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Views on the News

Views on the News*

August 3, 2013

 

Obama stands before the American people and delivers speech after speech making the same tired points and pretending he is delivering the speech of the century, but the President is incapable of being embarrassed.  His speech on the economy contained all the ingredients of a vintage Obama speech: much fanfare about little substance; a stunning distortion of his record across the board, especially on the economy; refusal to accept responsibility and blaming others for the problems he's caused; his ludicrous portrayal of himself as an outsider pitted against the Washington political class he heads; predictable appeals to class warfare; tried-and-failed prescriptions for "growing the economy from the middle out"; his professed identification with the middle class, which his policies are devastating; his cynical dismissal as phony distractions of a raft of real administration scandals that would have brought other administrations to their knees; and an expression of affinity for government, not the American people, as the solution for all of our problems.  The upshot after Obama's nearly five years in office is that the economy is still sluggish. Unemployment and annual deficits remain disturbingly high based on historical standards; our national debt and unfunded liabilities represent an existential threat to America; ObamaCare hangs like an ominous tornado playground over the economy and every employer and health care consumer in the nation; America is in steady economic and military decline at the hands of a President who is in denial about it, indifferent to it or intentionally pursuing it; and the President and his renegade Justice Department and administrative agencies are riddled with scandals and gleefully flout the Constitution, the rule of law and the legislative branch.  Yet despite all of this, Obama tells us that everything is great and that things would be even better if it weren't for partisan, obstructionist Republicans.  Obama's refusal to accept responsibility for his policies and his scapegoating, have reached comical proportions.  Such is the mentality of ideologues.  No amount of failure is proof of their policies failing. Others must always be blamed.  Obama no longer dazzles us with his smoke and mirrors; he bores us with them, droning on and on for more than an hour without offering any new ideas to turn the economy around - because he has none.  He is a prisoner of his own theological affinity for expansive government as a panacea. His liberal ethical code tells him that growing government is a moral imperative that must supersede everything else, even economic growth and prosperity for the very people to whom liberals claim allegiance.  As long as they are reliably growing government, statists such as Obama will not be held to account by their fellow liberals for their policy failures and for spreading misery.  If his "stimulus" fails to produce jobs, it doesn't matter, because a) his intentions were good, b) Republicans didn't let him spend even more, and c) things would have been worse without it -- even though the weight of the evidence and history prove otherwise.  So don't ever expect Obama's soul mates in the liberal media to hold him accountable for his record or to compare it with that of other Presidents. If it is worse, it will not be his fault. His failures will always be because of the "mess he inherited," even though no other president has ever enjoyed that absurd luxury.  Even measured against the situation he inherited, Obama has made sparse improvements, and in most cases, things have gotten worse, including the millions who have given up and left the workforce, the millions who have joined the government dependency rolls, the catastrophic national debt and our woefully insolvent entitlement programs, which he steadfastly refuses to reform.  For all his hoopla about hope and change, Obama is nothing more than a gloom-and-doom liberal who doesn't even aspire to robust economic growth. His sole focus is not on growing the economic pie but on redistributing what he believes is a finite one.  That's why the thrust of Obama's disgraceful speech was on class envy, resentment and warfare.  As long as Obama is in office and his policies are pursued, America will be shortchanging itself and suppressing the entrepreneurial spirit and liberty of the American people, without which America is destined for ongoing decline.

(“Obama the Unembarrassable” by David Limbaugh dated July 26, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2013/07/26/obama-the-unembarrassable-n1649285 )

The federal government is growing like kudzu, the Japanese ivy plant that is taking over roadsides all over the south and is even invading the north.  Kudzu does some good, holding the ground and so on, but the price is steep: It kills the other plants, trees and bushes by smothering them.  It’s kind of pretty in the summer, like the topiary animals at Disney World, full of fanciful shapes, but in the states that have winter, it leaves a tangled mess of dead trees and brown, twisted vines – a perfect symbol for big government’s strangling tendencies.  The Executive branch alone has 2.8 million employees, including 600,000 postal workers.  Surprisingly, only about 370,000 federal employees work in the Washington, D.C. area, plus lots of civilian contractors.  The contractors have their own concrete and glass canyons rising in the Dulles corridor, whose computer-related companies now rival Silicon Valley’s.  That giant, sucking sound you hear is money flowing from the rest of the country into Washington’s burgeoning suburbs.  The U.S. military employs 1.5 million, plus an army of contractors.  Congress, with 535 senators and members, makes do with about 30,000 employees.  The U.S. Supreme Court, which actually runs the entire country, manages with only around 500 employees.  According to one analysis, the federal government effectively employs about 15 million people, including contractors.  Some federal employees work on things that benefit us all, such as securing the safety of our food, water, drugs and airplane landings, and serving veterans.  Some work to secure the border.  Some work entirely in the realm of income transfer, issuing checks and payments from taxpayers to other Americans and an unknown number of illegal aliens.  As with kudzu, all this spending appears to be getting out of hand.  CNS News reports that 101 million Americans, nearly a third of the populace, now receive some form of federal food aid.  This exceeds the total number of full-time, private sector employees.  America is not a police state, yet.  Government is necessary because, as James Madison observed, men are not angels.  Without government, life would be nasty, brutish and short.  The federal government, with Democrats pouring Miracle Gro on its kudzu-like growth, has far too many people watching over us for our own good, and we’re finding out the hard way where the road goes that’s paved with good intentions.

(“Our Kudzu Government” by Robert Knight dated August 1, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/robertknight/2013/08/01/our-kudzu-government-n1653633 )

 

The idea that the election of Barack Obama would usher in a golden age of so-called post-racial relations has exploded, and the President and his administration bear the lion’s share of the responsibility for making race relations worse.  At the beginning of Obama’s first term, 79% of whites and 63% of blacks had a positive view of American race relations, but those numbers have plummeted to 52% and 38%, respectively. Meanwhile, 45% of whites now consider race relations fairly or very bad, compared with 20% in 2009, and the negative views held by black Americans has jumped from 30% to 58%.  The Trayvon Martin case is one of the most visible examples of the Obama administration’s deliberate poisoning of race relations; all in coordination with the NAACP, the racial grievance industry and the corrupt leftist media.  We now know that the administration had direct involvement in fanning the flames of racial discord that brought the case to the national stage.  The Eric Holder-led Justice Department’s Community Relations Service (CRA) was sent to Sanford, FL to help set up meetings and organize protests.  A Martin family lawyer, Trayvon’s stepmother, the Sanford police, and an investigation conducted by the FBI all concluded the case had nothing to do with race.  Eric Holder, who runs the most racially polarized Justice Department in modern history, wasted no time burnishing his racialist credentials, telling Americans soon after he was confirmed in 2009 that “in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”  Holder also turned a blind eye when the Panthers offered a $10,000 bounty to capture George Zimmerman “dead or alive.”  As for race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, Holder vowed to continue insisting that states “pre-clear” with the DOJ any changes to their voting laws.  This represents nothing less than a determination to defy a recent Supreme Court ruling that effectively nullified his ability to do so.  The reason for fomenting this sort of racial animosity is transparently political.  Just like in 2010, and 2012, Obama is determined to agitate and mobilize voters for the 2014 election and beyond and to weaken the Republicans with racial innuendo and accusations.  He has tainted Democrats by presiding over the weakest recovery on record, one which is currently losing even more steam, with growth rates being revised downward, and one of the worst corporate revenue performances on record. The same is true of ObamaCare, which will be so damaging to Democrats that the administration unilaterally decided to postpone the employer mandate until 2015, usurping congressional authority in the process.  This is to say nothing of Democrat-led foreign policy, with Egypt and Syria in free fall, Iraq and Afghanistan on the verge of reverting back to the failed states they were, Iran pursuing nuclear weapons absent any fear whatsoever, and both China and Russia signaling their intentions to fill the leadership vacuum the president’s “leading from behind” approach has produced.  Meanwhile, minority populations continue to suffer and grow disaffected under the reign of liberal policies.  Majority-black Detroit is bankrupt.  Chicago seethes with black-on-black gun crime, including 62 people wounded and 12 killed during the Fourth of July holiday weekend alone.  Black unemployment is 13.7%, compared to 6.7% for the nation as a whole.  The black American illegitimacy rate, one of the surest predictors of poverty, is approaching 75%.  It’s going to be a long, divisive slog to the 2014 elections, and racial division continually promoted by the Obama administration is guaranteed to be an integral part of the mix. The fact that Americans view race relations as far worse than they’ve been in years should surely be an embarrassment for the first elected president of African descent, but odds are, however, Obama views it as an electoral boon for his party.

(“How Obama Poisoned Race Relations in America” by Arnold Ahlert dated July 26, 2013 published by Front Page Magazine at http://frontpagemag.com/2013/arnold-ahlert/how-obama-poisoned-race-relations-in-america/ )

It has always been puzzling how the Democrat Party, the party of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and family-destroying social program, the party of Detroit, New Orleans, Newark, and Baltimore, the party that facilitates a black abortion rate that would bring a smile to the face of Planned Parenthood’s genocidally racist founder, has somehow managed to sell itself to African Americans as the friend of black people!  It’s beginning to be equally galling (and equally comic) to reflect that the Democrats have also contrived to present themselves as the party of women.  This is the party whose most powerful senator left his probable mistress to drown after a car accident; the party whose most popular living president is a serial philanderer and accused rapist; the party whose most prominent woman rose to that prominence by virtue of her stand-by-your-man loyalty to a louse; and now the party of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, two men who have humiliated their wives with truly creepy behavior and yet seek to continue their political careers regardless.  The party’s new slogan should be: ”Women: We Treat You Like Dirt, But At Least You Can Kill Your Unborn Children!  Democrat women seem perfectly all right with that slogan, and willing, even eager, to abet the bad behavior of men as long as those men support the Democrats’ theoretically pro-woman agenda of legal abortions and taxpayer-funded health care.  Perhaps the agenda and the behavior are connected!  It’s not a coincidence that the same men who want to ensure your unborn child can be turned into medical waste can be bought in exchange for “free” birth control, are the very men who treat you like a collection of damp holes into which they can stick themselves without regard for your feelings, their principles, or basic human decency.  The Kennedys, the Clintons, the Weiners, the Spitzers - maybe they have a natural home in a party that is always thinking of ways to transform female sexuality into a meaningless mechanism, and devising ways to fund that transformation with other people’s money.  It is so sad to see women fall under the sway of a party that, both personally and politically, treats them like so many pieces of meat.

(“The Sad Fate of Democrat Women” by Andrew Klavan dated July 28, 2013 published by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2013/07/28/the-sad-fate-of-democrat-women/ )

 

President Obama is using the bully pulpit to argue for redistributive, pro-regulatory, pro-union policies that he claims will serve the middle class, but instead his policies have punished the middle class.  The President’s speech at Knox College needs some close deconstruction because it sheds harsh light on a problem that has dogged his domestic policy agenda from the beginning: intellectual rigidity.  Because he does not understand rudimentary economics, he relies on anecdotes to make his argument.  Unfortunately, our President rules out deregulation or lower taxes as a way to unleash productive forces in the country.  Indeed, he is unable to grasp the simple point that the only engine of economic prosperity is an active market in which all parties benefit from voluntary exchange. Both taxes and regulation disrupt those exchanges, causing fewer exchanges to take place, and those which do occur have generated smaller gains than they should.  Instead of suggesting policies to reduce the impact of government on production, Obama reverts into a lament for the lost middle class.  We have learned the benefit of free trade across state lines in the United States. It is imperative that we not forget that this same logic applies to free trade across nations, where again the principle of comparative advantage, letting each nation specialize in the work where it is most efficient, offers the securest route to global and domestic improvement.  Unfortunately, the President cannot be open to international competition because of its crippling impact on domestic unions that work best behind a tariff wall.  The union movement does not represent the middle class.  It receives dues only from its members, and it is only union members that receive union largesse in return.  It is critical to remember that today the greatest threat that unions pose to the economy does not come at the bargaining table but in the legislative arena where they work nonstop to block non-union rivals.  There is an increasing gap between the rich and poor, but that gap won’t narrow if the President keeps plumping for a higher minimum wage that will block poor individuals, many of whom are African-American, from getting a toehold in the economy.  No Obama speech is complete without lashing out at the tax cuts that Washington has doled out to the “rich.”  Unfortunately, he also misses the key point that the higher rate structures have reduced income at the top, and thus the ability to fund the ever more lavish transfer programs that Washington wants to put in place.  He constantly thinks of his greatest regulatory failures as his great successes. No other President has “saved the auto industry,” albeit by a corrupt bankruptcy process, or “taken on a broken health care system,” only to introduce a set of unworkable mandates that are already falling apart, or “investing in new technologies,” which tries to pick winners and ends up with losers like Solyndra.  The President seems utterly incapable of seeing the downside to any of his policy choices.  It is easy to see, therefore, why people have tuned out the President’s recent remarks. They have heard it all countless times before. So long as the President is trapped in his intellectual wonderland that puts redistribution first and regards deregulation and lower taxation as off limits, we as a nation will be trapped in the uneasy recovery that will continue to dog us no matter who is chosen to head the Federal Reserve.

(“Obama’s Middle Class Malaise” by Richard A. Epstein dated July 30, 2013 published by Hoover Institution at http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/152931 )

 

President Barack Obama is back advocating for new infrastructure project investments, but data shows that more spending on roads is not a high priorityWhile it’s true that there’s been a drop in infrastructure “investments,” it has a lot to do with an abnormal spike in stimulus spending and little to do with a right-wing scheme to eliminate paved roads.  According to a OCED report, the United States spent 3.3% of its GDP from 2006-2011 on infrastructure. In contrast, the European Union, with a larger GDP, has spent 3.1%.  Our infrastructure spending as a percentage of GDP has been remarkable steady for a long time.  Total public construction spending has varied between 1.7% and 2.3% of GDP for the last 20 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  By the Congressional Budget Office’s slightly different measure, infrastructure spending has been between 2.3% and 3.1% of GDP since 1956.  A recent Reason Foundation study examining 20 years of state highway data find that the condition of America’s state-controlled roads had improved in seven key areas, but that the percentage of deficient bridges in the country had fallen from 37.8% in 1989 to 23.7% in 2008.  The World Economic Forum, which offers some more context, ranked the United States 14th out of 144 nations for the quality of its infrastructure.  Obama likes to frame this as an issue that threatens our competitiveness internationally.  Well, here are the five “most problematic factors for doing business” in the United States according to World Economic Forum: 1) Inefficient government bureaucracy; 2) Tax rates; 3) Tax regulations; 4) Access to financing; and 5) Restrictive labor regulations, and infrastructure did not make the list.  The last time we went down this road, around $90 billion of the President’s stimulus went to green energy companies (many of them now in bankruptcy) instead of repairing bridges. Another $1.3 billion went to subsidize Amtrak rather than repair the roads you actually drive on.  Another $8 billion went to other rail projects (with priority for high-speed rail) that you will never use.  Unless your purpose for more spending is spending itself, we need to do better and be more efficient on how we pay for our roads.

(“The Left’s ‘Crumbling Infrastructure’ Myth” by David Harsanyi dated July 25, 2013 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/2013/07/25/the-crumbling-infrastructure-myth/ )

* 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

·  Education at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/education.php

·  Healthcare at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/healthcare.php

·  Religion at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/religion.php

·  Elections at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/elections.php

·  Employment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/employment.php

·  Foreign Trade at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/trade.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com