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Cutting Debt Important to 96% of Americans; 74% Want Gov’t Spending Cap

Los Angeles (May 3, 2011) — As the federal government rapidly approaches the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, 96 percent of Americans say it is important to reduce the national debt, according to a new Reason Foundation-Rupe poll. Of those surveyed, 69 percent believe reducing the national debt is “very important.”

With the debt piling up, it is also clear that taxpayers do not trust the federal government to live within its means. In fact, the Reason-Rupe survey finds 74 percent of Americans support implementing a spending cap that would prohibit the government from spending more money than it takes in during a fiscal year. Only 19 percent oppose a government spending cap.

The most popular policy prescription for reducing the national debt is spending cuts: 45 percent of people say Congress should bring down the debt by reducing spending without raising taxes. Another 16 percent favor reducing the debt primarily through spending cuts, but are open to some tax increases; 14 percent prefer an equal emphasis on spending cuts and tax increases; 8 percent want to reduce the debt primarily through higher taxes with some spending cuts; 4 percent say current spending levels should be maintained and taxes should be raised as needed; and 1 percent of Americans say we shouldn’t do anything about the debt.

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Barney Franks tries to restructure Fed

Rep. Barney Frank took on Wall Street as one of the writers of the sweeping Dodd-Frank financial reform bill last year. Now he is taking on the Federal Reserve.

The Massachusetts Democrat announced Tuesday morning that he’s introducing a bill that would dramatically downsize the Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee, eliminating five regional Fed presidents from having a say in the central bank’s decisions.

The Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, is structured to include 12 voting members, made up of seven Fed governors and five presidents from regional Fed banks.

The committee meets eight times a year to vote on interest rates and other monetary policy decisions that affect the entire U.S. economy by influencing credit conditions, inflation and unemployment.

Frank’s main complaint is with the selection process. Unlike Fed governors, the regional bank presidents are not selected by elected officials, but by a board comprised of business leaders in their communities.

“These men and women are chosen by a self-perpetuating group of private citizens who disproportionately represent the private financial services industry,” Frank said in a statement.

Frank believes his bill, if passed, would make the Fed’s decision-making process more transparent and democratic.

But Frank’s proposal would also decrease the number of voices included in the Fed’s decision-making process — a matter that some Fed watchers say could have the opposite of its intended effects.

“I’m very surprised he would be introducing this bill,” said Catherine Mann, a finance professor at Brandeis University and former Fed economist. “It doesn’t seem consistent with his thrust to make public policy more reactive to the overall economy.”

Under the leadership of Chairman Ben Bernanke, Fed officials have talked to the media and the public more than ever before, even revealing disagreement within the Fed.

And lately, the regional presidents have been more likely to express dissent with Bernanke’s policies than the other Fed governors.

Mann points out that stripping the FOMC of the regional presidents would leave the Fed’s decisions solely up to the governors based in Washington, D.C. and limit the board’s diversity.

“Leaving it as only the Washington people, if anything narrows the range of perspective on the state of the economy — as opposed to widening it,” she said.

There are 12 different Fed districts, but only five of their presidents serve on the Federal Open Market Committee at any given time. The New York Fed has a permanent voting spot, as the others rotate each year.

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Wiki Leaks: Hidden Nuclear Bomb in Europe; To Be Detonated If Osama bin Laden Captured or Killed

“According to classified information gathered from the interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and published by the Daily Telegraph, al-Qaeda is already in possession of a nuclear weapon and is ready to bring it into action in case of capture or killing of Osama bin Laden.

According to the documents, published by the WikiLeaks on Monday, a senior al-Qaeda commander commented on the topic of a nuclear bomb, hidden at the moment in Europe.

According to him, the organization will detonate the bomb if the head of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, is captured or assassinated.”

Full article

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Supreme Court rejects quickened hearing on ObamaCare

The Supreme Court announced today that ObamaCare will procede through the normal processes, and not be expedited for viewing by the justices.

This is the second time an expedited review has been refused. By this precedent, any review of the law by the Supreme Court will not take place for some time, probably a few years. The law needs to wind its way through the appellate courts.

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China’s Train Wreck

“Rather than demonstrating the advantages of centrally planned long-term investment, as its foreign admirers sometimes suggested, China’s bullet-train experience shows what can go wrong when an unelected elite, influenced by corrupt opportunists, gives orders that all must follow — without the robust public discussion we would have in the states.”

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Obama criticized for poor economy

President Obama experienced push back on his visit to the West Coast, as citizens voiced disappointment with the economic recovery and lack of jobs. While plenty understood that deficit reduction is imperative to the long term stability of the country, many also wanted to know what was being done to help spur the economy on to job growth.

An audience member at Obama’s town hall meeting Wednesday at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., summarized how the increased attention on red ink looks to the public.

“At the beginning of your term you spent a lot of time talking about job creation and the road to economic recovery,” the questioner told the president. “Since then, we’ve seen the conversation shift from that of job creation and economic recovery to that of spending cuts and the deficit.”

Malcontent was also voiced on the state of the housing market and its persistence.

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David Stockman says taxes must be raised

Official Washington congratulated itself for reaching a deal to cut $38 billion from the deficit of the current fiscal year. But some observers aren’t impressed. “Flimflam & swindle,” is how David Stockman characterized the deal in a recent Fiscal Times column.

“I’ve seen a lot of accounting smoke and mirrors in my day in government, but this was beyond the pale,” said Stockman, my guest on Daily Ticker. “There was nothing real and substantive that actually cuts something and saves a dollar in the whole thing. I calculated, the cash reduction might be a couple of billion dollars.”

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Brazil Raises Key Interest Rate

SÃO PAULO, Brazil—Brazil’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rates less than what many economists say is needed to keep inflation in check, in a gamble that the soaring global food prices helping drive inflation higher will eventually ease off by themselves.

The bank raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter of a percentage point to 12%. That was a smaller raise than two previous increases of half a percentage point earlier this year.

“They are capitulating in terms of their inflation target for this year and are going to let inflation run through system,” says Alberto Ramos, an Latin …

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Federal Borrowing on Pace to Hit Debt Limit in Less Than Week

Federal borrowing is on pace to hit the legal limit on the national debt in less than a week.

As set in a law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama on Feb. 12, 2010, the legal limit on the national debt is $14.2940 trillion. As of the close of business Tuesday, according to the Daily Treasury Statement released at 4:00 pm today, the portion of the national debt subject to this legal limit was $14.268365 trillion. (The total national debt, including the portion exempted from the legal limit, was $14.3205 trillion.)

This left the U.S. Treasury with the authority to borrow only an additional $25.635 billion before it hits the statutory debt limit.

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If Rich Aren’t Paying Their ‘Fair Share’ Then What’s Fair?

“In 2008, the most recent year for which full data is available, the infamous top 1% – those earning over $380,354 – paid 38.02 percent of federal income taxes, according to an analysis of IRS data by the Tax Foundation. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent of income earners – the group that, according to the liberal world view, is subsidizing tax handouts to the wealthy – shouldered just 2.7 percent of the federal income tax burden. And keep in mind, in 2008, the higher income earners share of taxes slipped from the previous year’s 40.4 percent due to the economic downturn.”

“When you make this argument to liberals, they’ll often respond that the only reason such a distribution exists is that there’s a lot of income inequality in America. But even if you account for that, the wealthy are paying disproportionately. The top 1 percent, for instance, earned 20 percent of the nation’s adjusted gross income in 2008 – yet their share of the tax burden was nearly twice that. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent earned 12.75 percent of the nation’s income, while their share of the tax burden was about one-fifth of that. You can see this demonstrated in the chart below.”

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Ben Bernanke gives speech on financial literacy

Apparently April is “Financial Literacy Month.” Who knew?

The recent crisis demonstrated the critical importance of financial literacy and good financial decisionmaking, both for the economic welfare of households and for the soundness and stability of the system as a whole. Good financial choices depend on reliable and useful information, presented in an understandable way. Essential components of personal financial management include an understanding of how to budget strategically, use credit, save to build personal wealth, and shop for and choose suitable financial products.

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Convoluted Is All One Can Say

oh and IMO Boycott MON

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehlUKkw69Dg 450 300]

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Bombshell Allegations: Jesse Jackson Propositions Employee for Oral Sex

A former employee of the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. at the Rainbow Push Coalition has filed a bombshell wrongful termination and discrimination complaint against the civil rights leader with the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Rights.

The complaint, filed sometime last year by Tommy R. Bennett, a regular on the Tom Joyner Radio show and member of Barack Obama’s LGBT Leadership Council, includes shocking allegations about Jackson’s behavior toward the openly gay staffer including an allegation that the civil rights leader propositioned him.

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John McCain Dodges the War Powers Act: Libya Language ‘Nailed Down’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday evening that he and a group of negotiators have “nailed down” language on a Libya resolution and are waiting for instructions from leadership on how to proceed.

The measure would serve as a symbolic gesture of support for President Barack Obama’s use of military force in the North African country. Under the War Powers Act, Congress must authorize continued military presence in Libya after a May deadline if American troops are still active there, but it’s unclear if the Senate needs to act.

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