Views on the News
February 27, 2010
Views on the News*
President Barack Obama is the poster child for the “Peter Principle,” being promoted once too many times to his level of incompetence. Dr. Laurence J. Peter published his 1969 book entitled “The Peter Principle” which described how people are promoted until they exceed their competence level, like Barack Obama. Other than getting himself elected to a succession of political offices, he appears to have a very limited range of abilities and no experience managing any organization to success. This competence gap explains why in only a single year Obama has morphed from being a “messiah” into being a “pariah” as the President of our country. The frequency of the apologies and backtracks the President and his cabinet have had to make demonstrates that they don't seem to think before they speak or act. The President likes to make promises but seems to have no serious intention to actually deliver on them. Unfortunately Obama has surrounded himself with similarly incompetent personnel. It's funny how the media almost always use the word "unexpectedly" whenever they report this country's state of affairs under the Obama administration. The truth is that there's nothing unexpected about the continued deterioration of the U.S. economy, the decline of our global standing as a country, and the impending defeat and demoralization of our armed forces fighting overseas, to name a few, as long as Obama and a democratic majority in Congress remain in power. He seems to be immune to feedback, and brags about his stubbornness and refusal to give up on ObamaCare in the face of overwhelming public disapproval and the high cost of prolonging a hopeless endeavor. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that 22% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President, while 41% Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19! Based on what we have seen thus far in 2010 we may very well see a Democrat electoral bloodbath in November, all because Obama did not know when to stop running for office!
(“President Incompetent” by Ron Ross dated January 18, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/president_incompetent_1.html
“What Do You Expect with Obama?” by Miguel A. Guanipa dated February 24, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/what_do_you_expect_with_obama.html )
There is a fundamental difference between how liberals and conservatives see the role of government and the role of free market capitalism. Liberals see government as the answer to problems; conservatives see government as the problem. Liberals see the need to oversee and protect from the free market; conservatives see unfettered free market capitalism as the solution to many problems. Liberals wants to shape conduct by regulation and force; conservatives by incentive and choice. Liberals see people as victims of big business who need government to protect them; conservatives view people as independent and willing to work hard to achieve success. Liberals rely on punishment; conservatives emphasize reward. The left seeks equal results; the right seeks equal opportunity to succeed. Liberals want to protect citizens and even companies from the harsh consequences of their own mistakes; the conservatives want to encourage risk and reward and a direct relationship between actions and consequences. The left distrusts individuals to make the right choices in spending the money they themselves have earned; the right acknowledges that private citizens will sometimes waste their own resources on foolish or wasteful indulgences but that free individuals remain more reliable than far-away bureaucrats in spending the money they’ve earned with considerable toil. Leftist ideologues comprising environmental extremists, progressives, liberals, socialists, and communists believe that the ends justify the means and that governance may use any means necessary to achieve predetermined outcomes. The left may talk of imposing governmental retribution against those who make damaging choices, but instead ends up punishing precisely those whose success most notably benefits the economy and the community; the right offers the free market, with the widest possible discretion for each independent participant, to expand personal liberty and freedom of action, but also works more efficiently to generate the growth and prosperity that benefit everyone. Characteristics of the leftist ideology include a heavily regulated economy and/or government owned industry, equal outcomes and economic leveling, multiculturalism, moral relativism, and the perfection of mankind. According to modern conservatism, characteristics of the conservative ideology include the beliefs that an enduring moral order exists, that prudent change is necessary but ought to be slow and gradual, that freedom and property are inextricably linked, the desire to uphold voluntary community and oppose involuntary collectivism, and belief in the principles of variety and prescription while recognizing that man is imperfect. These differences are so obvious and cut so deep that they permeate so many issues that it’s nearly impossible for the two political viewpoints to find that elusive common ground. The leftist ideologue fears individual responsibility; the leftist fears free-market capitalism; the leftist fears a moral order; the leftist fears absolute truth; and the leftist fears our Constitution most of all since it documents these attributes as what makes our country Great!
(“Choice and reward vs. Force and Punishment” by Michael Medved dated February 17, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelMedved/2010/02/17/choice_and_reward_vs_force_and_punishment
“The Left’s Great Motivator” by Scott Strzelczyk dated February 20, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_lefts_great_motivator.html
“Obama’s Nanny Care Insults the American Spirit” by Michael Barone dated February 25, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelBarone/2010/02/25/obamas_nanny_care_insults_the_american_spirit )
President Obama seized on the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as an opportunity to take credit for the belated and tenuous economic recovery, but the real results show it to be a failure at achieving any of its stated objectives. The reality is that the economy always recovered from recessions, long before anyone imagined that government borrowing could "create jobs." We have not had to wait nearly two years for signs of recovery, as we did this time. Only 6% of Americans believe the stimulus bill has created jobs, a CBS News/New York Times poll reported. The American people seem to think, not unreasonably, that more jobs would have been created without the stimulus bill than with it. The "fiscal stimulus" refers only to a deliberate $862 billion increase in budget deficits. Only 23% ($200 billion) was spent in 2009, with 47% in 2010 and 30% in later years. In reality, five programs accounted for more than 80% of the outlays from ARRA in 2009: Medicaid, unemployment compensation, Social Security ... grants to state and local governments ... and student aid. In other words, what was labeled a "stimulus" bill was actually a stimulus to government transfer payments - cash and benefits that are primarily rewards for not working, or at least not working too hard. The bulk of the stimulus money was given to governors to spend on shoring up their state budgets. That money went primarily to employ government workers. The fraction of stimulus funds that were contracts, not grants, and went to "shovel-ready" projects went, of course, to short-term construction projects. The American people also seem to understand that there is a big difference between a permanent private-sector job and a temporary stimulus job that ends when the project is done. The “stimulus” extended federally funded unemployment benefits by 53 weeks, and another bill in November added 20 more, bringing the total up to 99 weeks in states with high unemployment. These extensions of emergency unemployment insurance benefits appeared to have raised the measured unemployment rate, relative to levels recorded in past downturns by as much as 2 percentage points. It turns out that raising the unemployment rate by a percentage point or two is the only clearly identifiable effect the stimulus act had on the jobs market… it succeeded at stimulating unemployment.
(“The Preposterous Stimulus Bill” by Andrew Cline dated February 18, 2010 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2010/02/18/the-preposterous-stimulus-bill
“The ‘Stimulus’ Actually Raised Unemployment” by Alan Reynolds dated February 19, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=521658 )
President Obama held a healthcare summit that turned out to be a failed publicity stunt, since Democrats already had plans to force their government takeover of health care down Americans throats despite the outcome. Obama stated, “I want to…have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.” However the President refused to start from scratch, and Republicans worst fear was realized when the half-day event focused on how to improve the existing failed health care plans as “a Democrat infomercial.” In desperation Obama released his own 11 page health care reform proposal which was an amalgam of the House and Senate bills, that were both overwhelmingly rejected by the American public, but was too high level to be scored by the CBO, but estimated to cost close to $2.5 trillion over ten years. Obama has a credibility problem since no one believes that his plan can increase coverage, improve quality of care, lower cost and be revenue neutral – maybe achieve the first objective and fail miserably on the other three to ration care, increase cost, and increase deficit. This week’s CNN poll shows that only 25% of Americans now support ObamaCare, while 73% want to scrap it, and either move on (some) or start over (most). Republicans want to reform and improve health care without destroying its free-enterprise base, while Democrats would be very happy to see the entire thing absorbed into a government-controlled system, as half of it has been already through the extension of Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs. Democrats insist on a government-controlled, government monopoly market for health care, while Republicans want a patient-controlled, free market health care system. Before World War II, people paid their own medical bills, just as they paid their rent or mortgage payment, bought their own food, and paid for whatever else they wanted. After World War II, the government imposed wage and price controls. Companies who wanted to hire and reward good employees were forbidden to offer higher wages, but they could offer health insurance coverage and call it a business expense instead of a wage. Today, as a result, most medical treatments are paid by third parties, employer-funded insurance or government coverage. It’s time to put every American citizen on equal footing with access to the same healthcare coverage opportunities. The money invested in any healthcare benefit that currently comes to you as part of your employment would come to you as added income, and you, not the organization, would own your policy and any tax incentives the government provides. Portability would be ensured because you would own and control your healthcare plan and choices. Insurers competing across state lines for your healthcare insurance business would have to include a Plan A - a basic, no frills major medical coverage to protect you from catastrophic medical problems and if you wanted more coverage, you could add supplemental plan that fits you. If Obama truly wanted to hear other health care ideas, why did he spend 2 hours personally defending his plan and allowing Democrats 3 hours to defend their plans, and restricting Republicans to only 2 hours to present alternatives? Democrat leadership had already made plans to ignore public disapproval and to ram government-run health care through the Senate using the “nuclear option,” despite then Senator Obama and all the Congressional Democrat leadership rejecting this approach when threatened in 2005 by Republicans. One result of this summit is that the Democrat arguments may be less persuasive now that the public has heard Republican arguments on the matter. The more Americans see Democrats pushing for passage over their clear objections, the more outraged voters become. Since Democrats were not able to agree on a compromise between the House and Senate bills, the health care summit was clearly political theater to create the illusion of momentum that would be used as a cover to ram this unwanted and unneeded legislation down the throats of the America public.
(“America Needs a Healthcare Recall!” by Terry Paulson dated February 15, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/TerryPaulson/2010/02/15/america_needs_a_healthcare_recall!
“Obama puts forward $1 trillion health care plan” by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar dated February 22, 2010 published by My Way at http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100222/D9E19OD80.html
“Obama, Biden, Clinton, Dodd, & More Believe Reconciliation is Unconstitutional” dated February 24, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=35779
“What Didn’t Get Said at the Summit” by William Tucker dated February 26, 2010 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2010/02/26/what-didnt-get-said-at-the-sum
“Democrats Indicate They’ll Ram Through Health Care Bill Without Republican Support” by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Jennifer Loven dated February 26, 2010 published by Cybercast News Service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/61969 )
Over time Congress has passed a succession of legislation that has effectively set future budget / deficit time bombs that may destroy our economic system unless addressed. The national debt, run up by Washington but paid for out of IOU's, now exceeds $14 trillion. "Off-the-books" unfunded liabilities, like Social Security, Medicare and the Bush gift to baby boomers: the Medicare prescription drug program, now total nearly $108 trillion. Since the US GDP is about $15 trillion, it would take over 8 years of consuming the output of every business and every American to pay off the national debt. Even then the Congress-created Federal Debt Cancer would still be growing beyond control. For Congress, in their nefarious scheming has created not one but dozens of budget/deficit time bombs. Here are the Top-10 time bombs now faithfully ticking away:
· Government Political Bomb(s) -.We have a Dysfunctional 2-Party System which has been infiltrated by progressives on both sides who don’t understand real-world economics.
· Federal Budget Deficit Bomb - The government is spending over $1.5 trillion more than it takes in each year.
· Cheap Money Bomb - By holding interest rates near-zero to "stimulate" the economy, the Fed lowered the cost of government borrowing to 1%, but interest rates and costs will rise.
· State & Local Government Budget Bomb - States are running budget deficits approaching $200 billion with unfunded pension funds of $500 billion.
· Unfunded Corporate Pension Bomb- Corporate pension funds are short $400 billion, more than the Federal Government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation can handle.
· Destruction of the US Dollar as the World's Foreign Reserve - Once the US dollar is no longer kept as reserve by foreign nations, GDP will fall by 1%, costing $150 billion per year.
· Consumer Debt Bomb - Americans owe $16.7 trillion, mostly for home loans and credit cards, but people are now saving more and that debt is falling but not good for GDP.
· US Foreign Trade Bomb - The US imports more than $400 billion than it exports, and our natural energy companies are not allowed to tap into our own mainland fuel sources.
· Global Real Estate Bomb - US commercial real estate is in trouble with $1.7 trillion in IOU's held by the banks, and defaults are now beginning.
· Social Security, Medicare & Obama Health Care programs - Social Security and Medicare, are already on the verge of bankruptcy without any ObamaCare expansions. The proposed Accurate Accounting of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Act would compel the OMB to account for the losses sustained by these agencies since they were taken over by their federal regulator. According to the CBO, the administration’s policy of unlimited support for Fannie and Freddie would require it to add around $300 billion to this year’s record $1.4 trillion deficit.
But the “Godzilla” bomb is lurking: The Plutonium Shadow Banking Derivative Bomb. Remember AIG went poof trying to pay off a little bitty $150 billion in banking derivative "guarantees" and now global banking derivatives have expanded to over $670 trillion. Since the entire world's GDP is only $50 trillion, if the derivatives bubble ever pops, it will consume 13 years of all money everywhere!
(“The Top-10 Budget-Deficit Time Bombs” by Terry Easton dated February 18, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=35666
“Accounting for Fannie and Freddie” by Stephen Spruiell dated February 24, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/425992/accounting-for-fannie-and-freddie/stephen-spruiell )
Private industry and governments around the world have spent trillions of dollars in the name of saving our planet from manmade global warming and academic institutions, think tanks and schools have altered their curricula and agenda to accommodate what was seen as the global warming "consensus," when mounting evidence suggests that claims of manmade global warming might turn out to be the greatest hoax in mankind's history. Senator James Inhofe asked the Obama administration to investigate what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation” - the actions of climate scientists revealed by the ClimateGate files, and the subsequent admissions by the editors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). Senator Inhofe also called for former Vice President Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify, since his movie was essentially science fiction with every assertion rebutted. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. If proven, these charges could subject the scientists involved to debarment from federally funded research, and even to criminal penalties. Given all the false claims and evidence pointing to scientific fraud, it is not wise to continue spending billions of dollars and enacting economically crippling regulations in the name of fighting global warming. Companies should resign from the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobbying group of businesses and radical environmentalists, like BP, Caterpillar, Conoco Phillips, Marsh, Inc. and Xerox who have already used their common sense and left. At the minimum, we must stop the Environmental Protection Agency from going on with their plans to regulate carbon emissions
(“Climategate Meets the Law: Senator Inhofe to Ask for DOJ Investigation” by Charlie Martin dated February 23, 2010 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/climategate-and-the-law-senator-inhofe-to-ask-for-congressional-criminal-investigation-pajamas-mediapjtv-exclusive/
“Global Warming Update” by Walter E. Williams dated February 24, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2010/02/24/global_warming_update )
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has emerged as a leading critic of the Obama administration’s handling of foreign policy and terrorism in particular. In many respects, Cheney’s vision is the antithesis of that of Barack Obama. In contrast to the current occupant of the White House, Cheney firmly believes the West is engaged in an epic global war against a vicious, Islamist enemy. It is striking for example how the recent 108-page Quadrennial Homeland Security Review omitted the words “Islam”, “Islamic” or “Islamist”, preferring to use the term “violent extremist”, a revealing insight into the Obama administration’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the Islamist nature of the enemy the US is fighting in the form of al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Dick Cheney is a refreshingly forceful advocate of American exceptionalism, and the idea that the United States is a special country with a unique role to play in shaping history. He also understands the importance of maintaining and strengthening America’s key alliances. Unlike Obama, Cheney is a dedicated supporter of the Anglo-American alliance, and understands the importance of the Special Relationship as the central bulwark in the defense of the free world. The President and his advisers exhibit stunning naiveté about terrorists, since they worry too much about their rights and not enough about deterring them by whatever means necessary. Obama being naive about terrorism is one aspect of his being a typical Democrat soft on defense, a legacy of the politics of Vietnam, the Cold War and Persian Gulf Wars. Meanwhile Obama has “unleashed” the current VP, Joe Biden, as his spokesman but he has proven to be ill equipped to defend his own or Obama’s record. After he and Obama opposed the War in Iraq and voting against the surge, Biden now has the gall to try to spin the victory in Iraq as one of this administration’s “greatest achievements!” Dick Cheney has become an extraordinarily influential game-changer in post-Bush Washington, emerging as Barack Obama’s leading nemesis on national security. He is a formidable figure of tremendous principle, an unapologetic and uncompromising patriot who believes in the greatness of America on the world stage, as well as a shamelessly old-fashioned political pugilist in a modern age dominated by carefully choreographed spin.
(“Dick Cheney: Obama’s worst nightmare” by Nile Gardiner dated February 14, 2010 published by The Telegraph at http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100026007/dick-cheney-%E2%80%93-obama%E2%80%99s-worst-nightmare/
“Why the GOP Will Keep Pushing the Idea That Obama Is Naďve” by Peter Brown dated February 17, 2010 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://blogs.wsj.com/capitaljournal/2010/02/17/why-the-gop-will-keep-pushing-the-idea-that-obama-is-naive/ )
The TEA Parties are a direct and unapologetic reaction to Obama's efforts to remake the United States of America in his own image – socialist, utopian, globalist, secular, humanist. The TEA Party movement sprang up just a year ago with a handful of disparate leaders, few can even name, as truly a middle-class silent majority reaction. The work of the TEA Party movement is not in Washington, but deep in the grassroots in all 50 states that has never been permeated or organized effectively by the conservative movement. There's more to it than defensiveness and rejection because at its core, the tea party is a recommitment by tens of millions of Americans to the Constitution of the United States and the vision of the founders. While elements of the conservative movement have emphasized the Constitution, the rule of law and the will of the people, conservatives have traditionally lacked the fiery commitment to that document that I see among tea partiers. The basis of the TEA Party movement is anger that Washington, including both Democrat and Republican politicians, has allowed the Constitution to be shredded. TEA Partiers put principle above loyalty to politicians or political parties. The TEA Party is about the Constitution; it's about the rule of law, not the rule of men. It's about the will of the people; not the will of the Washington elite. The TEA Parties have declared their independence from the political parties to intentionally separate themselves from corrupt and narrow party politics. The TEA Party movement "embraces and serves people of all races, creeds, religions, and political affiliations," according to the document. Wouldn't it be nice if both major political parties were committed to observing the Constitution; and wouldn't it be nice if both major political parties actually wrangled over how to empower individuals and states rather than promoting bigger and more intrusive central government?
(“The unlimited potential of the tea party” by Joseph Farah dated February 22, 2010 published by World Net Daily at http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=125775
“Tea Party Groups Declare Independence” by David A. Patten dated February 24, 2010 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/tea-party-declaration-independence/2010/02/24/id/350788 )
* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news. I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning. Individual issue updates this week include:
· Budget at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/budget.php
· Employment at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/employment.php
· Judiciary at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/judiciary.php