Missing Bush? Why Republican Revisionism Won’t Sell
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Wednesday 10 November 2010 8:30 AM

As America loudly repudiates the leftist agenda of President Barack Obama and his Congressional allies, a group of partisan GOP opportunists is busy promoting a theory of “Republican revisionism.”

What does this theory hold?

Namely, that the GOP wasn’t “all that bad” – and certainly not as bad as the socialist hordes who have ostensibly pushed America to the brink of financial ruin over the last year. In advancing this theory, the GOP is looking to recast itself as a party that can be trusted with your tax dollars – while simultaneously attempting to reframe the legacy of the President (and dozens of other GOP politicians) who couldn’t be trusted with your tax dollars.

This effort is most clearly visible in the GOP’s recent attempts to co-opt the Tea Party movement. It can also be seen within the opportunistic machinations of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has been pushing a new “Contract with America” in spite of his obvious betrayal – and subsequent scuttling – of the original movement fifteen years ago.

The GOP’s new revisionist message was summed up in a billboard that appeared recently on Interstate 35 in Wyoming.

“Miss me yet?” a smiling picture of former President Bush asks passing motorists.

In a word? “No.”

What this theory of “Republican revisionism” lacks is even a tangential basis in fact. That’s because Republicans – at least prior to the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006 and a Democratic President in 2008 – were engaged in precisely the same policies they now spend all of their time railing against.

Honestly – why do you think they were booted out of power in the first place?

Republicans are no strangers to massive government overreaching.

For example, President Bush responded to the September 11 terrorist attacks by creating a huge new government bureaucracy, implementing an Orwellian domestic wiretapping capability and engaging our military in two costly foreign wars with no defined objectives and no exit strategy.

Meanwhile, he supported the unconstitutional suppression of free speech by signing so-called “campaign finance” reform, dramatically stifling the ability of the public to criticize incumbent politicians. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has since overturned several of McCain-Feingold’s most anti-First Amendment provisions.

Bush and his cronies loved pork barrel spending, too. In 2005 – over the strenuous objections of taxpayer advocates – he signed a massive $286 billion transportation bill that included 6,371 pet projects inserted by Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The bill was a pork-fest that dwarfed previous Democratic transportation boondoggles.

Why did a Republican President sign such a monstrosity?

“The president has to work with the Congress,” a Bush spokesman said at the time.

In case anyone forgot, Republicans controlled both the U.S. House and Senate in 2005.

Bush and his GOP allies also fought to create new entitlement spending – including a prescription drug benefit to Medicaid that has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. They federalized education with No Child Left Behind, although erasing the “soft bigotry of low expectations” has done nothing to bridge America’s achievement and innovation gap with the rest of the world.

Perhaps most revealing, for the vast majority of his administration, the “conservative” Bush kept his veto pen in his pocket – refusing to wield the one potent weapon (other than the bully pulpit) that could have been employed on behalf of American taxpayers.

As a result of Bush’s fiscal recklessness, budget surpluses turned into deficits and a $5.7 trillion national debt soared to $10 trillion. Also, Republicans are quick to forget that Bush is on the hook for a considerable portion of the unsustainable spending that is currently driving our debt even further into the stratosphere.

Indeed, Bush cemented his anti-free market legacy in late 2008 with the passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and tens of billions of dollars worth of automotive bailouts – additional examples of his kneejerk tendency to resolve every crisis faced by the nation with an unprecedented expansion of government power and taxpayer debt.

Was Bush a better steward of your tax dollars than Obama?

Yes – but that’s the problem. Getting mugged worse the second time around doesn’t absolve the first thief of his culpability.

The simple, unavoidable truth is that Bush and his GOP allies were fiscal liberals, and no amount of “Republican revisionism” can erase that fact.

A Clear And Present Threat
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Friday 29 October 2010 9:19 AM

A new Gallup poll shows that forty-six percent of Americans believe the federal government “poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”

The other fifty-four percent? Obviously they aren’t paying attention to what’s happening in their country.

At first glance, this statistic has barely budged from where it was four years ago – when Democrats seized control of the U.S. Congress. A look at the partisan breakdown of respondents tells a different story, however. Just prior to the 2006 elections, fifty-seven percent of Democrats felt threatened by the government compared to just 21 percent of Republicans. Today those numbers have flip-flopped – with sixty-six percent of Republicans feeling threatened compared to only 21 percent of Democrats.

Meanwhile, the number of independents who feel threatened by the government has remained steady at roughly 50 percent – although that number is seven points higher than when Gallup first asked this question in 2003.

This data highlights several political truisms – most notably the ability of absolute power to corrupt absolutely (no matter which party is in charge), as well as the misplaced faith that certain segments of the electorate still place in the two-party system.

“This complacency is very unfortunate,” writes Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “Republicans presumably want to limit government control over the economy, yet it was the Bush Administration that put in place policies such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the banana-republic TARP bailout, the corrupt farm bills, and the pork-filled transportation bills. Democrats, meanwhile, presumably want to protect our civil liberties, yet the Obama Administration has left in place virtually all of the Bush policies that the left was upset about just two years ago.”

Indeed Republicans and Democrats in Washington have not only collaborated to ring up record deficits over the past decade, they’ve also joined forces to dismantle the free market and steadily erode our civil liberties.

These numbers show something else, though. They are a reminder that the GOP wave likely to wash over Washington this fall is drawing significant strength from unflinching independents – or voters whose convictions are not swayed by partisan rhetoric. Should Republicans achieve the gains many are predicting for them this year, the unavoidable reality is that they will be held accountable by a much more engaged, much more libertarian-leaning constituency that bears little resemblance to the GOP of a decade ago.

The modern GOP emerged from the realigned South – which emphasized religion, morality and tradition – and from Westerners who have always valued our founding ideals of independence and privacy. This “South-West Axis” formed a potent electoral alliance that began producing consistent Republican wins beginning in 1968. In fact prior to the two most recent election cycles, this axis was only really derailed once – by Watergate.

The “South-West Axis” also swept the GOP to a landslide Congressional victory in 1994, despite generic ballot polling that showed Democrats with a slim majority over Republicans just days before the election. Yet every time America has handed Republicans the car keys, GOP politicians have crashed and burned – even when the handwriting was clearly on the wall.

“As the Republican Party embraces the big government it once fought against, and increasingly stakes its political fortunes on cultural hot-buttons such as gay marriage and flag burning, libertarian-minded voters are up for grabs,” one political analyst wrote during the summer of 2006.

And indeed they were. As a result of the GOP’s failure to adhere to its founding principles, Republicans lost thirty House seats and six Senate seats in 2006. Two years later the party lost another twenty-one House seats, eight Senate seats and the presidency.

In both of these elections, Democrats capitalized on Republicans’ fiscal excesses. For example, prior to the 2006 election sixty-five percent of voters agreed that “Republicans used to be the party of economic growth, fiscal discipline, and limited government, but in recent years, too many Republicans in Washington have become just like the big spenders that they used to oppose.” Two years later, that number had climbed to eighty percent.

Meanwhile, 2008 polling in swing states like Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia (all of which were carried by Barack Obama) showed that voters trusted Democrats more than Republicans to keep federal spending in check – turning conventional political wisdom on its ear.

The truth is that both parties have demonstrated a contempt for American freedom and free markets that has pushed our nation into its current economic malaise.

The only good news? With unconstitutional individual mandates, massive tax hikes and crushing debt payments looming, it won’t be long before the rest of the country realizes just what a threat to their liberties their own government has become.

Obama’s “Big Lies” Getting Bigger
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Friday 22 October 2010 11:27 AM

While you can’t fool “all of the people, all of the time,” it is surprisingly easy to fool a sufficient number of them to get elected.

“People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”

That’s an excerpt from a World War II-era military intelligence report – a document which explored the psychological profile of one of our nation’s (and the world’s) most dangerous enemies. It also represents perhaps the most succinct encapsulation of the modern-day propaganda method commonly referred to as “The Big Lie.”

Who was the subject of this particular intelligence report? Adolf Hitler.

And while history is unlikely to witness a repeat of anything approaching the horrific genocidal barbarism perpetrated by the murderous Nazi “New Order,” that doesn’t mean American politicians of both parties aren’t still employing the same propaganda techniques utilized by its reviled leader.

In fact, after Bush Republicans used “The Big Lie” to grow government and rack up huge deficits (while telling us they were for “limited government and less spending”) President Barack Obama is now using it to expand government further and rack up even larger deficits under the banner of “hope and change.”

Of course Americans still searching for “hope” amidst our ongoing economic malaise know that the only real “change” has been the cost of these lies – which keeps adding up at the expense of our liberties.

How many “Big Lies” has Obama told? Frankly, it’s becoming difficult to keep track of them.

Most recently, the top actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid – a pair of programs that shouldn’t even exist in the first place – revealed that millions of American seniors will have to pay increased out-of-pocket health care costs next year for “less generous benefit packages” as a direct result of Obamacare.

This is due to government’s failure to acknowledge basic economic realities – which is already costing taxpayers hundreds of billions each year (even as these programs’ unfunded liabilities continue to soar).

Last month, a Kaiser Family Foundation report showed that family health care costs are up by 14 percent in 2010 – with even larger increases forecast for future years, again as a result of Obamacare.

“Health reform mandates new levels of coverage that will increase employers’ costs at least until 2014,” a Kaiser analyst noted.

Beyond higher costs, “Obamacare” is already reneging on government promises regarding prescription drug plans – another benefit that never should have been subsidized by taxpayers. According to a study released earlier this year by Avalare Heath, as many as 3.7 million seniors could be forced out of their prescription drug coverage under the new law next year – ostensibly so the government can provide them with “more meaningful choices.”

All across the country, Obamacare’s costly new mandates are driving Americans out of their existing coverage and forcing them to pay increased out-of-pocket expenses – perpetuating the worst inefficiencies of government-run health care.

“This much is clear: If the law with its expensive mandates remains on the books, millions of Americans are going to lose the health care plans they have now — plans the president repeatedly promised they could keep,” Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe wrote recently.

Obviously, these ill effects don’t even begin to address the damage done by Obamacare’s individual mandates and costly tax hikes – which not only trample on the Constitution but also violate Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $200,000.

Of course we’ve been lied to by this administration before. Obama promised to bring transparency and accountability to government, but then he negotiated his health care bill in secret so that he could steer billions of dollars to his biggest labor union supporters. Then Obama removed new disclosure requirements for these union leaders – making it impossible for the public to know how they’re spending all of this taxpayer-funded largesse.

And who can forget “The Big Lie” of Obama’s so-called stimulus plan – which administration officials said would save or create more than 3 million jobs and keep unemployment below 8 percent? Clearly those assumptions – along with Vice President Joe Biden’s promised “Summer of Recovery” – were diversions designed to fool the American people.

As America heads to the polls in November, let’s hope we don’t get fooled again. We’ve had an elegant sufficiency of “Big Lies,” now what we need are real citizen leaders who are willing to tell us the simple truth about all of these unsustainable programs.

The Folly of “Stimulation”
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Monday 18 October 2010 10:42 AM

No public official has been more integrally involved in the federal government’s “Great Intervention” than U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Over the course of three years (and two administrations), Bernanke has aggressively and successfully lobbied for trillions of dollars in government bailouts, deficit spending, loan guarantees and “quantitative easing.” From his perch at the secretive Fed, Bernanke has also kept interest rates artificially low by investing heavily in treasuries – although these low borrowing costs have chiefly benefited the government, not the American people.

This summer, however – as the failure of government “stimulation” became apparent – Bernanke’s language began to undergo a subtle shift. Testifying before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee in July, he acknowledged that the European sovereign debt crisis – which our nation is in imminent danger of replicating – was playing a key role in the ongoing global economic malaise.

Unsustainable borrowing had created debt – not prosperity. In a recent Rhode Island speech Bernanke took his comments a step further, urging Congress to rein in its annual deficits – which he said were “on an unsustainable path.”

“We should not underestimate these fiscal challenges,” Bernanke said. “Failing to respond to them would endanger our economic future.”

Rather than responding, however, President Barack Obama wants to continue spending. In fact, his proposed budget calls for America’s $13 trillion debt to grow by an average of $1.06 trillion each year over the next ten years. Amazingly, even this massive incursion of new debt is not enough for some of his allies. In a recent column in the Financial Times entitled, “America needs stimulus, not virtue,” liberal financier George Soros argues that there is a “strong case for further stimulus.”

“To cut government spending at a time of large-scale unemployment would be to ignore the lessons of history,” Soros writes, arguing in favor of additional taxpayer-funded largesse aimed at rectifying “the imbalance between consumption and investment.”

Soros neglects to point out that Obama’s “stimulus” didn’t fund either consumption or investment – it was a handout to public sector unions and foreign “green corporations” coupled with a one-year extension of salaries and benefits to public sector employees. It didn’t build dams, bridges or utilities – it created a mountain of new debt while perpetuating the same culture of entitlement that has Europe poised to plunge off of a fiscal cliff.

Consider these numbers: Twenty million Americans are now employed by the government. More than 34 million Americans are receiving Social Security and Medicare checks. Another 48 million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid – a number that will increase rapidly as “Obamacare” forces individuals from their private plans.

As these numbers climb, so do the immediate funding obligations and the long-term unfunded liabilities associated with them. And to these costs we must add subsidized industry, transportation, agriculture, real estate, education, defense and energy – the fruits of government extending its tentacles deeper into every aspect of American life.

No wonder Obama and Soros refuse to back down from trillion-dollar deficits and “second stimulus” fantasies. They can’t – at least not without dramatically shifting the balance of economic provision from the public sector back to the private sector. Yet while visions of new spending and a “robust recovery” dance in their heads, Moody’s has indicated that the tipping point for a downgrade of U.S. credit will come no later than 2018.

With his recent comments, Bernanke is finally acknowledging this impending reality and urging policymakers to take corrective action – assuming “corrective action” doesn’t find them first.

Either way, at this point the folly of government “stimulation” should be every bit as painfully self-evident as the need to correct it before it’s too late.

The “Toxic” Truth About TARP
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Friday 8 October 2010 4:04 PM

As the infamous Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) winds down this week, Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C. are patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Not only are they claiming to have saved the nation from a “Second Great Depression,” this so-called economic miracle was apparently purchased at a bargain basement price.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, TARP will cost taxpayers “only” $66 billion. The White House puts the figure even lower – at $50 billion.

Of course these rosy, election-year estimates are based on government liquidating its ownership stake in hundreds of “private” corporations – including a 92 percent stake in the American International Group (AIG) and a 61 percent stake in General Motors (GM).

For taxpayers to recoup their “investment” in AIG, the government will have to sell 1.66 billion shares of common stock at an average price of $29 per share. At GM, the government must sell 304 million shares of common stock at an average price of nearly $134 per share. Hitting these targets would be a daunting task in any economic climate – and may prove insurmountable in our ongoing malaise.

“How does one get $49 billion out of a company that’s currently worth $25 billion?” an investment research publication recently asked. “The follow on question is: why would investors buy AIG shares while the government’s AIG stock sale could last 18-24 months?”

Short answer? They wouldn’t – and likely won’t.

Meanwhile GM has dramatically scaled back its initial public offering in recent weeks – a sign that the company will be forced to continue operating under the “Government Motors” banner for the foreseeable future.

But this debate isn’t about getting an accurate accounting of the final TARP tab and assessing its risk versus reward – it’s about honestly assessing the problems that come with government picking winners and losers in the marketplace in the first place. Even if government’s taxpayer-funded investments yielded better than average returns (or huge cash windfalls), that doesn’t make them right – nor does it mean taxpayers will ever see one red cent of their money back.

And while TARP has enabled union bosses in Detroit and AIG executives all over the world to make out like bandits (as bureaucrats across the country did in the wake of the “stimulus”), what about the people who were forced to pick up the tab? What about the 15 million Americans who are currently unemployed? Or the millions of American households that have seen their income levels decline in each of the last two years? What about the small business owners whose taxes are about to skyrocket as government begins making interest payments on its massive new debt?

Certainly interest rates are low for the time being, but the threat of rising rates is a ticking time bomb.

In designating the wealthiest Wall Street banks as “too big to fail” Washington told the rest of America that it was “too small to succeed.”

Also, there is also considerable debate as to the accuracy of the “doom and gloom” pronouncements that preceded TARP – which would obviously negate much of its supposed efficacy in avoiding a global economic meltdown.

For example, a week before TARP passed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and made an impassioned plea for taxpayer-funded intervention, saying that emergency action was required immediately in order to “address the grave threats to financial stability that we currently face.”

At this hearing, Bernanke testified that the commercial paper market was on the verge of shutting down. This sent major shock waves through Congress, as many companies use the sale of this short-term debt to pay their bills and make payroll. A week after Congress passed TARP, however, Bernanke announced the creation of a special commercial paper funding facility – thus arbitrarily alleviating one of the key pressures he had used as leverage to help get the bailout passed.

Perhaps the most effective argument against those who claimed that the sky would fall in October 2008 absent government intervention is the fact that government intervened – and the sky fell anyway. Economists in their taxpayer-funded ivory towers will no doubt continue to do battle over hypothetical contingencies, but that doesn’t change the fact that 8 million jobs vanished in just over a year’s time – and those jobs aren’t coming back anytime soon.

Meanwhile, none of the TARP money that’s been repaid to the U.S. government thus far is actually being returned to taxpayers. Nor is it being used to pay down America’s ballooning debt. Instead, it’s being spent on new bailouts, more borrowing and additional deficit spending.

Also, in confronting the “toxic” realities of TARP it’s important to remember that its initial $700 billion outlay represents only a small sliver of the money government has spent, lent, pledged and printed since the recession began in December 2007.

That’s a tab taxpayers will still be picking up decades from now.

“Superman” and Silver Bullets
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Tuesday 5 October 2010 12:02 PM

There may be no such thing as a silver bullet in public policy, but universal parental choice is the closest thing we have to one — assuming our politicians summon the courage to run with it. And based on the current trajectory of academic achievement in America, it is clear this courage needs to be summoned immediately.

Time is running out for another generation of American students – yet despite overwhelming evidence of failure of government “solutions,” there remains little willingness to think outside of the bureaucratic box when it comes to raising academic achievement.

Even the latest indictment of the failed public education monopoly — a documentary called Waiting for “Superman” directed by liberal filmmaker Davis Guggenheim — fails to take the necessary step of endorsing solutions that fall outside of the public system.

Currently, more than 1.2 million students drop out of school each year. Seventy percent of eighth-graders cannot read at grade level. America’s standardized test scores are falling further behind the rest of the industrialized world — including the scores of our “best and brightest.”

These dismal results perpetuate poverty, crime, unemployment and the many social costs that accompany them — while fueling an “innovation gap” that will only further weaken our already reeling economy.

At all levels of government, bureaucrats have tried to solve these problems by spending more money. In fact, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics per pupil federal education spending has risen almost 190 percent since 1970 (after adjusting for inflation). Keep in mind that this money is being spent despite the fact that our Constitution gives the federal government no authority whatsoever to meddle in education. Meanwhile, state and local education spending has also exploded — now consuming 27 cents of every dollar that these governments collect each year.

Cognizant of growing public impatience with such a mediocre return on taxpayer investment, the next “solution” proposed by the bureaucrats is focused on the institution of government-run accountability — most recently the federal No Child Left Behind law. Yet despite political rhetoric about erasing the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” the harsh reality is that government-run accountability has done nothing but move the goalposts in an effort to conceal the failure of the public system.

No Child Left Behind “inflates state test scores but the inflated scores don’t mean real learning has improved,” says Lisa Guisbond, a testing reform analyst with the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

In fact, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results, improvement has actually slowed under No Child Left Behind.

The latest “solution?” Expanded parental choices — except instead of actually providing parents with these choices, government bureaucrats continue to control their availability (and funding) while keeping the money firmly ensconced within the public system. These are the “choices” being advocated by the makers of Waiting for “Superman.”

“The film doesn’t promote real, essential reform: Taking money away from special-interest dominated government schools and letting parents control it,” writes Neal McCluskey, Associate Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom.

“While many charter schools and their founders have tremendous vision and drive, charters are still public schools, and as such are easily smothered by politically potent special interests like teacher unions,” McCluskey continues. “Moreover, while charter schools are chosen, charter schooling still keeps money — and therefore power – out of the hands of parents.”

By supporting public school choice, charter schools and limited, means-tested private school choice, bureaucrats are promoting the illusion of choice without actually providing it — much like government-run accountability has provided the illusion of progress without actually attaining it.

Can our nation, our taxpayers and our economy really afford another “reform in name only?”
Parental choice could be the silver bullet — but if it is to succeed, it must be universal.

America’s school children shouldn’t be forced to wait on “Superman.” They shouldn’t be forced to wait on anyone. They deserve real choices that promote real accountability and real achievement — and they deserve them now.

Bashing Boehner: the Times does Obama’s bidding
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Friday 17 September 2010 10:16 AM

By giving the administration of Barack Obama a front-page forum to bash House Minority Leader John Boehner last weekend, The New York Times is once again proving that it cannot resist doing the “hope and change” crowd’s dirty laundry.

“A GOP Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists,” the paper’s September 12 headline screamed boldly, bashing Boehner for being connected to special interests that “contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns, provided him with rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign.”

Assuming that wasn’t sufficiently subtle, the paper also described Boehner as a “perpetually tanned, sharply tailored, chain-smoking golfer.”

The Times smear on Boehner is straight out of the left-wing playbook — a slash-and-burn mode of divisive political demonization that Obama claims to be “above” but one that legacy media outlets (particularly the Times) are all-too familiar with.

Their shared objective is painfully obvious — to create a convenient enemy for Obama at a time when growing numbers of Americans are losing faith in his “leadership.” In Boehner, they have simply gone to Republican central casting and picked out a suitable antagonist to saddle with their decades-old class warfare rhetoric. Rather than accepting responsibility for their failed economic policies, Obama’s team is using the Times to manufacture a “villain” upon whom they can blame the nation’s ongoing economic malaise — which has been Obama’s responsibility for the last twenty months (and even longer if you count his support for the failed interventionist policies of former president George W. Bush).

Yet amid news of record poverty increases, increasing unemployment, deteriorating consumer confidence and global economic uncertainty — Obama’s definition of “hope and change” is now coming full circle.

The “stimulus” didn’t work. Blaming Bush didn’t work. Now it is Boehner’s turn to be castigated by the same president who stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in January of 2009 and proclaimed “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

Far from denouncing “petty grievances” and “recriminations,” however, Obama is now aggressively employing them via the same old attention-diverting, blame-shifting tactics that Washington politicians of both parties have used for decades.

“White House surrogates spent the weekend highlighting a New York Times piece detailing (Boehner’s) ties to lobbyists,” wrote Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post two days after the story was posted.

Not only is the White House leading the attack through the media, the Obama administration is publicly patting itself on the back for a job well done.

“I think that, yes, it has been successful,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said of the strategy behind attacking Boehner.

Clearly Republicans in Washington — Boehner included — share much of the blame for our nation’s deteriorating economic and financial prognosis. But rather than correct the failed policies of the past (unsustainable government growth, expanded government regulation, excessive government spending), Obama has put these same policies on steroids.

On the next page: what the Times’ article conveniently failed to mention

Also, in using the Times to dish his dirt, Obama and his allies conveniently ignore the fact that 45 current or recently-departed Democratic members of Congress — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have received more money from lobbyists during the current election cycle than Boehner. They also conveniently ignore the fact that Pelosi frequently uses a taxpayer-funded Gulfstream jet to travel around the globe — or that in her taxpayer-funded travels she has rung up a massive $101,000 tab for in-flight food and liquor over a two-year period.

Of course the Times wasn’t about to put Boehner’s “tightness” with lobbyists into any sort of perspective, because that would have undercut the very foundation of the attack. Such “journalism” is grossly unfair — and something we should bear in mind whenever the legacy media attempts to claim the mantle of objectivity.

In prostrating itself at the behest of a desperate administration, the Times is showing itself to be nothing more than a willing tool of a failed president who is grasping for excuses, not solutions.

And while the jury is out on whether John Boehner deserves better, the American people certainly do.

Term Limits: Treating the D.C. Disease
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Posted by admin | Columns
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, Term Limits
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| Friday 10 September 2010 10:36 AM

As Washington D.C. slips further below the waves of partisan rancor and unprecedented red ink, voters of both parties are overwhelmingly endorsing term limits as a way to right the sinking ship.

In fact as increasing numbers of Americans have begun to recognize the importance of refocusing our nation on its founding principles, none of those principles is garnering more support than term limits.

According to the results of a new FOX News poll, 78 percent of all voters favor term limits – including 84 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats and Independents. By contrast, only 16 percent of voters oppose term limits. In today’s era of political hyper-partisanship and media-fueled ideological divisiveness, those numbers are positively astounding.

Or are they?

The truth is that support for term limits has always been strong. In 2002 for example voters in states that passed legislative term limits during the previous decade were still supporting them by huge majorities – ranging anywhere from 60 to 78 percent.

Given such strong and consistent public support, it’s not surprising that the only successful attempts to undo legislative term limits in the modern era have come from legislative or judicial actions which overturned the results of popular elections. In fact just last year New York City leaders arbitrarily tossed out the results of two citywide elections to give themselves additional terms in office.

So much for the argument that term limits are “anti-Democratic.”

A throwback to Athenian, Spartan and Roman government, the concept of term limits – or “mandatory rotation in office” – is actually a staple of democracy. Championed by Thomas Jefferson and numerous Founding Fathers, term limits were designed to “prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by (politicians) continuing too long in office.”

“Nothing is so essential to the preservation of a Republican government,” George Mason – the father of the U.S. Bill of Rights – wrote in endorsing term limits.

Famed female historian Mercy Otis Warren – who was dubbed “the conscience of the American Revolution” – vigorously protested the exclusion of term limits from the U.S. Constitution, while accurately predicting the corrosive influence that career politicians would wield over the populace in their absence.

“There is no provision for (rotation in office), nor anything to prevent the perpetuity of office in the same hands for life; which by a little well timed bribery, will probably be done,” she wrote in 1788.

Frankly, our government has moved well past “a little well timed bribery.” Today, decisions in Washington are dictated almost exclusively by a corrupt pay-to-play culture in which powerful special interests (often taxpayer-funded interests) leverage their access to career politicians in order to expand their slice of the public largesse.

It’s a favor factory, pure and simple – and rather than governing on principle both Republicans and Democrats end up being governed by the spoils that come from dispensing those favors.

Look at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – a pair of government-sponsored (now government-owned) mortgage giants that were able to use their relationships with career politicians to evade reform efforts during the early part of this decade. Having escaped accountability, Fannie and Freddie’s reckless lending helped sow the seeds for America’s recent financial collapse.

And look at government’s “solution” to this ongoing financial collapse – draconian new regulations over the free market that give these same career politicians even greater power over the flow of capital in America.

Speaking of government “solutions,” look at organized labor – which has received billions of dollars via government bailouts and Barack Obama’s new socialized medicine bill. Are we supposed to believe that this money is not payback for the $100 million that unions gave to Obama and Democratic candidates during the 2008 election?

Whose interests are being served by these policies? Clearly not those of the American taxpayers, whose personal and financial freedom shrinks with each new government power grab financed by borrowed billions.

And while changing political parties may treat the immediate symptoms of Washington’s disease, absent long-overdue reforms like term limits we will never actually treat the disease itself.

Overwhelming majorities of Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, partisans and independents recognize this reality. It is past time for our politicians to put down their personal interests and follow suit.

A “Recovery In Name Only”
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Thursday 2 September 2010 12:08 PM

To the eight million Americans who have lost their jobs during the “Great Recession,” the so-called recovery our nation is currently experiencing hasn’t been very “stimulating.”

In fact it’s been downright depressing — and conditions are not likely to improve anytime soon.

With virtually all economic indicators retreating and a barrage of job-killing tax hikes scheduled to take effect in 2011, a dreaded “double-dip” recession is imminent — despite repeated assurances to the contrary from the administration of President Barack Obama. Also with trillions of taxpayer dollars still being spent, lent, pledged and printed in the name of supporting this phantom “recovery,” government continues to amass a debt so large that its interest payments alone will consume more than a third of federal income tax revenue by 2015.

Far from preventing an economic collapse, the costly federal interventionist policies of Obama and former President George W. Bush have sown the seeds for a larger, longer economic downturn — mirroring the failed “government-first” approach of the 1930s that managed to turn a recession into full-blown depression.

Just as government cannot tax and spend its way out of bad economic times (then or now), the Obama administration is discovering that it can’t talk its way out of them either — although that hasn’t stopped the authors of “Obamanomics” from attempting to do so.

A year ago U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke declared that the U.S. recession was over — a sentiment that was echoed by Obama’s top economic advisor in December of 2009. In April of this year, Obama’s other top economist said that there would be no “double-dip” recession, comments which prompted a flurry of rosy rhetoric from the White House.

“We can say beyond a shadow of a doubt today we are headed in the right direction,” Obama said during a speech back in May. “All those tough steps we took, they’re working, despite all the naysayers who were predicting failure a year ago.”

Around this time, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also predicted a “Summer of Recovery” in which the U.S. economy would create “between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month.”

Clearly, that hasn’t happened — nor is it going to happen.

The official U.S. unemployment rate remains stuck at just under 10 percent, while the broader “underemployment rate” is stuck at 16.5 percent. Neither rate has moved for months, although both are about to start moving again — albeit in the wrong direction.

Last month, the U.S. economic growth rate for the second quarter was revised downward from 2.4 percent to 1.6 percent — with roughly the same anemic rate of growth predicted for the third quarter. Meanwhile existing home sales plunged by 27.2 percent — the largest one-month decline ever — and new home sales fell by 12.4 percent to their lowest level ever.

Just as it did in 1929, the U.S. government is on the verge of turning a recession into a depression by virtue of its costly excess interventionism. In 1930, a year after the stock market collapsed, the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 8.7 percent. In 1932 — after an ill-conceived government tariff, massive public works program and the largest tax hike in American history — the unemployment rate had nearly tripled to 23.6 percent. Six years later — after the implementation of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” — it was still at 19 percent.

Also, let’s not forget government’s starring role in the years leading up to this crisis — a decade of overspending and politically-correct lending practices that pumped trillions of dollars into mortgages for people who simply couldn’t afford them.

Amazingly Obama and his allies still cannot read the handwriting on the wall, as just a few weeks ago Vice-President Biden reiterated that there was “no doubt we’re moving in the right direction” economically.

Despite the rhetoric of “recovery,” America’s economic hole is clearly getting deeper — and the only way out is a return to the free market, limited government principles on which our nation was founded.

Let’s hope our elected officials realize that before it is too late.

“What’s Good for the GOP Goose”
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Posted by admin | Columns
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| Thursday 19 August 2010 11:57 AM

There’s a disturbing hypocrisy emerging from within the “establishment” wing of the Republican Party lately — a belief that it’s okay to work against fiscal conservatives who garner the support of the vast majority of GOP voters, just not fiscal liberals.

On the one hand it is clearly permissible for establishment Republicans to endorse Democratic opponents — even work on their campaigns — in the event the GOP nominee is not to their liking. Yet on the other hand fiscally conservative, pro-liberty Republicans who offer anything less than their full-throated support of liberal GOP candidates are routinely accused of “destroying the party.” Also many of these fiscal conservatives — who happen to be advancing the very limited government ideals the GOP is supposed to stand for — are mocked by establishment Republican politicians and told that their movement will “die out.”

Frankly, the fiscal recklessness of Bush-era Republicans is what nearly killed the GOP — and it is only the socialist overreaching of Barack Obama and his Congressional allies that has afforded the Republican Party an opportunity to become relevant again. But can America afford another aborted “Republican Revolution?” Particularly if the party’s default setting is to put its own political interests (i.e. Washington’s special interests) ahead of the core beliefs it is supposed to be fighting for?

Along with its abysmal fiscal record during the prior decade, this dangerous proclivity for protecting fiscal liberals (while ostracizing fiscal conservatives) is the latest evidence that the GOP — or at least its establishment wing — is still every bit as dangerous to our pocketbooks and personal liberties as Obama and his army of socialists.

Perhaps the most glaring example of this trend took place in New York’s special Congressional election last fall, when liberal Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava — a supporter of the failed Obama “stimulus” — saw the vast majority of GOP voters in the 23rd Congressional District defect to the ranks of conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.

With her support slipping into single digits, Scozzafava pulled out of the race — but rather than endorsing Hoffman, she chose to back Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who won the race by a narrow margin. Amazingly, in spite of his huge lead over Scozzafava, some Republicans still blamed Hoffman for “handing the seat to a Democrat,” a storyline that the national media eagerly lapped up.

In Utah last week, another “Republican” demonstrated his definition of loyalty to the party.

Jim Bennett, the son and campaign manager of soon-to-be-former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, announced recently that he was working for the campaign of Democrat Sam Granato. In doing so, he declared that Granato’s beliefs were “more consistent with the values of mainstream Utah than Mike Lee,” the conservative Republican nominee who defeated his father for the GOP nomination.

Once again, these establishment Republicans apparently believe that anyone who takes the ideals of limited government, individual liberty and lower taxes seriously is some sort of fringe ideological kook — despite the fact that these values form the basis not only of the Republican Party, but of the American Republic itself. Fortunately, contrary to the wishes of GOP politicians like Dede Scozzafava and Jim Bennett — it is becoming increasingly clear that Republican voters prefer candidates who support these values.

The vision of government articulated by our Founding Fathers is not going to “die out.” Nor is common sense fiscal policy that upholds a constitutional view of government’s role in our free market economy and our individual lives. If the Republican Party wishes to regain the trust of the people it betrayed during the Bush years, then it should think long and hard about reversing its current “default setting” with respect to party purity.

Otherwise, its ideological impurity will continue to shine through.

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