Views on the News
Views on the News*
September 14, 2013
In the first year of his second term, the President has failed on virtually every front, and should not be a surprise when we elect an eloquent community organizer as our commander in chief. He put his prestige on the line to pass federal gun-control legislation–and lost. He made climate change a central part of his inaugural address–and nothing has happened. The president went head-to-head with Republicans on sequestration–and he failed. He’s been forced to delay implementation of the employer mandate, a key feature of the Affordable Care Act. ObamaCare is more unpopular than ever, and it’s turning out to be a “train wreck” in practice. The most recent jobs report was the worst in a year, with the Obama recovery already qualifying as a historically weak one. Immigration reform is going nowhere. Now there’s Syria, which has turned out to be an epic disaster. Obama’s Middle East failures go well beyond Syria, but Syria is the most conspicuous failure right now. Every Presidency falls short of the expectations that the candidate sets, but no man has ever promised more and delivered less than the current occupant of the Oval Office. All of the extravagant promises and claims of “Yes We Can!” and “we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for;” of hope and change and slowing the rise of the oceans; of claiming his candidacy would “ring out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, make this time different than all the rest” now lie in ruin. In all of this one is reminded of the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs, which warns that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The President has been shown to be a man out of his depth, but here’s the problem: Obama’s failures have inflicted great harm on the United States.
(“The Collapse of the Obama Presidency” by Peter Wehrer dated September 12, 2013 published by Commentary Magazine at http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/09/12/the-collapse-of-the-obama-presidency/ )
Remember when candidate Barack Obama promised his acolytes that they were only “five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” and here we are, five years into the most destructive Presidency in the country’s history, and we can see that fundamental transformation at work just about everywhere. On the economy: During Obama’s first term, the credit rating of the United States was downgraded by S&P for the first time in history. Meanwhile, Americans have seen their wealth plummet by 40% over the past few years. On race relations, they are in a rawer state than I can remember thanks to a president who played the race card at every opportunity. On the world stage, Obama was supposed to hit the “reset” button not only with respect to our relations with Russia, but also with respect to our position in the world more generally. As the historian Conrad Black observed, “Not since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 and prior to that the fall of France in 1940, has there been so swift an erosion of the world influence of a Great Power as we are witnessing with the United States.” For the America-hating, transnational progressive Left, the disaster that is Obama must have been fun at first: warm and fuzzy speeches in Cairo about how, deep down, Islam is as American as apple pie, economically suicidal decisions like the veto of the Keystone pipeline, unleashing the Internal Revenue Service against groups that promoted things like patriotism or the tea party. The long march through the institutions of bourgeois capitalism is an amusing trek so long as you are the one giving the marching orders and commanding the funds and the security to make sure that, if there is any rough stuff, you are well out of it. Thank goodness we have John “reporting for duty” Kerry and Barack “dither, dither” Obama handling things... feeling better?
(“Fundamentally Transforming the United States of America” by Roger Kimball dated September 8, 2013 published by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2013/09/08/fundamentally-transforming-the-united-states-of-america/ )
This nation is not only in decline but completely rudderless under the Obama administration, because he isn't pursuing the same goals as past Presidents. Obama's perception of pre-Obama America is largely negative and he has made that abundantly clear during the past five years, with his incessant harping on the state of the African-American community, his articulation of class warfare themes, his virtually overt war on our domestic energy industries and his harsh criticism of American health care, the insurance industry, the "wealthy" and various other targets. By pitting Americans against each other, he produces both the distraction and the fuel to facilitate his goal of fundamental change. Neither he nor his like-minded leftist colleagues look to America's founding with pride. They regard America's international record as unacceptably imperialistic, and they still believe we are on the wrong side of history on civil rights and other issues. Only if we fully come to grips with the sincerity of Obama's goal of fundamental transformation will we have the proper context within which to evaluate his policies. By seeking transformational change, Obama does not mean that he wants to return unemployment and economic growth to their traditional levels. He doesn't mean that he wants to ensure that America remains the world's lone superpower, committed to defending itself and its allies and to opposing radical jihadis in the war on terror. Obama cannot be completely candid about his goals, because even today, most Americans would probably oppose his ideas if they fully understood them. He gives us many hints about where he's ultimately headed, but he also remains vague and cloaks his goals in euphemisms of "fairness" and "equality," by which he means something entirely different from America's traditional commitment to equality of opportunity and equality under the law. He means moving toward equality of outcomes to achieve "fairness." You never hear Obama expressing genuine concern over the debt, our unfunded liabilities, our perpetual lack of growth or the explosion of our welfare and food stamp programs, which he may well regard with pride. His head is elsewhere. He wants the welfare state to thrive because that is one of the most efficient ways to achieve his desired income redistributions. He does not concern himself over growth-stifling tax increases, because he is more interested in confiscating income and assets of those he perceives as having too much. He isn't worried about the colossally negative impact his quixotic green energy programs have on our economy and livelihood, because he is more interested in achieving fundamental transformation than in presiding over a robust American economy. He isn't worried about the expansion of government and the unaccountable administrative bureaucracy, because to him, government is the panacea and "liberty" is merely a word to mouth when expedient. To give himself cover for implementing fundamental change, Obama has been not only preaching "fairness" but deliberately lowering Americans' expectations for future growth. He has attempted to reorient people to accept the currently unacceptable levels of economic performance as the new norm. Just as he wants a "fairer" allocation of resources in this country, he wants our relative power in the world to be diminished, as well. We've discussed the bizarre phenomenon of Obama's avoiding accountability for his miserable record by distancing himself from the negative effects of his own policies. What is going on in this nation is breathtaking to those who love America as founded and as embodying the greatest principles of self-governance in world history. If we have any hope of rolling some of this insanity back in the short term and ultimately preventing Obama's goal of fundamental change, we must call Obama out on exactly what he's doing and do our best to re-establish the traditional yardsticks against which to measure his failures.
(“The Implications of Fundamental Change” by David Limbaugh dated September 10, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2013/09/10/the-implications-of-fundamental-change-n1695486 )
Despite liberal rhetoric to the contrary, government does not invest, it simply spends, but at no stage of the process does public sector spending resemble private sector investment. First, the private sector differentiates its expenditures. Neither necessities nor discretionary spending are expected to return a profit. Investments are expected to return at least market-based returns, if not more. Investment money is freely given, either by a single individual or many individuals giving it to others to invest. Throughout its life, investment money must conform to market rules, and when it ceases to, losses accumulate and investors flee. In the private sector, if successful, profit is returned to the investors and, if unsuccessful, these investors absorb losses. The public sector’s use of resources differs from the private’s at each step. The public sector does not differentiate its own spending. Everything becomes “necessity” while individual citizens may label different items differently, government simply absorbs all these verdicts and casts the whole as vital. It is for this reason that government on its own finds it so hard to cut spending. None of the public sector’s resources are freely given. Governments obtain their resources from taxing. Even when government borrows, it can do so only on its ability to obtain money by fiat. These resources are therefore not excess or disposable to those from whom they are taken. It is the government, not the individual who determines their amount. None of the public sector’s resources are dispersed with the intent of making a profit. As a result, public sector resources are distributed based on politics, with no government program not having powerful political allies supporting it. The public sector expressly ignores economic criteria when allocating its resources. When by chance its allocations do coincide with economic criteria, it crowds out more efficient private sector investment by subsidization or outright monopoly. As a result there is never a return to “investors” since any return is generally dispersed throughout the citizen body and often expressly directed away from taxpayers as part of intended income redistribution. Losses in contrast flow immediately back to the taxpayer. Because the taxpayer does not freely choose to “invest” his resources with the government in the first place, the money will keep on coming, regardless of how it is spent. Because the public sector does not allocate its resources based on economic criteria, it can and does continue to allocate resources to under-performing programs, so much so that poor performance becomes a rationale for additional resources. Government does not invest in any sense of the word or replicate any stage of the private sector investment process; government just spends. Its ability to spend rests on its power to tax. Its power to tax helps isolate it from pro-economic decisions and this isolation is only reinforced by the political process and competition’s absence after allocation. There is nothing more opposed to true investment than government spending.
(“Sorry Economists, Politicians Do Not Invest, They Just Spend” by J.T. Young dated September 5, 2013 published by Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/09/05/sorry-economists-politicians-do-not-invest-they-just-spend/ )
ObamaCare is an unworkable law since the Administration keeps trying to “fix” it. It has delayed parts of the law, ignored others, and carved out exemptions for its political allies.
· WAIVERS: The Administration established a legally questionable program of temporary waivers when firms announced they were considering dropping coverage rather than comply with the law’s costly requirements.
· TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES FOR CONGRESS: Following an intervention from the President, the Administration issued a rule regarding coverage for Members of Congress and their staffs, who will retain their taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies in the exchanges.
· EMPLOYER MANDATE: The Administration announced it would not enforce ObamaCare’s employer mandate until 2015, effectively granting big business a one-year delay.
· PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took it upon itself to issue regulations prohibiting plans from turning down such applicants three years earlier than the law required. As a result, insurers stopped offering child-only plans in 17 states, fearing that only parents of sick children would apply for insurance coverage.
· OUT-OF-POCKET CAPS: The Administration delayed these new caps from taking effect as scheduled.
· BASIC HEALTH PLAN: This government-run health plan for people above the Medicaid income level was created as a way to promote “state flexibility,” but the Administration unilaterally delayed it for one year.
· TAX DISCLOSURES: The requirement of employers to report the value of workers’ health insurance on W-2 filings was delayed until after the 2012 presidential election.
· HONOR SYSTEM: The Administration announced it will use the “honor system” when it comes to verifying income and access to employer-provided health coverage.
· PRIVACY: The security risks posed by ObamaCare’s new data hub were dismissed as “an absurdly broad interpretation of the Privacy Act’s ‘routine use’ exemption.”
· TOBACCO PENALTIES: Charging smokers up to 50% more in premiums will be limited for “at least a year,” but penalties will eventually be implemented.
Nancy Pelosi was wrong - Congress passed the bill, but we still don’t know what’s in it, since the Obama Administration keeps changing rules and ignoring the law. Congress should use its power of the purse and stop all spending on this unworkable, unfair, and unpopular law.
(“10 Ways Obamacare Isn’t Working” by Chris Jacobs dated September 9, 2013 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://blog.heritage.org/2013/09/09/morning-bell-10-ways-obamacare-isnt-working/ )
Translating Obama-speak has become a necessity in Washington, since he uses the English language his own way with his own meanings. The international community is “paralyzed and frozen,” says Obama. He argues that America must act directly, rather than seeking action regarding Syria in the United Nations, because the U.N. is paralyzed. He argued repeatedly that the international community is “stuck.” Of course, the reality is that many nations simply reject Obama’s proposal. The United Kingdom’s Parliament voted decisively against a military strike on Syria. Obama was elected partly on a wave of opposition to further U.S. military involvement. In Obama’s mind, when people don’t agree with him, the system is broken or “paralyzed.” Obama is supposed to get his way, and something is wrong when he doesn’t. This is the same rhetoric Obama uses domestically against Republicans in Congress. Disagreement translates into a system that isn’t working. In U.S. politics, when Obama proposes unpopular ideas, Republicans become “obstructionist,” not people who simply have a different opinion. If Obama fails to motivate people to act, they are “frozen.” Their lack of motion isn’t Obama’s fault, nor even the listener’s disagreement. The system is broken, so obviously Obama can’t be expected to follow normal procedures, so he ignores the law and the Constitution, and bypasses Congress and ignores the United Nations. The system is broken, after all. Many supporters of action see the infinitely larger problem of Iran building nuclear weapons looming behind the current crisis at hand. Obama should take his case to the United Nations. Obama should go ahead and force Russia to veto U.N. action. He shouldn’t guess what Putin might do. Obama should make a dramatic appeal before that impressive podium at the U.N. America’s Metro-Sexual President doesn’t see how he could paint the shirtless Russian “he-man” into an uncomfortable corner. Now is actually Obama who is “paralyzed” – not the international community. We need to learn more things about the language of “Obama Speak.” Obama argues that something must be done, and therefore his proposal should be agreed to. The problem, of course, is that people don’t believe Obama’s proposal is the best solution to the problem. He does not talk about whether his plan is a good plan or a bad plan or how it will help. Obama and his team, supporters, and followers always talk about what legislation is “intended” to do, what Obama “wants” to do, or what they are “trying” to do. Obama answers every question about Obama Care, for example, in terms of what he wants to do, is trying to do, or intends to do. When asked if a plan, program, or law will create this problem or that problem, Obama deflects the question by talking only about his good intentions. The Obama Administration avoids questions about what will actually happen or what the legislation actually says. Then, when the program causes harm or fails to accomplish anything for the money, liberals will shrug their shoulders and say “Well, he tried.” Of course, he didn’t try, because there is no excuse for failing to design an effective solution to a problem. We need to translate what Barack Obama says into ordinary plain English.
(“Translating ‘Obama Speak’ on Syria” by Jonathon Moseley dated September 6, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/57745 )
The end of the Cold War provided an opportunity for a reshuffling of historic alliances and power, and Americans embraced the idea of a New World Order, but Syria is the latest example of Obama’s New World Disorder. With 9/11, we saw the culmination of a new, asymmetric threat from seventh-century primitives who continued to gain strength through the Clinton administration before perpetrating the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. Americans have learned that the world is a more dangerous place under the leadership of our Nobel Peace Prize winner, who never seemed to learn that peace is best achieved though strength. On August 20, 2012, President Obama drew his “red line,” promising to retaliate against chemical weapon use in Syria. We know that dictator Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria used chemical weapons after Obama drew his red line. We also know that up to 100,000 men, women, and children have died in the struggle. Another two million Syrians fled to neighboring countries and now live in refugee camps. Rampant religious persecution occurs at the hands of violent factions. Obama proposes a unilateral military response. The parliament of our closest ally rejected support for a military intervention. No other countries have offered to initiate military action against the Assad government. The rebels fighting the Assad regime include members of both the Muslim Brotherhood and elements of al-Qaeda. Here are five reasons why the US should not pursue military action:
· We cannot trust Obama to lead a war effort. His foolhardy unilateral engagement in Libya resulted in arming our enemies, who used our weapons to attack our people and kill four brave Americans.
· We do not know who will control Syria’s chemical weapons if Assad falls. Even without intending to take out Assad directly, our actions could cause his overthrow.
· An attack on Syria will fail to benefit America, Syrians, or the people of the Middle East, especially the region’s Christians who fare much worse under popular Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
· We have far more pressing issues in the US than a military frolic and detour. We must concentrate our national attention and our political leaders on getting our economy to flourish and allowing entrepreneurs to create jobs.
· We have less influence in the world than the politicians and pundits would have us believe, and we need to deploy our limited influence judiciously. Prior uses of chemical weapons in Syria, and in Iraq, did not cross Obama’s red line for U.S. action.
What we need to do is to take care of the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, using private organizations that are most effective and already invested and on the ground. Our elected leaders need to hear, loudly and clearly, that the American people don’t want military action in Syria.
(“Obama’s New World Disorder” by Gayle Trotter dated September 7, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/gayletrotter/2013/09/07/obamas-new-world-disorder-n1693699 )
* 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
· Environment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/environment.php