Tuesday, July 30, 2013

ODD? NATIONAL DEBT STUCK AT EXACTLY $16,699,396,000,000 FOR 70 DAYS

The U.S. national debt for the past 70 days has been stuck at exactly $16,699,396,000,000,CNSNews.com reports, citing the Daily Treasury Statement for July 26.
“That is approximately $25 million below the legal limit of $16,699,421,095,673.60 that Congress has imposed on the debt,” the report notes.
Fed debt subject to the legal limits imposed by Congress first hit the $16.7B mark on May 17. The national debt has for every business day since then been exactly $16,699,396,000,000.00.
“If the debt had increased by even $30 million at any time during those 70 days, it would have exceeded the statutory limit,” the report conceded.
However, according to the Treasury, the debt hasn’t budged an inch.  It has been stuck at exactly $16,699,396,000,000:
Stuck at Exactly $16,699,396,000,000: National Debt Hasnt Budged an Inch in 70 Days
But just because the feds say the national debt hasn’t budged an inch in 70 days, it doesn’t mean Treasury hasn’t been selling bonds that far exceed the value of the bonds it is redeeming.
Indeed, the feds have already redeemed roughly $6,128,368,000,000 since the beginning of its fiscal year (Oct. 1), according to the agency’s July 26 statement.
“But, at the same time,” the CNSNews.com report notes, “the Treasury had sold an additional $6,759,148,000,000.00 bills, note and bonds–for a net increase of $630,780,000,000.00 for the year.”
“Thus, the value of U.S. Treasury debt instruments circulating in the public has increased $53.267 billion since May 17 — even though the Treasury says the debt has remained exactly at $16,699,396,000,000.00 during that time,” it adds.
Wait, how could U.S. Treasury securities increase by roughly $53B since May 17 while the debt remains unchanged at $16,699,396,000,000?
Simple: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on May 17 informed House Speaker John Boehner the Treasury would use a “set of extraordinary measures” to allow the agency to borrow within the legal limit set by Congress.

Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy in WikiLeaks case, convicted of lesser charges.

DEVELOPING: The U.S. Army soldier charged with providing troves of government documents to the whistleblowing website Wikileaks was found not guilty Tuesday of aiding the enemy, the top charge in his 21-count indictment, which could have carried a life sentence.

Prosecutors had to prove Army Pfc. Bradley Manning had "a general evil intent" and knew the classified material would be seen by the terrorist group Al Qaeda. Legal experts said an aiding-the- enemy conviction could set a precedent because Manning did not directly give the classified material to Al Qaeda.

Manning was convicted of five espionage counts, five theft charges, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions. His sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. 

The 25-year-old Crescent, Okla., native acknowledged giving the anti-secrecy website hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and videos in early 2010.

Manning said he didn't believe the information would harm troops in Afghanistan and Iraq or threaten national security.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/30/bradley-manning-not-guilty-aiding-enemy-in-wikileaks-case-convicted-lesser/#ixzz2aYEpyA7E

The latest action in the Liberal war on women: Recent scandals find liberal politicians harassing women and embarrassing themselves.

Back during the 2012 election, Democrats were quick to seize on some Republican words -- like Todd Akin's remark about "legitimate rape" and late-term abortion, orRush Limbaugh's calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" for wanting free birth control -- to build the notion of a "war on women."
But if you look past words to actual deeds, most of the action in the war on women seems to be coming from the Democratic front lately. Just consider these cases:
First, Democratic San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. So far seven women have accused him of sexual harassment. According to one report, Filner said, "You'll have to excuse me for what's about to happen. It's your fault," before pinning a woman in a restaurant booth. Other allegations include kissing, grabbing and assorted other inappropriate behavior.
As is usually the case, this stuff was no secret within the world of San Diego Democratic politics, but even though there were complaints, the leadership supported Filner anyway until things went public. And even afterward, until the pressure became too great, Democrats supported him. As with Bill Clinton, and his alleged assaults onPaula JonesJuanita Broddrick and Kathleen Willey, tribal loyalties to party kin outweighed any concern for women as a group -- or for the accusers as individuals. The accusers were tossed over the side until the publicity became too strong to ignore. Democrats -- like Hillary with Bill -- stood by their man, Tammy Wynette-style.
Then take New York. Please. New York now has the infamous serial sexter Anthony Weiner running for mayor. Unlike Clinton and Filner, the women Weiner was involved with seem to have been entirely consenting. Though the names involved (Weiner's online pseudonym was "Carlos Danger," and one of his virtual paramours -- a formerObama campaign worker and anti-Sarah Palinpetitioner -- went by "Sydney Leathers" though that, shockingly, is her real name) seemed like something from a 1970s porn film, the sexual contact involved seemed voluntary enough. It was just pathetic.
Even more pathetic was the fact that for Weiner this was the second time around, after giving up his congressional seat for, basically, the same thing in 2011. For Weiner, the "War On Women" aspect has more to do with the doormatization (Is that a word? It is now) of his wife, Huma Abedin. Long a star to people on the left, for reasons that Slate's Dave Weigel finds somewhat unclear, Abedin has stood by Weiner throughout, even putting on a rather embarrassing press conferenceappearance.
But now that her stand-by-your-man routine has gone from the possibly noble to the clearly ridiculous, even liberal writers such as The Atlantic's Elspeth Reeve are saying that "Huma has lost her halo." Indeed, even as Huma was delivering quotes for rehabilitative puff-pieces in People and The New York Times, it's now clear that she knew that Weiner hadn't been rehabilitated at all, leaving some to say that she's even worse than he is. People are even starting to ask about how Huma could work for the State Department while consulting for people who dealt with the State Department. Her future political career, previously bright, seems seriously tarnished.
As Gloria Allred's daughter, Democratic attorney Lisa Bloom, notes, Weiner's treatment of Huma could be described as a kind of spousal abuse. Well, whatever it is, it's not indicative of any particular respect for women. Weiner, meanwhile, seems to have been weirdly jealous for an online philanderer. Leathers reports: "Me being hit on by other men really upset him. We were Facebook friends, so he could see if men were commenting on photos of me, or telling me that I was pretty. Really minor things like that really bothered him." Uh huh.
Then there's former New York governor and attorney general Eliot Spitzer, better known as "client #9" for his extensive patronization of call girls. As far as I'm concerned there's nothing wrong with that: These were consenting adults, and if it were up to me, I'd make prostitution legal everywhere the way it is in Nevada. But even while patronizing call girls, Spitzer was also going out of his way, as attorney general, to see that they were prosecuted. It's usually Republicans who are charged with sexual hypocrisy, but this is first-rate phoniness.
The funny thing, though, is that in the press, an isolated remark by a Republican candidate or radio host is treated as representative of the entire party. The behavior of these Democratic officeholders and candidates, on the other hand, is treated as an isolated incident -- and in many of the national media reports regarding Filner, his party affiliation is omitted, or not mentioned until paragraph 12.
But do I think this behavior betrays a special contempt for women on the part of Democrats? Well, not really. I think it demonstrates a contempt for people in general, and especially for voters. But then again, why shouldn't they be contemptuous of voters? Look who elected them.

5 Ways Liberalism Destroyed Detroit

"Does anybody think it's OK to have 40-year-old trees growing through the roofs of dilapidated houses?" -- Detroit's Emergency ManagerKevyn Orr
"A few years ago, the nonpartisan Bay Area Center for Voting Research rated Detroit as the most liberal city in America." -- Michael Tanner
cities. It was the 4th largest metropolis in America, jobs were plentiful because of the auto industry, and Motown even kept it on the cutting edge musically.
Unfortunately, from 1962 until the present day, the mayor of Detroit has been a Democrat.
The result?
Detroit's population has dropped from 1.8 million to just over 700,000, the unemployment rate is over 50% if you count the people who've given up on finding jobs, property values have dropped so much you can buy homes in the crime-ridden city for $500, and Detroit has gone bankrupt.
How did Democrats kill one of the most prosperous cities in America? With the same sort of unfettered liberalism that Democrats like Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi want to foist on the rest of the nation.
1) Unions crippled the auto industry: The Big 3 automakers could afford unions when they practically had a monopoly on auto production in the United States. However, once they started facing real competition from overseas, the unions made them less and less competitive. The unions forced the companies to pay out more than market value for their workers, put stifling work rules in place that made flexibility and innovation difficult, and created generous pension plans that are proving to be unsustainable. This wouldn't have been possible without a symbiotic relationship between the unions and the Democrats in government who tied the hands of the Big 3 automakers and simply wouldn't allow them to get rid of the unions that were slowly strangling them to death. Eventually because of the unions, the Big 3 automakers had to deal with significantly larger costs per car than their overseas competitors and they took it out of the only place they could: the cars. As the quality of their products dropped, their competitors took an ever larger share of their market, and there were fewer jobs to go around. If you want to know why the "Motor City" is up on cinder blocks in Michigan's front yard, this is where it started.
2) White citizens were demonized until they left: Detroit was a heavily segregated city and in 1967, there were black riots. After that, white flight to the suburbs began. This was dramatically exacerbated when Coleman Young became Detroit's first black mayor in 1972. Young was cut from the same cloth as men like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but unlike the two of them, he actually had power. Young systematically drove white government employees out of their jobs so they could be replaced by blacks, was hostile to the white suburbs, and was generally perceived as anti-white. Naturally, a lot of white people just left, which reduced the population and significantly cut into the tax base. Today, Detroit is a 7.9% white city, and if he were alive and kicking, that would probably suit Coleman Young just fine.
3) Out-of-control crime helped drive much of the black middle class out of the city: Ever heard of "Devil's Night?" It's the night before Halloween and in Detroit, fires are set all over the city. Combine the sort of criminal mentality that produces an unofficial "holiday" like that with a sky high unemployment rate and Draconian laws designed to make it difficult for law abiding citizens to arm themselves, and it's not a surprise that crime is a problem in Detroit. However, the issue goes much deeper than that. In case you haven't noticed, in a conflict between a cop and a criminal, the hearts of liberals almost always seem to bleed for the thug. Combine that with the liberal tendency, when money gets tight, to cut essential programs instead of their perks and the goodies they hand out to their supporters, and you end up with a police department that is both dramatically underfunded and completely incompetent.
"The size of the police force in Detroit has been cut by about 40 percent over the past decade," "it takes (the police) an average of 58 minutes to respond" to a call and the "police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit."
4) Reckless government spending bankrupted the city: Detroit's tax base has been plunging like an anvil dropped into the Marianas Trench and so, in true liberal fashion, liberals have raised taxes to make up for it instead of cutting spending. "The city's per-capita tax burden is the highest in Michigan. Detroit has the country's highest property taxes on homes, the top commercial property tax and the second-highest industrial property tax." Unfortunately for Detroit, you can't get blood from a stone. As jobs and wealth fled the city, there was simply less cash available for big government programs, pensions, and the incredibly generous, but almost completely unfunded union health care program. It's fantastic that the city paid "80 percent to 100 percent of retirees' medical costs," but 99.6% of those costs were unfunded. As Obamacare supporters should have learned by now, it's a lot easier for politicians to make big promises about what they’re going to give you than it is to back them up in the real world.
5) The government is completely incompetent: Ever notice that the bigger government seems to get, the less it does anything well? Citizens of Detroit could tell you all about that. The school system is horrible, which explains why a staggering 47% of the population is illiterate. In addition, 40% of the street lights don't work, only about 1/3 of the ambulances are running, and 2/3 of the parks have been closed since 2008. Just to give you an idea of its priorities, an independent report in 2012 suggested the city fire 80% of the Water and Sewage Department including a horseshoer" that it has on staff even though it has NO HORSES.. How did the union respond to that report? "They don’t have enough people as it is right now. They are just dreaming to think they can operate that plant with less." Detroit may not have enough police, ambulances, or competent teachers, but if you ever need a horseshoe in the Motor City, they've got you covered.
http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2013/07/30/5-ways-liberalism-destroyed-detroit-n1651524/page/full

Surprise: Chicago's Debt Triples, City Slapped With Credit Downgrades


So it turns out the president's home city of Chicago (D-IL) is suffering through a bit of fiscal trouble:


Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed the books on 2012 with $33.4 million in unallocated cash on hand — down from $167 million the year before — while adding to the mountain of debt piled on Chicago taxpayers, year-end audits show. Last week, Moody’s Investors orderedan unprecedented triple-drop in the city’s bond rating, citing Chicago’s “very large and growing” pension liabilities, “significant” debt service payments, “unrelenting public safety demands” and historic reluctance to raise local taxes that has continued under Emanuel.

Those unprecedented downgrades were delivered despite what the Sun-Timesdescribes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "aggressive cost-cutting measures."  Long-term unfunded promises and the costs of servicing the city's debt are swamping shorter-term attempts at fiscal restraint.  Absent significant reforms, this isAmerica's future, too.  More on that eye-opening triple downgrade, directly fromthe credit ratings agency:


Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the City of Chicago's (IL) general obligation (GO) and sales tax ratings to A3 from Aa3; water and sewer senior lien revenue ratings to A1 from Aa2; and water and sewer second lien revenue ratings to A2 from Aa3. Chicago has $7.7 billion of GO debt, $566 million of sales tax debt, $2.0 billion of water revenue debt, and $1.3 billion of sewer revenue debt outstanding. The outlook on all ratings is negative ...The downgrade of the GO rating reflects Chicago's very large and growing pension liabilities and accelerating budget pressures associated with those liabilities. The city's budgetary flexibility is already burdened by high fixed costs, including unrelenting public safety demands and significant debt service payments.

Moody's reference to "unrelenting public safety demands" is in part a euphemism for Chicago's appalling murder and violent crime crisis, which manages to remain alarmingly acute despite the city's strict anti-gun laws.  Strange, that.  Oh, did I say triple downgrade?  I meant quadruple, and this one genuinely hurts The Children:


 Chicago's public schools on Wednesday forecast a record $1 billion fiscal 2014 budget deficit despite layoffs of 1,000 teachers and the expected closing of 50 schools, prompting one credit agency to downgrade its debt rating. The nation's third-largest public school district blamed the mounting red ink on an expected sharp rise in annual pension payments for teachers, because the state of Illinois has failed to curb ballooning pension costs. 

 For years, Illinois teachers unions negotiated unsustainable contracts with their Democratic buddies, who run the city and state -- a vicious cycle that is has begun its inevitable meltdown.  The obligations owed to these government employees are consuming the city's budget, prompting desperate bouts of austerity cuts -- which are now unavoidable.  To paraphrase one of the city's prominent citizens, Chicago's

Chicago's fiscal recklessness is comin' home to roost.  Sadly, today's kids -- especially the city's underprivileged ones -- are bearing much of the brunt of these cuts, which became necessary after chronic irresponsibility from generations of adults.  Chicago's woes mirror many of the challenges facing the state of Illinois, which has been battered by recent downgrades from various ratings agencies.  Illinois was already in dead last in terms of state credit ratings prior to the additional recent blows.  Purely coincidentally, Illinois -- like Chicago -- is run by one political party.  Democrats hold the governorship and super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature in Springfield.  Major tax increases haven't made a dent in Illinois' mess; the state has struggled to pay its bills for years.  By the way, the state in 49th place on this roster of ignominy is California, which also happens to be in the thrall of a particular ideology embodied by the one political party.  Thankfully, Chicago is a far cry from Detroit (hey, there's that same party again) at this stage, but continued mismanagement could eventually yield similar decay and collapse.  I'm just thinking out loud here, but shouldn't prominent jurisdictions dominated for decades by the party of compassion, fairness and progress be beacons of success by now?  Before you click away, be sure to read this piece by CBS News' Major Garrett.  He recalls an upbeat 2011 speech the president delivered in Detroit, just two years before its bankruptcy.  One choice snippet from Garrett's brutal assessment:


Obama's 2011 speech described a Detroit that can only be described as a myth wrapped in a wish inside a dream.  "This is a city that's been to heck and back," Obama said. "And while there are still a lot of challenges here, I see a city that's coming back." Obama referenced "tough choices" made to bail out GM and Fiat-Chrysler and also hailed the birth of a new wave of high-tech employment. "We said American workers could manufacture the best products in the world. So we invested in high-tech manufacturing and we invested in clean energy," he said. "And right now, there's an advanced-battery industry taking root here in Michigan that barely existed before."  The biggest factory in this supposed new trend, Massachusetts-based A123 Systems, had plans to employ 5,900 workers nationwide to build lithium-ion batteries. In Detroit, A123 Systems never employed more than 1,000. The Energy Department awarded A123 Systems a $249 million grant to boost production. It filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and was still receiving DOE largesse. A judge approved the bankruptcy in 2013.  In other words, the Detroit-area advanced-battery industry Obama said "barely existed before" his 2011 speech now … barely exists.

Obama is on the speech-giving trail again, peddling the same talking points andthe same "solutions" he did two years ago.  This time will be different, though; just don't ask him why.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2013/07/30/surprise-chicagos-debt-triples-slapped-with-credit-downgrade-n1651981

Noonan: Obama is at the “point where the American people stop listening

Last week, President Obama expounded upon his latest version of an ultra-recycled, been-there-done-that economic pivot — and it took him well over an hour to do so. Peggy Noonan had some rather pointed thoughts about that on ABC on Sunday, at the 2:05 mark:
When the White House calls it a “pivot” — somebody counted up and said it’s probably the tenth pivot to the economy that the president has done since he came in. I noticed that one of the speeches, it went over an hour, there was a heck of a lot jammed in. That told me something. It said, we’re not sure exactly what to say, so we’re going to say everything — but a speech about everything is a speech about nothing. Beyond that, I think every president, in the intense media environment we have now, certainly ever two-term president, gets to a point where the American people stop listening, stop leaning forward hungrily for information. I think this president got there earlier than most presidents, and I think he’s in that time now.
Ouch. All of President Obama’s grandiose economic pivots have pathetically little to show themselves; as George Will chimed in, our economy has continued to lose jobs during this ongoing “recovery” we’re supposedly in, and our labor force participation rate still hovering around a generational low of 63.5 percent.
Even Obama is cottoning on to the fact that all of the grandiloquence in the world isn’t going to do much to boost the popularity of crowning legislative achievement — but what he has up his sleeve besides more Keynesian-ish initiatives and “Republican obstructionism!”-sideshows is anyone’s guess. They’re still hoping that the law will speak for itself once it’s finally implemented, but the ol’ implementation process hasn’t been going too well so far:
Polls show the healthcare law is unpopular, and its approval ratings are falling. Disapproval topped 50 percent in a CBS News poll last week.
Obama said in an interview with The New York Times that the law will gain popularity once key provisions take effect next year and people are able to more easily purchase insurance.
“But until then, when we’re getting outspent four to one and people are just uncertain about what all this means for them, we’re going to continue to have some polls like that,” Obama said. “And me just making more speeches explaining it in and of itself won’t do it. The test of this is going to be is it working. And if it works, it will be pretty darn popular.”

The garage sale of Detroit

In a bankruptcy scenario, one of any entity’s most obvious options for raising some cash with which to pay down debts and obligations is to start selling off assets to the highest bidder. In the case of Detroit, their list of public assets includes 22 square miles of lands, public utilities and infrastructure, as well as collections of art and animals, all of which youmight think sound like pretty reasonable items to include in their pending municipal garage sale — except that, oddly enough, the few assets with which Detroit is actually looking to part ways could in fact just be… well, garages. Via the Financial Times:
Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager, says the City is open to public-private partnerships and believes its nine parking garages, two parking lots and 3,404 parking meters should be attractive to outside investors.“It’s one of the easiest assets that someone can underwrite and run more efficiently,” he told the Financial Times.
Elsewhere the scope for further sales looks limited, as Mr Orr concentrates on wringing multibillion-dollar concessions from creditors that put the potential receipts from asset disposals into perspective.
This is especially the case because many assets are losing value as Detroit’s economy continues to go in reverse, as the population drops, manufacturing declines and joblessness rises. …
The city owns 22 square miles of Detroit’s 139 square miles, but much is blighted. “The vast majority has limited current commercial value,” its bankruptcy filings state.
Detroit’s most attractive assets include its water and sewage operations. But the city does not plan to put those operations up for sale to the private sector either.
Instead, it plans to work with neighbouring, and far wealthier, districts to establish a new unit that would provide services to the city and its environs and that would continue to have access to the capital markets. Such a deal could unlock $50m-$150m, Mr Orr says.
Admittedly, getting involved with many of Detroit’s beleaguered assets probably isn’t that attractive an option for potential investors in plenty of cases, at least not right now; but Detroit has a long way to go to even get close to managing the city’s $18 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities… and yet they somehow have the money for a $400 million hockey arena. Go figure.
And speaking of those unfunded liabilities, more than five billion dollars’ worth are in the form of health care and other retiree benefits for the city’s workers; as I mentioned earlier this month, a bunch of broke cities across America are looking at unloading some of those expensive and long-term political promises onto the incoming ObamaCare system in search of a little financial relief (…and when I say “ObamaCare,” what I really mean, of course, is American taxpayers). Now that Detroit is officially underwater, they’re moving forward — er, “Forward!”? — with that plan, via the NYT:
As Detroit enters the federal bankruptcy process, the city is proposing a controversial plan for paring some of the $5.7 billion it owes in retiree health costs: pushing many of those too young to qualify for Medicare out of city-run coverage and into the new insurance markets that will soon be operating under the Obama health care law.
Officials say the plan would be part of a broader effort to save Detroit tens of millions of dollars in health costs each year, a major element in a restructuring package that must be approved by a bankruptcy judge. It is being watched closely by municipal leaders around the nation, many of whom complain of mounting, unsustainable prices for the health care promised to retired city workers. …
Unfunded retiree health care costs loom larger than ever for localities across the country, and the health law’s guarantee of federal subsidies to help people with modest incomes afford coverage has made the new insurance markets tantalizing for local governments. A study issued this year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found 61 of the nation’s major cities wrestling with $126 billion in retiree health costs, all but 6 percent of that unfunded.

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/07/29/the-garage-sale-of-detroit/

Get excited: Obama to propose a “grand bargain” on corporate tax rates and infrastructure



I suppose it really is a step up from the lengthy, meandering lecture of the latest “economic pivot” for which the president stumped last week, wherein the he took almost seventy minutes to basically complain that “I’m just a bystander in this economy, rabble rabble rabble” and talk up the misguided merits of the many “investments” he wishes he could make if it weren’t for those obtuse Republicans. …But only a small step. CNN reports:
Speaking at an Amazon.com distribution plant in Tennessee Tuesday, President Barack Obama will propose a “grand bargain” with lawmakers on spurring job growth, according to one of his top advisers.
“As part of his efforts to focus Washington on the middle class, today in Tennessee the President will call on Washington to work on a grand bargain focused on middle class jobs by pairing reform of the business tax code with a significant investment in middle class jobs,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to the president.
Obama will suggest Congress cut corporate tax rates – long a goal of Republicans – while simultaneously making jobs investments, which Democrats and the president have been championing.
The White House would not say Tuesday how much each part of the bargain – the tax changes and the investment – would amount to.
Hmm. We’re still waiting on specifics, but I suppose the big attempt at ‘compromise’ here is that he’s for the moment shelving raising taxes and instead offering to allow for some easing up on businesses — but in exchange, of course, we have to make some of those precious Keynesian “investments” in “infrastructure” that he supposes will “create” jobs and help jump-start the economy. If Republicans do refuse to let the government deficit-spend still money on such assuredly fruitless endeavors, of course, the president can then at least say that they just don’t want to do it because he’s the one who proposed it, and my, aren’t they just such spiteful obstructionists?
And I might venture that the decision to propose the whole idea in front of an Amazon plant probably has something to do with the fact that Amazon is going on a hiring spree — as if it’s somehow due to President Obama’s oversight of the economy, and not in spite of it.
Update: Some specifics and immediate reaction, via the Washington Examiner:
Obama wants to cut the corporate tax rate of 35 percent to 28 percent and give manufacturers an even lower rate of 25 percent — a proposal the president floated last year. Rather than link the corporate tax cuts with an overhaul of the individual rate, as he did previously, Obama will instead press for more federal spending on his jobs blueprint. The president will also call for a minimum tax on foreign earnings. …
“The president has always supported corporate tax reform,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.  “Republicans want to help families and small businesses, too. This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama’s position on taxes and President Obama’s position on spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind.”

Gov't Knows Best? White House creates 'nudge squad' to shape behavior.







Sound like we been warn all ready and Beck was right on the money in 2010: BECK:  CASS SUNSTEIN, OBAMA REGULATION "CZAR"To manipulate them."

You're the hapless Homer Simpson who lacks self-control, so you will be manipulated. And progressives, like Sunstein, the solution to this problem is manipulation and control by the federal government.

I don't want to be manipulated. I want individual freedom, liberty. I want personal responsibility. Hold me accountable for my own actions.
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This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," September 27, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Hello, America.
All right — let's start with the latest in a long line of insults hurled at the Tea Party movement. But this one came from Senator John Kerry, who actually said this with a straight face:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY, D-MASS.: We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on. So, you know, people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than by the facts and the truth or what's happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

BECK: Boy, it's taking everything in me not to say a simple slogan like "hope and change"?
Tell me if this isn't true: The American people, at least in my lifetime, have never been so connected to their own history. I have never in the history — in my lifetime — I have never seen people show more that they care about the actual process of what's happened. We're making sausage in Washington. And they care. And they're paying attention.
For the first time in my lifetime, the people of this country know that the Founders are counting on them. They know absolute firm reliance on the knowledge that when the three branches failed, the media was supposed to stop it. And once the media failed, the only — the only thing standing between fascism or chaos and the American people are the American people.

And for the first time in my life, I can tell you that I'm amazed by the American people as a whole. I mean, we've always been incredible treatment. But what we're doing now is this, and I haven't seen it in my life. We're being responsible. We should have been there the whole time, but — me included — we weren't. I mean, we were escaping. We thought the ride would never end.

This is a reason to celebrate, not denigrate the American people.
Evidence? Have you checked out the best-selling books that have just — at least come from this show? I mean, we have — these are just some of the books — "Road to Serfdom." Have you read this? It will make your eyes bleed.
"Road to Serfdom," came out in 1944. So you know, it sells about 7,000 books annually. After one episode on this program, this book sold 70,000 copies in a week. This audience is devouring books like never before.
And there are books like — oh, here's one. You should read this one. This one actually explained to me, this is what really got the ball rolling for me, one of them. This is — this is "Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism." It has foot — it was riddled with footnotes.

We have said — "The Five Thousand Year Leap."
Here's one, this is Peter Lillback's book. This is incredible. I told you every person in America should own this book. It's "Sacred Fire." When I found this book — it had been out for five or six years. It didn't say the number one national best seller. People are devouring it.

"New Deal, Raw Deal" is another one. The "Real George Washington," unbelievable. "Tempest at Dawn" even.
How about this one? "Phillip Dru: Administrator. A Story of Tomorrow." Have you read this book? I wanted to hang myself through this book. Every American should read this book. It's what we're doing. And it was written in like 1912.
Are you kidding me? Don't tell me that the American people are stupid. Don't tell me that the American people — those — some of those books are scholars' books. They weren't ever meant to be consumed by the American people. These are gigantic, small font, boring beyond your wildest imagination, yet highly informative books.
Now I'm just guessing, but I don't think people are just reading these at the beach going, this is a page-turner, it's about Woodrow Wilson.

The American people know that something was wrong and they were trying to figure out how did we get here? And they're informing themselves. They're trying to get to the truth of what's happening. They're being responsible.
And America, here is the truth: The truth is there is a fundamental difference in America right now. We've talked about this choice — this choice. It started to write America needs to choose, but America must choose between these two.
This is the choice — and it is growing more and more defined every week: Do we believe in a government that is constitutional, limited federal power, has a low flat tax, whatever kind of tax — lower taxes, limited federal spending, personal responsibility, and a government that helps those who cannot help themselves — not help those who will not help themselves? Do we believe in this?

Or — choice two, it's a big progressive government. And this is the choice we keep going through. Republican, Democrat — Republican, Democrat, big progressive. The Republicans, they'll be telling you what to do in your bedroom. The Democrats will be telling you what you are going to do in every room.

I don't want them in my bedroom. I don't want them in my living room. I don't want them in any room. I feel like cat in the hat here. I don't want them to have this much power.

Why? Because our Founders knew this — the Founders knew people are flawed. They're flawed and power corrupts.
Now, Cass Sunstein, he is the latest. He — I think he fancies himself as a refounder of the United States of America. I've told you on this program, he's the most dangerous man in America, because no one will see him coming. He's Obama's progressive regulation "czar."

We found an old clip — it was put up on TheBlaze.com. Here he is, pretty much spelling out everything this show has told you in the past. Watch:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASS SUNSTEIN, OBAMA REGULATION "CZAR": Some legal conservative thinkers, like Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas, think that Constitution means what it originally meant. That means we should understand the document by going into a kind of time machine and capturing the public understanding of the public that ratified the document a century — or more than a century ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: OK. He's saying that it has no relevance — the Constitution has no relevance — because you have to go in a time machine.

This is an all you need to understand: The Founders knew, limit the size of the government, through the Constitution, because people are flawed and power corrupts. Thus, don't give people power over you because they will become corrupt — as they are people, thus, they are flawed.

Progressive don't think the Constitution applies to today — that's why they're called progressives. Make progress, towards what? Away from what? The Constitution.

The Constitution evolves over time and it changes as society changes. Yes, it does, but through the Constitution called amendments. We used to amend it all the time.

The rest of Americans believe the Constitution still works. Now, that's the debate that is coming down to. But that's the debate nobody is having.

The debate comes down to this: Do you believe in the American experiment, the American ideals? Do you believe in this — people are flawed, power corrupts, don't give people power over you because they will become corrupt as they with people and they are flawed? If you believe in this, you must choose this.
Progressives don't hold the Constitution in high esteem. And that's bad enough. But when coupled with what progressives think about the American people, that's when things start to get dicey.
You just saw Cass Sunstein dismiss the Constitution, but let me play again what he says about you:
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SUNSTEIN: Once we know that people are human and have some Homer Simpson in them, then there's a lot that can be done to manipulate them.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BECK: "To manipulate them."
You're the hapless Homer Simpson who lacks self-control, so you will be manipulated. And progressives, like Sunstein, the solution to this problem is manipulation and control by the federal government.
I don't want to be manipulated. I want individual freedom, liberty. I want personal responsibility. Hold me accountable for my own actions.

If I — if I make a bad move in business, then I make a bad move in business. I should be allowed to fail. I don't want the big George Bush government or the big Obama government. I don't want any government that is telling me exactly what to do all the time. I want a government that holds up merit and personal responsibility, has very little on control, but also a government that is compassionate for those who cannot do it themselves and when the private sector can't help them either.

The people in Washington have already decided what kind of government they're going to give you. Do you know that 80 percent — 80 percent — of the ruling class in Washington say that this is it? Eighty percent say they are now on the right track — except 60 percent of Americans say they're on the wrong track. That's a pretty big spread. Why? Because they're corrupt and they have power.

Now, let me show you what they're doing in Washington. These are just things that just broke over the weekend. Let me show you what they're doing and you tell me: Is this the choice you would make?

In California and eight other Western states, the government can now actually place a GPS device on your car and track you, because according to a court, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy, even in your own driveway. They, by the way, don't need a search warrant.

The FBI and other agencies will now no longer need a search warrant to track your location. They'll use your cell phone. Nobody is going to a judge. They just — where's Bob Jones?

This happened after a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled. Once again, the Obama administration argued Americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to where people place and receive cell phone calls.
Now, here's the latest from The New York Times: The government is now seeking a new federal law forcing Internet, e-mail, instant messaging and other communication providers to offer encryption to build in backdoors for law enforcement surveillance.

OK, wait a minute. This also will not have to be used with a search warrant. They don't have to go to a judge.
Now, if I may, I remember the left complaining about warrant-less wiretaps on phones when we were talking about terrorists. I was with you on that. You don't tap the phones of American citizens without going to a judge and getting a warrant. You don't do it.

Now, here we have warrant-less car-tapping, warrant-less cell phone tapping, warrant-less Internet tapping and there's silence. Silence from the left, silence from the media, silence from the American people.
Is John Kerry right? Is it because we don't have a simple slogan for it?

Here's one of the most disturbing stories, because we're being stonewalled on it — a story in Forbes about an incredible security van, not against this technology. I think — here's the van — I think this is incredible in a war zone. They're called "X-ray vans." They can see through walls. They can see through your clothing.

They were previously only bought by the Department of Defense for use in Afghanistan and Iraq. But, now, it seems the federal government has bought at least 500 of these vans and they're being used here domestically. Why? For what purpose? Who's using them?

They're using them now in your neighborhoods — possibly. That's what we're being told. Congress can't even get a response on this one. The Obama administration is being elusive, won't say exactly who's buying them and why we're driving these vans apparently down the streets in our neighborhoods.

Now, again, if they're used in a war zone, if they're used for shipping containers in our ports, if they're used at our Mexican border — which I know they're probably not — or our Canadian border, I'm cool. Let us know. But pardon me if I'm a little hesitant in giving government free rein to look into people's houses, driving down the street without a search warrant.

Gang — I mean, I hate to put on the hoop skirt and wig, but doesn't the Constitution figure into any of this? Is it really a good idea to give people who openly think that Americans are Homer Simpson and thus can be manipulated, who openly feel it's their duty to control them for the greater good — should we give them this much power to monitor everything we do? Should people give power to people who think that SUVs and your thermostat and big screen TVs are what's destroying the planet? Should we give them the ability to control our thermostats through a smart grid and manipulate us in every choice we make and monitor everywhere we go?

Should we really give more power to people who go to our school children and indoctrinate them like this?
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: There are some things about our world that you know that older people don't know.
(END AUDIO CLIP)

BECK: Here he is speaking in front of 12 and 13-year-olds. There are things that you know that older people don't know. Excuse me? What are those things that parents don't know that their children do?
Can we please ask the media and the politicians — how is it now that kids are smarter somehow than their parents? Can someone give me a definition or when it changed, when it was OK or a good idea to pit kids against their parents and allow government officials to do it?

The president recently announced he wants to elongate the school day and school year so kids will be away from their parents for even more time during the year and now they're in the hands of Department of Ed, a monolithic faceless bureaucracy that America was somehow or another able to limp through without until 1979. This is not some institution that we've always had — 1979 — and nothing has gotten better.

This is a new organization, the Department of Education. And they are gaining more and more power.
Our U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan vowed to make sure that his department — take a guess. What? Improve graduation rates? No. Improve test scores? No, no. He vowed that his department would work to make American children into good environmental citizens. Watch:
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ARNE DUNCAN, EDUCATION SECRETARY: A well-educated citizen knows that we must not act in this generation in ways to endanger the next. They teach students about how the climate is changing, they explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save our planet. They have a role in preparing students for jobs in the green economy.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BECK: There is no green economy.
America, this is your job as a parent. Did you ask your schools to make your child a green environmental citizen?
And then there was the assistant secretary of energy who recently talked about the administration's four tactics for the deployment of clean energy. The first three were government subsidiaries. The last one, quote — you're going to love this — she says, "It's where we have a mandate, where we can actually just issue regulations and do market transformation."

OK, hang on just a second. That's Cass Sunstein. As the secretary says, we're going to make people save money for themselves. This is all part of the appliance standards we told you about last week where most people don't even pay attention to the story. And it results in yet another choice taken away, because they will force you to save money.
They already have so much control and they continue to eliminate choice after choice after choice. Some may seem mundane, like building sandcastles or growing vegetables. But one day, you will wake up and
wonder: Where has it all gone?

This is the progressive opportunity and they know it. They are not willing to let it slip away. There are radicals. There are revolutionaries. Van Jones is one of them. He is telling people now about the upcoming election — he is telling people that you should be afraid. I'll show you what he said — next.







The federal government is hiring what it calls a "Behavioral Insights Team" that will look for ways to subtly influence people's behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com. Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient. 

While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. 

"Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals," reads the government document describing the program, which goes on to call for applicants to apply for positions on the team.

The document was emailed by Maya Shankar, a White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, to a university professor with the request that it be distributed to people interested in joining the team. The idea is that the team would "experiment" with various techniques, with the goal of tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs.

The document praises subtle policies to change behavior that have already been implemented in England, which already has a "Behavioral Insights Team." One British policy concerns how to get late tax filers to pay up.
"Sending letters to late taxpayers that indicated a social norm -- i.e., that '9 out of 10 people in Britain paid their taxes on time' -- resulted in a 15 percent increase in response rates over a three-month period, rolling out to £30 million of extra annual revenue," the document reads.

Another policy aimed to convince people to install attic insulation to conserve energy.  
"Offering an attic-clearance service (at full cost) to people led to a five-fold increase in their subsequent adoption of attic-insulation."

Such policies -- which encourage behavior subtly rather than outright require it -- have come to be known as "nudges," after an influential 2008 book titled "Nudge" by former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and Chicago Booth School of Business professor Richard Thaler popularized the term.

The term "nudge" has already been associated with the new program, as one professor who received Shankar's email forwarded it to others with the note: "Anyone interested in working for the White House in a 'nudge' squad? The UK has one and it's been extraordinarily successful."

Richard Thaler told FoxNews.com that the new program sounds good.
"I don't know who those people are who would not want such a program, but they must either be misinformed or misguided," he said.

"The goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government by using scientifically collected evidence to inform policy designs. What is the alternative? The only alternatives I know are hunches, tradition, and ideology (either left or right.)"

But some economists urge caution.

"I am very skeptical of a team promoting nudge policies," Michael Thomas, an economist at Utah State University, told FoxNews.com.

"Ultimately, nudging ... assumes a small group of people in government know better about choices than the individuals making them."

And sometimes, he added, government actually promotes the wrong thing.
"Trans-fats were considered better than saturated and unsaturated fats in the past. Now we know this is an error."
Every intervention would need to be tested to make sure it works well, said Harvard economics professor David Laibson, who studies behavioral economics and is in touch with the people in government setting up the program. He added that the exact way the team will function is currently unknown.
                                     
"We have to see the details to be sure, but this could work out very well," he said.
Asked about details, Dan Cruz, spokesman for the U.S. General Services Administration (the department which the team will be a part of) told FoxNews.com: "As part of the Administration's ongoing efforts to promote efficiency and savings, GSA is considering adding some expertise from academia in the area of program efficiency and evaluation under its Performance Improvement Council."

Maya Shankar did not respond to questions.
Laibson added that he hoped the U.S. program would stay away from overly controversial subjects.
"Let's say we want people to engage in some healthy behavior like a weight loss program, and then start automatically enrolling overweight people in weight loss programs -- even though they could opt out, I'm guessing that would be viewed as offensive ... a lot of people would say, 'I didn't ask for this, this is judging who I am and who I should be."
But Laibson added that there are very real benefits to some "nudge" policies -- such as one that increases the number of people registered as organ donors by making people decide when they apply for a drivers' license.

Thaler, who is also an adviser to the British Behavioral Insights Team, said that his research also supports automatically enrolling people in retirement savings plans.
              
"Many people have struggled to save enough to provide for an adequate retirement. ... Two simple design changes can dramatically improve the situation ... automatic enrollment (default people into the plan with the option to easily opt out) and automatic escalation, where workers can sign up to have their contributions increased annually," he said.
Jerry Ellig, an economist at the Mercatus Center, said that some "nudges" are reasonable, but warned about a slippery slope.

"If you can keep it to a 'nudge' maybe it can be beneficial," he added, "but nudges can turn into shoves pretty quickly."


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/30/govt-knows-best-white-house-creates-nudge-squad-to-shape-behavior/#ixzz2aXlkkYOT

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