Who Can Blame Them?

The Treasury department sees slim demand for five-year debt.

The socialists may be about to run out of other peoples’ money. Or at least they (and sadly, we) will have to pay a lot more for it.

And as a Californian, this is cheery news:

“Compared to California, I’d rather bet on Iraq,’’ Daher said. “Iraq is a country where there are still bombs going off and people getting murdered, but they are less indebted than the United States. California is likely to have more demands on its resources, and there is no miracle where California is going to have more revenue coming out of the sky. Iraq has prospects for tremendously higher revenues, if they can manage to get their act halfway together, which they seem to be doing.’’

Of course, they don’t have a dysfunctional government.


…and California. There is only one solution: to cut spending:

That is why, together with Mike Pence and John Campbell, I have offered H.J. Res 79, a Spending Limit Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would limit spending to one fifth of the economy — our historical spending average since World War II. The limit could only be waived by a declaration of war or by a two-thirds congressional vote.

I hate to put an arbitrary percentage like that in the Constitution, but we have to do something to do get this under control. But it would have to include entitlements, too. There can no longer be such a thing as “non-discretionary” spending.

[Update a few minutes later]

Bruce Bartlett thinks it’s an awful idea, for many reasons (including the one I mentioned). I think that Pence and Hensarling are going to have to go back to the drawing board.

Three Reasons

Health-care deform won’t cut the deficit by one thin dime:

And here’s more from Chris Edwards:

And they’re doing such a bang-up job with TARP:

Barofsky’s report said it is possible the program only benefits half of the three or four million homeowners originally envisioned. Among other data, the program measures trial modifications, a metric Barofsky faulted for being, “essentially meaningless.” The number of permanent modifications could wind up being a small share of the millions of foreclosures filed in this year and during the past two years.

So let’s put them in charge of our health!

No One Should Have Been Surprised

…at this administration’s betrayal of our only real ally in the Middle East:

Once it was thought to be unprincipled guilt-by-association for pro-Israeli, anti-Obama groups to question candidate Obama’s dubious associations; after all, Reverend Wright, Rashid Khalidi, Samantha Power, et al. were all on record as hostile to the Jewish state. Few likewise seemed to take note when a key Obama campaign foreign policy advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in September 2009 suggested that the U.S. might, and perhaps should, shoot down Israeli planes over Iraq on their way to Iran: e.g., “If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.” Then there was the nomination of Charles Freeman. And of course the present outreach to the two most terrorist-friendly regimes in the Middle East, theocratic Iran and authoritarian Syria. Someone from Mars might conclude that the United States has spent far more effort in courting Ahmadinejad and Assad than Netayanhau.

Each of these steps — and there are others — in isolation can be contextualized, but in aggregate they paint a pretty clear picture that for this administration the benefits of supporting Israel are far outweighed by the downside.

It seems like the only regime that this White House wants changed is the one in Jerusalem.

[Update mid morning]

Obama’s dangerous “diplomacy.”

Faith-Based Deficit Reduction

Note: I’ve been continually updating this post, and will probably continue to do so all day, and keep it at the top. New posts are below it.

Thoughts on the health-care deform by Jimmy Pethokoukis.

[Update a few minutes later]

Nationalizing health care by proxie:

Insurance companies are now heavily regulated government contractors. Way to get big business out of Washington! They will clear a small, government-approved profit on top of their government-approved fees. Then, when healthcare costs rise — and they will — Democrats will insist, yet again, that the profit motive is to blame and out from this Obamacare Trojan horse will pour another army of liberals demanding a more honest version of single-payer.

The Obama administration has turned the insurance industry into the Blackwater of socialized medicine.

Like the financial crisis, it’s right out of the standard fascist playbook. Screw up the market with government regulations, then claim that government regulations are required to fix it. Rinse, repeat, until they control every aspect of our lives.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Is the tax power infinite?

Americans today are not bound to meekly accept the most far-ranging assertions of congressional power based on large extrapolations from Supreme Court cases that themselves come from a short period (the late 1930s and early 1940s) when the Court was more supine and submissive to claims about centralized power than was any other Supreme Court before or after in our history. American citizens, in the political process and in their personal lives, will ultimately have the final word on the Constitution.

Let’s hope that ultimately comes soon.

[Update a while later]

“Every power grab is the base camp for the next power grab.”

[Update a while later]

Ten Obama promises that reached their expiration date this morning.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Americans: the health care debate wasn’t about health care at all.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, but not all of them.

[Update mid morning]

Dennis Prager: the Cold Civil War has begun:

Thank God this civil war is non-violent. But the fact is that the Left and the rest of the country share almost no values. The American value system and the leftist value system are irreconcilable. If the Left wins, American values lose. If American values win, the Left loses.

I like his idea of calling the Democrats “Social Democrats.”

And Mark Steyn has some depressing thoughts on our accelerating journey to Declinistan.

[Update a while later]

Awakening a sleeping giant:

Instead of being discouraged by passage of health care reform, tea party activists across the country say the defeat is a rallying cry that makes them more focused than ever on voting out any lawmaker who supported the measure.

“We’re not going to stop. Obviously, the whole tea party movement started because we’re about smaller government and less spending and less taxes. There is absolutely no way we can pay for this,” said Denise Cattoni, state coordinator for Illinois Tea Party, an umbrella group for about 50 groups from around Illinois.

Cattoni says the health care defeat doesn’t deflate tea party activists. “We couldn’t stop it because of the shenanigans that went on in Washington,” Cattoni said. “People are definitely more driven today than they were yesterday without a doubt.”

Actually, the giant awoke last year, as we saw in Virginia, New Jersey and (most of all) Massachusetts. And it’s not going back to sleep any time soon, contra the fantasies of the Democrats. It’s not only awake, now — it’s enraged. The retribution in November will be huge.

[Update a couple minutes later]

I just noticed this quote at the end of the article from an idiot:

While tea party activists have made themselves heard, University of North Florida political science professor Matthew Corrigan said the movement alone won’t be enough to oust incumbents.

“Do they have energy? Yes. Have they been getting into the media? Yes, but they still haven’t sold me on the fact that they can swing elections,” Corrigan said.

Tell it to Martha Coakley. If I were one of his students, I’d want my course tuition back.

[Update a few minutes later]

Kevin Williamson says that ObamaCare will never happen. Unfortunately, it’s not as good a news as it sounds:

Our budget deficit is currently about 10 percent of GDP and going higher. Greece’s is 12.7 percent of GDP — significantly higher, sure, but not outrageously so. At the end of fiscal 2009, U.S. federal government debt equaled 83 percent of GDP, 53 percent of which is held by the public. (Another 30 percent is “intra-government” debt, meaning money owed to the mythical Social Security trust fund and the like. The usual approach is to talk only about publicly held debt and to pretend that the rest does not represent real obligations, which is malarkey.) But even that does not tell the whole story: Official government debt figures do not account for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac obligations taken on by the government, and those amount to $5 trillion, i.e. more than all 2009 federal spending. They also don’t count remaining liabilities related to the Wall Street bailout.

So here’s a prediction for you: Obamacare is not going to happen, regardless of the fact that the president is going to sign it into law today, regardless of what happens in the 2010 and 2012 elections, and regardless of any speech given anywhere in Washington. The government’s ability to simply say “Make it so!” and ignore economic reality is coming up against its limit. If Nancy Pelosi thinks the Republicans are obstructionists, wait until she wants to borrow money from people who don’t want to lend it to her and don’t have to run for reelection.


Let’s Start A List

Which thirty-four states would be the most likely to call for a constitutional convention, if we can’t get critical mass on the Hill for amendments? This would be next year, after the coming elections, not now.

The best place to start is with the states that are already challenging ObamaCare, but I’d say, not in any particular order, the following are possibilities (and some probabilities):

South Carolina
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Dakota
New Mexico
New Hampshire
New Jersey

I think that’s enough. And some of them are iffy, but as I said, I’m imagining a new political landscape after the elections (in which the Dems have really screwed themselves long term, with all of the statehouses and governorships coming up in a redistricting year). My thinking is that it will be impossible to get the west coast, Hawaii, or the northeast for the most part, but everything else may be fair game.

[Afternoon update]

Hmmmm…there are currently fourteen states with Republican-controlled legislatures, and eight that are split. That would make twenty-two in total, so they’d have to convert the splits and pick up at least a dozen of the current twenty-seven Social Democrat legislatures. Assuming that you can’t get any Social Democrat houses to go along, of course…

[Update a while later]

Here’s a list of states where Obama is underwater in the polls. There are a few surprises.

Another Expired Obama Position

In this case, it’s a good thing. Back during the campaign, when John McCain proposed an automotive prize, then-Senator Obama derided it:

Explaining that “when John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn’t put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win,” Obama believes that to speed alternative fuel development and increase fuel-efficiency, the full power of the government must be combined with the “ingenuity and innovation of the American people.”

But now, Jonathan Adler says that Obama has his eye on prizes:

Earlier this month, with little fanfare, the Obama Administration took a small but significant step toward encouraging greater technological innovation. On March 8, the Office of Management and Budget issued a guidance to federal agencies on the use of challenges and prizes to spur technological innovation. This memorandum seeks to “strongly encourage” federal agencies to “utilize prizes and challenges as tools for advancing open government, innovation, and the agency’s mission.” It further explains that many federal agencies have sufficient statutory authority to create technology inducement prizes with existing funds and spending authority.

This is particularly good news for NASA, because Centennial Challenges needs an infusion of funds. Fortunately, the current NASA administration is very supportive of this sort of thing, and can be expected to support new prize activities if they get the budget for it.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!