October 25, 2010

Harry Reid Tells Us What He Thinks of We the Plebes

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:56 pm

So Many Videos, So Little Time …

Here’s Harry Reid in 2008:

“… you can literally smell the tourists coming through the Capitol …”

Wow. Not all of us get to stay at our own condo in the Ritz Carlton in DC, Harry. Here’s hoping you have plenty of time to enjoy those digs after you lose and join a lobbying firm like so many of your other predecessors.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Accelerating Towards the Abyss: The Real Story of Fiscal Year 2010′) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:16 am

CliffEdgeSignIt’s here.

Subtitle:

The Obama administration and the Pelosi-Reid Congress have spent wildly and run up deficits recklessly on a scale virtually unprecedented in human history.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

The key takeaway is that the Obama administration, despite contentions to the contrary, opened up the spending spigots even further and increased the national debt by even more during in fiscal 2010 than it did during fiscal 2009.

Some key points:

  • Federal operating receipts (i.e., money collected other than from Ben Bernanke’s quantitative easing escapade) barely budged in fiscal 2010 vs. fiscal 2009 (up less than 1%, and still down about 20% from fiscal 2008).
  • After taking away payments to prop up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the impact of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which through the use of non-cash accounting entries artificially reduced fiscal 2010′s reported outlays after artificially increasing fiscal 2009′s, spending on federal government operations increased by 7.5%, from $3.275 trillion to $3.521 trillion. Year-over-year departmental comparisons are here.
  • The federal operating deficit increased from $1.205 trillion to $1.435 trillion, a stunning 19% increase.
  • Thanks to increased off-budget activity, the national debt increased by $1.652 trillion during fiscal 2010, $217 billion more than the official deficit of $1.294 trillion.

The press, of course, is noting the reduction in the reported annual deficit from $1.416 trillion to $1.294 trillion, and “somehow” missing the fact that real out-of-pocket spending continues to explode.

Go to the column for a walkthrough and more details.

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UPDATE: Even though payments to Fan and Fred were kept out of the analysis for the purpose of getting to what’s going on with the government’s “regular” operations, it should be noted that those payments, which deceased from $91 billion in fiscal to 2009 to $40 billion last year, may increase significantly during the next few years:

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac bailouts could hit $363 billion, report says

The government’s estimate, projected through 2013, represents a worst-case scenario that assumes a double-dip recession. The mortgage giants have received about $148 billion in taxpayer funds.

The cost for the huge government bailouts of housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will grow — and possibly more than double to $363 billion — over the next three years.

But the final taxpayer loss depends mainly on the health of the economy and the real estate market, a federal regulator said Thursday.

The mounting cost of the Fannie and Freddie bailouts has drawn fire from Republicans. They have blamed the firms for triggering the subprime mortgage problems during the housing boom and have blasted the Obama administration for continuing to prop them up.

Contrary to the implication, you don’t have to be a Republican or a conservative to be outraged over this.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air for the nice write-up.

Positivity: Dr. Hwang Jang-Yop, Highest Ranking North Korean Defector, Dead at 87

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From John Parker at Pajamas Media (links are in original):

This election season, spare a moment to remember the bravest Korean you’ve never heard of.

On October 10, Dr. Hwang Jang-Yop, the highest-ranking North Korean defector in history, passed away at his home in Seoul. Hwang apparently died of natural causes, a surprising fate for a man who was literally hunted to the last day of his life by the North Korean regime. In April, two North Korean agents were arrested in Seoul before they could carry out their mission to assassinate Hwang, and on October 20, the existence of yet another assassin, Lee Dong-Sam, was announced by the South Korean government.

Hwang’s funeral, on October 14, was attended by a virtual Who’s Who of South Korean society, including former President Kim Young-Sam, former Grand National Party leader Chung Mong-Joon, former presidential candidate and Liberty Forward Party leader Lee Hoi-Chang, former Chosun Ilbo Chief Editor Ryu Geun-Il, and many other journalists, defectors, and North Korean human rights activists. The elderly scholar was buried in a special part of Daejeon National Cemetery reserved for extraordinary contributors to the Korean nation. …

Go here for the rest of Parker’s column.