Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Respond to failure with greater power?

I read a great quote from Evan Newmark, writing for the Wall Street Journal about the failed attempt to blow up an airliner travelling from Amsterdam to Detroit. His point was that the attempted bombing failed because of a faulty bomb, not because of anything our government did. This is one of those things our government is supposed to do, protect the American people from those who would harm us and yet again they have failed in that task. We have a reasonable expectation considering the amount of money and resources we expend on law enforcement, Homeland Security, TSA, the military and intelligence that we should be able to keep better tabs on people like Umar Abdulmutallab, people we know are bad news. Instead we pull people like me out of line to screen because we don’t want to offend anyone. Here is the quote I really liked (emphasis added):

Of course, the truth about Mr. Abdulmutallab is coming out — and soon it will be clear that the U.S. government failed to do what it was supposed to do.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The government fails all the time: WMDs in Iraq, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an insolvent Medicare system.

So why is it that many in our country — including most politicians — believe the government should be doing lots of new things when it can’t even get the old things right? Some of those old things like the protection of its citizens?


That is the crux of it. When the Left looks doe-eyed at the government as the solution to all of our problems, they conveniently forget that the government routinely screws up what is already supposed to do. If you have an employee that is incompetent at what they are currently doing, you don’t give them additional responsibilities. You fire them. Instead we are giving a bureaucracy even more power to supposedly reform health care, set compensation levels, regulate an unproven and amorphous threat called “climate change”.

This administration is epitome of what you get when you put a bunch of people who have never had a real job in charge of the United States.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Um, thanks. I guess.

It is a Christmas tradition that everyone in our culture understands. The ubiquitous Christmas gift that no one wants. Ugly sweaters. Gaudy ties. Bath sets from Wal-Mart. Of course fruitcake. Gifts that are given that no one wants but are given out of obligation to give something. Often you would be better off not giving anything at all.

Now we have the granddaddy of gifts that no one wants but is given anyway: Obamacare. The American people don't want it. It was passed with votes that were openly sold by Ben Nelson. There is no way to pay for it and it is going to bust the budget in spite of the open lies from Obama. The big difference is that with an ugly gift, you didn't pay for it and you can probably take it back to exchange it for something else. With Obamacare, it is a "gift" that you don't want but you have to pay for anyway. Kind of like someone stealing your credit card and ordering the mother of all fruitcakes with your money and then expecting you to be grateful. I hope we can keep the receipt on this monstrosity and take it back from where it came from after the 2010 elections.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sold!


Congrats to Senator Ben Nelson for selling out America to get some goodies for his home state of Nebraska. One of the most egregious examples of a politician getting bought out in American history. I hope the good people of Nebraska enjoy their pork, funded by the other 49 states and responsible for shackling America with a disastrous bill that puts us further down the road toward a single payer socialize medicine system.



SOLD: One U.S. Senator

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Your government at work part 2

Only in Washington D.C. does this make sense. So we have passage of a $154,000,000,000 “jobs” bill. What do we get for the $154 billion that is going to “create” jobs?

$27 billion goes to infrastructure projects, typically short-term, closed ended projects. I am sort of OK with that. At least it will pay for people to do actual work on stuff that needs it. There is also a bundle of miscellaneous payments for a laundary list of stuff:

The bill would also designate funding for infrastructure-related projects, including transportation, school construction, rehabilitating Amtrak trains and wastewater-treatment modernization.

Ummmm. School construction? At least here in Michigan we are consolidating schools, shutting them down, laying off teachers. I just rode on Amtrak and the train was fine (and loses money every year) so that doesn’t strike me as a high priority issue (but I bet it is for some congressman who has the shop that will do the rehab in his or her district).

After that….

- $79 billion would be designated to help prop up safety-net programs, including a $41 billion, six-month extension of federal jobless benefits
- a $12.3 billion extension of subsidies for individuals who lost health-care coverage when they were laid off;
- $23.5 billion for the federal government to assume a larger portion of state governments' Medicaid costs.


So by my calculations, at least $114 billion of a $154 billion “jobs” bill is going to go toward transfer payments to pay for benefits for people who have lost jobs and their health care as a result. That is almost 75% of the bill that doesn’t do a thing for “jobs”. Why even call it a jobs bill? So instead of trying to “create” jobs to help them get back on their feet, we are going to make their unemployment more comfortable. In addition, instead of forcing states make cuts and run leaner, the Feds (who can print money) are propping up their excessive spending and making the states ever more reliant on the Federal government.

How about $154 billion in tax credits to encourage and make it easier for businesses to hire workers? Instead of supporting unemployed workers, why not let the real job creators (i.e. businesses in the private sector) hire people by incentivizing them to do so? We all know the answer to that. Taxation and regulation and Keynesian spending equals control and that is what politicians are in the business of. The more they control, the more power they wield.

Your government at work part 1

Q. What do you do when your economy is in the toilet and you are up past your eyeballs in debt?

A. Join a fund with other “developed” nations to provide $100 billion to combat “climate change”!


From the news this morning....

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on Thursday proposed that major economies including the U.S. come up with $100 billion a year over the next decade for developing nations to fight climate change, an eleventh hour effort to break an impasse here on climate-change talks.

Someone needs to tell Mrs. Clinton that we are sitting on $12 trillion in debt already so piling more on top of that to combat something that is not only not proven but has been shown to be a carefully crafted ruse is not sound economics. It is more akin to political, economic and ultimately national suicide. We are hamstringing an already terribly weak economy with zero job growth (more about this later) by our debt so let's pile more on top of it.

Meanwhile, as China is badgering us to “do more” about "climate change", I read last night that they are building a 31 mile long sea-bridge at a cost of some untold billions of dollars. So I guess we should contribute more to a fake science while they contribute more to extravagant infrastructure projects. As they continue to buy up our debt and increase industrial capacity, we continue to make it harder and harder to succeed economically in America. This cannot go on indefinitely. In the long term we will eventually see the American military deterrent diminished and then who is going to stop China’s expansionist dreams? Who is going to defend Taiwan when China’s military catches up with ours and they hold our national debt?

Is anybody paying attention? “Climate change” is a sham, a farce. We are funneling transfer payments to developing nations that are going to do nothing to stop climate change, even if there was such a thing. No one can prove it is happening, no one is sure what causes it even if it is happening or what to do about it. This is money down the drain because you know that very little of it will escape the bureaucratic coffers of some “climate change” NGO. At the same time, the new regulations are going to cripple our economy while nations like China are booming. Climate change is the latest and so far best strategy for the goal of totalitarianism. Few things would make the far left in America and around the world happier than to see the U.S. toppled from her perch as the world’s only superpower.

I saw the truly alarming aspect of this whole issue today. I was just arguing about this with a co-worker and the problem is that it is very similar to discussing religion with someone who is not a believer. He thinks this is an issue of science when in fact it is an issue of economics and politics. Like abortion and other highly charged issues, the two sides are not arguing from the same perspective and that makes rational discussion hard to have. Let’s hope that the GOP can keep this stuff at bay long enough to make it to the 2010 elections.

Monday, December 14, 2009

J-Gram: Making Michiganders proud

Apparently being the Governor of Michigan requires you to also serve as the Apologist Czar. On the talk shows this weekend, Governor Granholm was dispensing more of her priceless economic wisdom. Here are some snippets:

"It would have been so much worse," Granholm said during a roundtable discussion that included former Massachusetts governor and Michigan native Mitt Romney and former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan. "These companies would have been liquidated."
---
Granholm, as did President Obama during his weekly address, criticized Wall Street, saying tight credit was inhibiting a retooling of the Michigan economy. She said auto suppliers hoping to diversify have been shut out from the necessary loans. "That is wrong," she said.


On the first. So we were warned that if we didn’t spend almost a trillion dollars, unemployment might go over 9%. So we did and it went to 10%. So the economy got worse and it only cost us $787,000,000,000 and now Obama wants to spend more. We spent almost a trillion dollars in borrowed money and got nothing to show for it but higher unemployment and a higher national debt. Well done, please do spend more!

On the second. Um, one of the big problems that led to this recession is the housing bubble which was created by credit standards being too lax. So lenders, i.e. evil Wall Street, have rightly tightened up credit because they have so much bad debt already on their books. It would be enormously helpful if Jenny or any of the apologists for the Obama administration actually had a clue about how the economy works, how the credit markets operate, how capitalism itself functions. When you already have a huge book of bad loans, you don’t make more risky loans. You tighten up your underwriting and reduce your risk until the bad loans clear off your books. This is what happens when you have a Canadian governor.

The two headed mantra monster we hear daily is “It would have been worse if we hadn’t spent $787 billion” and “we inherited this mess”. These two prongs of Obama’s defenders are ridiculous. First, I don’t think there is a lick of evidence that the stimulus did anything at all to improve the economy. The argument that “it would have been worse” is impossible to prove and is nothing but political cover. Second, Obama didn’t “inherit” anything. He chose to run as President and regardless of the circumstances, his solutions or lack thereof are subject to scrutiny. Every President faces any number of crises. That is part of being President. As the President’s poll numbers show, the American people aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid anymore and these empty rhetorical excuses are ringing hollow.

Is it 2012 yet?

Monday, November 30, 2009

A mormon president?

There are two online editorials today about Mitt Romney and his “mormon problem”. A number of polls show some distressing signs for Mitt Romney as we slowly start down the road to 2012. A sizeable segment of the population polled (about 1/3) declared that they be less likely for a mormon as President. That is a problem.

The first article was by David Frum, posted on CNN.com. Writing from a conservative standpoint, Frum argues that we shouldn’t let Romney’s mormonism preclude him from office.

Simultaneously, USA Today ran an editorial today chastising the perceived religious intolerance of those who would not vote for a mormon for President. I say perceived because one’s faith is not a value neutral issue. When you believe that God is a created being and that Jesus and Satan are brothers, the offspring of “heavenly parents” and that faithful mormons become gods and rule over their own worlds, your judgment is suspect. His faith is one of the factors about him that people use to judge whether or not to vote for a candidate. There are plenty of people that are legally eligible for office that I wouldn’t support for a variety of reasons.

Regardless, I certainly agree that Mitt Romney’s mormonism is not a disqualifier for elected office. In fact I would prefer Romney as a candidate to any number of other moderate “Republicans” and certainly I would prefer him to Barack Obama. Romney was gracious in defeat and a good soldier after he withdrew. He did everything right in defeat and supported the GOP nominee. I think that by and large Romney would be an o.k. President, reliably conservative and predictable. We could certainly use someone who is stable and not afraid to extol America’s virtues, someone who doesn’t see America as the biggest problem in the world. On top of that, Romney, compared to the Boy Wonder in office now, has actually had some experience in the real world. So if it comes down to Romney versus Obama, I will heartily cast my vote for him and I would also support Romney over people like Rudy Giuliani or other socially liberal Republicans.

Having said that, I do recognize the danger here and it is a danger that goes way beyond fiscal policy or foreign relations. A Mitt Romney Presidency would expose and mainstream mormonism like never before. That could be quite interesting. Would a President Romney, with the press always on his heels, go to the temple in Washington, D.C. and risk having the major media outlets start publishing details of what goes on in the temple? Would the scrutiny of a mormon President bring to light the quirky and heretical views of mormonism? Or would a mormon President make it that much easier for mormon proselytizing? Mormon missionaries already find themselves in a world that is by and large ignorant of God. The more Biblically literate people are, the less effective mormon evangelism becomes. Unfortunately with each passing year, Americans become less Biblically literate and more relativistic. When you combine a mormon President to make the religion seem less scary and an ignorant populace, you have fertile soil for the lies of mormonism to take root.

It should be an interesting story to watch as the race for 2012 unfolds. I think that if Romney were a Methodist, he would be a popular choice as a safe selection, an adult alternative to the childish Obama administration. But as a mormon, coupled with his “Johnny come lately” conservative principles, Romney may find it hard to pull out a primary win in the GOP.

Friday, November 20, 2009

One in seven

That is the stat this morning in the Wall Street Journal. One in seven mortgages is behind on payments or already in foreclosure. That is a big percentage and is up from one in ten last year. 7.5 million households are in danger of losing their homes and those bad loans are going to hit someone’s balance sheet (and you can rest assured that eventually it will be you the taxpayer). Things are not getting better in the housing market and both demand and financing are still shaky at best. The artificial demand for new housing starts has apparently dried up and new housing starts are down 10.6%.

Also this morning, 29 states saw unemployment rise and 13 saw it go down. One of those that saw a “reduction” was Michigan from 15.3% to 15.1%. Now that is progress for ya! I imagine that the “reduction” has more to do with people giving up or moving out of our state than any increase in jobs.

So for those of you keeping score, the “stimulus” package that we just had to have for $800,000,000,000 or so has accomplished: higher unemployment and higher mortgage foreclosures. We are still hearing whispers about the need for the Son of Stimulus, the Stimulus That Is Not A Stimulus, Cash For Christmas or any number of other schemes. If one stimulus was a failure, think how catastrophically bad a second stimulus would be! In spite of the gross incompetence of this administration, the Congress and the government in general we are still threatened with a socialized medicine bill that no one wants, no one understands and no one can pay for.

Let’s hope President Obama spends more time on his “Grovel-A-Thon” worldwide tour. At least when he is out making a fool of himself and shaming our nation, he is not at home further destroying our economy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Due prcoess, NOW style

The National Organization for (a very small group of) Women, or NOW, is demanding that Tom Cable, the coach of the Oakland Raiders, be suspended pending an investigation that he abuses women. Now, I find the allegations nauseating and if true are both criminal and cowardly. But before the screech owls at NOW get their pitchforks and torches, there are a couple of issues. One, Tom Cable is not charged with any crime and last time I checked that means he is "innocent until proven guilty". Second, the older incident is one he has admitted to and is 20 years old. Doesn't make it right but it also doesn't make it a suspendable offense. Third, the recent incident has already been investigated by the police and Cable at that time was cleared of wrongdoing:

Cable has acknowledged striking Sandy Cable with an open hand more than 20 years ago and said it was the only time he’s ever touched a woman inappropriately. Marie Lutz accused Cable of assaulting her as recently as last January, but Cable said previously he was cleared by police of any wrongdoing in that case.

“I take the accusations very seriously,” (NOW president Terry) O’Neill said. “What you have is a man who seems to be a person who habitually uses violence to get what he wants. That’s what batterers do.”

I guess that NOW thinks that it should take over as the chief investigative body for any crimes against women. I would like to point out to Terry that one incident 20 years ago is hardly grounds for charges that he "habitually". I would hazard that NOW is opening itself up to charges of libel and slander here. Tom Cable beat up an assistant recently and admits hitting a woman two decades ago, so he has issues. Let's let the legal system work here and refrain from knee-jerk suspensions.

Domestic violence is a serious issue and the charges here are serious. All NOW is doing is looking vindictive by trying to convict a man outside of the due process of the legal system. NOW should spend more time pondering the damage that the feminist movement they peddle has done to the women and families of this country and less on what one man allegedly did in order to score publicity points for their ever more irrelevant organization.

Friday, October 30, 2009

$230,769.23 per job

The White House is set to release a report claiming that the first $150,000,000,000 spent in "stimulus" money resulted in the creation or retention of 650,000 jobs. How you quantify jobs that were not lost is something of an inexact science, but lets go with it. If these numbers are true, and that is highly dubious, that means that the U.S. government spent $230,769.23 for every job created/retained. That is supposed to be good news. Ultimately the economic wizards in the Obama administration expect to create or save one million jobs from the "stimulus package". If that happens, that will equate to one million jobs at a cost of $700 billion, or approximately $700,000 for every job created with artificial spending. The problem is two-fold. First, that is awfully expensive per job and second it seems likely that many of these jobs are entirely artificial and dependent on government deficit spending and at that price tag these jobs are unsustainable. These is Obamanomics and it will bankrupt this country left unchecked. Thankfully it seems that in spite of the cover given the administration from most of the media, the American people are catching on. Let us just hope it is not too late.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Style over substance

That pretty much typifies the Obama administration. Style over substance. All hat and no cattle. All sizzle and no steak. Nothing demonstrates that more than today's "momentous" bill signing:

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, a milestone that activists compared to the passage of 1960s civil-rights legislation empowering blacks.

The new law adds acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the list of federal hate crimes. Gay-rights activists voiced hope that the Obama administration would advance more issues, including legislation to bar workplace discrimination, allow military service and recognize same-sex marriages.

Congress passed the hate crimes protections as an unlikely amendment to this year's Defense Authorization Act. Obama, speaking at an emotional evening reception with supporters of the legislation, said that more than 12,000 hate crimes had been reported the past decade based on sexual orientation.

Ironic that the man who can't make a decision on Afghanistan finds it appropriate to add a pandering, completely unrelated piece of political payback in a Defense Authorization Act. It certainly helps our troops in Afghanistan to add a "hate crimes" amendment to the Defense bill. Maybe they can hold up a rainbow flag to turn back the Taliban.

The amendment signed into law Wednesday was named partly for Matthew Shepard , a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who died after a 1998 beating targeting him because he was gay, and whose parents were instrumental in leading the fight for such legislation. The law also was named for James Byrd Jr. , a black Texas man dragged to his death in a racially motivated killing the same year.

In one fell swoop, President Obama has by the stroke of his pen made committing a crime a criminal offense! See last time I checked it was against the law to beat someone to death or drag them to death behind a pick-up truck. So today it is against the law to kill a gay person out of hatred. Yesterday if you killed a gay person it was....well, it was against the law. So good to know that basically nothing has changed but Obama gets to grandstand, "gay rights" activist get some political payback and liberals everywhere get to ooh and aah over what a swell, progressive guy our President is.

This has nothing to do with hate crimes. It has a lot to do with mainstreaming homosexual behavior and causing a chilling effect on those who speak out against this behavior or oppose homosexual marriage.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan...

Monday, October 26, 2009

What exactly is the priority?

I am not sure what the Obama administration has for its priorities. They certainly are not the priorities of sane Americans across this country. What the administration seems mostly interested in is finding new ways to expand the size and scope of the government, exhibitions of false humility over winning the Nobel Peace Prize and demonizing Fox News for daring to have the temerity to report the news without getting it scrubbed by the Maoist White House Communications Director.

Meanwhile, we have had one of the worst months ever in Afghanistan for troop casualties. It must be comforting to be in harm’s way in Afghanistan with constant news reports of how little attention the war effort garners from Obama. Things are definitely getting more unstable and we are months away from getting a decision to make a decision about what to consider doing. The economy is in the toilet, unemployment is going to hit double digits any day now and the real unemployment number is certainly far higher than 10%. Terrorist nations are making fun of America, toying with us like a fat old man too obese to get off the couch. The world's second tier powers like China and Russia are eyeballing America and trying to decide who is going to replace the former sole superpower. The value of the dollar is plummeting, oil prices are rising, housing is still a mess. We are perhaps days away from getting a socialized medicine program crammed down our throats to be followed by a job killing bill on “cap and trade” to penalize production and sacrifice American jobs in order to appease enviro-nuts.

Yes, things are bad.

Yes, they are getting worse.

Yes, there is no end in sight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

An open letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

You have spent the last 9 months or so reminding us at every turn that the economy was bad when you took office. Your slogan has changed from “Yes we can” to “Look at the mess we inherited”. You apparently think we don’t know this. Any question of your policies is met with a grouchy reply that you are left to clean up the mess from your predecessor. Let me go on record, on behalf of the American people to say:

WE KNOW!

We know the economy was a mess. We know that banks were failing and auto companies were collapsing. We know that there are two wars in place.

So did you!

You can stop telling us what we already know and what you already knew. If a parent comes home from a weekend away and discovers their teenagers had a party and trashed the house, that is a mess they didn’t expect. When you run as the best person to tackle the mess we already faced, you can’t hide behind that mess as an excuse. Heck, if you are running as President, you are inherently saying that you can handle whatever challenges the job throws at you. This isn’t a conditional offer. You don’t get to be “Good Times Only” President. President Bush didn’t plan on having a terrorist attack bring down the World Trade Center 8 months into his Presidency, but when it happened he took charge. You may disagree with what he did but you have to recognize that as President we expect you to lead us no matter what the challenges might be.

You didn’t discover this in January when you took office, you knew about it and promised “hope” and “change”. The only change we have seen is that things have gotten worse and the only hope we have is that you stop spending money. So here is our request. Quit telling us how bad it was when you took office, the office you spent years trying to attain, and tell us what you plan to do about it and how you plan to “fix” the economy with putting us trillions more into debt. That is all we want to hear.

Thank you for your time,

The American People

Thursday, October 22, 2009

That is an expensive cow!

If there is a sacred cow in politics, it is publically funded education. You can’t hardly go wrong, Democrat or Republican, by promising to work to improve education, make education a priority, put kids first, make American workers competitive, or any of the myriad of slogans used in stump speeches by aspiring politicians of both parties. All of these lofty promises and noble goals boil down to one thing: more Federal spending on education. In general, spending on education is never discussed of whether to increase or decrease the levels. That is true of virtually all government spending but nowhere more than education. “What about the children!” is the wail anytime we fail to increase spending as much as the education establishment demands of us and with its voracious appetite it asks for more money a lot.


Time to let the facts intrude rudely on the political reality: Federal spending appears to have little or no impact on student achievement.


Check out this chart from the CATO Institute. What it demonstrates is that in spite of the enormous increases in Federal spending on “education”, virtually no improvement has been achieved.


To borrow a term from liberal moonbat (and inventor of the internet) Al Gore, this is an inconvenient truth. Federal spending on education has essentially no impact on student achievement. So what exactly are we getting for our spending at the Department of Education? Well, in return for a measly budget of $68,000,000,000 we get about 4,200 employees of the Federal government that…well, I am not sure what they do. I know they aren’t teaching kids. The DoE is the perfect government agency. It doesn’t do anything, has a vague mission statement and is absolutely immune from being cut. Let’s look at the big picture of Federal education spending, also courtesy of the fine folks at CATO:


We’ve spent $1.8 trillion on hundreds of different federal education programs since 1965, and guess what: at the end of high school, test scores are flat in both reading and math since 1970, and have actually declined slightly in science. (Charted for your viewing pleasure here).


That is pretty awesome. $1.8 trillion for have basically no impact or perhaps even a negative impact. That is impressive. Just think what these folks could do with the health care system and 1/6 of the U.S. economy!


If President Obama is looking for places to fund his socialized medicine, er, health care reform scheme, he could dismantle the Department of Education and save almost $70 billion right out of the gate. The new socialized medicine bureaucracy could move into the building. Better yet, they could just change the name on the building and leave the staff there.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Waking up European

If you think we aren't heading toward a European model of life, you are simply wrong. If you think that might not be a bad thing, you are delusional. Check out this quote from the Journa's Daniel Henninger:

When it was a vibrant garden of ideas, Europe gave the world more good things than one can count. Then it discovered the pleasures of the welfare state.

Old Europe now lives in a world of unpayable public pension obligations, weak job creation for its youngest workers, below-replacement birth rates, fat agricultural subsidies for farms dating to the Middle Ages, high taxes to pay for the public high-life, and history's most crucial proof of decay—the inability to finance one's armies. Only five of the 28 nations in NATO (the U.K., France, Turkey, Greece and Spain) achieve the minimum defense-spending benchmark of 2% of GDP.

Maybe the best two paragraph description of the woes of Europe I have ever read. Europe used to be the pinnacle of civilization. Now it is barely relevant.

Is this our future? That is the way we are headed. The Nobel Prize being awarded to Obama has really been a positive in that it exposes the European mindset and given us pause for thought about Europe’s softness, their attitude of stability and security over excellence and innovation. We are arriving at that point, where the masses have discovered that they can elect legislators who will, without hesitation, vote to transfer money from other people. The danger of democracy is that the masses will realize that it is far easier to elect someone to seize wealth from someone who is willing to work hard than it is to work hard yourself. American's who still believe in America are asleep. They may have fallen asleep Americans but they are going to wake up as Europeans.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

President Michael Scott


Last night President Obama was out mending fences with homosexual activists by promising to, at some point in the future, undo the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military. Of course like everything else, he offers no specifics and no time-line, just a vague promise to "do something". So I guess they can give him some award for gay rights or something for promising to do something in the future. He can put it next to his Nobel Peace Prize.

You can feel the fear emanating from Iran and the Taliban at the thought of openly gay American soldiers coming at them. Marines don't scare us, Green Berets are nothing, pshaw on your Navy SEALS. But a bunch of openly gay soldiers swishing at us with rainbow pride bandannas tied jauntily to their M-16s? Now that terrifies us! Now I thought that the U.S. military was designed to protect America and her interests against the bad guys. Clearly the point of the U.S. military is to give political paybacks and be a social experiment.

Meanwhile the war in Afghanistan continues to founder without a lick of leadership. Everyone with half a brain knows that we either cut and run ("The official foreign policy slogan of the Democrat Party") or we need a "surge" to bring decisive force against the Taliban before they completely destabilize the country and eventually neighboring nuclear armed Pakistan. Obama is still considering his options, nine months into his administration. A decision is still weeks or months away. Iran is brazenly continuing to build its nuke program and we are rapidly approaching a date when Israel will do what we are too cowardly to do and knock out the Iranian facilities. I shudder to think of Obama and his cronies at the helm when that happens. As he has proven with Honduras where the U.S. is on the side of dictators and thugs against the Honduran people, Obama's foreign policy instincts are dangerously off target.

Let's see. Lots of empty talk. Indecisive. Completely off base instincts. Procrastination. Ridiculous apologies. Cherishing fake awards. I officially have decided that President Obama is the real life political equivalent of Michael Scott.

Is it 2012 yet?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

An outcome based economy

The world is passing us by.

I was reading a review of Michael Moore’s new “documentary” that attacks capitalism (although I am quite sure that Mr. Moore will happily take the money he makes from this film) by Daniel Henninger this morning. It was an interesting send up of a man who makes a fortune by excoriating those who make a fortune. Not much new from Mr. Moore but the leftist sheep in America will no doubt flock to his latest “documentary”. The more salient point was made by Mr. Henninger at the end of his article where he points out that the world is hardly sitting still while the American economy flops around like a fish out of water.

In a recent visit to the Journal's offices, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key suggested Americans and Europeans don't quite comprehend the enormous "wealth" rising in Asia. Add to that Brazil. This isn't just fat cats but the wealth of billions rising on commerce—on crude, potent capitalism.

The Olympic Committee's rejection of Chicago played here as yet another Obama story. The real, less entertaining message is that from where the well-traveled committee members sit, Chicago is a has-been. Rio is the future.

The important difference between the "socialist" Barack Obama and the Republicans is he'd settle for 2% annual growth (gotta pay for the green dreams) and they might get 3%. In a world of China, India and Brazil, growing at rates between 5% and 9%, we need more. A future president who puts the U.S. back in the race with these fast runners could call himself a communist for all I care.


This is where we are headed. The economic policies being touted by this administration and in fairness in large part the Bush administration, are creating an outcome based economy instead of an opportunity based economy. In other words, the goal is not economic growth so much as it is particular outcomes. The end result is predetermined (i.e. “green” cars) so the goal in innovation is to find out what the minimum you have to do to reach your goal is instead being given opportunity and making of that the most that you can. The economy we are heading towards has a number of fixed targets and that will stifle innovation. Mandating health insurance, “cap and trade”, capping executive pay all have as their goal achieving some sort of perceived social equity. Instead of encouraging economic growth constrained by reasonable protections, the administration is putting its boot on the neck of the economy.

This has already happened in Europe where heavy government involvement has led to a neo-socialist state. Tales of Europe’s workers are almost incomprehensible in America. The enormous amounts of paid vacation and leave time, the huge number of workers who are “disabled” and on the government take, the minimal birth rate leading to a huge influx of foreign workers to support the welfare state that is rapidly changing the culture of Europe. In Europe there seems to be little incentive to work hard or innovate. Why work any harder than you have to if the outcome is already predetermined? Certainly there are people who are workaholics who will continue to work harder than others for a while, but eventually inertia will catch up and America will end up like Europe with a “do just enough” economy.

Meanwhile the developing world is rapidly catching up thanks to the global stability provided by the U.S. military (how many world wars have we had since the U.S. took preeminence in the Western world?) and the technological advancements we have innovated. By making the world more interconnected, we have innovated ourselves into being uncompetitive. Why pay someone to do something in America for ten times the cost of someone in India or China? People crab about call centers in India, but those same people would have a fit if their cable bill went up 20%. The solution is not to cut executive pay because the executives at these companies are by and large doing what the shareholder pay them to do: give a solid return on their investment.

We are on a path to economic suicide and world instability. We are deep into a “service” economy and we already have an enormous percentage of our economy based on consumer consumption. In other words, we have an economy based on nothing tangible, one that consists of people paying for services from one another and buying stuff in stores. That stuff is made somewhere else thanks to the outrageously uncompetitive benefits and wages demanded by unskilled American workers. The response from the Obama administration? Push through legislation making it easier for unions to bully people into joining unions and thus making American workers even less competitive. Having a union card doesn’t help you much when your job is outsourced to Mexico.

The end of this road is an America that is an economic dinosaur with an enormous military. That is a recipe for disaster. Can you picture a future America where unemployment is 20%, our Federal government is bankrupt and scared people are electing someone to “make things right”? Think back to the end of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Adolf Hitler. A once mighty nation in collapse electing someone who was willing to do whatever it took to regain prominence. I shudder to think of the military might of America in the hands of someone who is willing to use it to seize power. The partisan morons who painted the liberation of Iraq as “imperialism” have no idea what real imperialism looks like. If we were truly an imperialist nation that was after the Iraqi oil fields, there wouldn’t be roadside bombings in Baghdad because there wouldn’t be a Baghdad. We would have leveled it years ago and focused our attention on the oil fields in the south. The American Left hasn’t had anything substantive to say for years, so they are reduced to name calling and caricatures.

The solution, as Daniel Henninger succinctly points out, is not less capitalism, it is more. For every AIG and Countrywide, there are thousands of companies who do business the right way. Capitalism is not the big threat to freedom, totalitarianism is and the best way to get there is through an economic collapse. That is where we are headed and even though all logic and reason screams “Stop!”, this administration is bent on turning the economy of the world’s sole remaining military superpower into a crippled, socialist shell of itself.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Roman Polanski’s arrest is an affront to Hollywood

The reaction to the Polanski arrest by most average Americans is pretty much the same: what he did was disgusting and illegal, he has been on the run living in luxury for 30 years and it is about time that he face some actual punishment for it (living in multiple mansions across Europe and paying a small settlement is not a fitting punishment for drugging and raping a 13 year old girl). Ask Hollywood and you get a response that is so diametrically different that you would think we were talking about two separate incidents.

What it ultimately comes down to is this reality: the Hollywood Left thinks it is the moral and intellectual epicenter of America and we should defer to it on all matters. If Roman Polanski is a famous guy and an accomplished director, we should let it go. If the same thing happened to a pig farmer in Iowa, feel free to lock him up forever. After all, who will miss him? But to arrest Roman Polanski? IN EUROPE! Outrageous! What will the Europeans, who are so much more sophisticated than us, think now? The apologists for Polanski are sending the clearest possible message that the rest of America is filled with idiots and that people living between California and New York should shut up and keep paying for tickets to the movies Hollywood pumps out. Check out this paragraph from a Wall Street Journal piece Roman Polanski, Hollywood and Justice.

Not, however, Harvey Weinstein. On Thursday he gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times that will live long in the annals of arrogance. Not only does Mr. Weinstein believe that Mr. Polanski should be set free at once, but he claims that "Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion. We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe." That's the voice of a man who spends his days listening to toadies—and who knows nothing of the deeply felt beliefs of the ordinary people who pay their hard-earned money to see his pictures. I wonder how many of them will henceforth be inclined to steer by the compass of anyone who thinks that rape is a "so-called crime."

How about them apples? Hollywood has compassion because occasionally they will lend their fame to a cause that they find mildly interesting. They care about the poor while living in unbelievable luxury. They understand the moral compass of America while promoting immorality. They understand America better than Americans because they make films about their twisted vision of America. How much does a Hollywood producer, director or actor know about America when they are surrounded by sycophants and luxury 24-7?

Just keep this in mind when you are going to the movies or watching some celebrity pontificating on TV: they think you are an idiot.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New heights of delusion on the Left

I seriously think that most of the American Left, never a bastion of sanity and reason to begin with, has completely gone off their rockers. Exhibit A: The Ed Show on MSNBC (Why is it that when MSNMC rolls out leftist partisan after leftist partisan, that is "journalism" but when Fox News has conservative commentators it is the worst thing that has ever happened to America?) Watch this clip where the failed bid to land the Olympics is all the fault of Republicans and cost America untold millions of jobs, union jobs no less (we apparently need jobs, but we really need union jobs)



This knucklehead seems to think that a) Not supporting Obama=lack of patriotism and b) Getting or not getting the Olympics is an important issue. Remember when conservatives were excoriated for suggestions that not backing the war on terror was unpatriotic? Now we see that allegedly not supporting the Olympics effort where we came in dead last is borderline treason.

This guy may be one of the most delusional people I have seen on the Left and that is saying something. I have no idea who he is but clearly any nutjob with a loud voice can get his own show on MSNBC. Apparently not throwing all of our warm and fuzzy thoughts behind Obama’s failed pitch for Chicago to host the Olympics is the same thing as Hanoi Jane Fonda sitting on the same gun that North Vietnamese communists used to shoot down American pilots.

I especially loved this line:

“When Obama fails, America fails”

Seriously. When George H.W. Bush lost his reelection bid, America did not fail. When a political leader fails, it is not the end of America. The Obama agenda is not the defining standard of failure or success for America. The messianic complex held by the Left would be funny if they weren’t poised to do so much damage to America. Barack Obama is just a guy. Granted he is President like forty some odd men before him and thus far he has been a pretty mediocre and inefficient one, but America will survive and perhaps even thrive if Obama fails to seize the means of production in America and America will survive long after Obama leaves office. Quit kissing his ring and use your minds for a change.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When all else fails, whip out the race card

I suppose it was only a matter of time before we started seeing the "opposing Obama's socialist agenda=racism" tactic. Today it is the voice of the worst President in modern history telling us that any opposition to Obama is inherently racist.

Carter, though, said in an interview with NBC that race is the driving factor.

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American," Carter said. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time ... and I think it's bubbled up to the surface, because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."

At a town hall at his presidential center in Atlanta Tuesday, Carter also said Wilson's outburst -- the South Carolina Republican shouted "You lie!" at Obama during his health care address to Congress -- was racially motivated.

"I think it's based on racism," Carter said in response to an audience question. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."

We didn't listen to Jimmy when he was the worst President in modern history, so why does anyone listen to the worst ex-President in modern history? I am sure that even Jimmy Carter is not so ignorant as to think that the "overwhelming portion" of the opposition to Obama is race based. It is just a political ploy and one that too many people fall for again and again. I would vote for a conservative black in a second and vote against a liberal white just as fast. This sort of race baiting politics and implied slander of millions of tax paying citizens who oppose socialism is far more damaging to the political process than Joe Wilson's outburst. That was in poor taste, what Carter has done is outright lying.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Have we got a deal for you!

Each day it seems that we get more bad news, more ominous rumblings from Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is clearly alive and well, and would like nothing more than for the U.S. and NATO to move out of Afghanistan so he and his terrorist organization could move back in. While Osama is alive, he must be pretty hampered operationally by hiding in the mountains. Exhibit A for that is that we have not been attacked on American soil since 9/11. That stability and safety is in danger now. Liberals love to say that we are less safe after 8 years of Bush but the truth is that the American people have been spared a terror attacks for eight years now, and keeping Americans safe is one of the primary responsibilities of the President of the United States. That security is under assault now because of one war where the will of the American people is wavering: Afghanistan.

Remember when Democrats complained that because of the Iraq War, Bush had “taken his eye off the ball” in Afghanistan?

Who has their eye on the ball in Afghanistan today?

Where are those Democrats now? Oh that’s right, now they are not worried about taking our eyes off the ball, now they want to take our ball and go home. Having failed in Iraq to revisit the policy of cut and run that led to our retreat from Vietnam, they now seek to assuage their taste for nostalgia in Afghanistan. There is nothing so satisfying, nothing so sweet to the Western Left as a perceived humiliation for America. This is especially true in America itself where liberal self-loathing finds a wide audience in the very country that makes it easy for them to espouse their suicidal geopolitical worldview.

Abandoning Afghanistan is not as easy or without cost as many talking heads would have us believe. The resulting instability in that region cannot do anything but cause harm to us and to our allies. I would rather see a constant state of unrest in Afghanistan than see an abandoned struggle lead to a victorious Osama bin Laden triumphantly returning to Kabul and setting up an invigorated terror base. Can you imagine him crowing about having driven the American infidel invaders from Afghanistan? How much would that increase their recruiting? A man on the run in the mountains of Afghanistan/Pakistan is an impotent symbol. A man who can rightly claim to have driven the sole remaining superpower from Afghanistan, a man who can claim to have defeated not one but two of the mightiest militaries in the modern world becomes a leader in fact, not just in theory. With a permanent base of operations and an emboldened Al-Qaeda, how long would it be before Pakistan and her arsenal of nuclear weapons fell to radical Islam? You think Islamic terrorism is scary now, imagine what it would be like with the Pakistani economy and armed forces behind it. You think terror is bad now, imagine a war between India and Pakistan that goes nuclear or the Pakistan puppet government run by Al-Qaeda providing nuclear weapons to jihadists around the world.

Meanwhile, President Obama is…selling insurance. I love the image of President Obama with a cheap suit going door to door trying to sell insurance to skeptical housewives. I don’t love the idea of the war in Afghanistan going by the wayside as he tilts the socialized medicine windmill in a Quixotic struggle to force a plan on Americans that they don’t want.

All joking aside, this preoccupation with a failed and unwanted policy is dangerous for America and the world. We are long overdue a surge in Afghanistan. It worked in Iraq and it can work in Afghanistan. In a great editorial today, Senators McCain, Lieberman and Graham make this statement:

More troops will not guarantee success in Afghanistan, but a failure to send them is a guarantee of failure.

That is about the truest thing you will ever hear out of the mouths of politicians. If President Obama gives in to the Woodstock nostalgia crowd in Washington and pulls out of Afghanistan now, the results will be far worse than our retreat from Vietnam. In Vietnam we saw one country fall into communism and the people of that nation have suffered since. The results of a retreat in Afghanistan very possible will result in smoldering American cities. This is one of those times that the President needs to be a leader, to abandon his ill-fated attempt to seize the health care system and grab hold of Afghanistan with both hands before it slips through our fingers and into the waiting arms of Osama bin laden.

Afghanistan and socialized medicine are the two pivot points of the Obama presidency. If he mishandles them, he will be a one term President and little more than a historical curiosity as the first black President. If he does the right thing, i.e. abandoning the unpopular socialized medicine plan and focusing on winning in Afghanistan, he can be more than just a historical footnote and be a leader in every sense of the word.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Joe Wilson, Robert Bork and political discourse

So NOW political discourse has become crass. The outrage on the left over the “you lie” comment is so over the top that is has become a caricature. I have expect to see journalists fanning their peers who have fainted from shock. Oh, oh the horror of it all! Politics has always been so polite and genteel until Joe Wilson and those un-American fascists mobs who expressed their opinions to their elected public servants!

Guess what, political discourse has always been crass. Read old political speeches and cartoons and see how courteous they are. Congressman have attacked one another verbally, with canes and in one famous (at least outside of public schools where it probably isn’t even mentioned) incident where a former Vice-President of the United States killed the 1st Treasury Secretary in a duel. So please, save the phony outrage. I found Representative Wilson’s outburst unseemly. On the other hand, a two second outburst during a political stump speech to push socialized medicine pales in comparison to some of the other events that have taken place in the Capitol Building.

Let us take a trip down memory lane to one of the darkest moments in American political history.

Less than an hour after President Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, an indisputably qualified man and under the exercise of the right and duty of the President to nominate Court justices, Senator Edward Kennedy rushed to the Senate floor to deliver these now famous remarks:

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is -- and is often the only -- protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy... President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice."

The language Senator Kennedy used was coarse and the opinions he presented as fact as demonstrably false. There was not a lick of truth in anything he said. In other words, he lied on the floor of the Senate. That speech galvanized the left and their media cronies and in short order Robert Bork was denied a seat on the highest court in the land. A man who is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant legal minds of our times was destroyed by a crass and illegitimate attack by a man who has no business casting aspersions at anyone else. The results of that speech go far beyond Robert Bork and have led to a dumbing down of political discourse to the point that no one is permitted to have and express a position for fear of being “Borked”.

Representative Wilson was probably right that President Obama was lying, but he was wrong to shout out during the address. In a wired world, there are plenty of ways to spread the truth about what President Obama was trying to sell. Having said that, it is a far more egregious show of poor taste and far more damaging to the governing process for liberals to get outraged over a two second outburst just weeks after canonizing Ted Kennedy as a master statesman.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obama's last stand?

President Obama is going to try to appeal to the public one more time next Wednesday in a prime time speech to a joint session of Congress. The tone surrounding this smacks of desperation. By going on live TV in front of Congress, Obama is invoking the biggest stick in a President's arsenal. Preempting prime time TV (including Wipeout, which may be ironic given what I expect to happen). I expect lots of empty rhetoric, a little demagoguery and character assassination and empty promises to save money by spending money.

It is looking likely that next Wednesday will be the battle of the Little Bighorn for Obamacare. Surrounded and outnumbered, I expect to see the same results. Should the President fail to convince Americans, as I expect he will, it could mark the end of the health reform debate for some time to come. We can only hope that this latest attempt to socialize our medical care will fail and that like the last time it was tried will lead to a change in Congressional control.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then

Thomas Frank, token liberal for the Wall Street Journal writing about why Democrats are losing the “health care” debate….

What's dragging the Democrats down in the health-care debate isn't confusion about details. On this the president and his supporters have proven themselves the ablest of technocrats, easily identifying each plan's particulars and its shortcomings, laying everything out on nice flow charts.

It is the big questions that are tripping them up. Concerns about the size and role of government are what seem to leave reformers stammering and speechless in town-hall meetings. The right wants to have a debate over fundamental principles; elected Democrats seem incapable of giving it to them.

Mr. Frank is rarely right about anything and even when he is right, it is usually by accident. The truth of the matter is that the Left does not want to have a conversation about the proper size and role of government. It ducks that debate for a very important reason: it loses every time. Leftists programs are always spun to us on the basis of marketing, on emotional appeals that put Hallmark ads to shame. I contend, and will to my dying breath, that liberalism is indefensible on its merits and is only appealing when you skip facts and logic and try to tug the heartstrings.

Many liberals cry hypocrisy over the opposition to health care “reform” because the same people who protest will someday be eligible for government run plans like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Those plans are indeed government run. Congrats to Mr. Frank and other liberals for figuring this out! They are also inefficient, hugely expensive and charging headlong into bankruptcy as the population ages, lives longer and the supply of workers paying into the system shrinks. I am required by law to contribute to Social Security, but if I was given the option of getting back what I have paid in so far and then not paying more in return for not getting Social Security in the future, sign me up! I would much rather control and invest that money myself than let some knucklehead bureaucrat in D.C. control my retirement savings.

The health care “reform” debate is not about health care at all. It is about the role and size of the government. The town hall protestors (i.e. tax paying American citizens to conservatives or "fascist mobs" to liberals) are not protesting improved health care, they are protesting an enormous expansion of the government into yet another place that it has no Constitutional business being and thereby avoiding another huge, inefficient but impossible to reform or eliminate drag on our economy. Many Americans and more every day recognize that if Obamacare is passed, death panels and other rhetoric aside, it will in short order replace private insurance and we will never, ever be able to get out from underneath it. There is no going back and if history has been any sort of guide, there is nowhere to go but down when the government takes over a function of the private sector.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Build a statue

Senator Kennedy has only been gone a few hours and political opportunists on the left are lining up to push "health care reform", a.k.a. socialized medicine under the banner of "Do it for Ted!". I didn't like Senator Kennedy much as a person and perhaps even less as a Senator, but if you insist on honoring the man, lets declare a day of mourning, or build a monument on Cape Cod or something. But to pass a horrific health care bill that is losing support every day under the guise of finishing Ted Kennedy's legacy would be to build a trillion dollar monument, and that is something no politician deserves. I guess it is to be expected since emotional appeals are all the Left has at this stage of the socialized medicine ship sinking but they might just find that Ted Kennedy doesn't evoke warm, fuzzy feelings outside of Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Support democracy, end payroll tax withholding

This is one of the clearest, non baloney editorials I have read in a long time: Tax Withholding Is Bad for Democracy. Charles Murray writes in the Wall Street Journal with such a wonderful clarity and with such common sense, you have to wonder why more people don’t get this. From the editorial (emphasis added):

Yes, you read it right: 1% of American families paid 40% of America's personal taxes.

The families in the rest of the top 5% had family incomes of $160,000 to $410,000. They paid another 20% of total personal income taxes. Now we're up to three out of every five dollars in personal taxes paid by just five out of every 100 American families.

Turn to the bottom three-quarters of the families who filed income tax returns in 2007—not just low-income families, but everybody with family incomes below $66,500. That 75% of families paid just 13% of all personal income taxes. Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation has recast these numbers in terms of a single, stunning statistic: The top 1% of American households pay more in federal taxes than the bottom 95% combined.

That kind of flies in the face of the “let the rich pay their fair share” rhetoric we get from the Left in general and from the White House in particular. Everyone knows these numbers. Everyone. Still we hear calls for the rich to “pay their fair share”. These stats are not new and they are not skewed. This is the truth of it. When the Obama administration suggests that tax increases are OK because the rich don’t pay their fair share, they are flat out lying. The top 1% of Americans get 1% of the vote but they pay more in taxes than the lower 95% combined. The result of this disparity?

This deforms the behavior of everyone—the voters who think they aren't paying for Congress's latest bright idea, the politicians who know that promising new programs will always be a winning political strategy with the majority of taxpayers who don't think they have to pay for them, and the wealthy who know that the only way to get politicians to refrain from that strategy is to buy them off.

People are always whining about the influence of money in politics. Well, duh what do you expect? The people who pay all of the money into the system are the same people who buy off politicians. Little wonder when they see the rest of their fellow Americans greedily eyeing their wallets. It is apparent that there is a school of thought that assumes that the top 5% of wage earners should pay all of the taxes in this country and the rest of us should reap the benefits. That is a democracy? We all get a vote but only a tiny fraction of us have to pay for the results of that vote?

The big problem in our democracy is that we all get an equal vote (which is good) but we don’t all have an equal stake in the game (which is bad). If you are like me and are part of the one third of Americans who pay no income tax, why do you care about what the government spends? It is not my money that they are spending. That simply is not a healthy way for democracy to function. One third of Americans get to vote themselves a share of the pockets books of the other two thirds of Americans with no corresponding monetary sacrifice.

Mr. Murray’s solution is two-fold. First, make sure that even if people pay no income tax they still see the dollar figure for Social Security and Medicare on their 1040. The second is to make everyone, everyone, pay the taxes by check. It is not a big deal to have a couple hundred bucks taken out of your check each payroll because you pay it every week and never miss it. Write a check in March for $5000 for Social Security and Medicare? That might give you pause. Imagine instead of payroll deduction that you open a savings account and from one year to the next you have to set aside money each paycheck toward your taxes and you see that balance grow and then in one fell swoop you write a check and it is gone. You wouldn’t pay one nickel more than you pay now but you would have to pay it yourself. The payroll tax is one of the most ingenious inventions of the government because it allows them to suck taxes out of you every week (and at great expense in the form of complex payroll systems) that you barely feel. It is the death of a thousand little cuts.

Mr. Murray ends his editorial with a call to return our democracy to one where we are all in this together instead of one where we are pitted against one another by our rulers to deflect attention from their malfeasance:

End the payroll tax, end withholding, and these corrosive misapprehensions go way. We will once again be a democracy in which we're all in it together, we all know that we're all paying a share, and we are all aware how much that share is.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I still can’t get over this…

…that President Obama would invoke the inefficiency and enormous deficit of the postal service to defend socialized medicine…

"UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right?" the president said. "It's the post office that's always having problems."

So we are supposed to be heartened by the failure and inefficiency one government agency and decide to entrust yet another industry into the hands of the government?

Of course there is also this issue. As I mentioned before, no one really thinks we should privatize the mail service. It is what it is, and no private company will do what the postal service can do. Along with defending our border, delivering the mail is one of the two main domestic functions of the Federal government. There is not a private sector alternative. Conversely, there already is in place a private sector delivery system for health care that provides high quality service already.

Socialized medicine is DOA. It is time for the President to check the clock and call the time of death. If he manages to cram this through with virtually no republican support, he is looking at a massive defeat in the 2010 elections. If he lets this fight drag on, he progressively looks more and more inefficient and borderline petulant. It didn’t happen and it is time to drop it and move on.

Doing for health care what the public schools have done for education

This is a great analogy from an editorial by William McGurn at Opinion Journal:

“Think of public education,” says James Capretta, a health-care expert at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center. “They want to do for health care what they’ve done for education—establish a government-run, universal system. Once in place, they will defend such a system whether or not it delivers the results it promised.”

Everyone who is honest admits that the public school system is broken. It doesn’t do what it is advertised to do, it is incredibly expensive and wasteful, it is above reproach and because of entrenched interests it is virtually un-reformable. Health care will be the same way. With what is essentially a blank check, special interests will be tripping over themselves grabbing a piece of the pie and once they get some, they will fight like the dickens to keep it from being taken away. Like public education, we are going to end up with a completely unaccountable system that is immune to reform or change, and the sinkhole for public funds that the schools have become will be nothing compared to the drain on resources government funded health care will turn into.

What sort of insanity assumes that an inherently inefficient entity can give us a more efficient delivery of health care?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Representation without Taxation

This is lovely. As it stands, in 2010 the Census will count every person in the United States and those numbers will be used to reapportion congressional seats. Included in that number, according to John Baker and Elliot Stonecipher, will be illegal immigrants. Not all of them are illegal, but a whole bunch of them are.

According to the latest American Community Survey, California has 5,622,422 noncitizens in its population of 36,264,467. Based on our round-number projection of a decade-end population in that state of 37,000,000 (including 5,750,000 noncitizens), California would have 57 members in the newly reapportioned U.S. House of Representatives.

However, with noncitizens not included for purposes of reapportionment, California would have 48 House seats (based on an estimated 308 million total population in 2010 with 283 million citizens, or 650,000 citizens per House seat). Using a similar projection, Texas would have 38 House members with noncitizens included. With only citizens counted, it would be entitled to 34 members.

Of course, other states lose out when noncitizens are counted for reapportionment. According to projections of the 2010 Census by Election Data Services, states certain to lose one seat in the 2010 reapportionment are Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania; states likely (though not certain) to lose a seat are Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio could lose a second seat. But under a proper census enumeration that excluded illegal residents, some of the states projected to lose a representative—including our own state of Louisiana—would not do so.

In other words, at least eight and as many as twelve states are going to lose a seat in Congress to California and Texas based on counting people who are breaking our laws to be here. Because of that, each voter in states losing representatives will be partially disenfranchised and people in California and Texas will be overly represented because of the millions of criminals being counted in their states. My home state of Michigan will have one fewer representative to represent us. How in the world did we come to the place where the balance of power in Congress is going to be shaped by millions of people living in this country illegally?

Where is the outrage over this?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Great editorial by Peggy Noonan

Very perceptive editorial from Peggy Noonan in the Journal today on Obama and the misreading of the American mood for socialized medicine.I loved this line:

And so the shock on the faces of Congressmen who’ve faced the grillings back home. And really, their shock is the first thing you see in the videos. They had no idea how people were feeling. Their 2008 win left them thinking an election that had been shaped by anti-Bush, anti-Republican, and pro-change feeling was really a mandate without context; they thought that in the middle of a historic recession featuring horrific deficits, they could assume support for the invention of a huge new entitlement carrying huge new costs.

A mandate without context. Marvelous line. We won, so the people will just go along with everything we say. Guess what, America didn’t sign on for a massive expansion of government. Look at the size of the margin in the House. It is made up of largely moderate Democrats who won in traditionally conservative districts. People were looking for leadership and hope, what they are getting served up is thinly veiled socialism and liberal politics as usual.

If there was a lesson from 2008, it was that people were fed up with what they perceived to be ineffective, unresponsive, reckless government. So imagine the shock and anger of many voters who found that instead of a new, better government what they got was merely the same sort of government they have been seeing for decades writ large. They wanted “hope” and “change”, what they got was Jimmy Carter’s second term 28 years late. Little wonder the “mobs” are showing up at these townhalls and are angry. The left is spinning this as GOP operatives because they are dressed better than liberal rabble-rousers, but no one is buying their spin and it is making them look bad. People understand the hypocrisy of touting Obama’s experience as a “community organizer” last fall but then referring to communities being organized as mobs one step removed from Nazis.

President Obama used all of his trust, goodwill and political capital on the stimulus package. As the bill for that became more apparent, people are rebelling against even more deficit spending and an even bigger government. Every day that goes by sees support for this effort slipping. The Democrats have overreached and misread the electorate. The real question now is: do they still cram through socialized medicine and how badly does all of this hurt them in a year when the elections roll around?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It is only a mob if they are conservatives

Normally, the Congressional recesses are times for the members Congress to go back to their district, do a couple of town hall meetings for show and relax a bit. Not this year, because as news outlets all over the place are reporting, their constituents are waiting for them and they are not happy. Of course, we get the normal even keeled response from the Democrat leadership….

"This mob activity is straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives," the Democratic National Committee says in a new Web video. "They have no plan for moving our country forward, so they've called out the mob."

Hmmm. When conservatives speak out, it is a “mob”. When liberals speak out, they are exercising their right to free speech. So much for a new style of politics. Obama was full of Rodney King rhetoric in the campaign, but now that he has the power he is back to the old skool Chicago politics of personal attacks and character assassinations.

I have to say that I agree with the Dems, I mean who do these taxpayers think they are? How dare the tax payers have the temerity to come to these townhalls and demand to be heard by their well-paid, elected public servants? Don’t they know these dog and pony shows are just that, for show? If the members of Congress wanted to hear actual opinions, they would stay in Washington D.C. and talk to the people who matter like lobbyists and party leaders, not the people they were elected to represent. Just shut up, sit down and close your eyes. They know what is best for us and we should just sit back and relax. This will only hurt a little.

No worries though about Nancy Pelosi getting ambushed, she is going to be spending her weekend sucking up to her big donors in opulence undreamed of by the little people. After all, she is such as stalwart advocate for the poor that she deserves to live in luxury. Hey, it worked for the Party bigwigs in the Soviet Union, why not here? Of course, to maintain control over discourse the Soviets also encouraged people to rat out their neighbors for counter-revolutionary speech. I guess the Democrats have taken that page from the Politburo handbook as well…

Monday, August 3, 2009

The new world financial capital

I only heard a snippet of the piece, but a couple of people were talking on NPR about whether the financial capital of the world was moving. It has been New York City for a long time, but that may be changing.

It seems not only possible but quite likely that we will see, if we have not seen already, a shift whereby the financial capital of the world moves south from New York to Washington, D.C. I think we are already seeing that taking place and we should expect that trend to accelerate.

Future success in business will not be driven by which company is most innovative, most daring, much fiscally sound, led by the best management team. It will be driven by who is the most successful at lobbying, who manages to weasel the best competitive advantages out of the Federal government. Winners and losers in business are no longer decided in the marketplace but in the committee chambers where tax laws are written and where some companies get positive treatment and others negative at the hands of Congressman and bureaucrats.

No longer will MBA’s from the best schools be valued, now companies will recruit the best lawyers to be lobbyists. The captains of industry will no longer sit in Manhattan high rises but in lobbyist offices on the alphabet streets of D.C.

Make no mistake, business people are resourceful and adaptive. If you change the rules of business, they will simply change how they do business. Entrepreneurs and business executives will continue to make money. Where we will see the harm done is in the working classes of America as America’s business climate becomes more inhospitable. Do we really want the people who run the DMV in charge of the greatest free market in the world? I think not.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Think of the possibilities!


Today's beer summit was on its face just a ridiculous attempt at pandering and a photo op. I am confident that we have made not even a single step toward race reconciliation and it was one of the most ridiculous examples of political circus I have ever seen.

But then I started thinking....

Maybe we can have the Palestinians and Israeli's in for a brewski at the White House. While the Israeli's are there, we can hook them up with Iranians for a beer. Kim Jong Il can hang out at the WH kegger. We can get the congress of Honduras and ousted President Zelaya to chat over a Corona. The possibilities are endless. Fidel Castro and some of the people tortured over the decades by his regime. The presidents of India and Pakistan. Sunni and Shiites. Protestants and Catholics. The head of the Eastern Orthodox church and the head of the Roman Catholic church. The beer detente knows no bounds!

At least while he is doing foolish photo ops like this, he is not spending more of our money. The amount of mischief he can cause is really limited "hanging out" with the guys. I am opposed to drinking, but in this case I say bottoms up!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

If you can’t deliver the mail, how can you deliver health care?

Before we blithely run off and give the government control of our health care system, keep this in mind…

Post office cited by GAO as a troubled agency

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Government Accountability Office on Tuesday added the Postal Service to its list of high-risk federal agencies in need of change.

The post office has been struggling with a sharp decline in mail volume as people and businesses switch to e-mail both for personal contact and bill paying. The agency is facing a nearly $7 billion potential loss this fiscal year despite a 2-cent increase in the price of stamps in May, and cuts in staff.

"There are serious and significant structural financial challenges currently facing the Postal Service," the GAO said.

When I read that to my wife this morning, she quipped “And they want to give the government control of health care.” The postal service has a virtual monopoly on mail. Bulk mail, letters, etc. all run through the postal service. If you want to send a regular letter or mail back a bill, you pretty much have to use the Postal Service. It seems like a small amount, but think how often the price of first class postage goes up. It seems like it is an annual event and from a percentage standpoint it is a big increase each time. They still can’t get it right!

The post office does what we expect. You put a stamp on a letter and put it in the mail box and it probably arrives on time at its destination. I am not sure if we have numbers on how efficient they are, but the private sector has been replacing the postal service with package delivery through Fed Ex and UPS and technology has been driving nails into the postal service coffin through fax machines, email and online bill payment. I probably haven’t used ten stamps over the course of the last couple years. On the other hand…

We probably don’t want a private company to replace the post office. We know it is flawed and inherently inefficient but it is a cornerstone of America. The postal carrier goes by your house every day even if you don’t get mail for a week. It serves an invaluable and uniquely governmental role and it does so in a typically governmental way. They deliver mail when they want, not when you want. It comes the same time every day, they get a ton of holidays off and are talking about reducing the number of delivery days. Postal workers get paid a ton of money when you think about their skill set and getting a job there is hopelessly convoluted. It is inefficient but it fills an important niche, one that is less important than it was in the 1950’s but important nevertheless.

Is that how we want our health care delivered? Because believe me, if we turn it over to the government that is exactly how it will be delivered. When the government wants, how the government wants. Costs will rise and no one will be able to do a thing about it. Quality will drop because our best and brightest will choose other professions. The system will get sucked dry by hypochondriacs and the more important health issues will be impacted. The deficit will keep on rising and nothing the Obama administration has proposed will even scratch the surface and everyone who is being honest knows it.

The free market and innovation have made many functions of the postal service obsolete and those same forces have given us lifesaving drug after lifesaving drug. Hospitals compete with each other and they offer better care because of it. The market has decided that medical care is a premier service and pays doctors accordingly, which leads to the smartest kids going into medicine. People live a lot longer now not because of government intervention but because of free market competition and *GASP* profit motive.

Let the government stick to the business of delivering the mail inefficiently and try to focus on securing our borders. If they can’t even get those two basic functions right, why would we trust them with our health?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Who cares what happens in Honduras?

I do.

Never been to Honduras. Probably never will go there. Don’t know anyone there. So why should I care? Why should you? Quite frankly, we should all care because these events in this little country can have repercussions that will impact America and the world as a whole. In addition, the way this has been handled by the “mainstream” media is ridiculous. I am surprised that they didn’t label the arrest of the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey last week as a military coup in New Jersey.

The whole Honduras event may seem like small change, I mean who cares about the machinations of Latin American countries where the government seems to change on an annual basis? What is instructive about this is that we have two major factors at work here:

The first is the Obama administration. The reaction to the events in Honduras smacks of being knee-jerk. When segments of the press that probably couldn’t find Honduras on a map with both hands characterized these events as a military coup, the Obama administration responded to the alleged coup as you would expect. The problem of course is that this was not a coup. Virtually the entire legal system and the government are in total agreement that the deposed President had acted illegally and was deposed legally. In an effort to “do something”, the administration did exactly the wrong thing and took the side of the legally deposed former president Manuel Zelaya. In doing so, America found itself opposing the people and the legitimate government of Honduras and standing alongside a litany of thugs in South and Central America.

The other issue is our nemesis in the Southern Hemisphere, Hugo Chavez. Mr. Chavez has been emboldened no doubt by the Obama administration policy of “grip and grin” diplomacy. How much more must he be chuckling at the way he has played the U.S. when it comes to Honduras. Mr. Chavez has been interfering in Honduras for some time apparently and has made thinly veiled threats of military action against the legitimate government of Honduras. Instead of facing American opposition, he has gotten tacit approval of his thuggish tactics by our silence. Mr. Chavez is seeking to dominate the Americas south of the U.S. and thus far is moving that way unopposed by the United States.

The current, legal president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, is from the same political party as Mr. Zelaya. He wrote an excellent editorial for the Wall Street Journal today that everyone should read. The duly elected congress and the legally appointed court system all agree with the legality of what has taken place. Thankfully, the Obama administration seems to be tempering it’s response somewhat and I am confident that everything will be legally settled before these events led to mass bloodshed and instability. However, I am concerned that this event exposes the general lack of depth and maturity in the Obama administration. If faced with a real crisis, I have no confidence that this administration can be trusted to support American interests, to stand up to dictators or to be firmly on the side of liberty. Predators watch prey for signs of weakness. The events in Honduras, coupled with the “American Apology Tour 2009” has exposed the weakness inherent in the Obama administration’s foreign policy. If Israel strikes Iranian nuclear facilities, which is likely, will the administration stand with our democratic ally or will they falter? If China makes aggressive moves toward Taiwan, will we stand with the Taiwanese people and their freedom or will we take the safe and economically beneficial route? Being President of the United States is not a job for playing it safe and timidity is not a virtue of the Presidency.

All of the complaints that liberals made about Sarah Palin during the election regarding her inexperience and naïveté in matters of foreign policy apply equally to President Obama. Unfortunately he is President and his inexperience and naïveté are showing and continuing on this path might someday soon lead to another misstep in a more serious situation. Honduras is pretty small potatoes. A shooting war between Israel and Iran is not. The Presidency, as someone remarked during the election, is not the place for on-the-job training. Let’s hope that President Obama gets up to speed and gets America solidly on the side of liberty and freedom before something really bad happens.