow and the White House blocked it. Why? Well, Iowa is a swing state this year, and Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats figure they can use drought relief to force Republicans to lock in a decade worth of bigger government and record food-stamp spending.

The truth is that farmers and ranchers would already be getting drought relief if Mr. Obama weren't using them as pawns for his own re-election.
I wonder how President Thin Skin took this - here's a photo of the caterer at an Obama campaign event...

A new swing state poll shows some good news for Mitt Romney since naming Paul Ryan to be his choice for Vice President - a move into the lead in key battleground states of Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Florida poll is that it runs contrary to the 'accepted wisdom' of the mainstream media which forecast challenges in that state for Romney Ryan - given the number of seniors in the state and the importance of Medicare.  In the above link - note the attention that Allahpundit gives to the breakdowns inside the poll - and in particular, these results...

According to the Associate Press, we are now in the most feeble economic recovery since the Great Depression.
America’s gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — grew 6.8 percent from the April-June quarter of 2009 through the same quarter this year, the slowest in the first three years of a postwar recovery. GDP grew an average of 15.5 percent in the first three years of the eight other comebacks analyzed. …

Consumer spending has grown just 6.5 percent since the recession ended, feeblest in a postwar recovery. In the first three years of previous recoveries, spending rose an average of nearly 14 percent. …

The economy shed a staggering 8.8 million jobs during and shortly after the recession. Since employment hit bottom, the economy has created just over 4 million jobs. So the new hiring has replaced 46 percent of the lost jobs, by far the worst performance since World War II. In the previous eight recoveries, the economy had regained more than 350 percent of the jobs lost, on average. …

Never before have so many Americans been unemployed for so long three years into a recovery. Nearly 5.2 million have been out of work for six months or more. The long-term unemployed account for 41 percent of the jobless; the highest mark in the other recoveries was 22 percent.
Charles Kadlec, writing in Forbes Magazine, delivers his assessment on the President's economic policies...
The traditional measure of the success of an Administration’s economic program has been real economic growth, employment growth, the unemployment rate and the like. Based on these criteria, the Obama Administration’s economic program has been a dismal failure:

-Real economic growth during the recovery – now three years old – has averaged 2.2%, less than half of the historic average for post recession rebounds.

-There are 1.1 million fewer people on non-farm payrolls today than when President Obama took office.

-The unemployment rate has been above 8% for 42 consecutive months, the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression.

Four years ago, then Senator Obama ran for President, promising to fundamentally change America. Based on that goal, his Administration’s economic program has been an extraordinary success!
The U.S. State Department has no idea how $214 million bookmarked for climate change projects in other nations is actually being spent.

An unmanned hypersonic test aircraft was lost during a test today over the Pacific Ocean, just off the California coast.  The X-51a aircraft was supposed to test hypersonic flight - achieving and maintaining a speed 6 times faster than the speed of sound for 5 minutes.  The aircraft suffered a major control surface failure just 15 seconds after it's booster fired after being dropped from the B-52 mothership and broke apart.

Today in History

1914 - The Panama Canal was officially opened to commercial traffic as an American merchant ship sailed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

1935 - Aviator Wiley Post and cowboy, humorist, and commentator Will Rogers, are killed near Point Barrow, Alaska as their aircraft suffered an engine failure on take-off from a lagoon and crashed.

1945 - The day is proclaimed VJ Day - commemorating Japan's unconditional surrender to end the Second World War.

1948 - The Republic of Korea (South Korea) was proclaimed.

1971 - President Richard Nixon announces a 90 day freeze on wages, rents, and prices.

1994 - The Social Security Administration becomes an independent government agency.  Prior to this, SSA had been part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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