Views on the News
July 10, 2010
Views on the News*
In a perverse sort of way, it took the far-left domination of government by electing Barack Obama as President and voting the Democrats in full control of the Congress to reveal the true destructive nature of progressivism in our institutions and the concurrent uncontrolled spending and growth of government. The people were apathetic and the media, academia, the entertainment establishment, and federal bureaucracies were all hostile to any other ideas. A long as the American people remained largely disengaged, the damage done to the society as a whole and to the long-term financial health of the country was unknown to the vast majority. This indifference has begun to undergo significant change as the reality of the nation's future comes into focus, but that reality has started to come to the fore only as the result of the policies being pursued by a far-left government. Today, thanks to a confluence of two factors, the opportunity exists to reverse the course the United States has been on and change the political power structure in the country. The first: the emergence of alternative news sources that has broken the stranglehold on the dissemination of news by the traditional outlets dominated by the left. The second: The election of a President steeped in socialist/Marxist ideology and a Congress controlled by the Progressive element of the Democratic Party. The determination of Obama and the Congress to exploit the financial and economic crisis and, more recently, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in order to pass their agenda has had the effect of kicking over the rocks and exposing for all to see the undermining of the social and fiscal foundation of the nation by the left-wing radicals in Congress, the administration, and many of our institutions. The general public has now been exposed to the following:
· The current regime's uncontrolled spending policies and willingness to triple the national debt within nine years have laid bare the actual and unvarnished state of the country's debt and its potential financial future.
· The once-mainstream media's willingness to lose all credibility with the vast majority of the public with its not-so-subtle cheerleading for their preferred politicians.
· The Democrat Party, at one time the self-declared defender of the little guy and now captive to Progressive ideology, has declared war on small business and capitalism.
· The current majority of the members of Congress has been unmasked as politicians incapable of reading bills, indifferent to voters, and fully in the pockets of liberal special interest groups.
· President Obama and Congress intentionally used lies and deception to pass an unwanted health care reform bill in a not-so-subtle attempt to control the day-to-day lives of the American people. The use of bribery and intimidation to pass legislation or regulations was on stage for all to see.
· To the current ruling class, slavish adherence to ideology trumps the needs and best interest of the people of the United States.
With the backdrop of unfettered spending, the high jobless rates, and the potential for national bankruptcy, more and more of the general public has become aware of the radical nature of the present government, despite the efforts of the once-mainstream media. The latest utopian idea passed by The Obama administration was an “Opening Doors” program to wipe out “chronic homelessness” which has as much chance of success as Johnsons War on Poverty elimination poverty. As usual this latest federal over-reach program seeks to supercede over 200 state and local programs targeted at the same problem. While the timing may have been there to have a "moderate" Barack Obama elected President, the timing to turn the United States into a bastion of socialism was not. The hope that fired up the election of Barack Obama has flickered out, leaving a national mood of despair and disappointment. There is a widespread feeling that the government doesn't work, that it is incapable of solving America's problems. Americans are fed up with Washington, fed up with Wall Street, fed up with the necessary but ill-conceived stimulus program, fed up with the misdirected healthcare program, and with pretty much everything else. In essence, Barack Obama and the present Congress won their offices at the wrong point in the history of our nation to achieve all their objectives; but by attempting to do so and overreaching, this left-wing government has given the country an opportunity to awaken from its fifty-year slumber and repair the foundation; and only a radical Presidency and Congress could have accomplished this before it was too late to turn back the tide.
(“The 4th of July and the Progressive Overreach” by Steve McCann dated July 4, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/07/the_4th_of_july_and_the_progre.html
“Obama Is Barely Treading Water” by Mortimer B. Zuckerman dated July 2, 2010 published by US News & World report at http://politics.usnews.com/opinion/mzuckerman/articles/2010/07/02/mort-zuckerman-obama-is-barely-treading-water.html
“Obama’s Flim Flam of Preposterous Promises” by Michael Medved dated July 7, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelMedved/2010/07/07/obamas_flim_flam_of_preposterous_promises )
The Washington leadership never misses an opportunity to blame the eight years of Bush policies for the economic problems that have befallen the nation, but although Republicans certainly contributed over the years, the cause of the economic problems must be laid squarely at the doorstep of the Democrats. The root cause of the economic problem is government interference with the free market. The root cause of the near-collapse that occurred in the last year of the Bush administration can be traced to the Democratic socialist idea that everyone has a right to adequate housing. Democrat President Carter and his Democratic colleagues enacted the Community Reinvestment Act, which effectively outlawed redlining. Organizations such as ACORN systematically invaded financial institutions with highly visible public protests, demanding that private lenders fund mortgages for unqualified people in depressed areas. Democrat President Clinton and his Democratic colleagues expanded the Community Reinvestment Act, requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide guarantees for these mortgages. Private lenders in a free market would never have made these loans without the intimidation and extortion from ACORN-type organizations and the interference of the federal government. When Republicans tried to rein in the loose lending practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, their efforts were blocked by Democrats, particularly by Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chuck Schumer. In their effort to meet the socialist goal of providing adequate housing to all people, whether qualified or not, Democrat interference with the free market caused an enormous artificial bubble in the housing market. This housing bubble produced secondary markets in derivatives (packages of government-guaranteed mortgages) and credit default swaps (insurance against default of derivatives). When unqualified borrowers began to default in staggering numbers, the government had to make good on the mortgages it guaranteed, and the insurance companies, like AIG, had to make good on the insurance policies they had issued. In 2008, under the reign of George W. Bush, the Treasury Department suddenly realized that neither the mortgage companies nor the insurance companies could make good on their commitments and that unless the federal government came to the rescue, much of the financial marketplace would collapse. Democrat President Obama immediately blamed Bush and his policies, when it was the Democrats who bore the ultimate responsibility. The facts may be misrepresented, but they cannot be altered. Democrats are quick to say that the absence of government regulation is what caused the economic meltdown. This diagnosis is incorrect, and the medicine Democrats are prescribing will only worsen the malady. The cure for the current economic condition is to get government out of the marketplace and out of the lives of individual citizens.
(“Get government out of the market” by Henry Lamb dated July 2, 2010 published by World Net Daily at http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=174097 )
The simple fact is the Obama Administration has been the worst administration on jobs since the Great Depression, which explains why the administration is now engaged in a massive public relations offensive to convince Americans that their “stimulus” plan has worked and created millions of jobs. Every prediction the administration made about how the stimulus plan would create jobs has turned out to be wrong. When it was passed in February 2009, the nation's largest stimulus program focused on sending aid to struggling state governments, providing tax relief and augmenting the safety net for the unemployed and low income. Most fundamentally, instead of creating jobs and reducing unemployment, the stimulus plan created more unemployment and reduced jobs. Overall, since the stimulus was passed, 48 out of 50 states have lost jobs. One reason is the massive debt associated with all the new government spending. The uncertainty and future tax hikes associated with this and other Administration policies are causing real job creators to pull back on hiring. The U.S. has lost close to 3 million private sector jobs when about 500,000 temporary census jobs are excluded from the calculations. According to the latest jobs report, total U.S. employment stood at almost 130.5 million in June, which means the cumulative Obama jobs deficit, the difference between the end target and the current employment level, stands at almost 7.4 million. Unemployment has hovered near 10% since mid-2009. Of the millions of jobs that they predicted would result from the stimulus plan, the administration promised that “more than 90% of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector,” but it hasn’t happened. Instead of experiencing “particularly strong job growth” as Democrats promised, construction (down 13.1%) and manufacturing (down 5.8%) have experienced rates of job destruction several times greater than the overall rate of private-sector job destruction (down 2.4%). By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new jobs. The two things that are growing fastest in this Democrat economy are the size of the federal government and the crushing burden of the national debt. The stimulus plan has been an expensive failure for which Americans will be paying for many years to come. Nothing makes a President look weaker than pointing the finger at past administrations, because it makes him look like he is playing politics and people just want jobs. Americans don't care about whose fault it is; playing the blame game only boomerangs on the President. Only 29% of Americans believe the “stimulus” improved the economy, while 43% believe it hurt the economy. Appropriately, the President emphasized accountability and measuring his Presidency by results, but by his own official forecast and by his own standard, the Obama jobs deficit attests to the failure of his policies. Rather than showing a record of job creation, the stimulus has been followed by other, dubious records: record unemployment, record number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits, and record tax hikes ahead to support the direct and indirect costs of Democrats’ 2009 stimulus plan.
(“Democrats’ Trillion Dollar Stimulus Failed” by Dave Camp dated June 30, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37736
“Blame game could ‘boomerang’ on Obama. Strategist says” by Kristi Keck dated July 2, 2010 published by CNN at http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/02/blame-game-could-boomerang-on-obama-strategist-says/?iref=allsearch&fbid=V8BJNve96AJ
“Weak Economy, Failed Policies Keep Obama Jobs deficit High at 7.4 Million” by J.D. Foster dated July 2, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/07/weak%20economy%20failed%20policies%20keep%20obama%20jobs%20deficit%20high%20at%207%204%20million
“Lack of jobs increasingly blamed on uncertainty created by Obama’s policies” by Jon Ward dated July 6, 2010 published by The Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/06/lack-of-jobs-increasingly-blamed-on-uncertainty-created-by-obamas-policies/ )
A double dip recession is all but guaranteed because of the looming expiration of George W. Bush's tax cuts and new ObamaCare taxes. In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves starting on January 1, 2011.
First Wave - Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax relief:
· Personal income tax rates will rise - Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will phase out, having the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates.
· Higher taxes on marriage and family - The “marriage penalty” will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.
· The return of the Death Tax - January 1 2011, there is a 55% top death tax rate on estates over $1 million.
· Higher tax rates on savers and investors - The capital gains tax will rise from 15% this year to 20% in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15% this year to 39.6% in 2011.
Second Wave: ObamaCare - twenty new or higher taxes in ObamaCare:
· The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” - Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines.
· The “Special Needs Kids Tax” – New imposition of a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $250, which can be used to pay for special needs education.
· The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike - This provision increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20%, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10%.
Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes:
· The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year – AMT taxpaying families will rise from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level.
· Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear – Equipment purchases up to $250,000 can no longer be expensed, and will have to be “depreciated.”
· Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses - There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.
· Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced - The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.
· Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed - A retired person with an IRA can no longer contribute to a charity from their IRA, and count it toward an annual “required minimum distribution.”
American families will feel these tax hikes directly and no amount of Obama spin or obfuscation will hide the detrimental economic impact of these higher taxes. The left's ideological opposition to the Bush tax cuts is poised to push the U.S. into a depression, regardless of whether we get another Keynesian stimulus.
(“Six Months to Go Until The Largest Tax Hikes in History” by Ryan Ellis dated July 6, 2010 published by Americans for Tax Reform at http://www.atr.org/sixmonths.html?content=5171
“Ask George W. Bush How to Avert a Double Dip” by Kevin A. Hassett dated July 6, 2010 published by American Enterprise Institute at http://www.aei.org/article/102262 )
The left loves the Constitution and freedom, but they only love it when they have the rights and can pick and choose who else gets to enjoy them. Here are five rights that the far left in America doesn’t want conservatives to have:
· Free Speech Rights - The left loves to whine and complain about how evil Republicans are, but they sure don’t want anyone to talk back. On many issues, the left openly tries to prevent the right from speaking out.
· The Right to Bear Arms - The left really hates guns—especially when law-abiding citizens own them. What the left doesn’t seem to get, beyond their inability to understand the 2nd Amendment, is that banning gun ownership will not stop violence.
· Voting Rights - The left would love other liberals to vote and they may not even mind if you vote a few times so long as ACORN was in on the voter registration action. What they absolutely hate, however, is when conservatives vote because they keep voting in Republicans who will prevent them from passing whatever legislation they want.
· Freedom of Press - The left really hates that Fox News has an audience and they loathe the existence of the alternative media. Free press is good, so long as liberals can control the message.
· The Rights of States - There are reasonable restrictions on what a state can or cannot do, and there is certainly a role for the federal government in overseeing some of what a state. But, to always take the side of the federal government, the way liberals do, solely to hold on to power, power that would be kept away from conservatives who tend to overwhelmingly advocate for those rights, is wrong.
The far left in this country, at any opportunity they can, stomp on our freedoms, or simply ignore them, for what they perceive to be the greater good: political correctness, social justice, environmental activism, diversity. Leftists seek to quash our freedoms, while utilizing them for their own political purposes.
(“Five Rights the left Doesn’t Want You to Have” by Jason Rantz dated July 5, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37839 )
A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report provides evidence that the Obama administration misrepresented the assets devoted to the Gulf cleanup, the timing of when government officials knew there was an oil spill, and the level of control the government had over the matter. It also claims the Obama administration seemed more interested in public relations than cleaning the mess and plugging the hole. The people who are on the frontlines of this crisis have brought to light a bureaucratic quagmire that is exacerbating the response and clean-up effort. A May 2 statement from Obama, “And we will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused. And while there will be time to fully investigate what happened on that rig and hold responsible parties accountable, our focus now is on a fully coordinated, relentless response effort to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf.” But the federal government has not been in charge from the beginning, local officials told committee staff. Until the President’s visit on May 28, 2010, BP was in charge, the report said. President Obama cannot plug that hole, because if he does, then all his support to overhaul our energy policy will have no enemy. He needs the villain of big oil, so he can justify raising taxes and expanding government control. The biggest reason the President is completely incapable of stopping the largest environmental disaster in American history is because then he would have to abandon all his fundamental leftist ideologies. He would have to embrace individual minds who actual know how to fix and create things. He would have to lean on people who are not government workers. He would have to find experts who don’t get elected and aren’t part of advisory panels. The math is simple: More oil comes out of the Deepwater Horizon well each day than we collect. So after 80 days things are worse rather than better. It’s because those in charge have failed to re-assign priorities and assemble enough resources to skim and intercept the oil before it reaches shore. Since he views people outside of government as the enemy, he has no idea how to extend his arm from this oily mess and get a life-line from the individuals he hates the most, so instead he will elongate the crisis for his own political purposes.
(“Congressional Report Claims Administration Misled About efforts on Oil Spill” by Fred Lucas dated July 2, 2010 published by Cybercast News Service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/68895
“Why Obama Can’t Plug That Damn Hole” by Fortune Dale dated July 4, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37871 )
It is clear that at the heart of the Administration’s immigration reform agenda will be an amnesty for those illegal immigrants inside of the United States, but the country already did an amnesty in 1986, and all it did was push the illegal immigration problem on to another generation. Now in 2010, the population has increased by 10 to 11 million illegal immigrants. It’s clear that such a move only encourages more illegal immigration, and doesn’t get to the root of the illegal immigration problem. Yet, Obama not only used his speech to push for a mass amnesty; he also pushed for the Dream Act, which would grant an amnesty to individuals inside the United States who came here before the age of 16. Any kind of amnesty, whether the Dream Act or a mass earned legalization, would have the same results of encouraging more people to come to the United States illegally. President Obama’s focus on improving border security and enforcement as part of an amnesty package glosses over the fact that in 1986, aggressive enforcement was also linked to amnesty. However, politicians were too weak to enforce the law, and the problem got even worse. There is nothing to indicate that the results would be any different in 2010, as the Obama Administration has rolled back several effective enforcement efforts including random workplace enforcement raids. The Obama administration is getting quite the reputation for bucking the wishes of the people. From pushing through an unpopular health care bill to imposing a moratorium on offshore drilling that's costing the already-suffering gulf region precious jobs, it has refused to back down when it comes to the will of the masses. Now, President Obama's Justice Department has decided to sue the State of Arizona over its new law targeting illegal aliens, when a majority of the public favors the legislation, leaving many to wonder if the increasingly detached White House has gone too far. The administration says its lawsuit is all about the law; Arizona, it says, is trying to enforce immigration statutes - which is humorous since, if the federal government did its job, there would be no need for this state law. Many of the people and organizations that are now declaring S.B. 1070 to be unconstitutional made the same claims regarding previous Arizona statutes: Arizona’s last three major laws concerning illegal immigration were all challenged in court (Proposition 200 in 2004, the Human Smuggling Act in 2005, and the Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007), all of which were sustained. The best thing the federal government could do would be to enforce the existing laws to secure the border while instituting a strong enforcement system that will discourage illegal immigration, while at the same time making legal avenues of immigration more efficient and better able to serve the needs of the economy.
(“Obama’s Immigration Speech Showcases Plans for Amnesty” by Jena McNeil dated July 1, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://blog.heritage.org/2010/07/01/obama%E2%80%99s-immigration-speech-showcases-plans-for-amnesty/
“Defending Arizona” by Kris W. Kobach dated July 6, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/437656/defending-arizona/kris-w-kobach
“Obama vs. Arizona: The President is fighting a reckless war that will backfire politically.” by Andrea Tantaros dated July 8, 2010 published by New York Daily News at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/07/08/2010-07-08_obama_vs_arizona_the_president_is_fighting_a_reckless_war_that_will_backfire_pol.html )
* 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:
· Elections at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/elections.php