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Tell me again, what is Obama’s plan to deal with the debt?

Memeorandum didn’t give this story as much attention as they did to the “$1.6 million and $1.8 million” Republican New Gingrich received “in consulting fees” from Freddie Mac, one of the government-sponsored enterprise’s at the heart of the nation’s financial meltdown in 2008, so you might have missed the news that today, the federal debt topped $15 trillion:

Don’t look now, members of the “supercommittee” battling the national debt, but the amount the U.S. owes topped the $15 trillion mark Wednesday afternoon.

That’s a lot of George Washingtons, as you can see here live

With a week until the committee’s deadline to reach agreement on cutting $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction still has no agreement to stem automatic cuts to the budget.

Interesting how the article’s writer writer, Bill McGuire, spins this story, quoting at length only one supercommittee member, “Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland”, a partisan who offers the standard Democratic boilerplate about the Republicans’ “hard line.”  McGuire quotes the panel’s top GOP member as saying that Republicans had “’gone as far as we feel we can go’ on tax hikes”, but failed to put that remark in context (you know, like mentioning the “new revenues” Republicans offered, but which Democrats rejected).

Seems our friends in the mainstream media want to pin the debt on Republicans.*  And yes, they do share some of the blame.  But, no word in the article on the amount federal spending has increased under the watch of Barack Obama, a Democrat who, in his campaign for the White House, promised a “net spending cut.”   For the record, the national debt increased by 41% since that Democrat took office (sharing power with an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress (both houses)) when it stood at $10.6 trillion.

And that Democrat still hasn’t put forward a plan to reduce the national debt.  He hasn’t even offered a detailed budget to match his budget speech on April. (more…)

Are only surging Republican candidates subject to scrutiny?

If I had access to Lexis/Nexis, I would love to do a search for how the media covered Barack Obama four years ago as he began his surge in polls (of candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination”. As he emerged as the leading “non-Hillary” candidate, did scrutiny of his record increase?

When Michele Bachmann surged in Iowa polls, when Rick Perry entered the presidential contest, when Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll, they were all subject to greater media scrutiny. Now as Allysia Finley reports in this morning’s’s Political Diary (available by subscription), former Speaker Newt Gingrich is now getting the once (again)-over:

Now that Mr. Gingrich is rising in the polls, these issues [concerns about his record] are likely to come back to haunt him. We’re also likely to learn more about his marital problems, ethics violations and lucrative work as a consultant for Fannie Mae. Mr. Gingrich has hitherto gotten a pass on these issues because of his irrelevancy. Now that he’s getting more traction, he should prepare for heavier fire.

Why is it that when Democrats get more traction, they receive media adulation, yet Republicans need prepare for “heavier fire”?

Equality: an abstraction impossible to realize

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:39 am - November 16, 2011.
Filed under: Equality (Real or Faux?),Random Thoughts

In a review of David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, Gerard Reed reminds us of the tension that exists between the conservative/libertarian ideal of liberty and the leftish abstraction of equality:

The path the leftist boomers (such as Mamet in his youth) follow was identified by Hayek as “The Road to Serfdom. And we see it in operation here, as we are in the process of choosing, as a society, between Liberty—the freedom from the State to pursue happiness, and a supposed but impossible Equality, which, as it could only be brought about by a State capable and empowered to function in all facets of life, means totalitarianism and eventual dictatorship” (p. 61). Egalitarian Liberals constantly stress the importance of sympathy and compassion, of caring for others. Translated into political action, however, these feelings frequently prove destructive, fully evident when Big Government imposes its agenda.

Emphasis added.  (H/t Westside Republicans e-newsletter)  In the book Mamet noted how politicians (and their activist) allies tout the abstraction of “Equality” as an excuse to increase the power of the state: “the prime purpose of Government is to expand Equality, which may also be stated thus: to expand its own powers”.

While we should strive to be compassionate in our personal lives, to look out for those around us, Reed’s commentary reminds us of the dangers of state compassion.  Since governments don’t generate income, save by what it expropriates from citizens, when a state strives to be compassionate, it often sets its people on a road to serfdom.

There is much the adjective that Mamet uses to modify “Equality,” “impossible.”  The ideal of liberty is much easier to define, but equality is much more abstract notion.  How does one achieve “equality” in a nation of diverse individuals, each of whom places different values on different aspect of our lives?  Should we compensate a man more who chooses to work fewer hours so he has more time to devote to his family than we compensate a woman who chooses not to have a family and work long hours so she can be a successful (and powerful) attorney? (more…)