May 17, 2012

At AP, Senate’s Unanimous Rejection of Obama Budget Is Hidden in Fourth Paragraph of ‘Senate Democrats Reject House GOP Budget Plan’ Story

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:04 am

You would think that the following would be seend as pretty important and obviously considered to be news, as it’s more than likely an example of history being made in real time.

At the Washington Times, it is:

President Obama’s budget suffered a second embarrassing defeat Wednesday, when senators voted 99-0 to reject it.

Coupled with the House’s rejection in March, 414-0, that means Mr. Obama’s budget has failed to win a single vote in support this year.

Not if you’re writing for the Associated Press.

There, Andrew Taylor demoted the unanimous rejection of Obama’s budget to his report’s fourth paragraph, and preceded it with the supposedly more important earth-shattering news that the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected Republican budget proposals (also note the ant-Tea Party snark):

Senate Democrats reject House GOP budget plan

Democrats controlling the Senate rejected for the second year in a row Wednesday a budget plan passed by House Republicans.

The 58-41 vote against the GOP budget came after a daylong debate in which Democrats blasted Republicans for refusing to consider tax increases as part of a solution to trillion-dollar deficits, and Republicans in turn attacked Democrats for not offering a budget at all.

Republicans launched the debate, which was aimed less at successfully passing a bill than highlighting the failure of Senate Democrats to deal with a budget deficit expected to top $1 trillion for the fourth consecutive year.

The Senate rejected five separate budget plans, including one based on President Barack Obama’s February budget and offered by Republicans to embarrass Democrats and the White House. It failed on a 99-0 vote. Three GOP senators elected in 2010 with tea party support also offered plans in a competition to see whose budget could cut government the most.

And of course, Taylor never mentioned the House’s also-unanimous rejection of Obama’s budget in March.

That why I call AP the Administration’s Press.

Social Security’s Implosion Continues

SocSecBrokeCard0309Crumbling quickly, thanks to the Obama economy.

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Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

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An indicator of just how seriously the federal government’s financial situation has deteriorated (combined of course with the establishment press’s clear desire to emphasize “news” which might assist Dear Leader’s reelection effort) is that the dismal 2012 report released by the Social Security system’s trustees on April 23 received little attention. Viewed through that perverse prism, cash deficits which “will average about $66 billion between 2012 and 2018 before rising steeply,” even before considering the $110 billion or so taken from “general (non-existent) revenues” during 2011 and 2012 to make up for the payroll tax cut, pale in comparison to the importance of higher priorities — like working up a 5,400-word report riddled with errors and distortions on what Mitt Romney was doing when he was a teenager.

The sad, under-reported truth is that three years into an alleged “recovery,” the long-term outlook for Social Security continues to crumble at an accelerating rate.

It’s a crackup which was decades in the making. That’s because the government has scandalously used Social Security’s annual surpluses to fund the rest of its operations since President Lyndon Johnson began “including Social Security and all other trust funds in a ‘unified budget’” in the 1960s. Social Security’s so-called “Trust Funds” consist of nothing more than stacks of IOUs from the rest of a dangerously indebted government.

During fiscal 2007, a mere five years ago, the system ran a cash surplus, as tax collections exceeded benefits paid and administrative costs by $186 billion. With the wave of baby boomer retirements looming on the horizon, everyone knew that these large annual surpluses couldn’t and wouldn’t last. In their 2008 report covering calendar 2007, the trustees projected that the system would begin paying out more in benefits than it collected in taxes in 2017; at that point, the rest of the government would have to start making up the difference.

Instead, annual surpluses virtually vanished just two years later, thanks to the onset of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economyin roughly June of 2008. The Democratic Party’s permissive home lending-drivensecurities fraud-enabled recession, followed by the Obama administration’s failure to choose policies which would have hastened a genuine recovery and acceptably grown the economy, brought things to a head with Social Security that much sooner. In the 2010 Trustees Report on 2009 results, tax collections were only $3 billion greater than benefits paid. 2010 went into the red by $49 billion, while 2011, after taking the payroll tax-cut reimbursements into account, had a deficit of $45 billion. After the 2012-2018 shorfalls cited earlier, annual cash deficits are projected to head quickly into the land of triple digits. If the economy doesn’t start generating significant growth and job creation, they might even arrive as quickly as the first cash deficits.

A few years ago, the Social Security system going cash-negative, especially so quickly, might have triggered the recognition of a widely acknowledged crisis. I thought it would be treated as one in a column three years ago. It hasn’t happened, even though its legitimacy as a genuine crisis is beyond reasonable dispute. Why not? I see only two reasons: A profoundly far-left Democratic administration, and a supportive and at least as far-left establishment press. This tipping point could not have occurred in a Republican or conservative presidential administration without the press and the left going into hysterics. If Barack Obama loses in November, I expect that the crisis will magically move to the front burner.

The left’s abandonment of anything resembling common sense is proceeding at a rate at least as fast as the nation’s fiscal meltdown. An ever-shrinking pool of liberals understands the basic notion that the perpetuation of their precious entitlement programs depends on a consistently robust economy to generate the tax collections necessary for its funding. Yet those who most vocally applaud the breakneck expansions of food stamps, wish to return to the traditional incentive-barren welfare as we once knew it before its reform in the mid-1990s, and most of all praise the inevitable cradle-to-grave control of health care inherent in ObamaCare, are among those who attack the nation’s successful job and taxable income creators the most stridently. Where’s the money for all of this government largesse going to come from if productive people — more properly phrased, if even more of them than have done so already — decide that working hard isn’t worth it?

Bill Clinton, for all his considerable and impeachable faults, understood the fundamental importance of having a strong economy. That understanding enabled him to let go of HillaryCare in 1994, and ultimately convinced him after a great deal of kicking and screaming into acquiescing to welfare reform. These moves, combined with an ineffective opponent, ensured his reelection in 1996. Clinton signed on to a capital gains tax cut in 1997 and signed off on the GOP Congress’s balanced budget plan formulated by then-Ohio Congressman John Kasich and pushed through by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. For better or worse (I believe worse, but that’s for another day in another column), the booming economy which followed saved Clinton’s presidency in 1999.

Barack Obama, his administration, and his core supporters either don’t understand the importance of having a strong economy, or don’t care to. If it’s the former, they’re merely dumber than a box of rocks and really believe that their regime of reckless spending, rhetorical excess, and regulatory overreach will be consequence-free in the long run.

It’s far more probable that Obama and his inner circle know full well that they are wrecking the very entitlement programs they profess to love so dearly. They have convinced themselves that when it all falls apart and after the dust settles, they’ll have their hands more firmly on the levers of power, which to them seems to be all that really matters. We obviously can’t afford to test that belief, and we’re running out of opportunities to prevent it.

Unemployment Claims: 370K SA, Same Upwardly Revised Previous Week; 323K NSA is down 11% Year-Over-Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:57 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending May 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 370,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised figure of 370,000. The 4-week moving average was 375,000, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 379,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending May 5, unchanged from the prior week’s revised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 5 was 3,265,000, an increase of 18,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,247,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,282,750, a decrease of 11,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,294,500.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 322,821 in the week ending May 12, a decrease of 18,259 from the previous week. There were 361,573 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

Of course, this week will beat last week once this week is revised next week (got that?).

There is very little difference between this year’s and last year’s seasonal adjustment factor.

The low-370s is a pretty mediocre place to be.

Separately, Ohio’s initial claims for the week ended May 5 came in below 10,000 for the third week in a row. The total of the past three reported weeks is about 30% lower than the total of the comparable three weeks in 2011 — or almost three times the 11% rate of decrease in the entire USA.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (051712)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Young, ‘universal’ turnout for Rome’s first-ever March for Life

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Rome:

May 13, 2012 / 06:19 pm

Nearly 7,000 pro-life advocates marched from Rome’s Colosseum to St. Peter’s Square on Sunday for the city’s inaugural March for Life.

“We’ve never seen anything like this in Rome, capital of Christianity, city of the Pope, city to which all Catholics in the world look,” march co-organizer Juan Miguel Montes said of the event.

American cardinal Raymond L. Burke led a group of priests in the march. He said it brought back memories for him of “so many marches” in America.

“They serve a very important function,” he told CNA, “first to give a witness in our whole country to the inviolable dignity of human life but second, to awake consciences to what is happening.”

The cardinal was “pleased” that such an event has finally reached Rome.

“I can only imagine that it will grow and increase every year and that it will be an important part in Italy, as it is in America, for the restoration of the respect for the dignity of human life,” he said.

The march was officially the second annual Italian national March for Life. The 2011 event was held in northern city of Desenzano, on Lake Garda.

This year’s initiative officially brought together 150 associations and a colorful mix of all ages and nationalities.

23-year old seminarian Garrett Nelson of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana was on hand with a group of peers from Rome’s Pontifical North American College. For him, it was like the March for Life stateside, but with an extra quality.

“It’s been on a more universal level,” said Nelson. “You see the world coming together to defend the dignity of human life and how important that is. It’s really exciting to see the young and the youth movement of the Church growing up and defending the dignity of human life.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.