Morning Bits

President Obama

President Obama (Isaac Brekken / AP)

It’s almost like President Obama won’t stop spending. “CBO’s latest baseline budget projections show that the nation has a severe spending problem that needs to be addressed. After deficits are projected to fall for three years, they begin a relentless rise again to almost $1 trillion in 2023 — clearly an unsustainable path. Without a course correction, out-of-control spending will fuel a $9 trillion increase in the gross debt, further slowing the economy and limiting opportunity for millions of Americans. Cumulative interest payments alone will amount to $5.4 trillion. While revenues are projected to grow beyond historical levels, spending is set to surge well above historical averages — even assuming that spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act are implemented as scheduled.”

President Obama all but admitted the sequester he requested was a dumb idea. “If Congress can’t act immediately on a bigger package, if they can’t get a bigger package done by the time the sequester is scheduled to go into effect, then I believe that they should at least pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would delay the economically damaging effects of the sequester for a few more months.” So why have a sequester at all?

It’s nearly incomprehensible how Chuck Hagel refused to join a plea to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization. “Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement upon the Bulgarian Government’s finding that two members of Hezbollah were responsible for the July 2012 attack on a bus in Burgas, Bulgaria that killed six people, including five Israeli tourists: ‘Today’s finding by the Bulgarian Government is yet another reminder that Hezbollah is clearly a terrorist organization with global reach. This attack on European soil makes the European Union’s resistance to designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization even more incomprehensible.’”

President Obama’s sequester substitution plan is virtually dead. Sen. Mitch McConnell: “[The White House] has predictably suggested politically driven tax hikes as appropriate offsets for the sequester, including a tax on corporate jets. If that sounds like a poll-tested P.R. gimmick rather than a serious solution, that’s because it is. A permanent tax increase like that would take 10 years just to raise enough money to replace one week’s worth of the sequester.”

It’s practically unilateral disarmament. A former defense official on the pre-sequester reduction in the size of the Navy fleet. “This will surely increase risk on these assets and the people manning them in the near-term. And this increased demand on sailors, Marines, and ships comes at the exact time the admiral in charge of the surface fleet just announced that there are ‘Not enough people, not enough parts, not enough training, not enough everything.’ ”

Letting him on a jury would have been close to reversal error, right? “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel suffered a setback that many would be happy with: He was dismissed from jury duty.”

It’s just about unheard of. In the House hearing on immigration reform: “Few of the Republicans on the committee used the word ‘amnesty,’ which was mentioned just once in the morning panel, by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who pushed for a piecemeal approach to immigration.” Maybe reality-based legislating will catch on.

Also on Right Turn

White House sequester antics