American Elephants


Need Arguments for the Lefties in the Family? by The Elephant's Child

Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is one of my favorite Senators. As ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, he had a few choice words for Jack Lew when the Treasury Secretary appeared at a Budget Committee hearing on President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal.  Even more than usual, the president’s budget is based on ideological fantasy rather than substance, and dead on arrival. There is zero chance of it becoming the basis for federal spending next year, let alone the next then years. Senator Sessions said:

Thank you, Secretary Lew, for appearing before us today.

In 2009, the Administration wagered America’s financial future on the idea that a record increase in government spending and debt would revive the economy. Since then, government debt has increased 64 percent and is on track to double by the end of the President’s second term. What are the results?

* America is in the midst of slowest recovery since the end of World War II.
* Workforce participation has shrunk to a nearly 40-year low.
* The Labor Department reports that most occupations pay less today than they did when the President took office.
* Government debt has leaped from roughly $10 trillion to $17 trillion, yet median income has dropped $2,268 per household over that same time, and the decline has actually accelerated.

This is a huge disaster.

The justification for this unprecedented accumulation of debt was the claim that it would lead to prosperity. And yet now, we have none of the prosperity and all of the debt. This plan has proven to be one of the most costly failed gambits in American history. The White House’s average 2013 growth projection in their 2009 through 2012 budgets was 3.9 percent. Economic growth is critical for America’s workers—translating into higher wages and better jobs with benefits.

But actual growth last year came in at half what was projected, 1.9 percent—a huge difference with real impact on millions of Americans. For example, CBO has repeatedly said that the Administration’s $870 billion stimulus bill would be a long-term drag on the economy.

So what does the President propose in his new budget?

The plan increases spending growth by almost $1 trillion, bursting through the Ryan-Murray spending caps he signed into law only two months ago. So, while the military gets hammered, other agency budgets soar. The White House proposes the following increases next year:

* A 45% increase for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
* An 18% increase for the Legal Services Corporation.
* A 15% increase for the Department of Energy.
* A 30% increase for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and
* A 7% increase for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

The plan also raises taxes more than $1 trillion—in addition to the $1.7 trillion in taxes he’s already enacted. New proposed taxes include:

* Limit the value of itemized deductions to raise taxes by almost $600 billion.
* Raise the death tax and reduce the exclusion to increase taxes by over $100 billion.
* Increase taxes on unemployment insurance by $78 billion.
* Increase taxes on energy production by $49 billion.

So the President raises taxes to increase spending. It is a tax-and-spend budget that will never pass. Altogether, the White House budget plan would add another $8 trillion to our $17 trillion debt. [Ed.: And that assumes that all of the optimistic assumptions in Obama's ten-year plan come true--which has never happened yet.]

The seriousness of the situation is demonstrated by this fact: last year, we paid our creditors $221 billion in interest on our federal debt. Under the President’s plan, according to his own numbers, annual interest payments will nearly quadruple to $812 billion.

Rising interest payments represent arguably the gravest threat to our nation’s financial security. Should interest rates increase even slightly above projections, the costs of financing our debt would quickly surge to emergency levels. As the Director of the Congressional Budget Office warned, we face “the risk of a fiscal crisis.”

Clearly, we must pursue a new course that creates jobs and that does not add to our debt. Here’s how:

* Produce more American energy to create jobs right here in the U.S.
* Streamline the tax code and lower rates to make America more globally competitive.
* Eliminate every unnecessary regulation that destroys jobs.
* Adopt a trade policy that defends the legitimate interests of U.S. workers.
* Enforce an immigration policy that serves American workers.
* Turn the welfare office into a job a training center.
* Make government leaner, doing more with less.
* Balance the budget to restore confidence and growth.

Senator Session has solid judgment, and an excellent instinct for what issues deserve priority. This is an excellent summary of just how ObamaCare has contributed to the dismal economy. A clear majority of Americans know that more government spending and higher taxes hurt the economy.



Fort Hood — Four and a Half Years and Waiting! by The Elephant's Child

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The 2009 Fort Hood shooting is ancient history for most people. But the House Homeland Security committee will hold a hearing regarding various aspects of the administration’s response to the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.

Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) wants an explanation for why the incident is still being classified as “workplace violence” as opposed to terrorism. He wants to know why victims of the attack still have not received Purple Hearts, and why benefits for the families of all survivors have not yet been provided. This is a cause that Texas Senators Ted Cruz(R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX) have been pursuing.

The victims say they feel abandoned by the U.S. government and by their military. The Pentagon last year fought efforts to award the Purple Heart out of concern that doing so could harm Hasan’s chance at receiving a fair trial.

For The Record contacted the Army 15 times since December requesting an on-camera interview, but was given only an emailed statement saying that while the Army has no “intelligence or findings to date that indicate Hasan was under the direction or control of a foreign element, we stand ready to act accordingly should any evidence to the contrary be presented. If the U.S. Congress acts to change the standard, we will adhere to that direction.”

More than 80 survivors and victims’ family members have joined in a civil suit against high-ranking officials seeking compensation and answers — yet they feel their suit has hit a “roadblock.”

The victims and the attorneys who represent them say their civil suit has been blocked from proceeding by numerous excuses and legal motions set in to place by the Army and the Department of Defense. They say the current motion to stay the civil case and temporarily halt the proceedings is to give the base commander the opportunity to review the transcripts of Hasan’s trial. In a federal court, transcripts are immediately made available at the end of a trial, but that’s not the case in a military court martial like Hasan had.

This is a shameful situation. Is it all about the embarrassment of high officials at the extent to which they ignored warning after warning because of simple political correctness? Or will revealing that — trace the orders to be politically correct lead to the Pentagon and top brass?

It is not as if the American people are unaware of the administration’s delusion that if we are just nice to Muslims, the problem of terrorism will go away. We can talk. Reasonable people can find ways to agree.  The illusion keeps popping up in Libya, in Egypt, in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in dealings with Iran. But we’re just not as good at “conversation” as we think we are. Our opponents remain deeply unimpressed, and welcome our weakness.




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