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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Obama on Sequester for Low Information Voters and other updates

Debt, Government / Bureaucracy, President Obama, Spending, The Economy, TAXES

Saturday Night Live aired a very clever parody last week, featuring President Obama (Jay Pharoah) holding a press conference to explain the consequences of sequester.  True to form, Obama brings in individuals negatively affected by the crisis-of-the-moment to illustrate his point.

If you could use a good laugh, watch. My favorite budget cut solution was offered by the air traffic controller.

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Obama's Sequester Spending Cut Disaster Charade Continues

Debt, Government / Bureaucracy, President Obama, Spending, TAXES

We've known it was coming. The very idea came from the White House. He approved it a year and a half ago, and in November 2011, insisted it be done. What is it? Why the Sequester, of course.

What is a sequester? Automatic spending cuts triggered to go off in 2013, after the 2012 presidential campaign. Sequester was a gimme the money now, I'll economize later deal.

And here is a graph of that Sequestration deal. Nothing cut from present levels of spending, just $85 billion cut from 2 years of* FUTURE spending! Take a look here. (Put your reading glasses on or you might not notice the change.) *Correction: About $44 billion cut from this year, remaining cuts spread out over the next 7 years.

Now our Spender in Chief doesn't want to go through with Sequester cuts and threatens the sky will fall if we don't increase the increase in government spending on Friday. So much for his famous last words from November of 2011 regarding welching on the deal: “Already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts – domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one.”

But then our President seems to enjoy running our government in sky-is-falling-crisis mode, or as Peggy Noonan just wrote, "Government by Freakout". And to make sure you freakout, Obama's Federal Immigration officials just approved 100s of illegal convicted criminal detainees released from prison for emphasis on how these budget increase cuts will affect us. Now the President could easily find $85 billion savings by eliminating redundant programs, fraud, and wasteful pork spending but instead chose this avenue to make his point.

Refreshingly, for once Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is not negotiating this one in advance but is challenging the Senate to 'Get off its [posterior]' to propose other cuts if those in the Sequester deal are unacceptable. Reason being, the House has come up with 2 proposals thus far with no response from the President or Senate. Hope the Republicans stand firm on this.

One reason the president might be balking is that he again is talking about increasing revenues in any substitute sequester deal: "So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts.

Increasing revenues could be the real reason for Obama's flip-flop. Incidentally, $85 billion in sequester cuts funds the government for about a week and a half--hardly worth freaking out about.


And here is another heads-up: The debt ceiling/government shut down could come at the end of March, so I would avoid planning any extensive vacations touring our National Historic Sites and Parks until later in the spring. Like a school district facing a budget cut with the threat the cut will eliminate the music program, government threatens to close the Washington Monument*or Grand Canyon, etc. (We had an extensive National Park trip tour planned for the last debt ceiling crisis in April 2011! Rangers told us they put up barricades to block park entrances the eve of the debt ceiling agreement--just in case. That agreement was reached at the 11th hour, 11pm our time.) *Washington Monument is presently closed for repairs.

More Reading:
Bob Woodward: Obama's sequester deal-changer
President Obama in 2011: 'No Easy Off-Ramps' on Sequester
Noonan: Government by Freakout
Federal Spending Without and With Sequester Cuts
Boehner tells Senate to 'Get off its [posterior]
Immigrants Released Ahead of Automatic Budget Cuts

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Can we please talk 'Debt Control'? It's For the Kids

Conservatives, Debt, President Obama, Spending, THE ECONOMY, Taxes

Congress is poised to kick our debt ceiling crisis down the road to May, but instead of using this breathing room as an opportunity for getting our message out, we are still distracted by the topic of the day--gun control and now amnesty.

Debt Limit USA crafted this easy to understand 3 minute piece that explains what our government is doing--borrowing more money than it takes in. They call it Debt Limit - A Guide to American Federal Debt  Made Easy, or as I call it, The Debt Crisis in Terms Even a Low Information Voter Can Understand!
 
It doesn't get much easier than this; watch the whole thing. The ending is applicable to our unsustainable debt problem.

In case you didn't catch the last slides from the clip, the dad's annual household budget had $140,000 household debt, income of $21,700, $38,200 in spending, $16,500 in new bank to loan (debt), budget cuts $385--about 1% of their total household budget. Sound familiar?

Our Federal Budget Deal to Raise Debt Limit was: $14 Trillion total debt (obliviously, this was from the last 2011 debt crisis because we are well over $16T now!), $2.17 T federal income, $3.82 T in Fed. spending, $1.65 T in new debt, and the amount "cut" (from future spending)? A measly $38.5 Billion, about 1% of the total budget.

No matter, our children, grand children and great, great grandchildren will be picking up this tab.

Unlike other It's for the kids pleas, this one IS for the kids! Us too.

More reading:
House Votes to Temporarily Suspend U.S. Debt Ceiling 
Obama's Now Borrowed More Than All Presidents from Washington to W
US Debt Headed Toward 200% of GDP Even After 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal
Speaker: Fitch: Cut Spending or Risk Credit Rating Downgrade
Morning Bell: Don't Raise Debt Ceiling Without Balancing the Budget

I urge you to contact your legislators and tell them to talk about our spending crisis and then stand firm on more debt. We don't have much time.
Contact your Representatives and Senators
Find your  U.S. Senators by last name
Wisconsin's  U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (202) 224-5323
Wisconsin's   U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (202) 224-5653

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Republicans stuck between 'a Barack and hard place' must unite, stand firm, and go on offense

Conservatives, Debt, Legislation, President Obama, Spending, Taxes, THE ECONOMY

We averted the so-called fiscal cliff this week with mixed results: some say Republicans caved on raising taxes, some say Republicans protected most taxpayers, some Democrats thought Obama lost. I was surprised that Conservative Senator Ron Johnson voted for it and pleased that Senator Marco Rubio and our Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner didn't. But honestly, with our poor GOP leadership and under the no floor debate, lame duck, back room negotiating circumstances, I don't know how this could have been resolved in a positive way. If Republicans had voted it down, Obama would just have come back later to play the role of hero by enacting a middle tax cut, knowing he had already turned up the tax heat on all those evil rich. We would have needed more proactive leadership in Congress and have been discussing this all year long, not just in the eleventh hour.

The only positive thing to come out of the deal was that the Bush tax rates were made permanent for 98% of American earners. (Permanent as long as Republicans hold the majority in the House, that is.) But even this is Kabuki theater because our tax burden is still going up with other tax increases already in place as of Jan. 1st and new revenue increases via eliminating some deductions that were part of the fiscal cliff deal as well.

With the Bush tax rates now at least set for the 113th Congress, Republicans could for once in their lives go on the offense and get the message out that our out of control spending cannot, cannot continue. Republicans could redeem themselves by presenting a united front in the House and Senate and standing firm against increasing the debt ceiling by another 3 trillion dollars as the president wants.

But this will only work if they start talking about it now and are willing to draw the line in the debt ceiling sand and say, no further.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Pat Toomey talked about this on Jan. 2nd. McConnell said, "'We have an immediate opportunity to act: the debt ceiling,' McConnell said. 'Washington’s credit card has reached its limit again, and the Senate majority must act on legislation early in February—rather than waiting until the last minute, abdicating responsibility and hoping someone else will step in once again to craft a last-minute solution for them.'”

Toomey was more emphatic, “'[Obama] got a $2 trillion debt limit increase just 17 months ago — blew through all that,'Toomey said on Morning Joe.'We will only solve this problem when we finally get the spending under control. And the debt ceiling, and after that, the continuing resolution expiration — those are the vehicles that give us the opportunity to insist on making progress on the real problem.'”  He "suggested" a "partial government shutdown" may be necessary to make the point. That's where truly necessary spending is continued and funded via tax revenue income; non-essential spending is stopped.

Getting the Republican message out is a problem with the pro Obama Praetorian press ruling the media markets. Maybe Republicans could hire the same people who created Senator Ron Johnson's ads for his senate campaign. Johnson's ads were short, concise, and explained just what was at stake with our out of control spending. We really need messaging like that in the GOP.  RNC, are you listening?

I urge you to contact your legislators and tell them to stand firm on the debt ceiling. We have less than a month to do this.
Contact your Representatives and Senators
Find your  U.S. Senators by last name
Wisconsin's  U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (202) 224-5323
Wisconsin's   U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (202) 224-5653

Find your  U.S. House of Representatives member by state
House Representative James Sensenbrenner Washington D.C. (202) 225-5101, Brookfield (262) 784-1111

House Speaker Boehner phone line (513) 779-5400

Read more

Taxing rich will hurt already employed, at all pay levels

Entrepreneurship, Government / Bureaucracy, Jobs, President Obama, TAXES, Socialism / Marxism, Spending, THE ECONOMY

President Obama, the champion of class warfare rhetoric*, has been chanting the mantra: tax the rich, as a solution to our deficit, poverty, and social class disparity for as long as I can remember. Obama also throws around the phrase fair share to justify tax rates that take more than half their income. And we really should call his attack what it is: tax the successful. Republicans and economists counter with how taxing the successful (rich ) will harm small businesses, who are the majority of job creators in America. Being a Conservative, I side with the Republicans, I view fairness as taxing all income at the same rate.

But one consequence of taxing the rich I have yet to hear anyone mention: who will be the consumers if they have less income once their taxes are paid? Who will be building a new home or hiring the local remodeler? Who will be purchasing that new car or new furniture? Who will be dining out every weekend? Or having their hair and nails done, stopping for a latte, or hiring the yard and cleaning help? Who will be able to afford vacationing in Wisconsin or at popular tourist attractions across America?

American tourism already seems down in the U.S., at least from what I have observed. Hearing a foreign language or accent at Yellowstone or Grand Canyon National Parks is the norm. Last fall, my sister and I observed that Disney World would really be hurting if it weren't for the Brazilians spending their dollars at the Kingdom of the Mouse. An American accent was in the minority at all locations.

But it isn't just the business owners' ledger that takes the hit when tourists cut back, its all the employees at these businesses that feel it too. If Disney, the largest employer in the U.S., the National Parks or even Wisconsin Dells, for that matter, experience a downturn, then area hotels don't need as many housekeepers. Restaurants cut hours or move employees to part time. Peripheral tourist attractions such as raft rides or water parks lose business.

If consumers cut back, because they don't have as much disposable income as they used to, the carpet, furniture, clothing, and tech. stores suffer a loss. That loss is passed on to the employees; the management cuts hours, sometimes pay, sometimes benefits, and often terminates employees.

Of course the truly wealthy will still do and buy these things or just move out of the country, but the $200,000 - $250,000 earners, who file their business taxes on their personal tax returns, will be hurting.

And if you think you aren't one of those upper 2% earners, so your paycheck will be untouched, think again: ObamaCare taxes are coming our way in 2013. More than likely the Payroll Tax Cut will expire, resulting in less take home pay.

So if all of us have less money in our pockets, who will be the purchasers? How will that effect your job?

Contact your Representatives and Senators
Find your U.S. Senators by last name
Wisconsin's U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (202) 224-5323
Wisconsin's U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (202) 224-5653

Find your U.S. House of Representatives member by state
House Representative James Sensenbrenner Washington D.C. (202) 225-5101, Brookfield (262) 784-1111

House Speaker Boehner phone line (513) 779-5400

Read more

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