In a nation where individuals were treated as equals before the law, a person’s racial and ethnic identity would be irrelevant to public policy. But in a nation in which there is much to be gained politically by identifying oneself with a particular racial or ethnic group, such classifications are the stuff of knock-down, drag-out fights.
Touting President Barack Obama’s “responsible, sensible and achievable plan to put the country on a fiscally sustainable path” in a New York Times op-ed, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew (pictured) performs some creative accounting to lay all of the blame for the state of the federal government’s finances on the George W. Bush administration. Pointing out that in 2001 “the country had a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion over the next decade,” Lew argues that the Bush tax cuts, combined with Bush’s expansion of Medicare, are the cause of the enormous deficits the country is now facing.
Even in peacetime, government lies are so commonplace as to hardly be news. During wartime, however, the government fib fabricator goes into overdrive — as does the coverup machinery. Decades may pass before wartime lies are exposed, and even more time may elapse before the government admits to having deceived the public.
Did the Founding Fathers support the idea of government-run healthcare? The question seems to answer itself. The Founders had just thrown off the shackles of big government, putting in its place a limited federal government with explicitly defined powers, none of which involved medical care.
In his 2013 budget proposal, President Barack Obama is asking for what amounts to a tripling of the corporate dividends tax rate for high-income earners (individuals and households with annual incomes exceeding $200,000 and $250,000, respectively). If it were just a typical attack on the wealthy, with the usual negative side effects of transferring cash from job creators to politicians, it would be bad enough. But a huge hike in the dividend tax rate will have ripple effects throughout the economy, discouraging investments, depressing stock prices, and reducing dividend payments — all of which will harm Americans at every income level.
This was not a good week for the Federal Reserve. As if Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) congressional subcommittee hearing on the relationship of the Fed to the national debt weren’t bad enough news for the central bank, media mogul and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes has just joined the anti-Fed chorus, telling Human Events that the Fed’s inflationary policies have become so destructive that a return to the gold standard is likely “within the next five years.”
Anyone paying much attention to the news is aware that the U.S. government is now about $14.3 trillion in debt and considering borrowing even more. That $14.3 trillion, however, only includes what the government currently owes. If one includes Uncle Sam’s unfunded liabilities — promised future payments the government does not expect to have revenue to cover — Washington actually owes “a record $61.6 trillion,” according to a recent USA Today analysis.
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit,” said the Senator, “is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies.... Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
“I smell a rat,” says Robert Wenzel, editor and publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com.
The rodent whose odor Wenzel detects is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which just issued a pair of reports assessing the U.S. economy and its financial sector. The Washington Post lists the major recommendations of the reports: “Cut Social Security. Ditch the deduction for interest on home mortgages. Tax gasoline.”
“Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year,” according to USA Today. “At the same time,” continues the paper, “government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.” This reflects, says USA Today, “a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.”