November 3rd, 2010
November 3rd, 2010
Cr Editor's Note: Pelosi now wishes to cooperate along with Obama and every other slivery sliding Dem in the nation. This, after both locking out and vilifying:
A) the American people
B) The Republicans
C) Referring to the potent Tea Party as "Astroturf"
D) Passing legislation clearly going against the will of the people on the auspices that "we know better"
In fact, in January of 2009 the first act of Pelosi and Obama was to rewrite the rules of the House which locked the Republicans out of any meaningful input into legislation. Now that the shoe is on the other foot-- and with a legislative acumen that has proven beyond damaging to our economy--the former speaker is in an uncharacteristic mood for cooperation.
Sorry Nancy, but as any keen business person and legislator will tell you "revenge is a dish best served cold", besides, we all know that if you had won the House, there would be no impetus for "cooperation." You pelosi know this. Go fly your Government supplied jumbo jet a few more times while there is yet time.
You make the American people sick Madam.~Barry S.
The California Democrat, who won a new two-year term in Tuesday's election, said she has yet to consider what she will do now.
"I'll have a conversation with my caucus, I'll have a conversation with my family, and pray over it, and decide how to go forward," she said in an exclusive ABC News interview with "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer. "But today isn't that day."
Pelosi became the first female House speaker in 2007. But after Republicans retook the house on Election Day Tuesday, she will be handing over her speaker's gavel, likely the current House minority leader, John Boehner, R-Ohio.
"Being the first woman speaker and breaking the marble ceiling is pretty important," she told ABC News. "Now it's time to move on."
Pelosi said she had "no regrets" after losing her position as the most powerful woman in American politics and said the country's unemployment problem was to blame for the Democrats' loss.
"We believe we did the right thing, and we worked very hard in our campaigns to convey that to the American people," she said. "Nine and a half percent unemployment is a very eclipsing event. If people don't have a job, they're not too interested in how you intend for them to have a job. They want to see results."
Asked to assess her tenure, Pelosi quickly answered, "Job well done."
She said it's now Boehner's job to produce results and described him as a friend.
"He knows that I wish him well personally," Pelosi said. "And for the American people, I wish him well in his work as well."
Nancy Pelosi Says She Didn't Take Dems' Loss Personally
Allies and critics say Pelosi's legacy will be as much about the position she held as the sweeping agenda that she pursue.
From the Capitol, she led her party's efforts to overhaul the health care system, increase the minimum wage, reform the regulation of Wall Street and stimulate the economy. At times Pelosi pushed through intense Republican opposition.
More than any other Democrat other than President Obama, Pelosi became the face of GOP attack ads. Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman, campaigned around the country in a bus plastered with the slogan, "Fire Pelosi."
At an election night rally in downtown Washington, Steele said: "We're about to do the one thing the American people want done and that is to fire Pelosi."
Pelosi said she didn't take it personally.
"They have used me as a personification of health care and the rest," she told Sawyer. "I take that as a compliment."
When pressed by Sawyer whether she ever in private felt "bruised" by the attacks, Pelosi said, "Well let me tell you, when I get time for that, I'll call you and I'll let you know how it feels. Because first of all I haven't had a moment alone to even think about myself. And second of all, it's a luxury at this time and that I can't afford."
She said she was affected, however, by the defeat of so many Democratic colleagues.
"We're sad about some of the losses of members of great seniority and distinction in the Congress, and some very new members, who will no longer be serving with us," Pelosi said. "It's just lost to the Congress."
She conceded she was surprised by the magnitude of the Democratic loss and thought that as many as 20 close elections were going to go Democratic.
"They were falling our way and $100 million approximately weighed in in those races and changed the atmosphere in last couple of weeks," she said.
With the 2010 election over, she said that the Democrats are ready to regroup and made a plea for cooperation.
"Let's just do what is right for the American people. And those of us who are involved in politics and government know that our responsibility is to the American people, that we have a responsibility to find our common ground, to seek it and to find it."
November 3rd, 2010
By Mitt Romney
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
President Obama could have focused on solving the financial crisis. He did not. He could have endeavored to conquer the looming threats to our future. Instead, he added to them. Now that voters have rejected his first two years in office, the president should not waste this political crisis: He should seize his "Nixon to China" opportunity.
Government is a greater threat to America in 2010 than China was in 1972. Government is smothering the pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit that propelled our economy past those of older, larger nations. Ever higher taxes on small and big business, layers of red tape, onerous labor regulations, and punitive bureaucrats and lawsuits are suffocating U.S. economic vitality. So far, the president and his fellow travelers in Congress have made things worse: If Obama is serious about changing the way things are done in Washington, he must slay the job-killing beast Washington has become.
He must also choke off government's voracious appetite. Under current law, the federal government's share of the economy will grow from its 50-year average of 20.3 percent to 26.5 percent by the end of this decade; federal, state and local governments will then constitute more than 40 percent of the economy. At what point do we effectively become a socialist economy, with its associated low growth, low incomes and permanently high unemployment?
And at what point will lenders to our government insist on charging punishingly high interest rates, or stop buying U.S. debt altogether? Congressional Budget Office data indicate that government spending through the next decade will require $12.4 trillion in additional debt, bringing our total public indebtedness to $22.2 trillion by 2020 - about the size of our gross domestic product. America's debt then will look a good deal like Greece's debt does today.
Obama's first instinct is to blame all this on his predecessor's tax policies. But the $22.2 trillion figure already assumes that Obama will raise taxes on annual incomes higher than $250,000, repealing the so-called Bush tax cuts for the rich. So the $12.4 trillion in new debt is entirely due to government spending and the president's own tax policies. Spending, Mr. President, is what threatens America's economy, not tax cuts.
To tame runaway government spending, the president should of course embrace the usual measures: freeze government employment; freeze growth in discretionary spending; veto every spending bill chocked with earmarks; work to regain an effective line-item veto; extinguish ineffective, wasteful programs. But these are just the start.
If the president is to become serious about spending, borrowing and deficits, he must subject government to the two budgeting rules employed by every well-run business and home.
Rule One: Start with the total, don't end up with it. Decide from the outset the amount that the government will spend for the year. Don't add up all the program requirements, departmental requests and political wish lists to calculate the total - that's surrendering, not budgeting. The nation's 50-year average annual tax burden has been 18 percent of GDP. That's the right figure for total spending; it may take several years to rein in spending to that level, but it should be the target.
Rule Two: Go where the money is. With entitlement spending about half of all federal spending, the president has no choice but to address Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He should propose less costly progressive indexing for future Social Security beneficiaries - using the consumer price index inflator rather than the wage index for higher-income retirees. Medicaid should be granted in block to the states, giving them flexibility to meet the needs of poor residents in their own ways. Medicare will require reform of health care, making it more like a consumer market and less like a regulated utility. Medicare recipients should also be given better options for private coverage. Regardless of the reforms chosen, the entitlements budget should be subject to Rule One - set a total first and conform the programs to that level. Advocates of this course include the Brookings Institution on the left and the Heritage Foundation on the right.
Finally, don't let the Bush tax cuts expire. Keeping them will yield revenue at 18.4 percent of GDP in 2020 - higher than the historic tax average. Lower taxes will propel growth, add jobs and produce a larger GDP that can accommodate our spending priorities. And don't push defense below 4 percent of GDP; with today's global threats and allies' diminishing military capabilities, freedom will increasingly depend on American strength.
The president can turn his party's losses Tuesday into a win for the country. It all depends on the course he sets.
The writer, a Republican, was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
November 3rd, 2010
The Election Mandate: The Contract FROM America
Here's a data point that would make a lot of the media coverage about the elections more informative:
- 67 signers of the Contract From America  won their House and Senate races and 10 more undecided races include Contract signers.
That's huge. That's the mandate.
Breaking that number down a little more, 12 Senators-elect and 55 House Members-elect signed the Contract From America. And 3 undecided Senate races and 7 undecided House races feature signers.
For those who don't know, the Contract From America was conceived by a tea party leader in Houston, Texas a year and a half ago. He asked activists online across the country to submit policy proposals, received thousands, boiled them down to 23 proposals, and held a nation-wide vote. Hundreds of thousands of votes came in and the top 10 became the Contract.
Here's what the Contract From America says:
The Contract from America
We, the undersigned, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items, work to bring each agenda item to a vote during the first year, and pledge to advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.
Our moral, political, and economic liberties are inherent, not granted by our government. It is essential to the practice of these liberties that we be free from restriction over our peaceful political expression and free from excessive control over our economic choices.
The purpose of our government is to exercise only those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people, chief among these being the protection of our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country’s sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.
The most powerful, proven instrument of material and social progress is the free market. The market economy, driven by the accumulated expressions of individual economic choices, is the only economic system that preserves and enhances individual liberty. Any other economic system, regardless of its intended pragmatic benefits, undermines our fundamental rights as free people.
1. Protect the Constitution
Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.
2. Reject Cap & Trade
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike.
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution.
5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning.
6. End Runaway Government Spending
Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth.
7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries.
8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs.
9. Stop the Pork
Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.
10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.
Here are the victorious candidats who showed their leadership in signing the citizen-created contract. They should be both congratulated for signing and given the grassroots support to now act on this agenda:
1 Alan Nunnelee
2 Andy Harris
3 Bill Flores
4 Bill Posey
5 Bob Gibbs
6 Bobby Schilling
7 Cathy McMorris Rodgers
8 Chip Cravaack
9 Cory Gardner
10 Cynthia Lummis
11 Dan Benishek
12 David McKinley
13 David Schweikert
14 Dennis Ross
15 Francisco Canseco
16 Frank Guinta
17 James Renacci
18 Jason Chaffetz
19 Jeff Duncan
20 Jeff Landry
21 Jim Jordan
22 Joe Wilson
23 John Culberson
24 Jon Runyan
25 Justin Amash
26 Larry Bucshon
27 Louie Gohmert
28 Lynn Westmoreland
29 Marlin Stutzman
30 Michael Grimm
31 Michael McCaul
32 Michele Bachmann
33 Mick Mulvaney
34 Nan Hayworth
35 Pete Olson
36 Ralph Hall
37 Randy Hultgren
38 Raul Labrador
39 Renee Ellmers
40 Rich Nugent
41 Rick Tubbs
42 Sandy Adams
43 Scott DesJarlais
44 Steve Chabot
45 Steve King
46 Steve Pearce
47 Steve Southerland
48 Tim Huelskamp
49 Tim Scott
50 Tim Walberg
51 Todd Young
52 Tom Marino
53 Tom Graves
54 Tom Rooney
55 Trey Gowdy
1 Dan Coats
2 Jerry Moran
3 Jim DeMint
4 John Boozman
5 Johnny Isakson
6 Kelly Ayotte
7 Marco Rubio
8 Mike Lee
9 Rand Paul
10 Richard Burr
11 Ron Johnson
12 Tom Coburn
And the 10 candidates in undecided races (as of this writing) who signed on:
1 Dino Rossi (Sen-WA)
2 Joe Miller (Sen-AK)
3 Ken Buck (Sen-CO)
4 Ann Marie Buerkle (NY15)
5 Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
6 Jesse Kelly (AZ-8)
7 Joe Walsh (IL-8)
8 John Koster (WA-2)
9 Ruth McClung (AZ-7)
10 Keith Fimian (VA-11)
When put next to these fascinating poll findings , there's shouldn't be much question about what the American people want. We want less government.
November 3rd, 2010
The Federal Reserve will buy an additional $600 billion of Treasuries through June, expanding record stimulus and risking its credibility in a bid to reduce unemployment and avert deflation.
Policy makers, who said new purchases will be about $75 billion a month, “will adjust the program as needed to best foster maximum employment and price stability,” the Fed’s Open Market Committee said in a statement in Washington. The central bank retained its pledge to keep interest rates low for an “extended period.”
Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is trying to boost growth after near-zero interest rates and $1.7 trillion in securities purchases helped pull the economy out of recession without bringing down joblessness close to a 26-year high. He’s risking a strategy that may either fail or fuel inflation and asset bubbles, said Scott Pardee, a former New York Fed official who now teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont.
“Currently, the unemployment rate is elevated, and measures of underlying inflation are somewhat low, relative to levels that the committee judges to be consistent, over the longer run, with its dual mandate,” the FOMC said. “Progress toward its objectives has been disappointingly slow.”
The dollar weakened and stocks fell after the announcement. Treasury notes were lower.
Including Treasury purchases from reinvesting proceeds of mortgage payments, the Fed will buy a total of $850 billion to $900 billion of securities through June, or about $110 billion per month, the New York Fed said in accompanying statement.
Duration of Assets
Assets will have an average duration of five to six years, and the central bank temporarily relaxed a 35 percent per-issue limit on its securities holdings “to provide operational flexibility” and buy the “most attractive securities on a relative-value basis,” the New York Fed said.
The FOMC kept its benchmark interest rate at zero to 0.25 percent, where it has been since December 2008.
Fifty-three of 56 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News last week predicted the central bank would announce asset purchases today, with 29 forecasting a pledge to buy $500 billion or more. Today’s action has been dubbed “QE2” by analysts and investors for the second round of a policy known as quantitative easing.
Central bankers in the world’s largest economy are struggling to bring down a jobless rate that has persisted at 9.5 percent or higher for 14 months. U.S. payrolls have declined for four straight months as employees hired for the census were fired and state and local governments eliminated positions to balance budgets.
The Fed’s preferred gauge for consumer prices, which excludes food and energy, rose 1.2 percent in September from a year earlier, the slowest pace since 2001. Fed policy makers have a long-run goal of 1.7 percent to 2 percent inflation they see as consistent with achieving legislative mandates for maximum employment and stable prices.
Bernanke, 56, a former Princeton University economist who studied the Great Depression, pressed forward with the move even after five of 18 policy makers went public with objections or doubts.
The one of the five who has a vote this year, Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig, today cast his seventh straight dissent, the most at consecutive regular policy sessions since 1955. “The risks of additional securities purchases outweighed the benefits,” and the “continued high level of monetary accommodation” may eventually “destabilize the economy,” the statement said of Hoenig’s opposition.
U.S. real gross domestic product, which is adjusted for inflation, grew at a 2 percent annual pace in the third quarter, faster than the 1.7 percent rate between April and June yet still below what central bank officials believe is needed to reduce unemployment.
Economists in a Bloomberg News survey last month forecast the unemployment rate will average 9.3 percent next year. Fed governors and regional presidents presented updated economic projections at this week’s meeting and will publish them in minutes to be released Nov. 24.
Xerox Corp., the Norwalk, Connecticut-based printer and business-services provider, said Oct. 21 it would cut 2,500 jobs in the next 12 months. “I’m still cautious on the economy, particularly in the large enterprise portion of the economy,” Xerox Chief Executive Officer Ursula Burns said on a conference call.
At Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., sales at U.S. locations open at least a year have declined for five consecutive quarters. Target Corp., based in Minneapolis, said last month that it would lower prices on more than 1,000 toys to attract shoppers.
Still, the economy has shown some signs of a pickup. Retail sales increased more than forecast in September, and manufacturing expanded in October at the fastest pace in five months.
Stocks have climbed and the dollar weakened in anticipation of further Fed easing. Since Bernanke said Aug. 27 the Fed “will do all that it can” to keep the recovery going, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained about 14 percent through yesterday, and the dollar declined more than 7 percent against a basket of six currencies.
Analysts differed on the market effects of the Fed’s action prior to the announcement. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s chief U.S. equity strategist, Thomas J. Lee, said the purchases may spur the S&P 500 to rise 10 percent by the end of the year. Keith Hembre, chief economist at U.S. Bancorp’s FAF Advisors Inc., said that “to a large degree, QE is already priced in.”
Bond traders’ inflation expectations for the next five years, measured by the breakeven rate between nominal and inflation-indexed bonds, rose to 1.44 percent yesterday from 1.19 percent on Aug. 26.
Some measures of prices are gaining. Global food costs rose 26 percent in October from a year earlier, the fastest pace since 2008, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Gold futures traded in New York reached a record $1,388.10 an ounce on Oct. 14 and are up 23 percent this year.
“So far the Fed hasn’t lost its credibility, but it’s closer there than before,” Pardee said. “They’re still talking about easing even though the economy has turned into recovery and the financial crisis is past us.” In addition, “you have a lot of people in the market who are primed for seeing inflation around every corner,” he said before the announcement.
The Fed’s decision is the biggest in a marathon week of worldwide central bank meetings. Australia and India yesterday raised interest rates to cool inflation. Tomorrow, the Bank of England may leave the door open to more aid to the U.K. economy while the European Central Bank holds the line against price increases. The Bank of Japan on Nov. 5 may accelerate stimulus for its economy.
Bernanke’s renewal of asset purchases completes a full U- turn this year. In February, the Fed raised the discount rate, charged on direct loans to commercial banks, to 0.75 percent from 0.50 percent. In March, it ended purchases of mortgage- backed debt begun during the financial crisis. Bernanke testified before Congress in March and July on how the Fed would pare back record stimulus.
Then, with the recovery slowing, the Fed in August decided to halt the shrinking of its balance sheet by reinvesting maturing mortgages into new Treasuries, setting a $2 trillion floor on asset holdings. The next month, the Fed said it was prepared to ease policy if needed and said for the first time that too-low inflation, in addition to sluggish growth, would warrant taking action.
Bernanke and other Fed policy makers have since signaled the likelihood of printing money to start a new round of securities buying. “There would appear -- all else being equal -- to be a case for further action,” Bernanke said Oct. 15 at a Boston Fed conference. “The risk of deflation is higher than desirable.”
At the same time, “nonconventional policies have costs and limitations that must be taken into account in judging whether and how aggressively they should be used,” he said. One risk is that the public becomes less confident in the Fed’s ability to pare back stimulus and expects inflation above the central bank’s desired level, a concern Bernanke said would be “unjustified.”
Purchases of $500 billion would add as much stimulus as reducing the Fed’s benchmark rate by 0.5 to 0.75 percentage point, New York Fed President William Dudley, who serves as FOMC vice chairman, said in an Oct. 1 speech.
Not all Fed officials are so sure of the impact. Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said Sept. 29 that he doesn’t see how additional asset purchases will help employment in the near term, and Narayana Kocherlakota of Minneapolis has said a new round would probably have a “more muted effect” than prior purchases.
“This seems to be about as sharp a set of divisions as I can remember in my experience,” said J. Alfred Broaddus, who served as Richmond Fed president from 1993 to 2004.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard in July warned of a rising risk of Japanese-style deflation in the U.S. and called for purchases of Treasuries as a response to any negative shock. Japan’s economy has stagnated since the bursting of a stock- market and real-estate bubble in the early 1990s.
Consumer prices in Japan have fallen for seven of the past 10 years, and gross domestic product, unadjusted for changes in prices, was the smallest since 1991 last year. The country was overtaken by China as the world’s No. 2 economy in the second quarter.
The Bank of Japan started quantitative easing in 2001, pumping trillions of yen into the economy over five years through injecting funds into bank reserves. The funds sat static at commercial lenders’ accounts at the central bank and failed to spark business investment and consumption.
The Fed purchases announced today will add to the $981 billion of excess deposits that banks held at the central bank as of Oct. 20. Plosser said Oct. 22 that the funds are failing to spur growth now and are “kindling” for money creation and inflation in the future.
Call for Cooperation
In a 2003 speech on Japanese deflation, Bernanke called for “greater cooperation, for a limited time, between the monetary and the fiscal authorities” in the country, with Japan’s central bank increasing government-debt purchases “preferably in explicit conjunction with a program of tax cuts or other fiscal stimulus.”
Bernanke, who has been less explicit in seeking aid from U.S. lawmakers, may fail to win that kind of coordination in the U.S., especially after Republicans captured the House and Democrats held the Senate in yesterday’s midterm elections.
“We have an unhealthy focus on the Fed,” Vincent Reinhart, a former Fed monetary-affairs director who’s now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said in a Bloomberg Radio interview before the decision. “They are the only game in town. They are the discretionary stabilizer right now for the U.S. economy, and therefore that puts more responsibility on them to act.”