Jay Carney

GDP Drop Blamed On Hurricane Sandy, Republicans

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, some talking heads on the TV were saying how the U.S. economy would take a significant hit from all the destruction. I remember turning to my girlfriend and saying, “Well, there’s their out.” I went on to explain that if the economic numbers for the fourth quarter ended up being crummy, the White House would just go ahead and blame Sandy.

So while I was a little surprised to hear about the drop in GDP today (I thought enough “stimulus” was already coursing through the financial system), the same can’t be said about what the White House said this morning. Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote on The White House Blog today:

According to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis today, real GDP edged down 0.1 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, amid signs that Hurricane Sandy disrupted economic activity and Federal defense spending declined precipitously, likely due to uncertainty stemming from the sequester. This was the first quarterly drop in real GDP in three-and-a-half years (see first chart below). Over the last fourteen quarters, the economy has expanded by 7.5 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 10.9 percent. During the four quarters of 2012, real GDP grew by 1.5 percent, the third consecutive year of economic expansion.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Don’t get me started on that “economic expansion” bit, as it’s been oh-so-terrific for many Americans.

Hurricane Sandy’s economic impact and a decline in government spending last quarter is repeatedly mentioned in the blog post, leading some to believe that the Obama administration is blaming the economic contraction last quarter a good deal on that late October storm and the Republican Party. Reuters’ Mark Felsenthal wrote on Yahoo! News this afternoon:

The White House on Wednesday blamed the surprising contraction of the economy at the end of last year at least partly on Republican “political brinkmanship” for threatening to let defense cuts take effect.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said similar threats over a looming March 1 deadline when defense and other cuts take effect absent a broader budget deal could similarly hurt the U.S. economy and taxpayers.

“This is political brinkmanship with one primary victim, and that is American taxpayers and the American middle class,” Carney said at a briefing.

“Our economy is facing a major headwind … and that’s Republicans in Congress.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Since the campaign for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have consistently blamed George W. Bush and the Republican Party for the nation’s ongoing economic woes (I submit both major political parties are truly at fault and the damage began decades earlier). Believing that this strategy worked to retain the Oval Office in 2012, and based on Carney’s words today, be prepared to hear even more blamethrowing of this type going forward in President Obama’s second term.

In the meantime, the financial house of cards keeps growing more unstable with trillions of dollars of debt being continually heaped upon it.

Hurricane Sandy. The GOP. How about the “stimulus” being injected into the cancer (debt)-ridden patient is perhaps becoming less effective over time? Instead of a strong, sustainable economic recovery, we’re seeing a weak one that’s requiring constant assistance.

What QE are we on again?

Furthermore, Washington and the Fed are “running out of bullets.” It’s somewhat amazing they’ve managed to “kick the can down the road” this far.

Looking back on today’s GDP announcement and related events, it’s apparent the blamethrowers are alive and well in the nation’s capital.

And the proverbial brick wall- or our “financial reckoning day,” as some like to call it- keeps getting closer.

Be advised.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Krueger, Alan. “Advance Estimate of GDP for the Fourth Quarter of 2012.” The White House Blog. 30 Jan. 2013. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/30/advance-estimate-gdp-fourth-quarter-2012). 30 Jan. 2013.

Felsenthal, Mark. “White House blames Republican ‘brinkmanship’ for GDP contraction.” Reuters. 30 Jan. 2013. (http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-accuses-republicans-brinkmanship-spending-cuts-181022857–business.html). 30 Jan. 2013.

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Obama Backs New Gun Ban After Declaring ‘I’m Not Going To Take Away Your Guns’ In 2008

“A woman in the crowd told Obama she had ‘heard a rumor’ that he might be planning some sort of gun ban upon being elected president. Obama trotted out his standard policy stance, that he had a deep respect for the ‘traditions of gun ownership’ but favored measures in big cities to keep guns out of the hands of ‘gang bangers and drug dealers’ in big cities ‘who already have them and are shooting people.’

‘If you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it,’ Obama said. But the Illinois senator could still see skeptics in the crowd, particularly on the faces of several men at the back of the room.

So he tried again. ‘Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress,’ he said. ‘This can’t be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back there. I’m not going to take away your guns.’”

-Mary Lu Carnevale and Christopher Cooper, Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog, September 5, 2008

David Jackson and Jackie Kucinich reported on the USA TODAY website tonight:

Obama backs new assault weapons ban

President Obama supports efforts to reinstate an assault weapons ban as part of a comprehensive plan to address gun violence, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Press Secretary Jay Carney added that Obama would back proposals to close the “gun show loophole,” which allows people to buy weapons without background checks…

Obama met with aides and others to develop a “comprehensive” plan that would include the education, social and mental health issues associated with gun violence. He is also “interested in looking at” possible restrictions on high-capacity ammunition clips, Carney said…

Obama “wants to move in the coming weeks,” Carney said.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“I’m not going to take away your guns.”

Truth-loving Americans will hold the President to that statement.

Sources:

Mary Lu Carnevale and Christopher Cooper. “Obama: ‘I’m Not Going to Take Your Guns Away.’” Washington Wire. 5 Sep. 2008. (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/09/05/obama-im-not-going-to-take-your-guns-away/). 18 Dec. 2012.

Jackson, David and Kucinich, Jackie. “Obama backs new assault weapons ban.” USA TODAY. 18 Dec. 2012. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2012/12/18/obama-carney-newtown-assault-weapons-ban/1777793/). 18 Dec. 2012.

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Obama To Issue Executive Order To Implement Cybersecurity Act?

Back when I was tooling around with my Apple IIc in the mid-eighties, I thought dial-up computer Bulletin Board Systems were the bomb. And with all the talk these days about the fragility of and control over the Internet, I’m starting to wonder if BBSs won’t have a future again. From Jason Mick earlier today on the technology news website Daily Tech:

I. Cybersecurity Bill – Down, But Not Out

Take the “Cybersecurity Act”, bill, S.2105, for example. A redraft of earlier House bill H.R. 3523, the Act gained the support of the President by modifying its proposed implementation to include funneling more of Americans’ private data through the increasingly Big Brother-esque U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

While the President was delighted by the promise of the DHS gaining more access in the name of fighting a shadowy, vague Chinese threat, privacy advocates and fiscal conservatives were horrified by the bill. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) called the bill “Big Brother writ large.”

The bill also stalled in the Senate thanks to growing concern from the corporate community, who urged their affiliated Republican Senators to move to block the bill. Business leaders supported some of the provisions that would tear down legal barriers between government and private sector information sharing. But they balked at the proposal of mandatory security guidelines — another key part of the bill.

Well, bill or no bill the Obama administration is confident they can put the policies in place. The key to subverting the stubborn legislature, argues administration officials is to substitute executive orders in the place of Senate votes.

Obama’s slogan on this and other issues is “we can’t wait.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

From what I understand, the executive orders controversy surrounding the defeated legislation was initiated by a White House e-mail. Brendan Sasso wrote on The Hill’s technology blog Hillicon Valley this past weekend:

Senate Republicans recently blocked cybersecurity legislation, but the issue might not be dead after all.

The White House hasn’t ruled out issuing an executive order to strengthen the nation’s defenses against cyberattacks if Congress refuses to act.

“In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in an email.

“Moving forward, the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that,” Carney said…

Obama uses the slogan “we can’t wait” to argue that some issues are too important to be allowed to stall in Congress.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

What don’t these guys have a slogan for?

Anyway… Christopher Hill, SyOps.

Yeah, I like the sound of that.

Sources:

Mick, Jason. “Following Defeat, Obama to Reportedly Push Cybersecurity Bill With Executive Orders.” Daily Tech. 7 Aug. 2012. (http://www.dailytech.com/Following+Defeat+Obama+to+Reportedly+Push+Cybersecurity+Bill+With+Executive+Orders/article25353.htm). 7 Aug. 2012.

Sasso, Brendan. “After defeat of Senate cybersecurity bill, Obama weighs executive-order option.” Hillicon Valley. 4 Aug. 2012. (http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/242227-with-defeat-of-cybersecurity-bill-obama-weighs-executive-order-option). 7 Aug. 2012.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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