There’s video at the link, but this quote from Steve Forbes ought to shock you right down to your socks:
Before a final deal was done, Forbes penned a piece explaining why Cyprus could be a disaster for all of us, lamenting the attempt to seize depositors money. But with a final bailout agreed upon that saves insured depositors, is it less of a disaster?
“Not really,” he tells The Daily Ticker. “Because the idea’s out there that now in a crisis politicians won’t hesitate to seize any asset they can lay their hands on. So it just guarantees more fear in the future when a crisis comes, which it will come.”
On the other side of the Atlantic, the European Central Bank isn’t allowed to run the printing presses like Ben Bernanke has been doing at the Fed these last few years. So, the grubby statists will seize whatever assets they can get their panicked little hands on.
On this side of the Atlantic, the grubby statists will keep the printing presses running until the value of your assets (and their debts) is inflated away.
I’m reminded of Ellsworth Toohey’s big speech to Peter Keating in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Only instead of the examples being Eastern Europe and Western Europe, it’s the eurozone and Obama’s America. Here he is:
Look at Europe, you fool. Can’t you see past the guff and recognise the essence? One country is dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the collective is all. The individual held as evil, the mass – as God. No motive and no virtue permitted – except that of service to the proletariat.
That’s one version. Here’s another. A country dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the State is all. The individual held as evil, the race – as God. No motive and no virtue permitted – except that of service to the race. Am I raving or is this the harsh reality of two continents already ? If you’re sick of one version, we push you in the other. We’ve fixed the coin. Heads – collectivism. Tails – collectivism.
One way or another, the State will take what it likes.
For a book written before the Second World War, I’d say it’s aged pretty well — wouldn’t you?
Here’s Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch at HuffPo today:
President Obama’s three days in Israel were historic in many ways. It is worth emphasizing the full scope of his message, not merely those sound bites and snippets that were conveyed in the media. He reminded us why liberals fell in love with Israel, and why Israel is a liberal cause.
The Rabbi appears to be stuck in 1966.
Other than that, the audacity of wrongness from Hirsch has left me speechless. Somebody want to help me out here?
I know, I know — it shouldn’t surprise me when I wake up in the morning to find Paul Krugman selling his Nod Along New York Audience on the benefits of more and more controls. But what he’s done today is so sly, I just can’t let it pass. Today, it’s capital controls:
It wasn’t always thus. In the first couple of decades after World War II, limits on cross-border money flows were widely considered good policy; they were more or less universal in poorer nations, and present in a majority of richer countries too. Britain, for example, limited overseas investments by its residents until 1979; other advanced countries maintained restrictions into the 1980s. Even the United States briefly limited capital outflows during the 1960s.
Great Britain in the post-WWII years was hardly thriving. In fact, many wondered if Britain had become the new “sick man of Europe.” Then Margaret Thatcher came along and freed up the economy from Labor’s ruinous policies. But Paul Krugman doesn’t want you to know that.
But there’s more:
It’s hard to imagine now, but for more than three decades after World War II financial crises of the kind we’ve lately become so familiar with hardly ever happened. Since 1980, however, the roster has been impressive: Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile in 1982. Sweden and Finland in 1991. Mexico again in 1995. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Korea in 1998. Argentina again in 2002. And, of course, the more recent run of disasters: Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus.
What’s the common theme in these episodes? Conventional wisdom blames fiscal profligacy — but in this whole list, that story fits only one country, Greece. Runaway bankers are a better story; they played a role in a number of these crises, from Chile to Sweden to Cyprus. But the best predictor of crisis is large inflows of foreign money: in all but a couple of the cases I just mentioned, the foundation for crisis was laid by a rush of foreign investors into a country, followed by a sudden rush out.
This is a neat trick Krugman has pulled here, so I’m afraid most people won’t spot it. Certainly most of his people won’t.
Scenes from President Obama’s arrival in the West Bank:
“The right of return [for Palestinian refugees] is a red line,” an old man swathed in a keffiyeh yelled passionately.
Ahmad, 27, was nursing a broken arm having been shot with a rubber bullet by Israeli soldiers during a protest at Qalandiya checkpoint last Friday but supported the demonstrators.
“When he got the presidency, he said he would do lots for Palestine but he did nothing,” he explained. “Now Palestine is angry, as you can see. Most Palestinians hate Obama – he will only make more problems for us”.
You might have forgotten the contents of Obama’s big 2009 Cairo speech, but you can bet the Palestinians hadn’t. He really did make it seem as though he would “do lots for Palestine,” but of course he couldn’t deliver. Middle East peace is the elusive unicorn and the sticky tar baby of presidential foreign affairs. American presidents keep trying to broker historic deals to cement their legacy as the great peacemaker, but all come away unhappy.
However, no one before Obama had given the Palestinians so much false hope, and the Israeli’s so much to distrust. That’s a sure formula for losing.
Now Obama has made a belated attempt to win back Israel’s trust, and I suppose this trip might have helped some. But that’s only one side of the equation. On the other side are the Palestinians. First Obama raised their hopes, then he dashed them. And then to add insult to injury, he made nice with Bibi.
But now — and perhaps this is the most bizarre part — Obama leaned on Netanyahu hard enough to get him to apologize to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Gaza flotilla fight from a couple years back.
Obama even felt the need to hop in on the phone conversation halfway through, which must have made an awkward conversation even worse. Any goodwill Obama might have earned with Bibi during his trip was surely ruined then in its last moments.
The Army has a term for this kind of thing, and it rhymes with “buster duck.”
President Obama, speaking in the West Bank, had a little something to say about moving “forward” with the peace process:
Mr. Obama condemned the rocket attacks, which broke a three-month cease-fire, but he insisted that the Israelis should not use violence as an excuse to avoid negotiations, no more than the Palestinians should insist that Israel halt construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a condition.
That’s right. Because building family homes is exactly like launching rockets into family homes.
Is it any wonder Obama is so unliked in Israel?
Here she is on MSNBC:
So nobody, none of the independent critics would say that the White House has not bungled this relationship, but a lot of people put blame on the Israeli side as well. It’s gotten off on the wrong foot and they’re trying to fix it, but it is one of the worst relationships I can remember, and I’ve covered every president going all the way back to Ronald Reagan. These, these leaders do not get along. They are not simpatico.
NewsBusters has the video, which I highly recommend watching. It’s a double-nostril milk-squirter.
Andrew Cuomo, moderate and reformist Democratic governor of a blue state, given high marks even by Republicans. Until now:
A poll shows New York Republican voters for the first time disapprove of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s performance following the Democrat’s push for a gun-control bill.
The Quinnipiac University poll finds 55% of Republican voters disapprove of Cuomo, with 27% approving of his job performance.
In December, 74% of Republicans approved of Cuomo’s performance.
Losing GOP support in a state rife with Democrats is unlikely to deter Cuomo from pushing his gun-control agenda. But it ought to serve as a warning to moderate Democrats in the House and Senate (remember them?) as they look toward 2014.
Oh, wait — it already has.
Here’s the story from near my home on the Front Range:
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said he won’t enforce either gun-control measure waiting to be signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper, saying the laws are “unenforceable” and would “give a false sense of security.”
One bill passed Friday would expand requirements to have background checks for firearm purchases. Hickenlooper is expected to sign it into law within two weeks.
Earlier this week, Colorado lawmakers approved a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines. It also is awaiting the expected approval of the governor.
Cooke said Democratic lawmakers are uninformed but are scrambling in reaction to recent tragedies in the nation.
“They’re feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable,” he said.
Colorado Democrats are out of control. And the state GOP is too busy playing endless rounds of Circular Firing Squad to do anything about it.
These are among the scenarios the Obama administration warned about last month as it claimed the sequester would force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to furlough meat inspectors.
But while the administration prepares to take that step, it continues to pursue a “partnership” with the Mexican government to “raise awareness” about food stamps among immigrants from that country. When a top Senate Republican proposed cutting off funds for that program last week — in the form of an amendment to a budget resolution — Democrats on the Budget Committee shot it down.
Budgeting, if I may use a word Democrats think is dirty, is the process of prioritizing.
Now you know where their priorities lie — and it’s not with you, your family, or your health. It’s with making things so intolerable for you that you’ll happily keep coughing up enough money to keep them in power.
And don’t you forget it.
“I just saw these statistics,” he continued, “I mean, something like 70 percent. And here in California, I just want to say liberals – you could actually lose me. It’s outrageous what we’re paying – over 50 percent. I’m willing to pay my share, but yeah, it’s ridiculous.”
Courtesy of NewsBusters, where Noel Sheppard is having entirely too much fun with this one.
He also added that he wishes that President Obama had, well, the kind of power Gates had at Microsoft.
He said: “Right now it feels like I wish there was slightly more power in the presidency to avoid some of these deadlocks. So I think what he (Obama) wants to do and what he’s actually able to do, the gap is so big there that it’s hard to know in some ways.”
Maybe if Gates were able to exercise a little power over Steve Ballmer, Windows 8 and the Surface tablets wouldn’t be such hideous kludges.
During a Wednesday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Obama warned against adopting a “crisis mentality” when it comes to concerns about the mounting national debt. With the debt currently approaching $17 trillion, Obama said, “we don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt.”
Obama is correct in the sense that bondholders are still willing to purchase U.S. debt at low interest rates. The country isn’t currently in crisis. But this isn’t going to be the case forever, because a combination of an aging population and growing health care costs have put the nation on an unsustainable path in the long term.
Klein is working under the mistaken impression that the Progressive left has any desire to avoid the coming crisis. No, they want the crisis. They need the crisis. Because “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Rahm Emanuel said so, and I believe him.
So this happened in Obama’s America:
A New Jersey mother was arrested and told to turn over her guns after reading the Constitution and peacefully protesting at a tax dispute forum, she says.
Eileen Hart was with her husband Keith and her 7-year-old daughter on Saturday at the Gloucester Community Center to dispute a mandatory home re-evaluation that would roughly double her property value (and therefore dramatically increase her rates), objecting on multiple grounds. As an Orthodox Jew, she refused to have the inspectors in her home when her husband was away at work. As an American citizen, she objected to the seemingly arbitrary reappraisal, noting that she is not planning on selling her home and hasn’t renovated her kitchen in 30 years.
But at the forum, Hart was allegedly told that since she didn’t let the inspectors into her home, the state has a right to “assume” its value.
As Hart and her family peacefully left the building, she saw Colavecchio “sneering” at her and said in passing, “look at the little pencil-pusher.”
Hart said Colavecchio threatened to call 911 and “ran after us in the parking lot like a banshee, his face was purple, [he was] disheveled, [he] started to take down my license plate and ran off. When he got to the doors of the building he screamed at us, ‘let’s see if you can pay your taxes now!’”
Much to her surprise, Hart returned home to numerous police cars, the officers asking if they could bring her in for questioning even though they did not have a warrant. She was not allowed to drive behind with her husband, but was forced to ride in the police vehicle.
I would like to see NJ Governor Chris Christie get personally involved in restoring this poor woman’s reputation — and put Colavecchio in an unemployment line.
Daily Caller has the video, but for today’s lesson all we need is the text of a quick Q&A between a Washington reporter and Jay Carney:
Q: “When you say balanced, you don’t mean balanced …”
White House press secretary Jay Carney: “I mean a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes asking everyone to pay their share.”
Q: “But it won’t be a balanced budget, right?”
Carney: “No. What the president’s proposal will do, as his previous proposals have done, is achieve the economically important goal of bringing our debt to GDP down below 3 percent.”
Allow me to translate Carney’s answer into English from the original Washingtonese:
No. What the president’s proposal will do, as his previous proposals have done, is achieve the politically necessary goal of indenturing your children to pay off our wealthy political allies.
I hope that clears things up for you.
Time to play another exciting game of Find! The! Cuts! Whether you’re a part of our studio audience or just watching from home, it’s the most exciting game you can play with Senator Patty Murray’s (D-Spendsylvania) new Senate budget. So let’s pull up the scorecard and see what we can find:
The $975 billion in spending cuts include $240 billion in savings from the end of the Afghanistan war and $242 billion in reduced interest payments, according to a source.
Remember, that’s $975,000,000,000 in “cuts” over the next ten years, or roughly the size of just this year’s totally real new debt. But now let’s look at the two biggest items, war and interest payments.
The savings from the Afghanistan War assume we were going to fight there indefinitely, even though the commander-in-chief (remember him?) said we’d be out in 2014. That’s like saying, “I’m going to spend 242 dollars on this new stereo I’ve had my eye on.” But then changing your mind and claiming that you’d saved $242. I can save us five trillion dollars right now, immediately, by promising to terraform and colonize each of Jupiter’s moons with clones of Hugh Grant, then canceling the program due to “extreme silliness.”
Then there’s the $240,000,000,000 in reduced interest payments on the existing debt. The only proper response to that is “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA,” followed by wiping away tears of pure blood. Interest payments will go nowhere but up, especially if Rosy Scenario somehow comes through with her promise of future robust growth. Those “savings” are, again, calculated by estimating how much higher they’d be if we went ahead with Project Hugh Grant, and then scrapping it because it’s just too difficult to obtain his DNA without first gaining access to a transvestite hooker.
Add up the fake savings for a total of $482,000,000,000, which we then subtract from the promised $975,000,000,000, for “real” savings of only $493,000,000,000. Again, spread out over ten years for an average “cut” of under $50,000,000,000 a year — or barely more than half of what the sequester cut this year alone.
And, uh, by the way, Murray’s budget eliminates the actual, real-life sequester savings to make room for her pretend Democrat savings.
But we aren’t quite done yet.
Perfectly happy couples are going to Splitsville to take advantage of a new law designed to cool off China’s housing bubble:
Divorce filings have surged like crazy in China over the past week, according to multiple reports. The reason? A new tax on property sales, which seems to have a loophole that lets people get around the tax if they separate from a spouse.
We first mentioned the surge on Wednesday, citing a report in Shanghai Daily.
Yesterday the NYT’s David Barboza followed up.
There are two big stories intertwined here.
The first is that China is trying to curb its well-known property boom. There’s a widespread belief that many markets in China are in bubble territory, and that a collapse or even a stall would be a catastrophe.
What’s interesting about the divorce story is the cat-and-mouse game that’s played between Chinese regulators and Chinese citizens/savers/investors who search out aggressive investment returns in the nooks and crannies of the law.
Tom Friedman will soon propose that China’s super-efficient government enact a law against unintended consequences.
(Hat tip to Debbie M., who finds all the good stuff.)
Here’s what the Nobel-prize winning economist has to say about another year with a nearly trillion-dollar deficit:
So we do not, repeat do not, face any kind of deficit crisis either now or for years to come.
There are, of course, longer-term fiscal issues: rising health costs and an aging population will put the budget under growing pressure over the course of the 2020s. But I have yet to see any coherent explanation of why these longer-run concerns should determine budget policy right now. And as I said, given the needs of the economy, the deficit is currently too small. [Emphasis added, for laughs.]
Krugman says all the big borrowing is hunky-dory because of “low borrowing costs.” But they won’t stay there.
You borrow money to buy a car or a house — large, infrequent purchases. If you put day-to-day expenses on the credit card, month after month, eventually you’re going to run into trouble. Especially if that card starts at a low introductory rate, which will shoot up after a year or three.
Well, in the last four years or so, Uncle Sam has put $6,000,000,000,000 worth of day-to-day expenses on the Visa. Interest rates are low, in no small part because the Fed is keeping them there artificially, with “Operation Twist.” Kind of like having a friend at the bank willing to put in a good word for you. Krugman dismissed fears of rising rates (“the deficit scolds have been wrong about everything so far where are the soaring interest rates we were promised?”), without mentioning Ben Bernanke’s role in preventing them from rising. Also, the dollar remains a panicked saver’s last refuge, but that could change in a heartbeat.
The other thing Krugman doesn’t tell you is that rates will rise, once the economy really recovers. When that happens, our near-zero rates will float (it is hoped) or jerk (it is feared) up historically normal levels of 5% or so. At 5% — which is still not high — our credit card payment triples to about $700,000,000,000 a year, each and every year, forever. That’s bigger than defense, bigger than Social Security, bigger than Medicare. And it’s going to happen. It’s baked in. There’s no escaping it. Because smart, award-winning men like Krugman assured us it would be OK.
That’s a seven followed by eleven zeroes — plus whatever we add to it, each and every year, forever, because Washington is addicted to debt. And Paul Krugman is the pusher.
The Dow is at or near record territory. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been since President Obama was first sworn in. Tax receipts are back up near their historic rate of 19% of GDP. So what’s this then:
On Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture quietly released new statistics related to the food stamps program, officially known as SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The numbers reveal, in 2012, the food stamps program was the biggest it’s ever been, with an average of 46,609,072 people on the program every month of last year. 47,791,996 people were on the program in the month of December 2012.
Welcome to Obamanomics in full swing. Growth is slow and low. The rich get richer. And the poor… well, the change is that the hope gets sucked right out of them. Oooh, SNAP!
Look, it’s true that we’re socking it to the rich, especially with the new ObamaCare taxes on investment income. But what it is, is protection money. The rich pay more, but in a stratified, almost feudal economy.
Entrepreneurship is nearly dead, by design. The rich aren’t just getting richer, they’re also protected from young upstarts who either can’t get capital, or can’t afford the increased regulatory burden. If you’re a top earner, wouldn’t being made safe from whippersnapper upstarts be worth paying a little more off the top?
The best part is, you’re able to point to your increased tax bill and claim all the moral superiority that comes with it. This is the biggest — and perhaps oldest — con game in human history.
And all it took was a bare majority of low-information voters in a low-turnout election to turn 98% of a nation into suckers.
A Michigan elementary school is defending its decision to confiscate a third-graders batch of homemade cupcakes because the birthday treats were decorated with plastic green Army soldiers.
Casey Fountain told Fox News that the principal of his son’s elementary school called the cupcakes “insensitive” — in light of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
“It disgusted me,” he said. “It’s vile they lump true American heroes with psychopathic killers.”
Now, I like to think of myself as more of a wordsmith than Weasel Zippers could ever hope to be, so I’d like to just say…
So dumb, so, so, so, so dumb.
It took weeks and a political “root canal,” but Eric Holder has at long last admitted that the President doesn’t have the legal authority to launch a Hellfire missile into Starbucks if one of the baristas has a funny beard and a map.
What a relief.
The question we should be asking however is: Why are we even talking about this in the first place? How did we sink so low as a purportedly free people, that it was ever an issue that the President might have some kind of secret Assassination Power emanating from the Constitution’s various penumbras?
It’d be like watching SportsCenter on ESPN to catch the latest hockey scores, when suddenly Lindsay Czarniak and John Anderson break out with a multimedia presentation on the history of interpretive dance, and how it paralleled the growth of modern jazz.
Why are they talking about this???
So kudos to Rand Paul (with assists from Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rob Wyden) for taking the issue off the table. Before the table gets blowed up good.
And a big, loud, wet raspberry to John McCain and Lindsey Graham, for being the two biggest jerks in the Department of Not Getting It.
Anyone back there in South Carolina have any idea who to primary against Graham in 2014? McCain I believe will retire at the end of his term, but Graham needs to get primaried, good and hard. C’mon, Tea Party — show us what you’ve got.
A message from House Speaker John Boehner:
he White House announced today that White House tours are being canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration.
Sequestration, as you may know, is the term for the mandatory federal budget cuts that went into effect March 1 under the terms of a bipartisan budget law enacted in 2011. Under sequestration, federal agencies and offices are required to find ways to reduce unnecessary spending within their budgets, and to do more with less, as many American families are being forced to do in the current economy.
While I’m disappointed the White House has chosen to comply with sequestration by cutting public tours, I’m pleased to assure you that public tours of the United States Capitol will continue. Under the leadership of the House officers and their teams, who oversee daily operations in the Capitol in consultation with the Office of the Speaker, planning for the possibility of sequestration has been underway for some time.
Consequently, alternative spending reductions have been implemented within the Capitol complex to ensure public tours and other regular activities can proceed as they normally would.
I encourage you and your family to visit the U.S. Capitol during your trip to Washington, D.C. If you haven’t already made arrangements through my office for a Capitol tour, I encourage you to do so.
Your move, Mr. President.
With the White House closing its doors to public tour groups in order to save money for the sequester, it’s worth remembering some of the other costs the White House incurs annually.
Like the “Chief Calligrapher,” Patricia A. Blair, who has an annual salary of $96,725, and her two deputies, Debra S. Brown, who gets paid $85,953 per year, and Richard T. Muffler, who gets paid $94,372 every year.
It takes a chief and two deputies to write fancy invitations to posh White House events.
But in all fairness, the events are very posh.
Politico‘s Donavan slack rounds them up:
Sixteen Pinocchios for six short statements from the most powerful man in the world? That seems like a lot to me. Does that seem like a lot to you?
Not only are the Professional Fact-Checkers at left-leaners like WaPo and Politico sitting up and taking notice, but so are millions of Americans. Obama’s poll numbers are down — way down. And easily-disproven lies like these are a big reason why.
The President’s own people identified tens of billions in “smart” cuts, but the Spender-in-Chief won’t listen.
The benevolent dictator, remembered:
Hugo Chavez was a man of many talents: he played ball, sang songs, pulled out pistols, and got down and groovy – and that is precisely how we’ll remember the Venezuelan leader.
Since rising to power nearly two decades ago, Chavez always liked the spotlight. In 2006, he famously called former U.S. President George W. Bush the devil during a speech at the U.N. General Assembly and the last time rumors were spreading about his health, he invited a group of reporters to play baseball.
I’ll always remember him as the man who ruthlessly crushed his opposition with a song in his heart, and impoverished his people with the silent grace of a resting swan.
There’s even a slideshow at the link, if you can stomach it.
As the father of two small boys, I’ve seen some tantrums these last few years. They follow a predictable script.
• Child wants something
• Dad says no
• Child demands something
• Dad says no
• Child begins tantrum
• Dad says no
And so on, until the child realizes that Dad can take the screaming and the tantrum ceases. Or punishment is doled out. Or — sometimes — both.
Witness, if you will, government by tantrum:
The Obama administration denied an appeal for flexibility in lessening the sequester’s effects, with an email this week appearing to show officials in Washington that because they already had promised the cuts would be devastating, they now have to follow through on that.
In the email sent Monday by Charles Brown, an official with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C., Mr. Brown asked “if there was any latitude” in how to spread the sequester cuts across the region to lessen the impacts on fish inspections.
He said he was discouraged by officials in Washington, who gave him this reply: “We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”
The government wants something. It wants to spend $3,803,000,000,000. It’s been told that it may only spend $3,759,000,000,000. (Please notice that nine zeroes are left unmolested.)
And so now the government is going to throw a tantrum. It will hide its aircraft carrier, stop food-safety inspections, close the White House to tourists who flew in from hundreds or thousands of miles away. In other words, shrieking “GIVE ME WHAT I WANT WHEN I WANT IT!”
We should tell it No. We should remind it that the Department of Education, which doesn’t educate a single child, has a budget almost twice the size of this year’s sequester. We should remind it that most Americans took a 2% pay cut starting last January, and that’s part of the 8% whack our incomes have suffered since 2008. We’ve had to make do with less, we should say, now it’s your turn.
But the Whiner-in-Chief won’t listen. It’s his sacred duty to drive the gravy train — right off the cliff.
And if we say no? Then we’ll be made to suffer.
Meh. I’ve seen worse. I have a two-year-old son.
I can take it. Can you?
Here’s what the august British publication has to say about the recent election results:
In this week’s election a quarter of the electorate—a post-war record—did not even bother to show up. Of those who did, almost 30% endorsed Silvio Berlusconi, whose ruinous policies as a clownish prime minister are a main cause of Italy’s economic woes. And a further 25% voted for the Five Star Movement, which is led by a genuine comedian, Beppe Grillo. By contrast, Mario Monti, the reform-minded technocrat who has led Italy for the past 15 months and restored much of its battered credibility, got a measly 10%.
This result is a disaster for Italy and for Europe.
The euro was a bad idea, poorly executed. What doomed the euro was… the euro, right from start. The rest is just details.
That’s what Dan Mitchell argues today:
[President Obama] miscalculated in thinking that the fiscal cliff tax hike somehow meant that he had permanently neutered the GOP, and he definitely goofed when he tried to use the sequester as a weapon to bully Republicans into another tax hike.
Ignoring the President’s hyperbole about the supposed catastrophic effects of a very modest reduction in the growth of the federal budget, Republicans have held firm.
And the President has suffered a painful political and policy defeat.
That’s chicken in the bush or a bird in the egg or something that I’m not yet ready to count.
The White House still has plenty of tools at its disposal to paint the GOP as the bad guys in the sequester, and Complicit Media to help every step of the way. Hungry school kids, frustrated travelers, laid-off janitors — the Tear Factory is just getting warmed up.
It worked for Clinton in ’95, and might well work for Obama.
The bad news for House Republicans is that in John Boehner, their leader, lacks the strategic vision of New Gingrich. The good news for Republicans is that in John Boehner, their leader, lacks the overreaching ego of Newt Gingrich.
That might end up being just the balance the party needs to hold on during what’s sure to be a long, bitter, and unfair fight.
Need some good news today? I know I could. Unfortunately we have to go all the way over to the other side of the pond to get some:
Bradford appears to have its own caped crusader after a man dressed as Batman handed over a wanted man to police officers.
The mystery man walked into Trafalgar House police station in the West Yorkshire city with the suspect in tow in the early hours of Monday, February 25.
His prisoner, a 27-year-old man, was arrested by officers on suspicion of burglary, fraud and breach of a court order and has since been charged with handling stolen goods and fraud-related offences.
Now if we could just get him back over here to help round up our criminal class in Washington.
One-in-four voters rate the U.S. health care system as poor, but most expect the system to get worse over the next couple of years. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters consider the U.S. health care system good or excellent, while 24% rate it as poor.
Notice please that voters weren’t asked if they approved of ObamaCare. They were asked how they rated the health care system, and whether it would get better or worse over the next couple of years as ObamaCare’s strictures kick in. But Rasmussen never mentioned “ObamaCare,” “PPACA,” or any law.
But just wait a couple years, and even the other 46% might come to realize just how badly they too have been screwed over by the new system.
Happy days are here again — for the Treasury:
Federal revenue will return to its pre-recession levels in 2013, according to projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), setting a record for the most money the government has ever taken in.
In its latest Budget and Economic Update, the CBO forecasts that federal revenue will top $2.7 trillion in 2013, slightly higher than the $2.6 trillion the government collected in 2007, when the last recession officially began.
Funny how Washington takes in more and more money, but still has to borrow $1,000,000,000,000 or more each year Obama is in office.
Obviously, we have a revenue problem.
What shall we tax next?
Remember the sequester that was so awful that Obama said it wasn’t his, after his team proposed it and the President put his signature on it? That one? The sequester which is right this very moment forcing old people to eat aircraft carriers on the backs of displaced janitors with criminal records?
Well, today’s pravda is that it actually was the White House’s idea all along.
Keep an eye on this space for tomorrow’s pravda.
GOProud is the most conservative gay group of note (perhaps the only gay group rightly called conservative), and that conservatism extends to its circumspection about many planks of the so-called gay-rights agenda. Its participation in past CPACs caused only mild disquiet (indeed, much of the scattered criticism of GOProud’s inclusion at the conference was shouted down by other attendees) and was probably salubrious on net. Conservative opinion on the intersection of homosexuality and politics is not monolithic, especially among the college-aged set that makes up the better part of CPAC attendees. And a gathering that hopes to speak for the conservative movement will be better equipped to do so if it represents the overlapping gamut of views included in it.
CPAC may invite (or disinvite) whomever they please. But do they have to be so stupidly self-defeating about it? Fine, so CPAC has taken a stand — but against what? Against the big tent? Against America’s increasingly gay-friendly youth? Against potentially powerful political alliances?
As Stacy McCain is fond of saying, “You can’t build a movement by the process of subtraction.”