More from Fr. Sirico

“The Circle of Protection, led by Jim Wallis and his George Soros-funded Sojourners group, is advancing a false narrative based on vague threats to the “most vulnerable” if we finally take the first tentative steps to fix our grave budget and debt problems. For example, Wallis frequently cites cuts to federal food programs as portending dire consequences to ‘hungry and poor people.’

Which programs? He must have missed the General Accountability Office study on government waste released this spring, which looked at, among others, 18 federal food programs. These programs accounted for $62.5 billion in spending in 2008 for food and nutrition assistance. But only seven of the programs have actually been evaluated for effectiveness. Apparently it is enough to simply launch a government program, and the bureaucracy to sustain it, to get the Circle of Protection activists to sanctify it without end. Never mind that it might not be a good use of taxpayer dollars.” — Fr. Sirico, The Church as the Bride of Caesar

It’s the Orphans, Puppies, and Kittens Effect rearing its ugly head again — and it’s completely ridiculous. Not only does it make good financial sense to “watch where the money goes,” but it makes moral sense as well. Christ will certainly not be impressed if all we do to fulfill our obligation to help the poor is throw billions in tax dollars at government programs that “sound good” — especially if those programs are ineffective.

Pass the Boehner Plan

Boehner’s Plan Will Do
by Thomas Sowell

Now that the Republicans seem to have gotten the Democrats off their higher-taxes kick, the question is whether a minority of the House Republicans will refuse to pass the Boehner legislation. Boehner’s plan could lead to a deal that will spare the country a major economic disruption and spare the Republicans from losing the 2012 elections by being blamed — rightly or wrongly — for the disruptions.

Is the Boehner legislation the best legislation possible? Of course not! You don’t get your heart’s desire when you control only one house of Congress and face a presidential veto.

The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one’s power. Nor is it selling out one’s principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions.

That still leaves the option of working toward getting a better deal later, when the odds are more in your favor.

There would not be a United States of America today if George Washington’s army had not retreated and retreated and retreated, in the face of an overwhelmingly more powerful British military force bent on annihilating Washington’s troops.

Later, when the conditions were right for attack, General Washington attacked. But he would have had nothing to attack with if he had wasted his troops in battles that would have wiped them out.

Precisely.

Boehner’s plan is certainly not an ideal plan – not by a long shot – but the House can’t pass anything better on its own.

My fellow Tea Partiers: We have successfully made our statement. Now we must wait until we turn the Senate and kick Obama out on his rear.

We Are Out of Money

What Both Parties Must Understand About the Budget
by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch

What part of “we are out of money” don’t they understand?

Since 1950, total federal revenue from all sources has averaged right around 18 percent of GDP. In some years, government receipts have been bigger — even reaching a bit over 20 percent of GDP once under President Clinton — and many years they’ve been a bit lower. But the variance hasn’t been all that great; it’s pretty much 18 to 19 percent.

If history is any guide and if the federal government wants to balance its books, it’s got to spend no more than around 19 percent of GDP. So what would it take for the federal government to restrain spending to just 19 percent of GDP in 2020?

According to the Congressional Budget Offices’ alternative-scenario projections, it would mean coming up with a budget equal to $3.7 trillion in today’s dollars, rather than an anticipated $5 trillion if spending stays on autopilot. How do you trim $1.3 trillion over a decade or so?

Cut $130 billion out of projected spending (including projected increases) every year for the next decade. It’s the only way to actually keep the federal government solvent until we get around to fully revising outdated entitlement programs that are set to beggar us more than any stock market collapse ever did.

19% of GDP. That’s the magic number. If you want to spend more, your best option is to grow the GDP. And that means getting out of the way and allowing the American economy to work as it should. Stop playing favorites and stop the unnecessary regulations.

The Tragic View Returns?

The Tragic View Returns
by Victor Davis Hanson @ NRO

A classical Greek would suggest that the more one supplies generous pensions, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and direct government subsidies, the more entirely human responses assert themselves: the incentive to be self-reliant disappearing in direct proportion to the spread of self-righteousness about deserving such entitlements as a birthright.

Indeed. I doubt, however, that the “therapeutic” viewpoint will ever disappear. We’re already facing a brutal reality, and there are still people out there screaming, “We deserve free stuff!”

People DID Complain About Spending Under Bush

I hear the following complaint a lot from Obama’s defenders:

“Where were all these Tea Partiers when Bush was increasing the debt? They’re only whining now because they don’t like Obama.”

There are several answers to this. Number one, as many people have already pointed out, while Bush’s spending habits were certainly unwise, Obama’s are worse. Number two, during the Bush presidency, the economy did not suck hose water, so the American public in general was less concerned about government waste.

But perhaps more importantly, people did complain about government spending under Bush. You didn’t hear it from the establishment in DC because the fumes of the Potomac River tend to warp the brains of even the staunchest Republicans, but within the conservative/libertarian movement (i.e., in the think-tanks and non-profit organizations), criticism of government waste has been consistent theme for decades. The Porkbusters movement began in 2006, but we also have Citizens Against Government Waste, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, etc., and all of them were arguing for limited government and responsible spending long before President Obama took office. But again, back then, times were good, so that message didn’t really resonate with the average American voter — and consequently, the Republicans then in Congress didn’t take notice.

In sum: quit trying to evade your messiah’s profligacy, lefties. It makes you look petty.

Norway

Can the Left Resist the Temptation to Exploit the Norway Attacks?
@ the PJ Tatler

You only have to look to the left’s reaction to the Tucson shootings to know what to expect. While yesterday’s tragedy unfolded in a small, faraway country, the profile of the shooter is such a perfect fit for the left that it’s going to hard to resist the temptation to make merry. And it’s not unthinkable that an increasingly desperate Obama might decide to emulate Bill Clinton’s ‘Oklahoma City’ strategy.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Anders Behring Breivik’s ‘anti-immigrant’ and ‘anti-Muslim’ beliefs are being trumpeted, the better to demonize anyone who expresses alarm over uncontrolled mass immigration.

Yesterday’s attack will also be seized on by the Christiane Amanpours of the liberal-left who have long been telling us that ‘all religions are the same’ in terms of violent extremism. But while the evil on display yesterday was the equal of anything displayed by al-Qaeda or the Taliban, there’s no comparison in terms of the scale of threat.

The circumstances of yesterday’s shooting rampage – the victims were trapped on an island for more than an hour – meant the death toll was unprecedented for such an attack, but so-called right-wing terrorism remains rare, and ‘fundamentalist Christian’ terrorism even rarer, the preserve of lone fanatics or small groups with minimal support. Meanwhile tens of thousands of Islamists remain committed to violence, and hundreds of thousands more, perhaps millions, sympathize with them.

Still, we’re rightly enjoined not to hold all Muslims accountable for the actions of a minority – albeit a rather sizable minority – of extremists. I fear that in the coming months the same courtesy won’t be extended to people holding right-of-center political views.

Of course it won’t — because the leftist blogosphere is filled with wild-eyed assholes who look for any opportunity – any opportunity – to shut us conservatives up.

I pray for the people of Norway and feel great sorrow over the lives lost. Regarding those who are once again trying to exploit a terrible tragedy for their own political gain, however, I feel nothing but seething rage.

ETA: Another prayer for Norway. (Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.)

Why the Debt Ceiling Talks Fell Apart

Why the Obama-Boehner Talks Fell Apart
by Keith Hennessey

The President backtracked in private negotiations this week, demanding bigger tax increases after the Gang of Six, including three conservative Republican Senators, released a plan that raised taxes more than the President had previously demanded.

Today’s press stories treat this as a detail. It is instead the key to understanding why the talks fell apart.

Read the whole thing.