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5-point plan to address the downgrade

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:36 pm - August 8, 2011.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Economy,Real Reform

UPDATE: Within minutes of this post going up, our readers were offering suggestions on how to improve this plan. I already realized some things I had left out, including repealing Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, not to mention Sarbanes-Oxley. So, please feel free to chime in and I’ll offer an updated post later this week with a more comprehensive plan.

And I’ll daresay we unpaid bloggers will put forward a GayPatriot plan before the president puts forward his.

Glenn has a good roundup of conservative and libertarian critiques of the president’s remarks earlier today on the downgrade, including this devastating analysis from Jennifer Rubin:

All he can do is promise to raise taxes.

Now that’s not exactly right. He did trot our proposals for a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits. And he promised to make his own proposal to the debt committee. That’s it. It is what he has been saying for what seems like forever. He has nothing new.

While the president dithers, let me offer a 5-point plan to address the problem:

  1. Using the FY 2007 budget as a baseline, with adjustments for inflation and population increase, redraft the FY 2012 budget.  Task House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to set up a committee to find more cuts.
  2. Set up a commission composed of businessman and scholars from the Cato Institute to identify those federal regulations which stifle innovation, exploration and growth.  As soon as their report is complete, task the various agency heads to rescind those regulations.  Reduce the staffs of the agencies responsible for enforcing said regulations.
  3. Immediate across the board salary cuts for all federal employees (save active duty military).
  4. Repeal Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
  5. Simplify the tax code along the lines of the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

Of course, this basic framework may require some tweaking.  There are, for example, some good things in the 1974 Budget Act.  And we may be able to identify a smart CEO to helm the regulatory relief committee.  (And we may want scholars from think tanks other than Cato.)  But, this is a start.  And it represents not just a break from the last two-and-one-half years, but from the last ten years as the immediate past president was not much of a fan of deregulation.

The nutshell explanation of the downgrade

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:16 pm - August 8, 2011.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Strong Women

Lady Thatcher unpacks it for us:

The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.

Too bad the president didn’t acknowledge that in his remarks today. (Stay tuned for my 5-point plan to address the downgrade.)

What one erstwhile supporter of Obama is saying today

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:59 pm - August 8, 2011.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Obama Incompetence

A Facebook friend who was one of the first to champion the then-junior Senator from Illinois had this to say about the man he so enthusiastically backed for the 2008 Democratic nomination:

S&P downgrade of US credit rating from AAA to AA+ is a stark reminder why Obama will go down as the worst President in modern history. Congress – both houses, both parties – rank pretty high on the pusillanimity index too. They should all be ashamed of themselves.

Emphasis added.

Axelrod accuses Romney of Acting like Obama During Debt Debate

The president’s chief political advisor keeps giving us a foretaste of the 2012 campaign, attack Republicans.  This time, David Axelrod is going after presumptive Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney:

“Having ducked and dodged and dithered throughout the debt-ceiling debate, and then dropping in on the final day and opposing the compromise, it’s pathetic that Mitt Romney was the first out of the gate with a press release blaming the president after S&P issued its report,” Mr. Axelrod, who is advising Mr. Obama’s campaign, said in an interview.

Ducked and dodged during the debt-ceiling debate?   Hmmm. . . . sounds like the behavior of another man running for the White House in 2012.  Only that guy is the only announced Democratic candidate.  The good news is that Axelrod doesn’t think that kind of politics will play:

“I don’t think the American people are going to reward that kind of politics,” he said. “People are looking for constructive ideas about how we build a better future. The president is offering those.”

He is, Mr. Axelrod?  Then, please do tell us what’s his plan for the FY 2012 budget and proposal to reform entitlements.

Oh, whoops, I read that wrong.  You said “constructive ideas” not plans.  Guess that’s how Obama governs.

(H/t Politico)

Obama’s True Passion: Campaigning for Office

Barely had Barack Obama settled into his job as a United States Senator in 2005 than he began setting his sights on the White House.  He spent the second half of his Senate tenure running for the presidency.

He didn’t seem all that engaged in his legislative duties.  And now he doesn’t seem all that engaged in his executive ones.  He yielded to his fellow partisans in Congress to draft the key legislation of his term and preferred giving speeches to offering solutions.  Where his predecessor titled his memoir Decision Points, he could call his Decision Punts.

Responding to Drew Westen New York Times essay where that psychology professor acknowledged Obama’s absence of accomplishment prior to his election to the White House, John Hinderaker contends that

. . . there is only one context in which Obama has ever displayed passion–that is, when he was running for political office. When Democrats say, Where is the Obama we voted for and thought we knew? they are referring to Obama the candidate. It is not hard to see why Obama is passionate about his political campaigns, when he is seemingly so indifferent to almost everything else: they are about him.

Note that when he traveled to Europe in the midst of his bid for the White House in the summer of 2008, he did what no previous major party had done, headlined a “campaign rally” on foreign soil.

Seems Barack Obama would rather run for president than be president.

The Buck Doesn’t Stop at Obama White House

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:30 am - August 8, 2011.
Filed under: Blame Republicans first,Democratic demagoguery

Seems the Democratic talking point of the weekend is “Tea Party Downgrade,” with John Kerry, David Axelrod and Howard Dean all using the expression to blame the downgrade in the nation’s credit rating.  Yahoo! even included Democrats’ talking point in its news headline yesterday:

John McCain, Ed Morrissey notes, begged to differ:

We could have reached an agreement a lot earlier, but the members of the House of Representatives had a mandate last November, and it was jobs and the economy and it was spending. And for them to then agree to tax increases and spending increases was obviously a repudiation of the mandate they felt they had from last November

Emphasis added.  “McCain,” Morrissey added “gets this one right”:

Voters sent a clear message in last year’s midterms, and it wasn’t “spend more and increase taxes.”  Democrats refused to listen in 2009 when voters revolted over the addition of another massive entitlement program; voters spent all of 2010 revolting over Obamanomics; and they punished Democrats in November for not listening to them.  Democrats still aren’t listening, and the way they are reacting now, 2012 may make 2010 look like a good year for the Democratic Party.

Well, that all depends on the success of the Democrats’ slash and burn strategy.  At least, this talking points helps Republicans prepare for 2012 as the Democrats have given us yet another foretaste of Obama’s 2012 campaign theme:  attack Republicans!  Blame the Tea Party!

A CEO tells the president how to handle inherited problems

When you run for an office, lambasting its occupant for his fiscal failures, you know that should you succeed in replacing him, you’re going to have to clean up the messes he will have left behind. In the third presidential debate in October, then-candidate Barack Obama detailed the fiscal mess he would be inheriting should he win the presidential contest that fall:

When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus and the national debt was a little over $5 trillion. It has doubled over the last eight years.

And we are now looking at a deficit of well over half a trillion dollars.

With Obama’s deficits, that half a trillion sounds like chump change.  The Democrat was aware of the problems and yet even two-and-one-half years into his term, he still bemoans the mess he inherited.  By detailing this problem and promised “change,” Obama made clear that once elected, he would roll up his sleeves and fix the problems he was expecting to inherit.

In the recent debt debate, he didn’t offer his own plan to face the crisis head on.  After the Senate unanimously rejected his budget (with a projected deficit thrice a half-trillion dollars), he has yet to put forward an alternative plan.  That doesn’t sound like rolling up his sleeves to me.

On Saturday, Glenn Reynolds linked a video where a real leader told us how she faces inherited problems:

Note what she says at 1:47; she acknowledges the president inherited a mess, but points out that as a CEO of a company, she inherits a mess everyday.  “That is my job title, to fix problems, to get people to work together in harmony for one common goal.”  Finally, she says the president needs to put together a plan asks the president, “Why can’t you put together a plan.”

In short, if you inherit problems, you put together a plan to fix them.  Mr. President, what’s your plan?

Palin criticism for grownups

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:36 am - August 8, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Divas,Sarah Palin,Strong Women

It seems that whenever I fault the news media for going overboard about Sarah Palin, any Palin-hater within earshot will rebuke me for demanding that people refrain from criticizing the accomplished Alaska reformer.  They contend I wish to silence Palin critics. Heck, I don’t even seek to silence the rabid Palin-obsessives, just lament that those who criticize the charismatic conservative celebrity (more often than not) exaggerate her flaws, if not make up (or truncate) comments she has made or views she holds, all while refusing to acknowledge Sarah Palin’s strengths as an individual and her record as an office-holder.

Why can’t some people just express their disagreement with Mrs. Palin in a civil tone — and take the time to familiarize himself with her actual arguments?  Those who question her competence to hold office should at least consider her actual record in office.  But, some in the news media would rather ask gotcha questions than inquire into that record.

Despite the ignorance of many Palin critics of what that Republican woman actually did in Alaska, she was an accomplished reformer who had worked with Republicans and Democrats alike while governor of the Last Frontier.  Before questioning Palin’s qualifications to lead, Ann Althouse did just that when commenting on a movie based on the Alaskan’s accomplishments:

The material — which impresses some people, even to the point of getting confused into thinking that the movie is good — shows Sarah Palin’s rise to power in Alaska and her excellent achievements and immense popularity as governor. The problem is that all of this happened in the context of boldly and bravely challenging the corrupt Republican establishment. This made her very popular with Democrats in Alaska. (more…)