Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5, 2012

US Debt Hits Record $16 Trillion
by Patrick Hobin
September 4, 2012

The national debt passed the $16 trillion mark on Tuesday, just as the Democratic National Convention kicks off, Fox News reported.

The Treasury Department announced Tuesday that the debt is at $16.016 trillion, a new record.

Two-thirds of the debt is owed to the U.S. government, American investors and future retirees, through the Social Security Trust Fund and pension plans for civil service workers and military personnel, Fox News reported.

China holds less than eight percent of the money our government has borrowed over the years.

“Today’s news is another sad reminder of President Obama’s broken promise to cut the deficit in half. Instead of working in a bipartisan way to fulfill his promise, the president went on a ‘stimulus’-fueled spending binge that stuck every American man, woman, and child with a $50,000 share of this $16 trillion national debt,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement, The Hill reported.

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said the failure of Democrats to address the growing debt shows they have that "no basis on which to ask to be kept in their majority,” according to The Hill.

"The nation is in desperate need of strong executive leadership to end the financial chaos, restore discipline to government, and lead us to an economic renaissance,” Sessions said.

At their convention last week in Tampa, Republicans posted a giant electronic board that steadily ticked off the debt accumulated every moment from the time they gaveled into session Monday afternoon until they ended the convention late Thursday.

The nation owed $10.6 trillion on Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama was sworn in, and has added another $5.4 trillion since – more than Bush piled up in eight years in office

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As Dems Convene, Food Stamp Rolls Hit Record Level -- And It's a Story Only in the Business Press
by Tom Blumer
September 4, 2012

Completing a two-month full reversal of a tiny decline which began earlier in the year, the USDA reported on Friday that participation in the Food Stamp program, which the government wants everyone to call SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), reached an all-time record high in June. The program's had 46.67 million participants that month, eclipsing the previous record of 46.51 million in December 2011.

Only the business press seems interested in covering the story. What follows are excerpts from the story at Bloomberg Business Week, where the most important story element for reporter Alan Bjerga was the impact on Dear Leader's reelection effort:

Food-Stamp Use Climbs to Record, Reviving Campaign Issue 
Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million people in June, the government said, as Democrats prepare to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term with the economy as a chief issue in the campaign. 
Participation was up 0.4 percent from May and 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier and has remained greater than 46 million all year as the unemployment rate stayed higher than 8 percent. New jobless numbers will be released Sept. 7. 
“Too many middle-class families who have fallen on hard times are still struggling,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an e-mailed statement today. “Our goal is to get these families the temporary assistance they need so they are able to get through these tough times and back on their feet as soon as possible.” 
Food-stamp spending, which more than doubled in four years to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s biggest annual expense. Republicans in Congress have criticized the cost of the program, and the House budget plan approved in April sponsored by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the party’s vice- presidential nominee, would cut expenses by $33 billion over 10 years.
As usual, there is no mention of the program's cost drivers other than the economy itself.

First, benefits are about 30% higher per household now than they were five years ago. Food prices have increased, but by nowhere near that level.

What's more, the number of households participating in the program has continued to rise even as total participation has (until the past two months) leveled off. Compared to September 2011, total participation is up by 402,000, but the number of households has increased by 503,000. Yes, you read that right.

This indicates that the number of single persons on the program is increasing faster than the number of families (in fact, the number of families is probably going down). This strikes me as more than a little ominous.

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Zombies: How the Left Captured Academia, the Media, and Other Organizations
by Vik Rubenfeld
September 5, 2012

Recent studies have confirmed that American universities have become bigoted and biased against the expression of conservative views. One new study documents bias against the expression of conservative views among social and personality psychologists, including those at universities:
We find that respondents significantly underestimate the proportion of conservatives among their colleagues. … that conservatives fear negative consequences of revealing their political beliefs to their colleagues. Finally, we find that conservatives are right to do so. In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues. The more liberal respondents are, the more willing they are to discriminate.
Also note this passage, from the 2009 book The Politically Correct University:
Substantial anecdotal and quantitative evidence indicates that there is a decided leftist bent to colleges and universities, particularly the most prestigious institutions … Moreover, as several of the following contributions discuss, this political imbalance likely stems from practices within the academy that discourage conservatives from pursuing academic careers. … We maintain that the relative absence of conservative, libertarian, and neoliberal thinkers and thought from the academy is in part caused by discriminatory academic personnel practices.
And read this passage from “A Crisis of Competence,” a 2012 report for the Regents of the University of California by the California Association of Scholars:

This report is concerned with the corruption of the University of California by activist politics. … The condition we investigate is now a well-documented pathology of the modern university. … According to a recent (2007) Zogby poll, a majority (58%) of the public now believes that the problem of faculty political bias is a very serious one.

These are the very institutions that were to promote freedom of speech. How were they taken control of in the first place, to the point where the documented intolerance could be permitted?

Professor David Gelernter’s new book America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats) addresses the history behind the transformation of many universities to a system biased in favor of liberal views. He describes how leftist intellectuals were brought into the universities, and how the previous guardians of conservatism in these places bowed out. Galernter observes that such views spread elsewhere from their new home in the university, including to the mainstream media.

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