Views on the News

June 18, 2011

Views on the News*

The ideas, to turn our country back around and leave our children and grandchildren an exceptional nation, are out there and once the current regime is voted out of office, America can reclaim its greatness again. There are plans in Congress (see Paul Ryan), plans by think tanks (see Heritage’s Saving the American Dream), and plans on the campaign trail (see Tim Pawlenty). These plans have all have one thing in common: They emphasize individualism and America’s traditional entrepreneurial spirit. Congressman Paul Ryan’s Republican budget proposal seeks to set our nation on a different, more sustainable and prosperous course. Government dependency undermines the foundation of our country’s national identity and the future of economic growth. Former Governor Tim Pawlenty summarized the conservative agenda well, saying that we need to unleash the creative energy of Americans and we will see a booming job market which will reduce demand for government assistance. The Heritage Foundation, the intellectual beacon of the conservative movement, has put forth a transformational vision for America, which will unleash the creativity of the American entrepreneur by permanently balancing the budget within 10 years without raising taxes. Pawlenty articulated an aspirational goal of 5% annual economic growth, likely unachievable over a sustained period but the type of optimism our nation needs after the spirit of malaise emanating from a White House that has no idea how to lower the unemployment rate in the near future. One of the beauties of the American system is that states can experiment with different policies. Prior to ObamaCare, Utah was making dramatic improvements on health care. Wisconsin is home to the longest-running and largest school choice program in the nation. Texas has embraced a host of pro-growth conservative policies from tort reform and low taxes to right-to-work laws. For the first time in a generation, our nation is at a crossroad and we're presented with two very different paths: One emphasizes bureaucrats, the other individuals. President Obama's policies place the American Dream in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, while Conservatives want to empower individuals and enable them to achieve the American Dream. It will be up to the American voters: Whom do you trust with your future – big government leftists or small government conservatives?

(“Rejecting American Pessimism” by Mike Needham dated June 13, 2011 published by Town hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/mikeneedham/2011/06/13/rejecting_american_pessimism )


Our nation is at a cultural crossroads because at no time in our history has America been faced with two sets of values and visions that are so drastically different from each other. President Obama and other liberal elites believe that more government is the solution to every problem. They see America as a nation that is behind other countries in moving toward a European statist model and a secular society, and they feel deeply uneasy with the United States’ leading role in the world. Fortunately, few Americans share this vision for our country. An overwhelming majority recognizes that we are A Nation Like No Other. Eighty percent told Gallup last year that they believe “the U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world” and Its this belief in the American Creed that both accounts for and ensures our freedom and prosperity. The Founders knew that the establishment of a limited representative government was necessary for the defense of individuals’ natural rights, but also that government institutions alone would not be enough. They were adamant that the success of the American republic would depend on the virtue of the American people. There are “Five Habits of Liberty” that have defined the character of the American people as responsible citizens and have ensured that America has remained exceptional:

·    Work: Going the Extra Mile—and Reaping the Reward - The Founders saw the ethic of personal responsibility for themselves and their families as one of the primary virtues required under republican government, and thought it shameful to be seen as even slightly dependent on public money. 

·    Faith and Family: Putting First What Matters Most - The affirmation in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is not a mere introduction to a long list of grievances with the British King. It was then, and remains today, a universal expression at the very heart of American Exceptionalism. 

·    Civil Society: Making a Commitment to Charity as a Private Citizen - Americans are exceptionally active in their communities and tend to solve problems together without government involvement. 

·    Rule of Law: Honoring Principles of Fair Play and Justice - The Founders sought to create a representative republic in which legal principles, and not privileged interests, would govern. Their design of a limited government that would respect individual liberties and property rights was central to this aim. 

·    Safety and Peace: America as the Indispensible Nation - If the people’s safety is not guaranteed, the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are meaningless. Government’s first and most important task, then, is to maintain peace within and defend the nation from threats outside.

With its love of liberty and overwhelming recognition of American Exceptionalism, the United States has everything it needs to remain the freest and the most prosperous country in the world for generations to come, but it is up to each of us to ensure that this vision of America prevails at this crossroads in American history.

(“A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters” by Newt Gingrich dated June 15, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=44183 )

Democrat political strategy is elegant and ironic: do absolutely nothing about the fiscal train wreck that is the federal budget deficit/debt, set a trap for Republicans, sit back while Republicans offer solutions, then mercilessly twist, distort and demagogue whatever they come up with, and ride this strategy to victory in 2012.  So far, the plan appears to be working, especially the merciless demagoguery part. The same people that unilaterally passed ObamaCare, including its $500 million "appropriation" from the current Medicare fund, will look into whatever camera they can find to say that Paul Ryan wants to change Medicare as we know it. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether this scheme will work as an electoral strategy for 2012. By and large, the left is unconcerned about the national debts/deficits and many liberals believe both need to be driven far higher. The left largely rejects the notion of American Exceptionalism, does not believe that America has been a force for good in the world, views Western civilization primarily through the eyes of empire, inequality and oppression, and is more than comfortable "managing" decline so that the United States is reduced to merely one of many among equals (or worse) in the world. The left views ceaselessly increasing national deficit and debt, American decline, and the erosion of Western values as inevitable and ultimately praiseworthy developments. Republicans must emphasize the need to lead and to continue to carry the mantle of Western Civilization and global capitalism, or we guarantee America’s relegation to the dustbin of history. The most important reason Republicans need to fix entitlements, fundamentally change the way we budget and spend, and fix the fiscal mess that has been bequeathed us by successive administrations and vastly accelerated by the current one is to perpetuate an exceptional America, and ensure the future of Western civilization.

(“The ‘Other’ Ryan Plan” by R.B.A. DiMuccio dated June 11, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/06/the_other_ryan_plan.html )

President Obama is either a moron or just ignorant, and his decisions have been driven by a thoroughly malevolent ideology that doesn’t like America or Americans. Suddenly, it seems, he may be having a crisis of confidence, the first outward sign of an inward glimmer of doubt in the mind of the most self-absorbed and self-congratulatory President in the history of the United States. According to multiple news accounts, President Obama confessed that the alleged economic recovery is not progressing as fast as he expected. If there is one lesson to be taken from the past two and years it is this: Looked at as a business model, progressive government under the (at least initially) charismatic leadership of Barack Obama has been a colossal flop. It has only succeeded in lowering expectations. In Western nations, Europe and the United States, there has been so much profligate spending and so many “entitlement” programs that financial structures are beginning to crack like poorly maintained bridges or dams. The Democrats have supported the destruction of Medicare with ObamaCare which is now wending its way through the courts with 26 States joined in opposing it. Millions of Americans are waking up to the fact that the Federal Reserve, despite being authorized in 1913, is a central bank with its own agenda and not even subject to a congressional audit. As was the case leading up to the Great Depression of the 1930s, Democrat policies are once again contributing to the current financial crisis. President Obama, supported by party line votes, has created an environment of fear and uncertainty that is playing havoc with the economy. All of the Obama administration’s economic policies have proven to be models of stupidity and three years on from Obama’s 2009 inauguration, every single element of the economy is in the toilet. Americans have been forced to witness a succession of short-term, quick fixes to the economy that have fixed nothing and made things worse. For the first time in history, Americans expect to become poorer from one generation to the next, but Americans will have a choice in November 2012 whether to continue on this disastrous path or to return to financial sanity.

(“Obama’s Killing the economy One Day at a Time” by Alan Caruba dated June 9, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/37383

Gambling Man” by Andrew B. Wilson dated June 10, 2011 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2011/06/10/gambling-man )


It was the duration of the economic collapse which began in 1929, not its severity, that created the Great Depression, and now the United States has experienced two straight years of 9% unemployment, the worst since before the Second World War, creating the Great Recession. The United States has unemployment of 9%, give or take a couple tenths of a point, since May, 2009. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke essentially threw up his hands because the Keynesian economic toolbox is empty.  So is monetary policy, unless you want to radically inflate the economy and depreciate the dollar. Continuation of these levels of unemployment will cause us to lose an entire generation.  The Great Recession is creating a fundamental change in the nature of unemployment, careers, family life, and economic prospects in this country.  President Obama's only defense -- it's Bush's fault! -- is ludicrous, and its rejection by most voters is reflected in the latest polls.  The problem with the economy is one of politics, not economics.  The economic solution is known, but it cannot be implemented until there's a Republican President and a Republican Congress.  The reason is the ideology of the Man in the White House. The stimulus which will turn this economy around has to come from the private sector, not the government.  President Obama and the Democrats who control the Senate will never agree to take the actions necessary to jump-start private business investment.  According to Standard & Poor's, the 500 big American companies in its S & P 500 Index are sitting on $2.4 trillion in cash and short-term investments. The existence of this huge accumulation of corporate capital in cash and marketable securities over the last three years means that the United States is experiencing a classic "capital strike."  A capital strike occurs under a system of democratic capitalism where unacceptable political risk discourages private investment from taking place.  The result is economic stagnation and a steady build-up of uninvested capital. The problem is not a lack of economic knowledge of what to do; the problem is ideology and the need for regime change in Washington, and that won't happen until January, 2013, at the earliest.

(“Is Permanent Recession the New Normal?” by James G. Wiles dated June 10, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/06/is_permanent_recession_the_new_normal.html )


The undeniable anemia of the current U.S. recovery, coming as it does on the heels of what’s now called “the Great Recession” of 2007-2009, implies that Obama-Bernanke have done all the wrong things, not “too little” of the right things. The latest, grim data confirm that the post-recession U.S. economic recovery of 2009-2011 has been one of the weakest on record. Robust recoveries tend to follow the deepest recessions, while weak recoveries follow shallow recessions. Now consider that this pathetic recovery was “achieved” by a ridiculous increase of 54% in the U.S. public debt (from $9.3 trillion as the recession began in late-2007, to $14.3 trillion today) and of 211% in the Fed’s monetary base (from $825 billion to $2.5 trillion), which serves as latent rocket fuel for rising inflation rates.  These numbers would be horrific enough were they merely the inadvertent fallout of otherwise reasonable and well-meaning public policies; but in truth the results are the inevitable result of two highly-acclaimed, widely applauded but deadly policy approaches: Keynesianism and Monetarism. Both schools, while posing as academic rivals, in fact have far more in common than they admit. Whereas Keynesians claim a free economy is at risk of “over-producing” and under-consuming, Monetarists claim it is at risk of “deflation” due to insufficient money supplies. The Keynesians are always eager to boost what they call “insufficient aggregate demand,” typically by means of government deficit-spending, a policy they tout as “stimulus.” Likewise, the Monetarists are ever-eager to counter imagined threats to demand allegedly posed by insufficient money-creation, and if necessary they’d resort to helicopters to dispense the needed money from above, a policy they call “quantitative easing.” Yet these demand-side schemes – Keynesian deficit-spending and Monetarist money-printing alike — only erode entrepreneurial and productive prowess. In truth, and contra-Keynesianism, mere consumption is the effect of production, not its cause; to consume is equivalent to using up or destroying wealth, not creating it anew. Likewise, and contra-Monetarism, the mere creation of fiat paper money (or bank reserves) by a monopoly central bank isn’t the same as creating real wealth; indeed, more often than not the effect of inflation only undermines the wealth-production process, by distorting price signals, while simultaneously robbing unsuspecting money-holders of purchasing power. In this century so far America also has suffered a “lost decade” of sorts, due to the anti-prosperity schemes of both Keynesians and Monetarists; they’ve depressed the economic growth rate and saddled both current and future generations with massive and unparalleled deficit-spending and debt monetization. Together with a burgeoning mass of regulations, demand-side policies suffocate private-sector incentives to save, produce, invest and hire. Thus capitalists are on strike, since they face political assaults from both sides. Only recently have astute Americans begun to realize that the real choice isn’t between Democrats and Republicans, or even “liberals” and “conservatives,” but between genuine defenders of reason, liberty, and the law and proponents of sheer stupidity and tyranny.

(“How the Demand-Siders Ruined the U.S. Economy” by Richard M. Salsman dated June 12, 2011 published by Forbes Magazine at http://blogs.forbes.com/richardsalsman/2011/06/12/how-the-demand-siders-ruined-the-u-s-economy-2/ )


President Obama is preparing a fresh engagement effort designed to pacify the Middle East's restive Muslim population: He will ask them again to reject Islamic terrorism in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death and embrace what he believes will be a new era of positive relations with the U.S. but this approach will probably fail just like the last one. Obama believes that political Islam and democratic politics are compatible with one another and that what is happening in the Arab world is a re-run of the 1989 democratic revolutions that swept through Eastern Europe. He believes that it is possible to establish European-style democracies in the Arab states, without their having to adopt Western culture or thought. In France, American embassies and consulates have been directed to “empower” Muslims and push for the passage of “social reforms” that will benefit them. In the UK, American diplomats were directed to again “empower” Muslims and made outreach to them a top priority. In Israel, the US consulate in Jerusalem caters only to Muslims and does its best to pretend that Jews and Israel don’t even exist. America’s own interests and our obligations to our allies have been put aside to focus on a single goal of overriding importance - pandering to the Muslim world. Contrary to what we are being told in the mainstream media, what is evolving in Egypt is not a liberal democracy, but a form of populism that will promote the virtues of Islam over 'decadent Western perfidy' - a populism that will translate into Islam, poverty, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. The problem is you can't export a revolution based upon the rights of individuals to cultures that don't believe in the supremacy of the individual over the system. The "Arab Spring" is not an awakening against repression but a call for representative repression that reflects the cultural values and tribal affiliations of Egyptian society. Cultures such as these will not pass laws of equality. Instead their highest values are laws that perpetuate inequality in the name of morality. The President has yet to notice that the "Arab Spring" has no founding fathers and no change of ideas based on progressive, enlightened thought. There is no intellectual or cultural elite with a realistic reform program to change the ruling regime and lead the process of change towards a better future for the region.  Polls are already suggesting that the Islamic bloc in Egypt will likely win the September parliamentary elections and include Salafi jihadists who are even more extreme in their views of Islam than the Muslim Brotherhood, but this knowledge has not dampened Obama's Western liberal messianic approach that places great faith in progressive governments and disdains tribalism and national identities - attitudes that the Islamic world does not share. This frantic flurry of outreach reveals that we consider Islam to be the primary threat to global stability and a major national security threat. Now he is about to begin another engagement initiative based on his belief that bin Ladin's death represents a unique opportunity for revolutionary Islamists to cast their swords into ploughshares, embrace democracy, and carry the torch of freedom to the Arab world. He has already selected the "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood as his partner for promoting American interests in the Arab world in place of their ousted rulers. The Muslim Brotherhood is an annihilationist, jihadist organization, the ideological cousin of Hamas, al Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the leading Arab ally of Khomeini's Iran, and is dedicated to establishing a global Islamic caliphate under Sharia law.  Our Muslims-First foreign policy, for all the cringing and crawling, appeasing and advocating, the violence continues to grow. If there is one conclusion to be drawn from Obama’s engagement efforts to the Muslim world since his election, it is that they have failed miserably and there is little doubt that his latest engagement initiative will also fail.   

(“Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood” by Mark Silverberg dated June 10, 2011 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2011/06/10/obama-and-the-muslim-brotherhood/

“The ‘Muslim First’ Foreign Policy” by Daniel Greenfield dated June 12, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/37461 )


* 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. No updates to issue section have been made this week.


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY