President Says Private Sector Is Doing Fine
In the midst of a sluggish economy and stubbornly high unemployment, President Barack Obama insists that while the private sector is doing fine, the public sector is still hurting.
“Look, most privately-owned businesses are making a profit,” Obama argued. “The same can't be said for publicly-owned operations. For example, all across the country publicly-owned transit systems and stadiums are hemorrhaging red ink. Then there's the publicly-aided businesses like Solyndra and EnerDell that have had to file for bankruptcy despite our efforts to subsidize them. The contrast couldn't be more stark.”
The President blamed the divergent fates of the private and public sectors on “selfish Americans and their political enablers in the GOP. I mean, profits are a surplus over-and-above what is needed to keep a business going. Instead of sharing this surplus with an obviously struggling public sector, though, the GOP is siding with greedy owners and refuses to cooperate with us to boost taxes and spread this wealth around more equitably.”
As an illustration of the GOP's lack of cooperation, the President cited its tepid response to his proposal to give every American $3,000 of government money so they can go buy “thingamajigs.” “Right now people are hoarding their money,” Obama said. “They're afraid they'll lose their jobs and their homes if they don't conserve their cash. This caution is killing us. But if we tax away surplus profits and put $3,000 in the pockets of consumers they can go on a spending binge that will rescue the economy.”
President Obama's contention that the public sector has had it harder during the recession doesn't seem to be borne out by the data. While the number of persons employed in both the public and private sectors is currently lower than it was prior to the onset of the recession, the decline in the private sector has been steeper. In fact, there are now fewer persons employed in the private sector than there were in 2001. Public sector employment is currently 5% higher than it was in 2001.
In related news, Cory Booker, the Democratic Mayor of Newark, NJ who expressed his discomfort with attacks on the right of businesses to pursue profits was declared “dead to us” by a ranking Obama Administration official. “He's out-of-step with the President's thinking,” the official said. “And his refusal to recant is only making it worse. Booker's ambition to rise within the ranks of the Democratic Party will never be fulfilled as long as Barack has any say. He should consider himself lucky if something really bad doesn't happen to him.”
Reid Promises New Senate Rules If Dems Win in November
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) says he will be introducing new rules for how the Senate conducts business if Democrats control both Houses and the Presidency after the November elections. Reid's target is the cloture vote required to cut off debate. Under current rules it takes only 41 senators to block cloture.
“Right now it's kind of a moot point because even if we could silence GOP obstructionists in the Senate whatever we pass can still be thwarted by the GOP-controlled House,” Reid pointed out. “But if Democrats controlled both Houses and the Presidency eliminating a senate minority's ability to impede legislation would be a much more important tool for pressing ahead with a progressive agenda.”
Reid acknowledged that he would oppose the reforms he has in mind from being made if Republicans were to regain a majority in the Senate in the upcoming elections. “Republicans are anti-progressive,” Reid argued. “Their policies are bad for America. We will use every tool in our kit, including the filibuster, to prevent them from enacting legislation we deem harmful to this nation's well-being.”
Veep Urges End to Traditional Farming
Vice-President Joe Biden told the graduating seniors of Cypress Bay High School (Fla.) that “it's long past the time when Americans should be shifting away from traditional farming as a means of supplying food.”
“Let's face it, farming is unnatural,” Biden pointed out. “Using sharp tools to cut into the earth, planting seeds in neat rows for efficient reaping (also done with sharp tools, I might add), piping in water from far away—these are all artificial methods that rape the land.”
Biden argued that “in a more primitive era such methods may have been unavoidable. But do we really need them today? Why can't everyone just get their food from the supermarket? Jill and I have been doing that for as long as I can remember. Most of the stuff comes in boxes and cans. It's all very clean. You don't have to poke tools into the soil stirring up dust and polluting the air. If we can only convince more people to follow our example the environmental degradation being caused by farmers could be greatly reduced.”
The Vice-President also hailed the doubling of the amount the government has spent on food stamps since 2008 as “further proof that there are other ways to feed our population without destroying the land.”
In support of Biden's vision, the Environmental Protection Agency is deploying aerial drones to fly over agricultural areas “to gather evidence on those raping the land with these primitive farming techniques.” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson declined to specify whether this evidence would be used to support prosecution of violators or whether the President would use it to select targets for drone-launched missile strikes. “I believe the President will choose the most appropriate enforcement mechanism on a case-by-case basis,” Jackson said.
First Lady Denies Photo ID Hypocrisy
The Obama Administration may be going all-out to prevent states from requiring photo IDs from those voting, but Michelle Obama is fine with imposing a photo ID requirement on those attending her book signings. Those wishing to attend book-signing events featuring the First Lady must buy her book—American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America—and present a valid photo ID.
“There's no hypocrisy,” Press Secretary Jay Carney maintained. “Comparing voting and visiting with the First Lady is like comparing apples and oranges. Voting is a right that may not be infringed. Meeting the First Lady is a privilege that can be withheld from anyone for any reason.”
Carney characterized requiring photo IDs for voting as “clearly unwarranted. Voting is a basic human right. No human should be barred from it based on trivial concerns over identity or place of residence. The only thing a poll worker should be asked to ascertain is whether he is giving a ballot to a human being. This standard is simple and straightforward. Anyone can make it and it assures that everyone's human right to vote is preserved.”
Attorney General Explains “Fast & Furious” Memos
Attorney General Eric Holder rejected contentions that internal Department of Justice memos in which the phrase “Fast and Furious” appears mean that the Mexican gun-running scandal was known to Department of Justice (DOJ) higher-ups at an early date. The phrase, Holder insisted referred to the movie series.
“Everyone at the DOJ is a big fan of the 'Fast and Furious' movies,” Holder said in a House Judiciary Committee hearing this past week. “The fast cars, the sexy babes, the wonton violence—are hypnotic in their effects on me and my staff. Vin Diesel's screen presence is just awesome. So, it's only natural that a good deal of the agency's internal correspondence would include mentions of these films.”
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) did not find Holder's contention believable or reassuring. “Holder and his crew are 'big fans' of these movies?” Chaffetz disdainfully asked. “How likely is that? Besides, even if it is true, how do they justify spending time on their shared Vin Diesel love-fest while hundreds of people are being murdered with guns they helped Mexican gangsters obtain? Either way, it's a new low for the Administration.”
In related news, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) confirmed that he will not be supporting Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darryl Issa's (R-CA) efforts to cite Holder for contempt for stonewalling on the “Fast and Furious” memos. “Holder's explanation sheds a whole new light on this controversy,” Boehner said. “Those movies are way cool. I can see why they'd be a hot topic in the DOJ.”
France Cuts Retirement Age
Newly elected Socialist President Francois Hollande fulfilled a campaign promise by lowering the age for retiring with full benefits from 62 to 60. In the United States full Social Security benefits don't kick in until age 65, later for those born after 1940.
Hollande explained that “if people have to wait until they're 62 the money could all be gone before they draw a cent of their retirement benefits. This way at least some of them will get something before the system crashes.”
The French President plans to fund these more generous benefits “by raising taxes on businesses and individuals wherever we can. Many of our citizens have more income and wealth than they need. Sharing that surplus with those less fortunate is a moral obligation we intend to enforce.”
In case there isn't enough that can be extracted from French taxpayers, Hollande says he is confident that Germany will ultimately shoulder France's debts. “They have prospered the most since World War II,” he contended. “Considering they started that war this is unfair. Redistributing Germany's gains to their former victims would redress this and advance social justice throughout the continent.”