Economy & Budget

Obama’s loo-worthy Treasury appointment

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.


New work schedule

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.


Credit-rating threat could help GOP in debt-ceiling showdown

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.


Tax relief for 98 percent of Americans

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.


More cliff-diving to come

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.


What Harry Reid has done

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.


What has Harry Reid done?

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.


Reid's charge, Boehner's abdication: Obama should call the House back into session

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.


Time to be the Speaker

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.


Plan B is Plan Nowhere

Speaker Boehner’s “Plan B” is clearly a tactic, not a serious proposal, and it is going nowhere.
It reminds me of the Bruce Springsteen song “Radio Nowhere” — “I was trying to find my way home/ But all I heard was a drone/ Bouncing off a satellite … This is Radio Nowhere/ Is there anybody alive out there?”
Really, we are so very close to an agreement, why put out a “Plan Nowhere” that is not a serious proposal? In fact, it would make the problems worse if it were to be adopted, which it won’t.
Why would he do this?