Last week the Congressional Budget Office released its long-term budget outlook, claiming that federal debt is 74 percent of the U.S. economy (as measured by Gross Domestic Product, or GDP). Actually, federal debt is about 105 percent of GDP. That “tipping point” could be a problem because many economists believe that once government debt approaches 100 percent of GDP, economic growth tends to stagnate, um, much like the U.S. economy has under President Obama.
The CBO claims that debt won’t hit 100 percent of GDP for 25 more years, in 2039. But just look at the numbers. The World Bank puts the U.S. economy in 2013 at $16.8 trillion, and the U.S. Treasury says total federal debt stands at $17.6 trillion—that’s nearly 105 percent of the economy.
So what’s the CBO missing, a good calculator? The answer is what the government has borrowed from itself.
The government breaks down its debt into publicly held debt and intergovernmental holdings. Publicly held debt is the debt owed to individuals, companies, the Federal Reserve Bank and other governments. Intergovernmental holdings, by contrast, refers to government assets that are borrowed and then spent by the government, such as the money in the Social Security Trust Fund.
Workers and their employers pay a combined 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax, which the government uses to pay current Social Security beneficiaries. If
Social Security receives more money than it pays out—which was the case until a few years ago—the surplus goes into the Social Security Trust Fund. That surplus currently stands at about $7 trillion. However, the federal government has borrowed all of that money and spent it, leaving a string of non-negotiable IOUs in its wake.
Defenders of the current system, almost all of them liberals, tell us not to worry; the government owes that money to itself. Not exactly.
If you take a dollar out of your left pocket and put it in your right pocket, leaving an IOU in its place, you are no worse off because you can put that dollar back if the left pocket needs it. But if you spend that dollar out of your right pocket, you will have to find another dollar somewhere if the left pocket needs its dollar back. You no longer just owe that dollar to yourself because you don’t have it anymore.
If the federal government needs to pay back the IOUs in the Social Security Trust Fund, as it has been doing lately, the government must come up with the money from somewhere—by taxing, borrowing or printing it. Thus, the only difference between publicly held federal debt and intergovernmental holdings is a middleman—e.g., a government trust fund.
By excluding intergovernmental loans from its standard debt statements, the CBO is ignoring more than a quarter of total federal debt, allowing lawmakers to hide behind a debt burden that is much worse than it seems.
This was over before it started. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was outmatched from beginning to end by House Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy at Wednesday’s hearing.
At question was whether former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails have indeed been destroyed – as previously claimed by Koskinen himself.
As Koskinen choked on Gowdy’s exhaust, the South Carolina lawyer put the pedal to the medal – slamming the commissioner for whining about “low IRS morale.”
It was like the IRS chief was on a ten-speed bike, while Gowdy was lapping him in a Dodge Viper. Nobody makes a lying bureaucrat squirm like Gowdy.
A dramatic spike in the number of Americans with permits to carry concealed weapons coincides with an equally stark drop in violent crime, according to a new study, which Second Amendment advocates say makes the case that more guns can mean safer streets.
The study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons, up from 4.5 million in 2007. The 146 percent increase has come even as both murder and violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.
“When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals,” said the center’s president, John R. Lott, a Fox News contributor. “Some criminals stop committing crimes, others move on to crimes in which they don’t come into contact with victims and others actually move to areas where they have less fear of being confronted by armed victims.”
“When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals.”- John R. Lott, Crime Prevention Research Center
Increasing gun ownership, litigation and new state laws have all contributed to the rise in concealed carry permits. In March, Illinois became the 50th state to begin issuing concealed weapons permits. But the cost and other requirements for obtaining the permits varies greatly, from South Dakota, where a permit requires $10, a background check and no training, to Illinois, where the cost of obtaining a permit comes to more than $600 when the fee and cost of training programs are taken into account.
Six states don’t require a permit for legal gun owners to conceal their weapons, and Lott notes those states have some of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation.
The real measure of the deterrent effect of concealed carry permits, according to Lott, is not laws on the books, but the percentage of a given state’s population that holds the permits. In 10 states, more than 8 percent of adults hold concealed carry permits, and all are among the states with the lowest crime rates. Lott claims his group’s analysis shows that each one percentage point increase in the adult population holding permits brings a 1.4 percent drop in the murder rate.
“We found that the size of the drop [in crime] is directly related to the percentage of the population with permits,” Lott said.
Between 2007 and the preliminary estimates for 2013, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.4 per 100,000.
Last week Al Sharpton embraced convicted vote fraudster Melowese Richardson at a “voting rights” rally in Cincinnati. The United States Department of Justice under Eric Holder has done nothing to Melowese Richardson 410 days after she admitted on camera that she committed multiple federal felonies by voting six times for President Obama’s reelection.
Federal law makes it a felony to vote more than once for President. In fact, 42 U.S.C. Section 1973i(e) subjects Richardson to twenty-five years in federal prison for her six votes for Obama.
The lack of DOJ action against an unrepentant federal vote fraudster combined with Richardson’s lionization by Sharpton and the organization that sponsored the rally demonstrates how the Justice Department is facilitating a culture of brazen criminality on the eve of the 2014 midterm elections. The failure to indict Richardson is the latest example of Holder’s department excusing lawlessness in federal elections and abandoning law abiding Americans.
Melowese Richardson was charged with state voter fraud crimes in Ohio. She was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison on July 7, 2013. Unfortunately, instead of serving five years, Richardson was set free after only eight months.
A state court judge dismissed her May 2013 conviction and five-year prison sentence and allowed her to plead no contest to four counts of illegal voting, the same charges for which she was convicted.
Richardson was represented by the George Soros-funded Ohio Justice and Policy Center, which claimed she suffered from bi-polar disorder. No claim was made that she was insane when she committed her election crimes. Nor was any effort made to establish her insanity.
CHICAGO: strictest gun laws in the country and boasts a homicide rate that is higher than Yemen and Somalia per 100K people. This past weekend there were 50+ people shot and seven killed. This is the outcome of gun control, downward spiraling education, and government dependence (thus control).
However, after a Federal Judge declared it unconstitutional to ban concealed carry, there are glimmers of hope beginning to emerge from that 3rd world version of a city… Give law abiding citizens the opportunity to defend themselves- and they will do so!
One of the spate of shootings that took place in Chicago, Ill. over the July 4th holiday weekend involved a veteran with a concealed carry permit who was forced to a shoot a man who began firing on him and a group of friends.
The incident occurred Friday night, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The veteran and three of his friends were leaving a party on the city’s south side. When the group reached their vehicle, a container with liquor was sitting on top of it. A woman from the group asked another group gathered next door who the liquor belonged to and removed it.
The move angered 22 year-old Denzel Mickiel, who approached the veteran and his friends shouting obscenities. The man then went into his residence and returned with a gun.
As Mickiel opened fire on the group, the veteran took cover near the vehicle’s front fender, according to assistant state attorney Mary Hain, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The veteran fired two shots, hitting Mickiel both times.
Two of Mickiel’s friends also began shooting at the group, which was able to flee the scene in their vehicle.
Mickiel was transported to the hospital and is in critical condition. A woman in the veteran’s group was hit twice – once in the arm and once in the back – but was stabilized and taken to the hospital.
Mickiel is charged with attempted murder and will be held on $950,000 bond.
Had Friday’s shooting occurred a little more than a year ago, the veteran would not have been legally permitted to conceal carry his firearm.
Illinois was the last U.S. state to allow citizens to carry concealed weapons with a permit, finally passing a law on July 9, 2013. The state began issuing conceal carry permits in February.
Seven people died and approximately 50 were injured in shootings that took place in Chicago over the weekend. The city has among the highest violent crime rates among major U.S. cities.
St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia
March 23, 1775.
MR. PRESIDENT: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
Number 10) Only in America…could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 per plate campaign fund-raising event.
Number 9) Only in America …could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black 40+% of all federal entitlements goes to black Americans – 3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics!
Number 8) Only in America…could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
Number 7) Only in America…can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media and liberals react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
Number 6) Only in America…would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just ‘magically’ become American citizens (probably should be number one).
Number 5) Only in America….could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as “extremists.”
Number 4) Only in America…could you need to present a driver’s license to cash a check, board an airplane or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
Number 3) Only in America…could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company(Marathon Oil) averages 12% profit and they take all the risk and the US government takes by force 18.4% to 24.4% in gas tax for taking zero risk and doing absolutely nothing for that revenue other than creating a law to force the oil companies to give it to them. So the government makes 6% to 12% more profit than the oil companies themselves on gas sales for doing absolutely nothing but using force.
Number 2) Only in America….could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year – for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and the left complains that it still doesn’t have nearly enough money for all their programs.
And Number 1) Only in America…could the so called “rich people” who pay 86% of all income taxes – be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all .
Texas Senator Ted Cruz introduced a resolution this week calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special, independent prosecutor. Holder has instead appointed major Democratic donor Barbara Bosserman to investigate the IRS scandal. Cruz then demanded Holder’s impeachment if he refused to appoint an independent prosecutor.
Cruz cited the decisions of the Attorneys General under Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton to appoint independent prosecutors, when both men were accused of abusing their power, and in Nixon’s case, attempting to use the IRS against his political opponents.
Holder’s Justice Department was labeled by Cruz as the most partisan in American history. With a decision to appoint a Democratic donor, and Holder’s resistance to appointing an independent prosecutor, you’d sound awfully silly to try to defend him.
Trey Gowdy had a defining moment when he had to explain to Congress and Barack Obama exactly what their job titles are supposed to be. He lead the charge in passing a bill that directs Obama to follow the laws – clearing the House by a 233 to 181 vote.