Views on the News
March 13, 2010
Views on the News*
If there was ever a question as to what President Obama meant when titling his autobiography "The Audacity of Hope," he certainly offered Americans a peek through the looking glass during the televised health care debate a couple of weeks ago. The truth of this was born out when President Obama strategically called a bipartisan meeting of party leaders to discuss his health care reform proposals. Yet after watching the summit, it quickly became apparent that the meeting was not a bipartisan coming-together aimed at resolving differing opinions and joining varying proposals for a legislative bill that is in the best interests of American citizens. Obama accused the Republicans of political tricks and throwing out talking points solely because he was unable to address the facts before him. Yet a true statesman, a deserving leader, and a worthy president would have placed the interests of the American people ahead of his personal desires for taking over one-sixth of the country's economy. He would have entered the summit with an open mind, admitted his error in not including differing views from the start, and agreed to begin anew in order to combine the best ideas of the great minds in the room. When reality set in and the rose-colored glasses were removed, it quickly became apparent that Obama is not only a mere mortal, but he is an ideologue, one incapable of listening to others, unable to address facts put forth, and unwilling to compromise for the good of the nation. This ideologically-driven man has allowed his vision of the country and the world to dominate decisions in all matters, both domestic and international. Whether it be his outreach to the Muslim community, swipes at America's allies; obsession with health care reform; condescending attitude toward average, hardworking citizens; or consistent apologies over America's exceptional character, Barack Obama is driven to divide rather than unite. He has been divisive with friend and foe and has shown no indication that he is concerned with the direction that he has taken the country. As Obama continues to pursue Mideast peace talks, if his treatment of his fellow countrymen at the summit is any indication of how he will treat Benjamin Netanyahu, then it is clear that we can forgo any hope of compromise on the Mideast front. While not the first time this administration has singled out Israel, its preconceived notion of right and wrong in this conflict became evident once again this week. As we watched Obama slap away the open hands of Republican Congressmen offering suggestions of compromises to be made in the health care bill, it became apparent that the only language Obama understands is the one dictated by a "my way or the highway" mentality. Ever since the "healthcare" debate reached its present impasse, he has resorted to the manner of pettiness and bullying that would embarrass any truly great leader of the people. Americans have had a glimpse through the looking glass, and they understand that an important character trait when electing a president is not the audacity to hope. It is the willingness to admit one's mistakes and keep an open mind, to put aside ideology, and to join together differing views. It includes diplomacy, humility, and honesty. These are the true characteristics of a statesman, of a figure to be reckoned with, of a world leader. The entire abominable political shell game of imposing Obamacare by "budget reconciliation," an inarguable attempt to use the unleashed and extra-constitutional power of the government to seize even more of the rights and freedoms of the people, reveals how little regard the "leaders" in Washington have for the citizenry. Until President Obama learns what it means to bring this country together, he will never be able to resolve differences on the world stage and fulfill his most important role of protecting the country, and Americans will be doomed to watch their great republic continue its fall down the rabbit hole.
(“Obama through the Looking Glass” by Lauri B. regan dated March 11, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/obama_through_the_looking_glas.html
“Democrats Continue War with Public Opinion” by Christopher Adamo dated March 12, 2010 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2010/03/12/democrats-continue-war-with-public-opinion/ )
In almost every regard, President Obama's actions and the actions of his administration have been disastrous for the long-term future of this country. In almost every decision, Obama was misguided and in utter contrast to his campaign promises materially misled the American people regarding his intentions as President. The most significant events of this voluminous list are detailed below:
· Disregard for Primary Concerns of Voters – While Americans are concerned about high unemployment numbers and enormous government deficits, Obama has ignored the basic economic issues, instead choosing to focus upon his own political agenda.
· Transparency – The President promised that his Administration would be the most transparent in history, and repeatedly stated during the campaign that bills would be posted on the Internet for all of us to review. Obama has seriously misled the American people.
· Cap and Trade – A bill that would give the federal government near-complete control of the American economy barely passed the House. It has been stalled in the Senate. The EPA has vowed to establish federal control over all decisions made by manufacturers.
· Security – For seven years after 9/11, the Bush Administration kept us safe, but now all hell is breaking loose. Obama has learned to talk softly, but forgot to carry the big stick.
· Bi-partisanship – Obama promised us a new bi-partisan era. He has made little effort to work with Republicans, and in fact went more than six months without meeting with Republican leaders on his most important legislation – health care.
· Deficits – Obama did inherit a significant budget deficit that was growing because of necessary expenditures and reduced tax collections. Looking ahead, the out of control spending has accelerated and the deficit will be staggering. Another failed Obama promise.
· Foreign Relations – Obama promised a better international image, but he has antagonized our closest allies (Britain and Israel) and pandered to dictators in North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, China and Russia.
· Race Relations – Our first “post-racial” President was supposed to lead us to a new era. Instead his Justice Department has politicized prosecutions.
· Health Care – President Obama has led the charge to have the federal government assume control of one-sixth of our economy. It will take years to determine the damage done to the U.S. economy in the name of saving it.
According to a recent Rasmussen Poll, only 21% of American voters believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed. On the other hand, Rasmussen notes, a full 63% of the "political class" believe that the government enjoys the consent of the governed. Year two of Obama’s reign almost has to be an improvement, but only because it cannot get much worse.
(“Consent of the governed – and lack thereof” by Glenn Harlan Reynolds dated March 7, 2010 published by The Washington Examiner at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Sunday_Reflections/Consent-of-the-governed---and-the-lack-thereof-86628027.html
“A Near Total Disaster” by Bruce Bialosky dated March 8, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/BruceBialosky/2010/03/08/a_near_total_disaster )
Most Americans are smart enough to not believe that the way for Washington to address its gargantuan debt problem is to increase deficit spending and go deeper into debt. The Congressional Budget Office, in last week's update of President Obama's budget forecasts, estimated that budget deficits will average nearly $1 trillion per year for the next decade. There is no school of economics (classical, Austrian, Keynesian, etc.) that says deficits of this magnitude for a decade or longer will not result in great economic hardship or worse. Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman are wedded to the failed Keynesian dogma that debt is good, assuring that more "stimulus" spending now would augment American prosperity, both short-term and long-term. There are several major defects in this analysis:
· Thralldom to the Keynesian macro-economic paradigm - They attribute today's economic sluggishness to insufficient aggregate demand; hence, government must compensate for this deficiency via increased deficit spending to stimulate the economy. Sound economic analysis looks at the demand for specific goods and services, not at statistical abstracts like "aggregate demand." In a free market, consumers communicate to producers through price signals how much to produce, which generates the ongoing, healthy process dubbed "creative destruction," whereby new entrepreneurs supplying higher-valued goods supplant those supplying lower-valued goods. Government policies distort price signals, thereby stimulating over-production of lower-valued goods while shifting inputs away from the production of higher-valued goods.
· Blindness to history - The Keynesians' faith in deficit spending as the key to economic recovery represents a triumph of hope over experience. The massive deficit spending of Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s didn't stop the Great Depression and only the World War ended unemployment. The massive deficit spending of Japan's government over the past two decades has led to protracted economic sluggishness, with the largest debt-to-GDP ratio of the developed world. Last year's so-called “stimulus” plan has produced the same results as FDR's stimulus-stagnant employment and mushrooming debt. The Keynesian economists have a huge blind spot when it comes to history.
· An enormous faith in government competence- The Keynesian faith in government macroeconomic planning is eerily similar to socialists' master plans. Both involve centralized decision-making by political elites of markets that are inherently defective and unreliable, causing government intervention. Government programs (notoriously inefficient) operate outside the profit-and-loss marketplace, so there is no way to measure profitability.
· Dangerous assumptions about the capital markets - "Run up more debt," the Keynesians urge, apparently regarding the world's capital markets as a bottomless well. There are limits to how much debt a country's government can incur. If a country lacks such reserves, foreign creditors will realize that the debtor government is essentially broke. In consequence, the country's currency will plunge on foreign exchange markets, triggering massive upheavals throughout the economy.
Much of the world is now pursuing a policy experiment that (1) has been tried repeatedly without success, (2) has highly significant and discouraging historical evidence, and (3) is now being tried on unprecedented global scale. The exit strategy is ambiguous or absent; we're borrowing with no clear means to repay our debts. We face an added risk, from the sheer magnitude of our deficit and debt. The Stiglitz-Krugman-Keynesian pleas for more stimulus and more deficits are reckless and irresponsible. Stimulus plans haven't worked, won't work, and we can't afford them. We are already in great economic danger from deficit spending. The President and his advisers made it clear in their speeches that wasteful spending would not be tolerated, but they have not only tolerated it, they have expanded it exponentially. A policy to plunge us even deeper into the debt abyss is kamikaze economics and we should take a pass on that course of action.
(“The Keynesian Stimulus Dogma” by Mark W. Hendrickson dated March 7, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/the_keynesian_stimulus_dogma.html
“What’s Gross About Our Gross Domestic Product?” by Robert Arnott dated march 10, 2010 published by Real Clear Markets at http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2010/03/10/whats_gross_about_our_gross_domestic_product_98378.html
“Where Are Obama’s Economists?” by Richardd Rahn dated March 10, 2010 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/Rahn/barack-obama-ronald-reagan/2010/03/10/id/352181 )
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its long-term projections regarding President Obama's new budget proposal this year and projections show even higher Federal spending, deficits, and debt than Obama's budget confessed to just last month. The CBO projects that President Obama's deficits would be $1.2 trillion higher over the next 10 years, than estimated in Obama's budget release on February 1st. Federal deficits over those 10 years would be almost $10 trillion ($9.761). National debt held by the public would double in just 4 years, from $5.8 trillion at the end of 2008 to $11.6 trillion at the end of 2012. It would almost quadruple to $20.3 trillion by 2020, $1.7 trillion more than Obama projected just last month. That national debt in 2020, CBO further projects, will be 90% of GDP, which means the federal government will owe almost as much by then as our entire economy produces in a year. Total Gross Federal Debt, which includes such items as the debt held in the Social Security trust funds (real debt that will have to be paid in the future), would be over $27.5 trillion. That would be 122% of GDP. That is well into the level at which national debt begins to sharply reduce economic growth for advanced, developed economies, according to a new economic study. Under President Obama's tax and budget policies, federal deficits and debt are certain to be higher than CBO projects. The study concludes that developed economies with debt to GDP over 90% suffer median economic growth roughly 1 percentage point lower, and average economic growth almost 4 percentage points lower, and they are talking here about total gross debt. With long run U.S. economic growth at 3% to 4%, this means long term economic stagnation for America. The question for President Obama (who was glad to take the office but not the responsibility) is not what he inherited, but what he did with what he inherited. What he and Congressional Democrats did was turn a fiscal deficit into a fiscal and economic catastrophe for America. The completely overlooked truth is that the soaring deficits that Obama says are Bush's fault are actually Obama's official economic recovery policy, Keynesian deficit spending.
(“The Devil Is In the Deficits” by Peter Ferrara dated March 10, 2010 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2010/03/10/the-devil-is-in-the-deficits )
Democrats are pressing ahead with legislation to create a vast new government bureaucracy that would have virtually unlimited powers to slap sweeping controls and costs on the U.S. financial industry that critics say will stymie economic innovation and growth. The administration-backed legislation, an even tougher version of which passed the House in December, would create a new consumer protection agency with regulatory powers to take over shaky financial institutions and establish an emergency government fund to bail out troubled banks. The emerging financial regulation plan is part and parcel of a growing web of other legislative proposals by President Obama that, when added to health care reform and energy regulation, would result in the largest regulatory takeover of the private sector in U.S. history. They’re also talking about putting in a special mechanism where the regulators could seize financial institutions and then split them up, sell them or capitalize them, i.e., bail them out. The House-passed Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act goes much further than the Senate committee’s proposals. It creates an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency, as well as an inter-agency oversight council to identify and regulate major troubled firms that are facing collapse. It authorizes the Federal Reserve to provide up to $4 trillion in funding to stabilize financial institutions whose failure would endanger the entire financial system; creates a process to dismantle big financial institutions; gives shareholders a “say on pay” on executive compensation; empowers the Securities and Exchange Commission with new regulatory authority to protect investors and securities markets; and requires hedge funds and their advisors to registers with the SEC. The intention of this new agency is not to prevent future financial crises, or to protect the taxpayer. The intention of the agency is to expand the reach of the trial bar and federal regulators over financial products offered by non-banks, such as check cashiers and payday lenders. These nonbank financial companies weren't behind the financial crisis, and these entities are already covered by the Federal Trade Commission's authority to eliminate unfair and deceptive practices. Efforts to create a new consumer finance agency distract from fixing the real flaws in our financial system. Rather than moving so-called consumer protections, such as CRA, to a new regulator, Congress should repeal outright government efforts to push risky lending. This Consumer Protection Act is just the latest attempt by President Obama to take over another major part of the American economy under the guise of “reforming” a mis-performing free market industry segment.
(“Why More Consumer protection When Too Much Led to Crisis?” by Mark A. Calabria dated March 2, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=522712&Ntt=mark+a.+calabria
“Financial Regulation: The Next Government Takeover” by Donald Lambro dated March 10, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=35955 )
One of the more amazing aspects of the health-care debate is how steady public opinion has remained and how little support Obama has for his radical plans. Despite repeated and intense sales efforts by the president and his allies in Congress, most Americans consistently oppose the plan that has become the centerpiece of this legislative season. In 15 consecutive Rasmussen Reports polls conducted over the past four months, the percentage of Americans that oppose the plan has stayed between 52% and 58%. The dynamics of the numbers have remained constant as well. Senior citizens, the people who use the health-care system more than anybody else and who vote more than anybody else in midterm elections, are more opposed to the plan than younger voters. Polling conducted earlier this week shows that 57% of voters believe that passage of the legislation would hurt the economy, while only 25% believe it would help. The bigger problem is that people simply don't trust the official projections. 81% of voters say it's likely the plan will end up costing more than projected. 66% of voters believe passage of the President's plan will lead to higher deficits and 78% say it's at least somewhat likely to mean higher middle-class taxes. 59% of voters say that the biggest problem with the health-care system is the cost: They want reform that will bring down the cost of care. For these voters, the notion that you need to spend an additional trillion dollars doesn't make sense. On top of that, most voters expect that passage of the Congressional plan will increase the cost of care at the same time it drives up government spending. The final piece of the puzzle is that the overwhelming majority of voters have insurance coverage, and 76% rate their own coverage as good or excellent. Half of these voters say it's likely that if the Congressional health bill becomes law, they would be forced to switch insurance coverage. The reason President Obama can't move the numbers and build public support is because the fundamentals are stacked against him. Most voters believe all the health care plans will harm the economy, cost more than projected, raise the cost of care, and lead to higher middle-class taxes.
(“Why Obama Can’t Move the Health-Care Numbers” by Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen dated March 9, 2010 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704784904575111993559174212.html?KEYWORDS=scott+rasmussen )
The old German aristocracy can teach us a lesson today about terrorism that we must heed if we want our society to survive. German aristocracy owned a number of large industries and estates prior to World War II. When asked him how many German people were true Nazis, the answer given was “Very few people were true Nazis but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care.” Initially they thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools, and the majority just sat back and let it all happen, but before they knew it, Nazis owned everyone, and they had lost control. We are now told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this un-quantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history and it is the fanatics who march and wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority” and it is cowed and extraneous. Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a war mongering sadist, yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic killing of 12 million Chinese civilians. Who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery, when it was said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving”. History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Bosnians, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. Meanwhile we must pay attention to the only group that counts today; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.
(“Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant” by Emanual Tanay dated February 20, 2006 published by Celestial Junk at http://cjunk.blogspot.com/2006/02/why-peaceful-majority-is-irrelevant.html )
In less than a year well over a thousand independent groups have sprung up around the nation to organize and demonstrate against the attempted government takeover of entire industries, high taxes, crippling debt, and the agenda of President Barack Obama. The TEA (Taxed Enough Already) movement has been defined as populist, conservative, and libertarian in tone. It is a movement diverse in leadership and organization but united in its defense of liberty and the constitution. It is anti-elitist, anti-big government, and anti-big business. It is a revulsion and revolt against perceived corruption and politics as usual. It is the winning combination of the common sense principles of less government, fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, state’s rights, and strong national security that is uniting the Tea Party into an effective force to be reckoned with. It is a popular uprising against the political establishment. The members of the Tea Party first came to national attention when they crashed townhall meetings and held spontaneous rallies and protests around the nation. The Tea Party movement is really just a vast amalgamation of factions and independent groups acting outside the old party establishments and organized everywhere from facebook to the fellowship hall in the basement of the church on the corner. They are mad as hell, and history shows that righteous indignation and the howling mob can definitely threaten entrenched interests and the ruling elite. Those who jeered and poked fun at the 9-12 and Tea party groups just a few months ago now greatly worry about these shock troops of an aroused and angry conservative movement that has dedicated itself to practicing “guerilla conservatism” and challenge the progressive ideology that seeks to regulate, tax, and control nearly every aspect of your daily life. In many ways it is not just the Right against the Left, but the little guy against the big guy, the average American against the elite, and the lover of liberty against those who seek to replace it with authoritarian regulation. There is a major and nationwide effort to prepare to mount a conservative takeover of the Republican primary and caucus process. A third political party is not seen as a viable option at this particular point in time but the takeover of one of the existing ones is seen as possible. If anything, the Tea Party rebellion is more about class, not race. In the Great Recession it was the middle class that took a huge hit with severe job losses and foreclosures in the millions. The middle class is the heart and soul of the nation and when it feels ignored and betrayed it will strike out at those who it sees as having abandoned it. It is they who are feeling the greatest effects of both the recession and government policies. It is the middle class who have watched big government bailout big business with their money even as they lost their jobs, their savings, their retirement, and their homes. At the same time they see a massive grab for power by a government who sees them as little more than someone to be taxed and controlled. It will be interesting to see if the momentum fueled by the Tea Party has already peaked or if we are seeing the birth of a long-standing, broad-based, and truly influential phenomenon in the American political process or just a short-lived outburst of frustration with Barack Obama.
(“The Rise of the TEA Party” by David Huntwork dated March 10, 2010 published by American Daily at http://americandaily.com/index.php/article/3245 )
* 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:
· Energy at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/energy.php
· Environment at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/environment.php
· Family at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/family.php
· Feminism at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/feminism.php
· Healthcare at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/healthcare.php