Views on the News
October 22, 2011
Views on the News*
Impossible expectations are dooming Barack Obama because his terrible policies can’t deliver the results that he has promised and hubris is the end for all demagogues. Barack Obama, the mainstream media-invented Sun King, comes closer to eclipse with each passing day. A stagnant economy, on the verge of getting worse under Obama's tutelage, will be the boot on the President's rear on Election Day. A demagogue is typically convinced that the force of his personality, his eloquence, and his charm are more than sufficient to carry the day. When all those things fail, the demagogue can become a mighty discouraged creature. Obama will exit the White House with greater ignominy than Jimmy Carter, or any past failed President, with the possible exception of the feckless James Buchanan, who helped foster the circumstances for the Civil War. History will be especially unkind to Barack Obama. Phoniness and posturing have ways of not traveling well. With the passing years, mountebanks are revealed for who they are. The demagogue must oversell himself to win a following. He must overpromise what he can deliver, and it's not just bigger tax cuts and fatter welfare checks. The demagogue is about offering newer, better lives for his followers. There must be the promise of something transformational for the demagogue to close the deal with people. The trouble for the demagogue is that his promises run smack into reality. All those Obama voters who thought that he was Moses leading them to the Promised Land discovered that the President can't even get the official unemployment rate below 9.1% and has a historic problem with Uncle Sam's credit cards. There has been no Obama-inspired grand reconciliation between conservatism and liberalism. Obama has failed stupendously in saving Americans from life. Voters' Obama endorphin high has long run its course. It's Obama voters' cold, gray morning of bad breath and tepid coffee with the man who was supposed to be the amazing love of their lives. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "human is as human does" and thank God for the failsafe of impossible expectations.
(“The Exquisite Blessing of Impossible Expectations” by J. Robert Smith dated October 14, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/10/obama_the_exquisite_blessing_of_impossible_expectations.html )
During the 2008 Presidential election, there were many arguments against Barack Obama as a viable candidate and after three years these predictions have proven prophetic. As the 2012 election cycle has begun, it is now time to re-examine those arguments and compare to the actual results:
· The self-professed “uniter” Obama had, in truth, little record of uniting disparate groups - The country is now divided, perhaps more so than in 2006, except to the extent of gradually unifying around opposition to Obama, who now polls around 40% approval and is heading to Bush levels in three rather than seven years.
· Obama knew very little about foreign affairs, or perhaps even raw human nature as it plays out in power politics abroad - Obama soon began treating allies and enemies alike as near neutrals: outreach to Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba, while petty slights and sometimes serious rebuke to Israel, the UK, and Eastern Europe. Once the most vocal of Bush’s critics, Obama ended up copycatting all of his predecessor’s anti-terrorism protocols, but without a gesture of gratitude.
· Obama, for all his rhetorical skills and soft-spoken charisma, had little experience in the private sector outside of politics, academia, foundations, and subsidized organizing - Obama’s EU-like economic plan is in shambles. Prior to Obama, Keynesians had argued that no one had given them a fair shot since the Depression, but borrowing nearly five trillion in less than three years, near zero interest rates, vastly expanding food stamps and unemployment benefits, absorbing private companies, and issuing vast new financial and environment regulations turned an anticipated recovery into another near recession.
· Obama at times seemed to lack common sense, and perhaps even common knowledge - 2008 campaign “slips” prefaced things like “corpse-man” and speaking Austrian, but not in the media climate of zero media tolerance for “nucular.”
· Obama saw race as essential to his persona and his success, rarely incidental - All these earlier bothersome tidbits like “typical white person” reappeared with an entire litany of them/us calumnies, none of them in isolation of any importance, but quite disturbing.
· Obama counted on a sense of entitlement – Obama felt he was smarter than the rest of America and it was not a problem to federalize health care in the midst of a recession with 10% plus unemployment.
· Obama, like many on the elite left, had an ambiguous attitude about affluence and its dividends - The hints of the 2008 attraction and distrust of wealth only magnified by 2011: the more he demonizes the good life that unimaginable riches provide, the more he seems comfortable with the good life that unlimited government subsidizes.
The skeptics of 2008 proved prescient; those who demonized the skeptics should be embarrassed. In 2012 we should remember that candidates, of both parties, will govern mostly as they campaign, and slips are not indiscretions, but often will prove in hindsight windows of the soul and predictors of the future.
(“Did 2008 Come True?” by Victor Davis Hanson dated October 16, 2011 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/did-2008-come-true/ )
A majority of Americans disapprove of what President Obama has done in office because he promised hope and change but delivered disappointment and stagnation. The unemployment rate is stuck at 9.1%. The poverty rate is at 15.1%, tied for the worst performance since the Census started tracking numbers in 1959. White House policies of class warfare and redistribution are impoverishing America, and the public is starting to feel worked over. While economic scorekeepers say the recession officially ended in June 2009, few Americans would say they've felt much relief. One reason for this is that people who have found jobs have had to settle for a pay cut. It's no wonder that confidence levels are low, and Americans, even those with jobs, are being careful with spending. Obama's solution involves having the federal government declare the long-term unemployed a legally protected class. His American Jobs Act would subject businesses to frivolous lawsuits if they decide against hiring someone who has been jobless for an extended time. Doing so would serve as one more disincentive for companies to hire or hold interviews for open positions, making it even harder for the jobless to find work. Companies need to have certainty that they will be able to keep the proceeds of their investments in the future before they will start hiring again and pay their employees more.
(“The income problem” dated October 14, 2011 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/oct/14/the-income-problem/ )
The economic recovery isn’t really making a dent in unemployment and the public has known this much earlier than economists or pundits did, and politicians still don’t get it! Survey after survey showed Americans don’t believe the economy is recovering. Economists need hard data before changing their minds and over the past few months, more and more of them have concluded that indeed the depth of this particular recession and its roots in the financial crisis have combined with structural changes in the economy to push the so-called “natural” unemployment rate in the U.S. permanently higher. 40% of the unemployed, or some six million people, have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. Millions of unemployed workers may take longer to find jobs because their skills have depreciated or they may need to seek employment in other sectors. These structural issues will take time to resolve. Jobs and workers will need to be reallocated across the economy, which is a long and slow process. t is not clear to what extent the long-term unemployed are becoming a class of permanently unemployed, creating a problem resembling the so-called structural unemployment of some European countries. As of September, six million of the 14 million unemployed were out of work for more than 26 weeks and the average duration of unemployment was 41 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s about double what it was following the recessions of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s and it’s the main reason economists are re-writing their playbooks. There are 14 million unemployed people in the U.S.; 9.3 million more are “involuntary” part-time workers and 2.5 million others were “marginally” attached to the labor force, having not technically looked for a job for four weeks, according to the BLS. The total underemployed numbers nearly 26 million people, almost 17% of the labor force, will support any political party and any candidate that can implement changes that will create real private sector jobs.
(“Army of unemployed is now entrenched in U.S.” by Howard Gold dated October 14, 2011 published by MarketWatch at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/army-of-unemployed-is-now-entrenched-in-us-2011-10-14 )
President Obama has a habit of demanding something against the people's will, being rejected, refusing to take no for an answer and berating the public he is pretending to represent, then finding ways to implement his policies despite Congress disapproval. Here are some obvious examples:
· ObamaCare - Obama delivered some 54 speeches to sell the public on his scheme yet never made a dent in the public approval numbers, but that didn't stop him from pressing forward anyway, and his underhanded methods at cramming his bill through Congress will also be enshrined in our national history.
· Cap and Trade - He couldn't convince the people that he was right, nor could he convince Congress, so he just empowered his fellow radicals in the Environmental Protection Agency to bypass Congress and impose these regulations unilaterally.
· High Speed Rail - He's determined to spend billions and billions of dollars in brazen defiance of the people's disinterest in the project, their objection to further deficit spending, and the marked resistance of the individual states.
· Alternative Energy - Obama thinks he knows better than we do, so he tells us this technology is the wave of the future, but it's actually closer to an anachronism. Solyndra is the latest example of throwing away good money at this pipe dream.
· Stimulus Spending – The so-called jobs bill is his latest "stimulus" package. He's never apologized for his first immoral waste of $868 billion, which was wholly his baby.
This President is incapable of admitting, much less apologizing for his mistakes. When Congress rejects his offensively ill-conceived projects, he flinched not, but redoubled his commitment to force it through, piece by piece, benevolent dictator that he is. Obama attributes opposition to his plan to partisanship, suggesting that Republicans only oppose it because they want to hurt him politically, but Obama's opponents oppose him to keep him from further destroying the nation.
(“Obama Will Not Be Deterred” by David Limbaugh dated October 14, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2011/10/14/obama_will_not_be_deterred )
The Tenth Amendment and America's federalist structure give the states the right to be "laboratories of democracy," each with the opportunity to implement unique public policies within the confines of their borders and divergent state-level economic policies have led some states to prosper while others have learned that not all "experiments" succeed. Divergent policies bring divergent outcomes. Imperfect as they are, state credit ratings are valid indicators of the underlying quality of a state's economic policies:
· States with strong credit ratings have a few key traits in common. First, they tend to keep taxes low. The average top marginal personal income-tax rate for states boasting the S&P's AAA and AA+ credit ratings is 5.1%. This figure rises to 6.3% for states in the middle-rated group (AA and AA-) and 7.7% in states in the lowest-rated group (A+ and A-). The average top marginal corporate income-tax rate for states boasting the S&P's AAA and AA+ credit ratings is 6.7%. This figure rises to 7.6% for states in the middle-rated group and 9.2% in states in the lowest-rated group. The overall state and local tax burden is lowest in the highest-rated group and highest in the lowest-rated group.
· State governments with strong credit ratings tend to carry less debt and spend less on debt service. On average, the highest-rated states spend 7.8% of their annual tax revenue on debt service. States in the middle-rated group (AA and AA-) spend 8.4% while those in the lowest-rated group (A+ and A-) spend 9.2%.
· State governments with strong credit ratings are far more likely to be a "right-to-work" state. Roughly half of the states with AAA and AA+ credit ratings give employees the right to decide whether to join or financially support a union. Fewer than one in three states in the middle-rated group, and none of the states in the lowest-rated group, give employees that right.
· States with strong credit ratings maintain quality legal systems that are conducive to economic growth. As a group, states with the highest credit ratings score the highest in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's "State Liability Systems Ranking Study." States with the lowest credit ratings tend to fare among the worst in the study.
· States with strong credit ratings tend to maintain those ratings for extended periods of time. That is, credit ratings may rise and fall for most states, but the highest-rated states tend to maintain consistently high credit ratings.
None of this should come as a surprise. States that keep taxes and spending in check have a greater untapped capacity to meet their debt obligations and deal with budget problems as they arise, and states that maintain policies conducive to economic growth are less likely to encounter debt and budget crises and, over time, benefit from a healthier tax base.
(“Judge Economic Policies by State’s Credit Ratings” by James Carter and Christine Harbin dated October 18, 2011 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/588474/201110181814/Judge-Economic-Policies-By-States-Credit-Ratings.htm )
Herman Cain is the only Republican candidate putting concrete and simple ideas on the table for getting this nation back on track and the one who excites the American voters. He is not afraid to recommend dramatic reforms to two of the third rails on politics: taxes and social security. Herman Cain deserves credit for proposing a tax-reform plan that is specific, promotes economic growth, and has captured the imagination of conservatives nationwide. His 9-9-9 plan builds on the insight that one of the chief defects of the current tax code is its bias toward consumption over savings. His plan’s peculiarities of design, substantive weaknesses, and political naïveté undermine its conservative support. That would mean a flat 9% personal income tax and a flat 9% corporate-business income tax. Cain would also add a third 9% national sales tax on everything you buy. Cain's 9-9-9 plan is not perfect, but then again, the good should never be the enemy of the perfect. Cain’s ultimate objective is a national sales tax, but his interim plan is to replace the current income, payroll, and corporate tax codes with three new taxes. Cain envisions his Presidency as featuring a quick move to the 9-9-9 plan followed by an educational campaign about replacing with the national sales tax. A mammoth drop in marginal tax rates for individuals (35% to 9%) and for businesses (also 35% to 9%) would supply an incredibly strong economy-wide growth incentive. It would also eliminate the double tax on savings and investment by removing capital gains, estates and dividends from the tax code which would also provide strong economic incentives. In essence, the Cain plan combines the flat tax (with its single marginal rate) and the fair tax (which uses the national sales tax). Cain’s support for getting rid of the confiscatory Social Security payroll tax and replacing it with personally owned private retirement accounts would be a boon to all Americans, but particularly for low income Americans. Personal retirement accounts would provide an unprecedented opportunity for every American to build wealth over a lifetime, as was done in Chile, where this reform was pioneered. After adopting personal retirement accounts, along with other free market reforms thirty years ago, Chile was transformed from one of the world’s most sluggish to one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Returns on these personal retirement accounts have averaged over 9 percent per year since the program started in 1981. What makes Herman Cain so interesting is the passion and clarity of his view of American freedom, and his Reagan-like ability to communicate and excite grassroots Americans. A new Gallup poll on candidate positive intensity (the percentage of those with strongly favorable opinion minus those with strongly unfavorable opinion) shows Cain so far ahead of the rest of the Republican field it is ridiculous. He has a positive intensity of 35 with Romney number two at 15, with the rest lagging behind him. America needs a new President who loves freedom and has the guts to pursue it without compromise. Freedom is not about warmed over conventional wisdom. It’s about ideals, humility, originality, and embracing the unexpected and unanticipated. Cain’s ideas are far from perfect and the transitions will be painful, but at least he is not afraid to try to address these long term problems and the Republican Party establishment needs to start listening to grassroots Americans with innovative ideas and asking why no one is exciting them like Herman Cain.
(“Cain the Tax-Code Killer” by Larry Kudlow dated October 15, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/larrykudlow/2011/10/15/cain_the_tax-code_killer
“Rocket Fuel for America” by Star Parker dated October 17, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/starparker/2011/10/17/herman_cain_rocket_fuel_for_america
“Bold, Brash, and Wrong” dated October 17, 2011 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/280306/bold-brash-and-wrong-editors )
Class warfare is a dangerous game because in the short run, it can help energize the disenchanted and disaffected and if there are no solutions on the horizon, at least you can give them someone to hate, but if not careful you may become the target of hate. When OWS first assembled in the public square on September 17th, they deliberately presented a face of vague mission and even more vague intent as their aimless angst was directed at everyone but those most responsible for causing the damage they are decrying: their fellow leftists. President Obama and the Democrat leadership are making a critical error in embracing the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, and it may cost them the 2012 election. The irony of Obama’s support of the OWS protestors is that he, more than any other mortal, is responsible for their currently impoverished state. Far more Americans (56%) blame Washington for the economic problems than those who blame Wall Street (30%). OWS is composed of the same activists who pour onto the streets to burn cars and smash windows during IMF, G20, and G8 gatherings. While they go to great lengths to claim representation of the masses, they are at the beck and call of the same political leaders they supposedly rise up against. They were joined by the so-called “useful idiots” under-achievers parading around using their “toys” to tweet, text, email and take pictures while demanding others pay for their education, give them a job and free health care and rail against the very system that made their “toys” available to them. They showed themselves to a largely uninterested mainstream media conducting collective Yoga and face-painting activity. Within weeks they had fanned out to 26 other cities on an add-to list. The American dream is not about anger but opportunity; it's not about dividing people, but unifying us based on our common hopes, our common interests, and our common embrace of a brand of patriotism that is inclusive and not exclusionary. Now the movement direction has been replaced with a unifying and increasingly coherent ideology, which at its core has less to do with the evils of the banking business and more about the evils of capitalism, and the need for a socialist revolution. The “occupiers” openly refer to each other as “comrade,” and just about every piece of literature advocated socialism in the Marxist tradition as a cure-all for the inequalities of the American economic system. The American Nazi Party, the Socialist Party USA, the Communist Party USA, and the AFL-CIO have all announced their support of the OWS movement. The mindless chant of protesters echoing the words of speakers has escalated to “Long live revolution!” and “Long live socialism!” Leftist Saul Alinsky agreed that nonviolence is of limited usefulness when trying to usher in a new era of socialism, and now some protesters openly admit that violence will be necessary to achieve their goals. The Revolution in the Parks paves the way for the re-election of Barack Obama, who has admitted to a mission for the total Transformation of America. Trained in the fine art of Civil Disobedience by Ruckus Society anarchists; paid for by George Soros and the Tides Foundation, among others, aided and abetted by street fighters like Code Pink and Greenpeace, count on OWS as a permanent part of society until Obama and his masters perfect the fundamental Transformation of America through Marxism. It is becoming clear that the Occupy Wall Street movement that President Obama initially embraced has morphed into a pro-socialism, anti-capitalism mob focused on replacing the American economy with a communist autocracy and has backfired on the partisan Democrats.
(“The Revolution is Upon Us” by Judi McLeod dated October 13, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/41249
“Wall Street Protests are Counterproductive” by Susan Estrich dated October 14, 2011 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/Estrich/Wall-Street-Protests-economy/2011/10/14/id/414455
“Polling the Occupy Wall Street Crowd” by Douglas Schoen dated October 18, 2011 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204479504576637082965745362.html )
* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news. I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning. Updates have been made this week to the following issue sections: