It's a classic Beltway tradition: Release unflattering and unhelpful stories just before a weekend, in hopes of mitigating their political impact. As Tim Carney notices, it's been quite a Friday for the Obama administration. Has it ever:
(1) Obamacare is falling apart at the seams:
The Obama administration Friday pulled the plug on a major program in the president's signature health overhaul law — a long-term care insurance plan dogged from the beginning by doubts over its financial solvency. Targeted by congressional Republicans for repeal, the long-term care plan became the first casualty in the political and policy wars over the health care law. The program had been expected to launch in 2013. "This is a victory for the American taxpayer and future generations," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., spearheading opposition in the Senate. "The administration is finally admitting (the long-term care plan) is unsustainable and cannot be implemented."
Following the CLASS Act's implosion, roughly half of Democrats' illusory Obamacare "deficit savings"go up in smoke. As we reported last month, Democrats knew this would happen all along, and pressed forward anyway to help gin up a phony CBO score to drag their healthcare bill's carcass over the finish line. This is a disgrace.
(2) The Treasury has recorded the second highest annual deficit in US history:
The government ran a $1.3 trillion deficit for the budget year that ended last month, the third straight year it has operated more than $1 trillion in the red. The 2011 budget deficit was the second highest on record. It's slightly ahead of the previous budget year's $1.29 trillion deficit but below the $1.41 trillion imbalance record in 2009. A decade ago, the government was running surpluses and trillion-dollar deficits seemed unimaginable. But those deficits now loom over tense negotiations in Washington.
(3) Billionaire Obama donor backer and major Solyndra investor, George Kaiser, has paid almost zero taxes over the last decade:
the Solyndra scandal is far from Kaiser's first brush with political controversy. As the Sunlight Foundation's Bill Allison reports today, Kaiser has become extraordinarily wealthy by taking advantage of the federal tax code in ways that some tax experts - including the IRS - believe to be illegal. As Allison describes it in his Sunlight post today, "in one six year period, during which he increased his net worth enough to land him on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, Kaiser reported taxable income to the Internal Revenue Service just once, totaling $11,699--equivalent to a full-time hourly wage of $5.62." During the 1980s bust in the oil industry in Oklahoma and Texas, Kaiser bought up struggling energy companies whose losses provided him with tax deductions that effectively hid his own income.
The president prattles on endlessly about the rich paying "their fair share." Perhaps he should lecture his own buddies first. Incidentally, during today's Solyndra hearings on Capitol Hill, a veteran Treasury official admitted he'd never seen a federal loan structured in such a way that taxpayers are "subordinated" to private investors (as was the case with Solyndra, despite the recommendations of OMB, and after the company had already defaulted on the terms of the loan):
(4) And -- oh, by the way -- the president has ordered US combat troops into Uganda:
US President Barack Obama said Friday he is sending 100 combat troops to central Africa to help and advise forces battling the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels accused of gross human rights abuses. "These forces will act as advisors to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA," Obama said, but warned they would not lead the fighting themselves.
The mostly special operations forces could deploy in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo, subject to approval of regional governments, Obama said in a message to Congress. "Although the US forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces," the president said.
Allahpundit has more. Break out the bonga drums and red paint, Code Pink.