- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2015

Like the old bumper sticker says, “Don’t tell Obama what comes after a trillion.” Indeed. Perhaps the White House is under the impression that all American voters will rejoice over President Obama’s brand new, 2,000-page budget that includes $4 trillion in spending. That is not necessarily the case. Voters appear to be a frugal bunch. Yes, there are numbers.

Just 16 percent of likely U.S. voters favor a federal budget that increases spending, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey; 54 percent like a budget that cuts spending, while 21 percent think the spending levels should stay the same. Well, that’s straightforward enough. The survey of 800 likely U.S. voters was conducted Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Incidentally, a quadrillion comes after a trillion, and it has 15 zeroes after it.


Fiscally minded folk in the public arena, meanwhile, reacted with ferocity over the audacity of the behemoth 2,000-page bill, which many felt was basically rewarmed tax and spend, trimmed with a little class warfare. Without further ado, here’s a small sampling of what’s out there.

“Only President Obama would call an $18 trillion debt ‘mindless austerity’” (Rep. Richard Hudson, North Carolina Republican.)

“His latest budget simply isn’t a serious proposal. While Washington is still racking up debt, this budget doesn’t even try to balance the books.” (House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican.)

“After six straight years of trying to have it all and losing control of both the House and Senate in the process, it’s time for the President to try something new: listening to the American people.” (Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican.)

“Real middle-class economics is actually policy that lets the poor rise to middle class, and the middle class rise to become wealthy. Obama could easily promote middle-class tax breaks without attacking the wealthy, by pointing to where government ought to roll back.” (Wayne Crews, regulatory policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.)

“The President’s budget is nothing more than another false promise that the government can provide anything and everything with no fiscal consequences. The solution to our fiscal crisis is to cut spending, not to increase it and add more tax burdens to compensate. This budget is a joke.” (FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe.)

“The White House knows this budget is dead on arrival. This administration is more interested in dividing Americans and redistributing wealth than pursuing policies of personal freedom, economic freedom and a debt-free future.” (Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.)


Alarming hubbub continues over vaccines, measles, Disneyland, vigilant parents, noisy media, annoyed health officials and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s remark that while his own children have been vaccinated, he also understood why “parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well.” Well, OK. But why are Americans nervous about immunizations?

It all hinges on the public’s trust and confidence in government says a new study from Ohio State University, which analyzed historical national data from the Pew Research Center that gauged the public’s views on flu shots. The report found that 60 percent of those with confidence in government were willing to take the vaccine. Among those with less confidence, the number was 32 percent. It also revealed a significant partisan different; 64 percent of the Democrats said they would be immunized, compared to 43 percent of both Republicans and independents. But their resistance wasn’t governed political beliefs, the researchers contend. It’s the trust factor.

“It’s not that Republicans reject vaccination because of their conservative views,” says sociology professor Ken Schirian, who led the research. “It was their lack of confidence in the government to deal with the swine flu crisis that was driving their anti-vaccination views.” The study was published in Health Promotion International, an academic journal.


Some uplifting business news for a change? Applause for American know-how? Yes, indeed. National Association of Manufacturers president and CEO Jay Timmons begins a nationwide tour Tuesday that actually lauds and supports the idea of American exceptionalism. Beginning with Indianapolis, he’ll visit 10 major manufacturing hubs in the next three weeks to talk up job creation, current policy challenges, economic growth and “lay out the manufacturing strategy for American exceptionalism,” according to advance information. So hurray for that.

“Manufacturing is as resilient and robust as ever. That’s a tribute to the hardworking men and women in Indiana and across the country who produce the goods and generate the ideas that power our economy,” Mr. Timmons tells Inside the Beltway, who adds that he only wants to build on their successes and fuel the manufacturing resurgence.

He’ll visit Minneapolis; Detroit; Chillocothe, Ohio and Montgomery, Alabama among other productive spots. The bureau of Economic Analysis, meanwhile, reports that manufacturers currently contribute $2.09 trillion to the economy, accounts for 12.0 percent of the gross domestic product. Oh, and for every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.37 is added to the economy. Hurray for that too. Follow Mr. Timmons tour here: Nam.org/StateofMFG


As strategists and brand experts huddle with prospective Republican presidential hopefuls, one observer points out some basics. “Forget economic expertise, special healthcare knowledge, foreign language skills or whatever else you might think is important. Those things are all fine, but increasingly irrelevant. Desperately, urgently, above all things, America needs a true commander-in-chief,” writes Roger L. Simon, founder of PJ Media.

Among the desired qualities: Someone with a real strategy to win the war on terror; “naming the enemy” is a good start, says Mr. Simon. The contender must have the will to carry out strategy — plus the courage, commitment and stamina to withstand non-stop opposition from liberal media. The candidate must also be a great communicator who can explain complicated challenges to most Americans.

“We have to start vetting these people. We are looking for someone with a backbone the size of Brooklyn but at the same time someone who can charm the pants off the country,” Mr. Simon explains. “But I’m not going to enumerate them here, because I think that is a distraction. The object is to lift someone up, not pull others down (not on our side away.) As difficult as this search may seem — and it is extraordinarily difficult — we have one thing working on our behalf. Difficult times seem to bring forth great leaders. And make no mistake about it, we are in difficult times.”


85 percent of Americans are negatively influenced by “outside factors” when they eat, citing convenience of vending machines and fast food, lack of time, socializing and personal stress.

68 percent would change their diet if they had a family history of heart disease.

52 percent have gone on a diet in the past year; 28 percent of that group tried a low-carb diet, 22 percent tried high-protein diet, 11 percent went vegetarian, 7 percent low glycemic and 5 percent tried a Mediterranean diet.

46 percent say they have a family history of heart disease.

33 percent say they struggle most to eliminate carbohydrates; 26 percent cite red meat, 16 percent chocolate.

Source: A Cleveland Clinic survey of 1,013 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 13-16 and released Monday.

Policy news, nostalgic ramblings to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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