We Hit the Debt Ceiling — Now What?

The United States hit the debt ceiling on Monday, surpassing $14.3 trillion in debt owed to pay for super important things like the stimulus that was going to keep unemployment from going over 8 percent. It’s totally cool though, because Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner suspended investments in federal retirement funds to buy us a few months to figure out what the heck to do.

Congress has until August 2 to raise the debt ceiling (think of this as a credit card limit — there’s only so much you’re allowed to borrow) or balance the budget.

This has happened numerous times since 1917, when the first limit was set. The idea was a good one: Congress could only borrow so much money before it had to figure out a way to balance the budget and pay back the debt. In theory, it works as a permission slip to borrow and spend, because Congress gets to decide whether or not to increase the limit.

Read the rest at The Stir

New Nonpartisan Website Educates Moms About National Debt

I’ve been in Washington, D.C. this week with a group of ‘mom’ bloggers to promote a super cool new project called MomThink.org. The whole political spectrum was represented, from the ultra conservative (yours truly) to the deep blue Momocrats, but we all had two things in common: Motherhood and a concern for the national debt.

MomThink.org is a nonpartisan campaign with the goal of “educating mothers about important issues that will impact their children today and in the future.” The number-one issue on everyone’s mind right now (politicians and moms alike) is the national deficit and debt, and how to overcome it.

Out of control spending is one of the few topics that both political parties seem to be able to agree on these days. We can’t agree on how to balance the budget, but there’s no denying that it needs balancing. The beauty of MomThink.org is that it isn’t about the hows of balancing trillions of dollars as much as it is about bringing facts and information to moms so that they can develop their own informed opinions.

Read more at The Stir

This Is No Time to Increase the Debt Ceiling: Cut Spending Instead

The new congress has been installed, the Constitution has been read, and now it’s time to get to work. Let’s talk about money, honey, and specifically where it’s going to come from to fund all the spending that our government likes to do.

Funny thing about governments: They don’t make money. People make money by trading goods or services for a paycheck. (This is what is commonly referred to as a job. I know it’s hard to remember in thiseconomy.) The government takes some of that money from you and me in the form of taxes, and gives it to someone else for whatever reason.

Giving away money is super fun. Look! They like us, they really like us! Who doesn’t love to play Santa Claus, offering free health care to all? The government is not Santa, and there are no magical elves working in the ER. Every dollar the government gives away (to Social Security,educationObamacarewelfare queenscrack monkeys) has to come from somewhere.

Read the rest at The Stir

Math is Hard: Keeping Taxes Low Will Not Add to the National Deficit

As the debate over extending the Bush tax cuts rages on, some people are accusing Republicans of adding to the national deficit by not raising taxes on ‘rich’ people. The icky Republicans want to steal $36 billion and “transfer the bulk of that cash into the pockets of the nation’s millionaires.”

Does anyone take basic math classes anymore? Economics? History?

Historically speaking, lowering taxes for employers actually produces more revenue for the government. The Bush tax cuts were what saved us from nose-diving into a recession in the early 2000s. The economy tanked in 2008 because they were spending more than they were taking in, but that’s a subject for another time. We’ve also bounced back from recessions by lowering taxes in the 80s under Reagan, in the 60s under Kennedy, and in the 20s under Coolidge. No country has ever taxed itself into prosperity, and the idea that it could all of a sudden magically work shows a failure to learn from history.

Read the rest at Pundit League

‘Downsized’ Family Forced to Give Up Cable

Most people are cutting back these days. Not those people living on pensions in California, or teachers in New York, or state employeesworking on the New Jersey Turnpike, but most of us are feeling the squeeze from the bad economy.

The housing market is down and unemployment is up. Those that do have jobs are dealing with cut hours or not receiving raises to keep up with the cost of inflation. Employers aren’t hiring anyone in this climate of economic uncertainty.

Since this is America, someone is ready to capitalize on the plight experienced by thousands of families across the nation. Once rags to riches, the story to tell today is riches to rags. WEtv is getting ready to premiere Downsized, a show following the once affluent Bruce family as they struggle to make ends meet.

The concept of the show is a good one. The blended family was living the good life a few years ago, until the crumbling economy changed their financial status. They lost their business and their home, had to declare bankruptcy, and now clean houses for rent money.

One clip for the show features an embarrassed teenage daughter telling the mom that she couldn’t buy everything on the grocery list, because they didn’t have enough money on the food card. My heart breaks for a family that has lost so much that they have to rely on food stamps to feed their children. To me, that’s the last thing you do before your children starve.

Other clips from the show show Dad sitting in a leather office chair, in front of a flat screen computer monitor, making calls to try to collect on some debts, and Mom making the tragic announcement that they’re cutting the cable and limiting daily showers to five minutes apiece. Wait — what? This is the poverty-stricken family?

Everyone is cutting back; clipping coupons, giving up expensive hair care products, and bypassing more expensive stores for Walmart. I know that my family has had to make sacrifices to make up for our increased taxes and rising costs of living, and unless the Bush tax cuts get extended, our income is going to be cut by nearly $4,000. Let me assure you that we make significantly less than a quarter of a million dollars a year.

Taxes are going up to cover the deficit created by a rapidly expanding welfare state. But as long as we have people that receive food stamps, yet still have money for cable, or people that spend theirwelfare checks in exotic locales, no amount of taxation will ever be enough.

I’m sorry that your family is having a hard time. Mine is too. Please curb your spending before you raise my taxes.

Cross Posted at The Stir

Bailouts, Short Sales, and Unemployment: The Vicious Cycle of a Downward Economy

A few months ago, I overheard someone discussing selling their home and buying a new one. She was lamenting the fact that they were doing a short sale, selling the house for less than they bought it for. The woman and her friend then proceeded to moan and groan about the buyer who was “stealing” their equity money.

Wait, what? Who is actually the thief in this situation? When you buy a house, you agree to pay a certain amount of money for it. The couple doing the short sale has dishonored that commitment, thereby “stealing” money from the bank. The new couple has not yet broken any financial promises.

When thinking about the housing market in 2010, words like short saleforeclosures, and upside down mortgages come to mind. Remember back in the early 2000s, when you could buy a house with no equity, hold on to it for a couple of months, then flip it and cash out thousands in equity?

Maybe that ease of purchase is exactly what led to the rapidly declining real estate market. What’s to make someone hold on to a home when they have nothing invested in it? Easy come; easy go, as they say.

Once a few people realized they were in over their heads with their massive mortgages, they dumped them onto the market and moved into housing more within their means. With a dramatic increase in the number of houses on the market, the overall value of homes continued to decline.

Inflation continues to rise, and more people are filing for unemployment benefits than ever before. A few years ago, people could open a home equity line of credit to cover their living costs, but now they must find other ways to make ends meet. Employers aren’t excited to hire anyone right now; they’re trying to figure out how many people they’re going to be able to keep on board with new health insurance mandates and the biggest tax increase in history right around the corner.

Many people, like the woman I overheard, are dumping their homes on the market, while the banks pick up the tab. Ever heard of the bank bailouts? Taxpayer dollars are bailing out the banks that bailed out irresponsible homebuyers.

It’s a vicious cycle that can only be stopped by believing in people and encouraging them to be responsible. As we’ve seen, bailouts only enable those who take advantage of the system. Our economy is an intricate yet simple machine, but the cogs aren’t turning right now. Let’s bring back the concept of personal responsibility and restore America to the land of freedom, integrity, and opportunity once more.

Cross Posted at The Stir

The Liberal Litter Bugs on the Mall

On Saturday my friends and I went to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to check out the museums and monuments and to generally revel in being American. I even got to ride the metro for the first time ever! It was very exciting, and I learned a new rule: Don’t touch anything on the subway.

It was a gorgeous day in the capitol. Seriously, It was so pretty I almost heard music playing in the background. It was also full of a bunch of people wearing purple shirts and carrying fancy-schmancy SIEU signs.

Is a $0.49 piece of poster board and a magic marker not good enough for yah?

The “One Nation Working Together” rally was Saturday, so unions and other leftest groups bussed in thousands of attendees to whine and complain that America sucks. Like one of my friends said, it’s easy to get union members to come to political events. Monday mornings roll around awfully fast, after all.

We even witnessed a couple of UAW chapter bosses checking people off a list as they saw them. It kills me that we didn’t get video.

While it was a bit crowded, it was nothing like the photos I saw from the Restoring Honor Rally, or the 9/12 March. It was obvious that the attendance was a fraction of what it was for conservative events.

Being the responsible, law-abiding citizens we are, conservatives left the lawn as they had found it: Green and clean.

The lefty liberals? Not so much. Here are just a few shots of what we saw on the Mall.

Fight the debris, Nimrod

Obama supporters did this

Poor Abe had to witness this

One Nation attendees, you should be ashamed of yourselves

What a sad day. The left can’t get people to an event without bussing them in and making sure their bosses cross their names off the list. The left can’t make their own signs, they have to be handed flashy manufactured ones. The left can’t even get people to respect the National Mall, a place that deserves reverence. The left can’t get a group of people that claim to care about the environment to, you know, actually care about the environment.

I overheard one of the attendees talking to a park ranger. “I just don’t understand,” he said, “Why is there so much trash? I heard there wasn’t any at that Beck rally … How did they do it?”

Because conservatives aren’t a bunch of whiney litter bugs with no sense of personal responsibility.

That’s how.

Racists & Misogynists: Can We Please Leave Skin Color & Gender Out of It?

Being black does not excuse bad behavior. If a person lies, cheats, steals, or stomps on their neighbor’s flowers, it should not be excused because of that person’s skin color. Likewise, investigating black people on corruption charges does not make someone a racist.

These seem like simple enough concepts to grasp; yet some lawmakers are crying racist over the ethics violation charges being brought against Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA).

The two members of the Congressional Black Caucus (side note — if there’s a black caucus, shouldn’t there be white, brown, purple polka-dotted, and yellow-bellied caucuses as well?) are being formally charged with behavior unbecoming of a member of congress, let alone a decent human being.

Rangel is being charged on 13 counts of ethics violations including tax evasion and using his congressional staff and letterhead to solicit potential donors to the Rangel Center.

During the 2008 banking crisis, Waters intervened with the Treasury Department to benefit a small bank. A bank in which her husband held more $250,000 in stock. Nothing shady about that at all.

Both members of congress chose not to settle with House ethics investigators, as doing so would involve admissions of guilt. After all, it’s difficult to maintain that I-care-about-the-little-people facade when you’re hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars from the IRS or screwing over businesses to benefit your own family.

Read More

I Feel Violated

The answer is unmistakably and resoundingly NO.  Americans do not want a health care system resembling that of Canada or the U.K.  We the people are saying no every way we know how to; in polls, at rallies, with elections.

The time for talk is over.  It is clear that the vast majority of Americans do not want this health care legislation passed.

Any sane and logical congress would say, “Ok, thanks for letting us know.  We represent you the people, and you have made your voices clear.  Let’s toss out this 2000 plus stack of paper and get started on something else.”  But nope, not our congress.  Our congress says, “We know you don’t want it, and we don’t care.  We’re going to find every loophole we can so we can slam you with the largest most unconstitutional tax ever created, all in the name of ‘helping the poor.’”

The poor will not be helped by this bill.  Just look at any other country with government run health care.  It’s the poor that suffer.  Only the rich can afford timely and reliable care.  Why does anyone think it will be different in the US?

I’m absolutely going to go bonkers if I keep hearing, “health care is a right.”  It is not a right.  It isn’t a privilege either.  It’s a service.  You are not entitled to the labor of a doctor.  Just like they are not entitled to free oil changes from the mechanic.  We all work for a living, some of us harder than others.  Call me crazy, but I believe that the people that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on education, work 90 hour weeks, and make life and death decisions on a daily hourly basis deserve to be paid more than my mechanic, and I’m happy to pay it.  I am not happy to pay for other people to see that doctor because they spent their money elsewhere.  We all have to make sacrifices.  Deal with it.  And here’s the thing about Americans- for the most part, we are an extremely charitable group.  If someone really was in a bad situation, I bet there would be a doctor somewhere willing to treat them, or benefactors willing to pay for the treatment.

I have faith in the American people.  I have faith in every single person who wants to better their life.  I have faith in the single mom struggling to make ends meet, the newly graduated college student looking for a job, the father of two teens that just got laid off after 20 years.  I have faith in those people to do what it takes to get through these rough patches of life, and I have faith in their friends and neighbors to help them as they’re able.  I do what I can to help those in need.  I’m grateful for all the times others have been there for me.

But oh this congress.  This congress does not have faith in us.  This congress does not want us to feel the triumph of overcoming adversity, the joy of accomplishment.  This congress wants to enable us with the most massive entitlement program our country has ever seen.  We are better than that.

I want this congress to stop taking my money and giving me back a paltry sum and expecting me to jump for joy.  I know what  you took.  Don’t tell me to be grateful for the $10 check when you snuck $100 out of my back pocket.  I’m wise to your tricks.  A lot of us are.  Which is why you will be voted out this November.  This health care bill and any other crap you manage to sneak through in closed-door deals will be repealed.

Who knew that it would take a violation of Constitutional principles by our leaders for America to stand united in a way we haven’t for generations?  Wonders never cease.

AIG Bailout Mess

So many people are up in arms about the 165 million dollar bonuses promised to AIG execs. In the MSM, I’ve heard such comments as, “It’s not fair!” and, “Why should we reward failure?”

Why indeed?

Maybe politicians should have actually read the policies and contracts in place when they decided to hand over $170,000,000,000 in tax payer funds. That’s money out of our paychecks. Even if you’re part of the 40% or so of working Americans that don’t pay income taxes, it’s money out of your boss’s paycheck, and guess what? That’s less money he has to pay you. Don’t be bitter if you don’t get that raise this year, just be thankful that you still have a job.

Now that the deed is done, pay the AIG people the money that was promised them. Let it be a lesson. Next time, please read the fine print. And the lesson for you, John and Jane America? In 2010, let’s vote some people into office that actual care about us “little people” just trying to make a living, ok?