August 12, 2009

Crutsinger’s Crud, Part 2: AP Reporter Again Erroneously Cites Cost of Wars As ‘Major’ Deficit Factor

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Does the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger moonlight as a Code Pink operative?

There has to be something that explains what I’ll call his Iraqnaphobia.

Last month (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the AP reporter erroneously cited the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a “major factor” explaining why “the deficit has widened.” In a quick review of the related June 2009 Monthly Treasury Statement, I cited three examples of higher spending in other areas of government that were larger than last year, both in dollar and percentage terms, than the $33 billion, 7% increase in total defense spending. NB commenter Arminius further pointed out that “Our military spending amounts to 5 percent of GDP. Iraq and Afghanistan amount to 15 percent of that 5 percent. Obviously, as Tom notes, larger culprits are responsible for the massive deficit.”

It’s simply not possible that the two wars could be a “major factor.” No matter – This month, in an otherwise fairly decent report, Crutsinger did it again (bold after title is mine):

Federal deficit higher in July, $1.27T this year

The federal deficit climbed higher into record territory in July, hitting $1.27 trillion with two months remaining in the budget year.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the July deficit totaled $180.7 billion, slightly more than the $177.5 billion economists had expected.

The Obama administration is projecting that when the current budget year ends on Sept. 30, the imbalance will total $1.84 trillion, more than four times last year’s record-high.

The soaring deficits have raised worries among foreign owners of U.S. Treasury securities including the Chinese, the largest holder of such debt.

Massive amounts of government spending to combat the recession and stabilize the U.S. financial system have pushed the deficit higher. The cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with depleted government tax revenues, also are major factors.

This time, referring to Table 3 the July Monthly Treasury Statement, total defense spending through ten months of the fiscal year has been $531 billion, up 8.1% from $491 billion at the same time last year. That $40 billion difference hardly is “major” in the context of a total deficit increase so far this year of almost $900 billion ($1.266 trillion through July 31, compared to $377 billion last year). If Arminius’s 15% estimate for the cost of the two wars as a percentage of the total defense budget is accurate (that would annualize out to about $100 billion, which seems about right based on information I have seen in previous years), you could zero out the entire war effort and not even make a 10% dent in the projected year-over-year deficit increase of almost $1.4 trillion ($1.84 trillion this year vs. $455 billion last year).

Bigger contributors to the enlarged deficit on the spending side Crutsinger should have individually cited, instead of lumping them all into a “spending to combat the recession” catch-all, include:

  • HHS, up $95 billion, or 16.3%.
  • Department of Labor, up $62 billion, or 131% (you read that right).
  • Social Security Administration (mostly not a recession-related increase), up $62 billion, or 11.4%.
  • “Other” (all within Treasury Department itself, not described in detail anywhere else), up $232 billion, or 228% (you read that right).

On the collections side, the roughly $550 billion decline in receipts through 10 months ($1.74 trillion this year vs. $2.29 trillion last year, before other adjustments I would normally make, but won’t now in the interest of space) is almost 14 times bigger than the total increase in defense spending, and totally dwarfs whatever miniscule increases might have occurred in the Iraq and Afghan theaters of the War on Terror (am I allowed to say that?).

On this one, Crutsinger is clearly cracked. The AP is pathetically ignorant and/or deeply negligent in allowing his Iraqnaphobia to stand uncorrected, as it almost surely will.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Tim Ryan, Pro-Life Impersonator

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:12 pm

So it turns out that Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan is partially responsible for the attempted deception over abortion in ObamaCare.

Just a reminder: It’s in there.

Since he’s such a darling of Ohio’s far-left loonysphere/thugosphere, this item is required linkage:

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is currently playing a key role in assisting the pro-abortion lobby, and the White House, in resisting genuine pro-life amendments to the Obama-backed health care bills. You can find more information on this subject in these sources:

1. The August edition of National Right to Life News contains a detailed report on the ongoing fight in Congress, one section of which is devoted to Ryan’s role in attempting to undercut the efforts of pro-life forces. The article quotes NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson as saying, “When Tim Ryan calls for ‘common ground,’ you know he has a memo from Planned Parenthood in his pocket.” The article includes a color photo of Mr. Ryan over the caption, “Tim Ryan (D-Oh.), impersonates pro-life lawmaker.” You can view or download the entire article (PDF format) here.

2. John McCormack, an editor at The Weekly Standard, posted a piece on Ryan on August 4 under the title, “A Pro-Lie Democrat?” Ryan comes off poorly in this piece, which is based in part on the public record of his recent activities on abortion-related issues, and partly on an interview Ryan gave to McCormack on July 31. (Sample: Asked by McCormack, “When do you believe life begins?,” Ryan replied, “That answer’s above my pay grade.”)

3. He earned that hug: To view a photo taken at a July 23, 2009, press conference on Capitol Hill, showing Congressman Tim Ryan being hugged by pro-abortion Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.), the former executive director of the pro-abortion PAC called EMILY’s List, click here. In the photo, Ryan is flanked by top officials from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, and by Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fl.), who has voted pro-abortion without exception throughout his congressional career. The press conference was called to promote a so-called “common ground” bill introduced by Ryan and DeLauro and endorsed by a coalition of pro-abortion groups, including Third Way, which admits to having written the bill.

Ryan is part of the reason why abortion really is in there:

On July 21, with much fan-fare in the media, Ryan released a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who is solidly pro-abortion) calling for a “common ground solution” regarding the health care/abortion issue. Days later, in a House committee, the approach promoted by Ryan was offered in a House committee by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Ca.), a legislator who has voted on the pro-abortion side 74 times and never on the pro-life side. The Capps Amendment was narrowly adopted over the objections of the pro-life members of the committee. The Obama-backed bill will create a nationwide “public option” insurance plan. Under the Capps Amendment, which Ryan endorses, this government plan is explicitly authorized to pay for any and all abortions. Abortionists would send their bills to the federal agency and receive payment checks from the federal agency. Moreover, the bill creates a big new program of federal subsidies to help low-income families buy health insurance — and the Capps-Ryan amendment explicitly authorizes these subsidies to flow to plans that cover elective abortions. The amendment contains phony bookkeeping requirements that do nothing more than provide a political smokescreen behind which this system of government-operated and government-subsidized abortion coverage would operate. In short, the “restrictions” in the amendment are as phony as Ryan’s pro-life credentials.

The Capps-Ryan amendment has been condemned by pro-life groups.

There’s much more at the link, and at the Weekly Standard.

He’s not even original, uttering the same “it’s above my pay grade” blather about when life begins as candidate Obama did at Rick Warren’s Church last year.

That ignorant answer proves that being a congressman is above his mental capacity.

Cuba: There’s No Papering Over This Problem

From IBDeditorials.com:

How End-Users Suffer Under Socialism

If you ever wonder why we so resist socialism, consider the latest news out of that collectivist island paradise known as Cuba.

Central planners announced this week that they were fresh out of money to buy toilet paper — yes, toilet paper — for the island’s 9 million citizens. But not to worry. A nameless official for state-run monopoly Cimex and quoted by Reuters assured that “the corporation has taken all the steps so that at the end of the year there will be an important importation of toilet paper.”

The predicament would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. But toilet tissue is hardly the only item Cuba is lacking. Food itself is in short supply, with red bean and chickpea rations cut by a third, according to the Miami Herald. Special hard-currency-only stores for the elites have mysteriously failed to open after last week’s “inventory,” with no explanation given.

There’s no gas, either. The Associated Press this week reported that state planners have decreed that oxen — yes, oxen — would replace tractors in the fields, a bid to conserve fuel. This, despite the fact that Cuba gets 100,000 barrels of oil a day from Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela — effectively free, because Cuba never pays its bills.

But again, not to worry: Cuban socialists say the ox represents progress because it’s so eco-friendly.

As these examples of Cuban progress roll in, CNN is presenting Cuba’s socialized health care system as “a model for health care reform in the United States,” according to a report on the cable network last week. The report credits low cost and universal coverage.

…. CNN gives little attention to the fact that hospitals in Cuba have no Band-Aids and are short on aspirin and actual medicine. Photos from TheRealCuba.com show hospitals strewn with filthy mattresses, infested with cockroaches and full of bony patients nursing ugly bedsores. The only plenty within Cuba’s universal coverage system is one of want.

…. An economic system that can’t supply its people with commodities as basic as toilet paper is no model for anyone.

Raul Castro should call in the Sheryl Crowe TP-Use Brigade. She later said she was kidding about limiting people’s to one TP sheet per wipe when she wrote:

Crow (4/19, Springfield, Tenn.): I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming. Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of forest conservation which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don’t want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.

I don’t believe her. There’s nothing in the context of the paragraph or the WaPo article that would make you think she is.

I also don’t believe the unending crap we hear about “free universal wonderful health care” in Cuba. Nor should anyone else.

Positivity: Massachusetts Knights awarded for organizing prom for special needs students

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Phoenix:

Aug 7, 2009 / 06:53 am

At Wednesday’s awards session in Phoenix, a Massachusetts Knight’s council was awarded the Order’s 2009 Community Activities Award for their efforts in organizing a prom for 75 special needs students in and around the Pembroke, Massachusetts area.

CNA spoke with council’s Grand Knight, Kevin McKenna, who explained that for the past two years, he and his council have put together a prom night for 75 local special needs students to not only give them an opportunity to dress up and celebrate, but also to help teach the community about different disabilities children face.

McKenna and his wife, Hope, explained to CNA that they were motivated to organize the dance after realizing that other students and parents didn’t seem comfortable around their autistic daughter while she was in middle school.

McKenna presented the idea to his council, Council 6267, then spoke with other councils in the area to obtain resources, donations and volunteers.

The council received donations from restaurants, formal wear stores and a strong response from those interested in helping out. A variety of community members have had a hand in the event: National Honor Society students looking for service hours, women from Bingo nights, other councils and the Rotary Club.

McKenna explained that since the prom draws in so many community members, it serves an additional purpose: not only is it fun for the students, but it also eases the intimidation some people feel when encountering someone with a disability.

“We’ve tried to make a difference in the community around us as well as for the children who come to the prom,” he said.

“It’s amazing, he added, “you go there and see the expressions on the faces of the students and they’re having a great time.”

Parents of the students are also invited, but are treated into a sit-down pasta dinner instead of a dance. Hope McKenna explained that the dinner gives the parents time to relax and also to talk to other parents about children with similar disabilities and share information about doctors or other resources. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.