White House tells Paul Ryan it won’t meet budget deadline

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What was that Obama was saying today in his Press conference about “his budget” having $1.2 trillion cut from it. What budget?

The White House has informed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it will miss the legal deadline for sending a budget to Congress.

Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told Ryan (R-Wis.) late Friday that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4, as required by law, a House aide said.

“Late Friday evening, Deputy Director Zients confirmed that for the fourth time in five years, the president’s budget will not be submitted in compliance with the law,” the aide said.

“Zients did not indicate how late the administration will delay its submission, simply noting ‘We will submit it to Congress as soon as possible,’ ” the aide said.

Ryan last Wednesday had asked the White House in a letter if it would miss the deadline.

Under the law, Obama must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but he has met the deadline only once. The annual budget submission is supposed to start a congressional budgeting process, but that has also broken down. The Senate last passed a budget resolution in 2009.

Congress and the White House struck a budget deal on New Year’s Eve that avoided tax hikes on middle-class families and delayed a 2013 budget sequester until March.

That last-minute “fiscal cliff” deal has thrown a wrench into the annual budget process, sources say, because it did not finalize 2013 appropriations or replace nearly $1 trillion in automatic discretionary cuts imposed by the August 2011 debt-ceiling deal.

“They have no baseline,” one expert said. The expert said it may also be the case that the administration does not want the budget to be taken as an opening offer in the coming fight over raising the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.

The Congressional Budget Office also faces fiscal cliff-related challenges in writing its annual budget outlook. That outlook, which normally comes out in January, is coming out Feb. 4, CBO announced Monday.

Republicans are demanding Obama propose sharp spending cuts to offset any increase in the ceiling.

Obama in a press conference Monday though reiterated his stance, pressing lawmakers to raise the debt limit without tying it to cuts or entitlement reform.

Failure to raise the ceiling will cause a default on payments ranging from Social Security benefits to tax refunds to bond interest, depending on how long it takes Washington to raise the limit and what bills Treasury decides to pay.

The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates default could come as early as Feb. 15.

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Charles Krauthammer: Cliff deal ‘surrender’

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Let’s Give Up on the Constitution

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This is from the Opinion page of the New York Times of course, can you believe anyone could be so stupid and uninformed.

Article I, Section 7 states that all revenue bills shall originate in the House of Representatives but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on any other bills.

Revenue bills were only to originate in the House because members of the House of Representatives are the only federal officials elected directly by the people. Senators, up until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, were chosen by the state legislatures. And the president was chosen by the Electoral College. At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 it was felt that, in order for the new federal government to have sufficient legitimacy to gain popular support, it was imperative that at least part of the government would always have a popular mandate.

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

Constitutional disobedience may seem radical, but it is as old as the Republic. In fact, the Constitution itself was born of constitutional disobedience. When George Washington and the other framers went to Philadelphia in 1787, they were instructed to suggest amendments to the Articles of Confederation, which would have had to be ratified by the legislatures of all 13 states. Instead, in violation of their mandate, they abandoned the Articles, wrote a new Constitution and provided that it would take effect after ratification by only nine states, and by conventions in those states rather than the state legislatures.

No sooner was the Constitution in place than our leaders began ignoring it. John Adams supported the Alien and Sedition Acts, which violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. Thomas Jefferson thought every constitution should expire after a single generation. He believed the most consequential act of his presidency — the purchase of the Louisiana Territory — exceeded his constitutional powers.

Continue reading, if you can stomach it @ NYT

EXCLUSIVE: MCCONNELL CALLS OUT OBAMA’S NEGOTIATION CHARADE

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It appears Obama wants the US to go over the fiscal cliff  for political gain and to attempt to put the blame on Republicans.

The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded to reports today that President Barack Obama called him and other congressional leaders to receive updates about negotiations to avoid the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff” by noting that it was the “first time McConnell has heard from any Democrat, including the President, on this since Thanksgiving.”

The President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made a show of returning to Washington this week, as if to continue negotiations–when their open opposition to Speaker of the House John Boehner’s “Plan B” last week helped doom that plan to defeat in the Republican caucus. House members were reluctant to vote for “Plan B” to begin with, since it would have raised some tax rates; the certainty that it would fail in the Senate made them even less enthusiastic.

Reid took to the floor of the Senate today to accuse Boehner of running a “dictatorship” in the House, poisoning the prospect of a bipartisan deal even further.

Prior to the failure of “Plan B,” House Republicans had offered several plans, starting with Boehner’s plan to raise $800 billion in revenues without raising tax rates. All were rejected by the White House and the Senate–which has not even passed a budget for three successive years, contrary to federal law.

While the President and the Senate leadership engage in a good cop-bad cop charade, the likely reality is that they have calculated that the “fiscal cliff” is bound to take place (and perhaps even suits their interests), and their sole focus is to convince the public that Republicans are to blame.

Given that President Obama’s call to McConnell was the first he had received in over a month from any Democrat on the issue, it is probably that going over the “fiscal cliff” was the President’s intent from the start.

Breitbart

Here come the Obamacare tax increases

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27:  A anti Obama healt...

As part of the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, Congress and President Obama are battling over whether to raise marginal tax rates at the very top of the income ladder.

Regardless of how these talks turn out, millions of Americans are already facing tax hikes thanks to Obamacare.

Obamacare’s authors chose to offset about half of the trillion-dollar cost of the law through higher taxes. Since the Supreme Court upheld the law’s individual mandate and allowed states to opt out of its Medicaid expansion, though, the cost estimate has swelled to $1.76 trillion between 2012 and 2021.

In 2013, a number of Obamacare’s taxes will go into effect. Each will increase the cost of health care, yield job losses, and deprive our struggling economy of investment. These are the true costs of Obamacare.

Let’s look at some of these taxes individually.

On January 1, 2013, a 2.3-percent excise tax on the total revenues of medical-device companies — regardless of whether they turn a profit or suffer a loss — will take effect. The tax will hit everything they sell, from x-ray machines and pacemakers to surgical tools and artificial hips. The levy could extract as much as $29 billion over the next 10 years.

That money will have to come from somewhere; device firms won’t simply swallow the tab. So they’ll likely raise prices for patients and slash their workforces. In fact, economists at the Manhattan Institute project that the tax could eliminate as many as 43,000 jobs — and over $3.5 billion in employee compensation.

The industry currently employs about 400,000 people and supports roughly 2 million manufacturing jobs. With unemployment — particularly in the manufacturing sector — still a national concern, it makes little sense to penalize device firms.

Because of the tax, medical-device firms will also have less money to invest in research and development. My colleague Benjamin Zycher estimates that the industry will scale back investment in new products by 10 percent through 2020. That translates to a $2-billion decrease per year.

House Republicans have been trying to repeal the tax for some time. In recent weeks, they’ve gotten some unlikely company — from Senate Democrats.

Read more @ Forbes

Here come the massive array of new Obama regulations

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Agencies under U.S. President Barack Obama will add thousands of new regulations to U.S. business in 2013, with many of them extremely costly.

According to Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations, an arm of the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), more than 4,100 new Obama regulations are in the pipeline.

The group estimates that the 13 most expensive regulations will cost the U.S. economy $515 billion.

Held back during the heat of the presidential campaign, a backlog of these Obama regulations is about to hit the economy full force.

“The Obama administration has been quietly postponing several multibillion-dollar regulations until after the November election,” wrote Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, in an August Wall Street Journal guest column. “Those delayed rules, together with more than 130 unfinished mandates under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, could significantly increase the regulatory drag on our economy in 2013.”

Portman dubbed the situation “the regulatory cliff,” a reference to the widely discussed fiscal cliff.

“Economically Significant’ 2013 Obama Regulations

While the sheer number of regulations can cause compliance problems, one category – dubbed by the government as “economically significant” – impose the greatest costs on the U.S. economy.

Economically significant regulations are those that cost $100 million or more, by the government’s definition.

In his first three years, the Obama administration created 953 such regulations, compared to 30 in the comparable period for President George W. Bush, according to CEI.

Of the 4,128 Obama regulations in the pipeline, 212 fall into the economically significant category. That’s 32.5% more than the 160 issued in 2006 under President Bush.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has tried in vain to curb the wave of Obama regulations by passing three dozen bills, none of which has made it to the floor of the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Now the re-election of President Obama, and the addition of two seats to the Democratic majority in the Senate, virtually guarantees a mountain of new regulations over the next several years.

Many of these heavyweight Obama regulations will hit these three industries particularly hard in 2013:

Money Morning

Fiscal Cliff Debate Is About Size Of Government, Not Taxing ‘The Rich’

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Amid all the political and media hoopla about the “fiscal cliff” crisis, a few facts are worth noting.

First, despite all the melodrama about raising taxes on “the rich,” even if that is done it will scarcely make a dent in the government’s financial problems.

Raising the tax rates on everybody in the top 2% will not get enough additional tax revenue to run the government for 10 days. And what will the government do to pay for the other 355 days in the year?

All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting “the rich” to pay “their fair share” is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics.

Taxing “the rich” will produce a drop in the bucket when compared with the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration.

No previous administration in the entire history of the nation ever finished the year with a trillion-dollar deficit. The Obama administration has done so every single year. Yet political and media discussions of the financial crisis have been focused overwhelmingly on how to get more tax revenue to pay for past and future spending.

The very catchwords and phrases used by the Obama administration betray how phony this all is. For example, “We are just asking the rich to pay a little more.” This is an insult to our intelligence. The government doesn’t “ask” anybody to pay anything. It orders you to pay the taxes it imposes and you can go to prison if you don’t.

Then there are all the fancy substitute words for plain old spending — words like “stimulus” or “investing in the industries of the future.”

The theory about “stimulus” is that government spending will stimulate private businesses and financial institutions to put more of their money into the economy, speeding up the recovery. But the fact that you call something a “stimulus” does not make it a stimulus.

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