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Friday, November 30, 2012

Republican New Revenue Options Would Bring More Revenue Than Obama's Tax The Rich Death Trap

By Susan Duclos

Earlier we took a look at the middle class Americans and small businesses, which employ 93 percent of workers employed by small businesses, who would all be caught in Obama's tax the rich death trap as well as the millions being held hostage to Obama's tax scheme.

Then we took a look at the Conservative case for jumping off the fiscal cliff with Obama by refusing to allow him to catch those employees and small businesses in his tax death trap.

In one of those pieces, I ran across something very interesting at Washington Post:

Since Republicans are (for the moment) holding firm to their opposition to raising tax rates, the only way to increase revenues in a down payment is to close loopholes and limit or eliminate deductions — something Republicans have expressed a willingness to do as part of a larger deal for tax and spending reform.

As the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, there’s a lot more revenue here than most people realize. According to the liberal Tax Policy Center, capping all itemized deductions at $50,000 a year would yield $749 billion in extra revenue over 10 years — almost as much as the $823 billion that President Obama’s plan to raise tax rates on top earners would yield in the same period. Moreover, such a cap would soak the rich first. The top one-fifth of income earners would pay more than 96 percent of the higher taxes.

If you lower the cap on deductions even further to $25,000, there’s even more revenue to be found — an additional $1.286 trillion over 10 years. And a $17,000 cap would raise an additional $1.747 trillion in a decade.

Obama's plan to directly raise taxes on the so-called rich would bring in less than other revenue raising options, but would harm small businesses, who create the jobs, more.

Something to think about huh?

The Conservative Case For Cliff-jumping with Barack Obama

By Susan Duclos

Charles Krauthammer makes the case for cliff-jumping with Obama:

The hunt for Norquist’s scalp is a key part of the larger partisan project to make the Republicans do a George H.W. Bush and renege on their heretofore firm stand on taxes. Bush never recovered.

Why are the Republicans playing along? Because it is assumed that Obama has the upper hand. Unless Republicans acquiesce and get the best deal they can right now, tax rates will rise across the board on Jan. 1, and the GOP will be left without any bargaining chips.

But what about Obama? If we all cliff-dive, he gets to preside over yet another recession. It will wreck his second term. Sure, Republicans will get blamed. But Obama is never running again. He cares about his legacy. You think he wants a second term with a double-dip recession, 9 percent unemployment and a totally gridlocked Congress? Republicans have to stop playing as if they have no cards.

Obama is claiming an electoral mandate to raise taxes on the top 2 percent. Perhaps, but remember those incessant campaign ads promising a return to the economic nirvana of the Clinton years? Well, George W. Bush cut rates across the board, not just for the top 2 percent. Going back to the Clinton rates means middle-class tax hikes that yield four times the revenue that you get from just the rich.
So give Obama the full Clinton. Let him live with that. And with what also lies on the other side of the cliff: 28 million Americans newly subject to the ruinous alternative minimum tax.

Republicans must stop acting like supplicants. If Obama so loves those Clinton rates, Republicans should say: Then go over the cliff and have them all.

And add: But if you want a grand bargain, then deal. If we give way on taxes, we want, in return, serious discretionary cuts, clearly spelled-out entitlement cuts and real tax reform.
Otherwise, strap on your parachute, Mr. President. We’ll ride down together.

Marc A. Thiessen agrees:

So what should Republicans do? Resist the call for a down payment, and insist on real tax reform as the price for any new revenue from limiting deductions. If both sides can’t agree on such reforms this year, they can do it next year. The Post reports this morning that “with tax rates set to rise automatically in January . . . Democrats say they have little incentive before then to cut a deal that falls short of their revenue goals. That means going over the cliff, at least for a short time, remains a possibility, they say.”

If Obama and the Democrats want to take us over the fiscal cliff, let them lead the way. Once the Bush tax cuts expire, every American will pay higher taxes — which means the pressure for tax reform on both sides will be even greater. By contrast, if Republicans give away the revenues from deductions and loopholes today, they will alleviate that pressure and have no revenues left to pay for a simpler, fairer, pro-growth tax code next year.

Message to the GOP: A down payment means the death of tax reform.

Jennifer Rubin says don't jump of the cliff... yet, but if Obama and Democrats don't start getting serious, pass out the parachutes.

 The GOP's message this week to the Dems can be summed up in two words: Grow up. Only after the president has definitively shown that the Democrats prefer the politics of adolescence should the GOP begin passing out parachutes for the group jump over the cliff.

 George Will reminds Republicans that they were re-elected to control the House of Representatives by a larger margin than Obama won the presidential election by.

Washington’s contentiousness about the “cliff” is producing a blizzard of numbers. The argument, however, is not about this or that tax rate but about the nature of the American regime. When the Republican House majority acts as though it has a mind — and a mandate — of its own, this is not Washington being “dysfunctional,” it is the separation of powers functioning as the Founders intended. Their system requires concurrent congressional majorities — one in the Senate, with its unique constituencies and electoral rhythms, another in the House, with its constituencies and rhythms. And at least 219 of the 234 House Republicans won in November by margins larger than Obama’s national margin.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has some advice for Speaker of the House John Boehner: Don't negotiate with Obama"

“One of the things I would say to House Republicans is to get a grip,” Gingrich said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

“They are the majority. They’re not the minority,” he said, enunciating the words as if explaining the concept to someone who did not understand it. “They don’t need to cave in to Obama; they don’t need to form a ‘Surrender Caucus.’”

“So my number one bit of advice to the congressional Republicans is simple: Back out of of all of this negotiating with Obama......"

Video- Speaker Boehner Responds to Obama’s Unserious Fiscal Cliff Proposal

By Susan Duclos

Boehner responds to Obam's unserious, laughable,  fiscal cliff proposal.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivered the following response to President Obama today, urging the administration to work with Republicans on a balanced approach to resolving the fiscal cliff that includes serious spending cuts and pro-growth tax reforms needed to address the debt and help the economy grow.


“The president traveled to a small business in Pennsylvania today to talk about the fiscal cliff.  Unfortunately, it is the president and members of his own party who are proposing that we let many small businesses, as in hundreds of thousands of them, go over the fiscal cliff.  Simply put, that’s why we don’t have an agreement as yet.

“As I said yesterday, this is not a game.  I used to be a small business owner.  Small business owners are  regular men and women from all backgrounds, who in today’s economy are facing challenges on a daily basis.  The president’s tax increase would be another crippling blow for them while doing little to nothing to solve the bigger problem here, which is our national deficit and our national debt.
“This debt doesn’t exist because we don’t tax small businesses enough.  It exists because Washington continues to spend too much.

“Raising taxes on small businesses instead of taking a balanced approach that also cuts spending is wrong.  It’s only going to make it harder for our economy to grow.  And if our economy doesn’t grow, Americans don’t get new jobs and the debt problem that we have will continue to threaten our children’s future.

“As I said the day after the election, Republicans are not seeking to impose our will on the president.  We’re seeking a bipartisan solution that can pass both chambers of Congress, and be signed into law by the president in the coming days.

“During the campaign, the president pledged to the American people that he would seek a balanced approach to addressing the debt – a combination of new revenues and spending cuts.  So the day after the election, I said the Republican majority would accept new revenue as part of a balanced approach that includes real spending cuts and reforms.  Now the White House took three weeks to respond with any kind of a proposal, and much to my disappointment, it wasn’t a serious one.

“Still, I’m willing to move forward in good faith.  Our original framework still stands.

“Instead of raising tax rates, we can produce a similar amount of revenue [by] reforming the tax code to close loopholes and lower tax rates.  That’s far better for the economy, and the American people actually favor that approach by two-to-one.  They favor it even more when we can also show them that real spending cuts will, in fact, reduce the deficit.

“Now there have been many conversations over the last couple of years that could inform a solution.  And I hope the president will draw from those discussions and work with both parties to find common ground.

“Solving the fiscal cliff in a manner that addresses the true drivers of our debt and saves American jobs would be a great way for the president to start his second term.  For the good of the country, and my colleagues, we’re ready to work with the president to achieve those goals.”

Obama's Hostages And The 93% Of Employees Caught In Obama's Tax The Rich Death Trap

By Susan Duclos

While reading the post below, keep in mind that Obama's proposed "tax the rich" sceme, if implemented, would bring in enough revenue to fund the government for ... eight days.

Now let's take a look at the people being held captive, the people caught in Obama's tax the rich scheme, the people being held hostage to a plan that would fund government for eight whole days.

A number of news reports, polls and headlines I have come across while researching who would be affected by Obama's proposed tax hikes, plus those already struggling with the taxes they are already paying now, when seen together, show the massive amount of middle income Americans and small U.S. business owners that will be caught in Obama's tax the rich death trap.

The rest of America is being held hostage by Barack Obama.

These are the people that Obama isn't talking about but who Republicans are highlighting in the battle to prevent going over the fiscal cliff.

In the first post this morning, we saw Gallup's latest release showing that U.S. small business owners are pessimistic post-election, with the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index plunging to -11 in November from 17 in July. This is the most pessimistic that owners have been about their operating environment since July 2010

In that same Gallup survey they found that The Future Expectations Dimension of the index, in which owners rate their expectations for their business over the next 12 months, fell 19 points to -1 in November. Small-business owners' future expectations are at their lowest level since July 2010, when this dimension stood at -2.

U.S. small business owners are the life force of the nations economy, many of which file their taxes as individuals and would be caught in Obama's "tax the rich scheme".

Those small business owners are caught in Obama's tax the rich death trap.

George Haynes of Montana State University, who has conducted much research on small business using the SCF, took a look at the employment of small business owning households for me. In the 2007 SCF, his analysis showed that small business owning families earning more than $250,000 per year employ 93 percent of the people working in small businesses.

The message from these different data sources is clear: Letting the Bush tax cuts on households earning more than $250,000 per year won’t affect very many small business owners – just the ones who employ the vast majority of people working in small companies. (Source)

Obama is giving a lot of speeches lately where he highlights that letting the tax cuts on households earning more than $250,000 expire won't effect the majority of businesses, but what he hides, never mentions, is the rest of those findings, where those are the people that employ 93 percent of the people working in small businesses.

Those 93 percent of the people working in small businesses are caught in Obama's tax the rich death trap.

According to a study done by  Ernst & Young, in an effort to predict the long-term economic impact of letting the top rates increase at year’s end, determined the plan would actually subject 2.1 million business owners to higher rates; specifically, those who pay pass-through taxes, like most partnerships, LLCs and S-Corporations. The result, less capital in the hands of business owners and diminished labor supply, would cost the United States an estimated $200 billion in economic output and 710,000 jobs. (Source- Washington Post)

Those 2.1 million business owners are caught in Obama's tax the rich death trap.

Then we hear Obama and Democrats say "it will only affect 3 percent of business owners.

From that same Washington Post article:

But Denny Dennis, NFIB senior research fellow, says those figures are based on “the absolutely most expansive” definition of small business, which includes marginal and part-time firms with no workers. By looking solely at businesses that have employees, he cited Department of the Treasury data that suggests the percentage of small companies paying the top two rates increases to as high as 24 percent.

Those 24 percent of small companies that actually employ people, are Obama hostages.

So, Ms. Blake, small business owners responsible for employing 93 percent of workers that work in small businesses, 2.1 million business owners, 24 percent of small companies that have paid employees, are all caught in Obama's tax the rich death trap for a plan that would fund government for eight days.

The rest of America, not mentioned above, are being held as Obama's hostages.


Boehner responds to Obam's unserious, laughable, fiscal cliff proposal.

The Obama Economy: Layoffs And Business Closings - November 30, 2012

By Susan Duclos

Additional layoffs and business closings will be listed as they are announced throughout the day. Below are reports found on November 30, 2012.

Layoff Reports : November 30, 2012

180 San Diego Hospice employees received layoff notices Wednesday and Thursday

Northrop Grumman to cut 200 jobs at two sites 

Citigroup’s trading and investment-banking unit plans to eliminate 150 more jobs

KDH Defense Systems in Eden will lay off up to 280 employees in January

Peekskill signs off on $35.6M budget with layoffs

Hanesbrandsto lay off 60 workers

Business Closing Reports: November 30, 2012

Store Closes With Banner: "Obama was re-elected so we’re closing our doors sale."

Downtown Gallery Closing After a Decade in Business

Dixons is to scale back Pixmania business making job cuts and closing stores

Frisco’s Exide Plant Set To Officially Close

Louis' Hot Dogs Closing Doors

Elkhart company to shut down Friday

Closing of Irmo soccer store pains fans

Downtown Deli to shut down for good during holiday break

Norwalk YMCA Closing Doors On Dec. 31

Downtown Civil War Store Closes

Popular Downtown Augusta Eatery Closing Its Doors

The Cottage In Laguna Closing December 26

Bankruptcy Reports: November 30, 2012

Streamline Aviation

Old River Cabinets Inc

Signet Solar

Obama Economy pieces here.

Store Sign: 'Obama Was Re-elected So We're Closing Our Doors Sale'

By Susan Duclos

Crown Couture in Cedar City announced it would be going out of business Thursday with this banner.
Crown Couture, a clothing boutique at 535 South Main St. in Cedar City, has the banner above prominently located at the front of the business. The owner of Crown Couture says while Obama's policies are not the only reason she is closing down her business, but that big businesses might be able to handle a rise in their taxes by the Obama administration, she cannot and that her accountant recommended the closing of her store.

“I’m not a millionaire or a billionaire, but when the tax cuts expire, I’ll have to pay more. It’s the reason I’m closing on January 1 instead of later in the year,” Blake said. “I want to stay open for the (employees), but I can’t. Big businesses can work it out, but I can’t.”

Blake is not the only business on that same street that feels as Ms. Blake does:

 Dave Bartlett, an entrepreneur and small business owner, runs Hollywood Video and Game Crazy at 430 South Main Street. He said he will do whatever it takes to stay open, but adds that it’s a tough time to own a small business.

“Trying to build a business, grow a business or even just make it right now is expensive,” Bartlett said, adding that he is worried about growing a business and hiring employees with a healthcare mandate, an expense he says he can’t afford.

 Thursday we reported on two the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce surveys, one conducted before Obama was re-elected and one in late November, where Wisconsin business owners showed a 38 percent decrease in those that planned to hire more people and expand, 62 percent down to 24 percent, and an 18 percent rise in WI. businesses planning to decrease their workforce, from 2 percent to 20 percent.

The reasons cited by WI. business owners were the economy and Obama's tax, health care and regulatory policies.

(2013 Economic Outlook survey embedded at the link above and can also be found here)

Wisconsin business owners and small business owners like  Ms. Blake and Mr. Bartlett, quoted above, are just the tip of the iceberg as Gallup finds in it's latest release that there has been a decline in optimism among small business owners across the country.

• U.S. small-business owners are pessimistic post-election, with the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index plunging to -11 in November from 17 in July. This is the most pessimistic that owners have been about their operating environment since July 2010, when the index stood at -28.

•  The Future Expectations Dimension of the index, in which owners rate their expectations for their business over the next 12 months, fell 19 points to -1 in November. Small-business owners' future expectations are at their lowest level since July 2010, when this dimension stood at -2.

• Owners' expectations for their financial situation, cash flow, capital spending, and hiring over the next 12 months all worsened significantly in November.
  • One in five small-business owners (21%) expect the number of jobs at their company to decrease over the next 12 months, the highest percentage Gallup has measured to date.
  • One in three owners (34%) expect their company's capital spending to decrease over the next 12 months -- the highest recorded since July 2010.
  • Thirty percent of owners expect "poor" cash flow over the next 12 months -- the highest Gallup has measured to date.
  • Twenty-eight percent of owners expect to be in a "poor" financial position 12 months from now -- the highest Gallup has measured to date.

The implications according to Gallup:

One of the more stunning aspects of the November survey results is the decline in small-business owners' optimism for the future. As entrepreneurs, small-business owners tend to be optimistic by nature, and relatively more optimistic about the future than the present. Given this context, owners' increasing pessimism toward their future not only reflects uncertainty, but also may imply a weakening economy going forward.

Owners' intent to reduce capital spending in the months ahead is consistent with a slowing economy. Small-business owners appear to be uncertain about their future operating environment, and uncertainty is a legitimate reason for them to hold back on new capital expenditures at this time.

Another troubling finding is the intention of 21% of small-business owners to reduce the number of jobs at their company over the next 12 months. This suggests the potential for a significantly higher unemployment rate in 2013 and all of the accompanying negatives that fewer jobs imply for the economy -- particularly given the importance of small-business hiring to the U.S. job market.

When we hear Barack Obama constantly argue for higher taxes on the "wealthy", the people above, U.S. small business owners who file individually, are the ones Obama isn't mentioning, the ones that will be caught in Obama's "tax the rich" trap.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Trial Balloon A Non-Starter: Contact Your Representatives, Tell Them NO TAX HIKES

By Susan Duclos

Politico has a piece out that is the predictable type of hyperbole that unnamed "top officials" generally leak to the gullible media in order to float an idea to see exactly how party supporters would react to it. It happens during every negotiation process, yet the mainstream media always falls for it, as do many party supporters.

The "framework" trial balloon is unacceptable and public statements from both Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, confirm that, but during the type of backroom negotiating going on between Republicans, Democrats and Obama over the fiscal cliff, it is always important that supporters make their voices heard, draw their lines in the sand, and let those elected by their constituents know the ramifications of betraying those  that put them in office.

The ramification for betrayal is simple, the 2014 election, where every single House seat is on the ballot. Conservatives handed control of the the House of Representatives back to the GOP in November of 2012 and those same voters can take it away from them in 2014.

This needs to be made clear to every single House Republican.

 Find your Representative at the links below let him/her hear your voice or email them. Be polite but firm, and make them understand clearly they work foryou, their job is to represent you and you expect them to hold the line, be the last line of defense against Obama and Democrats.

Contact information, including web form, for Speaker of the House John Boehner HERE.

Here is the Directory of Representatives link.

Here  is another which also has addresses and web links. Each of those websites has a contact page, click it and you can send a message via web form to your Representative.

"Palestine" Doesn't Qualify as a State

By Susan Duclos

As the UN prepares to vote on whether to admit the "Palestinian" Authority as a non-voting observer state and the mainstream media breathlessly reports on the status of individual countries leanings on the vote, it is noteworthy to remember that "Palestine" does not meet the criteria used to determine statehood.

Snapshot, a Camera's Blog, explains and highlights the relevant portions of the Montevideo Convention and the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, that show conclusively that "Palestine" doesn't qualify.

The again, the UN rarely bothers to follow it's own laws, agreements and criteria, so this isn't very surprising that they would even allow this to come up as a vote..

According to article 4 of the United Nations charter membership is reserved for states (and "peace loving" states at that, but that's a whole other story). But Abbas is asking for "non-member state" status. This would presumably make it easier for "Palestine" to join the International Criminal Court with the intention of bringing cases against Israeli leaders. (This could backfire, of course, since Palestinian leaders would also be subject to the ICC – see "peace loving" above.)

The question remains, however, does "Palestine" qualify as a state? Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States provides the internationally recognized criteria of statehood:
The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
Does "Palestine" have a permanent population? If so, why do Palestinian leaders frequently demand that residents be allowed to become citizens of another state, Israel?

Does "Palestine" have a defined territory? According to article 17 of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the Palestinian Legislative Council does NOT have jurisdiction over "issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, specified military locations, Palestinian refugees, borders, foreign relations and Israelis". No jurisdiction over borders? No defined territory.

Does "Palestine" have a government? You could argue it has two: one government in areas of the West Bank and one in Gaza. And they don't even get along with each other. That's not an effective government by any stretch of the imagination.

Does "Palestine" have the capacity to enter into relations with other states? Again, not under the Interim Agreement. Article 9, paragraph 5-a states clearly:
...[T]he [Palestinian Legislative] Council will not have powers and responsibilities in the sphere of foreign relations, which sphere includes the establishment abroad of embassies, consulates or other types of foreign missions and posts or permitting their establishment in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, the appointment of or admission of diplomatic and consular staff, and the exercise of diplomatic functions.

Read the entire piece.

Related: The use of the term "Palestinian" for an Arab ethnic group is a modern political creation which has no basis in fact - and had never had any international or academic credibility before 1967.

Web Monitoring Services: Syria Offline... Literally

By Susan Duclos

Web monitoring service Renesys reported Thursday morning that Syria went dark, completely removing Syria's Internet presence. This news was confirmed by another web monitoring service, Akamai, who provides a chart showing the extent of Syria's blackout.

Via Renesys:

Starting at 10:26 UTC (12:26pm in Damascus), Syria's international Internet connectivity shut down. In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet.

Washington Post reports that Syria has not claimed responsibility as of yet for the blackout and Syrian state TV denied the blackout was nationwide, although the chart above runs contrary to that assertion.

Foreign Policy reports:

The Internet blackout comes at a time when Syria's rebels are believed to be making significant gains around Damascus. This map provides a snapshot of the insurgents' gains (in red) around the capital's suburbs. The fear among opposition activists is that the shutdown is the first step in a wider crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's regime, to preempt a rebel offensive.

There are signs that Damascus airport could be the focal point of the brewing conflict between Assad and the rebel forces. The airport road was closed after being the scene of fierce fighting, and Dubai-based Emirates Airline suspended flights into the capital - possible a reaction to the rebels' acquisition of surface-to-air missiles. An Egypt Air plane landed in Damascus today, but according to an official at Cairo airport, the pilot was instructed to take off back to Egypt without passengers "if he felt that the situation there is not good to stay for longer."

This sounds like the beginning of a story, rather than its end. More as it develops.

Wired points out that Syria's systematic disconnection from the internet actually began at least a week earlier, according to research by the SecDev Group internet analytic's firm.

According to Reuters, Syria is denying responsibility and blaming "terrorists."

Syria’s information minister claims that the Damascus government had nothing to do with the shutdown. “It is not true that the state cut the internet. The terrorists targeted the internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off,” Reuters quotes him as saying. One regime-friendly website calls the cutoff a NATO “psychological operation.”

The communications blackout — which, according to some local reports, also briefly included cell and landline phone service – is hugely important to the war effort in Syria. The rebels don’t just use these networks to share information with one another. They train their forces and document regime atrocities with YouTube clips. The government has been known to shut down internet service in a particular city in advance of a major attack.

“But this is the first time are seeing it centralized (from what I can tell),” emails SecDev CEO Rafal Rohozinski, who has been working with Syrian opposition groups. “We are trying to ascertain whether this is a deliberate pulling of the plug, a technical error, or something else.”
Damascus International Airport has also reportedly disappeared from some flight radars.

Read the rest of the Wired article.

Obama's Economic Policies Cited As Reason For Wisconsin Business Owners 38% Decrease In Planned Hirings

By Susan Duclos

Business Owners across the country were much more optimistic about the economy when they thought Mitt Romney, who is pro-business, had a chance to win the 2012 presidential election.

In May 2012, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce found that 62 percent of Wisconsin business owners were planning to increase their workforce, and only two percent were planning to decrease their number of employees.

What a difference an election can make.

The presidential election is over, Barack Obama was reelected, and the  Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce has released their results of the November survey.

The differences are astounding.

(PDF of the 2013 Economic Outlook will be embedded below the post)

June's 62 percent that were planning to increase their workforce is now down to 24 percent, a whopping 38 percent decrease. The two percent that were planning to decrease their workforce is now up to 20 percent, an 18 percent increase.

Some 55 percent say they are having trouble hiring, and 67 percent said they cannot find qualified applicants.

Only 18 percent see moderate growth for the national economy and 42 percent predict a decline.

Obama's policies, the economy, regulation, healthcare and taxes, are among the concerns and the reasons cited for the change.

Other WMC Economic Outlook Survey 2013 Highlights:

• TOP POLICY PROBLEM – Thirty percent said the economic slowdown is the top policy concern for Wisconsin, and 23 percent said taxes were their top concern.

• TOP BUSINESS CONCERN – Forty-two percent said the economic slowdown is their top business concern, and 18 percent said health care, 9 percent said regulation, and 14 percent said taxes.

• HOW TO HELP BUSINESS  When asked what’s the one thing that state government could do to help your business, CEOs said curb regulations and cut taxes. Twenty-two percent said curb regulation, and 16 percent said curb taxes.

• IMPROVING THE BUSINESS CLIMATE – CEOs said a wide range of improvements are needed to improve the state’s business climate. Twenty-two percent said the state should be more pro-business in general, 20 percent said cut taxes, and 17 percent said curb regulations.

• BUSINESS GROWTH – Only 4 percent said they expect good growth at their companies in the next 6 months, and 37 percent predict moderate growth. Sixteen percent predict decline.

With a slew of new regulations set to hit in 2013 and thousands upon thousands more in the pipeline and Obama and Democrats insistence of hiking takes on business owners who filed their taxes individually, the  economic outlook is guaranteed to get worse over the next four years.

[Update] Using Obama's regulatory policies and the projected effects it is going to have on Wisconsin, as one example of what is about to sweep across the country, one can begin to see the upcoming disaster:

Via Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce:

“The regulations coming out of Washington continue to dampen growth and job creation in Wisconsin,” said WMC President/CEO Kurt Bauer. “Businesses are struggling to gain momentum because of uncertainty from the fiscal cliff and federal health care policy. The EPA’s costly new regulations are making matters worse by hitting manufacturers with billions of dollars in higher costs and job-killing energy price hikes.” 

The EPA’s Utility MACT, Boiler MACT and Coal Combustion Residuals regulations will have a significant impact on Wisconsin:
  • Annual compliance costs: $427.1 million
  • Annual manufacturing sector compliance costs: $224.8 million
  • Total upfront capital expenditures to comply: $2.8 billion
  • Total manufacturing sector upfront capital expenditures: $1.4 billion
“This study clearly illustrates the layer upon layer of regulations that are weighing down manufacturers’ ability to help lead our country’s economic recovery,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “If we don’t return to a more sensible regulatory process, then manufacturers in Wisconsin will face even higher energy prices, skyrocketing compliance costs, less investment opportunities and significantly fewer jobs. A devastating ripple effect will be felt throughout our entire economy, causing some manufacturers to close their doors for good.” 

America's death spiral is just beginning.

2013 Economic Outlook

The Obama Economy: Layoffs And Business Closings - November 29, 2012

By Susan Duclos

Additional layoffs and business closings will be listed as they are announced throughout the day. Below are reports found on November 29, 2012.

Layoffs: November 29, 2012

LivingSocial expected to lay off 400 Across U.S.

Alaska - Anchorage School District eliminates 100 positions

Michigan - Awrey's bakery Issues 150 Layoff Notices

California- Fourth Wall Studios Lays Off Between 25-30 Workers

Rhode Island- Landmark Medical Center Lays Off Another 22 Workers

NY - Buffalo Schools Supt. Warns of Possible Layoffs

Business Closing: November 29, 2012

Wisconsin- Allstate Insurance Co. Call Center To Close In Dec., 214 Workers Affected

Crayola closing distribution center in central Pa.

CT - I Have A Friend Youth Center will close Dec. 31 after a 21-year run 

CA -  Silverado Brewing Company in north St. Helena Closes

CA - Cottage Restaurant to Close After 48 Years in Business

NY - Prime 490 restaurant on West Side closes

MA - 'Poor Sales' Forced Closing Of Aubuchon Hardware in Northbridge 

ND - First and Deli closing its doors Dec. 20 

NM - Santa Fe Greenhouses closes doors after 29 years 

IN - Southgate Marshalls Closing Mid-January 2013

IN - Auto Park Closing Three Locations

NJ - Another Plainfield Store To Close , Barnes And Noble

FL- Mustard Seed Thrift Shop is closing as Sarasota Council of Concern Disbands

NC - Lowes Foods Closing Asheville Store, 55 Workers Affected

SD - CTU Closing Its Sioux Falls Campus

U.S. - Archdiocese named 26 schools that are in danger of being shut down

Bankruptcy: November 29, 2012

Michigan- Bermo Enterprises Files Bankruptcy

Obama Economy pieces here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Obama's Solution Would Fund Government For.... 8 Whole Days

By Susan Duclos

The ridiculousness of Barack Obama and Democrats being willing to throw the country off the fiscal cliff, kill jobs, force investors and businesses to stagnate and not grow or hire, for a tax ideology that would only fund the government for eight days, is the most moronic thing I have seen in a very long time.

In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) said President Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy would only generate enough revenue to fund the federal government for eight days.

"The president’s plan to increase taxes on the upper two percent covers the spending by this federal government not for eight years, not for eight months, not for eight weeks but for eight days. Eight days only," said Mr. Price. "It’s not a real solution. So, again, I’m puzzled by an administration that seems to be more interested in raising tax rates than in gaining economic vitality."

The problem is that the rich don't have enough money to put so much as a dent in America's $16 trillion national debt. "If the IRS grabbed 100 percent of income over $1 million, the take would be just $616 billion," writes John Stossel. "That’s only a third of this year’s deficit. Our national debt would continue to explode."

If it wasn't so utterly irresponsible, it would be laughable.

PS.. Guess it is up to the GOP to be the adults in the room.

The message that Boehner wants his Republican colleagues to deliver: “We’re fighting for spending cuts. We’re fighting against increases in tax rates that destroy jobs. And we’re fighting for pro-growth tax reform and entitlement reform, the keys to economic growth.”

Boehner used a three-page slide show to prove his point, drawing on a recent poll by David Winston. The poll, displayed on blue pages and festooned by stars, displayed three statistics that bolstered the House Republican position on taxes: that tax rates shouldn’t go up on the rich, but the code should be reformed to eliminate loopholes and lower rates all while cutting spending.

Two and a Half Men co-star Angus T. Jones (Jake) Apoligizes For 'Filth' Comments in Video

By Susan Duclos

Two and a Half Men actor, Angus T. Jones who plays Jake, has apolized for his inflammatory comments made in series of interviews where he denounced his own show, said he didn't want to be in the show, and pleaded for viewers to stop watching.

ABC News highlights the relevant portions with clips from the Angus T. Jones 'Two and a Half Men' 'Filth' Video" below:

In his interview, Jones also said: “If you watch Two and a Half Men, please stop watching Two and a Half Men. I'm on Two and a Half Men and I don't want to be on it. Please stop watching it and filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment. Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you, you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, especially with what you watch."

Late Tuesday, Jones apologized:

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Jones said he had the highest regard for all of the people he has worked with on the comedy, including creator Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. studio chief Peter Roth.

"I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed," said Jones, who reportedly makes $350,000 an episode. "I never intended that."

Jones wasn't at the studio lot for a rehearsal on Tuesday. He's not scheduled to appear on the two episodes that are being filmed before the end of the year, said a person close to the show who spoke on condition of anonymity because Warner Bros. and CBS haven't commented publicly on Jones. His character has recently joined the Army and his airtime has been cut down.

His real-life adventure came to light on Monday, when he said in a video posted by the Forerunner Chronicles in Seale, Ala., featured him talking about not wanting to be on "Two and a Half Men" anymore.

Actor Charlie Sheen, who broke with the show very publicly last year, couldn't resist his own dig at the show's creator Chuck Lorre.

After calling Two and a Half Men "cursed" in reaction to the viral Angus T. Jones video testimonial for religious group the Forerunners Chronicles, Charlie Sheen has launched another verbal grenade at an old enemy: show creator Chuck Lorre.

"Obviously, not having been there for some time, the Angus T. Jones that I knew and still love is not the same guy I saw on YouTube yesterday," Sheen is quoted as telling TMZ.

"I dare anyone to spend 10 years in the laugh-track that is Chuck Lorre's hive of oppression and not suffer some form of an emotional tsunami," he said of Jones.

 Sheen's new show Anger Management was picked up by FX for another 90 shows and returns in 2013.

Um... ewwwwwwwwww: EBay pulls Glenn Beck’s ‘Obama in Pee Pee’ after bids top $11,000

By Susan Duclos

Let's start by saying the urine in the "Obama in a pee pee jar" was fake (it was beer) and go from there, but still, ewwwwwwwwww.

EBay has removed an item put up by Glenn Beck called "Obama in a Pee Pee Jar." As seen in the captured screen shot above, from Washington Examiner, the bids which would have gone to charity, reached over $11,000.

According to Beck the jar is "art," his reaction to reports of a painting of President Obama as Jesus Christ. The auction was posted on eBay with bidding beginning at $5.00.

A link to the eBay auction was posted on Beck's website, explaining that the auction would benefit Mercury One and their Hope for the Holidays fund.

A report on The Blaze website explained that the urine is "fake," and his "art" is only part of his effort "to highlight the hypocrisy of those who would shout in defiance at defacing the image of a sitting U.S. president, but not that of an image so sacred to Christianity."

Update: It appears that the item has been removed from eBay

Update II: A high level Glenn Beck source tells me that eBay pulled "Obama in Pee Pee" not Beck.

Update III: According to eBay the auction was pulled because it "contains urine"
"You listed an item that contains urine," read the note from eBay to Beck's Charity (now posted on the Blaze.) "We do not allow the sale of bodily waste. Please do not relist."

This definitely gets the title of "Ridiculous item of the day!"

ForAmerica’s Chairman, Bozell calls out GOP leadership on Fiscal Cliff

By Susan Duclos

More and more conservatives are calling out the GOP leadership, either lead, or co-own the upcoming disaster if they cave on the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Below is ForAmerica Chairman, L. Brent Bozell III, statement to Republicans:

Speaker John Boehner, Leader Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Minority Whip John Cornyn

United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20215
November 27, 2012

Speaker Boehner, Leader McConnell, Majority Leader Cantor, and Minority Whip Cornyn,

The 2012 election is over and now is the time to focus on delivering on the promises you made to the country during the campaign.

With the so-called “fiscal cliff” rapidly approaching, both sides are making opening gambits and the talk so far is alarming. You led the Republican Party for two years claiming emphatically that the tax increase on “the wealthy” that Barack Obama is determined to enact is really a devastating tax hike on small business owners that would kill jobs and decimate any kind of economic recovery. Now conservatives see daily stories asserting that the GOP agrees with the President that “revenues are on the table” and GOP elite are all over the airwaves asking if the Tea Party will care if “a few multi-millionaires pay more in taxes.” That talk is only embolding liberals to demand even higher taxes. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and others are openly calling for a return to taxing Americans in the top rate at 91 percent. Yes that’s ludicrous, but liberals feel comfortable making such outlandish proposals because they feel you are weak enough that you will continue to surrender to evermore higher taxes having capitulated once already. They will never be satisfied. You know that.

Conservatives have one question to ask: If you now claim a tax increase on small business is the correct course of action, were you lying all along when you claimed this tax increase would decimate the economy? Because if you were not lying, you will now be willing participants in the destruction of American jobs in a time of economic crisis. This is the question you must answer, given the posturing of many Republicans in the immediate aftermath of the election.

However, if the GOP wakes up and decides that the principles they fought for during the campaign were more than empty political posturing, there is another option. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a report which makes clear that if the fiscal cliff is ignored, once again punting the ball away, federal public debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – currently at a 60-year high of 70 percent – would skyrocket to a catastrophic 90 percent. The CBO report provides options for reforming the biggest drivers of our long term debt – entitlements – and to no one’s surprise two of the biggest steps that Congress can take toward getting our fiscal house in order are: repealing ObamaCare’s gigantic insurance subsidies and repealing the individual mandate. According to the CBO, repealing ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies would save $150 billion in 2020
alone. Similarly, repealing the individual mandate would save $40 billion in 2020 alone.

If the GOP is really serious about doing something about out-of-control spending and about honoring their commitments to the American people, then here is the path to follow. It’s a path laid out by independent experts which reins in spending, prevents us from going over the fiscal cliff, and undoes the largest federal power-grab in American history. It’s what you promised the American people.
Either Republicans are serious about honoring their commitments, in which case they will accomplish this through the power of the purse, or Republicans are not serious about their promises, and will ignore the solution. Either/or, no other options. No more excuses, no more rhetoric. No more meaningless half measures. Take the correct course and America will thank you for saving us from the coming disaster, or take the wrong course and co-own the disaster while being exposed as fraudulent to your constituents.

L. Brent Bozell III
Chairman, ForAmerica

As I said recently on Twitter, we gave them the House back in 2012, we can take it from them in 2014.  If Republicans who control the House of Representatives are going to cave and act as irresponsibly as Obama and Democrats, then Dems might as well be in control of the House.

The Obama Economy: Layoffs And Business Closings - November 28, 2012

By Susan Duclos

Additional layoffs and business closings will be listed as they are announced throughout the day. Below are reports found on November 28, 2012.

Layoffs: November 28, 2012

AMSC Cuts 25% of Jobs in Restructuring as Wind Industry Slows 

 LA - Bogalusa Medical Center layoff notifications go out

Hewlett-Packard to cut 27,000 employees by 2014 

WI -Meriter lays off 50 employees, cites drop in Medicare reimbursements

PA - Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority approves budget cuts, layoffs

MD - Mercier's Inc. warns of layoffs FOR 75 Employees

TN - Jellico internal memo becomes public, layoffs suggested

IA -Electrolux Laying off remaining 80 workers- Previously cut 700 

Business Closings: November 28, 2012

KY - After 42 years, Drawbridge Inn closing 

CO -Steaksmith shuts down after 31 years, also filing for bankruptcy

IL - Beard Papa's Closes Chicago Store, 4th Block37 store to close since June

MA -Bank of America to close East Freetown location by March 

MO - Cape Girardeau's Salvation Army thrift store closing

Tennessee Valley Church Furniture to close

MO - Hotel Ste. Genevieve Closing At End Of Year

IN- Vertafore Inc. cutting 23 jobs, closing local office

Bankruptcy: November 28, 2012

HI - Biomass producer Big Island Carbon files Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Obama Economy pieces here

People Are Starting To Notice There Is No Balance In Obama, Democrats' Fiscal Cliff Approach

By Susan Duclos

For Obama and Democrats, the words "balanced approached" get spewed often but their so-called balance is to raise taxes but offer no entitlement reforms, no meaningful change in spending, making the word balance nothing more than just that... a word.

People are starting to notice.

In an effort to avert the “fiscal cliff” without hurting our economy, Republicans have offered to accept new revenue demanded by Democrats if it comes from tax reform and is tied to needed spending cuts. But an increasing number of Democrats seem uninterested in working together, resisting sensible spending cuts or threatening to drive us off the cliff altogether. And people are starting to notice:
  • “Democrats, meanwhile, are sounding more and more maximalist in resisting spending cuts,” says the Washington Post. “Many insist that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education — pretty much everything except the Pentagon — are untouchable. …  Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there’s no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs.”  
  • USA Today slammed Democrats’ “destructive refusal to trim unsustainable benefit programs,” and said they are “fudging the issue” to avoid making needed spending cuts and reforms.  
  • There are “deep divisions among Senate Democrats over” needed spending cuts “even as White House officials concede that government benefit programs will have to be” part of an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff, says the Associated Press.  
  • “Senate Democratic leaders signaled Tuesday they would not agree to any entitlement reforms,” reports The Hill. Politico says this “posturing could complicate efforts by the White House” to reach an agreement that averts the fiscal cliff without hurting our economy.  
The Democrats demanding tax hikes but no spending cuts are running against the desires of the American people – recent surveys show a majority of Americans back Republicans’ balanced framework that would cut spending and close special-interest tax breaks. In one survey, 61 percent said closing loopholes and lowering rates would help raise more revenue than simply raising tax rates (28 percent).

I am with Keith Hennesey... call Obama's bluff because if Republicans stand the line and insist on spending cuts, meaningful ones that will help balance our budget, then Obama's refusal to consider true "balance" will be noted even more prominently.

Hennesey makes four important points

• If there is no bill, the U.S. economy will probably dip into recession for much/most/all of 2013, and it’s impossible to predict whether such a recession would be short-lived.

• A 2013 recession would be terrible for the country and terrible for the Obama Presidency. It would limit the President’s options across his entire policy agenda, economic and non-economic. And it could define and dominate his entire second term.

• President Obama believes #1 and #2, and therefore avoiding the risk of triggering a recession with his veto is an even higher policy priority than his fiscal policy goal.

• The President wants to get things done. He cares more about his own chances for policy success (across the entire breadth of his agenda, whenever he figures out what it is) than he cares about relative political blame. A scenario in which Republicans get most of the blame for a veto-triggered recession is still a loser for him if it means he can’t accomplish his second term goals.

If Republicans do not stand the line and insist on true balance, then as I pointed out yesterday, conservative supports will remember in 2014 when every member of the House is up for reelection.

As Laura Ingraham so succinctly puts it, the GOP can look forward to a 2014 "wipeout" if they offer revenue and do not get spending cuts.

Oh, and don't forget, Obama and Democrats also want a debt limit increase while refusing to consider offsetting that with spending cuts. Republicans better hold firm on that as well.

[Update] More from RNC Research:

FLASHBACK: Obama Said “If We Want To Get Serious About Fiscal Discipline … We Will Also Have To Get Serious About Entitlement Reform.” OBAMA: “Along with defense and interest on the national debt, the biggest cost drivers in our budget are entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — all of which get more and more expensive every year. So if we want to get serious about fiscal discipline, and I do, then we’re going to not only have to trim waste out of our discretionary budget — which we’ve already begun — we will also have to get serious about entitlement reform.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 4/14/09)

  • Some Democrats Have Been “Emboldened By The Recent Election Results To Fight Against Benefit Cuts.” “But senators like Baucus and Conrad increasingly are being drowned out by other Democrats emboldened by the recent election results to fight against benefit cuts.” (Stephen Ohlemacher, “Senate Dems Divided Over Cuts To Benefit Programs,” The Associated Press, 11/28/12)
Democrats – Including The White House And 28 Senators -Have Already Dismissed Including Social Security As Part Of A Deal. “Democrats already have tried to take Social Security off the table. Carney, the White House spokesman, said Monday that changes to the massive retirement and disability program should be done separately from any plan to reduce the deficit. That’s the same position taken by 28 Democratic senators and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a letter to fellow senators in September. ‘We will oppose including Social Security cuts for future or current beneficiaries in any deficit-reduction package,’ said the letter, which was signed by many top Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.” (Stephen Ohlemacher, “Senate Dems Divided Over Cuts To Benefit Programs,” The Associated Press, 11/28/12)

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) Has Said “The Election Spoke Very Strongly About The Fact That The Vast Majority Of American People Don’t Want To Cut These Programs.” “Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he is willing to find savings in Medicare and Medicaid by making them more efficient. But, he said, he won’t support benefit cuts. ‘I think the election spoke very strongly about the fact that the vast majority of American people don’t want to cut these programs,’ Harkin said.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) Said He Doesn’t Think There Should Be A Rush To Overhaul Entitlement Programs As Part Of A Deal To Avert The Looming Fiscal Cliff. “Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate leadership ranks, said he doesn’t think there should be a rush to overhaul entitlement programs in connection with the move to avert the fiscal cliff in the remaining weeks of the current session.” (Stephen Ohlemacher, “Senate Dems Divided Over Cuts To Benefit Programs,” The Associated Press , 11/28/12)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Said Earlier This Month He Is “ Not Going To Be Part Of Having Social Security As Part Of These Talks Relating To This Deficit.” “‘I am not going to be part of having Social Security as part of these talks relating to this deficit,’ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters this month. Seriously? How exactly do Democrats expect Republicans to bend on their destructive refusal to raise taxes if Democrats won’t bend on their destructive refusal to trim unsustainable benefit programs? Social Security represents more than one-fifth of federal spending, much too big to ignore.” (Editorial, “Editorial: Social Security Adds To Deficits,” USA Today, 11/27/12)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Has Indicated That No Entitlements – Not Social Security Nor Medicare And Medicaid – Should Be On The Table For Cuts. “In the House, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has taken the same position, not only on Social Security, but also on Medicare and Medicaid.” (Stephen Ohlemacher, “Senate Dems Divided Over Cuts To Benefit Programs,” The Associated Press, 11/28/12)


“Deep Divisions Among Senate Democrats Over Whether Cuts To Popular Benefit Programs Like Medicare And Medicaid Should Be Part Of A Plan To Slow The Government’s Mushrooming Debt Pose A Big Obstacle To A Deal For Avoiding A Potentially Economy-Crushing ‘Fiscal Cliff’…” “Deep divisions among Senate Democrats over whether cuts to popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be part of a plan to slow the government’s mushrooming debt pose a big obstacle to a deal for avoiding a potentially economy-crushing ‘fiscal cliff,’ even if Republicans agree to raise taxes.” (Stephen Ohlemacher, “Senate Dems Divided Over Cuts To Benefit Programs,” The Associated Press, 11/28/12)

“Congressional Democrats Are Starting To Draw A Much Tougher Line On Entitlements In The Increasingly Messy Fiscal Cliff Talks, Warning Republicans To Keep Their Hands Off Social Security And Medicare Benefits.” “Congressional Democrats are starting to draw a much tougher line on entitlements in the increasingly messy fiscal cliff talks, warning Republicans to keep their hands off Social Security and Medicare benefits. Democrats also say they’ll refuse to look at GOP calls to dramatically slash Medicaid. And for them to even entertain any changes to Medicare and Medicaid, they say the price is for Republicans to agree to far higher taxes than they have flirted with so far.” (Manu Raju, “Democrats Talk Tough On Entitlements In Fiscal Cliff Debate,” Politico, 11/27/12)

If Obama Reaches A Deal That Includes Entitlement Cuts, “He Can Expect A Rebellion From His Allies On The Hill…” “And if President Barack Obama reaches a bipartisan deal with GOP leaders that cuts entitlements, he can expect a rebellion from his allies on the Hill – that is, unless he wins what they consider major concessions from Republicans on taxes.” (Manu Raju, “Democrats Talk Tough On Entitlements In Fiscal Cliff Debate,” Politico, 11/27/12)
  • “The Tougher Line Reflects An Emboldened Group Of Democrats On The Hill Whose Tougher Public Posturing Could Complicate Efforts By The White House To Cut A Sweeping Deal With The GOP.” (Manu Raju, “Democrats Talk Tough On Entitlements In Fiscal Cliff Debate,” Politico, 11/27/12)
Obama’s Own Entitlement Reform Ideas “Could Cause Some In His Party To Scoff.” “Democrats also haven’t been clear on what exactly they would discuss on entitlements. In previous proposals, Obama has floated the idea of reducing some payments to Medicaid providers through so-called blended rates, raising the Medicare eligibility age or requiring wealthy seniors to pay more for Medicare. Still, even those ideas could cause some in his party to scoff.” (Manu Raju, “Democrats Talk Tough On Entitlements In Fiscal Cliff Debate,” Politico, 11/27/12)


The Washington Post ‘s Greg Sargent Reports That White House Meetings With Major Unions About The Cliff Have Conveyed A Willingness “To Go Over The Fiscal Cliff If Necessary.” “I’m told that representatives of major unions and progressive groups met privately this morning with senior Obama administration officials at the White House – and were pleased with what they heard. Things can always change at a moment’s notice. But attendees at this meeting came away convinced – for now – that the White House firmly believes it has the leverage in the fiscal cliff talks, and has no intention of budging on the demand for higher tax rates from the rich or on other core priorities. Indeed, one person at the meeting – which included people from the AFLCIO, AFSCME, SEIU, MoveOn and others – came away convinced that the White House would ultimately prove willing to go over the fiscal cliff if necessary, rather than give ground on core demands, though this is not by any means a desired option and isn’t being discussed as a strategic possibility.” (Greg Sargent, “Reasons To Be Encouraged About Fiscal Cliff’s Endgame,” The Washington Post ‘s The Plum Line , 11/23/12)
  • Sargent Reports That An Attendee Said Of The Administration “They Feel Confident That They Don’t Have To Compromise” In Negotiations Over The Fiscal Cliff. “The attendee tells me the White House is cool to the idea of going over the cliff, but added: ‘Would they if it’s between that and compromising their core principles? I was left with the impression that they would.’ They remain in the same place: They expect taxes to go up on the wealthy and to protect Medicare and Medicaid benefits,’ the attendee added. ‘They feel confident that they don’t have to compromise.’” (Greg Sargent, “Reasons To Be Encouraged About Fiscal Cliff’s Endgame,” The Washington Post ‘s The Plum Line , 11/23/12)
“Elections Do Have Consequences, And Mr. Obama Ran On A Clear Platform Of Increasing Taxes On The Wealthy. But He Was Clear On Something Else, Too: Deficit Reduction Must Be ‘Balanced,’ Including Spending Cuts As Well As Tax Increases.” “Elections do have consequences, and Mr. Obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy. But he was clear on something else, too: Deficit reduction must be ‘balanced,’ including spending cuts as well as tax increases. Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there’s no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs.” (Editorial, “Mr. Obama’s Time To Lead On Entitlements,” The Washington Post , 11/27/12)

Obama “Has To Prepare The American People – And His Own Supporters Most Of All – For The ‘Hard Decisions’ Required To Put The Country On A Sound Financial Footing.” “Four years later, has the moment arrived? Since his reelection, Mr. Obama has fueled a campaign-style effort to pressure Republicans to give ground on taxes. That’s fine, but it won’t be enough. At some point, he has to prepare the American people – and his own supporters most of all – for the ‘hard decisions’ required to put the country on a sound financial footing.” (Editorial, “Mr. Obama’s Time To Lead On Entitlements,” The Washington Post , 11/27/12)

“That Means Spending Cuts, It Means Entitlement Reform, It Means Compromise … Only One Person Is In A Position To Make It Happen.” “That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise, it means a balanced solution that will please neither House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Only one person is in a position to make it happen.” (Editorial, “Mr. Obama’s Time To Lead On Entitlements,” The Washington Post , 11/27/12)

Democrats Refuse To Touch Medicare In Spite Of Its Anticipated Insolvency In 2024. “But Medicare is facing insolvency in 2024, according to the latest trustees report. Medicare services 48 million people over the age of 65 or with disabilities, while Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program provide coverage to about 60 million a month – and those social safety net programs eat up about 21 percent of the $3.6 trillion annual budget.” (Editorial, “Editorial: Social Security Adds To Deficits,” USA Today, 11/27/12)

“Social Security Represents More Than One-Fifth Of Federal Spending, Much Too Big To Ignore.” (Editorial, “Editorial: Social Security Adds To Deficits,” USA Today, 11/27/12)
  • “The Shortfalls For Social Security That CBO Is Currently Projecting Are Larger Than Those The Agency Projected A Year Ago.” (“The 2012 Long-Term Projections For Social Security: Additional Information,” Congressional Budget Office, 10/12)
  • “Outlays For Social Security Benefits Will Jump By $43 Billion-Or Nearly 6 Percent-This Year.” “Outlays for Social Security benefits will jump by $43 billion-or nearly 6 percent-this year. That increase includes the effect of the 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment that beneficiaries received in January. In addition, the number of Social Security beneficiaries has risen by an estimated 2.5 percent, to 56 million people, in 2012.” (“An Update To The Budget And Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 To 2022,” Congressional Budget Office, 8/22/12)

Obama, Democrats Want Debt Ceiling Increase Without Offsets To Spending- Who Is Being Unreasonable?

By Susan Duclos

One has to wonder how some Democrats make statements without cringing as the words come out of their mouths.

President Barack Obama made a demand of House Speaker John Boehner near the end of their first White House meeting on the fiscal cliff: Raise the debt limit before year’s end.

Boehner responded: “There is a price for everything.”

Politico reports that Obama and Democrats want a debt ceiling increase (being allowed to borrow more money) written into the fiscal cliff agreement, if it comes to pass, but they refuse to consider offsets by way of spending reductions.

Republicans know it’s a difficult vote for nearly all of their members. They need something to show for it — and to uphold Boehner’s principle that the nation should only acquire more debt if it’s willing to cut an equal amount of spending or save a commensurate amount of money through entitlement reform.

This time, Obama is saying he won’t indulge the speaker.

Boehner shouldn’t expect a thing in return for raising the debt ceiling, and certainly not his demand for spending cuts that exceed the jump in the borrowing limit, Democratic officials said.

“Do you really think we would come up with a $4 trillion grand bargain and then try to find another $1 trillion in cuts to offset a debt ceiling increase? I don’t think so,” said a Senate Democratic aide.

Think about this for a minute.

The U.S. national debt is over $16 trillion (16,309,738,056,362.44). The U.S. is running a $1.1 deficit for 2012, making it the fourth straight year with a deficit over a trillion, according to the
Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The nation running at a loss already, yet Democrats are balking at cutting an equal amount of spending to the money Obama and Democrats want to borrow.

If we keep borrowing without cutting our spending, how on earth do we ever get out of debt?

We don't.

So, who exactly is being unreasonable here?


Obama's Economy Has America On A Death Spiral Trajectory