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Laughter is a Mark of Fiscal Seriousness

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:54 pm - March 9, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

So writes Jacob Sullum in the face of Democrats wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth at the Republicans’ “mean-spirited” budget cuts:

How else should one greet a New York Times editorial that concedes the federal deficit, projected to be $1.6 trillion this year, is “too large for comfort” but calls $61 billion in cuts “ruinous”? Or a press release from the Every Child Matters Education Fund that deems them “harsh” and “extreme”?

The cuts represent less than 2 percent of the total budget, less than 4 percent of the deficit, and less than 5 percent of discretionary spending, which rose in real terms by 75 percent from 2000 to 2010 and by about 9 percent in each of the last two fiscal years. If the House-approved reductions would be “the largest one-year cuts in history,” as the folks at Every Child Matters say, that is a sad commentary not on Republican cold-heartedness but on the fiscal incontinence of both parties.

Read the whole thing.  (H/t:  Instapundit.)

President’s Weekly Job Approval Down

According to Gallup, the president’s weekly job approval has taken a tumble:

President Barack Obama averaged 46% job approval the week of Feb. 28-March 6, his lowest weekly average since mid-December. Obama’s weekly approval rating had steadily improved from mid-December to late January, peaking at 50% during the final two weeks in January, before dropping below that mark in February. . . .

The seven-week period from mid-December through the end of January was the longest stretch Obama has had of stable or improving ratings. Prior to that, there were several periods when his ratings either held steady or improved four weeks in a row, including a stretch from April to May 2009 that saw his approval ratings improve by a total of five percentage points.

Compared with the final two weeks of January, when Obama averaged 50% overall approval, his recent drop in support has come mainly from Democrats and independents

.Trend, November 2010-March 2011: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

Andrew Malcolm quips that the president’s numbers are down “even without a viable announced Republican opponent. Even with the unemployment rate down a smidge to 8.9% (it was 6.9% when Obama was elected). Even with 192,000 jobs created last month. Even with Joe Biden out of the country.”

His 2012 prospects can’t be that great when his approval ratings — at their highest — were only at 50.

UPDATE:  Ed Morrissey looks at these numbers and toward the 2012 election:

A 46% approval rating isn’t exactly a number that guarantees re-election, but it’s not low enough to make it out of the question, either.  (more…)

Is Harry Reid Aware of the Magnitude of the Federal Debt?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:03 am - March 9, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Congress (112th)

Maybe it’s a good thing that Sharron Angle lost her race for the U.S. Senate last fall.  Well, perhaps, it’s not a good thing for the state she wanted to represented, but it is a good thing for the GOP.  The man who defeated her, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is the gift that keeps on giving:

“The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1 … eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts,” said Reid. “These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”

If Sarah Palin talked like that, it would lead the evening news. The Senate’s top Democrat just said that tens of thousands of people wouldn’t exist without government funding.  Guess the takeaway is that he and his caucus now believe that government funding is now necessary for the creation of individual human beings.

You’d  think with a deficit far in excess of the entire federal budget in 1989, Senators would understand the need to make sacrifices, especially when the White House Press Secretary has made said that “The President, as you know, is committed to reducing spending.

Over at the Washington Examiner, J.P. Freire sums it up:

Just keep this in perspective when people talk about which party is willing to reach a compromise. One party levels ad hominem attacks over cutting funding to poetry festivals. The other… wants to cut funding to poetry festivals.

Wonder what Clint Eastwood would say about a cowboy poetry festival that couldn’t survive without the federal government’s support.

NPR Exec Makes Case for Defunding NPR

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:23 am - March 9, 2011.
Filed under: Media Bias,Misrepresenting the Right,Tea Party

Conservative blogs yesterday were all over a story the Daily Caller broke early in the day about a video apparently capturing “National Public Radio [NPR] senior executive, Ron Schiller . . . on camera savaging conservatives and the Tea Party movement”:

“The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian – I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move,” declared Schiller, who runs NPR’s foundation.

That a senior executive for a news organization could say such a thing helps prove the conservative point about media biased against us.  Anyone who thinks that the Tea Party is not just involved, but “fanatically” involved in “people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian” hasn’t been paying much attention to the actual issues motivating so many people to participate in their protests.

It seems Schiller has a standard template for all conservative movements, that these folks want to run people’s lives, a template he likely derives not from actual reporting on actual Tea Parties, but from a prejudiced view of the right.

It’s one thing for such a man to be part of a supposedly non-partisan news organization.  It’s quite another when that organization takes federal money.  With federal budget deficits of over one trillion dollars, the solution is simple:  the federal government should defund NPR and let it fend for itself in the marketplace.

As does FoxNews.

UPDATE:  Commenting on this case, Michael Barone reaches a similar conclusion:

. . . with a new large Republican majority in the House of Representatives, NPR leaders could hardly have done a better job of persuading Congress to zero out public radio funding. (more…)