Views on the News
Views on the News*
April 19, 2014
Cries of racism/sexism/homophobia used to be where Democrats ended up in a debate, but now, it’s where they start because what once was simply the last arrow in their quiver has turned into their favorite tactic. After five and a half years of a Democratic president and liberal policies, the country is much worse off than before. Recessions come and go – it’s a fact of economics. Recessions stick around only when government acts as if it can “fix” them. As we approach our fifth “Recovery Summer,” the economy is deeper into that ditch the President spoke of back in 2010. Democrats point to the stock market as proof of economic success but decry income inequality and systematically block Americans from investing a tiny portion of their Social Security in it to get their families a taste. The failed progressive economic policies are but the tip of an iceberg of disaster, scandals and lies from which Democrats need people distracted if they are to have any hope of holding on to the Senate this fall. Enter the “isms.” Crying racism is the script – it is all they have left. That they make it and other cries of victimhood to people who truly have been victims of various “isms” in their lives illustrates just how despicable and desperate they are. No philosophy has victimized, harmed, killed, imprisoned and ruined more lives than progressivism. It was born out of a sense of superiority, the thought that a few educated elites know better how other people should live their lives than those people themselves, and has used bullying, terror, murder, oppression and lies to advance it. Progressives bathed in Jim Crow and birth eugenics to breed “undesirable people” out of existence. Given there were more abortions of black babies in New York City than births in 2012, eugenics is alive and well, just simply rebranded. Slavery still exists, it's just now based on income rather than race. Government "largesse" is the new plantation and nearly half the people in the country live there, unaware they're stuck in Plato’s Cave. Racism is alive and well today, and it lives where it was born – on the left. What's more racist than demanding a President, an attorney general, or anyone be treated differently, be deferred to, simply because of skin color? If progressives want to see racism, they need to find a reflective surface. If you believe in superiority of the politician over the person, you can get elected as a Democrat and/or host a show on MSNBC.
(“The Politics of Personal Distraction” by Derek Hunter dated April 13, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2014/04/13/the-politics-of-personal-distraction-n1823835 )
The positioning of Race at the heart of every political controversy is a Democrat specialty which wasn’t supposed to endure into the second Obama term, or at least not in the virulent form of 100 years ago. Biracial Barack Obama presented himself in 2008 as the Presidential candidate who would show us the way to national unity: no red America, no blue America, just America; all for one and one for all; but his actions do not match his words. Candidates tend to talk that way in election seasons, especially candidates eager, like Obama, to attract attention in spite of inexperience and lack of conventional qualifications. He made an impression not only on the Democrats who were going to vote for him anyway but on whites who were seeking propitiation for past racial injustices. Whatever intentions Obama may genuinely have harbored regarding the prospect of racial reconciliation, he switched relatively quickly to the tried and true tactic of race baiting. The only race war going on around here in 2014 is the one that Democrats wage for the immemorial purpose of gaining and holding on to power. With Obama low in the polls and Democrat control of the Senate threatened, the party sinks to the occasion. “Racism” in 21st century America, with its biracial President, its multitude of government programs meant to nurture and raise up non-whites, its affirmative action programs at universities and corporations, racism endures largely as a plug-in political concept. In the world of modern liberalism, you can’t be an individual. First you have to register at the Victim Classification Office and listen to a sermon about why despicable people despise you and what to do about it. Obama’s record embodies a great irony; to wit, racial demagoguery flourishes anew, just when it was supposed to end.
(“Obama and the Politics of Race” by William Murchison dated April 15, 2014 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/articles/58750/obama-and-politics-race )
Six years into the Obama Presidency, Americans have ample grounds, independent of race, to dislike him. The shortcomings of the Obama administration, ranging from a still-sluggish economy to a slow-witted foreign policy, have produced an opposition that doesn’t always fit into ideological terms. Parts of the public, not necessarily on the right, have caught on to Obama’s double game, in which his administration has been rhetorically egalitarian and operationally elitist. The economic winners of the Obama years have been the “oligarchs of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.” The losers have come not only from the private-sector middle class, but also from heavily Democrat minority groups. Democrat politicians have been the great beneficiaries of the racially charged patronage programs spun off by the Great Society, but the supposed “leg-up” offered to blacks has produced, despite trillions in expenditures, a relatively stable poverty rate over the past 50 years, with African-Americans disproportionately present among the poor. Despite a welfare state roughly as generous as Europe’s, American society is increasingly divided between those from two-parent families, who do okay or better, generally speaking, and those forced to struggle against the odds because of the absence of fathers. Today’s liberalism has little to say about how to help people rise from the bottom into the middle class. Rather, its proposals, like raising the minimum wage, are designed to make the already-working poor more comfortable. That’s perhaps an admirable goal, but it’s also a path to a class-stratified society. The other great liberal political success story has been the rise of public-sector unions, which fueled both Obama’s reelection and Bill de Blasio’s victory in New York City’s mayoral race. The upshot of Obama’s policies is that he has, Chicago-style, fed the top-bottom alliance of crony capitalists and the social-service state—the government-worker providers and the recipients of aid. This has left the private-sector middle class out in the cold. If the Democrats do take a shellacking this November, they will no doubt attempt to pin blame on the supposed psychological failings of Republican voters. For the good of the country, though, let us hope that voters will come to grips with the all-too-material failures of the Obama years.
(“A Glimpse into the Political Future” by Fred Siegel dated April 11, 2014 published by City Journal at http://www.city-journal.org/2014/eon0411fs.html )
This is the worst economic recovery America has ever had, and it hasn’t gotten any better since. Unemployment has fallen from 8.2% then to 6.6% today, but that fall in unemployment is not due to strong job growth, but rather more and more Americans have dropped out of the workforce entirely. Job creation under President Obama is still anemic. In fact, the U.S. economy still supports fewer jobs today (137.5 million) than it did at its pre-recession peak (138.4 million). The Obama economy was not supposed to turn out like this. In 2008, even as President Bush’s mortgage-debt based economy crumbled around them, progressive activists were downright giddy about their new unified plan for America’s recovery. By 2008, thanks to the decline of private sector unions, the labor wing of the Democratic party no longer cared about protecting fossil fuel-dependent jobs. Steelworkers, auto workers, and coal miners are no longer the face of the labor movement in America. Government employees, including correction officers, sanitation workers, teachers, etc., are, and government unions simply don’t care about protecting private sector jobs. Into this void stepped the “BlueGreen Alliance,” a collection of environmentalist and union groups who promoted a “New Apollo Program” that called for a new cap and trade tax on fossil fuels as well as $500 billion in spending that would “build America’s 21st century” and create “5 million jobs.” Then-candidate Obama largely embraced the “New Apollo Program” when he introduced his “New Energy for America Plan” that also promised 5 million new jobs. Before Obama was even elected, we knew the Democrats’ new clean-energy economy was a total farce. The failure of Obama’s clean energy agenda to create new jobs was such an embarrassment that the Bureau of Labor Statistics even shut down its new program to count “green jobs.” Before the program closed its doors in 2013, it found that a total of only 9,000 green jobs had been created during the entire Obama Presidency. Remember, we are still almost 1 million jobs short of pre-recession job levels and we would need 11 new million jobs to bring unemployment down to pre-recession levels given pre-recession participation in the workforce. The simple fact is that it is impossible to use government regulations to cripple old industries and subsidize new ones without killing millions of jobs in the process. Yes, some new jobs will be created as people install solar panels and put up wind turbines, but as long as those new technologies are not cost-effective, meaning they require government intervention to be profitable, more jobs will be lost in the process.
(“Obama’s Blue-Green Bust” dated April 13, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/tipsheet/townhallmagazine/2014/04/13/obamas-bluegreen-bust-n1822414 )
What is most missing from the Republicans is not so much the lack of an alternative to ObamaCare, it is the lack of a clear vision. Even if you can understand what their various proposals, it is almost never clear why they want to implement them. Even though the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is a Rube Goldberg contraption that no one can explain and even though its rollout has been a complete disaster and even though the delay of one provision after another makes it seem as though the entire enterprise is coming apart. Even with all that, Barack Obama in his sleep can articulate a clearer vision for health reform than Republicans and all their think tanks combined, after spending four years thinking about it! Granted, the President's vision is often deceitful. When he says insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel your insurance after you get sick, he neglects to say that this has been federal law since the time of the Bill Clinton Presidency. Republican alternatives have included: a universal tax credit, Roth Health Savings Accounts, Medicaid as an option for everyone, and a change of health status insurance. These alternatives will insure more people and spend less money than ObamaCare, but the problem is that is not a vote-inspiring vision. The Republican vision must include:
• Choice: There will be no employer or individual mandate. People will be free to choose insurance tailored to individual and family needs.
• Fairness: To purchase private health insurance, every individual and every family will get the same help from government regardless of where they obtain the insurance, at work, in an exchange or in the marketplace.
• Simplicity: To enroll, people can make use of EHealth and other private exchanges that have been in existence for over a decade. Under ideal reform, there will be no need for tax increases or refunds the following year.
• Jobs: The Republican alternative will encourage employers of all sizes to hire new workers.
• Universal Coverage: A certain amount of money will be set aside to cover every American.
• Portability: Insurance should be personal and portable, and that travels with them from job to job and in and out of the labor market.
• Patient Power: People will have new opportunities to manage their own health care dollars, if they choose.
• Real Insurance: Insurance should give people genuine protection against the financial consequences of developing a pre-existing condition. If an individual's health deteriorates and he must subsequently switch health plans, the original plan must pay the new plan a higher premium to reflect the higher expected cost. Patients with health problems, therefore, will be just as desirable to new plans as people who are healthy. Similarly, no individual will be able to game the system by remaining uninsured and then buying insurance without penalty after he gets sick.
• Efficiency: Government will subsidize the first dollars, paying for the core insurance that we want everyone to have. Additional insurance and deposits to Roth HSAs will be made with after-tax dollars and these dollars will compete on a level playing field with all other consumer spending.
• Transition: We must transition from where we are now to where we want to be; it will be painful; and that is a process that will take several years.
When this Republican health reform vision can be packaged, the contrast with the flawed ObamaCare will be stark and easy to explain as a real reason for change.
(“A Republican Vision for Health Reform” by John C. Goodman dated April 12, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/johncgoodman/2014/04/12/a-republican-vision-for-health-reform-n1823500 )
A recent Pew Research poll found that, for the first time in the fifty years, a majority of US respondents said the US “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” A full 80% agree that the United States should "not think so much in international terms but concentrate more on our own national problems." China, Russia, India, Brazil, Turkey, the Gulf Arab states and others don’t have the muscle to change the global status quo on their own, but as Russia’s intervention in Ukraine reminds us, they remain the most powerful actors in their immediate neighborhoods and have more than enough economic and diplomatic leverage to obstruct US plans. Aware that Obama is focused on domestic goals and that a war-weary US public will not support costs and risks that don’t directly threaten US national security, it doesn’t take much for outsiders to discourage US intervention in Syria, Crimea or the East China Sea. Unfortunately, the US government has undermined its own ability to persuade allies to help with the international heavy lifting. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and drone strikes inside other countries have made it harder for foreign leaders to persuade voters they should still support US policy. Washington’s political food-fights undermine US foreign policy, as well. If there is any issue on which today’s Republicans and Democrats should agree, it’s trade. Republicans should be on board because they are traditional champions of international commerce. Democrats should support Obama’s trade agenda because party control of the White House gives Democrats the most influence in writing the rules of any new agreement. US foreign-policy reticence leaves outsiders to wonder which of its traditional commitments Washington will continue to accept. America’s closest allies have little cause for concern. Even if Britain decides one day to leave the European Union, the historical and cultural ties that bind Britain and America will remain strong. “Second-tier” allies, countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Germany, have much more cause for concern. The region where concern is greatest is East and Southeast Asia, where some of China’s nervous neighbors want a reliable American presence. Countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and others hope to deepen their commercial relations with China without becoming dependent on its good will. They want to broaden and deepen security relations with the United States, which has promised a “pivot” to Asia to maintain the region’s stable balance of power. No region is more likely to send the global economy off the rails than this one. Add the North Korean wildcard, and the need for a stabilizing outside power is only more obvious. In late April, Obama will pay an overdue visit to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia. The US President and his hosts will have much to discuss. It is not what the President says, but what he does, that counts and if only in Asia, that means offering a predictable partnership that reinforces confidence in American staying power—for friends and foes alike.
(“The Tragic Decline of American Foreign Policy” by Ian Bremmer dated April 16, 2014 published by The National Interest at http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-tragic-decline-american-foreign-policy-10256 )
* 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. Updates have been made this week to the following issue sections:
· Civil Rights at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/civilrights.php