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Views on the News

October 1, 2011

Views on the News*

In three years, Barack Obama has morphed from the “Herald of Hope” to the “Envoy of Envy” which is not surprising since the President has always been an eager class warrior, but he has now taken things to a new level, making the politics of envy and resentment the signature theme of his reelection campaign. Obama’s soak-the-rich policy is founded on his conception of “fairness.”  The rich, he insists, must pay their “fair share.” It is not the rich but the middle class and poor who will suffer most when Obama’s taxes on high-earners prompt small businesses to stop hiring and cause the wealthy to reduce their charitable giving. The wealthy already pay more than their fair share in taxes.  The top 1% of earners pays nearly 40% of income taxes.  The effective tax rate of the well-off is about twice that of middle-income earners.  Half the country pays no federal income tax. None of this matters to Obama, because his economic policies aren’t really about fairness, but rather about ensuring his own reelection.  Don’t expect any of his stimulus or deficit-cutting ideas to pass Congress.  They’re not designed to pass in a House controlled by Republicans.  They’re designed to pit middle-class and poor voters against job creators and the Tea Party’s low-tax philosophy. The President’s legislative plan to stimulate the economy is a miniature version of his failed stimulus plan.  Congress won’t pass another expensive bailout of the states and giveaway to Big Labor wholly funded with higher taxes. The President is in reelection mode and setting up Congress to take the fall for the abysmal failure that is Obamanomics. With many economists forecasting a double-dip recession, Obama’s raw class-warfare rhetoric has the potential to rip the social fabric and provoke real violence in the months ahead.  Violence has already started to erupt, though the media have mostly ignored them, with flash mobs of poor, minority kids have besieged cities across the country. Obama has settled on a reelection strategy that employs exactly the kind of “sharply polarized” discourse he admonished his fellow citizens to avoid. In order to save his political future, Obama shows every willingness to stoke the fires of class anger and envy, which is not only a mistake, but it is a failed opportunity for the President, who claimed he would unite America in new and profound ways.

(“Obama’s Huge Turn to Violent Envy” by Gary Bauer dated September 26, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=46437

Candidate Obama’s Class Warfare” by Brian H. Darling dated September 26, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=46442 )

 

Obama has profoundly reshaped the makeup of his party, and now all Democrats will be held accountable in the next election. Barack Obama is on a far worse political trajectory than Jimmy Carter was. First, the Democrats lost Senator Ted Kennedy's seat to a Republican in ultraliberal Massachusetts who campaigned against Kennedy's signature issue of national health insurance. Nothing that dramatic happened while Carter was President. Then Democrats suffered historic, grievous losses in the 2010 midterm elections, with a New Deal size loss in the House of 63 seats, and a loss of 6 seats in the Senate. In Jimmy Carter's 1978 midterms, Democrats lost only 15 seats in the House and 3 seats in the Senate. Now in the recent special election in New York City, Democrats have begun to lose seats they haven't lost since before the New Deal. That is so fitting, because President Obama is not an anomaly in today's Democrat party. Quite to the contrary, he represents the party's heart and soul today, which is well to the Left now even of George McGovern in 1972. Witness the reelection of Far Left San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House Democrat leader even after the historic voter repudiation of the Pelosi Democrat House majority in 2010. Witness the choice of Far Left screamer Debbie Wasserman Schultz as leader of the Democratic National Committee. Witness Obama EPA Chief Lisa Jackson, Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and the numerous similar, utterly clueless, ideologically rigid, far left appointees throughout the Obama Administration. Historically, for the American economy, the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. Based on that historical record, we should be nearing the end of the second year of a booming recovery by now. But almost four years after the last recession started, there still has been no real recovery. Unemployment is stuck over 9%, with unemployment among African-Americans, Hispanics, and teenagers at depression level double-digit rates for at least 2 years now. Real wages and incomes are falling, back to levels last seen over 30 years ago. Poverty is soaring to new records as well, with more Americans suffering in poverty than any time since the Census Bureau started keeping records over 50 years ago. As a result, the United States is on track now for a historic conservative victory in 2012, far bigger even than in 1980 because the leftists have revealed their radicalism and the American people reject the socialist direction they endorsed.

(“Holding Obama’s Party Accountable” by Peter Ferrara dated September 28, 2011 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2011/09/28/obamas-party )

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich unveiled a 21st century Contract With America, a 10-point blueprint that will serve as his campaign platform.  The pact will evolve, and has four parts to it, which include legislative efforts, executive orders to be signed on his first day in office, training efforts, and building a citizen-led movement with a focus on social media.  Gingrich asked voters to be “with him” and not “for him,” because “only the American people” can save the country. There are ten parts of his legislative contract:

·    Repeal ObamaCare and pass a replacement that saves lives and money by empowering patients and doctors, not bureaucrats and politicians.

·    Return to robust job creation with a set of tax cuts (eliminate the capital gains and death taxes, lower the corporate tax rate to 12.5%, and give an option to pay a flat tax)and regulatory reforms that will free American entrepreneurs to invest and hire, along with reforming the Federal Reserve and creating a training requirement for extended federal unemployment benefits to encourage work, and improve the quality of our workforce.

·    Unleash America’s full energy production potential in oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, nuclear, oil shale and more, creating jobs, stimulating a sustainable manufacturing boom, lowering gasoline and other energy prices, increasing government revenues, and bolstering national security

·    Save Medicare and Social Security by giving Americans more choices and tools to live longer, healthier lives with greater financial independence with options in both programs to opt-in to private social security accounts. 

·    Balance the federal budget by freeing job creators to grow the economy, reforming entitlements, and implementing waste-cutting and productivity-improvement systems, such as Lean Six Sigma, to eliminate waste and fraud, and pass a balanced budget amendment to keep it level.

·    Control the border by Jan. 1, 2014, and establish English as the official language of government.  Reform the legal visa system, making it much easier to deport criminals and gang members, while simplifying the process for law-abiding visitors to come to the US.

·    Revitalize our national security system to meet 21st century threats by restructuring and adequately funding our security agencies to function within a grand strategy for victory over those who seek to kill us or limit American power.

·    Maximize the speed and impact of medical breakthroughs by removing unnecessary obstacles that block new treatments from reaching patients, and steering a significant amount of research spending toward urgent national priorities, such as brain science, with its impact on Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson's, mental health and other conditions that brain breakthroughs address. 

·    Restore the proper role of the judicial branch by using the clearly delineated powers available to the President and Congress to correct, limit or replace judges who violate the Constitution.

·    Enforce the 10th Amendment by starting an orderly transfer of power and responsibility from the federal government back “to the states, respectively, or to the people,” as the Constitution requires. 

Gingrich says the contract will not be finalized until September 2012, and it will inform voters of what he would do on his very first day in office, a guarantee that Gingrich will stay in the conversation throughout the primaries and general election.

(“Gingrich Deftly Makes Contract With America a Campaign Tool” by Tony Lee dated September 30, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=46546 )

 

Washington’s dysfunctional political climate not only makes it harder for Congress to pass sound economic policy, but it also means that whatever policies Congress manages to pass may be ineffective anyway, since Americans have lost so much confidence in their government’s ability to help. Americans’ confidence in their government is at historic lows, according to Gallup’s annual governance survey:

·    The poll of 1,017 adults, conducted in early September, found that 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, the highest share since the question was first asked in 1972.

·    Additionally, 69% of Americans say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, also a record high, and nearly three times the share of people who said this in 1972.

·    Americans estimate that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends, the highest number on record since that question was first asked in 1979.

·    Almost half of Americans (49%) believe the federal government “poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” as compared to 2003 when less than a third of Americans said they believed this.

·    Perhaps most worrisome, Americans’ trust and confidence in the government’s ability to handle policy problems has plummeted.

·    Just 43% of Americans say they have “a great deal or fair amount” of trust in the federal government to handle domestic problems, which is lower than it was at any time in the past four decades.

If we have another federal government shutdown in the next few days, which is entirely possible, these sentiments will only get worse. In order for government policy to be effective, people must believe it will be effective. This is as true for economic policy as it is for anything else. In particular, part of the reason that economic stimulus works is that it gives consumers and businesses confidence that the economy will improve. That belief becomes self-fulfilling as they feel more comfortable increasing their purchases and investments. If Americans believe that Congress cannot be counted upon to do anything that will help the economy, nothing that Congress does will succeed in helping the economy, which is what is happening now with this administration.

(“Losing Faith in Government” by Catherine Rampell dated September 26, 2011 published by The New York Times at http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/26/losing-faith-in-government/ )

Obama's 2012 campaign is busily subdividing the nation into racial, ethnic and religious enclaves for targeted appeals to find a "narrow path to victory."  Setting one tribe against another, one faction against another, divide and conquer, is among the oldest tactics of politics and war. The Obama campaign headquarters calls its divide-and-conquer strategy "Operation Vote."  The passion manifests itself through jealousy, envy, selfishness, preoccupation with material things, and a willingness to deny rights to others because we feel that they have too much. Hire blacks, Hispanics, Jews and gays to appeal to and advance the interests of blacks, Hispanics, Jews and gays. Conspicuously absent from this racial-ethnic-religious targeting is America's majority, white Christians, who are still 60% of the nation. His approval rating among whites has fallen to less than a third; even lower among working-class whites.  If targeted appeals to race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation are the Obama strategy, 2012 will be among the most divisive elections in U.S. history.  The black vote went 95 to 4 for Obama in 2008. Today, however, black disillusionment with Obama is broad and deep. Look for the race card to be played early and often. Beyond the realm of material things, liberalism is an ideology of conceit. The liberal believes that if he doesn't run the universe, everything will fall to pieces.  Liberalism wraps its quest for ever-greater control in the righteous robes of the protector.  "I'm a warrior for the middle-class." Thirteen months from Election Day, the debate has already deteriorated to this level of invective, so we can expect 2012 should be quite a year.

(“Subdividing America – to Win” by Pat Buchanan dated September 27, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/patbuchanan/2011/09/27/subdividing_america_--_to_win

Obama Leads the Liberalism Parade” by Joseph Ashby dated September 27, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/obama_leads_the_liberalism_parade_1.html )

 

The lowest classes, those most likely to be touted by left-wing organizations as oppressed, are the least likely to be dual-income families, while those in wealthier middle-class categories are a minimum of close to four times more likely to have dual incomes.  The welfare state and anti-discrimination legislation destroy neighborhoods and promote the business interests of those with poor moral constitutions (leftists, primarily) by providing layabouts with an arsenal of unreasonable lawsuits.  Compared with the bracket with the highest percentage of dual income households, the lowest quintile is somewhere around eleven times less likely to have a second income.  If this is the case, then poverty and the number of incomes are absolutely correlated. The dual income, of course, has an equally disastrous effect upon housing affordability.  In past generations, a man could buy a small home with his own savings.  Today, not only has the housing market become radically inflated through government-sponsored usury, but since home prices are essentially monopoly prices, selling for the maximum amount the market will bear, having two bread-winners in a majority of homes can only make a landed lower class even less possible.  Americans do not often consider that such a trend toward dual full-time incomes, and subsequently, toward the impracticability of properly raising a traditional family with two children, has already harmed this country substantially.  Conservatives complain of the unfathered children of the most criminal classes, yet they often neglect to propose that a missing mother could harm the family as well.  They complain about a public school system's advocacy for increasingly bankrupt leftist causes, but they will not encourage mothers to fulfill their duty to raise their children.  They complain of the incredible burden associated with an aging population without wondering whether it is actually affordable anymore for traditional families to properly raise more than one to two children.  It may perhaps be complained that the woman's worth is not realized when she remains at home, that she is disempowered in her motherly duty.  But the wise know, not just with their minds, but also with their hearts, that a mother's value is not reflected solely in the peace of the home and in the stability of nations.  The wise know another method of restoring household stability, and it is a restoration of the traditional, biblical nuclear family.  How the husband and wife manage themselves, the man laboring as the breadwinner and the giver of law, the woman laboring with equal nobility to raise her children and ensure the propagation of heritage, is as important as marriage itself.  This is not to say that women should never seek maximum productivity, but her income must remain in most cases a responsibility secondary to both the care of her children, the priority structure intended by God.

(“How the Dual Income Destroys the Lower Classes” by Jeremy Egerer dated September 25, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/how_the_dual_income_destroys_the_lower_classes.html)

 

The President’s so-called jobs plan, or proposal, or whatever you call an outline of lofty goals with few details, should be titled, “The President’s Plan to Spend Now and Pay for It Later.” In economics, this is called the law of unintended consequences. The President is desperate to deflect criticism and avoid the appearance of inconsistency despite previously advised against raising taxes when the economy is weak. In fact, the President’s plan does not raise anyone’s taxes in 2011 or 2012, but instead all measures to raise additional revenue, including fundamental tax reform, are effective starting in 2013 after the next election. Obama gets specific, targeting targeted tax breaks for oil and gas companies and for corporate jet owners, more for their symbolic significance than their revenue-generating potential. The U.S. government shouldn’t be subsidizing these companies. Nor should it subsidize any other companies, including renewable energy producers: companies like the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy two weeks ago and laid off 1,000 employees. Clean energy may look like the technology of the future, but the government is notoriously bad at picking winners and losers in the free market. Although most of the research and development for advanced technology is done in the U.S., we transfer production of the goods we create overseas. The current 35% corporate tax rate is among the highest in the developed world. The U.S. needs to have a dialogue on tax reform, an idea that has wide support among people of all political persuasions. Obama continues to talk reform, but he ignored the recommendations of his Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform last year and now proposes modest cost savings from Medicare and nothing to stabilize Social Security. Broad-based tax reform is not Obama’s style since he sees the size of the pie as finite and his job as slicer-in-chief.

(“Obama Takes Aim at Tax ‘Targets,’ Fires Blanks” by Caroline Baum dated September 22, 2011 published by Bloomberg at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-23/obama-takes-aim-at-tax-targets-fires-blanks-caroline-baum.html )

President Obama, like most American Presidents, is lucky that the public pays little attention to foreign policy and rarely casts its votes on the basis of Presidential foreign-policy performance. A political danger for presidents is that precisely because the public pays little attention to foreign policy until a explosion occurs (usually metaphoric), the White House does not get public pressure to improve the situation as it does with, say, a failing domestic economy. As the economy gets worse and worse, the public complains more and more, and the White House is on political alert to try to do something about it, usually. However, the political danger of a foreign-policy failure tends to just fall out of the politically clear blue sky on an inattentive White House. But the palpable, increasingly manifest weakening of the American position, from Russia to China/Taiwan to Turkey to Saudi Arabia to the Middle East peace process to Pakistan and Afghanistan to Mexico and Latin America, needs only a spark to reveal to the American public that in the last three years, we have experienced the most sustained weakening of our international interests, values and positions since the attack on Pearl Harbor. When Presidential-led U.S. foreign policy is seen as conspicuously and dangerously weak by even liberal European opinion, President Obama runs the risk that world liberal journalistic opinion may provide critical, public support for what will surely be a major Republican campaign charge in next year's Presidential race.

(“President’s Foreign Policy Failures Increase” by Tony Blankley dated September 28, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/tonyblankley/2011/09/28/presidents_foreign_policy_failures_increase )

 

* 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:

·  Preface at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/welcome/preface.php

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

·  Homeland Security at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/homelandsecurity.php

·  Taxes at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/taxes.php

·  Terrorism at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/terrorism.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com