The president is not a socialist. However, he is a statist. The current term for this is crony capitalism. He does not want the state to own the means of production and the assets in the economy, but he wants the state to control the economy indirectly, through regulation for the benefit of the “friends” of the state. The private sector still owns businesses and assumes business risks, but the government tells individuals and businesses whom to hire, what to pay, what to make, how to invest, and how much to pay the government in tribute for its “protection.” Much like in a casino, the house always wins. The government plays with house money, and there’s just no competing with that. This, in turn, has an unsubtle impact on the way the government is run and the policies that are implemented, as the cronies’ special treatment is reinforced with their success.
Economy & Budget
President Obama announced that he is appointing current Chief of Staff and former OMB Director Jack Lew to be the nation’s next secretary of the Treasury.
Lew, whose signature featuring a bunch of loops with no discernible letters has become an Internet viral sensation, is a fitting replacement for a Treasury secretary who blamed TurboTax for his failure to properly pay his taxes. After all, Lew is the man responsible for developing two budgets for the Obama administration to submit to Congress. Lew’s budgets were so well thought of that they received a grand total of zero votes.
Not a single Republican or even a single Democrat voted for the two budgets that Lew was instrumental in creating.
One of the unforeseen effects of the Affordable Care Act is redefining what full-time employment is. It once was a 40-hour workweek, but the act now requires full medical benefits for 30 hours or more. For that reason, many employers are only offering jobs to individuals who will only work for less than 30 hours. This is further redefining work hours for people who now have two jobs and frequently work more than 40 hours between the two and have no healthcare benefits.
There is an important lesson that can be learned by examining the causes and effects of an overactive government in a free, capitalistic society. The free market and the populace will always react in ways that benefit themselves or at least allow themselves not to be severely harmed or injured.
No question, the early reviews on the fiscal-cliff deal have not been good for Republicans.
President Obama “Rick-rolled” the GOP, forcing members to back a big tax hike for the first time in 20 years, to add nearly $4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade and to vote against their own Speaker’s proposal to address the crisis.
There were some things to like. The Bush tax cuts finally were made permanent for all who earn less than $400,000, the Alternative Minimum Tax was reformed, and the structure of the deal provides three more opportunities for Republicans to push for spending cuts.
The Alternative Minimum Tax has finally been altered so that it won’t hurt middle-income families. For years, people have assumed this was just a tax on the wealthy but it was never indexed to inflation. In fact it has been modified or revamped 19 times in the last 42 years. Now it is indexed to inflation, so many families that worked their way into it, or were sitting on the bubble worrying about qualifying for it, now will do neither.
The leadership has now averted the much-talked-about fiscal cliff , which was never the threat that it was purported to be. Rather, it provided a wonderful opportunity for the do-nothing Senate to craft legislation that supports the president's agenda of wealth redistribution.
An honest analysis of the bill makes it clear that it really doesn't address the fundamental problems of massive federal deficits as far as the eye can see. In fact, over the next 10 years it increases the national debt by $4 trillion.
This place needs a little action as Congress remains stalled, so I will briefly answer my brother Rick Manning, who asks: What has Harry Reid done? Well, the answer is simple. Harry Reid has done what majority leaders should do, which is bring the Senate into session to solve the problems of the nation. By contrast, John Boehner has not done what Speakers are supposed to do. First, Boehner's idea that he will only bring up legislation that a majority of Republicans favors violates the very job description of the Speaker, which is to be the Speaker of the full House, not just the Speaker of the Republicans. Then Boehner lost control of his House Republicans. Then Boehner offered a ridiculous Plan B that was doomed to fail. Now Boehner has led his House to head for the hills, and says it is up to Harry Reid to legislate.
Nothing is more infuriating than hearing a politician who has failed to
act in six months on a single piece of legislation to end a crisis
complaining about someone who has strenuously worked to produce a
solution to the problem.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made an extraordinary statement this morning correctly taking House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to task for what is one of the great abdications of responsibility in modern government. Reid is right, but these charges and counter-charges are wearing thin, and it is time for President Obama to exercise his authority to call the House of Representatives back to do what they are paid by taxpayers to do: govern.
I have a simple plea to John Boehner – be the Speaker.
The Speaker of the House can dictate what spending gets done and what doesn’t, if he uses his constitutional powers.
The president can merely sign or reject anything passed by the Congress.
The Senate can merely accept or amend anything passed by the House.
It is Boehner’s House that holds all the cards in the spending/tax debate. So, come back from Christmas and start playing them.