Additionally, the deal brought back the Payroll Tax cut (a.k.a. F.I.C.A.). You may recall that for 2011 and 2012, we paid only 4.2% of our wages towards Social Security. Beginning January 1, 2013, that tax reverted back to 6.2% for all Americans. That is why everybody felt the pinch with the arrival of their first paycheck in 2013.
Since January, President Obama, the original creator of sequestration has waged one of his patented blame games. He is still pretending that his clever idea of sequestration came from an alien from either Mars or Kenya or a WWII German prison camp! Soon, the corrupt press will be providing either cover or proof.
On January 2, 2013, one day after theoretically solving a big crisis by taking a few kicks at the can, the Congress and the president still faced a "trifecta" of short-term mini fiscal cliffs. That's what happens when you choose to postpone rather than solve problems. The three issues facing Congress and the president on January 2 were: 1) the debt limit, 2) the deferred sequestration, and 3) funding the government through 2013.
Most Americans understand the basic principles of these fiscal issues. The debt is the amount in total that the United States owes to all of its creditors, many of whom are US citizens. We also owe a lot to the Chinese. The deficit is the amount that the US borrows when our tax receipts are less than what we spend. This is the amount that we put on our charge card. This charge card amount adds to the debt each day. The debt limit or debt ceiling is best explained as the US credit card limit as imposed by the Congress and the president. The US Treasury is not permitted by law to charge (borrow) past this ceiling, which is specified through enacted federal legislation.
In December 2012, the debt limit had already reached its then $16.4 trillion ceiling and Secretary of the Treasury Geithner had begun to use "accounting tricks" instead of borrowing to push off the potential default in payments until the end of February. By the end of January, Congress, led by Republicans, passed legislation and the president signed it to move the debt ceiling deadline to May 18. Nothing of consequence was finished but a lot of bad things were postponed.
With the debt ceiling and sequestration deadlines being reset, the third prong of the "trifecta," the process of funding the government for the current fiscal year is yet to be addressed by Congress or Obama. As of today, nobody appears interested in addressing this part of the trifecta. Without action by Congress and the president, it is set to expire on schedule on March 27.
Since the Senate under Harry Reid has chosen not to pass a budget in any of the last four years, the Congress and the administration have been using a game called continuing resolutions to authorize unbudgeted, unconstitutional spending for short periods of time. When the buzzer goes off, spending for 2013 must again be re-authorized.
Without these authorizations, the government is not permitted to spend a dime. So, from now until mid-May, there are numerous fiscal issues ahead as each one of these new mini-cliffs are encountered. It must be an exciting time to be in Congress. Unfortunately, David Copperfield has not been elected, and so regular humans must solve our problems.
Most Americans admit that fiscal issues such as the economy, jobs, and the debt, are on the top of their concerns list. However, our continually campaigning president is at best disinterested. He operates as if with the big election behind him, he now has a free ride in term 2, no matter what happens.
While more and more American people under their breaths are using Bill Clinton's exhortation, "It's the economy stupid!" our current president has dug in on lesser issues that he considers more compelling. Perhaps he knows they are far more enjoyable to tackle for a president free of election constraints, than having to govern a country.
Instead of working on jobs and the economy, Obama has been pushing gun control, a gay agenda for the Boy Scouts, football control, cruise ship control, expanding welfare, permitting illegal immigrants to take American jobs, global warming, and of course early education for all 4-year-olds.
Some of US think there might be more important and / or more compelling immediate issues to solve for a US president. Yet, none of US can deny that working on problems that get one out of the office onto a luxury jet liner are much more exciting than having to do the jobs for which we are paid.
Rather than work at his desk in the Oval Office, have meetings, explore options to important issues, and make decisions as most CEO' s do, Obama has retreated back to campaign comforts. He is back on the most luxurious super-jet in the world, Air Force One. He campaigns for his agenda item du jour and his major plan to get a jump on the 2014 midterm election. Now that he is re-elected, America's problems no longer appear to be his.
It is widely reported that the president has given up on this divided Congress and though he will provide lip service, he will not ever work with them again. Instead, he is preparing executive orders and actions, and he his making campaign stops across the country to push his agenda items directly into the faces of the American people. He has threatened the Congress that if they don't see things his way he will do it all himself, more than likely by trampling the Constitution.
The 2014 campaign is very important to Obama because he cannot stand opposition. Not having the ability to communicate at all with Republicans in Congress, he hopes to eliminate each of them, all at once or one at a time. His objective is to help elect a pure all-Democratic Congress in 2014 so that all of his initiatives can fly-by without Republican interference. That is why the president will have little time for presidential matters for the next two years, regardless of the state of the state.
Marco Rubio got his first lesson in hard-line, take-no-prisoners, Obama politics after the SOTU response address a week or so ago. He is seen by Democrats and the corrupt media as a threat to their hold on the presidency.
Within minutes of his rebuttal to the SOTU, in which the president used the word, "I" 44 times, the corrupt media ruled out Rubio as a potential candidate for US Dog Catcher, or any other public office. Rubio, of course is Hispanic and thus he poses a threat to the Democrats because he may attract many Hispanics to the Republican Party.
The Democrats and the corrupt liberal media declared after Rubio's address that thirsty speakers may not drink water. Rubio, you may recall committed the high crime and misdemeanor of being thirsty and then disrespectfully paused his address to take a drink of water. Liberal progressives fear Rubio and since he is a Republican, they have Obama's blessing to destroy him. The major attacks against the thirsty Rubio on all networks, all day, were just the first volley. Expect more. All challenges will be met with excessive force.
Obama and Democrat shills are thirsty for early blood. Their hope is that before anybody really knows Rubio, they can make a caricature of him as they did with Sarah Palin. Obama knows that by getting an early start on 2014, he can again outfox sleeping Republicans, who seem content to fawn over the president rather than do their jobs by confronting him on his destructive policies.
In mid January, President Obama renewed his four year blame game v Republicans by firing off major threats against the aging and the indigent. His objective is to convince Americans that the big bad Republicans will harm them and the country, while the president himself goes about harming them and the country by his policies.
Obama knows that it was not the Republicans who were threatening the elderly. Republicans have no power and Obama would be the first to rub that fact into their noses. It was not the Republicans who were quoted as being ready to hurt the veterans. "If congressional Republicans refuse to pay Americans' bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed." It was not the Republicans who said that. It was President Obama using his typical scare tactics to intimidate needy Americans while blaming somebody else other than the guy (Obama) who controls the situation.
In past government shutdowns, such as in the Reagan and Clinton administrations, our military was paid, and there was no frightening rhetoric from these presidents. What is wrong with Obama? Is he a lesser president than Reagan or Clinton, neither of whom were willing to hold our troops or the elderly hostage for any political advantage?
In the same message Obama demanded greater taxes. This was just fourteen or so days after weak-hearted Republicans had caved and had given the president both a tax increase and a postponement of the sequestration. Later in January, Republicans caved again and put off the debt ceiling date. Obama has been winning all the battles though his policies are the cause of our nation's miseries.
The reality is that nobody else but Obama in our government has enough authority to unilaterally decide how to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars the treasury will receive during the period in which the country is prohibited from borrowing, and the debt ceiling is ultimately raised.
Obama is the only one who has the authority to cut off food for children, or to cut off food inspections, law enforcement, Head Start and any number of other programs. He thinks we are too dumb to know that and so he will continue to blame anybody he can. Yet, he is the president. He is the only person who can make such decisions.
Our forgetful president is also the originator of the sequestration. Yet, if Bob Woodward had not documented Obama's suggestion that sequestration "...would be an enforcement mechanism," in his book, The Price of Politics, Obama would be denying any role in sequestration to his death—probably several centuries from now.
As a modern day Sergeant Schultz, the president sees nothing and worries about nothing because he typically plans to blame somebody else for each and every one of his failures. First it was George Bush; now his target of opportunity is John Boehner.
The truth is that no critical aspect of government needs to be forced to shut down in the debt ceiling battle or the sequestration unless Obama wants it to shut down. Our president, not the House or the Senate, gets to decide what gets cut, if anything because of his sequestration plan. In other words, unless Obama says no, the checks will all go out. If he is able to convince US all to believe the Republicans did it, however, the checks will not go out. Obama is politics first!
Rush Limbaugh first put forth that Democrats and Obama are not held accountable for their actions, and they are perceived by many Americans to be fighting for Americans against unknown shadowy forces. It is a difficult concept to grasp. Here is a quote from Rush Limbaugh that helps put this idea in perspective:
"When it is their policies that are causing jobs to be lost, their policies causing taxes to go up, their policies resulting in the loss of liberty and freedom, their policies that are responsible for gas prices going up and housing values plummeting, how is it that they have never been held accountable? Obama is the king of this." This is profound. Can so many Americans be so dumb? It does explain why Obama got reelected.
If Obama thinks he can get away with taking benefits from the elderly and / or the veterans and / or children for any reason, it is his call, not the Republicans. He knows that for sure; but he thinks he can convince low information voters not to accept the reality. He thinks he can blame the Republicans and that the dumbest of Americans will buy into it.
The way politicians on the left and the right treat the overpowering national debt, the massive yearly deficit, and the mythical national debt ceiling proves that their interests and the interests of the people, who have elected them, are not in synch. The Congress and the president remind me of children who are not well disciplined and thus, they can do whatever they want. They have never been taught self-control.
In review, though the president is working on none of these issues, these are the six big items that have been plaguing Americans on the fiscal level for the last several months:
Government authorization for funding (continuing resolution)
Debt Ceiling Summary
Those paying attention know that the national debt ceiling was just raised again near the end of January 2013. It permitted Secretary Geithner to go back to his normal routine after using accounting tricks to prevent the US from defaulting during January. The agreement between Congress and the president granted an extension for the US Treasury to borrow above the $16.4 trillion debt limit until May 18. At this time, less than three months from now, the two political sides again will face a decision about whether to raise the limit.
My good friends, John and Jane Q. Public are smart enough to see all of these "cliffs," for what they are—ploys for undisciplined "adult children" to get what they want. Though by age, they are adults; our Congress does not trust even itself to do the right thing. It knows it has no will power regarding spending and so, it devises tricks, such as fiscal cliffs and sequestration, to discipline itself into doing the right thing for the people.
Then, when the cliffs are in sight, the Congress tries to escape from the very constraints it places on itself. The debt limit is another one of these gimmicks. It is chicanery devised to give Congress some discipline, and to convince the people that our representatives in both chambers are our saviors. Since we are the employers of the Congress, it may be time that we gave Congress a warning about their substandard, dishonest work. We do control their time cards.
The December fiscal cliff
Most of the trifecta and other points of fiscal concern can be classified as professional political gamesmanship. It is designed to make all of US believe that we live in an inescapable Greek tragedy and our only hope is our esteemed leaders, if only they would be kind enough to serve and save US.
In December, 2012 there was a lot of concern about the mystical fiscal cliff. Only those in a coma in December would not have heard of this potential disaster. Many conservatives such as I hoped the conservative leadership in Washington would just let it happen so we could prove that we would survive without such a huge resource-confiscating government.
Unfortunately, too many Republicans, licking their wounds from a grave political defeat on November 6, chose not to be brave. They cowered while the Obama team ate them for breakfast on November 7 and they cower yet today. I regret to say that the dedicated Obama team had a really easy time bullying these pansy RINOs in the Congress into submission. Far too easy!
I do pray that soon we will have just one Democrat party again instead of the two we now have. Nobody needs Republicans (RINOS) becoming adjuncts to the Democratic party. Let's hope conservatives can take charge to create an opposition party to the well organized Democrats.
Going over the big cliff was labeled by the corrupt media as a potentially negative happening for Republicans. They were ready to blame Republicans no matter who rightfully was to blame. They painted a picture in which only the good guys would fall off a cliff into a huge dry gorge and reach sudden financial death if our beloved Congress and the president did not act immediately to save US. RINOs bought that message.
Yet, it was our president, the Congress, and the media that had placed US in such a predicament. Will all Americans forgive Obama for taking a stance or will we again forget that he is by design the most powerful person in America, and the major force behind today's negative happenings within our nation? If after four years Obama is still responsible for nothing, then, please tell me: who is?
In the oft played cliff scenario, we can envision that granny and the rest of US become freshly chopped meat at the bottom of a gorge, as we fall from a cliff. Of course this causes our financial world, led by nasty rich people to collapse. Many conservatives at the end of 2012 hoped that our representatives would engage the faux cliff as the beginning of real negotiations to bringing spending under control. Instead, all we got were multiple revival versions of "Send in the Clowns!" The Clowns are still hiding—none willing to take the blame.
This crisis was created by politicians at the federal level and they hoped we would embrace them for their disingenuous kindness when they opted to postpone the event.
Its magical resolution on January 1, 2013 resulted in both Cherubim and Seraphim praising Obama while hummingbirds were singing beautiful praises in phrases to the one and only. Taxes were raised on the rich and the sequestration was postponed for two months. Flowers were blooming in the dead of winter to celebrate the greatness of the one and only. It was amazing! Nobody but Obama, the one and only, could have reaped a success from what he and his cohorts had planned to be a national calamity.
No matter whom our feckless president, Barack Obama, blames for the debt ceiling or sequestration, look no further than our own Sergeant Schultz Obama, the Obama alter ego. Any of the calamities "Schultz" chooses to bring on Americans from not doing his job well, are Obama's fault. Folks, please blame Obama! After all, Obama, not Schultz, is the President. He gets paid by you and me for being the president. If he will not take the blame as president, then who should?
In Part II, this coming Thursday, we explore sequestration in much more detail. Perhaps ole Schultzy Obama, the alter ego of our highly praised president, will appear again.
I see nothing! I was not even here! I did not even get up this morning! Was it Sergeant Schultz or Obama who suggested sequestration?