American Elephants


Straightforward Question. Acting Budget Director Unprepared. by The Elephant's Child

You don’t want to tackle Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), ranking member of the Budget Committee, if you don’t have your numbers on the tip of your tongue. It was a fairly major number that Senator Sessions asked for from Acting Budget Director Jeff Ziets. How much does this budget raise the deficit? When you get used to putting numbers in their most pleasing and engaging form, in order to confuse the people about what you are doing, you can be unprepared for plain old straight talk. Mr. Ziets was unprepared, and embarrassingly condescending.

The National Debt is rapidly approaching $17 Trillion. Could we please manage to take it seriously, Mr. Ziets?



The World Rejects Obamanomics!! by The Elephant's Child

In the Wall Street Journal today, George Melloan writes:

The American leaders are under the illusion that their Keynesian spending and easy money policies actually have worked, 10% unemployment notwithstanding.  They cite the weak recovery that has been underway since last summer as proof.

Across the pond, however, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is proposing deep cuts in spending in his proposed budget, reaching half a trillion pounds over the next five years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with her vice-chancellor, Guido Westerwelle, head of the Free Democratic party passed the largest austerity package since World War II on Monday, with spending cuts and new business levies aimed at saving 80 billion euros by 2014.  Merkel says Germany, as Europe’s largest economy must set an example.

So guess who is on the phone to tell P.M. David Cameron and Chancellor Merkel that they must not save, but spend, spend, spend?  Well, that kind of puts the real problem up in neon lights, doesn’t it?  “Barack Obama is refusing to listen to reason on economic policy,” reads the headline in the Telegraph.  In Der Spiegel, it’s “Merkel Defends Herself Against Criticism from Washington.”

Obama is pressing Europe to focus more on sustaining their deficit spending rather than debt reduction. Germany, Europe’s de facto bailout banker-in-chief, has essentially responded “Are you nuts?”  Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, more diplomatically told reporters “Nobody can seriously dispute that excessive public debts, not only in Europe, are one of the main causes of this crisis.”

Well, the upcoming G-20 Summit in Toronto should be a little more lively than usual.  No one can accuse President Obama of not practicing what he preaches.  He has all kinds of big-ticket items on his list that he hasn’t even managed to get funds appropriated for yet.  And apparently the idea of restraining spending seems like one of those crackpot Republican ideas.

In the Wall Street Journal, again, Ann Mettler, executive director of the Lisbon Council says:

In the run-up to this weekend’s G-20 meeting, there is growing U.S. pressure on Europe to suspend its austerity programs. Among those urging for continued deficit spending to overcome the economic crisis are Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, U.S. President Barack Obama and—in a nearby oped—his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers. Their advice is economically unreasonable, politically inappropriate and demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of European realities.

The advice demonstrates a pretty profound lack of understanding of American realities as well.



What a Trillion Dollars Looks Like by American Elephant
March 12, 2009, 6:58 pm
Filed under: Economy, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , ,

A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon we’re talking serious money.

But seriously. Barack Obama and Democrats have spent well over a trillion dollars in just 50 days, but the problem is very few people, yours truly included, can wrap their minds around how much money one trillion dollars even is.

Well, the folks over at PageTutor have tried to help. After discovering that a stack of a hundred $100 bills is just less than a half inch thick, they used 3D rendering software to extrapolate out illustrations for what a million, a hundred million, a billion, and one trillion dollars looks like.

The pic above is the result. (click to enlarge, or better yet, see all the illustrations here). Ten thousand pallets of $100 million dollars each… and the pallets are double-stacked. The tiny red dot in the lower left is an adult male.

Keep in mind this is using $100 bills — a trillion dollars in $1 bills would be 100 times as big.

And Democrats have already spent that much, and then some!

(Page Tutor via Gizmodo)




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