Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Some politicians think you’re stupid

How stupid?

There are among politicians, certain ones who think you’ll believe this:

“Now, this debt ceiling — I just want to remind people in case you haven’t been keeping up — raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy.  All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress.  It’s a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved.”

Obama went on to suggest that “the average person” mistakenly thinks that raising the debt ceiling means the U.S. is racking up more debt: “It’s always a tough vote because the average person thinks raising the debt ceiling must mean that we’re running up our debt, so people don’t like to vote on it, and, typically, there’s some gamesmanship in terms of making the President’s party shoulder the burden of raising the — taking the vote.”

First – what is it called?

Oh, a debt ceiling.

Anyone – what is the purpose of raising the debt ceiling?

To allow more debt.

If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, then the government can’t do what?

Increase our debt.  Correct?

They can’t borrow (commonly known as going into debt) more money to pay those “bills” they’ve already “racked up”, can they?

So when “the average person” thinks that raising the debt ceiling means”running up more debt“, they’re absolutely dead-on right. Unless you plan on “running up more debt“, there is no reason to raise the debt ceiling, is there?

It’s called a “debt ceiling” for a reason.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 18 Sep 13

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose a sharp 11.2% last week, with purchases up 3.0% and re-fis up 18.0%. As rates are starting generally to rise, last week’s 5 basis-point drop has everyone locking in the best rate they can.

A downward revision in July’s housing starts resulted in a nominal rise of 0.9% in August to a 0.891 million annual rate. Housing permits, an indicator of future activity, declined to a 0.918 million annual rate from July’s 0.943 million.

At today’s meeting of the Federal Open Markets Committee, the Fed surprised the markets by not tapering off its Quantitative Easing program. They fear that doing so will result in a fiscal drag on the economy. They also say that labor market conditions still are questionable. The Fed is predicting 2013 GDP growth at a below-trend 2.0% to 2.3%. The Fed also predicts a slow improvement to the unemployment rate, with it dropping below 7.0% sometime in 2014. Inflation is below the Fed’s long-term goal of 2 percent, and says downside risks to growth have eased. Chairman Bernanke indicated that increases in interest rates may not occur until the unemployment rate is substantially below 6.5 percent, which is expected in late 2014 or 2015.


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Economic Statistics for 17 Sep 13

The CPI rose 0.1% in August at both the headline and core rate. On a year-over-year basis, consumer prices rose 1.5%, and 1.8% ex-food and -energy.

The Housing Market Index lost a single point in September, coming in at 58, still a multi-year high.

Foreign demand for long-term U.S. Securities moved back into positive territory, with a net inflow of $31.1 billion in July.

Retail sales seem to be slowing, as Redbook reports a decline from last week’s 4.6% year-on-year sales increase to 3.4% this week. ICSC-Goldman Store Sales are mixed and hard to read, with a weekly sales drop of -1.6%, but a stronger 2.3% year-on-year sales increase.


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DiFi and the “freedom’s to messy and dangerous” Brigade go after guns again

Of course, much like the climate alarmists, other than leveraging off a horrible incident like the Navy Yard shootings they really don’t have the stats (or the Constitutional backing) to call for banning guns. But that doesn’t stop them from doing so anyway:

“This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time. When will enough be enough?” Feinstein asked in a statement.

She added: “Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life.”

When will enough be enough? Ask a couple of Colorado state senators.

Enough will never be enough as long as the gun grabbers try to continue to pin it on the implement instead of the murderer. Here again we have a not quite right person acting out with guns. Sound familiar? Yet somehow the system not only gave him a security clearance (after he’d been arrested previously for using a gun in Seattle), but apparently okayed it for him to be sold a weapon.

How is that the fault of the weapon? Where did the weapon “fail” in this? Where did the weapon “cause” this to happen? How did the weapon find its way into this man’s hands? Because the state failed in numerous ways to do what it is and was supposed to do. Grant a security clearance to a clearly disturbed person, lax security at a secure facility, etc.  Gee, maybe it isn’t guns.  Maybe it is incompetent government that can’t enforce existing laws?

But DiFi, the WaPo and other gun grabbers don’t really care about facts.

Life does go on, through Columbine in 1999, through Virginia Tech in 2007, through Sandy Hook in 2012. Each atrocity provides a jolt to the nation and then recedes with little effect, until the next unimaginable event occurs, except each time a little more imaginable. Everything was supposed to change after a man with a semiautomatic weapon mowed down 20 elementary school children in their classrooms last December. But for the politicians, nothing changed. Now, another massacre, another roster of funerals. Again, again, again.

Anyone notice the one similarity in all these events?  Everyone of them took place in a “gun free” zone.  And what else do you notice about each?  And in each one, the state did a bang up job of protecting everyone in them, didn’t it?

DiFi comes from a long line of those who find freedom messy and dangerous and would prefer the orderly and safe haven of state authority instead (with her in charge, of course – and exempted from her own rules). And she wouldn’t at all mind imposing her utopia on you – by force if necessary.

~McQ

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Syrian summary

I think Marc Thiessen pens a fairly succinct one in today’s Washington Post:

We’re conducting foreign policy by faux pas. This entire episode has been driven not by deliberate strategy but by slips of the tongue. Obama’s declaration of a “red line” on chemical weapons was a slip of the tongue. So was Secretary of State John Kerry’s offer to have Syria give up its chemical weapons. There is no plan, no coherence to anything this administration is doing on Syria.

More embarrassing still, Obama is actually claiming that the diplomatic “breakthrough” is the result of his administration’s show of strength.

Excuse me?

Was it a show of strength when Obama went to the world’s nations and asked them to join him in enforcing “their” red line — finding only one country (France) ready to do so? Or when the British parliament rejected military action for the first time since the 1700s? Or when a U.S. official told the Los Angeles Times that any U.S. strike would be “just muscular enough not to get mocked”? Or when Kerry declared that any strike would be “unbelievably small” and would not really constitute “war”? Or when Obama used his prime-time, nationally televised address to call on Congress to do . . . nothing?

That’s not a show of strength. That’s an embarrassment.

Foreign policy by faux pas.  You have to cringe at that one. But it is certainly the truth.

In fact:

The idea that this sequence of events led Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to cower and agree to hand over his chemical weapons is laughable. Russia and Syria are playing us. And the administration, which was about to lose a vote in Congress, latched on to this diplomatic “solution” to save face.

It’s supposed to be the president of the United States who gives a dictator a face-saving way out, not the other way around. The sad fact is Obama needed this way out more than Assad.

To claim otherwise is simply laughable. And, added into all of this, it gave Assad room to do whatever it is he thinks he needs to do (not to mention legitimacy as Syria’s leader) and a chance to add his own condition to the mix – that the US stop supplying the rebels with arms. Watch for that to come into play at some point in the “negotiations”.

As the Wall Street Journal says when describing the debacle:

Through mixed messages, miscalculations and an 11th-hour break, the U.S. stumbled into an international crisis and then stumbled out of it. A president who made a goal of reducing the U.S.’s role as global cop lurched from the brink of launching strikes to seeking congressional approval to embracing a deal with his biggest international adversary on Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And here we are. The clown car remains full and, unfortunately, will be leading the circus for the next 3 plus years. Hold on to your hats (and wallets).

~McQ

P.S. and no we won’t be saying anything about the shootings, er “workplace violence”, at the Navy Yard in DC until a whole lot more information comes in.

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 15 Sep 13

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Republican-led House’s decision to fully fund Obamacare, the economy, and the Obama Administration’s Syria-related stupidity.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

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