- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shrinking deficit

“The Treasury Department’s tax-collection data for April puts the federal deficit over the 12-month period ending April 30 at $144.7 billion. This leaves the deficit at about 1 percent of GDP, and declining, which is not a significant economic problem,” Peter Ferrara writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“The decline is due to surging tax revenues from a booming economy. The deficit is down about $120 billion, or 45 percent, since last April. It has declined by $309 billion, or 68 percent, over the last three years from the peak of $455 billion in April 2004. This experience shows that combining pro-growth tax cuts with just moderate spending restraint can sharply reduce, and, indeed, eliminate the deficit,” said Mr. Ferrara, a senior fellow at the Free Enterprise Fund, director of entitlement and budget policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation, and general counsel for the American Civil Rights Union.

“The deficit has declined now for 26 consecutive months and will continue to do so over the next 5 months until the end of the fiscal year. The deficit will consequently soon be well below 1 percent of GDP. Even with some modest slowdown in economic growth, this deficit could be eliminated over the next two years with reasonable restraint in the growth of federal spending.

“But any such reasonable restraint in spending is not going to happen with the new Democrat Congress. Their emerging budget plan calls for even more rapid increases in federal spending, sopping up all projected increases in revenues, which will leave no scope for continued deficit reduction in the next fiscal year. They tout a plan to eliminate the remaining rapidly shrinking deficit over a ridiculous five years, and that only with tax increases.”

Mrs. Obama’s role

Who is Sen. Barack Obama’s closest adviser? Not his wife, says Michelle Obama.

“We have very separate professional relationships, which is, I think, healthy,” Mrs. Obama said yesterday during her fourth visit to Iowa to campaign for her husband’s bid for the Democratic nomination for president.

“There is so much work we need to do as a family and as a couple. We talk about our work, we talk about what we do, but he makes his decisions on his own, and I try to be supportive,” she said.

Democratic candidate John Edwards and Republican candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani are among the White House hopefuls who have described their wives as close advisers. Asked if she considered herself her husband’s chief adviser, Michelle Obama replied, “No, I consider myself his wife.”

A Harvard-trained lawyer like her husband, she said her main role in the campaign is to offer a personal view of the Illinois senator, the Associated Press reports.

“I’m really trying to make sure people understand who Barack is from the person who knows him best, giving people a sense of who we are,” she said.

Granny attacks

The vice president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, who made headlines in 2005 as a member of the “Granny Brigade,” is in Washington to pressure the Senate on a pending immigration deal she says is a “road map to amnesty,” reports Jerry Seper of The Washington Times.

“The provisions of this legislation abandon U.S. citizen demands for physical border security in order to politically pander to the millions of illegal aliens already present within our nation and the millions more poised to flood the United States,” said Carmen Mercer, a grandmother who stood watches on the Arizona-Mexico border to spot illegal aliens.

“Our politicians are rewarding illegal behavior instead of addressing a serious national security concern by securing our borders and increasing the amount of agents needed on the ground,” she said.

Mrs. Mercer, who legally immigrated to this country from Germany more than 20 years ago, is leading a group of Minuteman volunteers on Capitol Hill to demand an open debate on the immigration deal.

“How dare these senators limit debate on a vote that will allow the millions of lawbreakers to get a slap on the wrist?” she said. “These senators work for us, and we need to remind them that unless they abide by citizen demands for border security first and not the will of the open-borders lobby, the Mexican government or corporate America, we will hold them accountable on Election Day.”

Threat or promise?

“Last year, I organized the Rightroots effort to raise more than a quarter of a million dollars for Republican candidates in the last three months of the election,” conservative blogger John Hawkins writes at RightWingNews.com. “This year, if this amnesty bill passes, I’m going to organize a group of bloggers to raise money for any viable primary challengers to pro-amnesty Republicans in the Senate.

“I’m also going to offer those candidates my services, pro-bono, as a consultant, to try to get their names out in the blogosphere. On top of that, I’m going to hunt down every single piece of dirt I can find on the pro-amnesty Republicans and I’m going to release it in the blogosphere. Put another way, if you’re a Republican senator up for re-election in 2008 and you vote for amnesty — and you face a viable primary challenger — I’ve got two words for you: Scorched Earth. …

“You know, I hope it doesn’t come to this, I really do. But, there comes a point where conservatives have got to say ‘Enough is enough’ and take our party back from these arrogant, unprincipled, elitist, Country Club Republicans who dominate the Senate, who think that they no longer have to pay attention to their constituents, their base or the American people.

“This time, they’re either going to pay attention, or we’re going to take two or three of their scalps and hang them on the wall come election time.”

Change of mind

The Michigan Republican Party chairman has changed his mind about trying to bar Ron Paul from future Republican presidential debates because of remarks the Texas congressman made that suggested the September 11 attacks were the fault of U.S. foreign policy.

Saul Anuzis said over the weekend that he won’t circulate a petition among Republican National Committee members to ban Mr. Paul from more debates, the Associated Press reports. At a Republican candidates’ debate last week, Mr. Paul drew attacks from all sides when he linked the terror attacks to U.S. bombings.

“After consulting with my fellow RNC members, I believe there isn’t anything to be gained by advancing a petition aimed solely at removing Congressman Paul from the debates,” Mr. Anuzis wrote in his daily blog Saturday.

During the debate, Mr. Paul asked: “Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there. We’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.”

Presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani, the mayor of New York City at the time of September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, rebuked Mr. Paul when he made the statement. Mr. Anuzis later called the comments “off the wall and out of whack.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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