Free Markets, Free People
Today’s economic statistical releases:
The advance estimate for 4th Quarter GDP came in at 2.8% annualized growth. This beats the 3rd Quarter’s 1.8%, yet still falls below analyst expectations of 3.1%. GDP was up 1.6% over last year, a relatively anemic rate of growth.
The University of Michigan reports their Consumer Sentiment index continues to rise, coming in at 75, compared to 74 from two weeks ago.
Here’s a little fact to keep in mind when considering the current cuts to spending at DoD (and let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with appropriate cuts to defense spending), besides all the other ramifications it promises:
Defense accounts for less than 20 percent of the federal budget but already exceeds 50 percent of deficit-reduction efforts. And for every dollar the President hopes to save in domestic programs, he plans on saving $128 in defense.
And that’s without the looming sequestration cuts (keep in mind, most war fighting costs are not included in the budget) of another half trillion dollars.
Or said another way, the administration has decided that it will attempt to cut spending primarily with cuts to national defense. There is no serious program afoot to cut back the myriad of other government agencies and branches. In fact, many are expanding (see EPA, IRS, etc.).
As for sequestration, Democrats are bound and determined to see it through, because, you know, national defense is less important than winning an ideological struggle.
Charles Hoskinson of POLITICO’s Morning Defense reports (btw, if you don’t subscribe to it, you should):
BUT REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS are still far apart on one key issue: taxes. We caught up with SASC Chairman Levin at a breakfast Thursday and he said he’s counting on public pressure to push the GOP to accept new tax revenues as part of any solution – something they’ve so far refused to consider. Meanwhile, Levin and other Democrats won’t budge on reversing sequestration except as part of a complete package. "The dam has got to be broken on revenues, and what I believe will break it is the threat of sequestration," he said.
Shorter Levin, “we’re more than willing to hold national security hostage and see it gutted to get our way on taxes”.
It is rather interesting approach for an administration which is hung up on everyone paying their ‘fair share’. It seems that the lion’s share of what it will surely tout during the upcoming campaign as serious budget cutting, will come from the one Constitutionally mandated duty it has – national defense.
As for all the programs that have a future funding liability of 200 trillion dollar?
Just what the GOP needs:
Under siege from Mitt Romney and conservative elites who seem to be conspiring against his candidacy, Gingrich abandoned his stump speech on Thursday in favor of an angry tirade against his most daunting Republican rival and the Washington establishment. He isn’t the candidate who vowed to stay positive in Iowa, or the nose-to-the-grindstone guy he was in South Carolina.
As he took the stage before a tea-party crowd here, Gingrich seethed at Romney for the avalanche of negative ads blanketing the Florida airwaves and bashed the Beltway denizens for coalescing to obstruct his rise.
“There’s the Washington establishment sitting around in a frenzy, having coffee, lunch and cocktail hour talking about, ‘How do we stop Gingrich?’” he said, referring to a spate of prominent Republicans who painted him Thursday as a philandering egomaniac comparable to Bill Clinton and not as close to Ronald Reagan as he would like to think.
The former House speaker told the tea party crowd that they shouldn’t be confused by the attacks coming from the right because it’s still part of the scared establishment.
“Remember, the Republican establishment is just as much an establishment as the Democratic establishment, and they are just as determined to stop us,” he said.
And Newt Gingrich used to define the Republican establishment.
Frankly, though there are two of them, this is boiling down to GOP voters having a sort of Hobson’s choice – pick one of these two or Obama wins. The problem, of course is that picking either of the two could mean an Obama win, and voters know that. Both are about as much establishment candidates as one could imagine. And neither offer the depth of message that Tea Party and conservative voters are looking for. When watching these two, voters are reduced to wondering which one has the best shot at unseating Obama.
That person isn’t Newt Gingrich. And Romney is only marginally better in that regard (I’m not endorsing Romney, I’m simply pointing out that in the big scheme of things, I think he’d have a relatively better shot than Gingrich).
As was obvious Gingrich is as thin-skinned as Obama and if he thinks the Romney attacks (along with those by the Democrats) are tough now, he ain’t seen nuttin’ sport. This is just a warm up.
On Thursday, Gingrich went off on Romney for his negative ads, some of which are being aired by the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign and others by his super PAC. The ads depict Gingrich as misrepresenting his consulting work for mortgage broker Freddie Mac, which Romney says was really lobbying. They show him sitting on a couch with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and cite her comments about his 1990s House ethics case.
“This is the desperate last stand of the old order throwing the kitchen sink, hoping something sticks because if only they can drown us in enough mud, raised with money from companies and people who foreclosed on Floridians,” Gingrich said as he pounded on the podium. “Let’s be really clear, you’re watching ads paid for with the money taken from the people of Florida by companies like Goldman Sachs, recycled back into ads to try to stop you from having a choice in this election.”
Gingrich is referring to the fact, he says, that Romney owns stock in Goldman Sachs, which he claims is partially responsible for the mortgage crisis in Florida.
Yeah, and Freddie Mac is as clean as a pin concerning the mortgage crisis, isn’t it? And did he or did he not do the Pelosi thing? And if it were Mitt Romney on the couch, what would Gingrich be running in his ads?
Here we have another arrogant politician who thinks he should be able to wave away his record and pretend it never happened, because, you know, he’s got great ideas (I don’t want to hear about a freaking moon base when we’re 16 trillion in debt) and is the self-declared savior of our country. Oh, and then there’s stuff like this.
Anyway, we’ve got one like that sitting the the White House now and chances are, given the GOP choices, he’ll be there next year as well.
“There is something so grotesquely hypocritical about the Romney campaign that I think it’s just going to melt down over the next six or eight weeks as the American people learn more about him,” he told reporters after the tea party rally.
Pot, meet kettle.
I don’t know who characterized this race as the Indy 500 in clown cars, but it certainly is living up to that billing.