Views on the News
Views on the News*
November 15, 2014
Tuesday’s election sent a clear message but the Democrats refuse to hear it. If the people love the policies of the past six years, then they just have a weird way of showing it. Rather than re-elect the people who love their policies, voters treated Democrats like a bad memory. Voters are sick of failure. They don’t like what’s going on, and they voted against the people responsible. President Obama set this tone when he said he not only heard the voters, but he heard the two-thirds of voters who didn’t vote, which is his way of saying that the results weren’t going to burst the bubble he’s constructed around himself. Democrats know they were rejected by voters, and they were especially rejected by many of the voters who stayed home too. Lots of Democrats stayed home because they didn’t want to support their party’s nominee, but couldn’t bring themselves to vote for the Republican. The same thing happened in 2012, but Mitt Romney didn’t claim there was some sort of secret majority who really would’ve voted for him if only they’d had time. People stay away because they don’t like their party at the moment and can’t bring themselves to vote for the other one. Out of power, Democrats are notoriously childish. Temper tantrums will be thrown, both on the floor of the House and Senate and on cable news. The words of progressive Democrats will be the anchor that dooms them. In 2012, Democrats won while simultaneously calling every American some sort of “ist” or “phobe” at least once. The President doesn’t care what the voters want, and neither do the Democrats, but it’s getting harder and harder for the voters to remain ignorant of that fact, and that could be the Democrats’ Achilles heel.
(“The Dense-o-crats Learned Nothing” by Derek Hunter dated November 9, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2014/11/09/the-denseocrats-learned-nothing-n1916082 )
Voters were asked why they voted the way they did and the most popular response, 45% of the voters, was the economy as only 28% said their families were doing better financially. The question is “Why did people appear so angry and unhappy when the stock market was at record levels, the unemployment rate is down sharply, inflation is subdued and the number of jobs is increasing?” I cannot recall an economic recovery that was more widely doubted than the current one. On the left, the response has often been to cite statistics indicating that benefits have largely gone to the wealthy and not spread down the economic ladder. On the right, the claim has more often been that the numbers are manipulated by the Obama administration to fool the public. The explanation was that the benefits of this economic growth weren’t being evenly distributed and were being felt only by the blessed in the American economy, the upper 1%. The economy isn’t really doing what the statistics say it is doing. Our nation’s economic statistics are nipped and tucked, massaged, managed, fabricated and dolled up; in short, our statistics are wrong and Main Street folks know it. The sentiment is “Nobody can predict how long governments can get away with fake growth, fake money, fake jobs, fake financial stability, fake inflation numbers and fake income growth. When confidence is lost, that loss can be severe, sudden and simultaneous across a number of markets and sectors.” The fabrication of data isn’t the only problem, but put enough academics and statisticians in a room and they can turn any statistic into something it isn’t:
· Fake growth: The US economy is growing moderately. The Commerce Department recently pegged third-quarter growth at a 3.5% annual rate, but earlier this week, some real numbers came out. Our exports declined in the third quarter and construction spending was weak. So that 3.5% guess will probably be revised down to a 2.9% annual rate on those numbers alone. Also important is the artificially low inflation number that Commerce uses in its GDP calculations. If inflation were measured correctly, GDP growth for all years might be 30% lower than reported.
· Fake money: The Federal Reserve printed $4 trillion under quantitative easing that has resulted in millions of regular folks not getting much interest income and, therefore, they’re cutting back spending. That’s why the economy is weak.
· Fake jobs: The Labor Department adds hundreds of thousands of jobs a year to its count for positions it thinks, but can’t prove, are being created by new companies. This practice, which has gone on for decades, needs to be investigated.
· Fake financial stability: The artificially low interest rates are not only propping up banks and Wall Street profits but also making the US government’s financial position look better than reality. If Washington had to pay market rates for the money it borrows, the US budget deficit and debt levels would be worse.
· Fake inflation numbers: Commerce doesn’t only play tricks with the inflation number used to calculate the GDP. It also tamps down the consumer price index, and cheats Social Security recipients and others, through academically approved methods like geometric weighting and hedonics.
When you can’t trust government data, this is why people are so nervous.
(“US economic growth is all a illusion” by John Crudele date November 6, 2014 published by New York Post at http://nypost.com/2014/11/06/us-economic-growth-is-all-an-illusion/
“Doubting the Economic Data? Consider the Source” by Floyd Norris dated November 6, 2014 published by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/business/economy/doubting-the-economic-data-consider-the-source.html?_r=0 )
Democrats didn’t do well in the mid-term elections because they failed to highlight America’s “strong” economic performance, but only when compared to the European subpar performance. After all, median household income is lower than it was when Obama took office, and labor force participation rates have plummeted. Doug Holtz-Eakin wrote as part of a study for the National Chamber Foundation:
“Over the entire postwar period from 1947 to 2013, the trend for economic growth in America was 3.3%. Unfortunately, looking at the period as a whole masks a marked deterioration in U.S. growth performance. Since 2007, the rate has downshifted to a mere 1.5%, which translates into a meager 0.7% in growth per capita in the United States. …At the current pace of growth, it will take 99 years for incomes to double. The poor U.S. growth performance is a threat to American families and their futures.”
America usually enjoyed growth average a bit above 3%, but then, beginning about 2007/2008, that average dropped below 2%.
Over the long term, the budget problem is primarily a spending problem, and correcting it requires reductions in the growth of large mandatory spending programs: entitlements like Social Security and federal health programs. The absence of economic growth is the legacy of Obamanomics. We’re adopting European-style economic policies, so is no surprise that our growth rates are declining in the direction of European-style stagnation. If you want better economic performance, there’s no substitute for free markets and small government.
(“Obama’s Legacy: Statist, European-Style Policies Lead to Anemic, European-Style Economic Performance” by Daniel J. Mitchell dated November 12, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/danieljmitchell/2014/11/12/obamas-legacy-statist-europeanstyle-policies-lead-to-anemic-europeanstyle-economic-performance-n1917401 )
I am a conservative; I believe in the truth of traditional values, of limited government, and free markets; and I believe in personal freedom and that it is not possible without all the above. Our country has been going in the opposite direction and things, predictably, have not been going well. The American people spoke last Tuesday, and I am happy with what they had to say. I am happy that we have, once again, proof that America is still a free country, and that when the American people are not happy, they can vote for change. Freedom means making inevitable mistakes, learning from them, changing and improving. This points to two watershed events of this election: Election of the first black Republican woman to the US House of Representatives, Mia Love of Utah, and the first black Senator from the South elected since reconstruction, Tim Scott of South Carolina. Both of these newly elected members of congress made it a point to reject race as an issue in their campaigns. Congresswoman-elect Love said, “This has nothing to do with race…I wasn’t elected because of the color of my skin, I wasn’t elected because of my gender. I was elected because of the solutions that I put on the table….” Senator Scott deplored the “race-baiting” of the Democrat Party during the election and said he is proud that “people in South Carolina vote their issues, vote their values, and not their complexion.” I mention this in hope that black Americans across our nation will look at these two individuals, listen to what they have to say, and more will choose to embrace their message about the importance and beauty of freedom. Black Americans have suffered greatly living under the thumb of government and believing it is a good thing. If it truly is a good thing then, today, a half-century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, huge differences would not persist in average income, wealth, employment, and education between black Americans and the rest of the nation. Black Americans, like all Americans, are free, but blacks must step up and use this freedom to learn. It is time to take a different path. Embrace the freedom, and the personal responsibility that goes with it, that was achieved 50 years ago. This is a time to rejoice in the blessings of freedom that Americans have and to pray that more Americans, and particularly black Americans, embrace it.
(“Blacks Must Embrace Freedom, Learn, and Progress” by Star Parker dated November 8, 2014 published by American Clarion at http://www.americanclarion.com/blacks-must-embrace-freedom-learn-progress-34572 )
President Obama has struck a show deal with China on climate change in which both nations will be cutting their greenhouse gas emissions, but the agreement is in reality a sham. The U.S. will cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 26% to 28% below their 2005 level by the time 2025 rolls around. At the same time, China would reach a peak in emissions in 2030, at which point it is supposed to begin cutting back. It's hard to overstate how meaningless this deal is.
· One, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. CO2 emissions have not warmed the planet or changed its climate in any catastrophic, or even discernible, sense. We are in the 18th year of no warming despite the fear struck in us by computer models, which have warned for decades that the earth would be growing hotter. No number of deals, pacts or treaties on CO2 emissions is going to make a difference in our climate.
· Two, U.S. carbon emissions have been falling sharply since 2008 and are projected to continue falling through 2030. America was also the first major industrialized nation to hit the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol emissions target. The U.S. never ratified the treaty, but it nevertheless met its goals in 2012, the year the deal expired.
· Three, the New York Times reports that a 2011 study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that China's emissions are going to peak in 2030. If that was going to happen anyway, what is the purpose of the Obama deal? Is it just an exercise for Obama to look like he can get things done and for Beijing to pretend that it's a cooperative member of the planet?
· Four, under this deal, China, which has overtaken the U.S. as the world's No. 1 CO2 emitter, can take its time scaling back emissions. If the need to decrease emissions is urgent, letting China restrain CO2 at its own pace makes no sense.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., incoming chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, demonstrated a far better handle on reality than these administration and media sycophants when he called it a "nonbinding charade." It is a naked, and weak, attempt by the President to begin constructing his legacy, but if this is the best he can do, his legacy will be that of someone who destroyed the economy for a fleeting, false goal.
(“Obama’s Climate Deal with China an Empty Gesture” dated November 12, 2014 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/111214-726178-obama-climate-deal-with-china-meaningless-sham.htm )
A video surfaced by Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist and intellectual architect of ObamaCare, where said that ObamaCare was written in a deceptive, non-transparent way to exploit “the stupidity of the American voter.” He has done the American people a favor by affording us an unvarnished look into the progressive mind, which values complexity over simplicity, favors indirect taxes and impositions on the American public so their costs can be hidden, and has a dim view of the average American. Complexity is a staple of liberal policymaking. It is a product of its scale and reach, but also of the imperative to hide the ball. Taxing and spending and redistributive schemes tend to be unpopular, so clever ways have to be found to deny that they are happening. One reason ObamaCare was so convoluted is that its supporters didn’t want to straightforwardly admit how much the law was raising taxes and using the young and healthy to subsidize everyone else. Gruber crowed about the exertions undertaken to make an unpopular tax on expensive health-insurance plans, the so-called Cadillac tax, more palatable. It was levied on employers instead of employees. No one realized, Gruber explained, that the tax would be functionally the same even if not directly imposed on workers. This kind of sleight of hand is crucial to the progressive project, which always involves imposing taxes, regulations, and mandates at one remove from the average person so he or she won’t realize that the costs are passed down regardless. An assumption that Americans are incompetent is woven into the Left’s worldview. It is reluctant to entrust individuals with free choice for fear they will exercise it poorly and irresponsibly. The public is smarter than he and other ObamaCare supporters give it credit for. The American people have never believed the magical, deliberately deceptive promises about ObamaCare, or supported the law that continues to be a drag on the Democrat party.
(“Thank You, Jonathan Gruber” by Rich Lowry dated November 14, 2014 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/392672/thank-you-jonathan-gruber-rich-lowry )
Americans are not easily provoked into war. We are not as hawkish a nation as some would claim. In the wake of conflicts such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, our nation’s once youthful sentiment for patriotism and its robust passion for freedom seem sadly fading. Enter a group like Al-Qaeda or ISIS, or for that matter Nazis or communists. These savages are counting on American weariness and complacency. They are counting on our reticence to engage. In the shadow of 9/11, which has come to symbolize American resolve, here is my warning to these fanatics prone to suicide and mass murder: Make as much noise as you want, but do not, and I repeat do not wake up the sleeping giant. Do not make us uncomfortable or fearful or, God forbid, give us a reason to unite as a people. We do not want to get between you and your Allah, but by golly, take away our ability to live in safety and we will become Allah’s private contractor. Part of the problem with misguided zealots is they wrongly calculate American caution or restraint to be thinly veiled fear, but even an anti-war President like Barack Obama, prone to appeasement and sporting a lackluster foreign policy, will lead from behind when faced with an imminent and existential threat. The lesson learned over and over by America’s enemies, from 1776 to Pearl Harbor to 9/11, is push us too far and we will strike. Provoke us and the shock waves that awaken our survival instinct will explode the Washington gridlock and mute the cacophony of voices selling endless adolescence or the reliving of the ‘60s in perpetuity. If, instead of wisely leaving us where you found us, you will awaken us from our slumber, and instinctively we will seek a quick and decisive end to your intrusion. I caution ISIS and any other radicalized ideologues hell bent on Western destruction: Remember we sleep now yes, but with bad memories and with one eye open. True, you caught us off guard on that clear September morning, but you left us with memories of suicide missions and airplanes and smoke, of missing persons photos from home printers flapping in candlelit parks that once were overrun with hippies, vagrants, and street festivals. Whether you realize it or not, you took away our innocence. We post-baby boomers heard of Vietnam. We saw the body bags on TV every night, but we didn’t smell them. Well, your current stench pisses us off because you threaten to mess with our American way of life. You distort our best hopes and turn our children into soldiers. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, and you will be no more.
(“A Warning to ISIS: Let Sleeping Giants Lie” by Robert Orlando dated November 8, 2014 published by Townhall at http://townhall.com/columnists/robertorlando/2014/11/08/a-warning-to-isis-let-sleeping-giants-lie-n1914123 )
* 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 sections:
· Bibliography at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/welcome/bibliography.php