Superlatives!

Obama’s approval ratings are the lowest of any president at this point in their first term, since they started keeping records:

President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 47 percent in the latest Gallup poll, the lowest ever recorded for any president at this point in his term.

Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and even Richard Nixon all had higher approval ratings 10-and-a-half months into their presidencies. Obama’s immediate predecessor, President George W. Bush, had an approval rating of 86 percent, or 39 points higher than Obama at this stage. Bush’s support came shortly after he launched the war in Afghanistan in response to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

It’s best not to get too excited; Ronald Reagan’s numbers were only two points better at this point in 1982, and Bill Clinton was only five points better – and we know how both of those turned out. 

Yes, we do.  Reagan had a solid plan for solidifying our tanking economy and fixing the foreign-policy nightmare of the seventies.  And Clinton was well on the road to getting chastened for his overreach on healthcare, after which he triangulated so far to the right that he actually ran a more fiscally-responsible adminsitration (with the aid of GOP majorities in both houses) than his successor.

Obama?  So far, we haven’t gotten to that point yet:

President Barack Obama outlined new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals Tuesday, saying the nation must continue to “spend our way out of this recession” until more Americans are back at work.Without giving a price tag, Obama proposed a package of new spending for highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects, deeper tax breaks for small businesses and tax incentives to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient.

Great news if you’re a highway worker!  Or a window installer!  Not so much elsewhere, of course.

I’ll await details on how Obama next plans to spend his way out of deficit.

Northstar-Struck

Yesterday was the first day for the “Northstar” commuter rail service.

Now, commuter rail is one of those areas where I break with some of my conservative friends – with a big, red asterisk.  Unlike Light Rail, which is a pretty universal money pit, Commuter Rail – heavy cars using existing right of way and rails – is relatively inexpensive.  The forty mile Northstar cost less than half of what the seven mile Ventura Trolley did, and is currently coming around a quarter of the ludicrous, city-destroying Central Corridor’s price tag at the moment.  Had the Met Council opted to buy used rolling stock (cars and locomotives) and build its stations on the cheap, and had gas prices remained high and pumped up the ridership, the Northstar could have hypothetically been revenue-neutral and self-supporting in relatively short order.  Which, for a government program, ain’t chicken feed…

…provided you get all those “ifs” out of the way.  The Met bought new rolling stock (enh) and as always used the stations as an excuse to subsidize local artists, and the price came in a good third higher than it might have.

Still, for those who are trying for whatever reason to recalibrate their lives around the shiny new toy, madness awaits:

Trains were on time — the first one arrived three minutes early — but the first day was not entirely free of glitches. At Target Field, the doors of the 7:10 a.m. train didn’t open for a few minutes, so its more than 300 passengers were stuck inside. Once they made their way upstairs to the Hiawatha station, light rail wasn’t there to greet them because of a mechanical problem. A replacement Hiawatha train left the station at 7:25.

During the afternoon rush, there were some frantic dashes for closing doors, some doorway stumbles and even a few people who missed trains and had to wait for the next one. Only one person missed the final train, arriving at Target Field two minutes late on a connecting light-rail transit train.

Metro Transit has a way of letting you down; I can’t count the number of times, back when I did a lot more transit, that buses would run late or sometimes not at all, or schedules would be inaccurate, or bus stops would be incorrectly marked; for that matter, in one year I had two buses break down on me in mid-trip.  Carrying a bike with you in one of the bike racks, I came to realize, is a bit like having a lifeboat on a ship.

Susan Sullivan of Andover hopes not. “When I got to the Government Center, it was 10 minutes later than my bus ever got me there,” she wrote in an e-mail. “And I will be paying $2 more each day for the ‘privilege’ of riding this.”

And then there are those for whom ideology swerves into irrationality:

The sole outbound morning train to Big Lake had 44 customers when it headed northwest at 6:05 a.m. Kate Pound of St. Paul, was one of them and had one of the more complicated commutes. She rode her bicycle to a bus stop, transferred from the bus to a light-rail train and then to Northstar at Target Field. She departed the Big Lake station via a Northstar Link bus to her job as a geology teacher at St. Cloud State University.

“It’s great, it’s cheaper, I’m doing the right thing in terms of my carbon footprint,” she said. “But what if I’m late and miss my connection in Big Lake? As long as I don’t get stuck, this is the way to go.”

Well, no, Ms. Pound – moving to Saint Cloud would be the “right thing in terms of your carbon footprint”.  What you’re doing is salving your precious environmentalist ego, while continuing to live the high-density urban life you no doubt came to love while attending Macalester.  If I were to guess, anyway.

Anyway – if you’re taking the train, enjoy.  It’s a less-dumb option than the Ventura Trolley, and vastly less criminally stupid than the Central Corridor is going to be.

Lost in Space

Is NASA necessary?

…before you answer that, remember, Star Trek isn’t real, and clearly the government already knows where Uranus is.

Is there a cure for cancer or world hunger in space? Should we risk bumping into someone out there, and pissing them off? Do we need to spend Billions on a space station that will eventually burn up in our atmosphere some day?

…you know, like a Dodge pickup?

NASA invented Tang – shouldn’t they have quit at the top of their game? (shut up, Brett)

The space program “is perpetuating the perilous practice of pursuing goals that do not match allocated resources,” the U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee said in a summary of its report.

…Geez, must be run by a bunch of liberals or something. God forbid we lower our goals during an almost unprecedented (as of yet at least) economic crisis.

In a time when our government (and it’s people by the way) should be looking to do more with less, to work harder, save and sacrifice more, to work our way out of the hole we’ve collectively dug, Obama’s next proposal is out of this world.

Obama asked Congress in February to boost NASA’s budget by 5 percent in fiscal year 2010 to $18.7 billion and embraced Bush’s 2020 moon-return goal.

Barack Obama shares Bush’s goal to go where the sun doesn’t shine. You can pay a lot of mortgage payments with nineteen billion, Mr. Jimmy!

The increase excludes $1 billion the agency will get under economic-stimulus legislation. A 10- year projection released with Obama’s budget showed spending would remain flat for NASA in later years.

Impressive. The deficit represents IOU’s stacked from the “stairs” on Purgatory Creek all the way into space; literally and figuratively. Of course $1 Billion to a liberal is a nit; but someone mindmeld with me and explain how spending a billion on NASA is stimulating government economic growth?

(crickets are chirping but since they are part of a useless experiment in space you can’t hear them)

The public would be inspired “with a series of interesting firsts to keep them engaged and supportive,” the committee said.

Why don’t you just try putting something in the nation’s water? Seems like less trouble to me.

The panel said that Mars, already visited by U.S. robotic probes, should be the “ultimate destination” for human explorers.

Just ask the robots.

Then again, they’ve never been to a MOB night at Keegan’s, either.

Your Tax Dollars at Work Waste

I came upon this strikingly worthless project while biking along a trail in Purgatory Park in Minnetonka.

I can just picture a couple beer-o-crats self-congratulating themselves on this idea.

“You know what this crawfish creek needs?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Some goll-dang stairs.”

“Yep!”

“Yeah, plus we’ll create jobs.”

“Well, not actually. We alruddy werk for the govment.”

“It’ll take a few hours to put in the stairs, but we can leave one o’ them stimuless signs up for weeks and weeks!”

And it did, and they have.

Hindenburg Flight a Success Until

“Cash for Clunkers” programs the world over are being touted as a success. Meanwhile dealers are wondering how they can sell…just one car… now.

“German Clunkers Scheme Was Surprising Success”

The issue now is whether a recovery in demand will come soon enough to compensate for the end of government incentives.

Recent figures from the U.S., crucial to Mercedes and BMW, suggest that demand for German cars there is recovering. German policymakers can only hope it recovers fast enough that that history judges their wreck rebate as a success and not a boondoggle.

Meanwhile, back here in the states…from the very same edition of BusinessWeek:

After the Clunker Party, an Auto Sales Hangover

“August was the best month of the year, but it’s possible that it could be followed by the worst month this year,” says Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive officer of Edmunds.com.

Essentially, the government pissed away a couple billion dollars in August to incent people that wouldn’t have otherwise bought cars…until…oh my gosh…September! (!!!)

…like other carmakers, GM saw sales trail off after the clunkers program ended. And it appears that the rebates sucked some sales out of September as well. Michael DiGiovanni, GM’s executive director of global market and industry analysis, says that he thinks about 200,000 of the 700,000 cars sold under the clunkers program were pulled ahead from future months.

Well done, libs, well done. You saved the auto industry…for six weeks.

Stimulus Simulus

I was biking on a Three Rivers bike trail in and around my home in Hennepin County today and came upon some young workers building a little area of stairs onto the biking/walking trail from a park.

They had arrived in an official Hennepin County van, so I would have to assume that they were county workers.

Posted proudly near their little project was a sign:

“Your Stimulus Dollars at Work”

Government workers, working on government land, on a government project. Dare I say an unnecessary one at that.
Riddle me this: Just exactly what stimulus was this project providing?

How many sustainable private sector jobs, the only source of true economic growth, were created?

House of Representatives: Up Yours America!

The House’s request to the pentagon to purchase new private jets fell victim to criticisms by citizens and politicians and was dropped this week.

U.S. House leaders have dropped plans to spend $550 million in the Air Force budget on passenger jets used by lawmakers and senior government officials, officials said on Monday.

The House of Representatives reversed the move to upgrade the executive jet fleet after public criticism, opposition from other lawmakers and the Defense Department had said it did not need more planes that it had requested.

So we saved $550 Million right?

Dropping the proposal doesn’t save money, as the total funding provided by the bill remains unchanged. It means the money that would have been used to pay for the extra planes will go to other purposes.

“Other purposes.” Read: we’re going to piss the money away either way.

These are the same people telling us that government-run health care will save money.

Selling It

Obama and his ilk are selling the July economic numbers, telling us the stimulus is working, the recession is ending and the economy is on the mend.

Businesses shed “just” 247,000 jobs in July, far fewer than the 330,000 most economists and Wall Street analysts were looking for. As bad as that still sounds, July’s toll was only two-thirds the monthly average since December 2007, when the recession began.

So your carotid is still gushing blood, but it’s coming out more slowly now.

It’s not that there isn’t good news to be had, it’s that politicians are connecting dots that shouldn’t be connected.

Americans are desperate for some good news, and this recession will someday be behind us, but our recovery will have nothing to do with wasteful government borrowing and spending. A recovery will come from small businesses and free enterprise, finding ways to succeed despite the government’s increased burden in the form of inflation and ultimately, higher taxes on everyone.

As such, we’re bracing for the inevitable self-congratulatory back pats from the White House and Congress, lauding their own economic stewardship for pulling us back from the abyss. On Friday, President Obama said his policies “rescued our economy from catastrophe” while building “a new foundation for growth.”

Don’t believe it. Claims that higher taxes and a total of $2 trillion in stimulus, TARP and bailout spending this year have turned the economy around are unconvincing. Indeed, they’re farcical.

As economist Casey Mulligan noted on the New York Times blog after dissecting second-quarter GDP data, total stimulus at the state and federal levels amounted to about $12 per person. That’s stimulus?

Suggesting that government is responsible for what looks to be a rather weak recovery is an insult to all the small private companies and millions of laid-off workers who bore the brunt of bad government policies over the past two years.

I will put my party hat on when banks start lending, businesses start hiring and consumers start spending. On that day we’ll have a true recovery. At the same time, I will be watching the beach for the inflation title wave that will be the unavoidable result of “Stimulus,” “Cash for Clunkers,” corporate bailouts and “pedal to the metal” fed monetary policy.

In the mean time, whatever Obama says about the economy from now on, you can pretty much disregard.

CARS is Like Really Great Stuff

Tim Pawlenty ripped the federal CARS “Cash for Clunkers” program this week.

It makes no sense, he said on his weekly radio show, for the federal government to bail out a company such as General Motors and then give consumers as much as $4,500 to buy a car from GM.

“It makes everybody feel good,” Pawlenty said, “but because we own GM, we’re just paying ourselves back. It seems a little odd.”

Car dealers respond predictably…

“I think the governor’s comments are unfortunate and maybe ill-informed,” said Scott Lambert, executive director of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association. “This program has clear benefits to it. The only downside is that it’s using taxpayer money

We wouldn’t want to nit-pick where the money’s coming from.

…but it’s stimulus money that’s working. It’s promoting some of the biggest economic activity the state has seen all summer.”

Maybe so, but what happens when the program stops?

It’s akin to Billy Mays endorsing cocaine.

CARS runs out of Gas

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Congress allocated close to $1 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program. That’s billion with nine zeros. And all that money might be gone by midnight tonight.

On one hand, a lot of cars, both foreign and domestic were sold. On the other, it’s already over. On one hand, the industry was stimulated, if even for only a couple weeks. On the other, we borrowed the money to do it.

2.2 Million Dollar Sign of the Times

In 2008, 34 Million passengers traveled via Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

Faced with complaints that an estimated 20,000 people show up at the wrong terminal each year, MAC has been considering proposals to change the terminal names on the signs and list the airlines that fly out of each terminal.

In 2008, 34 Million passengers traveled via Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

If 20,000 people can’t make it to the right terminal, that’s 0.059%; less than six in ten thousand people.

The price tag to make sure people get to the right terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has soared to $2.2 million, more than twice the original estimate.

When the revised proposal goes before the committee, Hogan predicted that the new cost estimate will be a consideration in how the vote goes. “But in the big scheme of things, we just spent $3 billion to improve the airport, and if there are still people having trouble getting to the right terminal, that’s a small price to pay.”

The last sentence of that paragraph is rather demonstrative as to why government shouldn’t be in business, health care – or running airports for that matter.

In 2008, 34 Million passengers traveled via Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

Over 90,000 people travel through our airport per day. 20,000 per year can’t discern the difference between “Lindberg” and “Humphrey.”

34,000,000

vs.

20,000

Managing to the exception needlessly costs taxpayers and travelers.

There will always be percentage of people who can’t figure out where they’re going and as the percentages get smaller, the resources to required to remedy the CRISIS(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) increase exponentially. Spending $2.2M of OPM is easy when there is no accountability; no career repercussions for spending resources foolishly.

An expenditure judged to be a waste in a well-run corporation is deemed an “investment” by government.

Democrats have PhD’s in OPM

Lawmakers, failing to realize home is where the crisis is, are spending taxpayer dollars on travel around the world, and are taking their families with them. It’s always easier to spend Other People’s Money, especially when you are a politician, historically more so when you’re a Democrat.

Some members of Congress have complained in recent months about chief executives of bailed-out banks, insurance companies and car makers who sponsored corporate trips to resorts or used corporate jets for their own travel.

…and yet:

Hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas in 2008 at a cost of about $13 million. That’s a 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress two years ago.

I think Lawmakers should learn more about the world before they become lawmakers. I think Presidents especially should have relevant experience before running for office (crickets chirping)…but I digress.

Maybe then they will discern beforehand, that spending 800 billion borrowed dollars isn’t going to cap unemployment at 8% (now 9.5%) or stimulate anything for that matter.

Lawmakers say that the trips are a good use of government funds because they allow members of Congress and their staff members to learn more about the world, inspect U.S. assets abroad and forge better working relationships with each other. The travel, for example, includes official visits to American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Journal analysis shows that the government has picked up the tab for travel to destinations such as Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Learning about Jamaica? Next time I travel to a vacation spot, I’m going to write off the whole trip on my taxes. I will have been “learning” about the world for my business. It’s research I’ll say.

In February, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation of Democratic lawmakers to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan for a day. Before landing in Kabul, the eight lawmakers and their entourage of spouses and aides spent eight days in Italy, spending $57,697 on hotels and meals.

Scores of lawmakers are spending this week abroad on taxpayer-funded trips. Congressional offices say they won’t release details of the trips for security reasons.

Sure.

This is not the Change® I voted against.

True, True, True and….True.

One of the biggest challenges ahead for the GOP is to reclaim the Fiscal Conservative ribbon from…well actually nobody has it now…which is probably why we are enjoying a hiatus from the trappings of low unemployment, prosperity and economic growth right now.

Paying for what you spend is basic common sense. Perhaps that’s why, here in Washington, it’s been so elusive”

True.

Who said that? Wait for it…of course…Barack Obama; filling the vacuum left by Republicans with more wholesome teleprompter goodness. The most liberal former Senator in recent history defines audacity once again.

Republicans marvel at his skill in stealing their clothes. Democrats retort that, under George Bush, Republicans left their clothes unguarded while they cavorted in a hot tub of borrowed cash. Sure, they talked about fiscal responsibility. But instead of choosing between tax cuts, wars and social spending, they chose all three—and left the bill for future generations.

True (although picturing Dick Cheney in a hot tub is a wee bit unsettling).

Whenever Republicans accuse Mr Obama of fiscal profligacy, Democrats have three easy answers. The first is to accuse them of hypocrisy—why did they not speak up when Mr Bush was splurging red ink?

True (although a few of us did speak up).

Americans stopped trusting Republicans with their money in part because some were caught trousering bribes or peddling influence.

and True…although Republicans have no monopoly here. Sadly, the public’s attention has been drawn from  Republicans…because there are so few of them in power right now.

Republicans think they see an opening. Although Mr Obama is still very popular, Americans have doubts about his fiscal stewardship. In a recent Gallup poll, 51% disapproved of his handling of federal spending. Since this is the only area where most people disapprove of Mr Obama, Republicans are enthusiastically prodding it.

But will middle America believe them this time?

You are right. You were wrong. But not in the wrong way you want us to think you were wrong. Right?

Joe Biden opens his mouth and out comes humor, drivel or drool.

“Everyone guessed wrong,” Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday, on the impact of stimulus legislation.

Not everyone. And by the way, they weren’t guessing – they were siezing an opportunity to not unwaste a crisis and transport America quickly to the left under the cover fire of Obama’s Doom and Gloom speech.

Some 330 economists signed a statement last winter saying that President Obama’s claim — that “there is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jump-start the economy” — simply “is not true.”

The economists were not crackpots but respected scholars, including Nobelists James Buchanan, Vernon Smith and Edward Prescott, as well as Reagan Office and Management of Budget Director James Miller, Walter Williams and John Lott.

Also opposed to the stimulus are the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and a core of U.S. representatives and senators, too small unfortunately to change the outcome, who saw through the smoke and weren’t fooled by the mirrors.

The result is now a soon-to-be total debt per American household of several hundred thousand dollars, the result of which will soon weigh heavily on the shoulders of liberal Democrats and our facist President when Republicans ask in 2012 “are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

Chump Change

President Obama campaigned on the promise he would end earmarks, one of the political lead balloons that brought Republicans from the sky and confused the electorate as to who the conservative party is.

Obama promised to change…

Mr. Obama had campaigned against earmarks, even saying he would cut them back to levels before 1994, the start of the Gingrich-GOP interregnum. Now here was Obama as president signing a bill soaked in earmarks.

…his mind. Again.

The Teleprompter-in-Chief offers this unmasked subterfuge:

“Individual members of Congress understand their districts best, and they should have the ability to respond to the needs of their communities.”

In a short 100-some days and counting, the President has broken promise after promise, putting a spit shine on and extending Bush policies he rallied voters against and clearly establishing his status as a another garden-variety liberal politician (save the magnitude), making chumps of those who voted for him and leaving the rest of us wondering:

Where is the rage now? Where is the outcry?

And…where’s the Change®?

When The Unions Say “Bark Like A Dog!”, Obama Says “Woof”

Leave aside for a moment the question of whether Porkulus is actually going to help or hurt the economy; for purposes of discussion, let’s say it’ll “help”, in the long term (and, equally plausible, let’s presume I’m going to be squiring Scarlett Johannsen around down this weekend).

Let’s also presume, for a moment, that the individual states have both the responsibility and the right (according to the Tenth Amendment) to set their own budgets and run their own business.

So should the government be holding up the “good” of the stimulus because  a state is balancing its budget by cutting pay for union workers?  As opposed to, say, firing them all?:

The Obama administration is threatening to rescind billions of dollars in federal stimulus money if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers do not restore wage cuts to unionized home healthcare workers approved in February as part of the budget.

Schwarzenegger’s office was advised this week by federal health officials that the wage reduction, which will save California $74 million, violates provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Failure to revoke the scheduled wage cut before it takes effect July 1 could cost California $6.8 billion in stimulus money, according to state officials.

The World Health Organization is half right.  We have an pandemic of Pork Flu in this country.

At Least They Have Their Priorities Straight

The Nation is sort of like the Minnesota Progressive Project for people who graduated from college; higher-sounding rhetoric, same ol’ Kool-aid-sotted invincible ignorance wrapped around centrally-mandated spin masquerading-as-commentary.

John Nichols  follows the Rahm Emanuel commandment and doesn’t let a crisis go to waste; he’s writing about Republican opposition to vaguely-healthcare-related pork spending proposals in reference to the incoming Swine Flu pandemic:

When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year’s emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.

And with good reason:  none of that $900M would have generated a Swine Flu vaccine from the clear blue sky.

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse — with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.

But to be fair to the Republicans involved, everything in the Porkulus was supposed to be about “renewing” the economy, from “healthcare” spending to building new bike paths.

But former White House political czar Karl Rove and key congressional Republicans — led by Maine Senator Susan Collins — aggressively attacked the notion that there was a connection between pandemic preparation and economic recovery.

Now, as the World Health Organization says a deadly swine flu outbreak that apparently began in Mexico but has spread to the United States has the potential to develop into a pandemic, Obey’s attempt to secure the money seems eerily prescient.

No, it makes John Nichols look like a weasel, trying to turn a porkalanche proposal into phony clairvoyance…

…without, let the record show, showing how any of the $900 million dollars would have addressed this possible pandemic. 

As Don Surber notes (via Malkin), this is a head-fake to cover the fact that the Administration hasn’t done anything to staff the key policy positions in the Surgeon General’s office, including those directly dealing with pandemics. 

President Barack Obama has not yet chosen a surgeon general or the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His choice to run the Food and Drug Administration awaits confirmation,” Politico reported.

So while Obama dithers, and fails to take care of those parts of his job that directly impinge on dealing with pandemics, and sends his Homeland Security director (in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would have a role in dealing with a truly major epidemic, serving as the arms and legs and muscle of the Centers for Disease Control) on politically-motivated witchhunts against political opposition, the Administration is responding by sending it’s trained alt-media monkeys on rhetorical purges against Karl Rove, and – I love this – answering questions from the press:

Notably, the second question at the White House press conference on the emergency had to do with the potential impact on the economic recovery.

On Monday, the question began to be answered, as Associated

Yeah, John Nichols; that’s pretty “notable”; as per usual with the Obama administration, soothing words for the press and slime-attacks against dissenters are supposed to substitute for doing the job.

Nichols even has to resort to “the dog ate my homework”:

The Republicans essentially succeeded. The Senate version of the stimulus plan included no money whatsoever for pandemic preparedness.

It’s a misleading, inflammatory lie; porkulus included no new money, but there was already money in the budget, and now that there is an actual emergency there will no doubt be plenty more found. 

But notice, if you will, the underlying message; even though the Dems have complete, unfettered control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, they couldn’t pass it, and are scurrying for cover by blaming Republicans; more later.

Not only is it an inflammatory lie, it’s a stupid one:

In the conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate plans, Obey and his allies succeeded in securing $50 million for improving information systems at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

As if long lead-time items like “Improved Information Systems” would have made a difference in the weeks that have passed.

You’re doing a fine job, there, Janet-y. 

$10,500,000,000,000

Ten and a half Trillion dollars have been committed by our government for bailouts and stimulus.

The USA’s GDP is around 14 Trillion dollars and according to the CIA, our current debt as a percentage of GDP is around 60%. The fact that Japan is near the top of the global rankings at 170% does not bode well for us.

This may foreshadow our fate: protracted economic stagnation for the US, as we follow in near lockstep with the Japanese by going dangerously deeper into debt and allowing our government to send (print) good money after bad.

Ultimately, delay may be the sole result as efforts to bail out financial institutions, insurance companies, and manufacturers will end in the bankruptcies that should have been allowed to happen by now.

To anyone currently under the age of 55: your retirement plans are hereby revised canceled.

“They are going to grow this government.”

“They” being the Obamanistas running our nation. Government doesn’t grow like grass growing on a peaceful prairie; more like a brain tumor.

Would-be Obama Administration Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg speaks out on why he turned around and walked back out the door, embarrassing the President yet gain with another failed or controversial cabinet appointment (I’ll bet he pays his taxes) and even more so with his postmortem.

[Obama] may be “a charismatic person” with “a very strong understanding of who he is and what he wants to do,” but when it comes to the substance of what Mr. Obama seeks to accomplish, Mr. Gregg is less charitable. “They have a goal,” the senator says, “and he’s very open about it. They are going to grow this government.”

Why? Because that’s what liberals do. Why? Because they got nothin’ else in their quiver. Big government is to be made bigger for its own sake. How does that bode for the future?

“We’re headed on an unsustainable path. The simple fact is these [budget] numbers don’t work and the practical implications of them are staggering for the nation and the next generation.”

And as a result of all that spending, “You see the size of government growing from 21% [of gross domestic product] to 22%, to 23%, 24%, 25% . . . toward 30%.”

For the sake of credibility let me remind you liberals, this is the guy that Obama picked for his cabinet.

We post on torture and war and our liberal readers go ape. We post on Tea Parties and liberals argue semantics rather than addressing the fiscal crisis behind them. Why aren’t both sides freaking out about what liberal politicians, both Democrat (mostly) and Republican (sadly) are doing to our country financially?

I suppose liberals aren’t enraged because they’ve been sold on all these Hopey Changey concepts like wind-powered scooters and affordable health care for everyone without weighing the costs – costs beyond what we can afford as a nation – unless we borrow. Costs that without any market forces keeping them in check will make the current health care “crisis” look like the panacea liberals are looking for. But liberals in both parties have no aversion to borrowing and spending other-people’s money so long as the cause is “noble” enough – so for them, problem solved!

For Mr. Gregg, this is like living a nightmare. He has been a hard-nosed advocate for government spending restraint since his days as a Congressman (1981-87) and governor of New Hampshire (1987-93). At times, his commitment to fiscal responsibility led him to oppose tax cuts when they weren’t matched by spending restraint. Those stances incurred the ire of his Republican colleagues, but he always stuck to his fiscal-responsibility guns. Now he’s staring down a spending explosion that makes those battles look picayune.

What hope have we that prefer our nation not become completely insolvent?

…the runaway spending and growing pile of debt, could yet set the stage for a Republican comeback, and sooner than most pundits would predict. Mr. Gregg will not run for re-election when his current term ends next year. Republicans, he says, “became very clouded as to what we stood for under the Bush presidency.” But now they’re getting their “definition” back.

Once again, liberals will have screwed up our nation’s finances so badly that conservatives will be called back in to restore confidence. When will America learn?

Who said What?

President Obama, in his weekly address Saturday, said the country cannot “settle for a future of rising deficits and debts that our children cannot pay.”

…and the members of OPEC would like you to conserve fossil fuels. Oh and – hee hee – Jim Cramer has a stock tip for you. Uhhh, and Dan Rather has invited you to an “Ethics in Journalism” seminar. Oooo – Madonna and Alec Baldwin are co-authoring a book on parenting.

Meanwhile Brack O’Bomba is spending your Billions.

The audacity indeed.