February 28, 2009

More Tea Party snippets - Feb 28, 2009


Portland Tea Party 2009 from Endless Sky Pictures LLC on Vimeo.

Oklahoma City



Obama: What would JFK have said?

President Obama's approach to the current economic woes of the country - Crisis? What crisis? - is in stark comparison to the approach taken by then President Kennedy. Below are excerpts from President John F. Kennedy's address to the Economic Club of New York delivered on December 14th of December, 1962. The speech could have been delivered in large part by President Reagan.

If Kennedy were to see the direction President Obama is taking the country, I'm sure he would not be disappointed - he would be horrified. Pay attention to the principles Kennedy espouses and contrast it with Obama, or Pelosi or Reid. Kennedy himself would be attending a Tea Party if he were alive today.

I feel tonight somewhat like I felt when I addressed in 1960 the Houston Ministers Conference on the separation of church and state. But I am glad to have a chance to talk to you tonight about the advantages of the free enterprise system.

Less than a month ago, this nation reminded the world that it possessed both the will and the weapons to meet any threat to the security of free men. The gains we have made will not be given up and the course that we have pursued will not be abandoned. But in the long run, that security will not be determined by military or diplomatic moves alone. It will be affected by the decisions of finance ministers, as well as by the decisions of Secretaries of State and Secretaries of Defense; by the deployment of fiscal and monetary weapons, as well as by military weapons; and, above all, by the strength of this nation's economy, as well as by the strength of our defenses.

America's rise to world leadership in the century since the Civil War has reflected more than anything else our unprecedented economic growth. Interrupted during the decade of the 30s, the vigorous expansion of our economy was resumed in 1940 and continued for more than 15 years thereafter. It demonstrated for all to see the power of freedom and the efficiency of free institutions. The economic health of this nation has been, and is now, fundamentally sound.

There are a number of ways by which the federal government can meet its responsibilities to aid economic growth. We can and must improve American education and technical training. We can and must expand civilian research and technology. One of the great bottlenecks for this country's economic growth in this decade will be the shortages of doctorates in mathematics, engineering, and physics — a serious shortage with a great demand and an undersupply of highly trained manpower. We can and must step up the development of our natural resources.

But the most direct and significant kind of federal action aiding economic growth is to make possible an increase in private consumption and investment demand — to cut the fetters which hold back private spending. In the past, this could be done in part by the increased use of credit and monetary tools, but our balance of payments situation today places limits on our use of those tools for expansion. It could also be done by increasing federal expenditures more rapidly than necessary, but such a course would soon demoralize both the government and our economy. If government is to retain the confidence of the people, it must not spend more than can be justified on grounds of national need or spent with maximum efficiency. And I shall say more on this in a moment.

The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system — and this administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes to be enacted and become effective in 1963.

I'm not talking about a "quickie" or a temporary tax cut, which would be more appropriate if a recession were imminent. Nor am I talking about giving the economy a mere shot in the arm, to ease some temporary complaint. I am talking about the accumulated evidence of the last five years that our present tax system, developed as it was, in good part, during World War II to restrain growth, exerts too heavy a drag on growth in peace time; that it siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power; that it reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking. In short, to increase demand and lift the economy, the federal government's most useful role is not to rush into a program of excessive increases in public expenditures, but to expand the incentives and opportunities for private expenditures.

Under these circumstances, any new tax legislation — and you can understand that under the comity which exists in the United States Constitution whereby the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives have the responsibility of initiating this legislation, that the details of any proposal should wait on the meeting of the Congress in January. But you can understand that, under these circumstances, in general, that any new tax legislation enacted next year should meet the following three tests:

First, it should reduce the net taxes by a sufficiently early date and a sufficiently large amount to do the job required. Early action could give us extra leverage, added results, and important insurance against recession. Too large a tax cut, of course, could result in inflation and insufficient future revenues — but the greater danger is a tax cut too little, or too late, to be effective.

Second, the new tax bill must increase private consumption, as well as investment. Consumers are still spending between 92 and 94 percent on their after-tax income, as they have every year since 1950. But that after-tax income could and should be greater, providing stronger markets for the products of American industry. When consumers purchase more goods, plants use more of their capacity, men are hired instead of laid-off, investment increases, and profits are high.

Corporate tax rates must also be cut to increase incentives and the availability of investment capital. The government has already taken major steps this year to reduce business tax liability and to stimulate the modernization, replacement, and expansion of our productive plant and equipment. We have done this through the 1962 investment tax credit and through the liberalization of depreciation allowances — two essential parts of our first step in tax revision — which amounted to a ten percent reduction in corporate income taxes worth 2.5 billion dollars. Now we need to increase consumer demand to make these measures fully effective — demand which will make more use of existing capacity and thus increase both profits and the incentive to invest. In fact, profits after taxes would be at least 15 percent higher today if we were operating at full employment.

For all these reasons, next year's tax bill should reduce personal as well as corporate income taxes: for those in the lower brackets, who are certain to spend their additional take-home pay, and for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and enabled to invest more capital.

Third, the new tax bill should improve both the equity and the simplicity of our present tax system. This means the enactment of long-needed tax reforms, a broadening of the tax base, and the elimination or modification of many special tax privileges. These steps are not only needed to recover lost revenue and thus make possible a larger cut in present rates, they are also tied directly to our goal of greater growth. For the present patchwork of special provisions and preferences lightens the tax loads of some only at the cost of placing a heavier burden on others. It distorts economic judgments and channels undue amounts of energy into efforts to avoid tax liability. It makes certain types of less productive activity more profitable than other more valuable undertakings. All this inhibits our growth and efficiency, as well as considerably complicating the work of both the taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service.
These various exclusions and concessions have been justified [in the past] as a means of overcoming oppressively high rates in the upper brackets, and a sharp reduction in those rates — accompanied by base-broadening, loophole-closing measures — would properly make the new rates not only lower, but also more widely applicable. Surely this is more equitable on both counts.

Those are the three tests which the right kind of bill must meet — and I am confident that the enactment of the right bill next year will in due course increase our gross national product by several times the amount of taxes actually cut. Profit margins will be improved, and both the incentive to invest and the supply of internal funds for investment will be increased. There will be new interest in taking risks, in increasing productivity, in creating new jobs and new products for long-term economic growth.

It will not, I'm confident, revive an inflationary spiral or adversely affect our balance of payments. If the economy today were operating close to capacity levels with little unemployment, or if a sudden change in our military requirements should cause a scramble for men and resources, then I would oppose tax reductions as irresponsible and inflationary — and I would not hesitate to recommend a tax increase, if that were necessary. But our resources and manpower are not being fully utilized, the general level of prices has been remarkably stable, and increased competition — both at home and abroad — along with increased productivity, will help keep both prices and wages within appropriate limits.

We shall, therefore, neither postpone our tax cut plans nor cut into essential national security programs. This administration is determined to protect America's security and survival, and we are also determined to step up its economic growth. And I think we must do both.
Our true choice is not between tax reduction, on the one hand, and the avoidance of large federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget — just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits. Surely the lesson of the last decade is that budget deficits are not caused by wild-eyed spenders but by slow economic growth and periodic recessions, and any new recession would break all deficit records.

In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.

I repeat: our practical choice is not between a tax-cut deficit and a budgetary surplus. It is between two kinds of deficits: a chronic deficit of inertia, as the unwanted result of inadequate revenues and a restricted economy, or a temporary deficit of transition, resulting from a tax cut designed to boost the economy, increase tax revenues, and achieve, I believe — and I believe this can be done — a budget surplus. The first type of deficit is a sign of waste and weakness; the second reflects an investment in the future.
Nevertheless, as Chairman Mills of the House Ways and Means Committee pointed out this week, the size of the deficit is to be regarded with concern, and tax reduction must be accompanied, in his words, by "increased control of the rises in expenditures." This is precisely the course we intend to follow in 1963.

In addition, I have directed all heads of government departments and agencies to hold federal employment under the levels authorized by congressional appropriations, to absorb through greater efficiency a substantial part of this year's federal pay increase, to achieve an increase in productivity which will enable the same amount of work to be done by less people, and to refrain from spending any unnecessary funds that were appropriated by the Congress.

This nation can afford to reduce taxes, we can afford a temporary deficit — but we cannot afford to do nothing. For on the strength of our free economy rests the hope of all free nations. We shall not fail that hope — for free men and free nations must prosper and they must prevail. Thank you.

Tea Party Snippets - Feb 27/28, 2009

A quick look around the country for snippets of Tea Party rallies yesterday and today. To borrow a concept from the liberal left - get up, get organized, protest.

Washington D.C.




New York City (upcoming)




San Diego

Grassroots conservative groundswell starting up, or are we talking about a common sense revolution?

Great CPAC 2009 Quotes

A few highlights from this weeks CPAC Convention, here's some great quotes;

“I am a recovering McCain surrogate.” Michael C. Burgess.

“America’s challenges are different from year to year, but our defining principles remain the same. Conservatives don’t enter each new political era trying to figure out what we believe.” Mitt Romney.

"Margaret Thatcher used to say it well. She said, 'First you win the argument, then you win the vote.'" Mike Pence.

"If we get our act together, he is a one-termer." Josh Bolton.

Dictator Watch - Feb 28, 2009

Keeping up with the Tyrants

Russia: Vladimir Putin

[Where's the Red October?]

Vladimir Putin has warned people that protesting the economic crisis, being felt quite steeply in Russia, that protesting is okay, but that it has to be orderly and within the law.

NOVO-OGARYOVA, Russia, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned opposition critics on Friday not to use the economic crisis as an excuse to challenge his government and told them to abide by the law.

Unrest across Russia over economic upheaval has been muted, with the biggest protests so far taking place in the Far East port of Vladivostok where hundreds were arrested in January demonstrations over car tax.

Speaking at a meeting with leaders of Russia's dominant political party, United Russia, ahead of regional elections this weekend, Putin said that criticism of the Russian government during a crisis was allowed, but only within the laws.

Later in a veiled reference to countries like the Ukraine, he indicated he wouldn't allow protests like the ones that led to Democratic reforms in those countries to take place in Russia. In other words, don't get out of line or we'll stomp you. It's a kinder, gentler brutal regime.
Venezuela: Hugo Chavez

[It was love at first sight.]

This guy is just loopy. In a response to a State Department report that points out problems in Venezuela, ChinaView reports:

CARACAS, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Venezuelan government on Thursday rejected a U.S. report that denounced its human rights record.

The government in defense of the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people, strongly and firmly rejects the publishing by the U.S. Department of State of a report that pretends to evaluate the general condition of Venezuela's human rights," a statement said.

The U.S. report on human rights in Latin American countries was published on

Regarding Venezuela, the report pointed out "the widespread corruption, the harassment of the press and opposition, the polarization of the judicial system, and the violence against women and traffickers."

The Venezuelan statement said the country does not accept such practices of the U.S., adding that the U.S. has "the darkest record in disregarding and violating human dignity in contemporary history, yet still takes power without mandate and legitimacy to become judges of other countries."

The report was "fake and interfering," it said.

Hopefully that last line was just the result of bad interpreter - it's barely one step above 'liar, liar, pants on fire'.

North Korea: Kim Jong Il

[Still doesn't understand why Simon Cowell doesn't like him.]

The isolationist country has announced it's launching a rocket for a communications satellite. Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron? Why does an isolated country that likes to keep it's populace uniformed need a communications satellite? It's about test-firing ballistic missiles, and it's about ego.

North Korea's move comes with talks on an aid-for-disarmament deal - involving the US, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea - currently stalled.

Relations between the two Koreas are also tense following South President Lee Myung-bak's decision to link the provision of bilateral aid to progress on denuclearisation. Pyongyang has recently scrapped several peace agreements with

The mooted launch also follows speculation about the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who is believed to have suffered a stroke in mid-2008. On a trip to Asia last week, the new US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned North Korea against any rash moves, saying a test-launch would be "unhelpful".
Thanks Hillary. Way to be intimidating to a despot. It's a good thing you didn't go all out and say that it was "approaching the level of near-concerning".

Brace for hostilities in the region or a possible squeeze of more economic concessions. Probably the latter. If Gaza can get $900 million, just think what Jong Il can extract from a spendaholic administration in Washington.

Iran: Ahmadinejad

[Nice parade of an Iranian missile destroying a U.S. flag. Nothing says national pride like despising America]

Of course the focus is on the missile development and nuclear development issues with Iran, but right now this appears more troubling;

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that his country sees no limit for its expansion of cooperation with Iraq, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks in his meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who arrived in Tehran late Thursday for a three-day visit to the neighboring Islamic republic.

"Expansion of cooperation among regional states in different sectors, economic domain in particular, is of prime importance regarding ongoing global conditions," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

"Quadrilateral cooperation among Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria is of extreme significance and is a basic pillar of sustainable security and promotion of fraternity," he added.

No mention of the United States. Presumably because they're pulling out and leaving a massive residual force that will dwindle to zero by 2011. President Obama is drawing down to please his base and get out of a 'war' (is it really still a war?) he never wanted the United States to be involved in. But the void left by the departure of American Forces, will undoubtedly be filled with regional interests attempting to take advantage of a still-weakened Iraq. Look at the countries mentioned - Syria, an Iranian puppet state, Iran, Iraq and Turkey - presumably asked to be at the table because of the Kurd issue. This does not bode well for the region, for Israel, for America, and for the renewal of terrorism fermentation.

Maybe Obama should re-think the exit strategy. I'm just saying...

Headlines Support Obama's Claim

Even Drudge has gotten into the act with a headline proclaiming that it's been the worst year since 1933. It's a weak claim and a disingenuous comparison. Following the Drudge link to the Wall Street Journal, we find the following description of events;

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 119.15 points, or 1.7%, to end at 7062.93. The blue-chip benchmark ended down 937.93 points, or 11.72% on the month -- the worst percentage drop for February since 1933, when it fell 15.62%.
The Dow industrials have fallen six months in a row and are now more than 50% off their record highs hit in October of 2007.
That certainly is bad. But unemployment, interest rates, and other indicators are if not fine, then not devastated. In fact, in decent shape, especially considering the screaming headlines. It's the stock market that's suffering the hardest. Yes unemployment is rising but let's not forget - it's a lagging indicator of the economic situation, not a leading indicator. Which means that while unemployment may rise for a while, the worst could very well be past. At least from a recessionary perspective. There is still the distinct possibility hyper-inflation of the stimulus to come.

Here's the real crux of the headlines supporting Obama issue - the headlines, like unemployment, are not the leading indicator. They are a lagging indicator and they are lagging behind Obama's words. Obama speaks - the markets plunge. Put another way:

Is the President oblivious or is he deliberately trying to destroy the free market? At this point naively oblivious is sadly, the preferable option.

February 27, 2009

Keynes, Marx, The Weimar, and Obama

Who was worse for the ideals of freedom - Karl Marx or John Maynard Keynes? Karl Marx was responsible for the dark cloud of communism that enveloped a large part of the globe, and descended millions into the dark tyrannies of Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez et. al. On the other hand, Keynes brought a deficit mentality, and a socialist supporting mantra to the field of economics.

Clearly Marx was the worse scourge for the world. But for America, the answer is a bit different. Marxism, communism was never a serious contender for American hearts and minds. But socialism, statism and government meddling are all clearly deemed acceptable. And by many, they are believed to be the right thing to do - including President Obama.

Keynes was more dangerous to American prosperity. Yes Mr. President - that argument should be over. The problem is your belief system was on the losing side of the evidence.

Here's the flaw with Keynesian thinking; government priming the pump by putting more money into the economy can only do so by taking money out of the economy (taxing). It's robbing Peter to pay Paul.

This prime-the-pump approach could only work if the government already had a stored surplus of cash - a rainy day fund - stored and ready to unleash into the economy. Such is not the case here. It's SO not the case here.

The government has another way to do this pump cash - borrowing. It can borrow money from banks - in this case though, crowding out the very people/businesses the banks should be lending to in the current liquidity crisis. There's only so much cash that can be lent.

So couldn't the government borrow from foreign banks? Yes, up to a point. Given the soaring debt levels in America, the end of that gravy train is fast approaching. Besides, many foreign banks have their own countries' woes to solve. Not to mention the fact foreign borrowing puts America even further into external debtor nation status - an unsustainable choice in the long run.

The last option is to just print more money and then the government can spend all it wants. That has it's own set of disasters waiting to befall the country. History has examples to warn us:

Perhaps it's already started.

Is it time to start panicking? Maybe. If any country can take a vicious economic hit and come out the other end it's the United States of America. But the worry is that maybe enough people won't see the need to come out the other end until it's too late.

Trickle-down Democrats

It turns out the Democrats do believe in trickle down economics. All of them except of course for Chris Matthews who apparently believes in going-up economics. But for the rest of them, its a different type of trickle down economics that they believe in. What they believe in, it turns out, is a misery trickle down.

And with the series of actions taken by the Congress, Senate and the Obama administration marching in lock-step towards socialism, trickle down misery is exactly what the believers will get.

Right now they are in that nether world of liberal joy/anguish that typifies their moral compass. They are elated still by the Obama win. They are excited about the changes he plans to enact and in fact has already moved on in some cases. On the more sinister side, they are pleased that the so-called rich are suffering and that their share of the tax burden will be rising to what they see as reasonable, confiscatory levels. That makes them happy.

On the other hand, liberals are as worried about the current economic condition as much as conservatives. While they do have Obama to "rescue" them, and they won't have to think for themselves about the future too much, that does speak to the future. Many are out of work now, or threatened by layoffs and employer bankruptcies. And then of course there's all that other work to be done and fret over - closing Gitmo, stopping torture, ramping up abortions, indoctrinating children, punishing Israel and rewarding Hamas - a liberal's work is just never done.

That bizarre state of anguish and hope - that's pretty much the best it can ever get for a liberal. Let's face it, despite the efforts of The One, a socialist utopia is an unattainable pipe dream. I'm not sure what type of pipe - ask your Messiah what pipes the cool kids use for their hits.

Given this is the best it can get for liberals, there will always be new rights to wrong, successes to reverse etc., then there's really nowhere to go but down. And this is where the trickle down misery comes in.

Liberals aren't happy apparently, unless someone else is as miserable or more miserable than they are. Obama's plan will certainly give liberals a short term fix in that regard. Business owner are going to suffer. The rich are going to be penalized for their success.

But a receding tide lowers all boats. That misery - fewer jobs, less credit, more restrictive employer environments and far more competition amongst employees for jobs - will trickle down to the liberal rank and file. And with that, the spread the wealth ideals of socialism have been turned into a spread the misery scenario. That's socialism. Share the wealth share the pain. For some, that's the way to go. The one thing that eludes me on what effect that will have is this: will that make liberals/socialists happy (to be miserable) or just miserable?

We can't be sure, but what we can be sure about is that whatever happens, Chris Matthews will be feeling the misery in a very different way than the rest of the country.

February 26, 2009

Open invitation for American doctors

So - you've decided to socialize your health care America. Good luck with that. Welcome to the league of neo-communist nations. As a disillusioned Canadian I'd like to extend an invitation. Seeing as there's bound to be a plethora of disenfranchised doctors in America, I'd like to propose that the Canadian government reverse it's position on socialized medicine and invite those unhappy American medical personnel to Canada.

[Yes, we are all THAT cool].

Over the past several decades we've lost many of our best and brightest doctors to the United States, where they've been allowed to operate (perhaps literally) under the auspices of the free market system. They were allowed to earn money commensurate with their skills and investment in their education. Now is Canada's opportunity to reverse that brain drain trend and get those best and brightest doctors back. Doesn't matter if they're ex-Canadian or born American, we can use them all.

So, you are most welcome to come to Canada. We've got great beer, great donuts, hockey, and the world's largest supply of Canadian flags. We also get HBO and MTV. Oh, and our taxes are going down (slowly, but hey, at least it's not going up $1 trillion). And our banks are safe - huge profits last year. What else? Oh yeah - The government of Alberta hands out money to people as a result of cash surpluses .


  • Elvis is here.
  • We eat steak and pizza and burgers with lobster at every meal.
  • There's an abundance of super-models. In fact 1 in 3 women in Canada is a certified super-model.
  • Workplace nudity is subtly encouraged.
  • Everything is FREE.
C'mon. We REALLY, REALLY need more doctors!!! America, send us your doctors!

I'm not kidding. I took my fiancee's daughter to emergency for a deep leg cut a couple of weeks ago, around 6:00 at night. They told us the wait would be until about 5:30 in the morning. Ouch. We couldn't go anywhere else - the clinics were all closed. It's really not good.

Bet you didn't know this.

I bet you didn't know that Pat Sajak was a conservative. And I bet you didn't know he had a sense of humor. This was in 2007, but it's a light-hearted diversion from the grind of fretting over the spending spree in Washington D.C. these days.

The NY Times vs. Reality

The NY Times in an article explaining why your taxes are going to rise, doesn't fail to get it's dig in against former President Bush and the Bush tax cuts, while managing to gloss over the fact that;
But the problem can’t be solved just by taxing the rich. That top 1 percent pays only about one-quarter of federal taxes. Once the recession ends, taxes on the not-so-rich will need to rise, too.
Admitting in one short paragraph that the taxes on the middle class will have to rise and that the top 1% of income earners pay 25% of all taxes, the editor of the Times must have been asleep.

There's a couple of problems with the New York Times when compared to reality. Firstly there's this issue; as recently as October 31st, 2008 (just before the election), the New York Times had this to say;

Independent analyses of the presidential candidates’ tax proposals show that those who make less than $250,000 a year would not see their taxes raised under Senator Barack Obama’s plans. Further, Mr. Obama would generally cut taxes more than Senator John McCain would for households with incomes less than $100,000 a year.

Uh okay - you were lying then or covering for Obama now, NYT - take your pick. The reality is that your statements from 4 months ago are diametrically opposed to your statements today.

But the deception goes further. The article today (as shown in the graph below) points out that tax revenue as a percentage of GDP dropped as a result of the Bush Tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

But that is in direct contrast to the graph Nonsensible Shoes posted on February 23rd that shows the Bush tax cuts of 2003 led to the highest revenue ever recorded in 2005.

Are both of these graphs potentially true? Well, yes actually. Looking at tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is a bit of a red herring. If you lower taxes of course it's percentage of the domestic economy will fall. More economic activity is happening outside of the tax base, so as a percentage it will necessarily be smaller. It has to be. But look what happened to the tax revenue. It rose, and quite significantly too.

So while liberals would have you look at the impact on tax as a percentage of the economy, what they are doing is distracting you from the fact that reducing taxes decreased the government revenue. Extra money held by consumers and business created additional economic activity, clearly with a higher multiplier effect and grew the economy which made the tax percentage fall even further, even while the tax revenue for the government still managed to rise quite dramatically.

The graph below shows what the real issue is;

Revenue dipped in the early part of the decade with the recession and then the 9/11 attacks compounding the problem. But the tax cuts, particularly the 2003 tax cuts started to kick in over time and by 2005 the tax revenue was steamrolling past historical highs. But look at the spending line. In the last 14 years spending has doubled and the graph shows no sign of curtailing the spending. It's just a steady rise.

Looking back at the Times chart, the interest payments and the Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security burden are what's going to hurt. Getting the debt down is important, but most important is figuring out smarter ways to finance Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security has got to be priority #1 for the government. And by the way, in 2004 that's what President Bush wanted to spend his political capital on. Seems like not only was he right in warning about the impending mortgage crisis, he was also sounding another warning that wasn't being heeded under his watch.

Perhaps it's deliberate misdirection in support of Obama's tax plan, or perhaps it's too much to expect of the NY Times to understand basic economics (tax revenue growth is possible with tax reductions). In either case, don't let the Times, the Democrats or the President fool you into another crisis mentality with respect to government deficits and the national debt. Yes the deficit must be addressed, but the issues are on the spending side, not the revenue side. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

February 25, 2009

Jindal finds his legs.

After a pedestrian response to President Obama's pedestrian speech, Governor Jindal on the today show, finds his legs. He was fired up and focused.

Much better, Governor. Told you he'd find his legs.

A question for discussion

There's greatness in the speech and it's worth watching for the points posed by Reagan and for his eloquence. But watch specifically at 3:58. Reagan states, "Those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course."

The rephrasing of the Benjamin Franklin quote (They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety), puts the question in the lap of liberals - we are trading freedom not for security from terrorists but security from poverty and the tyranny of an intellectual elite, domestically.

Is that the real meaning that Benjamin Franklin had for his phrase? Given the environment of a fledgling government and the issues the revolution had been created from, I'm sure his attention was on domestic government tyranny. And if that's the case, has the phrase been unfairly co-opted by the left in their Bush Derangement Syndrome driven fight against the Homeland Security measures?


What Obama said

President Obama appeared to nod in the centrist direction last night. But was it really a greeting as he moved towards the center or was it merely the type of nod you give while you're looking in the rear view mirror?

Call me a skeptic. Over at the National Review the take is that President Obama said many of the right things but that they are cynical about the reality of it. I'm very cynical about the reality of it.

He's gone back to the $250,000+ tax increase. It seems he's using the budget deficit as a rationale for massive tax increases on those who employ the country - business and "the rich". It's the same idea as a minimum wage increase - anything that drives the cost of production up, drives producers out. If producers leave or shut down, where does that leave laborers?

He's willing to bail out the auto industry which means it ill never undergo the correction that it needs to undergo - a managed bankruptcy is the only way to solve those issues.

He wants to continue to help the banking industry but nary a mention of the underlying social engineering issues of the Community Reinvestment Act. It's easy to rail against corporate greed but stiffer regulation is not the answer. Stiffer regulation makes it harder to do business and what does that do? Again - drives business out. What's that do besides cost more jobs? Well in the case of banking it has a multiplier effect because not only are they affected, but so is anyone needing credit to operate. Currently that seems to be a huge percentage of the American economy.

He talks a good game about the dangerous future of health care costs. But what he's after is universal health care. If other things haven't changed since the campaign, if his fundamental beliefs haven't changed, why would his goals have changed? The answer is they haven't. What's changed is the reality of how he has to go about achieving them. He's got to be sneakier, more clandestine. Calling on the government to be more efficient isn't going to lose you any support. But it might take people's eye off the ball enough to laden the system with more obligations.

In the end words are just words. They can inspire, they can mesmerize, they can confuse and obfuscate. President Obama has spoken, yet again. His popularity and his support will likely bounce. But over time, the reality of what he does versus what he says will start to become more apparent. This will inevitably hurt his popularity among conservatives who may still be willing to support the office if not the man, and also among some independents. His popularity a year from now will not be what it is today.

And more importantly for America, regardless of what Obama says, what matters is whether the economy is humming again down the road. If it is, he will be seen as an economic savior but if it isn't he will likely shoulder the blame.

This is where the President's speech veers into the political. It's no coincidence that the speech was made prior to the American Tea Party scheduled for February 28th. President Obama has had some fits and starts in his appointments. His popularity has declined, albeit modestly. What did work for the President though, was his speech to push through the stimulus package. Support for the package rose after his speech, regardless of where the support actually was percentage-wise, all pollsters saw an increase in the support for the package after Obama's speech.

Speeches work for President Obama. He has a sense of understanding of the importance of communication. He saw how it worked for Presidents Reagan and Clinton and how neither President Bush rose to the level of mediocrity in their frequency or effectiveness of utilizing the bully pulpit or the medium of television in general to further their appeal. Reagan was wildly popular, Clinton was popular and the Bushes were to varying degrees, abysmally unpopular, particularly towards the end of their terms. President Obama, early in his term, has made good use of his effective speaking ability to rally support around his efforts.

But there's a risk to this. The President cannot go on television every week to garner support for every bill he wants to get passed. At some point people are going to start to tune out; "Not another President Obama speech." He risks overplaying his hand if he continues to be too available, too viewed. He's probably aware of that, or will become aware of it if he starts to see that effect creeping in. But for now the strategy is working for him and his approval ratings can absorb a point or two hit if he overexposes himself right now.

He'll have to temper his accessibility eventually. We can expect to see the President with less frequency in the future. Not to the levels of Bush 43 hiding behind the Oval Office curtain, but perhaps to more of a Reagan or Clinton level of accessibility.

Luckily right now he's got a tepid Republican response from Bobby Jindal to compete against and it only makes him look better. But Republicans, including Jindal, will find their oratory legs soon enough. President Obama cannot indefinitely afford to be boring, uninspiring, overexposed or long-winded. This is no longer the campaign trail, although he continues to operate as if it is. And for Republicans this could very well turn into their greatest opportunity yet.

Socialism = Denial

John Ridpath rather deftly defines socialism in a debate with Ontario's former (at that time, soon to be) socialist Premier. Happily, you don't need to hear from the socialist Rae in the clip, but merely receive a fairly length definition of socialism and statism and a rationale for why they are immoral.

Ironically, when he assumed power, Bob Rae was responsible for ruining Ontario’s economy in the early 90s.

February 24, 2009

Hamas is dangerous

How do you possibly negotiate with people like this? These people are terrorists, and they support terrorism. I do not envy Israel.

Is nobody squeaky clean?

President Obama is rumored to be ready to nominate former Washington governor Gary Locke as his Commerce Secretary. After a couple of misfires, it looks like the Obama administration has gotten better at it's vetting process. Well, somewhat better.

According to the Associated Press he's not entirely without some questionable activity in his past.

Locke was briefly linked to the scandal over foreign contributions to President Bill Clinton's 1996 campaign. In July 1998, he gave a deposition to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight about his relationships with questioned Clinton donors. But the committee subsequently said the deposition produced no evidence that Locke knowingly accepted illegal campaign donations.

Locke denied any wrongdoing, and he subsequently returned some checks tied to people implicated in the fundraising scandal, including $750 from John Huang. The former Commerce Department official was the Democratic Party's chief fund raiser for the Asian-American population in the 1996 elections, and he became one of the central figures in the national Democratic Party fundraising scandal.

Also, in December 1997, Locke's political committee was fined a maximum $2,500 by state regulators after it admitted breaking campaign finance laws during two out-of-state fundraisers in 1996.

And in March 1998, state investigators cleared Locke of wrongdoing following complaints that he unlawfully took $10,000 in campaign contributions from members of a Buddhist church.

While it's likely not enough to disrupt his nomination, it begs the question, can't the Democrats find anybody who is actually free of issues to run the Commerce Department?

Wild Spending Spree

What is the tally so far for Democrats' spending since election day? It's a virtual spending spree of dizzying proportions. Today the Democrats announced a $410 Billion pet project government spending bill.
Where did this mysterious shortfall suddenly materialize? They are unbelievable going to try to slip $410 Billion under the radar. It's labeled as money to keep the government running. but even the AP isn't biting on that bait.

The measure includes thousands of earmarks, the pet projects favored by lawmakers but often criticized by the public in opinion polls. There was no official total of the bill's earmarks, which accounted for at least $3.8 billion.

The legislation, which includes an increase of roughly 8 percent over spending in the last fiscal year, is expected to clear the House later in the week.

Democrats defended the spending increases, saying they were needed to make up for cuts enacted in recent years or proposed a year ago by then-President George W. Bush in health, education, energy and other programs.

How can you possibly try to defend a spending increase at this point in time? Oh yeah, blame Bush. But really? Any increase now is insane. But money is flying out the door so fast that they must be figuring that the blur of money leaving will stop people from realizing any of the specifics. But 8%???? This must be a joke.

Then there's a$900 million for a Gaza rebuild. Small, relatively speaking, but what a waste. And then there's the release of the other $350 billion of TARP money, now committed in addition to the original $350 Billion released by the Bush administration. And the bailout of the Big 3 automotive companies rose to $39 Billion (both committed and additionally requested.

Let's not forget the $787 Billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (for which Senators should be committed). According to the Heritage Foundation, the true cost could be closer to $3.27 Trillion. And then there's the Mortgage Bailout plan of $75 Billion called the Homeowner Stability Initiative (which is in reality a reallocation of some of the $700 Billion TARP money).

Already we are up to $1.5869 Trillion dollars - without the Heritage Foundation analysis of real costs on the ARRA. And all of this is before the health care costs Obama will undoubtedly want to take a run at prior to his re-election bid. For the sake of clarity - Obama has been President for 36 days. That means on average the Democrats are frittering away $44.08 Billion PER DAY.

PER DAY people! At this rate in his first year Obama and the Democrats would commit over $16 Trillion in spending and bailout and whatever-the-hell-else-they-want money! People are tightening their belts in reaction to the doomsday talk of President Obama. Yet the government is intent on blowing the doors of fiscal sanity. There is a danger of a doomsday happening, but not because of the recession. Rather it's the air strike being called in by the Obama administration and the Spendocrats in Congress and the Senate. There's a real danger here that they will but America on an unrecoverable road to ruin.

February 27, 2009. The American Tea Party. It's in your best interest to have your voice heard on this - participate.

Automotive temperatutre check - Feb 23, 2009

How do things look for General Motors/Chrysler/Ford right now? Here's a look at what they could be planning for 2009.

Is GM getting any better at quality? Apparently so if you ask GM. They do appear to have made great strides but only time will tell.

And are they getting greener? Wait, who cares? Not me - I care about their economic viability. I will not get sidetracked by discussions about polar ice caps melting. What should be asked, is what is the industry outlook for 2009?

Not great. Hence the plans to trim down, and the possible talk about bankruptcy protection options.

February 23, 2009

ACORN dissidents

Fox News is reporting an arrest in ACORN's Home Foreclosure Civil Disobedience Program.

Police in Baltimore today made what is believed to be the first arrest in a civil disobedience program aimed at supporting homeowners who refuse to vacate their foreclosed homes.

An activist with ACORN — the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now — faces criminal charges after breaking into a home in southeast Baltimore on Thursday to protest the foreclosure crisis sweeping the country.

"This is our house now," ACORN member Louis Beverly reportedly said after cutting a lock with bolt cutters at the home.

Beverly will be charged with fourth-degree burglary, according to Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police.

Well good for the police. these people are violating the law. They probably see themselves as defenders of those staking a claim on their rightful property:

Joe Cox, a community organizer for ACORN in Baltimore, said Monday's arrest was not a surprise.

"We definitely expected some kind of a response," Cox said. "We understand people have to do their jobs and we hope that they understand that we're doing this to highlight the issue."

Cox said he expects homesteading — refusing to vacate a foreclosed property — will become common as blame for the foreclosure crisis increasingly shifts from homeowners to financial corporations.

"This program is saying, 'We are not going,'" Cox said last week. "People say we're breaking the law, but we don't see how putting a person back in an abandoned property is harming anyone."

ACORN launched its "Home Savers" campaign in New York earlier this month and plans to expand the program to at least 22 other cities and three counties nationwide in the coming weeks.

Participants like Beverly say they will refuse to move out of foreclosed homes or reclaim properties altogether until a comprehensive federal housing plan takes affect.

In truth, these people are trying to assert a claim to property that has not been paid for. How can you legitimately claim a home that is 90% or more owned by the bank? You can't. It's tantamount to theft. And saying you will refuse to leave is more than civil disobedience, it's criminal. If you don't make your car payments or plasma TV payments what happens? It gets repossessed. This is larger in scale, but the same in nature.
It's all about the re-distribution of wealth, isn't it? ACORN is taking advantage of those who have taken advantage of a poorly designed system (see Community Reinvestment Act) in order to propagate a class warfare mentality, and an "I'm getting mine" siege mentality. Obama's in the White House, where's my free gifts? People who are in a $1900 per month mortgage they can't afford get no sympathy from me; I'm busting my butt to pay mine - why should you get special treatment because you can't afford yours?

In the words of Kevin Jackson, that's my rant.

Republican Governors have backbone

Republican Governors are refusing stimulus money. People are trying to paint this as cynical political staking out of claims for 2012. While that may be true in the sense that it helps their primary chances in 2012, I think each of these governors can be regarded as refusing stimulus money based on principle and concern for the strings that are attached. Conservatives KNOW there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Great work Governors, you deserve credit for your stand!



Also refusing; Haley Barbour and Sarah Palin.

Well, then there's this;

One can only sigh at that.

Obama - Tax & Save

It's called the Laffer Curve. It was popularized in the 1980's by Arthur Laffer and it has been proven time and again that it's not some simple ideological diatribe, but rather a realistic economic postulation. The premise is simple - Increasing taxes can in fact decrease government revenue, and lowering taxes can do the reverse. Of course all depending on where on the curve the current marginal tax rate sits.

The reason it's a discussion topic now is because increasing taxes, in the midst of a recession is at a minimum, a dubious proposition.

But Obama has a plan. He knows better than reality. He can swamp the economy with a stimulus created on borrowed or freshly minted money and have a multiplier effect of less than 1.0 and still stimulate the economy and not cause inflationary pressure.

He can provide a stimulus to business by bailing out selected industries while increasing the taxation on industries thereby forestalling the bailout effect. Weird? To say the least. He's working at cross purposes with himself. True, there is a temporal issue with this argument - the stimulus is supposed to be immediate and the deficit reduction (an admirable goal) is supposed to be a by-2012-or-2013 effect. But what if the stimulus hasn't worked by 2010? What if it has overworked and we're into an inflationary period?

There are too many unknowns right now to be proposing such vast and sweeping changes without addressing their interactivity. It's possible the President is so caught up in his own hype about changing Washington that he's just proposing massive changes for the sake of doing so. Or is Obama just looking at a complete scale back in Iraq, Afghanistan and perhaps Homeland Security and looking for the juice from that to curtail the deficit? If that's the case, then he's playing politics which would come as no surprise. In either case, he's taking the American economy, American security and American industry and not just rolling the dice, he's putting everything down on the bet - going all in - with the confidence or misguided notion that there's just no way this can go wrong. Oh yeah?

Let's just look at the tax situation. Here's a simplified explanation of the Laffer curve.

Until such time as evidence dictates otherwise, Tax Increases are likely to decrease taxation revenue for the government. You want proof? This alone does not prove it, because the data doesn't account for too much history, but in relative terms it makes a strong case for the Laffer idea that lowering taxes increases government revenue if you are on the 'overtaxed' side of the curve.

Whether Obama's tax cuts and his proposed tax increases are schizophrenic or not is a moot point. The fact is the Bush tax cuts drove massive revenue. $2.15 trillion in 2005. That it wasn't used to pay down the national debt is a tragedy. That there were still deficits was an unfortunate missed opportunity. But the fact is that Obama's gambit seems like long, long odds. Too long in fact.

China's Communist Party history

This is the coming superpower? How much has changed?

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

February 22, 2009

China Boys redux

Just because it's so catchy....

Nostalgia? Nah.

I know, I know, as conservatives we're not supposed to languish in the past and forget to fight for the future. Blah, blah, blah. It's true. But I was surfing this morning and came across this image and I couldn't resist posting it.

It's not languishing, it's not pining for the glory days of the Republican party or the glory days of America. It's just a great picture of a great man, in a great time. While we can't dwell on Reagan, there's no harm in celebrating him and what he did for conservatism.

Reagan was a giant. We need to remember his ideals, which were conservative ideals, not really his. He embraced them, and brought them to life in an engaging manner. Without Reagan it is incumbent upon all conservatives to try do do the same ourselves and not wait for our own political 'savior'. Reagan was probably a once-in-a-lifetime gift many of were fortunate enough to witness.
If we conservatives choose to wait for the next Reagan, we are then all Estragon and Vladimir (Waiting for Godot). Doing so is political suicide. The next Reagan will arrive when he or she arrives. Waiting is merely killing time and wasting opportunity. The next time a Reagan arrives on the scene, it's better for us to be ready, engaged, and able to support a conservative agenda with the ferocity with which our political opponents seem to be willing and able to apply to the ruination of the free market.
If Reagan were alive today, he'd tell you the same thing. His line about "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." is bigger than just the literal interpretation. It applies beyond that. It implies that self reliance, self-sufficiency and personal dedication is the path to success. It also holds a lesson for the GOP. You're not going to hear "I'm Reagan 2.0 and I'm here to help.", so you have to, as an organization, help yourselves. A few seem to understand that lesson and are bravely applying it. Others who will follow and not lead can be led astray (e.g. Specter or Collins or Snowe) so you as a party need to lead them down the right path.
For now, this means you Michael Steele. You need to put yourself amongst the conservative lions like Jim DeMint and lead. And for conservatives in every day life, you need to do the same. Educate, inspire, discuss, and engage those who don't understand. We don't need a Reagan to get epic victories, we can do it ourselves if we try.

Weather Predictions Anyone?

I've done a little research this week to see if I could possibly get a job as a meteorologist. Not that I'd want to be one.

Based on no training whatsoever, and a minimal amount of research, I'm predicting a colder than average period for the next two weeks. Why? Here's a clue:

Anyone else care to speculate?

Here Come the China Boys

From February 2008, this report from Gallup on China:

[UPDATE: The link may not load - you can view the video here: http://www.gallup.com/video/104476/Chinas-Economy-Rises-Americans-Eyes.aspx]

But Gallup in 2009 sees a changing sentiment, no doubt due in large part to the Great Leader's vision and hope and change leadership.

What's changed in the last year besides the Executive Image? The economics of the world have changed for the worse, but the US has been reduced to a recession while China has been reduced to 9% growth in GDP. All that's changed is perception. The problem of Chinese hegemony is still there. The American public is doing it's best head-in-the-sand on the issue of the rise of China. The reality is that in it's drift towards more government involvement in the economy (yes, that is socialism, even if arguably only by proxy), has hastened America's Europeanization in the sense that those once pre-eminent powers are now struggling to maintain their B class status. Why America would want to follow in those footsteps is beyond me.

China is a threat, socialism is a threat. Both need to be taken seriously. Luckily if the government were to unfetter capitalism and reduce socialism, it would take care of both problems. Capitalism and freedom forged America into the great superpower it became. There's no reason those two ideals can't be unleashed and allow the United States to maintain it's leadership role in the world. The current administration is seeking to keep those factors under wraps and temper American entrepreneurial spirit, thereby watering down it's greatness. Why? Because they believe in different ideals. They believe in a managed system. They believe in interventionism, and social engineering. By proxy it must be true that they are comfortable with European levels of unemployment, welfare, taxation and regulation.

The real question is twofold whether Americans are comfortable with that approach and secondly whether they are aware of the creeping death that awaits them by heading down the path of a command economy. Ironically China, while still communist, owes it's rising fortunes to the adaptation of a limited free market economy. Two powers, opposite directions, and divergent futures if they continue down the paths they are choosing.

February 21, 2009

A Soros excuse for a Billionaire!

Remember the Public Enemy rap song Don't Believe The Hype from 1989? Don't worry if you don't the point is the title. Barrack Obama and his minions have been pushing this idea that the economy is half a breath away from complete, ruinous doom. Preposterous. What's getting closer to complete and ruinous doom is the capitalist free market system that created and built American prosperity.

With that backdrop in mind along comes the following hyperbole from the Moveon.org backing, Hungarian-born whack-job, George Soros. Keep in mind the man has written three books about the impending collapse of global capitalism.

-The Alchemy of Finance (1987)
-The Crisis of Global Capitalism (1998)
-The New Paradigm for Financial Markets (2008)

Do it long enough and maybe you'll get it right George. He's been predicting a collapse since Reagan. No matter that his socialist leaning philosophies have helped encourage that same disaster by trying to hamstring the free market via social engineering interferences. I sometimes get the feeling that Soros could be the ultimate Soviet sleeper cell. How any billionaire can fund, and back groups like Moveon.org is beyond any logic I can grasp.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Renowned investor George Soros said on Friday the world financial system has effectively disintegrated, adding that there is yet no prospect of near-term resolution to the crisis.

Soros said the turbulence is actually more severe than during the Great Depression, comparing the current situation to the demise of the Soviet Union.

He said the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September marked a turning point in the functioning of the market system.

"We witnessed the collapse of the financial system," Soros said at a Columbia University dinner. "It was placed on life support, and it's still on life support. There's
no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom."

His comments echoed those made earlier at the same conference by Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman who is now a top adviser to President Barack Obama.Volcker said industrial production around the world was declining even more rapidly than in the United States, which is itself under severe strain.

"I don't remember any time, maybe even in the Great Depression, when things went down quite so fast, quite so uniformly around the world," Volcker said.

And here's the Soros-Volker tie-in: They are on the same page, they are working on the same agenda. These men are not strangers. Paul Volcker wrote the foreword of Soros' book The Alchemy of Finance (in the 2003 edition):

George Soros has made his mark as an enormously successful speculator, wise enough to largely withdraw when still way ahead of the game. The bulk of his enormous winnings is now devoted to encouraging transitional and emerging nations to become 'open societies,' open not only in the sense of freedom of commerce but—more important—tolerant of new ideas and different modes of thinking and behavior.

I don't care if this guy is a trillionaire - he simply can't be trusted to suggest what really is in the best interests of America. He built himself up in the capitalist system he seems intent on blowing up. Maybe I'm being too cynical and he really is a capitalist at heart - maybe he's just trying to sell more of those doomsday books he keeps writing. In any case, according to the Forbes list he's ranked 101st richest man in the world, and if being rich equals being smart (which it doesn't), there are at least 100 people out there smarter than Soros. And if they're all socialists too, then this is Bizarro World.

Apologists pounce.

Apologists for Obama go after Santelli for his earlier tirade. Santelli does an admirable job staying calm and continuing to hammer home his point.

One can't fault MSNBC for trying to capitalize on the feedback by putting Santelli back on the air, especially in a potentially volatile situation with two apologists who think he's wrong. It's actually a good business decision to play off the buzz over Santelli's outburst on CNBC - something I though had long since lost the ability to do with it's news divisions.
Here's the BUT: MSNBC, clearly in the tank for Obama, allowed Santelli to make his point again. The fallout - MSNBC has put itself in a position where sound business decisions contravene it's political bent. Don't cry any tears for MSNBC. Their ratings are in the tank, because they are in the tank, and it looks good on them.

Best Rant of 2009 So far.

Rick Santelli, goes on a rant on CNBC. This needs to be seen. Great work Rick.

Amen to that.

How Obama could be the Greatest President Ever?

Simpleton. That's the only word I can possibly manage for most of this tool's post. I don't like to denigrate debate into name calling, but in this case I think it's a fair rejoinder for such an unrealistic and foolhardy set of ideas. At least this fellow is set up for the biggest let down of all time.

Below is the entire post. I can enumerate the problems with it in detail or I can simply point to one phrase that encapsulates the sheer idiocy involved.

Congress would authorize the US Treasury to print thousand-dollar bills, and give every US resident six of them.

followed later by this gem;

There is a way out, but it requires the greatness of economic enlightenment. Establish sound money with free-market banking: stop the expansion of money by the Federal Reserve, and instead let banks issue private currency redeemable into Federal-Reserve-note money.

Clearly he does not need to wait for the legalizing of marijuana he refers to below. However, I encourage you to read this and assess it for yourself. It's enlightening in the sense that as conservatives we need to understand the direction Obama's support stems from.

How Obama could be the Greatest President Ever
Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor, January 19, 2009

A crisis is an opportunity for revolutionary change. Obama could become the greatest president ever, and fulfill the hopes he inspired, by making radical changes. He could put the economy on track to prosperity, reorient American foreign policy towards harmony, and refresh the American spirit of liberty.

The government could end the recession within three months with “money to the people.” Congress would authorize the US Treasury to print thousand-dollar bills, and give every US resident six of them. That would be debt-free and would end the negative-feedback loop of higher unemployment creating ever less demand for goods, which then makes companies shut down and lay off workers. The recession creates economic lockjaw: banks fear to lend because companies are shutting down and workers are losing their jobs. Cash is the ultimate credit and the antidote to credit freeze. “Money to the people” is almost a free lunch, because the recession is causing deflation and fear of further price declines. Monetary expansion is bad medicine except in an economic depression with deflation, when it is a good tonic if given directly to the
people, not to the risk-fearing banks.

For long-run prosperity, Obama should promote radical changes in taxation. Don’t tax the rich just because they have wealth. Instead, tax subsidies so that they are no longer subsidies. Polluters are subsidized if they do not pay the social cost of their emissions, so tax pollution. Landowners are subsidized from the increase in their rent and land value due to public works
and civic services. Tax land value to eliminate this subsidy. A land value tax will make the economy more productive, as the land-value subsidy promotes inefficient uses of land and the excessive speculation that results in the boom-bust sequence we are suffering from now.

In foreign policy, Obama is confronted by the unsolved conflict over Palestine and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Besides bringing home the US troops, Obama could promote a lasting democracy in Iraq by promoting an equal sharing of the oil profits, decentralized governance and voting, and protection for persecuted minorities. In Afghanistan, pay the farmers to grow alternatives to opium, and decentralize democracy to bring political power to the people.

Restore trade with Cuba. Stop promoting the war on drugs that is tearing Latin America apart with violence. Apologize for having overthrown the government of Iran in 1953. For the Arab-Israeli conflict, recognize an independent Palestinian state in which the Israeli settlers of the West Bank pay rent for the lands they hold. Most important, declare that American foreign
policy will henceforth avoid interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries. Declare also that Americans are willing to talk to and negotiate with all adversaries.

Strengthen American freedom by promoting a constitutional liberty amendment: “Congress shall make no law restricting any peaceful and honest adult human action, not involving force or fraud, any state interest to the contrary notwithstanding.” A first step would to be to legalize medical marijuana.

Obama has said he would confront the growing under-funded liabilities such as for Medicare and Social Security. A greater government takeover of medical services would compound the problem. The reason folks cannot afford medical care is because the money to pay for it has been take from them in the first place. Obama should separate the poverty problem from the medical problem. Make medical payments tax deductible, to unlock insurance from employment. Reform the legal system to having the loser in medical civil lawsuits pay all the legal costs. Then allow workers to opt out of Medicare and provide their own medical care.

Obama could be truly great by getting welfare-state liberals to understand that state socialism cannot improve on the choice and productivity provided by a free market. Allow workers to switch from Social Security to individual accounts funded at first by US Treasury bonds. That would replace the current Ponzi scheme with accounts that finance retirement from the worker’s own wages.

The global economy will recover from the Crash of 2008, but the massive bailouts and greater debt will cause problems far into the future. Where will the money come from for the coming trillion-dollar deficits? If it comes from money creation, the result will be inflation much worse than during the 1970s, and a global flight from the US dollar.

There is a way out, but it requires the greatness of economic enlightenment. Establish sound money with free-market banking: stop the expansion of money by the Federal Reserve, and instead let banks issue private currency redeemable into Federal-Reserve-note money.
The US can reduce its trade deficit and borrowing from abroad with a radical tax shift that reduces the cost of exports, stops economic waste, and induces high economic growth. That is the tax shift described above. Stop taxing labor, goods, production, and investment. Instead, just remove all the subsidies, such as to pollution, to farmers, and to land holding.

Taxing land value and pollution, plus user fees, could provide sufficient revenue while eliminating the need to compensate people for denying them economic opportunity. That implies that there would be no more transfer payments: no more governmental payments for medical care and retirement. That cuts the budget in half while raising wages and reducing the cost of living.

These are the radical steps that could make Obama the greatest US president ever. If not, small change will be ineffective, hope will be lost, and America will continue on the path towards self-destruction. Can Americans make the revolutionary changes needed to avoid disaster? Obama has inspired many us with the answer. Yes we can! However pessimistic we feel, we can yet remain hopeful. That is the real audacity of hope.

The amazing thing is that this guy gets a couple of points right - for example the Medicare issue he at least understands the government has co-opted health care from the individual. So even this hippy is salvageable. No one it seems, is beyond hope except for the Obamassiah types. And when I say beyond hope, I'm not talking about Obama hope, I'm talking about the hope that they will understand the true way to keep America great.
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