September 12, 2010

The Obama Administration’s Three Big Fat Fiscal Fables

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:01 am

ObamasFiscalFables0910Note: This item went up at the Washington Examiner’s OpinionZone blog and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday.

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Yesterday’s release of the Congressional Budget Office’s “Monthly Budget Review” covering the first eleven months of Uncle Sam’s current budget year is an ideal time to preview what I expect will be the Obama administration’s and the establishment business press’s three big fiscal fables going into this fall’s elections.

Fable 1. The annual budget deficit is down.

This is true only if one ignores the impact of a mighty convenient $115 billion non-cash accounting entry made back in March. There’s more background here for those who are interested in the nitty-gritty, but my in-a-nutshell, plain-English assessment made at the time it was disclosed will suffice for now:

… the administration pushed as much “bad news” (TARP asset writedowns) as it could into last year’s financial reporting, since last year (fiscal 2009) was going to be a disaster no matter what. But since they overdid it with the writedowns last year (“Gosh, how did that happen?”), they can make this year (fiscal 2010) look better than it really has been.

That the entry had to be made in fiscal 2010 essentially proved that fiscal 2009 outlays were overstated by $115 billion. At the same time, the entry worked to reduce current year outlays by the same amount.

Here is how the first eleven months of fiscal 2009 and 2010 would have looked if TARP asset writedowns had been properly estimated last year and had not required offsetting correction this year:
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After Ohio Gov. Strickland’s Unhinged Rant, Columbus Dispatch’s Hallett Begs, Fails to Get Help Watering It Down

Filed under: Economy,General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:39 am

StricklandAndHallett0910Though its true nature was largely ignored by the local media at the event (noted on Tuesday at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Ted Strickland’s unhinged Labor Day speech at the AFL-CIO’s annual picnic at Cincinnat’s Coney Island has, with the help of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), garnered quite a bit of statewide attention.

During his rant, Democrat Strickland:

  • Denounced the Republican Party as “overtaken by the zealots, by the extremists, by the radicals.”
  • Claimed that “they don’t seem to like Ohio very much, and quite frankly, they act as if they don’t like America very much,” in essence questioning their patriotism.
  • Asked the audience to help him fight “the Tea Party radicals.”

The fallout has apparently been so severe that ever-helpful veteran Columbus Dispatch reporter, senior editor, and columnist Joe Hallett felt compelled on Thursday to try to help the Governor walk it all back. In an exchange that can only be seen as Hallett begging for Strickland to give him something, anything to work with, Strickland wasn’t very helpful, bogusly played the “out of context” card, and in a very real sense doubled down on his disrespect for those who oppose him. He even went into a riff on how opponents (in context, “Republicans,” not just “some Republicans”) want to repeal the 14th amendment (huh?).

The full 11:36 video of Strickland’s discussion with reporters is here (originally posted at the Ohio Capital Blog); the RGA’s 2:04 excerpt featuring Hallett is here (HT RightOhio). What follows is a transcript of the excerpt:

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Ohio’s ‘Dumb v. Dumber’ Election Campaign

Filed under: Economy,General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:36 am

In the Buckeye State, dumb Republicans are ahead, but only because a) it’s 2010, and b) the Dems have been dumber.

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday. It was written before the Ohio Republican Party redesigned its home page (not that the new version is much better).

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Mere weeks before the travesty known as early voting begins on September 28, and fewer than than two months before Election Day, Ohio’s statewide Republican ticket appears to be cruising to a potential electoral sweep. With one clear exception far down the ticket, this state of affairs has come about not because the GOP’s candidates are clearly conservative, but simply because they aren’t Democrats.

Therein lies the problem for sensible conservatives looking for genuine improvement in Buckeye State government.

The Ohio Republican Party, which I prefer to call ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only), should be relieved that the national wave of disgust directed at Democratic political incumbents has washed through Ohio, stirring the electorate to throw the bums out. It certainly deserves none of the credit I’m sure it will claim for the ticket’s currently strong position.

ORPINO’s web site is virtually unchanged since the May 4 primary. A person looking at how its home page appeared on the morning of September 3 would think that the party’s most important candidates in November are establishment favorites Jon Husted and Dave Yost, who are running for Secretary of State and Auditor, respectively. There is a lovely couple at the bottom right of the home page whose last names are Kasich and Taylor. We’re told that they’re “for Ohio,” but not why there are taking up space. John Kasich and Mary Taylor just so happen to be running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively. Zheesh.
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Positivity: Remembering 9/11′s Heroes — Moira Smith, NYPD

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

moira-smith-225x300Note: Cassy Fiano at David Horowitz’s NewReal Blog “I wanted to spotlight just a few of the incredible heroes of that fateful day.” This is the first of five such tributes (go there for the full report).

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Moira Smith, NYPD

Officer Moira Smith was a 13 year veteran of the New York Police Department. She was married to another NYPD officer, Jimmy Smith, and had a two-year-old daughter named Patricia. Officer Smith had shown heroism in the line of duty before, earning the Police Department’s Distinguished Duty Medal for her actions during the Aug. 27, 1991 subway crash in Union Square in which five were killed and more than 130 hurt. She saved dozens of lives that day, and on September 11, she would selflessly risk her life again to help other victims get out safely.

… Smith put her life in danger to rescue people trapped in the World Trade Center, and ultimately, made the ultimate sacrifice that day. She was posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department’s Medal of Honor for her heroism that day. Her remains were recovered in March of 2002, and an East River high-speed ferry was named for her. Of the 23 NYPD officers killed on September 11, she was the only female. She was finally laid to rest on what would have been her 39th birthday.

Amazing: AP Writers Obsess Over Negative Electoral Impact Of Upcoming Census Bureau Poverty Stats

APhomelessPhoto041309It seems reasonable from their coverage in anticipation of the Census Bureua’s release of income and poverty statistics this week that Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press have a roof over their heads and aren’t particularly worried about where their next meal is coming from. If so, good for them; may those circumstances continue.

What’s remarkable, though, is how a government report that the media, especially the AP, has traditionally treated as an indicator of society’s alleged failure to take care of its neediest –with the blame often directly aimed at Republicans and conservatives — is now primarily a political problem for the party in power. Yen and Sidoti engage in a presidential pity party, and in the process come off as indifferent about what the numbers, for all their imperfections (and they are substantial), might mean in human terms — again, something the press normally obsesses over, especially when a Republican or conservative is president. This time, it seems that if Ms. Yen and Ms. Sidoti had their way, this unfortunate information would be held until at least November 3.

What follows are graphic capture’s of the pair’s first four paragraphs, followed by paragraphs 12-16:
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