August 31, 2009
August 30, 2009
Seriously, McCain, aside from nominating Sarah Palin, never energized Americans. Now instead, we are stuck with President Obama. We are stuck wondering not 'what could have been', but rather 'what could have been avoided'.
Perhaps in a weird way though, the lesser of two evils turned out to be the greater of two evils. A McCain Presidency would have continued the slow agonzing slide into socialism, with his RINO views on so many issues. A death of 1000 cuts as it were. By Obama being elected, it's surely starting to serve the "I told ya so." crowd's well, "I told ya so". But more importantly, a headlong rush towards socialism in health care, cap and trade, liberal activist judges and other things, has had an effect on the sleeping electorate. People have been awoken to the frightening spectacle of socialism. Obama's hubris will not only be his undoing but could serve as a revitalization of America's freedom, democracy and capitalism based roots.
"I think a woman president would have to be very conservative to get elected. "
Does that means he thinks Sarah Palin could win? Nah, that's too easy. He was talking about Hilary Clinton, whom I'm sure he views as very conservative.
August 29, 2009
Confirmed - Bill Clinton is NOT recession proof. Surely, you're crushed by that.
About 10,000 people gathered in BMO Field to hear the high-profile speaker. It was a disappointing number for CNE organizers who thought Clinton would draw in about 25,000 people.
At the last minute, the CNE announced it would be selling tickets to the event for $5 plus the cost of admission to the fair grounds. Tickets were originally priced between $20 and $50.
The question is do Democrats really have the resolve to pass Obamacare? Rumors have circulated that there aren't the votes in the Senate to pass the bill with a government paid option. With public support evaporating, Blue Dog Democrats would seem to be the next shoe to drop - permanently.
President Obama's vocal support for it has caused his job approval ratings to bleed. It may be a price he's willing to pay, but with hundreds of Democrat Congress members and Sneators, all with their own motivations, and constituencies, the resolve may not be entirely the same.
Persistent public pressure is needed for both the Republicans and Democrats from the public to kill this bill. Obamacare can be killed, but not without continued public pressure.
For more on economics or historical learning, search Nonsensible Shoes for "Saturday Learning Series".
August 28, 2009
August 27, 2009
And Howard Dean goes on the offensive; the health care bill WILL contain a government paid option. Oh yes, it will.
This is just the start of the Democrat blowback, and they still have the overall numbers. Not to mention the legislative option of reconciliation. Don't let the Town Hall momentum slide or this boondoggle will still get passed.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A key House liberal suggested Thursday that party moderates who've pushed for changes in health care legislation are "brain dead" and out for insurance company campaign donations.
Moderate Blue Dog Democrats "just want to cause trouble," said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who heads the health subcommittee on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
"They're for the most part, I hate to say, brain dead, but they're just looking to raise money from insurance companies and promote a right-wing agenda that is not really very useful in this whole process," Stark told reporters on a conference call.
UPDATE: Confirmed - I'm not wrong. Source: reality.
In December 2002, when he says he was only 12, he was arrested on suspicion of throwing a grenade into a Jeep carrying US special forces soldiers through Kabul, wounding two of them and an interpreter. He was taken first to an airbase north of Kabul, then to the US prison in Guantánamo Bay, where he remained until his release a few days ago after a ruling by a US judge that his confession had been obtained by force.
Mr Jawad is not the first Afghan prisoner to be released from the Guantánamo prison. But he is believed to be the youngest — although the Pentagon says that bone scans indicated that he was 18 when sent to Guantánamo in 2003.
Mary Spahr wrote:
Wait just a minute. Hold it! His father died in the 1980's? Unless this guy was conceived sometime in 1989 and born after his father's death in 1990, there is no way he could have been just 12 yr. old when he entered Gitmo. Since it doesn't appear that his mother was stoned to death in the public square for having a baby after being widowed, it seems very likely this man is older than he says.
August 27, 2009 3:24 PM BST
After all it is just simple math;
Father died as late as 1989 (possibly earlier).
He was 12 in 2002 making his birth year at earliest 1990.
August 26, 2009
Democrats are looking to revive
But before the end of the first day, there's a rally cry around Ted.
"You've heard of 'win one for the Gipper'? There is going to be an atmosphere of 'win one for Teddy,'" Ralph G. Neas, the CEO of the liberal National Coalition on Health Care, told ABC News.Inappropriate. Opportunistic. Desperate.
If Democrats believe that all it takes to rally support for a bad idea is a death of a liberal stalwart, then no wonder they find themselves in the shape they are in with this health care debacle. It won't change the minds of those with legitimate concerns. And it won't rally the faithful who have been M.I.A. in this battle. Youths don't care too much about health care. Blue Dog Democrats don't care about Kennedy's legacy - they care about re-election.
While it might generate some temporary sympathy, it likely won't move any poll numbers. Nor should it. A death is a death. Kennedy is not a martyr for the cause - to try to turn him into one is cheap, tawdry and disrespectful - even if it was Ted's wish, this is simply not respectable.
The DDT Example
Take a look at what happened as a result of banning the use of the pesticide DDT. DDT was banned in the United States on December 31, 1972. According to the EPA website, William D. Ruckelshaus, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, concluded there were unacceptable risks associated with the pesticide;
The cancellation decision culminated three years of intensive governmental inquiries into the uses of DDT. As a result of this examination, Ruckelshaus said he was convinced that the continued massive use of DDT posed unacceptable risks to the environment and potential harm to human health.The press release goes on to state;
DDT was developed as the first of the modern insecticides early in World War II. It was initially used with great effect to combat malaria, typhus, and the other insect-borne human diseases among both military and civilian populations.
A persistent, broad-spectrum compound often termed the "miracle" pesticide, DDT came into wide agricultural and commercial usage in this country in the late 1940s. During the past 30 years, approximately 675,000 tons have been applied domestically. The peak year for use in the United States was 1959 when nearly 80 million pounds were applied. From that high point, usage declined steadily to about 13 million pounds in 1971, most of it applied to cotton.
In summary, DDT can cause many toxicological effects but the effects on human beings at likely exposure levels seem to be very slight. However, the perceived rather than the calculated risks from DDT use are an important consideration in maintaining public confidence. Thus it would seem prudent that if its use was continued for antimalarial campaigns and the benefits of use outweigh the risks, tight control should continue and the effects of spraying DDT should be closely monitored.The organization argues that toxicology tests proved that there was very little impact in humans, and where impacts were found they were either weak, or very rare. With respect to environmental impact, the chemical is not particularly soluble in water but is so in oils, including animal fats, which might help explain the low levels of toxicity in humans. DDT was also blamed for impacts on bird populations although the claims were dubious at best.
The environmental movement used DDT as a means to increase their power. Charles Wurster, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, commented, "If the environmentalists win on DDT, they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before.. In a sense, much more is at stake than DDT." [Seattle Times, October 5, 1969]It would seem to be agenda driven, as so much of government legislation is. And what consequences resulted from the banning of DDT in the United States and many other countries? If the intended consequence was to save lives, the banning had a deleterious effect on that result. Why? Because people are dying of malaria.
Science journals were biased against DDT. Philip Abelson, editor of Science informed Dr. Thomas Jukes that Science would never publish any article on DDT that was not antagonistic.
William Ruckelshaus, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who made the ultimate decision to ban DDT in 1972, was a member of the Environmental Defense Fund. Ruckelshaus solicited donations for EDF on his personal stationery that read "EDF's scientists blew the whistle on DDT by showing it to be a cancer hazard, and three years later, when the dust had cleared, EDF had won."
Extensive hearings on DDT before an EPA administrative law judge occurred during 1971-1972. The EPA hearing examiner, Judge Edmund Sweeney, concluded that "DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man... DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man... The use of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife." [Sweeney, EM. 1972. EPA Hearing Examiner's recommendations and findings concerning DDT hearings, April 25, 1972 (40 CFR 164.32, 113 pages). Summarized in Barrons (May 1, 1972) and Oregonian (April 26, 1972)]
Overruling the EPA hearing examiner, EPA administrator Ruckelshaus banned DDT in 1972. Ruckelshaus never attended a single hour of the seven months of EPA hearings on DDT. Ruckelshaus' aides reported he did not even read the transcript of the EPA hearings on DDT.
[Santa Ana Register, April 25, 1972]
After reversing the EPA hearing examiner's decision, Ruckelshaus refused to release materials upon which his ban was based. Ruckelshaus rebuffed USDA efforts to obtain those materials through the Freedom of Information Act, claiming that they were just "internal memos." Scientists were therefore prevented from refuting the false allegations in the Ruckelshaus' "Opinion and Order on DDT."
Malaria remains the world's most devastating human parasitic infection. Malaria affects over 40% of the world's population. WHO, estimates that there are 350 - 500 million cases of malaria worldwide, of which 270 - 400 million are falciparum malaria, the most severe form of the disease. Malaria kills in one year what AIDS kills in 15 years. For every death due to HIV/AIDS there are about 50 deaths due to malaria. To add to the problem is the increasing drug resistance to the established drug.The solution should be DDT;
The best method of protection against malaria, in use for 50 years, is indoor residual spraying (IRS), which consists simply of spraying insecticide on the interior walls of houses. And the most effective, safest, cheapest, longest-lasting insecticide for this job is DDT—it crucially deters mosquitoes from entering a building where it has been sprayed. DDT eradicated malaria from the U.S. and Europe and its careful use led to dramatic declines in many other parts of the world. But over the last four decades environmental activists have persuaded public health professionals against using insecticide sprays, especially DDT.The reason DDT is not the solution is because people have felt good about banning it, counting best intentions above actual results. The unintended consequences is that 2.7 million people per year die from malaria about 90% of which are pregnant women or children under 5 years of age. That equates to approximately 100 million malaria related deaths since 1972.
If DDT could have saved merely 50% of those deaths, that means roughly 50 million people have died who could have been able to live. 50 million and likely DDT could have saved far more. That's roughly the number of deaths in all of WW II. Unlike most of the deaths of WW II, these deaths were entirely preventable.
Liberals love throwing around labels about their detractors, but it would seem to me that based on the decisions of a cabal of empowered environmentalists around the globe, 50 million plus deaths occurred as an unintended consequence that, since the decisions were never reversed, could arguably be called one of the worst genocides in human history.
August 25, 2009
At the end of it all, the national debt is expected to be 75% of the economy (GDP). That's World War II levels, except that back then they were in the process of saving the world, not ramping up 'freebie' handouts. Wow - that's huge!
But if you think about it an additional $9 trillion over 10 years equates to $900 billion in deficit PER YEAR!
$9 trillion in new debt on top of the current $11.7 trillion means a national debt over $20 trillion. That number is beyond ridiculous.
And according to Fox News, the interest payments will be $774 billion (linkable source needed). INTEREST PAYMENTS.
I don't know if enough Americans understand how devastating this will be to the economy, and it sure doesn't seem that the administration does. If it did it would completely abandon health care reform as they have proposed it and start concentrating on cancelling programs right away.
Fast forward to the discussion of 'death panels'. If the government can reduce the quality of life to a formula, and provision health care based on the result, it's not a stretch to reason that political pre-disposition could be a variable factored into that calculation. That's not to say that it would be done, but if you were a liberal government czar, it would be an awfully strong temptation.
What the Democrats have in mind becomes more and more chilling the more you think about it. Whether they would intend to manipulate things in such a manner is beside the point. The fact is that much of what they propose and legislate makes such thing possible. While they decry the protesters as un-American, the truth is that so much of what they espouse is not just un-American, it's anti-American. It's antithetical to life and/or liberty and/or the pursuit of happiness.
Some people still remember what those words mean though. If you count yourself among those people, it's time to get involved. You know that expression "There's no rest for the wicked"? The truth is the wicked take no rest, and the rest of us should expect no respite from staving off their attacks on freedom. Now is the time to get involved. A democracy as great as the United States could survive any attack from the outside, but this attack is more sinister because it's internally generated. If you believe in liberty, stand up for it and be counted while you still can; protest until the march towards socialism is put to a halt.
In July auto makers typically lay off shifts for part of the summer. That affects the seasonal adjustment. And this year, a lot of layoffs that happened were prior to the regular layoff period, and they were more permananent than in other years. Just as the July statistic did not account for this and therefore understated the real unemployment, the August numbers will be back to reflecting reality.
If that's the case, then the DJIA will probably take a hit. Consumer confidence likewise will be affected. Those hoping for a V-shaped recovery or even a U-shaped one could be disappointed. Some are calling for a W recovery now (ironic, given the monicker of the last POTUS). I still thinka hockey stick recovery is a distinct possibility, which means years before the job losses reach the mid 2007 employment levels. It could be well into 2013 before that happens. Of course that assumes no further unhealthy Obama shocks to the system.
August 24, 2009
More dangerous in fact than any given spending plan, health care debate or Supreme Court Justice nomination:
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."
~John Maynard Keynes, "Economic Consequences of the Peace" (1919)
Is this where the administration is going? Deliberately?
Brief Economic Explanation
The economy is impacted heavily by a few key factors. Consumer spending represents the lion's share of economic activity (GDP). The economy is also impacted by government spending and business spending. A recession in fact represents negative growth in spending - spenders spending less than before. Spending is in turn impacted by the rate of savings (i.e. money being set aside to not be spent) and by the amount of money available to either save or spend. The amount of money available is known as the money supply. This is governed in large part by monetary policy. Monetary policy is a powerful force in determining what happens next. It is not something that has immediate impact, but it has a bigger impact than a tax cut or a government works program (which is essentially, spending).
How government spends its money (for example the ARRA stimulus spending) and how government collects money, is known as fiscal policy. fiscal policy can also be used to encourage or discourage consumers and businesses to spend or save their money, in particular ways. For example an Investment Tax Credit would lower taxes for businesses or consumers who make certain types of investments - thereby altering the behavior in a ways that suits the government objectives. In theory at least.
Another factor that influences business and consumer spending is psychology. for example, if people believe that unemployment will rise, they tend to spend less and save more in case they might be the ones losing their job. The same is true for business - if they expect unemployment to rise, they see less demand for their goods or services, so they need to supply less, which means, layoffs. Whether the unemployment would have risen or not, the psychology can lead to a self fulfilling prophecy or have other sorts of impacts as well.
One final consideration is that the US economy does not work in isolation. External economies impact and are impacted by the US economy. Who sells to or buys from the United States? How much do they 'trade'? That impacts the value of the dollar, it impacts demand and supply.
How does all this relate?
Again it's a complex system with millions of variables impacting what ultimately happens. It's impossible (for now at least) to do calculations on those levels. But there are some key factors that will influence where things are headed. These include, in no particular order;
(1) Housing sales / housing starts
(2) Automotive sales
(3) The demand for oil
(4) Government purchases and government debt
(5) The money supply / credit markets
There appears to be good news in housing sales. Keep in mind that because of the recessionary pressure, new housing starts will lag behind sales - there's excess inventory.
Investors poured into stocks after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the prospects for a near-term recovery in the world's largest economy appeared to be good. Also boosting confidence was a better-than-expected rise in U.S. home sales last month that helped relieve some of the fears about American consumers that have held stock markets down lately.
…first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit that expires Nov. 30. Sales jumped 7.2%, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday.
"We've got tens of thousands of homes perfect for the first-time homebuyer and we've taken advantage of that," said George Hackett, president of Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Pittsburgh.
The risks to that healthy pace, however, are job cuts, mortgage rates and the looming end to the homebuyer tax credit. "I would not be at all surprised to see a dip (in home sales) at the end of the year once the tax credit expires," said Robert Dye, senior economist with PNC Financial Services Group.
The apparent success of the cash for clunkers has a lot of people excited about what it's done for car sales and/or the environment. As with the housing market, some of any incentive program is attributable to a temporal shift in demand. In other words people who might have bought in 4 months bought this month - cash for clunkers ends today after all. When else are you going to get a few thousand dollars from the government to buy a car?
Setting aside that the import brands seem to be outperforming the domestic brands and that many dealers opted out of the program early because of the administrative nightmare, there's still the issue of what has it done for auto sales long term? And what has it done, more specifically, for domestic auto sales? The staying power of the increased demand is tenuous at best.
Like homes, automotive sales are a large ticket purchase. Psychology has a larger than normal impact on the demand. And another demand influencer is the ability to get a loan to buy the vehicle. That is influenced in turn by monetary policy, which impacts credit markets, and therefore car loans.
Demand for Oil
Oil is always an interesting indicator. Oil is needed to run an economy. In many senses it's the blood of industry, and it's also important to consumers directly. When the price of oil rises, speculation aside, it means demand has risen. That in turn should be a good signal for the economy - oil being used means manufacturers manufacturing and consumers consuming. This is one of those world economy situations though.
Firstly, the oil spending is going offshore to among others, OPEC countries (not exactly the best of world citizenry). It contributes greatly to a national trade imbalance, which carries impacts and consequences of its own.
Secondly, demand for oil, and a rising price, does not predominantly come only from the United States any longer. China is becoming a serious player in the oil consumption game. Oil prices can go up without a requisite recovery in the United States.
What does that mean? It means inflation can more easily co-exist with unemployment and other recessionary indicators - a state known as stagflation.
Higher inflation means higher interest rates. Higher interest rates means more savings and less spending, as purchasing power is declining. Less spending leads to well, recessionary pressure. In theory this is all supposed to work to create an equilibrium, but it doesn't always work out for the best, especially in the stagflation scenario.
Government Spending and Government Debt
ARRA spending is supposed to start kicking in soon. If consumer demand doesn't pick up, the idea is that the government programs spending the money will pick up the slack in demand and keep the economy moving. Rather than re-iterating a well made argument from the Heritage
Foundation, take a look at this interesting read;
Budgetary restraint should be viewed as an opportunity to make an economic virtue out of fiscal necessity. Simply stated, most government spending has a negative economic impact. To be sure, if government spends money in a productive way that generates a sufficiently high rate of return, the economy will benefit, but this is the exception rather than the rule. If the rate of return is below that of the private sector—as is much more common—then the growth rate will be slower than it otherwise would have been. There is overwhelming evidence that government pending is too high and that America’s economy could grow much faster if the burden of government was reduced.
The deficit is not the critical variable. The key is the size of government, not how it is financed. Taxes and deficits are both harmful, but the real problem is that government is taking money from the private sector and spending it in ways that are often counterproductive. The need to reduce spending would still exist—and be just as compelling—if the federal government had a budget surplus. Fiscal policy should focus on reducing the level of government spending, with particular emphasis on those programs that yield the lowest benefits and/or impose the highest costs.
Controlling federal spending is particularly important because of globalization. Today, it is becoming increasingly easy for jobs and capital to migrate from one nation to another. This means that the reward for good policy is greater than ever before, but it also means that the penalty for bad policy is greater than ever before.
August 23, 2009
The Obama administration will raise its 10-year budget deficit projection to approximately $9 trillion from $7.108 trillion in a report next week, a senior administration official told Reuters on Friday.
The higher deficit figure, based on updated economic data, brings the White House budget office into line with outside estimates and gives further fuel to President Barack Obama's opponents, who say his spending plans are too expensive in light of budget shortfalls.
The White House took heat for sticking with its $7.108 trillion forecast earlier this year after the Congressional Budget Office forecast that deficits between 2010 and 2019 would total $9.1 trillion.
"The new forecasts are based on new data that reflect how severe the economic downturn was in the late fall of last year and the winter of this year," said the administration official, who is familiar with the budget mid-session review that is slated to be released next week.
"Our budget projections are now in line with the spring and summer projections that the Congressional Budget Office put out."
To paraphrase Hudson from the movie Aliens, "That's just great!...Why don't you put them in charge?"
Oh wait, I think you beat me to that judging by how you're handling your health care agenda.
Seems pretty clear to me. While they have overall approval at 48% and disapproval at 51%. Meanwhile, Gallup still has it at 54% approve to 38% disapprove. Clearly though, things are still heading south.
August 22, 2009
August 21, 2009
[NOTE: Not my personal footage.]
I'm not sure how people could live in tornado alley day-in day-out. Tornadoes are impressively scary. Then again, I'd likely be one of those fools to run out and gawk at it. I'm sure a few liberals would be happy if I did.
See, I knew I'd find a way to bring it back to politics.
Bonus footage - some serious darkness and lightning came along with this storm. Below are a couple of other storms in Toronto - one from last week and one from two years ago showing the CN Tower being hit by lightning.
Every big idea that works is marked by simplicity, by clarity. You can understand it when you hear it, and you can explain it to people. Social Security: Retired workers receive a public pension to help them through old age. Medicare: People over 65 can receive taxpayer-funded health care. Welfare: If you have no money and cannot support yourself, we will help as you get back on your feet.
These things are clear. I understand them. You understand them. The president's health-care plan is not clear, and I mean that not only in the sense of "he hasn't told us his plan." I mean it in terms of the voodoo phrases, this gobbledygook, this secret language of government that no one understands—"single payer," "public option," "insurance marketplace exchange." No one understands what this stuff means, nobody normal.
Think of a business model. Think of the laws of physics. Think of your favorite song (it's probably not an 18 minute jazz opus). Think of the concept of hard work pays off. Think of effective corporate slogans and logos (for example Nike, what's their slogan, and their logo?). The fact of the matter is simplicity, simply, works. It just does. It's the KISS principle - Keep It Simple Stupid (either that or Gene Simmons).
So if simplicity works, why do people including government officials (elected or otherwise) assume that the government has to be so complex? Not meaning to go all libertarian on you, could the United States government not go miles towards easing economic problems by simply easing up on the complexities they have imposed on American business? The tax code is over 67,000 pages long. Does that seem reasonable to anyone other than a bureaucrat or a lawyer? I can't begin to imagine how many pages of federal laws there are.
The government doesn't tell you what part of the sandbox to play in. It doesn't tell you what games to play, what toys to play with in the sandbox or how long you can play for. It's there to make sure the sandbox is okay to play in and those playing in it aren't harming each other. Period.
The message that will connect with voters has to be clear, concise and simple to understand. The wrong approach to take is to emulate the Obama approach - vagueness. It worked for him in 2008, but his believers are turning to skeptics. Why? Because vagueness breeds an internalization of what the candidate means. The internalization is to see the candidate in the best or worst possible light. What you get after the fact, is the stark reality of how the candidate really governs. The issue is, Obama used up the tactic. Because of the disillusionment over his real governing style, it can't be used again because people will demand more up front accountability. Simply put, that same tactic won't work for at least another 20 years.
Sara Palin cut through the health care clutter like a knife through butter.
And it worked. Those two words tore through the health care debate and affected a change in the crafting of the bill.
Let's face it, I'm not really one to talk about simplicity. I'm typically too verbose for my own liking, let alone someone else's. But I know truth when I see it, and I know
Simpler = more gooder.
Why? Mainly because it's fun.
Here's some preliminary thoughts I had on the possibilities:
-Based on the primary battles with Clinton and perhaps Obama's feeling that he had to hire her, maybe she's a contender to get let go. She seems stressed about Bill, but underneath there could still be Obama stress
-Holder continues to say all the right wrong things so he's probably safe.
-Robert Gibbs, I'm surprised doesn't just give up and quit on his own. Seeing him makes me want to yell at my TV screen "It's over Johnny!"
-Biden you can't really fire but at least they're keeping him better hidden for now.
-Emmanuel - no chance, he's the hatchet man not the victim. Where's his off switch?
-Axelrod? Maybe if there's some stickiness to the scandal.
-Sebelius? Nope - too partisan to let go. Perhaps shuffled to the Department of Used Rags.
What are your thoughts? Anyone care to handicap the favorites? And how about the timing?
August 20, 2009
August 19, 2009
[NOTE on image: Source unknown]
On the other hand conservatives, and certainly many moderates see him as pushing way to hard, way too fast - launch the torpedoes and damn the consequences. There's a growing body of evidence that suggests the consequences could very well be quite dire. Unimaginable debt levels are around the corner. An erosion of another bit of freedom in the name of equality is in the works with the health care bill. That equality of opportunity and equality of outcome are two different things and define the very difference between capitalism and socialism doesn't seem to matter. In fact most people have never stopped to consider the distinction. It's an important one.Historically, what made in turn Great Britain and the United States great, was the economic power that capitalism provided as an engine for the economy. Conversely the slow decline of Great Britain and in turn the relative (slow but accelerating) decline of the United States over the last 40 years has been the erosion of those systems with the slowly changing belief that equality of outcome is more important than the equality of opportunity. Such notions are anathema to individual liberty - who decides what equality of outcome means? Certainly not the individual. But it is the individual who is forced to adapt and comply with the results of those decisions.
As an extemporaneous example, suppose Barney Frank was put in charge of the health care equality department. Upon investigation he decides that accidental drownings put too much of a burden on hospitals in coastal regions. As a result he decides to push for legislation to outlaw water sports? Or further still any aquatic activity at all, including fishing and shipping? Entire industries in addition to individuals have just had their freedoms eroded. Significantly. And at the whim of a bureaucrat. That's not freedom.
In other words, as an individual, with respect to personal freedom, you are hamstrung.
To destroy or hinder the efficiency of; frustrate: "These worthwhile books are often hamstrung by unimaginative formats and inaccurate art" (Don Lessem).Equally importantly, if not more importantly, the United States, as a nation is growing ever more hamstrung by the creeping form of socialism that the Democrats have incessantly tried and succeeded in foisting upon the nation since the days of FDR.
If the United States is going to continue to be an economic superpower - and make no mistake, if you want real freedom it costs not just blood, but a lot of money - then this incremental death by 1000 socialist cuts HAS to be stopped.