Welcome To Hard Times

An Excellent Spirit takes no joy in reporting the so-called resolution to the Fiscal Cliff by Congress and the President. There are no lack of columns and opinions that purport to explain to an exhausted American people the meaning of avoiding what they have never been told about said Fiscal Cliff. In the short term, most Americans have no doubt that, despite President Obama’s claim that the middle class will not pay more; they will pay more and more and more. Here one of our favorite financial columnists, Charles Payne of Townhall Finance put it this way, “Throughout history there have been sharp shifts in small powers and great powers ……….. There will be similar shifts in America as well and it could be predicated not on initial reactions to all of these deals but their ultimate outcomes. The nation needs pro-growth policies not massive spending hidden behind the facade of fairness and false redistribution. 

The poor stay poor although more comfortably so, the middle class watches as its earnings diminish in real life and adjusted for inflation, upper middle class gets hammered cobbled in with Warren Buffett which means fewer jobs, less investing and shattered dreams as rungs from the ladder of success are removed. The loyal opposition owes it to those folks that voted them into office to stand on principle while also making sure the nation doesn’t sink in a cauldron of angst, hate and frustration.” Read Payne’s column here. Thus, despite being told we are saved from the Fiscal Cliff by those we pay to do so, we Americans know that the next crises is on the way and we are it’s target. Can anyone say Spending Limit?

Townhall Finance’s Charles Payne

An Excellent Spirit has written many times of  Victor Davis Hanson Hanson takes a longer perspective than that of the immediate crises in his recent PJ Media piece, 2013: Welcome To Very, Very Scary Times. It is one of his best and we recommend that our readers copy and keep it handy as the days unfold. Hanson notes that while America should be entering a time of robust growth and unchallenged primacy, our own leaders seem to be taking us down another draconian, dreadful path to an uncertain future. Hanson writes, “These should not be foreboding years. The U.S. is in the midst of a veritable energy revolution. There is a godsend of new gas and oil discoveries that will help to curtail our fiscal and foreign policy vulnerabilities — an energy bonanza despite, not because of, the present administration. Demographically, our rivals — the EU, China, Russia, and Japan — are both shrinking and aging at rates far in excess of our own. In terms of farming, the United States is exporting more produce than ever before at record prices. Americans eat the safest and cheapest food on the planet. As far as high-tech gadgetry, the global companies that have most changed the world in recent years — Amazon’s online buying, Google search engines, Apple iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops — are mostly American. There is a reason why Mexican nationals are not crossing their border into Guatemala — and it is not because they prefer English speakers to Spanish speakers. Militarily, the United States is light years ahead of its rivals. And so on…”

Hanson goes on to chronicle how America stands at the top of the list, seemingly untouchable. “We have redefined poverty itself through government entitlements, modes of mass production and consumerism, and technological breakthroughs. The poor man is not hungry; more likely he suffers from obesity, now endemic among the less affluent. He is not deprived of a big-screen TV, a Kia, warm water, or an air conditioner. (My dad got our first color television during my first year in college in 1972, a small 19 inch portable; I bought my first new car at 39, and quit changing my own oil at 44.) In classical terms, today’s poor man is poor not in relative global terms (e.g. compared to a Russian, Bolivian, or Yemeni), but in the sense that there are those in America who have more things and choices than does he: a BMW instead of a Hyundai, ribeye instead of ground beef, Pellegrino rather than regular Coke, Tuscany in the summer rather than Anaheim at Disneyland, and L.L. Bean tasteful footwear rather than Payless shoes. I was in Manhattan not long ago, and noticed that my cheap, discount-store sportcoat and Target tie did not raise eyebrows among the wealthy people I spoke to, suggesting that the veneer of aristocracy is now within all our reach. When I returned to Selma, I noted that those ahead of me at Super Wal-Mart were clothed no differently than was I. Their EBD cards bought about the same foods. Put all the above developments together, and an alignment of the planets is favoring America as never before — as long as we do not do something stupid to nullify what fate, our ancestors, and our own ingenuity have given us. But unfortunately that is precisely what is now happening.”

Why then are we entering the “worst of times”? Part of the explanation is found in the historic and never-ending battle of ideologies between “the left” and “the right”. In America, “we” are the battleground upon which the ideologies fight and we are, at the same time, the body, the carcass they fight to tear apart for their ends. Hanson sees it well. “These are the most foreboding times in my 59 years. The reelection of Barack Obama has released a surge of rare honesty among the Left about its intentions, coupled with a sense of triumphalism that the country is now on board for still greater redistributionist change. There is no historical appreciation among the new progressive technocracy that central state planning, whether the toxic communist brand or supposedly benevolent socialism, has only left millions of corpses in its wake, or abject poverty and misery. Add up the Soviet Union and Mao’s China and the sum is 80 million murdered or starved to death. Add up North Korea, Cuba, and the former Eastern Europe, and the tally is egalitarian poverty and hopelessness. The EU sacrificed democratic institutions for coerced utopianism and still failed, leaving its Mediterranean shore bankrupt and despondent. Nor is there much philosophical worry that giving people massive subsidies destroys individualism, the work ethic, and the personal sense of accomplishment. There is rarely worry expressed that a profligate nation that borrows from others abroad and those not born has no moral compass. There is scant political appreciation that the materialist Marxist argument — that justice is found only through making sure that everyone has the same slice of stuff from the zero-sum pie — was supposed to end up on the ash heap of history.”

Nor is it simply the re-election of the most Un American President in our history. Barack Obama can only do what we, the people permit him and his Administration and the Congress just elected to do. It is up to us, and we simply do not want to shoulder the load and do anything more. We feel that we did our part. We endured over 10 billion dollars of campaign negativity in our households nightly for over a year. We, especially those poor souls in the so-called “swing states”, made our choice and now we get to live our lives again. Or do we? Unfortunately “elections have consequences” and now come the consequences. Victor Davis Hanson is a thinker and observer of no mean skills. He goes on, “These are the most foreboding times in my 59 years. The reelection of Barack Obama has released a surge of rare honesty among the Left about its intentions, coupled with a sense of triumphalism that the country is now on board for still greater redistributionist change. There is no historical appreciation among the new progressive technocracy that central state planning, whether the toxic communist brand or supposedly benevolent socialism, has only left millions of corpses in its wake, or abject poverty and misery. Add up the Soviet Union and Mao’s China and the sum is 80 million murdered or starved to death. Add up North Korea, Cuba, and the former Eastern Europe, and the tally is egalitarian poverty and hopelessness. The EU sacrificed democratic institutions for coerced utopianism and still failed, leaving its Mediterranean shore bankrupt and despondent. Nor is there much philosophical worry that giving people massive subsidies destroys individualism, the work ethic, and the personal sense of accomplishment. There is rarely worry expressed that a profligate nation that borrows from others abroad and those not born has no moral compass. There is scant political appreciation that the materialist Marxist argument — that justice is found only through making sure that everyone has the same slice of stuff from the zero-sum pie — was supposed to end up on the ash heap of history. That is not conspiracy talk, but simply a distillation of what I read today.”

Then Professor Hanson quotes at length authorities of the Left from across the nation. First from the Des Moines Register. “A journalist, Donald Kaul, in the Des Moines Register offers us a three-step, presto! plan to stop school shootings: Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. … Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. …Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control. Note the new ease with which the liberal mind calls for trashing the Constitution, outlawing those whom they don’t like (reminiscent of “punish our enemies”?), and killing those politicians with whom they don’t agree (we are back to Bush Derangement Syndrome, when novels, movies, and op-eds dreamed of the president’s assassination.) What would be the Register’s reaction should a conservative opponent of abortion dare write, “Repeal the First Amendment; ban Planned Parenthood as a terrorist organization; and drag Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi from a truck”? If an idiot were to write that trash, I doubt the Washington Times or Wall Street Journal would print such sick calls for overturning the Constitution and committing violence against public officials.” Ah, consequences!

Stanford’s Victor Davis Hanson

The next target of the left is identified and locked on by The New Republic’s John Judis. Hanson tells us, “John Judis, in honest fashion, more or less puts all the progressive cards on the table in a column titled “Obama’s Tax Hikes Won’t Be Nearly Big Enough” — a candor about what the vast $5 trillion deficits of Obama’s first term were all about in the first place. Here is the summation quote: “But to fund these programs, governments will have to extract a share of income from those who are able to afford them and use the revenues to make the services available for everyone.” Note that Judas was not talking about the projected new taxes in the fiscal cliff talks, but something far greater to come. He understands well that the “gorge the beast” philosophy that resulted in these astronomical debts will require enormous new sources of revenue, funds “to extract” from “those who are able to afford them” in order to “make services available for everyone.” That is about as neat a definition of coerced socialism as one can find. Implicit in Judas’s formulation is that only a very well-educated (and well-compensated) technocratic class will possess the wisdom, the proper schooling, and the morality to adjudicate who are to be the extracted ones and who the new “everyone.” That says it all, except to know whether Hanson’s reference to Judis as “Judas” was intentional. The betting here says it was. Tired of those consequences? Hanson has one more and it is a doozy!

Target Zero is the Constitution of the United States of America, that document, over 225 years old that has been the protector of the freedoms of every American and every immigrant who has come to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The problem seems to be, as Hanson says, that “we” are no longer sure what all that means, except to say, “we voted! Now leave us alone!” Hanson continues, “The third item in my year-end reading was the most disturbing. A law professor (could it be otherwise?) named Louis Michael Seidman enlightens us with “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution” — yet another vision of what the now triumphant liberal mind envisions for us all: As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions. Did Madison force Obama to borrow a half-billion dollars to fund Solyndra and its multimillionaire con artists? Note Seidman’s use of “evil,” which tips his hand that our great moralist is on an ethical crusade to change the lives of lesser folk, who had the misfortune of growing up in America — a place so much less prosperous, fair, and secure than, say, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Spain, Greece, Italy, or Japan and Germany (in the earlier 20th century history) . When I lived in Greece, traveled to Libya, and went into Mexico, I forgot to sigh, “My God, these utopias are possible for us too, if we just junked that evil Constitution.” The non-archaic, un-idiosyncratic, and anti-downright evil Professor Seidman presses his argument against his inferiors who wrote the “evil” document: “Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.” Ah yes, old white male Madison, who lacked the insight, character, and morality of our new liberal technocrats in our successful law schools, such as, well, Mr. Seidman himself: As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official —  say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress  –  reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination? I suppose human nature changes every decade or so, so why shouldn’t constitutions as well? I can see Seidman’s vision now: Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi decides that semi-automatic handguns, not cheap Hollywood violence or sick video games, empower the insane to kill, and, presto, their “considered judgment” and favored “particular course of action” trump the archaic and evil wisdom of “white propertied men.”  But if we wish to avoid the baleful influence of white guys, can Seidman point to indigenous Aztec texts for liberal guidance, or perhaps the contemporary constitution of liberated Zimbabwe, or the sagacity of the Chinese court system? Note the fox-in-the-henhouse notion that a constitutional law professor essentially hates the Constitution he is supposed to teach, sort of like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warning the Egyptians not to follow our own constitutional example, when South Africa has offered so much more to humanity than did Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, and others: “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa.”  Ginsburg obviously vacations in Johannesburg, goes to Cape Town for her medical treatment, and has a vacation home and bank account in the scenic South African countryside. Seidman looks fondly on Roosevelt’s war against the Constitution (especially the notion that law is essentially what an elected president who has proper “aspirations” says it is): In his Constitution Day speech in 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt professed devotion to the document, but as a statement of aspirations rather than obligations. This reading no doubt contributed to his willingness to extend federal power beyond anything the framers imagined, and to threaten the Supreme Court when it stood in the way of his New Deal legislation. No doubt.”

There it is: The Trifecta of the Left. Get rid of the guns so that only we say who can have them. Tax everyone into submission to the Government and get them to like it by giving them “stuff”(There are no jobs, anyway). Finally, since we do not tolerate any more interference from anyone, get rid of the Constitution. Without that document, in a very short time, Americans will be like everyone else: beholden to the powerful for their lives, having no rights guaranteed to them by an antiquated document and living in fear of those who have the guns that we allowed them to take away.

That is what Hanson dreads most. Reading his fellow academician, Seidman, he goes on, “In the age of Obama, the constitutional law lecturer who once lamented that the Supreme Court had not gone far enough by failing to take up questions of forced redistribution, Seidman writes: In the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim by the Constitution’s defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature if we asserted our freedom from this ancient text. Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper. But I thought it was the Constitution, not the anti-Constitution or egalitarian good will, that separated us from Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Tojo’s Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and most of the miserable places that one sees abroad today, from Cuba to North Korea, which all had and have one thing in common — the embrace of some sort of national, republican, or democratic “socialism” guiding their efforts and plastered about in their sick mottoes. The progressive mind, given that it is more enlightened and moral, alone can determine which parts of the “evil” Constitution should be summarily ignored (e.g., the Second Amendment) and which should not be: “This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.” Emphasis ours.

Careful, America! As Victor Davis Hanson notes, we are entering the worst times of the Republic, to date. “I am sure that history offers all sorts of examples where people without evil documents like our Constitution protected free speech and religious worship — out of “respect.”  Ask Socrates, Jesus, six million Jews, 20 million Russians, or those with eyeglasses during the days of the Khmer Rouge. Apparently, what stops such carnage is not the rule of constitutional law, but good progressive minds who care for others and show respect. I’ll try that rhetoric on the next thief who for the fourth time will steal the copper wire conduit from my pump. So just dream with Professor Seidman: ”The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity…What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences. No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation, and I harbor no illusions that any of this will happen soon. But even if we can’t kick our constitutional-law addiction, we can soften the habit… before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.”

Game, set, match! End of Republic. End of Constitution. End of nation of laws. Beginning of despair, pandemic poverty for those with no voice and the rule of the gun for everyone who does not have one. As Victor Davis Hanson writes, “I have seen their future and it is almost here right now. Scary times, indeed.”

It is a lot to digest, America, but either digest it and pray about it and ask God what to do or be consumed by the works that those who do not know or love God will most certainly perpetrate upon everyone that is under their guns. God bless America!

Fiscal Cliff Update – Victor Davis Hanson and Scott Rasmussen

An Excellent Spirit continues our coverage of the Fiscal Cliff with this Jewish World Review article by Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson begins by reviewing the past four years. “We are still borrowing more than $1 trillion a year. Barack Obama has added more than $5 trillion to the national debt in just his first term alone. Such massive borrowing is unsustainable. Someone somehow at some time has to pay it back.  Obama would agree. He once alleged that George W. Bush’s much smaller deficits were “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” Obama himself vowed to cut the budget deficit in half by the end his first term. Instead, Obama’s annual deficits have never gone below $1 trillion.” Having said that, Hanson suggests that there are three ways to overcome the problem and avoid the cliff. “Three ways to establish a long-term trajectory toward a balanced budget were under discussion. One was to adopt the proposals of the nonpartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission appointed by Obama. The commission offered a balanced mix of tax reform and greater revenues, along with cuts in federal spending. But the president was not interested. The commission’s findings now seem stale just two years after they were issued. Another way would have been to adopt the Bill Clinton-Newt Gingrich compromise formula of the 1990s that balanced the budget through a series of across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts. But while the administration talked grandly of a return to higher “Clinton-era tax rates,” it never mentioned the necessary second half of the old equation — “Clinton-era spending cuts.” That balanced solution is dead, too. Finally, we might have just enacted the income-tax rates of the Clinton era now and work on the spending cuts later. But the administration did not wish to take that third approach either. Instead, it prefers returning to Clinton-era rates only for those who make more than $250,000 a year, while leaving the lower Bush-era income-tax rates — once soundly ridiculed — on all other Americans.”

Stanford University Professor Victor Davis Hanson

Those were the possibilities before Barack Obama was re-elected. Sadly, as weak and ill suited to solving the massive problems with our economy as the three choices are and were, they are no longer on the table and the Fiscal Cliff is a mere three and a half weeks away. Thus far, the only proposed solution is to “tax the rich”. Obama and his billions of dollars in negative campaign advertising have had their effect. The American people firmly believe that the way out of our fiscal problems is to start by taxing the rich. Those same people, however, do not believe that this will produce enough to even make a dent in the overall problem. As Hanson points out, “The problem is that such a soak-the-rich move would only give the treasury about $80 billion a year in new revenue — about 7 percent to 8 percent of the money needed to make up for the massive annual borrowing. Even with proposed accompanying tax hikes on capital gains and larger estates, we still would fall hundreds of billions of dollars short. There simply are not enough affluent sheep who make more than $250,000 to shear.”

Rasmussen Reports confirms these figures. This Gopusa story by Scott Rasmussen tells us more. “President Obama is winning the messaging wars in the “fiscal cliff” debate largely because Republicans aren’t even in the game. The GOP leadership in Washington keeps talking as if the issue is deficit reduction, while the president is talking about fairness. Consider the numbers. Sixty-one percent of voters want to see a deal reached to avoid the big Jan. 1 tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts, and 68 percent want the deal to include a combination of both tax hikes and spending cuts. By a 2-to-1 margin, voters would like to see more spending cuts than tax hikes. Instead, the president’s proposal includes $4 of tax hikes for every dollar of spending cuts, and the spending cuts are nothing more than a promise to work something out next year. If the issue was really deficit reduction, the president’s proposal would leave the GOP in fine shape. But the president has the upper hand politically, and voters see him as more willing to negotiate in good faith.”

Hanson agrees. “Spending is the real problem but goes largely unaddressed. Obama’s first-term borrowing of $5 trillion was, in part, designed to stimulate the dormant economy while expanding entitlements to those suffering from the recession. But despite the addition of millions of Americans to those who already were receiving unemployment insurance, disability insurance or food stamps, and despite massive loans to green industries, the unemployment rate and GDP growth are about where they were four years and $5 trillion ago. Now the president wants another $50 billion in new borrowing. But why would borrowing another $50 billion jump-start the sluggish economy when 100 times that figure in deficit spending so far has not? “Pay your fair share” was a winning Obama campaign theme — given that nearly half of all Americans do not pay any federal income tax and receive some sort of federal or state entitlement. Yet if the targeted 5 percent of American taxpayers already pays almost 60 percent of all federal income tax revenues, what would the president consider their proper “fair share” — 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent or 100 percent?”

Forget about the fact that many of the uber-rich (Obama supporters all) have already begun to park their wealth outside the US tax reach. Here. Forget about the fact that those that have not or cannot will find other ways (tax accountants, lawyers and other fiscal manipulators) to protect themselves that “we” do not have the wherewithal to employ. Rasmussen continues, “To understand why, start with the fact that 57 percent of voters favor raising taxes on people who earn more than $250,000 a year. Republicans complain that this isn’t enough to make a dent in the deficit. Voters understand that already: Just 19 percent of voters think it is possible to balance the federal budget primarily by raising taxes on upper-income Americans. Add to that the fact that voters don’t expect much substance to emerge from the fiscal cliff debate. If no deal is reached, taxes will go up on just about everyone, and there will be modest reductions in proposed spending growth. If a deal is reached, six out of 10 expect the deal to lead to higher middle-class taxes, and only one out of three think spending will go down. In other words, most people expect pretty much the same result whether or not a deal is reached. In this environment, the president has proposed a policy that addresses a perceived level of unfairness in the nation’s economic arrangements. Whether it’s the best approach doesn’t even matter because Republicans in Washington haven’t even tried to address the fairness issue. They keep arguing about economic theories. As a result, 52 percent of voters now prefer a candidate who promises to raise taxes on the wealthy, while just 34 percent favor a candidate who opposes all tax hikes. This highlights a larger problem faced by the Republican establishment. While most voters see Democrats as the party of big government, Republicans spend more time talking about government. They complain that it’s too big, imposes too many regulations and has unsustainable deficits. Under Obama, Democrats talk less about government and more about how their policies will affect life in America. It’s the end result that a pragmatic nation cares about, not the policies. For Republicans to succeed, they need to recognize that most voters don’t care about limited government. But voters care deeply about the type of society a limited government makes possible. Applying that logic to the current debate over the fiscal cliff, Republicans in Washington need to recognize that few voters believe this is a serious debate about deficit reduction. The president has made it instead a debate about fairness, and they need to respond on that level.

The President has many allies in his camp, the most effective of which are the lamestream media. “We”, the people never hear what anything but the President is saying. Even when they do portray the President’s opposition, the lamestream media do so with gross and unified mendacity (lying in plainer English). Thus, as Rasmussen’s analysis of the numbers support, “we” do not believe anyone about anything, except that “we” will pay for it all.

As Hanson writes, “We are now entering a rare, revolutionary period in American history. The present administration is not just re-examining the traditional physics of taxing and spending, but the very basis by which Americans are compensated in the workplace. For Obama, it is inherently unfair that a few — a surgeon, a small-business woman, an investor or a lotto winner — should make so much. Thus it is the government’s obligation, along with state and local governments, to take much of it away from the suspect few and redistribute it to far more deserving others. All the old criteria that decide in a free-market economy how much we are able to make — education levels, hard work, personal responsibility, particular tastes and values, skill sets, self-discipline, or even sheer luck, accidents, relative health or inheritance — now matter far less. Instead, Obama’s all-knowing, all-powerful federal government, through higher taxes, more spending and greater deficits, will set right what the unfair marketplace has so skewed. At last, we learn what Obama really meant when, in unguarded moments, he sermonized about “redistributive change,” the need to “spread the wealth,” knowing the proper time not to profit, and at some point making too much money. Do we need any longer to heed the ancient advice — scrimp to leave something behind for your kids; try to get a promotion; make sure your savings account is larger than what you owe — if some inequality results? There is now only one commandment in the new Kingdom of Fairness: Make less than $250,000, and the government will ensure that you, the deserving, get your fair share. Make more than that, and the government will demand that you, the undeserving, will pay your fair share. That is all ye need to know. All Emphasis ours.

It seems that it has come to this America. Until and unless, “we” get tired of listening to the same old narratives, by both sides, the prevaricating President who must only “sell” his policies to a people that have just re-elected him and the losing Republicans who have just lost all of the major arguments in the minds of the people that voted, as Rasmussen clearly demonstrates, we cannot hope for anything different and things will never get better. Only worse and worse. Stay tuned. An Excellent Spirit will continue to report the truth to all who desire truth instead of mendacity and talking points. God bless America!

The Fiscal Cliff – Who Gets Hurt? Who Cares? Part 2

Part Two – More Fiscal Cliff From Thomas Sowell, Daniel J. Mitchell  and Patrick Buchanan

Yesterday An Excellent Spirit began our latest look at the imminent Fiscal Cliff and the consequential Taxmageddon with Thomas Sowell. Today, we continue with Thomas Sowell and other economic and political commentators. Our question remains, “do “we” care about all this noise or are have “we” been drugged, lulled and lied to sleep so that “we” will accept and endure anything that “they” tell us, as long as “they” bring “us” our daily fix of whatever it is “we” use to kill “our” pain. Any examination of the mood and tolerance of the American people is difficult, as the assault upon “our” senses is constant and our perceptions change as fast as the weather. That said, An Excellent Spirit ventures where angels fear to tread with the help of messers Sowell, Mitchell and Buchanan.

We have examined Professor Sowell’s Fiscal Cliff Notes I, in which he made the case that “taxing the rich” would not make even a small dent in the economic crisis we are in, despite the perception of the American people that it would. Today, Thomas Sowell starts us off with his Fiscal Cliff Notes II in Jewish World Review (simultaneously run in Townhall). Here “One of the big advantages that President Obama has, as he plays “chicken” with the Congressional Republicans along the “fiscal cliff,” is that Obama is a master of the plausible lie, which will never be exposed by the mainstream media— nor, apparently, by the Republicans. A key lie that has been repeated over and over, largely unanswered, is that President Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” cost the government so much lost tax revenue that this added to the budget deficit— so that the government cannot afford to allow the cost of letting the Bush tax rates continue for “the rich.” It sounds very plausible, and constant repetition without a challenge may well be enough to convince the voting public that, if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives does not go along with Barack Obama’s demands for more spending and higher tax rates on the top 2 percent, it just shows that they care more for “the rich” than for the other 98 percent.”

Stanford Professor Thomas Sowell

What Sowell is telling us is that the rich have had it. They will be taxed and taxed more until they cannot be taxed more, because the American people have bought completely into the socialist mantra that the rich’s “fair share” is more as long as the “poor” have any need whatsoever.  Tax increases for the rich, therefore, are a done deal. Whatever the consequences, the rich that stay in America will pay more. This is despite the facts that Sowell shows are reported by President Obama’s own economics report. “What is remarkable is how easy it is to show how completely false Obama’s argument is. That also makes it completely inexplicable why the Republicans have not done so. The official statistics which show plainly how wrong Barack Obama is can be found in his own “Economic Report of the President” for 2012, on page 411. You can look it up. You may be able to find a copy of the “Economic Report of the President” for 2012 at your local public library. Or you can buy a hard copy from the Government Printing Office or download an electronic version from the Internet. For those who find that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” they need only see the graphs published in the November 30th issue of Investor’s Business Daily.  What both the statistical tables in the “Economic Report of the President” and the graphs in Investor’s Business Daily show is that (1) tax revenues went up— not down— after tax rates were cut during the Bush administration, and (2) the budget deficit declined, year after year, after the cut in tax rates that have been blamed by Obama for increasing the deficit.” Not as amazing as all that, An Excellent Spirit has been telling our readers about these facts for months. Here

What it means is that we are going over this “cliff” whatever”the cliff” is and we will do so at the choice of “our” President and Congress, whom “we” just re-elected to represent “us’. Daniel J. Mitchell of Townhall Finance.com has this cogent analysis. Here  “I’m very concerned about both the fiscal cliff and its possible replacements. It will be bad news if we get an automatic tax hike on January 1, and it will be bad news if that tax increase is replaced by an even more odious plan concocted by the White House. But the cliff is not our biggest fiscal problem. Here’s some of what I wrote for today’s New York Post about the fiscal cliff, along with a warning that we have a much bigger problem down the road.” Mitchell then emphasizes: “…it’s a fight that has important implications, particularly since some of the tax increases will have a significantly harmful impact on incentives to work, save, invest and create jobs. In a competitive global economy, for instance, it is bizarrely self-destructive to increase the double taxation of dividends and capital gains. …This is all bad news, but it is not a crisis. If we go over the cliff, it simply means the economy will grow a bit slower and politicians will spend a bit more money. And the sequester actually would be (modest) good news, since it means the burden of government spending would be “only” $2 trillion higher 10 years from now, rather than $2.1 trillion higher. And even if Obama prevails in the fight, that simply means that we get a different mix of tax hikes and spending rises at a faster rate. Sure, that’s bad for the economy, but it’s not the end of the world. The real crisis is the ticking time bomb of entitlement programs and the welfare state. This bomb won’t explode this year or next year. It may not even explode for another 20 years. But at some point America will experience a Greek-style fiscal collapse if these programs are not reformed.”

Daniel J. Mitchell of Townhall Finance.com

Great! Not only are “we” going over the cliff, now we will land somewhere in Greece as a people. All of “our” hard work and taking care of everybody, all the time, will result in our being bankrupt like Greece, dependent on whom we do not know to bail “us” out while our streets burn, our children riot and our unions, teachers and government workers get paid with whatever is left of our homes, retirement accounts, Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Only those who “they” can depend on to re-elect “them” will be entitled to the remaining money “we” have or can make. Then, when “we” have no more, “we” will be like them, penniless and demanding someone else give us what “they” have earned. What echo’s in our ears is Margaret Thatcher’s oft quoted statement: “The trouble with socialism is that you run out of other people’s money.” What happens then? Greece is what happens then. Welcome to Greece, America.

Mitchell spells this out for us. “A lot of people get upset about the national debt, which is somewhere between $11 trillion and $16 trillion, depending on whether you include money the government owes itself. Those are big numbers — but if you add up the amount of money that the government is promising to spend for entitlement programs in the future and compare that figure to the amount of revenue that the government projects it will collect for those programs, the cumulative shortfall is more than $100 trillion. And that’s after adjusting for inflation. Some politicians claim this huge, baked-into-the-cake expansion of government isn’t a problem, because we can raise taxes. But that’s exactly what Europe’s welfare states tried — and it didn’t work. Simply stated, even huge tax hikes won’t stem the flow of red ink in the long run if government keeps growing faster than the private economy. This is the fiscal problem that demands attention. Absent real entitlement reform, such as block-granting Medicaid to the states, the burden of government spending will consume ever-larger shares of our economic output with each passing year. That, America is not the Cliff, it is The Abyss!

Patrick J, Buchanan of Townhall.com

As we have said, no one tells “us” the truth and the only way we can remain free is to know the truth. Pat Buchannan, that relic of the Nixon years and acerbic commentator recently said this in a Townhall piece. “Two years ago, Obama had to eat crow and extend the Bush tax cuts. Now it’s payback time. And behind their arrogance lies a belief that the GOP cannot say no. For if the Bush tax cuts and the payroll tax cuts expire on Jan. 1, Americans will face the highest tax hike in history.

— Every family earning up to $100,000 would see 2 percent of its income lopped off, as the employee half of the Social Security tax rises from 4.2 to 6.2. percent. The discretionary income of Middle Americans would be ravaged.

— The federal tax rate on capital gains will rise from 15 percent to a maximum 24.7 percent, a jump of 60 percent.

— The federal tax rate on interest and dividends will triple from 15 percent to a maximum 44.7 percent.

— Where $5 million of an estate can now be passed on to one’s heirs non-taxed, that will be cut to $1 million. And the death tax rate would shoot from 35 percent to a neo-Marxist 55 percent.

Even Senate Democrats fear this would force a selloff or breakup of family farms and family businesses at death. Yet somewhere, the radical socialist Saul Alinsky, who inspired the young community organizer, is smiling. Why does Obama see himself in the catbird seat, though his demands are intolerable to the GOP and, absent a deal, he risks taking the country over the cliff Jan. 1? Obama believes that if we go into the abyss, he can paint the Republican Party as having imperiled the economy and imposed tax increases on the middle class, just to spare America’s top 2 percent from a modest increase in its contribution to debt reduction.

And Obama has a hole card. If those tax hikes hit Jan. 1, he will be able to posture as the rescuer of the 98 percent by proposing to the new Congress an Obama tax cut that restores the Bush rates for all couples earning less than $250,000. He will also be able to dictate to Boehner & Co. the tax rate on estates, dividends and capital gains that he will accept or not accept. The Bush tax cuts would be replaced by the Obama tax cuts, as the GOP is cursed from coast to coast for taking us over the cliff. Obama believes he will then be seen as pulling the nation out of the pit into which the GOP had plunged it, simply to spare its fat cats a needed haircut.”

As Buchanan points out, the winner of an election wins something, even when the country is in a mess. They win the people (that’s “us”) telling the other side (that is the losing Republicans), no more gridlock. And that means you, Republicans! The polls show that this is the case and one thing President Obama is good at: reading the polls. Here and hereBuchanan gives us a hint of what is driving the President’s strategies. “In “Rules for Radicals,” the Alinsky rulebook and Obama playbook, the first rule is, “Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have.” Clearly, many Republicans think that if they do not yield, Obama will let the country go over the cliff, blame them and portray himself credibly as the man who saved the nation from Republican intransigence over a small tax hike for the rich that most Americans support.” So far, so good. Obama ‘s strategy seems to be winning the day while losing the fiscal future of the country. “Yet Obama is not without risk here. As America heads toward the cliff, there could be panic selling of stocks, bonds and assets to avoid higher taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains in 2013. The economy could tank. Obama could become the Democrats’ Herbert Hoover.” As An Excellent Spirit has pointed out, this sell off by the rich is already happening with some of the President’s most well known supporters leading the way! Here

Warren Buffet – the Billionaire Who Watches Over Obama

Buchanan concludes by putting forth an interesting strategy for dealing with all this. “As for John Boehner, he must know that if he yields too much, his caucus will rebel and his speakership will be at an end. What to do? Forget the deal. Walk away from the talks with Geithner. Pass an extension of the payroll tax cut, and send it to Harry Reid. Pass the Bush tax cuts, and send them to Harry Reid and say:

“Harry, you are going to have to pass this extension of the tax cuts, or kill them, or send us a counteroffer. Do nothing, and you, not we, will take America over the cliff.”

When Sen. Edmund Ross rose to cast the decisive vote in the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, he said, “I looked down into my own political grave.” Reviled by the radicals of his era, Ross yet made it into JFK’s “Profiles in Courage.” We are at such a moment. Not bad, Pat. But what of Mitchell?

Mitchell, an economist, says, “In other words, the solution is to follow Mitchell’s Golden Rule. That’s the only way to make sure that the burden of government spending shrinks relative to economic output. Fortunately, that simply requires some modest spending restraint to address the short run problem and some intelligently designed entitlement reform to solve the long run challenge.” Not being politically savvy, he does not see the sheer lunacy of the left, just numbers fixing numbers.

Sowell, also an economist, sees things a little differently. “The bottom line is that Barack Obama’s blaming increased budget deficits on the Bush tax cuts is demonstrably false. What caused the decreasing budget deficits after the Bush tax cuts to suddenly reverse and start increasing was the mortgage crisis. The deficit increased in 2008, followed by a huge increase in 2009. So it is sheer hogwash that “tax cuts for the rich” caused the government to lose tax revenues. The government gained tax revenues, not lost them. Moreover, “the rich” paid a larger amount of taxes, and a larger share of all taxes, after the tax rates were cut. That is because people change their economic behavior when tax rates are changed, contrary to what the Congressional Budget Office and others seem to assume, and this can stimulate the economy more than a government “stimulus” has done under either Bush or Obama. Yet there is no need to assume that Barack Obama is mistaken about the way to get the economy out of the doldrums. His top priority has always been increasing the size and scope of government. If that means sacrificing the economy or the truth, that is no deterrent to Obama. That is why he is willing to play chicken with Republicans along the fiscal cliff.”

The thing is, all three of our experts are right. Mitchell knows the numbers and how to follow the numbers to fix the numbers. Buchanan knows the politics and how to be patient and force the aggressor to back off until you have him in the corner he has created by his aggression. Sowell is both economically and politically brilliant. Thomas Sowell understands that the end game is how much the American people (“us”) can stand before “we” start another revolt, a “tea party” if you will. With the Election just over, “we” have a way to go before “we” will come to understand what these three men know and begin to put it all together. Let “us” pray that “we” don’t take too long. The damage to “us”, “our” children and this nation is adding up quickly and Greece is quickly becoming our present, not our future. God bless America!

The Fiscal Cliff – Who Gets Hurt? Who Cares?

An Excellent Spirit has been writing about The Fiscal Cliff and Taxmageddon since the first day of our publication on July 9, 2012. Here  and here. Today and tomorrow, we are going to take a look at what is likely to happen a few short weeks away after January 1, 2103 and at the real question: Do Americans really care? Do “we” know what the fiscal cliff or taxmageddon are? If “we” did, what would “we” do? What could “we” do?

Part One: What Is The Fiscal Cliff? 

An Excellent Spirit begins with one of our favorite and best sources, Stanford University Professor Thomas Sowell. In a column appearing today in both Townhall and Jewish World Review, Sowell gives us information that only an economist could. “First of all, despite all the melodrama about raising taxes on “the rich,” even if that is done it will scarcely make a dent in the government’s financial problems. Raising the tax rates on everybody in the top two percent will not get enough additional tax revenue to run the government for ten days. And what will the government do to pay for the other 355 days in the year?”

Good question. Another good question is do the American people know or care? Even if “we” knew, is it not more likely that even the most conservative and activist of “us” would just sit back and wait for the inevitable disastrous dénouement and then get on with the business of coping with what “we” are powerless to change? That, unfortunately is what America has come to. Government by the consent of the governed is no more a reality than helium inflated dirigibles flying through space piloted by Buck Rodgers or Captain Video. A distant memory completely dispelled by what is ever increasingly occupying our days and nights with “reality” TV or Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows for our children to watch every night.

Thomas Sowell, as he usually does, brings clarity to the discussion, even as he informs us of the size of the problem. “All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting “the rich” to pay “their fair share” is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics. Taxing “the rich” will produce a drop in the bucket when compared to the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration. No previous administration in the entire history of the nation ever finished the year with a trillion dollar deficit. The Obama administration has done so every single year. Yet political and media discussions of the financial crisis have been focused overwhelmingly on how to get more tax revenue to pay for past and future spending.”

Now, An Excellent Spirit know that most Americans do not care and do not want to know, but on the chance that a few of our readers do want the facts, Sowell is a source we trust. “The very catchwords and phrases used by the Obama administration betray how phony this all is. For example, “We are just asking the rich to pay a little more.” This is an insult to our intelligence. The government doesn’t “ask” anybody to pay anything. It orders you to pay the taxes they impose and you can go to prison if you don’t. Then there are all the fancy substitute words for plain old spending— words like “stimulus” or “investing in the industries of the future.” The theory about “stimulus” is that government spending will stimulate private businesses and financial institutions to put more of their money into the economy, speeding up the recovery. But the fact that you call something a “stimulus” does not make it a stimulus. Stimulus spending began during the Bush administration and has continued full blast during the Obama administration. But the end result is that both businesses and financial institutions have had record amounts of their own money sitting idle. The rate of circulation of money slowed down. All this is the opposite of stimulus.”

Thank you, Professor. “We” knew there was something wrong with “our” understanding or “their” truthfulness. It is nice to know the problem is both “us” and “them”. Now, “we” know that someone will bring up “our” need to invest in the future. Sowell anticipates that. “What about “investing in the industries of the future”? Does the White House come equipped with a crystal ball? Calling government spending “investment” does not make it investment any more than calling spending “stimulus” makes it stimulate anything. What in the world would lead anyone to think that politicians have some magic way of knowing what the industries of the future are? Thus far the Obama administration has repeatedly “invested” in the bankruptcies of the present, such as Solyndra.” That is fine, “we” heard something about “Solyndra” and it was not good. Now, “we” understand a little. But, what can “we” do about any of this? Don’t “we” have to rely on those “we” send to represent “us”?

 

Thomas Sowell makes short work out of that fantasy as well. “Using lofty words to obscure tawdry realities extends beyond the White House. Referring to the Federal Reserve System’s creation of hundreds of billions of new dollars out of thin air as “quantitative easing” makes it seem as if this is some soothing and esoteric process, rather than amounting essentially to nothing more than printing more money. Debasing the value of money by creating more of it is nothing new or esoteric. Irresponsible governments have done this, not just for centuries, but for thousands of years. It is a way to take people’s wealth from them without having to openly raise taxes. Inflation is the most universal tax of all. All the pretty talk about how tax rates will be raised only on “the rich” hides the ugly fact that the poorest people in the country will see the value of their money decline, just like everybody else, and at the same rate as everybody else, when the government creates more money and spends it. If you have $100 and, after inflation follows from “quantitative easing,” that $100 dollars will only buy what $80 bought before, then that is the same economically as if the government had taxed away one-fifth of your money and spent it. But it is not the same politically, so long as gullible people don’t look beyond words to the reality that inflation taxes everybody, the poorest as well as the richest.”

Next, after we go over the Cliff or not, is the battle to raise our spending limit so the President and Congress can spend more of the money “we” don’t have on programs “we” don’t need. 

That is where we end the first part of the lesson of the Fiscal Cliff.  If the people who are affected most by the decisions being made in the White House and Congress and the Federal Reserve do not look at what happens to them as a result of the actions of the actors on stage, what is all the noise about? Really!

 We will be back tomorrow with some more information and questions.

Fiscal Cliff or Fiscal Abyss? Billionaires Dump Stocks

The Fiscal Cliff. It is a long way down, America.

An Excellent Spirit has reported that numerous “progressive” billionaires are dumping their holdings in the US stock markets in anticipation of the economic meltdown that the Fiscal Cliff will bring in 2013. Here Now, in the wake of President Obama’s re-election, here are more current stories about the super rich abandoning the American economy and the President they helped to re-elect. First is this one.  The story tells us that the “US economy close to collapse as of 9/10/12 billionaires Buffet, Poulson, and Soros have started dumping American stocks at an alarming rate in anticipation of up to a 90% market correction/drop in stocks, and are buying gold.”

President Obama giving Medial of Freedom to Warren Buffet

Not a very good example for these titans of progressive greed to set for “us”, is it? Next we have this from Off Grid Survival “Despite government assurances that the economy is on the mend, a number of the world’s richest people have been quietly dumping their American Stocks. Billionaires who are dumping their stocks: Warren Buffett, who has been the current administrations top ally when it comes to propping up the markets, might not be as optimistic as he pretends to be in public. In fact, Buffet has recently begun to dramatically reduce his exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing. He has reduced his stock exposure in these companies by over 21% and has even sold of his entire stake in the computer parts company Intel (7,745,000 shares). The controversial billionaire George Soros, has also been moving at a frenzied pace to sell off his stocks in all financial companies.  According to his SEC filings, Soros dumped his entire stake in all major financial stocks. He completely dumped Citigroup (420,000 shares), JP Morgan (701,400 shares) and Goldman Sachs (120,000 shares), leaving himself with no exposure to the American financial markets.

Interestingly, at the same time Soros started dumping these financial stocks, he started pumping major money into the Gold markets. During that same period, Soros more than doubled his investment in the SPDR gold trust ETF.”

Our readers will recall that Buffet told America that his secretary paid higher taxes than he did and “they” named Obama’s “tax the rich” strategy after him. The Buffet Rule. Soros, the convicted felon in Europe for his manipulation of markets, bragged about how he would change the Election and then did so on November 6th. Now that he has had his influence, however, his money will not follow his mouth. It will depart for safer environs than America.

George Soros, Obama Funder and Supporter   

Next, we have this from MoneyNews. In their story, Robert Wiedemer, an esteemed economist and author of the New York Times best-selling book Aftershock publishing his research, said America’s economy would suffer a massive failure. Many “progressive” economists and critics were outraged, but more centrist economists and commentators told us “Before you dismiss the possibility of a 90% drop in the stock market as unrealistic, consider Wiedemer’s credentials. In 2006, Wiedemer and a team of economists accurately predicted the collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, and consumer spending that almost sank the United States. They published their research in the book America’s Bubble Economy. The book quickly grabbed headlines for its accuracy in predicting what many thought would never happen, and quickly established Wiedemer as a trusted voice. A columnist at Dow Jones said the book was “one of those rare finds that not only predicted the subprime credit meltdown well in advance, it offered Main Street investors a winning strategy that helped avoid the forty percent losses that followed . . .” The chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor’s said that Wiedemer’s track record “demands our attention.” And finally, the former CFO of Goldman Sachs said Wiedemer’s “prescience in (his) first book lends credence to the new warnings. This book deserves our attention.” In the interview for his latest blockbuster Aftershock, Wiedemer says the 90% drop in the stock market is “a worst-case scenario,” and the host quickly challenged this claim. Wiedemer calmly laid out a clear explanation of why a large drop of some sort is a virtual certainty. That is ominous news. The only thing An Excellent Spirit can say is why is no one telling the American people of these possibilities? Are “they” so certain that the economy will fail that “they” cannot level with “us”?

Finally, we have this report from 2012indyinfo.com. It confirms Weidemer’s report. “where Wiedemer explains why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros could be dumping U.S. stocks: “Companies will be spending more money on borrowing costs than business expansion costs. That means lower profit margins, lower dividends, and less hiring. Plus, more layoffs.” No investors, let alone billionaires, will want to own stocks with falling profit margins and shrinking dividends. So if that’s why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros are dumping stocks, they have decided to cash out early and leave Main Street investors holding the bag.

The truth is that our economy is headed for more than a recession or a severe inflationary spiral. With prices of staples like food, water, health care, electricity and everything else rising to unprecedented levels and real unemployment at or above 15%, the re-election of Barack Obama means that Americans have chosen government over jobs, entitlements over work and unions and violence over education and peace in our cities. The fact that Europe has been depending on America is not lost on economic forecasters who know America cannot be depended on for anything but collapse. When that happens, Europe, Asia and the Third World, including China will plunge over the edge of the cliff into the Abyss. After that, it is anyone’s guess.

After me, there is no after me!

At the height of the French Revolution, when it was clear to Louis XV that he and his government would be the last of the monarchy, he is reputed to have said, “Apres moi, le deluge.”  After me, the flood. The re-election of Barack Obama says, loud and clear to one and all, “I am the flood!” Of socialism, of poverty, of riots and violence in our streets and of despair and depression unlike anything ever experienced in America. Pray that it is not so, America! Buffett, Soros et al are betting that it is!

Winners and Losers

An Excellent Spirit has been silent since November 6th with one exception. Here We are writing now not so much to end the silence, but to punctuate the reasons for it. There is too much being said about why the President won the Election and why Romney and the Republicans (sounds like a singing group from the 50’s) lost it. An Excellent Spirit did not predict the Election winner. We did analyze the contest, especially in the swing states and in several important demographics. Here  Our readers and everyone else can judge for themselves the accuracy of what we wrote a few days before the Election.

What is clear is that President Obama won the Election and it is over. In a few days, the world, nation and “we” will return to our former insanity (defined as doing the same thing and expecting different results) and get on with the Fiscal Cliff, our tsunami National Debt, our European like addiction to stuff without paying for it, Benghazi (still the greatest cover up in American history), and the hundreds of broken relics that comprise our neighborhoods, states and the nation. Until then, An Excellent Spirit will write only what we feel compelled to post and no more. We pray that our readers will bear with us and take the time to reflect, pray and hear from the God of Heaven and Earth.

Fiscal Cliff Larger Than Estimated?

 An Excellent Spirit has told our readers that the coming Fiscal Cliff might well be “Taxmageddon”. For a round up of previous stories go here and here. This MoneyNews story from NewsMax economic writer, Eric Schiff says we are nearer to a bottomless Cliff than previously reckoned. “The year-end fiscal adjustment shouldn’t raise as many red flags as it is, as the country’s chronic health issues are much more dangerous, said broker, author and financial commentator Peter Schiff. At the end of this year, tax breaks are scheduled to expire at the same time automatic cuts to government spending kick in, a combination known as a fiscal cliff that could send the country into a recession next year if left unchecked by Congress. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the economy could contract by 0.5 percent next year if the economy rolls over the cliff, while the International Monetary Fund has said such an event threatens the global economy.” 

It is not that we, at An Excellent Spirit know more than “us”. We don’t. But sources like Schiff do know more: ““It’s not because we go over this phony fiscal cliff, it’s probably because we don’t go over that one because the government cancels the spending cuts, cancels the tax hikes, and instead we end up going over the real fiscal cliff further down the road,” Schiff told Yahoo. Federal Reserve stimulus measures that flood the economy with liquidity must halt, while Congress must cut budgets, overhaul taxes and narrow deficits if the U.S. economy is to avoid a doomsday fate.” 

It is becoming clear that “we” have the same solution to the economy that we do for foreign policy, Social Security, Jobs and Obamacare: replace President Barack Obama on November 6th.

Big Bird Versus The USA

An Excellent Spirit has noted, with no little amusement, that the post-debate stories have focused on Mitt Romney’s attack on Big Bird. We also note that while this is being hyped as a war on a beloved Muppet, the lamestream media is not talking, at all, about the deficits, The Fiscal Cliff or our crumbling foreign policy, to name a few real issues.

This Gopusa piece is illustrative. “Is this the best Barack Obama can offer? In his latest campaign ad, is he talking about the economy? No. Is he talking about jobs? No way. Is he talking about foreign policy? Not a chance. No… the president of the United States is going after challenger Mitt Romney by enlisting the help of Big Bird. And Sesame Street is not too happy about it. Barack Obama’s latest “brilliant” strategy is to try to capitalize on Mitt Romney’s statement at the first presidential debate that he would shut down PBS. According to Romney, there’s no reason why the government should be paying for a media network. (And he’s right!) Obama must feel this is a travesty of justice.” Read the whole thing.

Gopusa also point out in another article that Romney’s words are nothing new. In this Fiscal Cliff economy, Big Bird is less a target than a luxury Americans cannot afford any longer. “Before Romney made his comments, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) in the House had proposed eliminating the $445 million annual payment that goes to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which finances public TV and radio. The full House had voted 228 – 192 in 2011 for H.R. 1076 to prohibit federal funding of National Public Radio. The bill died in the Senate. Rep. Doug Lamborn, the sponsor of H.R. 1076, also sponsored H.R. 69, a bill to eliminate all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).”

 Accuracy In Media has this story on another so-called leftist non-profit joining the outrage on behalf of Big Bird’s boss, The Corporation For Public Broadcasting. “The George Soros-funded Free Press Action Fund describes itself as “a nonpartisan organization” which “does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.” But last week it announced that the “attack on Big Bird and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting” at the presidential debate had “sparked intense reactions from public media fans.” It said, “The nation is standing with Big Bird. Now it’s your turn.” AIM concluded, “The “attack,” coming in the form of Mitt Romney’s comments about the need to de-fund public broadcasting, was based on the recognition that pouring taxpayer money borrowed from China into a U.S. corporation, Sesame Workshop, doesn’t make sense. The controversy not only serves to demonstrate how the “non-profit” entity is making big bucks at the expense of American taxpayers, but how it is working with the Democratic Party, the United Nations and even the Chinese government.” 

An Excellent Spirit brought up a generation of its children, like most Americans, on Big Bird and the Muppets. That was then. Now, with deficits growing exponentially and causing massive borrowing on the US part to keep pace and with CPB and Sesame Street enjoying hundreds of millions of dollars in profits, America can no longer afford to subsidize a corporation that does not need subsidies! It is time “we” said, loud and clear, Enough! 

Read Biden’s Lips: 1 Trillion in New Taxes if Re-Elected

The day after a near disastrous debate performance by his boss, Vice-President Joe “The Gaffer” Biden drew more sighs and outrage from the left when he admitted that he and the President plan One Trillion Dollars in new tax increases to pay for everything they want to do. This is in addition to the trillion plus in Obamacare taxes and the Fiscal Cliff! Brietbart has the story and a video

QE 3 And the Coming Meltdown of the American Economy

An Excellent Spirit has posted on the disastrous state of the US Economy.  This story, from Newsmax makes it clear that the problem is worse than we thought it was. “The Federal Reserve’s attempt to stimulate the economy with a third round of quantitative easing will fail to prevent the country from sliding into a recession, says Robert Wiedemer, financial commentator and best-selling author of “Aftershock.” QE 3 will not help. It will only delay the inevitable US fiscal meltdown. “These efforts combined will inject a total of $85 billion a month into the financial system, with the $40 billion from quantitative easing being freshly printed money, all designed to spur investing and hiring by pushing down interest rates — with a weaker dollar and higher stock prices serving as side effects. Expect such unorthodox monetary policy tools to delay a decline by inflating stock prices, but not to prevent it. It’s designed to stave off disaster but, short term, most importantly it’s designed to just pump up the stock market. And guess what? It’s doing that,” Wiedemer tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.” Read the whole thing.

Finally, we link to this ominous video on Newsmax.  An Excellent Spirit posts this video with this warning. The video is truly scary. It may not be true, but if only a portion of what is foreseen and warned of actually occurs, our way of life may end! Americans need information! Americans must get it for themselves as our lamestream media will never give it to us! Americans must start demanding the truth. We require and must get answers from all parties, candidates, politicians and the media. If we do not immediately end America’s tragic ignorance, there is no hope for “us”! God bless America and Americans. Pray His protection from lies, liars and those who would do us harm, foreign or domestic.

Our National Conventions-Getting Us Ready- For What?

With Monday’s delay in the start of the two parties’ national conventions, An Excellent Spirit takes the opportunity to address what we believe (and we hope will be addressed) are the main issues America faces today. Let us all hope that these issues get some attention so that they are more in focus after the upcoming two-weeks of political circus filled with political dis-information is over. We cover these in no specific order or ranking of importance; they are all critical to America’s future.

First is the Fiscal Cliff. This article from Townhall Finance editor John Ransom covers it well. “The Golden State, which once represented the promise of America, is mired in swampland of broken promises, graft, political stupidity and liberal fantasy. And if California represents the very best government that liberals can give us- and it likely does- then this country had better take a deep breath and step away from progressive math. Because, it just doesn’t add up“. Emphasis ours, Read the whole thing.  

Next is the Middle East and the increasing prospects for war between Israel and Iran. This centuries old mess has not been improved by Iran nearing having nuclear weapons and the consequent destabilization of world peace and the world economy. It has most certainly not been helped by our nation’s confused foreign policy. This article from Pajamas Media covers most of the pessimistic story. “At the Gatestone Institute, a group of journalists with diverse backgrounds and outlooks reviews world events with a view to American security, with special emphasis on the Middle East. Our focus this week: What does Israel do in the context of a debacle in U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration? Our conclusion is that Israel’s reasons to strike Iran have multiplied with the emergence of a Muslim Brotherhood threat on its southern border and the possibility of an Egyptian-Iranian rapprochement.” The article concludes with this prospect, “The Israeli government will make the difficult choice on its own, independent of what outside analysts might say. But the events of the past week surely strengthen the case that there is far less to lose by attacking Iran than the Obama administration believes.” If this does not get the attention of America, it soon will.

Finally are what An Excellent Spirit terms cultural issues. The “lamestream media” with its real bias in favor of the “progressive”, anything goes mentality will not report on this, but Americans know all about it. They experience it everyday in their own homes, with their own children and, worst of all, with the increasing dumbing down of our culture through more and more disgusting, demonic and sexually offensive programming day and night. Whether it is abortion, the HHH Mandate, same sex marriage, violence in schools, theaters or at groups and organizations that someone does not like, we have come to expect death and mayhem in our midst. And fear it for ourselves, no matter where we live. These two articles on abortion are instructive, even hopeful. We will have more. (Here and Here)

That is a tall order for the two partisan prima donna festivals that America calls national conventions. Is it too much for Americans to ask for or hope that those in both parties will stop trying to confuse and confound voters and instead address the daunting subjects of the economy, foreign policy and morality issues forthrightly? We will all see. Dinesh D’Sousa, writer and producer of the new movie 2016-Obama’s America, now in theaters, says what many Americans think:

 

Update: The Fiscal Cliff

From Brietbart.com comes this story about the Congressional Budget Office and their grim forecast for 2013. “The Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the massive U.S. government spending cuts and tax hikes that will arrive next January will have more catastrophic economic effects than they had earlier predicted. The impact of around $500 billion in expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions set for 2013 could drive the economy into a greater recession. CBO director Doug Elmendorf said Americans should expect a “significant recession” and the loss of some two million jobs. He added that the fact that the government hasn’t committed to fixing the problem means that uncertainty reigns: “The sooner that uncertainty is eliminated, the better. The stakes are very high in the fiscal policy decisions we’re going to have to make very shortly.” America must avoid the Fiscal Cliff! Read the whole thing.

 

Update: Fiscal Cliff

When the Washington Post, a virtual arm of Obama 2012, reports something, it is truly a fact. Right? Here are two of their reports on the Fiscal Cliff. An Excellent Spirit guesses that, now that “they” have affirmed it in print, The Fiscal Cliff is now fact and not some right-wing nut job’s fiction. See for yourself all you gun toters and Bible believers. (Here and Here)

The Fiscal Cliff Debate That “They” Don’t Want “Us” To Have

Stories abound about the Fiscal Cliff that America and the world are about to go over. An Excellent Spirit reads them, but what do they mean? Is there anything to worry about or are “we” just being played once again by “them”?

This story by Star Parker in Townhall.com gets us started: Ms. Parker reports that “Douglas Elmendorf, director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, sent a report on the nation’s budget to House budget committee chairman Ryan.” Her article went on to quote that report, “The explosive path of the federal debt that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects under what many observers would view as current policies underscores the need for policy changes to put the nation on a sustainable course.” There is more, “The aging of the population and rising costs for health care will push spending for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs considerably higher as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).” Elmendorf concluded that without major increases in revenues and/or substantial cuts in spending “the resulting budget deficits will increase federal debt to unsupportable levels.”

The lack of attention paid to any kind of serious conversation about the Fiscal Cliff is appalling. The “lamestream media” has concentrated on scaring the American people into paying for all manner of tax increases, tax the rich and other “progressive” solutions. They totally eschew any other options or opinions. Star Parker notes, “the American people are ready for Paul Ryan and an adult conversation.” Emphasis ours. An Excellent Spirit agrees. Read the whole thing.

Americans know there is much wrong. The problem is that too few are telling us what is wrong and why. Even fewer are courageous enough to provide solutions, preferring instead to wait for the catastrophe and make the People pay the price, whatever that is.  That is why the pick of Paul Ryan is so unnerving to the left and their “lamstream media” lackeys.  Ryan is actually forcing a conversation on fiscal policy! He is talking about issues that might even prevent The Fiscal Cliff. 

Whether they like it or not Americans are finally learning the truth. Here is more, from GOPUSA’s Mark P. Levy on Ryan Other commentators are chiming in, some with historical information. Randall Desoto says that the American people “need to know if Barack Obama and the Democrats in the Senate stay in power, the trillion dollar plus deficits will continue because the President has no realistic plan to address the problem. The interest alone on the national debt is soaring. It was $227 billion last year making it the fastest growing item in federal spending . And since nearly forty cents of every dollar spent by the federal government is currently borrowed money, we are literally borrowing money to pay interest on borrowed money.” Further, they allege “Next people need to know that President Obama wants to raise taxes on job creators when the Bush tax cuts expire. This will, according to a recently released study by Ernst and Young cost over 700,000 jobs and significantly slow economic growth. The combination of the end of the Bush tax cuts and Obamacare’s tax provisions taking effect in 2013 will cause the capital gains rate to increase to 24.7 percent and the dividend income rate to 44.7 percent.

Mark Steyn, the acerbic Canadian commentator tells us “Paul Ryan is the man with the plan – the guy who understands that multitrillion-dollar spendaholic government cannot continue.” (Link) It seems like a conversation about the Fiscal Cliff, what it is and what we can do to prevent from going over it into the Abyss, is actually happening!

If you want to read more on the subject, here is a link to The Fiscal Times’ recent stories on the issue.  An Excellent Spirit will keep our readers posted.