Views on the News
July 24, 2010
Views on the News*
The Republicans are already dancing on the Democrat’s political grave, salivating about November, but don't underestimate Barack Obama. Consider what he has already achieved: ObamaCare alone makes his Presidency historic irrevocably changing one-sixth of the economy, put the country inexorably on the road to national health care, and begun one of the most massive wealth redistributions in U.S. history. Second, there is major financial reform that gives the government unprecedented power in the financial marketplace and will create at least 243 new regulations that will affect not only the big banks but just about everyone. Third is the near $1 trillion stimulus, the largest spending bill in U.S. history, not even counting nationalizing the student loan program, regulating carbon emissions by Environmental Protection Agency fiat, and still-fitful attempts to pass cap-and-trade through Congress. Bottom line is that Obama's most far-reaching accomplishment is his structural alteration of the U.S. budget. The stimulus, the vast expansion of domestic spending, the creation of ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see are not easily reversed. These are not mere temporary countercyclical measures. They are structural deficits because the real money is in entitlements, most specifically Medicare and Medicaid. ObamaCare freezes these out as a source of debt reduction because ObamaCare's $500 billion in Medicare cuts and $600 billion in tax increases are siphoned away for a new entitlement, and no longer available for deficit reduction. There just isn't enough to cut elsewhere to prevent national insolvency. That will require massive tax increases, most likely a European-style value-added tax. So Act One is over. The “stimulus,” ObamaCare, financial reform have exhausted his first-term mandate. It will bear no more heavy lifting, since the Democrats will pay the price for ideological overreaching by losing one or both houses. The rest of the first term will be spent consolidating these gains (writing the regulations, for example) and preparing for Act Two. The next burst of ideological energy, massive regulation of the energy economy, federalizing higher education and "comprehensive" immigration reform (i.e., amnesty), will require a second mandate, meaning reelection in 2012. Obama is down, but not out and the real prize for him is 2012 so Republicans should underestimate him at their own peril.
(“Obama’s Next Act” by Charles Krauthammer dated July 16, 2010 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/15/AR2010071504593.html?sub=AR
At its core, fascism is really just a system where government, through agreements with the private sector, controls virtually all property and income indirectly and Obama has embraced this template. In fascism prosperity and economic growth become the domain of government. The philosophical aim is to eliminate recessions by eliminating robust growth, the underlying philosophy being that if there is no boom, there will be no bust. The problem with the system is obvious: property-owning democracy must take a back seat to the interests of the state. By blurring the distinction between the private sector and the public sector, individual liberty can often be conditioned on complicity with state aims, as manifested in the private sector sphere. Money talks, and when the state controls the powers of production directly or indirectly, it controls the livelihood of millions. Fascism is correctly associated with tyranny since nations that employ the tenets of fascism almost always transition from a republican or parliamentary form of government to some sort of personality cult usually centered on an economic "savior." Fascism requires extensive state control, and if this control is not centralized in a singular personality, the results will be muddied and plagued with excessive overlap. All of Obama's actions have highly fascist overtones. Obama succeeded in passing a financial overhaul bill granting him the authority to seize healthy firms if he deemed them to be at risk, outside of normal bankruptcy procedures which exist expressly for that purpose. For an economic "savior" to be truly successful, the banks must be under his or her total control. Now the banks answer directly to the White House, and can be shut down under any pretense. The financial service reform is just another industry to feel the government takeover as America is being remade in an antiquated fascist image.
(“American Jeopardy: What is Fascism?” by John Griffing dated July 17, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/07/american_jeopardy_what_is_fasc.html )
President Obama signed into law a mammoth financial bill, the third time in less than two years that he and his party have succeeded in pushing through a gigantic, complex piece of legislation that the people did not want and consequently his popularity has steadily eroded. First came the stimulus bill, his initial response to the economic tsunami that started in 2007 and had engulfed the nation by the time he took office. Then health care, an ambitious attempt to establish affordable, accessible medical services for all Americans. And now, so that Americans "will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes," he has orchestrated the biggest financial overhaul of this country since the Great Depression. Democrats look at this record as a down payment on a pure socialist state that the left has been yearning for since the '30s. Republicans look at this legislative record as a terrible threat to every aspect of American well-being. We already have results from some of these programs or others just like the ones passed, so let’s look at the results so far:
o The stimulus was supposed turn the economy around, limit unemployment to 8%, and prevent a deepening recession, but it has accomplished nothing of the sort. The economy is effectively frozen, with business mesmerized by Obama's increasingly frenetic antics. Unemployment is officially above 10%, and in truth much higher. In the rest of the world, a large number of countries that attempted no such thing as a stimulus, including Canada, much of Latin America, and much of Southern Asia, are now back on their feet.
o ObamaCare is unraveling before our eyes. The CBO has recalculated the business case and found that ObamaCare will cost more than promised, and more people than expected will be forced to change to ObamaCare. The sneak appointment of David Berwick was purposeful since Obama wants a duplicate of the U.K. National Health Service (NHS), the sole British feature that he admires. According to studies by British health care specialists, the NHS kills up to 95,000 patients a year through incompetence, mistakes, and accidents. Since the NHS was established in 1948, hospital beds have dropped from over 800,000 to 160,000, while the number of bureaucrats has expanded to nine for each patient. So how will we be impacted: the number of accidental deaths will rise to the vicinity of 450,000 and the number of hospital beds will drop dramatically.
o The 2,600-pages of the financial reform bill was incomprehensible and few in Congress read it prior to voting for it. The Dodd-Frank bill is likely to carry on in crippling the economy where the stimulus left off, with its five hundred new regulations and complex bureaucracy extending down to small businesses and individual consumers.
Zbigniew Brzezinski reminds us of President Carter by characterizing the country as being again in a "malaise." The biggest problem with Obama’s message is that although he passed a number of massive bills to address “problems,” the solutions created do not address the problems and in fact make the situations worse, and voters will likely not forget!
(“Approval deficit: It’s ironic that the more good bills Obama signs into law, the lower his job ratings sink” dated July 21, 2010 published by Houston Chronicle at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/7118884.html
“Failure is success for Obama fans” by Noemie Emery dated July 21, 2010 published by The Washington Examiner at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Failure-is-success-for-Obama-fans-1002105-98873164.html
“Obama’s Failing Presidency” by J.R. Dunn dated July 22, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/07/obamas_failing_presidency.html )
Washington under President Barack Obama is not just broken - it’s broke, and drastic measures are needed to avoid financial bankruptcy. When Obama entered office, he inherited a budget deficit that reflected the toxic combination of recession, bailouts and runaway entitlement programs. Rather than getting the government’s finances under control, Obama and his allies in Congress poured gasoline on the fire with trillion-dollar boondoggles. To put the recent spending binge in context, consider this: At the end of 2008, just before Obama took office, the federal debt was about 40% of our nation’s total economy. Now, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, the debt will explode to 62% of our economy by the end of this year. If we consider off-budget liabilities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, underfunded entitlement promises and the budget effects embedded in the Democrats’ new health care bill, the fiscal picture gets even worse. Obama has lost the confidence of much of the business community, whose worries over taxes, the dramatically increased costs of new regulation, and a general perception that the administration is hostile toward them and may take yet harsher steps, are holding back investment and growth. The unique danger today is the possibility that we may face longer-term stagnation as a consequence of relying too heavily on borrowed money. When the housing and credit bubbles burst in 2007 and 2008, the unemployment rate soared to double digits and caused a cascade of shock throughout the credit markets and the banking system. Washington's ability to initiate a resurgence is now limited by the long-term dangers of our deficits and our debts. In a bizarre development, the Democratic-controlled House has taken a pass on enacting a budget this year. Not having a budget does not stop Democrats from spending even more money they don’t have on extending unemployment benefits to the tune of $34 Billion. Republicans have presented their own budget plan that includes big cuts in government spending over the next decade and a balanced budget by 2019. Washington Democrats will assert you can’t solve the problem by simply cutting spending, protecting crucial priorities and balancing the budget without raising taxes, but Republican Governors have proven that it can and should be done!
(“Time for Obama to Make Sacrifices” by Tim Pawlenty dated July 14, 2010 published by Politico at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39674.html
“GOP Proposes Brave Budget” by Stephen Moore dated July 17, 2010 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704913304575371402695945326.html?KEYWORDS=gop+proposes+brave+new+budget
“Obama’s Anti-Business Policies Are Our Economic Katrina” by Mortimer B. Zuckerman dated July 16, 2010 published by US News & World Report at http://politics.usnews.com/opinion/mzuckerman/articles/2010/07/16/obamas-anti-business-policies-are-our-economic-katrina.html )
The White House now claims that its various stimulus and bailout efforts have "saved or created" 2.5 million to 3.6 million job, but they must have been created not in the United States, but in Fantasyland. You were told that the stimulus was justified because it would jump-start the economy, setting in motion a recovery that would increase output by more than its increased deficit cost. Now you are skeptical that there has been any recovery, and think that you have been misled by the President and the economic experts. The claims made by the administration's top economists are ludicrous, because the U.S. economy has struggled for more than a year and a half under Obamanomics and is no better for it. If the administration wants to take credit for “jobs created or saved,” they should also accept responsibility for “jobs destroyed or prevented.” The ugly truth is, U.S. businesses have shed 3.1 million jobs since Obama took over according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not some make believe White House number. A President's most valuable asset, with voters, Congress, allies and enemies is credibility, but Obama has sacrificed his with extreme exaggeration and hyperbole. It isn't hard to understand why a new CBS News poll shows just 13% of Americans believe that Obama's plans have helped the economy, because people aren't fooled by the clouds of rhetoric emanating from the mouths of Democratic politicians. Studies show that a dollar given to the government actually reduces GDP, due to the waste, inefficiency and dead-weight tax loss of removing money from productive uses in the private sector. Despite close to $3 trillion in "stimulus," bailout spending and Fed money-creation over the last two years, the economy is still stumbling along and not creating enough jobs. The “stimulus” bill has assumed certain mystic powers in administration discourse, but revoking the laws of arithmetic shouldn't be one of them. We're still 7.5 million jobs below the level of December 2007, the month we entered recession. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue warned of the "cumulative job-killing impact of over-regulation," saying that government involvement in the economy "is so overwhelming and beyond anything we have ever seen, that we risk moving this country away from a government of the people to a government of the regulators." Democrat policies have damaged this economy almost beyond repair, and it's time Congress and the White House start listening to the real job creators, and fire the failed economic theorists who have misled us and made a mess of our once great economy.
(“Jobbing America” dated July 14, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/540392/201007141854/Jobbing-America.aspx
“Please, No More Government Spending!” by Vernon L. Smith dated July 19, 2010 published by The Daily Beast at http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-07-19/please-no-more-government-spending/
“Obama’s Economic Fish Stories” by Michael J. Boskin dated July 21, 2010 published by The Wall street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703724104575378751776758256.html )
It is obvious that the Democrats learned nothing from the Great Recession since they are actively pushing to reinvigorate the root cause legislation that caused the housing bubble. The 2,315 page Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill should not be called "financial reform," but should be called what for what it is: pages and pages of massively costly, counter-productive and possibly unconstitutional mandates on nearly every type of business except for those government-sponsored enterprises at the root of the crisis. Contrary to Barack Obama’s rhetoric about protecting consumers, his new financial reform law represents a dangerous big government power grab that willfully ignores the true roots of the recent financial crisis. It is also the latest example of America’s “march to Marxism,” the not-so-gradual implementation of a command economic system in which the free market is taxed and regulated into oblivion while new and expanded government bureaucracies wield unprecedented power. One thing it will leave totally untouched is the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which new research by Congress's Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and other bodies show was even more of a prime factor in the subprime boom than originally assumed. The taxpayer tab for bailing out government-owned mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued to soar. That bailout will now cost taxpayers at least $400 billion, according to the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, although a deteriorating housing market could push the total above $1 trillion. Early on changes that the Clinton administration made to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) bent underwriting rules, paving the way for the easy-credit housing boom and bust, but now come Congressional hearings to expand the CRA. In 1995, Clinton mandated banks adopt "flexible" underwriting practices to boost minority homeownership. This triggered an explosion in subprime and other risky mortgages that left communities of color worse off than ever. The financial services reform bill tasks the four existing regulatory agencies (FDIC, Federal Reserve, Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision) to maintain authority to evaluate banks under the CRA. The problem is, CRA loans aren't sound: they have high default rates and underperform traditional loans, as the Fed's own studies show. CRA loans are part of the reason minorities are facing "new challenges," including bad credit, foreclosures and renewed neighborhood blight and crime. They should never have been put in loans they couldn't repay. Extending credit based primarily on skin color rather than on an individual's ability to repay is a recipe for the kind of financial disaster we're still experiencing, not to mention racism of a different kind. Rather than wait for Congress's own Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to issue its report in December to examine the role of the GSEs and other causes, Congress passed a bill that will not prevent future bubbles and imposes untold costs that will put the country in danger of slipping back into a recession.
(“Son of CRA: The Scandal lives On” dated July 20, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/540982/201007201844/Son-Of-CRA-The-Scandal-Lives-On.aspx
“Obama’s Latest Monstrosity” by John Berlau dated July 21, 2010 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/21/obamas-latest-monstrosity
“Financial reform and America’s March to Marxism” by Howard Rich dated July 22, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/HowardRich/2010/07/22/%E2%80%9Cfinancial_reform%E2%80%9D_and_america%E2%80%99s_march_to_marxism )
It is apparent that the Obama administration in Washington is doing their best not to let the oil spill crisis in the Gulf "go to waste." Either the American Power Act will be explicitly taken up or another clean energy bill will be proffered to which the key provisions of the American Power Act will be attached. The problem is that there is no real link between cap-and-trade regulations and the crisis in the Gulf. Climate change is real, and has been since the dawn of time, but there is no consensus and no evidence that carbon dioxide is the primary factor in global warming and cooling, or that humans are causing a climate disaster. Assertions, assumptions and computer models are not evidence, and cannot justify what the Democrats are pushing. Even if cap-and-trade legislation were passed, we will still need to drill for oil and natural gas. Environmental euphemisms aside, however, the legislation is really about imposing national “low carbon fuel standards” (LCFS) and forcing dramatic reductions in the use of oil, natural gas and especially coal. It would expand on existing laws, regulations and decrees, like the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling that carbon dioxide somehow “endangers human health and welfare.” The looming tax increases and other policy mistakes the administration has already made have set the economy up for a major economic downturn in 2011. Piling cap-and-trade regulations on top of all of this will only make a terrible economic situation even worse. The reason that Obama is so enamored with this bill is obvious. Given the President’s inability to cut spending in any meaningful way, his only hope of restoring some sanity to the federal budget is a massive tax. Energy taxes have the potential to raise enough revenue to stem (not eliminate) the river of red ink pouring through the streets of Washington. Unfortunately though restricting, taxing, regulating and penalizing the hydrocarbon fuels that provide 85% of America’s energy would severely hobble our free enterprise system and impact jobs, families, living standards, and basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Linking cap-and-trade regulations to the current environmental crisis in the Gulf is a Saul Alinsky bait and switch technique to expand control in the energy industry by implementing an unpopular energy tax and restricting energy usage.
(“Gulf Oil Spill ‘Crisis’ May Revive Growth-Killing Cap-And-Trade Bill” by Arthur Laffer, Wayne Winegarden and Colin Hanna dated July 16, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/540628/201007161823/Gulf-Oil-Spill-Crisis-May-Revive-Growth-Killing-Cap-And-Trade-Bill.aspx
“It’s Really About Controlling Our Lives” by Paul Driessen dated July 17, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://townhall.com/columnists/PaulDriessen/2010/07/17/its_really_about_controlling_our_lives
“Disappearing Cap and Trade” by Rich Trzupek dated July 22, 2010 published by Front Page Magazine at http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/22/disappearing-cap-and-trade/ )
Instead of marking a new beginning in race relations, Obama’s Presidency has given new life to the old politics of racial grievance. Little did America know that Barack Obama reputation as a racial healer was a creation of the media, since he really was the candidate of racist demagogues and provocateurs. In just 18 months of the Obama administration, racial discord is growing and relations seem to have been set back a generation. Black voters are galvanizing behind Obama at a time of rapidly falling support, while white independents, in contrast, are leaving Obama in droves. It started early with the Boston incident involving Henry Louis Gates giving a clear indication of how he would inflame the populace with racist rhetoric. Back in July 2009, in a prime-time press conference, Obama smeared and libeled a good, decent (white) police officer with a spurious charge of racism. In fact, the professor was the racist and the hater and the police officer was just doing his job. Obama’s ignorance didn’t stop him from making his explosive charges, which led to a firestorm of criticism that lasted for months. Liberals have thrust race into the forefront of most of the top political and social controversies. They’ve alleged racism without sufficient knowledge of the facts and sometimes in spite of the clear facts. Two former U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have corroborated key elements of the explosive allegations by a third former attorney that the Voting Section of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division is refusing to enforce the law against black defendants. Most recently the NAACP adopted a resolution condemning the allegedly “racist elements” of the Tea Party, despite no evidence of racist signs at Tea Party rallies and no evidence of the alleged hurling of racist epithets at black legislators at an event in Washington, D.C. Left wing politicians and media personalities equate any opposition to Obama and his agenda as racism. The Left has been over-playing its race card, and its race-baiting is becoming increasingly self-defeating, as so many spurious accusations of racism mean real incidents of racism are trivialized. The more the President appeals to his base in racial terms, the more his appointees identify themselves as members of a particular tribe, and the more political issues are framed by racial divisions, so all the more such racial obsession creates a backlash among the racially diverse American people. America has largely moved beyond race. Tragically, our President and a host of his supportive special interests have not. It is dismaying and dumb to see a sitting President whose rhetoric reflected racial progress to let his Attorney General and his supporters play the race card in his bid to keep control of Congress.
(“Liberals Still Acting Stupidly on Race” by Gary Bauer dated July 18, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38094
“More evidence of Justice racism” by Brian Fitzpatrick dated July 17, 2010 published by World Net daily at http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=180129
“R.I.P. Post-Racial Politics” by Dick Morris dated July 19, 2010 published by Front Page Magazine at http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/19/r-i-p-post-racial-politics/
“A War Amongst Ourselves” by Pamela Geller dated July 19, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/07/a_war_amongst_ourselves.html
“The New Racial Mess” by Victor David Hanson dated July 22, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/438474/the-new-racial-mess/victor-davis-hanson )
Latino voters, the fastest-growing group of swing voters in the country, are a key constituency both for Democrats and the Obama administration. Latino voters are increasingly disillusioned by President Barack Obama's failure to deliver on comprehensive immigration reform even as Arizona and other states take matters into their own hands. Nine more states (Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia, as well as the Northern Mariana Islands) are planning to join Arizona in federal court to enforce immigration laws and protect the borders. That could help spell doom for the Democrats in the upcoming midterms and in 2012. The Obama administration has a solution that appeases Latino voters but is more politically feasible than an overarching reform bill and still provides real relief to at least a segment of the undocumented population. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would grant as many as 2.1 million undocumented young people legal status if they arrived in the United States before they turned 16, have lived here for five years, and enroll in college or enlist in the military. Obama’s focus on the DREAM Act is only a ploy to temporarily buy Latino votes, since this bill really does nothing to advance his comprehensive immigration reform agenda.
(“Nine States Join Brief Backing Arizona’s Immigration Law” by David Runk dated July 15, 2010 published by Cybercast News Service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/69471
“A Piece of the Dream” by Renee Feltz dated July 19, 2010 published by The American Prospect at http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=a_piece_of_the_dream )
The GOP must overcome its own history by delivering a humble, limited agenda that helps rebuild the American people's confidence in the Republican's ability to govern. When the GOP takes the House back, it will be because of the American people's deep dissatisfaction with the Democrat Party, not their love for the Republican Party. Republican candidates should acknowledge policy errors made during the Bush years. Here are seven doable agenda items that can help re-establish credibility:
1. Kill earmarks: Earmarks don't make up a large percentage of the budget, but they have become a tremendous corrupting influence on Congress.
2. Read the bills: Congress should have to wait one day for every 20 pages of a bill before it’s voted upon.
3. Kill the funding for ObamaCare: To fully repeal ObamaCare, the GOP needs to control the House, have 60 votes in the Senate, and control the Presidency which is not going to be the case until 2013. Defunding ObamaCare isn't as good as repealing it, but it can stop the bill in its tracks until the GOP has the votes to repeal it.
4. Security first border proposal: Pass a tough new immigration law that finishes building the fence, adds more border patrol agents, beefs up interior enforcement, severely penalizes businesses that knowingly hire illegals, ends catch and release programs for people of all nationalities, and does a better job of tracking people who come into America on VISAS.
5. Investigate, investigate, investigate: When the GOP takes over the House, it will get subpoena power and it can start to get the sort of answers the public has been waiting for in the Sestak/Romanoff bribery case, the dropped Black Panther prosecutions, and the partisan corruption of the census -- among other issues.
6. Get the government out of private industry: The GOP must develop and implement an exit strategy to move the government out of private industry as quickly as possible: the banks, the car companies, and student loan industry by 2012.
7. Pay for all new spending: The GOP must enforce that any NEW spending, including "emergency spending," has to be paid for by cutting spending from other places in the budget to restore its reputation for responsible governance and fiscal discipline.
Trust must be earned and the GOP must endeavor to instill confidence by quick actions demonstrating the commitment to rebuilding their tarnished reputation.
(“A Seven Item Tea Party Agenda for a GOP House” by John Hawkins dated July 20, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnHawkins/2010/07/20/a_seven_item_tea_party_agenda_for_a_gop_house )
* 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:
· Education at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/education.php
· Environment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/environment.php
· Immigration at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/immigration.php