The Foundry: Morning Bell: 6 Fixes to America’s Fiscal Crisis:
In a new paper, Heritage’s J. D. Foster, Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy and Alison Acosta Fraser, director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, point out that
Obama’s tax hikes would reduce the rise in federal debt over the next 10 years by 15 percent. The President is silent about the other 85 percent. The numbers confirm that President Obama’s tax hike demands are at best tangential to attaining a balanced budget.
The real issue is federal spending, and Foster and Fraser describe the bottom line this way:
When this year’s kindergarteners enter college, just 13 years away, spending on these two programs [Social Security and Medicare] plus Medicaid and interest on the debt will devour all tax revenue.
To make meaningful changes to the nation’s unsustainable budget policies, Foster and Fraser lay out four “simple, commonsense, and thoroughly vetted solutions” that already enjoy broad support across the political spectrum:
1. Raise the Social Security eligibility age to match increases in longevity. People are living longer, and entitlement programs need to be updated to reflect that fact.According to the Social Security actuaries, continuing to increase the eligibility age to 69 by the year 2034 and allowing it to rise more slowly thereafter to reflect gains in longevity could go a long way toward reducing Social Security’s funding shortfall. While this would not reduce today’s budget deficit, it would strengthen Social Security’s finances and put it on a path toward sticking around in the future.
2. Correct the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in Social Security. The annual COLA benefit adjustment is determined today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI). However, the CPI, an antiquated measure, generally overstates inflation, meaning that benefits are increased a bit too much each year to offset inflation. Again, according to the Social Security actuaries, using a more modern inflation measure would substantially reduce Social Security’s shortfall over time.
In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell elaborated, calling Geithner’s water-carrying “a serious blow to his credibility.” He said the treasury secretary “ought to be embarrassed.”
Hot Air: Ramirez on compromise
Obama waxing creepy at a never-ending campaign stop in Hatfield, PA, via Weasel Zippers: Obama: I’m Keeping A “Naughty And Nice List” In Congress…
We knew he was keeping an enemies list – glad he now admits it so openly. Reward your friends and punish your enemies. – That’s the Chicago way.
Speaking of Chicago….
Andrew Malcolm of IBD: A sordid tale of Chicago politics that reveals how Obama got his start:
Yesterday Mel Reynolds announced his candidacy for the House seat representing Illinois’ 2d Congressional District, which includes the city’s South Side and — oh, look! — Obama’s Hyde Park house. So, he’ll be eligible to vote in the February Democrat primary and the meaningless April special election.
That special election became necessary after the sudden resignation last week of the district’s easy Nov. 6 election winner, eight-term member Jesse Jackson Jr.
Jackson Jr. has been absent from his House duties most of this year during treatment for depression and bipolar disorder. His situation was complicated by revelations that federal authorities are probing allegations of his misuse of campaign funds, not a rare occurrence in Chicago politics.
That resignation and special election is an interesting coincidence because Jackson Jr. was also initially elected in a special election, in December 1995. That followed the sudden resignation of the district’s House incumbent after his conviction on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography.
That new convicted felon was Mel Reynolds.
Reynolds had been elected to the House in 1992 succeeding Democrat Gus Savage, who’d been condemned by the House Ethics Committees over allegations of sexual misconduct with a Peace Corps volunteer during an official visit to Zaire.
During the 1994 House campaign, Reynolds was indicted for sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse. The married congressman had developed an attraction to a 16-year-old female constituent, who became a campaign volunteer and candidate mistress. At one point the teenager confided her underage relationship with Reynolds to a neighbor. The neighbor was a police officer.
Last week, the owner of an Arizona gun shop made national headlines after it was reported that he had posted a sign and taken out a full page ad in a local newspaper that banned Obama supporters from entering his store.
One week later, Cope Reynolds is cashing in on the attention.
Mr. Reynolds, owner of Southwest Shooting Authority says “business is booming” after his sign and newspaper ad caught the attention of various media outlets. The sign read: “If you voted for Barack Obama, your business is not welcome at Southwest Shooting Authority. You have proven you’re not responsible enough to own a firearm.”
Reynolds says he has been inundated with hundreds of calls and emails from media types and supporters. When asked about business, he replied, “I’ve been busier than a cat covering up poop on a marble floor.”
David Catron, The American Spectator: Could Obamacare Go the Way of McCain-Feingold?
…the opponents of McCain-Feingold launched a series of legal attacks that met with little success until 2007, when the Court ruled in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life. In that decision, the justices ruled unconstitutional the law’s proscription against campaign ads mentioning candidates by name within a certain period prior to an election. Then, in 2008, the Court voided another crucial provision in Davis v. FEC. Finally, in early 2010, the Court delivered the coup de gras with its landmark ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.
Are the legal foes of Obamacare as numerous and determined as those of McCain-Feingold? The answer to that question is an unequivocal YES. Their numbers are greater, they are far better financed and they are demonstrably more dedicated to the cause. In fact, the dragon’s teeth sown by the Court’s misguided June ruling produced a spate of fresh troops to reinforce those already on the legal battlefield. There are now at least forty legal challenges to the law pending in federal courts involving its various provisions as well as its implementation.
Jack Cashill: My post-election anti-punditry:
There is every reason to be concerned, but it is no time to be stupid. Allow me to offer some anti-punditry of my own and puncture some of the post-election pufferies that have been floated by our betters.
This was an easy election to win. We blew it. Fifty-three percent of the people who voted approved of Obama’s job performance. They approved because of a major media that have grown hopelessly complicit and corrupt. A Republican with Obama’s record would not have been re-nominated.
But the major media are dying. They are dying slowly, but the online news services – Google, Yahoo, AOL – are even more corrupt and less accountable than the major media, and their headlines are seen, at least, by the young and ignorant.
It is time for Republicans to rethink their policies. Why Republicans? Despite a sycophantic media, Obama improved on his 2008 percentage of the vote in only one state – Alaska – and that’s because Sarah Palin was not on the ticket. Some 7 million fewer people voted for Obama in 2012 than 2008. This is highly unusual. Two-term presidents from FDR to the present have improved their vote totals in a second campaign.
But what about the other elections? If you look at a county-by-county map, the country looks awfully red. Republicans held the House and hold 30 governorships. More to the point, the red states are performing much better than the blue ones. This will become too obvious to ignore in the next few years, especially as California collapses in a sea of red ink.
Keep reading, here.
The Interior Department is on a roll — a steamroll over American jobs at the expense of common sense, sound science, and integrity in government. Earlier this week, I called attention to the 9.6 million acre land grab masquerading as a northern spotted owl rescue that will cost thousands of timber-related jobs, while subsidizing the shooting of a different species of owl to save the other.
Yesterday, loathsome cowboy/Interior Secretary Ken Salazar administered another blow to the economy. He announced he would not renew the lease of a popular family oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore in California that has been in business for four generations. The move ushers in the end of more than a century of shellfish production.