Members of Congress have made it a practice to treat the opposition with courtesy and respect even during the most heated of disputes. President Obama took to the airways today to humiliate and degrade the opposition party with untoward politicized remarks. Republicans should simply refuse to deal with him until he learns the decorum of a statesman rather than acting like a Chicago back alley Pol. The Republican Party would be better off as would the country as a whole. There is no need to mince words.
The media complain of a dysfunctional government. They should look closely at its source – a president in constant campaign mode ready to demagogue any issue.
Monday, December 31, 2012
What Paul Gregory is Writing About: Republicans Should Walk Away Until Obama Acts as a Grown Up President
Sunday, December 30, 2012
There is no diversity of thought on the vast majority of university campuses. The classes, the administration, the campus culture, the professors — all accept the man-made destructive heating of the planet, the rape of the environment, the toxicity of free market-capitalism, the racist-sexist-homophobic narrative of the U.S. past, the need for unquestioned abortion on demand, gay marriage, legalization of drugs, etc.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Lt. Col. Ralph Peters: Something is fundamentally wrong with the media in this country » The Right Scoop -
This is a great segment with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters responding to the fact that those in the State Dept. who were supposedly canned after the Bengahzi report came out were actually reassigned to different offices or something. Peters says that the reason they weren’t canned is that the Obama administration is afraid of these people actually telling the truth, so instead of agitating them they pet them softly in another office.
And to that point, Peters says, the lack of media interest in this entire Benghazi scandal where 4 people needlessly died and the Obama administration lied points to the fact that there is a fundamental problem with the media in this country. He says the media are more concerned with a stray kitten than Benghazi.
He also says that the reason Hillary doesn’t want to testify has everything to do with 2016, that she doesn’t want a stain on her record considering she’s gonna run for president in 4 years. He also believes the Obama administration is afraid of her parsing words in such a way that will just keep Benghazi alive.
Is the love affair between Silicon Valley and green energy coming to a close? The Wall Street Journal reports that Silicon Valley venture capitalists are learning what the rest of us have known for some time: most green energy projects simply aren’t profitable. A recent survey of venture capitalists suggests that these investors are preparing to pull their money out of green ventures in record numbers in 2013 to invest in more traditional enterprises.
Friday, December 28, 2012
We got here because the individuals who comprise Congress have no skin in the game and are in fact better off with endless cliffhangers that result in frequent but completely avoidable crises. And even without a full plunge, damage has already been done to the American economy.
We have already been downgraded by Standard & Poor's because of our shoddy governance. At some point, the dynamics that led to downgrade will also lead to higher interest rates, which may lead to bankruptcy
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The impact of economic freedom on average life expectancy is the most striking aspect of the data shown in the above Table. More specifically, the average life expectancy is over 80 years in all seven economically free countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, and Ireland). Unfortunately, there are over 70 countries that are mostly unfree or repressed which represent almost 5 billion people with shorter life spans: in none of these individual countries is the average life expectancy over 80.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Just a paragraph in one of his Random Thoughts columns.
The annual outbursts of intolerance toward any display of traditional Christmas scenes, or even daring to call a Christmas tree by its name, show that today's liberals are by no means liberal. Behind the mist of their lofty words, the totalitarian mindset shows throug
Saturday, December 22, 2012
New Study Finds Democrats Fully to Blame for Subprime Mortgage Crisis that Caused 2008 Financial Disaster | The Gateway Pundit
A new study by the respected National Bureau of Economic Research found that Democrats are to blame for the subprime mortgage crisis.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Minority groups in America live better here than they do in other parts of the world. This is true for both blacks and Hispanics. “Poor” in America is a description of at least lower middle class or better in many countries around the world. Yet when given a chance, these groups gladly plunged America into a dark and dangerous future to take their “revenge” against our nation.
On first glance, this lust for revenge seems counterintuitive. But closer examination explains this rage. Both groups are fueled by greed, hatred, jealousy, and a thirst for revenge stoked to a roaring flame by Barack Obama, a man unconcerned with long-term consequences.
Consider these points. At 14.3%, black unemployment is more than double white unemployment. At 10%, Hispanic unemployment is more than 2 points higher than the national average. By no measure are either of these groups better off now than they were before Obama came along.
Yet blacks and Hispanics ran to the polls in an orgy of hatred and revenge for the greater society to reelect “Brother Barack”, who has destroyed both their secular and religious lives. Obama forced both of them to choose between him and their pastors over the issue of gay marriage. They decided that the chance for revenge he offered them was worth ignoring their religious leaders’ call to Biblical law. They willingly complied when Obama appealed to their seething hatred because feeding their desire for retribution is more important than anything else in their lives. They loved it when Obama publicly abandoned any pretense of caring about what white people thought of him or them.
A recent survey found that 59% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. This alone should have stopped Obama; yet the sheer orgasmic delight of “stickin’ to the man” rendered this fact meaningless for these groups. Certainly, they participated in this survey; but alas, eating the tasty meal of hatred and revenge – which Obama actually preached as a reason to vote for him – was far too satisfying to pass up.
“Getting even” for the “pains and suffering” of living in a nation still the envy of the world was enough reason to flush America down the toilet for these people. Barack Obama has turned half of the country into feral adolescents willing to give up their freedoms and ability to think in exchange for a front-row seat to the decline of a nation they have been taught to hate. They are content with a life of roaming from one “free lunch” trough to another. They will eat until their snout hits bottom, then straighten up, burp, fart, and move to the next trough without ever contributing a thing or showing a speck of gratitude. What happens when the last trough is emptied is the question.
Photo credit: BeFrank (Creative Commons)
- Evangelicals Plunge America Into Darkness, Stay Home On Election Day (Editor’s note: The following views are solely those of the...
- Black Voices Against A Third World America Integrated misery under Obama allows every American segment to experience...
The break-down of bargaining between Barack Obama and John Boehner was predictable from the outset. Unfortunately, no one, however smart, who has to carry his GOP majority in the House, can bargain with a low-IQ President who believes that a fractional popular-vote majority has provided him with dictatorial powers.
The President can threaten John Boehner with: ’Your money or your life’. He cannot credibly threaten the GOP majority in the People’s chamber. So both parties come up empty-handed. Ultimately this outcome may be good news for the Republic.
The time has come for almost all Americans to confront their own individual responsibilities for the debt crisis. Let me be blunt. Almost all Americans – except the truly wealthy – have taken more out of the Federal Treasury that they have put back in. That is how huge debts pile up. Like all profligates, the time comes when they have to reverse course or face the harshness of the debtors’ prison. Atlas, finally, has shrugged.
The so-called fiscal cliff is no accident of fate. It was legislated by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the current President. It is the law of the land in the absence of any new legislation. So welcome it with open arms as a first down-payment on profligacy. Surely do not allow any reversal to occur after January 1, 2013, unless it adds further down-payments in the form of aggressive public spending cuts.
The President has lifted his bayonet and scrambled over the top. No one will follow him. There is no sense in providing a fool with protective cover. Soon enough, I am quite sure, that particular President will be rushing back into his own trenches, once he comprehends the devastated second term that lies ahead of such arrogant stupidity.
We have so thoroughly tied up something as basically necessary to the existence of civilized society as farming the land with so much bureaucracy and red tape – endlessly attended to by an army of bureaucrats and grandstanding politicians – that the farmers themselves must wait with the sort of anxiety they normally reserve for weather patterns to see what sort of legislative activity emerges.
Fact: “…gun ownership rates do not correlate with higher murder or suicide rates” | Liberty News Network
In their piece entitled Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and some Domestic Evidence, Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser eviscerate “the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths.” In so doing, the authors provide fascinating historical insight into astronomical murder rates in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and they dispel the myths that widespread gun ownership is somehow unique to the United States or that America suffers from the developed world’s highest murder rate.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
20 children murdered in Connecticut school – news media explodes. 446 school age children shot in Chicago, news media silent.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Liberalism is like a restaurant with ugly decor, terrible food, overflowing toilets and roaches scurrying across the floor -- that stays packed every night. Sure, liberals may be sanctimonious, mean spirited and advocate policies that don't work, but you can't help but admire the excellence of their public relations network. They can laud themselves for courage because they take a stand everyone they know agrees with, pat themselves on the back for their compassion as they maliciously insult someone that disagrees with them and congratulate themselves for their charitable behavior as they give other people's money away. Liberal mythology is one thing, but what it actually looks like is a different beast entirely.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Not only Do They Get Paid too Much, New Evidence Confirms Bureaucrats Don’t Work Very Hard « International Liberty
Chris Edwards, put together a remarkable (and depressing) chart showing that federal bureaucrats get almost twice the level of compensation as workers in the productive sector of the economy.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
You're great at explaining liberalism as a (dare I say coherent) system. But systems of any kind throughout nature are usually developed to cope with reality and rational forces. They observe the laws of nature very strictly, or give rise to laws themselves. Systems are usually rational. How then does liberalism make sense? Liberalism is suicidal, self-loathing, reality-denying, irrational chaos. It is an attack on the existence of existence.LA replies:
It seems only white people enthusiastically support the self-annihilatory aspect of liberalism. Why? Have whites developed some genetic mutation that will cause them to self-destruct?
Earl is absolutely right that liberalism is an attack on the existence of existence. I can't reply right now, but his question is so powerful and to the point that wanted to post it now. We'll get back to it later.
However, here's quick answer to Earl's question that just came to me. I've often said that liberalism consists of blocking out vast sectors of reality--race and sex differences, black violence, the tyrannical agenda of Islam, the objective moral good, the conditions for the creation of wealth, and on and on. Well, since liberalism at its core consists of blocking out reality, it is no surprise that liberals also block out the fact that by blocking out reality, they are assuring the destruction of their own civilization.
For this mother of two, working again will bring her family an additional income of only $170. Moreover, this $170 is likely to be lost in the cost of transportation to work, since the cost of gas in France is $7 per gallon. In any case, such a small amount of money is not an incentive to go back to work. Between staying home and working, the choice is simple: welfare is a better deal.
Liberalism doesn't work. At any rate, not the way liberals commonly suppose it's going to work when they devise enormous taxpayer-funded, government-run programs, minimally connected, if at all, to the realities of human existence.
In my column this week for Hoover's Defining Ideas, I argue that the FDA is not only standing between sick patients and crucial drugs, it is violating the prohibition against free speech. The problem is its policy about the off-label promotion of drugs.
Between 25 and 60 percent of drugs are prescribed for off-label uses. For cancer patients, that number may be as high as 65 percent. The bottom line is that these drugs help sick patients recover and they save lives. Yet, the FDA criminally prosecutes drug companies that promote and publicize any off-label uses of drugs. If the off-label uses are indeed beneficial, anything that slows down their dissemination could mean the difference between disease or recovery—life or death—in thousands of sick individuals. The unbounded power of the FDA to block the use of such drugs does not square with any defensible conception of individual autonomy or freedom of speech. The FDA is vulnerable. The Supreme Court should cut it down to size.
I elaborate on these issues and more over at Defining Ideas.
Monday, December 10, 2012
The New York Post reports today that New York City’s trendiest areas are also the city’s worst for sexually transmitted diseases. A new study from the Department of Health shows that areas like SoHo and the Upper West Side are an order of magnitude higher than the city average in terms of syphilis transmission. Those areas are also, not coincidentally, the most liberal areas of the city.
The other areas that are most STD ravaged are in poverty-stricken areas: a full 68 percent of neighborhoods in the Bronx have “high” rates of multiple STDs; HIV is prevalent in Crown Heights, Williamsburg, and Harlem; areas like the South Bronx and northern Manhattan have tremendously elevated levels of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
The takeaway: If you want to avoid an STD, stick to the suburbs. Staten Island is, according to the study, the healthiest area in terms of STDs.
The difference is that U.3 does not include discouraged workers who are not currently actively seeking a job. (A discouraged worker is a person who has given up looking for a job because there are no jobs to be found.) The U.6 measure includes workers who have been discouraged for less than one year. The U.6 rate of unemployment is 14.4%, about double the headline rate.
The U.6 rate does not include long-term discouraged workers, those who have been discouraged for more than one year. John Williams estimates this rate and reports the actual rate of unemployment (known as SGS) in November to be 22.9%.
In other words, the headline rate of unemployment is one-third the actual rate.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an agency of the federal government, is lending $105 million to the Brazilian state of Ceara to help build an aquarium in its capital city of Fortaleza.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
“This is painful for a liberal to admit,” writes liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, “but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in soul-crushing dependency.”
Kristof is writing from Breathitt County, Ky., deep in the Appalachian mountains, about mothers whose Supplemental Security Income benefits will decrease if their children learn to read.
Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com
Egyptian Opposition Leader Ahmed Said: US Ignored Warnings on Brotherhood (+video) | Restoring Liberty
Washington has failed to heed warnings from inside Egypt about the true intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian opposition leader Ahmed Said tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview.
“Unfortunately the United States was not listening,” Said told Newsmax. Said, a former member of the Egyptian parliament, heads the Free Egyptians Party, a staunchly pro-Western, pro-democratic political party.
An official government report released Friday admits that the Pigford “Black Farmers” Settlement was designed with no mechanism for objectively determining fraud but hid that shocking conclusion under pages of bureaucratic doublespeak.
“Burying the lede” is a journalistic term used to describe the act of hiding essential information by putting non-essentials in front of it. On December 7, 2012, the United States Government Accountability Office released report number GAO-13-69R, also known as “Civil Rights: Additional Actions in Pigford II Claims Process Could Reduce Risk of Improper Determinations.”
Just based on the title, you can already tell the report is needlessly wordy. This helps bury what should be the bigger story—that the Pigford settlement isn’t the mere victim of a few fraudsters but was, in fact, set up to make fraud not just rampant but also totally undetectable.
In the old days, Washington politicians would have negotiations between the President and Congress, and both being somewhat well-meaning, they would split the baby in half.
However, today, with President Obama so ill-intentioned toward the United States and its future, negotiations between him and with those of us who oppose him are pointless.
A Christian worldview regarding the economy is essential if America is to recover its eroding economic leadership in the world. A Christian worldview of economics is predicated upon the fact that man is born sinful (Ephesians 2:3), does not prosper by injustice (Ephesians 4:28), should work (2 Thessalonians 3:10), should not be dependent on anyone (1 Thessalonians 5:11-12), respects private property (Exodus 20:15), prospers through diligence (Proverbs 21:5), resists the envy of other people’s property (Exodus 20:17), believes that rich and poor are esteemed the same by God (Exodus 30:15), and that righteousness can yield abundance (Proverbs 16:8).
The Christian worldview also elevates the power of freedom. The Bible espouses the freedom to choose (1 Corinthians 6:12), that God makes us free (John 8:36), that freedom requires morality (Psalm 119:45), wherever God is honored there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17), that true freedom is based upon love (Galatians 5:13), that freedom requires discernment (1 Corinthians 8:9), and that the truth will set you free (John 8:32).
Some liberal Christians like Jim Wallis believe that the Bible prescribes socialism in Acts 4:32-35 and social justice (redistribution of private property), but this represents a failure in hermeneutics. This is a failure in thinking because the example presented in Acts 4:32-35 is characterized by the volitional decision to share private property. The passage is explicit in that the property shared is privately owned (antipodal to the state-owned model of socialism) and that the redistribution is not compulsory (also antipodal to state-run socialism). There is no Biblical support for state-run socialism. Those who try to twist the scriptures to support socialism neither understand the meaning nor understand how the world operates.
Capitalism is an economic system where production, distribution, and trade are privately owned to yield a profit for those who have made the investment to support that objective. It should be done in a largely free marketplace where the government respects private property and the legal system protects contractual law. Problems arise based upon the moral and ethical failure of owners (committing fraud), the market (committing theft), or the government (limiting freedom and violating property rights).
Winston Churchill eloquently observed that “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Thomas Jefferson rebuked the notion of government control: “Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.” Margaret Thatcher said that “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them.”
God blesses people and nations according to His will (Psalm 67), and He is not accountable to man (Romans 11:33) and is sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11-12). However, Christian stewardship requires a responsibility to God for decisions and behavior. Biblical stewardship believes that God is the owner of all things and man (individually and collectively) is His steward. When man abandons the authority of God in such affairs, he risks danger as Lord Acton stated: “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The status of the current American economy is precarious. One of the best measures of a country’s economic health is the debt-to-GDP ratio, an indicator of the relationship between debt and production. The official US debt is approximately $16.3 trillion, while the US GDP is approximately $13.6 trillion (http://www.bea.gov/national/xls/gdplev.xls) constituting a ratio of approximately 120%. Furthermore, the unfunded liabilities (obligations without funding sources) is well over $100 trillion. This includes Medicare Part A at $36 trillion, Medicare Part B at $37 trillion, Medicare part D at $15 trillion, and Social Security at $17.5 trillion for a grand total of unfunded liabilities over $105 trillion. America has economically fallen far in the past few years. This suggests that absent draconian measures to cut entitlements (currently above 60% of GDP and growing), the United States may face an environment of bankruptcy and/or broken promises. We cannot grow ourselves out of this mess without concomitant entitlement reform.
The US government spending as a percentage of GDP has reached an all-time high (excluding World War II). This has happened as more politicians promise more benefits to more people who vote themselves larger abundance. It is a failure of leadership and of the governed. It is both unsustainable and a moral failure of epic proportions. At the time of Jesus, Rome imposed a 5% inheritance tax and a 1% sales tax (compared to the average state sales tax in the US of 5.6%). Currently, the US government taxes estates at 35% for those with estates over $5,000,000. Suddenly, the oppression of Rome doesn’t look so bad.
What is the Biblical worldview of economics? It is based on the Judeo-Christian principles of morality, freedom, and protection of private property. Capitalism is the economic system best suited to address the tenets of a Biblical worldview.
What should the individual do in response to the precarious nature of the US economy and the increasing role of the state? We should recognize that there are seasons of feast/famine where saving is essential to survive the bad times (Genesis 41:34-36), that debt can create bondage (Proverbs 22:7), that ignoring the signs of the times can bring disaster (Proverbs 22:3), and to trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6). Finally, the Christian should not run to the state (man) for rescue but to God (Jeremiah 17:5). Therefore, it is prudent to prepare for difficulties ahead, restrain personal spending and borrowing, strengthen savings behavior, embrace the morality of individual responsibility in uncertain times, and get involved in the culture to assure we have righteous leaders and economic practices. Ethics and engagement matter. We are called to redeem the culture (Acts 15:1-31, Colossians 3:17, and Genesis 1:28).
So many Americans now seek state solutions as the preferred path without realizing it is a path of broken promises that may jeopardize their own freedom as well. Karl Marx saidL “There is only one way to kill capitalism- by taxes, taxes, and more taxes.” Abraham Lincoln said: “You can not help men permanently by doing for them what they could do and should do for themselves.” Thomas Jefferson said that “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”
Ethics and morality are indispensable supports for a sound economy. The road we choose as individuals will determine the road we take as a nation. America has changed because its people have changed. Our leaders reflect the best or worst in us. Currently, it is the latter. We must restore the hearts and minds of people to a proper worldview if we are to restore America to its former greatness.
Hamas, at least according to one increasingly popular line of reasoning in both the U.S. and Europe, is supposed to be turning more moderate because of its governance responsibilities in the Gaza Strip. Indeed, many commentators claimed to see evidence of its growing maturity in its decision to agree with Israel on a relatively fast cease-fire deal after the most recent round of fighting. Many call for engaging in negotiations with Hamas on the assumption that it is tacitly accepting a two-state solution.
Such analysis has always appeared to be the triumph of hope over experience and never more so than following Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal’s triumphal homecoming to the Gaza Strip–a territory he had never previously visited in his life but where he exercises a large degree of influence. His speech, to mark the 25th anniversary of Hamas’s founding, was not exactly a model of moderation
After all of his seemingly endless campaign stops and harsh rhetoric about the rich not paying "their fair share," it turns out that the president’s proposed tax hikes on “the rich” will only raise enough revenue to run the government for about eight days. But that doesn’t really matter, of course, because it’s all about “fairness.” In other words, if Washington lawmakers are serious about reducing the federal deficit -- as they claim to be -- the real solution is that they must stop borrowing and spending money we don’t have. We cannot carry on like this indefinitely:
We have squandered the chance to have a greater impact on the forces trying to overthrow Assad and set ourselves up for the next war. To a large extent this flows from Obama's hasty retreat from Iraq which allowed al Qaeda to reassert itself and then send its fighters to help overthrow Assad. Obama's "smart diplomacy" has gone from one screw up to the next. For the Syrians they face going from bad to worse if al Qaeda is able to take advantage of the chaos created by the overthrow.
The United States faces a challenge, as some of the best fighters in an uprising that it wants to support belong to a group that it considers a terrorist organization.
“I am touching upon the taboos that have to be broken, because a totally false narrative has been created in Europe.”
“The idea that all cultures are the same is absurd. If there is no hierarchy in culture, then Nazi culture is equivalent to democratic Western culture. There are Islamic groups which are equivalent in their language and ideology to Nazis. And I have no problem in saying that, because it is true.”
For both Policy Reasons and Political Reasons, the Fiscal Cliff Is Better than Surrender « International Liberty
But it’s hard to laugh when you contemplate what’s happening. Obama is bullying the GOP, and the Republicans are in the process of surrendering to his class-warfare demands.
That will lead to bad policy, but it will also result in an emasculated, compliant, and house-broken GOP for at least the next two years, and perhaps even Obama’s entire second term. So even though the fiscal cliff tax hike is bigger than what Obama’s currently demanding, the long-run policy damage of surrender almost surely will be far greater.
Republicans don’t have many options in this fight. But they can show some cojones and tell Obama that the only way he’ll get a tax hike is if he wants to take the nation over the cliff.
Government spending has continued relentlessly upwards for decades, irrespective of president, party, program, or promise. There’s no reason to believe that this time would be different.
Uncle Sam is ever profligate and irresponsible. Washington wastes money with wild abandon. The federal government redistributes wealth to any group with a letterhead and lobbyist. Surely Washington should curb its expensive tastes before it seizes more of people’s earnings.
As regular flyers are aware, all electronic devices must be turned off during takeoff and landing. As I’ve noted before, there is no safety justification for this across-the-board rule. Many devices pose no risk of interference with equipment and passengers are allowed to have all sorts of other things out that could pose an equal risk of obstruction in an emergency. This week, The Hill reported that Federal Communications Commission chairman Jules Genachowski is encouraging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” on planes. Will the FAA listen?
Climate negotiators at the most recent conference on global warming were unable to reduce expectations fast enough to match the collapse of their agenda. As the NYT reports, they concluded the 18th Conference of the Parties by committing ”to more ambitious — but unspecified — actions to reduce emissions of climate-altering gases.”
The only real winners here were the bureaucrats in the diplomacy industry for whom endless rounds of carbon spewing conferences with no agreement year after year mean jobs, jobs, jobs.
The Kyoto protocol, the ineffectual walking dead climate treaty, will lurch on for a few more years, toothless and brain dead. The rich countries yet again remain vague about the treaty, killing the hundred-billion-dollar-a-year demand by the third world countries whose clueless militancy turned the General Assembly into a pointless sideshow decades ago.
The inexorable decline of the climate movement from its Pickett’s Charge at the Copenhagen summit continues. The global green lobby is more flummoxed than ever. These people and these methods couldn’t make a ham sandwich, much less save Planet Earth.
Capitalism is, by its nature, dynamic: it creates transitory disparities of wealth constantly as it reinvents itself. Fortunes are made and lost and, as old industries are replaced by new, the earnings that they create rise and fall. Punishing those who exceed some momentary average income and artificially subsidising those who fall below it – as well as providing for a universal standard of living which bears no relation to merit or even to need – has now reached the unavoidable, unaffordable end of the line.
So who will tell the truth – and then act on it? Who will say not just that welfare must be cut, but that in future the NHS will need to rely on a system of co-payments? That people will have to provide for their own retirement because the state pension will be frozen? That without a radical reduction in government intervention, the free and prosperous West will have been a brief historical aberration?
Saturday, December 8, 2012
President Barack Obama is a threat to America’s economy, its constitution, its standing in the world, and most of all its national security.
Few Americans seem to understand, that Obama’s policy of slashing military spending, and reducing preparedness, is endangering hundreds of millions of lives, and putting America’s very survival at grave risk.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Throughout the presidential campaign, Republican candidates pointed to the number of food stamp recipients -- increasing from 33 million people in 2009 to 43 million in 2012 -- as a sign that poverty had skyrocketed under President Obama. But a new study suggests that the reason there has been such an increase in food stamp recipients during the last four years is even more pernicious.
The study's authors, George Mason University's David Armor and Sonia Sousa, argue that the food stamp program can no longer be regarded as an anti-poverty program because nearly half of its recipients are above the poverty line, many of them substantially so. And other anti-poverty programs have an even higher percentage of the non-poor among their recipients.
Rock star activist and philanthropist Bono is saying that capitalism is a better long-term strategy for helping third-world countries than aid payments.
“Aid is just a stop-gap,” he said during a speech to Georgetown University last month. “Commerce [and] entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid.”
Advocates for bigger government—just about everyone these days, it seems—believe that government is the most efficient and humane provider of goods and services. It’s such a bizarre way of viewing the world, but lessons about the wonders of the free market apparently aren’t taught anywhere any more.
The presidential election and ongoing debates in the California Legislature illustrate this frightening phenomenon. Voters chose a candidate who has an undying faith in the power of government and even the Republican candidate failed to clearly explain the most obvious lesson—why free enterprise is superior to government coercion.
I don’t like to toss around pejoratives such as “socialist,” but what do you call a state Legislature where the dominant majority seethes with hostility toward private firms and does little more than hatch plans to create new government programs?
The amount of money spent on welfare programs equals, when converted to cash payments, about "$168 per day for every household in poverty," the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee finds. Here's a chart detailing the committee's findings:
Via NewsBusters, C.L. Bryant, a former NAACP Texas president and current Baptist minister, told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts Thursday there's really no reason for black people to have voted for the re-election of Barack Obama other than the color of his skin. Bryant also said that due to the high Latino unemployment rate as well as the high poverty rate among young white women, the same was true for those demographic groups.
It's hard to believe that this actually came out on MSNBC, but Bryant's points are spot-on and exactly what the GOP kept pointing out all during the 2012 election. And even the race-baiting, anti-American racist Jeremiah Wright has said the same thing.
Here's the trailer for the film "Runaway Slaves" that Bryant refers to in the above MSNBC clip.
Ayaan’s message to America was clear: “We’re deteriorating. We’re becoming like the rest of the world, instead of the rest of the world becoming like us.” A sobering thought. But the words I haven’t quite been able to get out of my mind since our interview are the ones about America’s refusal to “recognize Islamic terrorism” – namely, Ayaan’s flat statement that our leaders’ failure to face the simple truth makes America “worse than Europe – any country in Europe.” When, in the last year of the last century, I first encountered Muslim enclaves in Amsterdam and saw the whole future nightmare of Europe unfolding in my mind’s eye, I never imagined I’d be hearing such words about America – and nodding in dour agreement.
Monday, December 3, 2012
If Alexis de Tocqueville were to have written Democracy in America today, he might have shared an entirely different perception of America. He would have found too many of our citizens suffering from the depression of our age--"Learned helplessness." Rather than believing that they have what it takes to invent their own future and claiming the mantle of self-reliance and earned opportunity that made America great, they look to government for support.
America was built on "inalienable," God-given rights that for the first time in recorded history affirmed that all men are created equal. An individual's fate was not determined by who his father or country of origin was, but by his own freely chosen pursuit of his own ambitions.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
What I would say to libertarians is this. Liberty requires a responsible citizenry, and the sexual revolution (very much like the drug culture, which was and is its Doppelgänger) promotes irresponsibility of every kind. It promotes dependence, and it fosters an ethos in which those who exercise the virtues fostered by the market are punished for doing so and in which those who live for present pleasure are rewarded.
There are many reasons why Mitt Romney lost in 2012. Some, as I suggested in an earlier post, were his fault. Some of them were not. One of the latter is that the demographic deck was stacked against him in a fashion that it was not stacked against Ronald Reagan in 2008. If we do not find a way to reverse the sexual revolution, we are doomed. The future of liberty is contingent on the success of the social conservatives. The libertinism that some libertarians ostentatiously embrace provides the growth in the administrative entitlements state with its impetus. If to be a libertarian is to favor political liberty, then libertarians must embrace social conservatism. If to be a libertarian is to embrace sex, drugs, and rock and roll, then libertarians are the proponents -- whether witting or not -- of the soft despotism that threatens to engulf us.
As I said in my blogpost on Saturday, the last thing that we need to do is to take the advice proffered to us by Mike Murphy that, to succeed, the Republican Party must surrender to the Zeitgeist. If the Republican Party does that, it should be abandoned.
Matt Kibbe, OP/ED | 11/29/2012 –
The Fiscal Cliff: How To Call The Big Spenders’ Bluff
The fiscal cliff – and the hullabaloo surrounding it — is a curious phenomenon. It has been over 3 years since Harry Reid’s Senate passed a budget. The U.S. federal government is over $16 trillion in debt. And Uncle Sam is borrowing 1 out of every 3 dollars he spends.
If there is a “fiscal cliff,” our federal government drove off the edge of it about ten trillion dollars ago.
And yet we’re being told another recession looms unless we avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1. So powerful insiders are negotiating a “bipartisan deal” behind closed doors to give us … tax hikes and spending cuts. What’s the difference?
In Washington, “shared sacrifice” means everyone must sacrifice except the government. History has shown that in these bipartisan “deficit-reduction deals,” the tax hikes are immediate while the spending cuts are promised – yet never materialize.
via The Fiscal Cliff: How To Call The Big Spenders’ Bluff – Forbes.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
The government class has shown that it is unwilling and unable to make the responsible decisions that need to be made. It is being led by liars and fools who see it as a lever for upending and taking over a working class society, and replacing it with a parasite's paradise of academics making laws, unions setting their own terms and a government that is always expanding and never contracting.
A host and a parasite of equal size cannot both survive for long. Either both the host and the parasite will die. Or the parasite will die and the host will live.
Then there is the matter of conservative political practice. "Conservatives should be the party of judgment, not just of principles," he says. "Of course there are conservative principles—free markets, family values, a strong national defense—but those principles must be defended with the use of good judgment. Conservatives need to be intelligent, and they shouldn't use their principles as substitutes for intelligence. Principles need to be there so judgment can be distinguished from opportunism. But just because you give ground on principle doesn't mean you're an opportunist."
Nor should flexibility mean abandoning major components of the conservative agenda—including cultural values—in response to a momentary electoral defeat. "Democrats have their cultural argument, which is the attack on the rich and the uncaring," Mr. Mansfield says. "So Republicans need their cultural arguments to oppose the Democrats', to say that goodness or justice in our country is not merely the transfer of resources to the poor and vulnerable. We have to take measures to teach the poor and vulnerable to become a little more independent and to prize independence, and not just live for a government check. That means self-government within each self, and where are you going to get that except with morality, responsibility and religion?"
So is it still possible to pull back from the brink of America's Europeanization? Mr. Mansfield is optimistic. "The material for recovery is there," he says. "Ambition, for one thing. I teach at a university where all the students are ambitious. They all want to do something with their lives." That is in contrast to students he has met in Europe, where "it was depressing to see young people with small ambitions, very cultivated and intelligent people so stunted." He adds with a smile: "Our other main resource is the Constitution."
The median net worth of American households has dropped to a 43-year low as the lower and middle classes appear poorer and less stable than they have been since 1969
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, said President Barack Obama had a "recycling" program that used crony capitalism to reward its campaign contributors, who would then funnel money back to the Obama campaign.
Appearing on Fox News's one-hour special on Thursday about the "District of Corruption" movie, Schweizer said crony capitalism was so rampant in the Obama administration that Obama campaign bundlers received more than $21,000 on average in government-backed loans and grants for every dollar they contributed to the Obama campaign.
Under President Obama the participation rate in the food stamp program has skyrocketed—one in seven Americans now receives food stamps. To keep up with the demands of the burgeoning program, spending has thus “doubled from roughly $39 billion in 2008 to an estimated $85 billion in 2012,” and nearly quadrupled since 2000. According to Heritage, “Today, the food stamps program is one of the largest and the fastest growing of the roughly 80 welfare programs funded by the federal government.” With that said, brace yourself for Breitbart’s findings: “The number of individuals on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of 24 states and the District of Columbia.”
The source of Obama’s lifelong “luck” and power is that guilty white people have gone out of their way to help him and give him whatever he wanted because they feel doing so proves they aren’t racists…and this has enabled him to become the most powerful man in the country despite the fact he seeks America’s ruination
It is one of the foundational myths of contemporary liberalism: the idea that American culture in the 1950s was not only stifling in its banality but a subtle form of fascism that constituted a danger to the Republic. Whatever the excesses of the 1960s might have been, so the argument goes, that decade represented the necessary struggle to free America’s mind-damaged automatons from their captivity at the hands of the Lords of Conformity and Kitsch. And yet, from a remove of more than a half century, we can see that the 1950s were in fact a high point for American culture—a period when many in the vast middle class aspired to elevate their tastes and were given the means and opportunity to do so.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Today is Thanksgiving, and there is much to be thankful for. Not least on the list is the institution of private property, without which the Pilgrims might not have survived, and we would not have this holiday. Economist Benjamin Powell recounts the story here:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The story of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving is widely taught in all our schools. What is seldom taught, however, is what those Pilgrims learned, at great pain, about Free Enterprise versus Socialism. That story stands as perhaps the clearest and starkest-ever comparison between those two rival systems for human interaction.
Paul (R-Ky.) addresses drug policy in an
interview with CNN's Jonathan Karl:
The legalization of marijuana is another issue that Paul pointsPaul's support for devolving drug policy decisions to the states
to as a way for the GOP to reach more young voters.
Paul himself does not favor legalizing marijuana, but he says
individual states—such as Washington and Colorado, which both voted
to legalize in November—should be allowed to make marijuana
"States should be allowed to make a lot of these decisions,"
Paul says. "I want things to be decided more at a local basis, with
more compassion. I think it would make us as Republicans
He also says legal penalties for marijuana should be
"I think, for example, we should tell young people, 'I'm not in
favor of you smoking pot, but if you get caught smoking pot, I
don't want to put you in jail for 20 years,'" Paul says.
is pretty bold in the current political context. It is the policy
embodied in the Ending
Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, which was
co-sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Paul's father, Rep.
Ron Paul (R-Texas). How many of their fellow congressmen joined
them? Eighteen, all
but one (Dana Rohrabacher of California) a Democrat.
Rand Paul, who was elected to the Senate in 2010, has been
advocating a federalist approach to drug policy for years. In
October 2009, for example, he
told reporters "most policies of crime and punishment should be
and are addressed at the state level," adding, "I would favor a
more local approach to drugs." The following month The New
York Times reported
that "Dr. Paul believes that federal authorities should stay out
of drug enforcement." Both Trey Grayson, Paul's opponent
in the Republican primary, and Jack Conway, his Democratic opponent
in the general election, accused him of being soft on drugs.
similar charges after he took office, when he
blocked bills aimed at banning fake pot, pseudo-speed, and
the synthetc psychedelic 2C-E, arguing that the potential sentences
were too harsh and that "enforcement of most drug laws can and
should be local and state issues" (as his spokeswoman put it). For
a Republican with presidential aspirations (which Rand admits
having in the CNN interview), this is courageous stuff, even if
Rand's hold ultimately succeeded only in
avoiding a new 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.
Rand's opposition to long prison terms for smoking pot is not so
bold, especially since people do not serve long prison terms for
smoking pot, except in highly unusual situations. Until it was
revised by an initiative passed two weeks ago, for example,
California's "three strikes" law allowed a life term (with parole
possible after 25 years) for marijuana possession charged as a
felony following two convictions for "serious or violent" crimes.
But that is hardly a typical scenario for the hundreds of thousands
of pot smokers
arrested every year, who generally do not spend significant
time in jail (although they still suffer the humiliation,
inconvenience, expense, and long-lasting ancillary
penalties associated with a misdemeanor drug charge).
Furthermore, most Americans (including
Sarah Palin and Bill O'Reilly!) oppose putting pot
smokers in jail for any length of time, and I've never heard even
the hardest of hard-line drug warriors in the U.S. advocate
anything like 20 years for simple marijuana possession.
Such a policy harks back to the marijuana penalties of half a
century ago. In 1966, for instance, Timothy Leary got a 30-year
overturned by the Supreme Court) under the old Marihuana
Tax Act for crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. with a
tiny amount of cannabis. Back then the states also treated
marijuana possession as a felony, meaning pot smokers could be
to years in prison for personal-use quantities. That is no longer
the case, and reformers should not pretend it is; there is no
shortage of draconian drug
sentences to condemn without getting into the Wayback
Still, Rand has staked out a clear and consistent position in
favor of less federal involvement in drug law enforcement and less
severe penalties. With his father gone next year, he and
Rohrabacher may be the only Republicans in Congress who are
prepared to criticize the Obama administration for interfering with
marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington (assuming that is
the course the Justice Department takes). Given Paul's record, I
was rather dismayed to find no criticism of the war on drugs in his
new book, Government Bullies: How Everyday
Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the
Feds. Perhaps in a future edition.
Freedom's Lighthouse » Report: Record Number of Americans on Food Stamps this Thanksgiving: 42.2 Million – 11/21/12
As we approach Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, it is startling to realize just how many Americans are now on Food Stamps. This year, it’s a record 42.2 million Americans. Back during the 2012 GOP Nomination Race, Newt Gingrich (above) aptly described Barack Obama as “the Food Stamp President”:
A History of Ineptitude… Susan Rice Thwarted Attempts to Capture Bin Laden – Was Bystander to Rwandan Genocide | The Gateway Pundit
Ambassador Susan Rice, who famously blamed the Benghazi terrorist strike on a YouTube video, has a long history of ineptitude.
It’s not a surprise then that Barack Obama thinks so highly of her.
From Investors Business Daily, an editorial by Dr. Alberto Alesina which explains which approach to reducing debt and deficits works best. Is it cutting spending and reducing regulation? Or is it continuing to borrow and spend, and raising taxes?
Let’s see what Dr. Alesina says:
The evidence speaks loud and clear: When governments reduce deficits by raising taxes, they are indeed likely to witness deep, prolonged recessions. But when governments attack deficits by cutting spending, the results are very different.UPDATE: George Mason University economists agree: debt is wrecking the economy and the right way to stop it is with spending cuts, not tax increases. In order to grow the economy we need a balanced approach of spending cuts and tax cuts.
In 2011, the International Monetary Fund identified episodes from 1980 to 2005 in which 17 developed countries had aggressively reduced deficits. The IMF classified each episode as either “expenditure-based” or “tax-based,” depending on whether the government had mainly cut spending or hiked taxes.
When Carlo Favero, Francesco Giavazzi and I studied the results, it turned out that the two kinds of deficit reduction had starkly different effects: cutting spending resulted in very small, short-lived — if any — recessions, and raising taxes resulted in prolonged recessions.
[...]The obvious economic challenge to our contention is: What keeps an economy from slumping when government spending, a major component of aggregate demand, goes down? That is, if the economy doesn’t enter recession, some other component of aggregate demand must necessarily be rising to make up for the reduced government spending — and what is it? The answer: private investment.
Our research found that private-sector capital accumulation rose after the spending-cut deficit reductions, with firms investing more in productive activities — for example, buying machinery and opening new plants. After the tax-hike deficit reductions, capital accumulation dropped.
The reason may involve business confidence, which, we found, plummeted during the tax-based adjustments and rose (or at least didn’t fall) during the expenditure-based ones. When governments cut spending, they may signal that tax rates won’t have to rise in the future, thus spurring investors (and possibly consumers) to be more active.
Our findings on business confidence are consistent with the broader argument that American firms, though profitable, aren’t investing or hiring as much as they might right now because they’re uncertain about future fiscal policy, taxation and regulation.
But there’s a second reason that private investment rises when governments cut spending: the cuts are often just part of a larger reform package that includes other pro-growth measures.
In another study, Silvia Ardagna and I showed that the deficit reductions that successfully lower debt-to-GDP ratios without sparking recessions are those that combine spending reductions with such measures as deregulation, the liberalization of labor markets (including, in some cases, explicit agreement with unions for more moderate wages) and tax reforms that increase labor participation.
Let’s be clear: This body of evidence doesn’t mean that cutting government spending always leads to economic booms. Rather, it shows that spending cuts are much less costly for the economy than tax hikes and that a carefully designed deficit-reduction plan, based on spending cuts and pro-growth policies, may completely eliminate the output loss that you’d expect from such cuts. Tax-based deficit reduction, by contrast, is always recessionary.
The United States’ high levels of debt are already contributing to slower economic growth and decreased competitiveness. These impacts will worsen if the nation’s debt-to-GDP levels continue to rise, as is currently projected.
[...]High levels of government debt undermine U.S. competitiveness in several ways, including crowding out private investment, raising costs to private businesses, and contributing to both real and perceived macroeconomic instability.
[...]Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff examine historical data from 40 countries over 200 years and find that when a nation’s gross national debt exceeds 90% of GDP, real growth was cut by one percent in mild cases and by half in the most extreme cases. This result was found in both developing and advanced economies.
Similarly, a Bank for International Settlements study finds that when government debt in OECD countries exceeds about 85% of GDP, economic growth slows.
[...]While fundamental tax reform is required to correct a host of structural inefficiencies, policymakers can quickly reduce the U.S. statutory rate of 35% to the OECD average rate of 26% or less.That’s what research tells us. But that’s not what we are doing, because we voted for Barack Obama. By the way, Dr. Alesina is a professor of political economics at Harvard University and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is citing his own published research. In the months and years to come, remember that we knew what the consequences would be to electing someone who disregards science – someone who is anti-scientific. We knew, and we did it anyway. And now we have to face the consequences for making the wrong decision.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Paradigms and Demographics: New York Misses Out on Natural Gas Revolution as Junk Science Carries the Day
With President Obama back in the White House next year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to roll out a new regulation to control drilling techniques used to access natural gas. Even so, the expected surge in U.S. oil production will likely outpace political paybacks to green groups that can be uprooted over time……At a time when New York’s budget deficit exceeds $8 billion, the economic rationale for natural gas development cannot be dismissed. But it is possible to cajole politicians and frighten the public on basis of junk science. The environmental organizations opposed to fracking incessantly claim that it opens the way to water contamination. Here are some key facts:……………The Marcellus Shale cuts across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. It could potentially to help transform the world’s energy portfolio in manner that benefits America’s interest over the long-term. But this will require public policy decisions that rooted in sound science not unsubstantiated alarmism.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
In any case, when Israel brings the big guns and fast planes against Gaza’s popguns and low tech missiles, a great many Americans see nothing but common sense at work. These Americans aren’t mad about ‘disproportionate’ Israeli violence in Gaza because they don’t really accept the concept of proportionality in war. They think that if you have jus ad bellum, and rocket strikes from Gaza are definitely that, you get something close to a blank check when it comes to jus in bello.
If anything, rather than weakening American sympathy for Israel, Israel’s response in Gaza (and the global criticism that surrounds it) is likely to strengthen the bonds of respect and esteem that many Americans feel for Israelis. Far from seeing Israel’s use of overwhelming force against limited provocation as harsh or immoral, many Americans see it as courageous and wise. It strengthens the sense that in a wacky world where a lot of foreigners are hard to understand, the Israelis are honest, competent and reliable friends — good people to have on your side in a tight spot.
Protesting Spanish Cops: "Forgive Us For Not Arresting Those Truly Responsible For This Crisis: Bankers & Politicians" | ZeroHedge
"Citizens! Forgive us for not arresting those truly responsible for this crisis: bankers and politicians."
And there you have the entire current clusterfuck summarized in one simple sentence: because as long as those responsible for the ongoing economic collapse, which will inevitably end in war as many have observed, Kyle Bass most recently, are not only not arrested but preserve their positions of power, any and all change will merely be cosmetic and any real change will only affect the bank accounts of the global middle class which are slowly but surely drained to zero.
Such sustained, rapid economic growth is the ultimate solution to poverty. It was economic growth in the last century that reduced U.S. poverty from roughly 50% in 1900, and 30% in 1950, to 12.1% in 1969. Among blacks, poverty was reduced in the 20th century from 3 in 4 to 1 in 4 through economic growth. Child poverty of 40% in the early 1950s was also reduced by half. It was economic growth that made the elimination of child labor possible as well.
The living standards of the poor in America today are equivalent to the living standards of the middle class 35 years ago, if not the middle class in Europe today. With sustained, vigorous economic growth, 35 years from now the lowest income Americans will live at least as well as the middle class of today.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
By George F. Will, Published: November 16
There can be unseemly exposure of the mind as well as of the body, as the progressive mind is exposed in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a creature of the labyrinthine Dodd-Frank legislation. Judicial dismantling of the CFPB would affirm the rule of law and Congress’s constitutional role.
The CFPB’s director, Richard Cordray, was installed by one of Barack Obama’s spurious recess appointmentswhen the Senate was not in recess. Vitiating the Senate’s power to advise and consent to presidential appointments is congruent with the CFPB’s general lawlessness.
The CFPB nullifies Congress’s power to use the power of the purse to control bureaucracies because its funding — “determined by the director” — comes not from congressional appropriations but from the Federal Reserve. Untethered from all three branches of government, unlike anything created since 1789, the CFPB is uniquely sovereign: The president appoints the director for a five-year term — he can stay indefinitely, if no successor is confirmed — and the director can be removed, but not for policy reasons.
via George Will: A government agency answerable to no one – The Washington Post.
The ethanol boondoggle is one of the most costly of American government subsidies. It’s a case where clueless and naive greens were taken to the cleaners by greedy farm interests. And it looks like the ag lobby’s powers of enchantment over environmentalists are as strong as ever.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Female House Representatives: Women Are Equal But If You Criticize Them For Either Lying Or Being Used To Peddle A Lie You're Sexist
Some women apparently have the option of being Strong Capable Women or Weepy Defenseless Little Girls as convenience suits them.
“I don’t think they think about that at all,” Steyn said. “You can tell that at that press conference yesterday — the most stupid, ludicrous, embarrassing questions from the court eunuchs. The idiot from The New York Times asking a question on global warming? Some giggly little schoolgirl from Chicago wetting her knickers, saying she’s watched Obama win every time?”
“I mean, you’re supposed to be grown men and women,” Steyn continued. “You made fools of yourselves. He gives his first press conference in whatever it is — in one, two, three, twelve years — and you don’t even think about extracting any meaningful information from him.”
Thursday, November 15, 2012
If these numbers don’t change soon, there will be nobody left capable of bailing out the euro, and no political leaders will have the flexibility or the money to move Europe ahead. That’s bad news for China, Japan, and the United States, which all face serious problems of their own. The omens for 2013 at this point are not all that we could wish.
Pundits say that Hispanics, single women, young people, and blacks delivered a victory for President Obama’s re-election. However, these are only external differences that do little to explain the internal unity that each group shares in their irrational devotion to secularism. The devotion is irrational because the reduced economic fruits (and social decay) it brings cannot be sustained, thereby threatening its ultimate survival.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
When this sun-drenched exurb east of Los Angeles filed for bankruptcy protection in August, the city attorney suggested fraudulent accounting was the root of the problem.
The mayor blamed a dysfunctional city council and greedy police and fire unions. The unions blamed the mayor. Even now, there is little agreement on how the city got into this crisis or how it can extricate itself.
"It's total political chaos," said John Husing, a former San Bernardino resident and regional economist. "There is no solution. They'll never fix anything."
Yet on close examination, the city's decades-long journey from prosperous, middle-class community to bankrupt, crime-ridden, foreclosure-blighted basket case is straightforward — and alarmingly similar to the path traveled by many municipalities around America's largest state. San Bernardino succumbed to a vicious circle of self-interests among city workers, local politicians and state pension overseers.
Little by little, over many years, the salaries and retirement benefits of San Bernardino's city workers — and especially its police and firemen — grew richer and richer, even as the city lost its major employers and gradually got poorer and poorer.
Unions poured money into city council elections, and the city council poured money into union pay and pensions. The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), which manages pension plans for San Bernardino and many other cities, encouraged ever-sweeter benefits. Investment bankers sold clever bond deals to pay for them. Meanwhile, state law made it impossible to raise local property taxes and difficult to boost any other kind. (Emphasis added.)
No single deal or decision involving benefits and wages over the years killed the city. But cumulatively, they built a pension-fueled financial time-bomb that finally exploded.
...This corrupt bargain is why the State of California is also in decline and other blue states that allow government unions. Unions should not be allowed to contribute to elections of people with whom they expect to bargain over pay and benefits, anymore than they should be able to pick their bosses at private companies. This corrupt bargain should be addressed head on. Candidates who are opposed by the unions should use it against their opponents.
It was clear in pre-election discussion that Americans want energy independence. The most successful means to this end has been the free market—and the release of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual World Energy Outlook proves it.
IEA projects that while global energy demand will climb, America will emerge as a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and be “almost self sufficient in net terms by 2035.” Also by 2035: North America as a net oil exporter. The implications are enormous, both at home and abroad.
President Obama’s first-term vision of energy independence has been a combination of importing less oil, mandating less use of oil and other conventional fuels, and supplanting them with green energy programs and research.
The results are quite clearly illustrated by what is happening on federal lands, where production is down or nonexistent. Meanwhile, federal investment in green energy has skyrocketed. The IEA recognizes this trend by projecting the contribution of renewables to continue increasing as billions in subsidies and programs are spent to integrate them.
Nevertheless, the market and private-sector innovation have more than covered for the lost opportunities on federal lands. The natural gas boom witnessed by the nation was brought to bear in states like North Dakota, where state and local governments have safely regulated hydraulic fracturing. They have also allowed room for entrepreneurs to develop an energy supply that has turned former projections of natural gas supplies upside-down.
Subsidizing the use of more renewable energy is not the guaranteed path to energy independence that many in Washington claim it is. Further, making the most of America’s energy supply does not require more government programs and incentives. It calls for common sense: letting those who stand to gain and lose the most take the business risks needed to advance energy production and innovation.
On the regulatory side, this means turning over more authority to states, which can more efficiently and appropriately manage (often non-competing) energy and environment concerns.
The IEA report shows that America does not have a dearth of energy. Nor is it the role of the federal government to direct the American energy economy toward a certain vision of energy independence. The goal instead should be to create and protect an environment that allows people to pursue all of America’s energy resources.
It’s time Washington adjusted its thinking to this huge influx of energy natural resources and let the market do its work.