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Unsinking the Titanic: Repairing the Hole that is America’s Debt Dilemma – Part 1

by Providence Crowder

 The Problem

There is a war of ideologies being waged on the American political scene.  Those on the left and right sides of the political spectrum are simply unable to come to a viable compromise concerning prominent socioeconomic issues of today.  In the meantime, while the politicians in Washington fight, the director of the Congressional Budget Office—Douglas W. Elmendorf—warned in his 2011 Long-Term Budget Outlook that the United States is headed towards the biggest economic downfall since World War II.  He testified:

Policymakers will need to increase revenues substantially as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), decrease spending significantly from projected levels, or adopt some combination of those two approaches to keep deficits and debts from climbing to unsustainable levels.

The CBO reports that for 2011, the federal government faced a 1.3 trillion dollar budget shortfall—the third largest to date—continuing its trend since 1969 of spending more than it takes in.  Only in the years 2009 and 2010 were the deficits greater—those years produced the largest budget deficits in modern history.  Elmendorf recommended early action and more sacrifices “for the benefit of younger workers and future generations.”  Simply put, the U.S. economy is in BIG trouble!

America, the most prosperous nation in the world, is currently the biggest debt owner in the world.  This colossal debt is reprehensible and represents instability and insolvency to our lenders.  Our looming liabilities threaten to eliminate the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and the loss of this status would be catastrophic.  It would bring an instant devaluing of our investments, drastically drive up the cost of goods and services—hyperinflation—and create a radical change in American life as we know it.  All Americans would experience a significantly lower quality of life.  The idea of the American dollar collapsing should cause all Americans to take pause.

This Is What One Trillion Dollars Look Like

Jay Richards[1] explained that “Money has value only if trading partners believe it has value.  This is why currency quickly becomes stove fuel when people stop trusting it.”[2]  Our colossal debt is not the result of insufficient tax revenues because we are taxed at a level sufficient enough to pay for the necessary functions of government.  America’s problem is excessive and wasteful spending.  Any average American who has lived beyond his or her means could warn the federal government of the end result of its imprudence—reduce spending or risk losing everything.  At a whopping $13,561,623,030,891 of debt—according to the 2010 U.S. Treasury report—multiple years of deficit spending by the federal government has left our children to bear the burden of our irresponsibility and profligacy.  The interest alone on our nearly $14 trillion dollar debt make our meager attempts at debt solvency unrealistic.

The Cause

Many on the left, namely Democrats, choose to blame President George W. Bush for the economies troubles.  On the right, Republicans give President Obama the brunt of the blame.  Yet the administrations of both of these presidents, with their big spending and bailouts, and massive expansions of government have exacerbated the debt problem.  We also owe a huge debt of thanks to Democrat President, Bill Clinton, for our more recent recession and debt fiasco.  Back in 1995, the regulatory revisions made to the 1977 “Community Reinvestment Act” under the Clinton administration greatly weakened the housing market.  Initially the law was enacted to ensure that banks were fairly addressing the lending and banking needs of those people in low and moderate-income neighborhoods that they accepted deposits from.  Yet the Clinton administration’s 1995 revisions forced banks to lend hundreds of billions of dollars to people with little or no credit, and even people with bad credit—lending to these high risk borrowers under the guise of “the convenience and needs of the communities.”[3]

In other words, “if banks wanted to continue to indulge from the hand of government-created money and insurance (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), then they had to prove to government agencies that they were lending these indulgences to even the un-creditworthy in their community.”  The revisions to the Community Investment Act became a powerful mandate that reshaped lending practices.  This act was a recipe for economic disaster that the banks initially opposed because they didn’t want to be “forced” into bad lending.  Regardless, congress passed the initiative, alluring banks into lending big money to people with little or no credit.

To his credit, in 2003 President Bush attempted greater oversight of the two major government-sponsored lenders of the subprime, or risky loans—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—yet Democratic opposition shut his measure down, accusing Bush and the Republicans of all things, racism.  Shocking!  We know the end of this sad story—the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis led to the collapsing of a housing bubble that brought the banking and real estate industry to their knees.

To add insult to injury, the Federal Reserve Board’s response to the mortgage crisis was grossly irresponsible and unethical.  Wayne Grudem noted that “The Federal Reserve decided to pump reserves into the financial system by purchasing $1.2 trillion in assets, including $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities from companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac . . . leading to increased inflation and thereby robbing everyone in society of the value of their dollars and their contract.”[4]  Simply put, the government rewarded reckless and irresponsible behavior by loaning hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bailout the big banks and the mortgage agencies, with more than half of  the money going to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Economist Thomas DiLorenzo described that the current financial debacles are simply the “chickens coming home to roost after more than 30 years of progressive government interference and artificially deformed markets.”[5]  The current crisis is not a sudden or surprising occurrence, but the eventual result of salvation politics.[6]

No one is innocent in this scandal of magnificent proportions, not even the voters.  The recent political protest movement, Occupy Wall Street (OWL), self-righteously protest the “Wall Street” bankers and the “1%” of the rich.  Yet these crooks are the ones who knowingly elect politicians who extort money from others to subsidize irresponsibility and greed—they vote for big government.  OWL’s voted for crony capitalists who afforded political favors and preferential treatment for their friends at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Many of them voted for our current president, Obama.  He handed over a trillion dollars in taxpayer funds to bailout Fannie and Freddie, and the auto-industry and banks they now protest!

These OWL’s are the same who continue to vote for increased government spending on federally funded entitlements—the biggest debt busters of all.  Currently, the federal government is scrambling to fund its existing entitlements in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, retirement pensions, and welfare.  The funding of future entitlements is an even greater concern.  If the Federal Reserve continues the practice of pumping dollars into the system to keep up with government expenditures, Wayne Grudem asserts that “we can soon expect to see record high interest rates and/or inflation, coupled with the collapse of many entitlements.”[7] According to the White House Office of Management and Budget, entitlement spending as a percentage of GDP has now doubled that of U.S. spending on national defense.  An increase in entitlement spending and a decrease in spending on national defense, a core constitutional function of government, indicates clearly—our government’s priorities are misguided.[8]

Stay tuned for Unsinking the Titanic-Part 2, Ethical Implications.  Excerpt: “Spending of this sort is immoral; it is sure to hurt the poor and others who are dependent upon the government for their livelihood.  America’s reckless entitlement spending has baited many American’s into dependency and has promised future payments that won’t be worth the paper they are printed on.”

 

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Unsinking the Titanic: Repairing the Hole that is America’s Debt Dilemma – Part 3

by Providence Crowder

Suggestions, Solutions, Reflections

If we as a nation truly want to do right by our poor, we must urge our politicians to get out of salvation politics and leave the “saving” of the poor and needy of society to the faith-based communities.  A safety net of government services can be a good thing, but it profits no one if we put so much on it that it rips under the bureaucratic pressure of big government.   If our federal government truly respected American citizens, then they would stop robbing us and selling us back our own goods at a higher price!  They would end the practice of deficit spending for programs and entitlements that do more harm than help and pass a balanced budget amendment requiring the federal government to exercise responsibility and restraint concerning its outrageous spending.  All Americans are expected to live within their means; therefore, so should the government we elect. 

Seemingly, our current President, Barack Obama, has a vision for America different than the vision of the founders of the great American experiment.  They envisioned a nation of free peoples whom—unlike all the nations before her— would govern themselves and share in ruling.  American colonists became disenfranchised and disillusioned by monarchial British rule; therefore, personal liberty and limited government were central themes to the founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  Many nations have since emulated the American model and have tried to duplicate America’s ingenuity and success. 

Yet President Obama envisions big government and limited liberty because he has no confidence that Americans are capable enough to make responsible choices with their money and with their lives.  He believes in a ruling class, the government.  He promotes class distinctions by demonizing the rich and demoralizing the poor.  His ideology is reminiscent of German revolutionary and socialist Karl Marx.  Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro is quoted as stating this of Marxism;

Marxism taught me what society was.  I was like a blindfolded man in a forest, who doesn’t even know where the north or south is.  If you don’t eventually come to truly understand the history of the class struggle, or at least have a clear idea that society is divided between the rich and the poor, and that some people subjugate and exploit other people, you’re lost in a forest, not knowing anything.[14]

 But the grand communist experiment was just a secularized attempt to establish God’s Kingdom on earth, but without the God of heaven.  Richards notes that:

Marx’s story has the main elements of the Christian story: primeval paradise, fall, redemption, eternal paradise.  It’s just stripped of reverences to God, sin, Jesus, and the afterlife.”[15]  Christ established his Church, and we are expected to be salt and light—reflecting God’s kingdom though sin and death are among us.  Yet our good works will never bring about God’s kingdom.[16]  It’s a delusion to believe that we can build a utopia if we try hard enough.[17]  This vision doesn’t take in account human sinfulness and God’s mercy.  Jesus Christ will establish his Kingdom and if we try, we will not only fail, but “do more harm than good.[18] 

I believe Marx, Castro, and Obama genuinely want a world in which the ordering of society is more fair and just.  But when we speak of building a just society, we must ask ourselves, “just compared with what?  It does no good to tear down a society that is ‘unjust’ compared with the Kingdom of God if that society is more just than any of the ones that will replace it.”[19]  Compared to God’s Kingdom, every society gets failing grades.[20] Therefore, to hate capitalism and prefer socialism or communism is not more just.  Socialism has proven to bring greater poverty and injustice among the people and “never has there been a greater gap between ideas and outcomes than in communism.”[21]  Jay Richards notes that socialists, “talk a good talk, denouncing inequality and defending the poor, and despite the nasty outcome of their experiments, they can still get a pass from those who sympathize with their ideals.”[22]  

The current administration, under the lead of President Obama, should end its love affair with socialism and end his policies of taxing and spending.  The more that the government does for its people, the more dependent the people become and less likely they are to provide for themselves.  Without the safety net of big government, out-of-wedlock pregnancies look less attractive, hard work becomes necessary to eat, saving for hard times becomes a priority, community becomes important again to care for the least in society, and the government can focus on governing and protecting our freedoms.  America is still a great nation, and with the right leadership, the ideas upon which she was founded upon will again be respected.


 [1] Jay W. Richards is an author and theologian.  He has a PhD in philosophy and a Master of Ministry.  He has written dozens of books and articles on the topics of economics, theology, and science.  He has published in academic journals all over the country and he is an editor and contributor to numerous apologetic and theological research publications.

[2] Jay W. Richards, Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2009), 94.

[3] Joel McDurmon, God versus Socialism: A Biblical Critique of the New Social Gospel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2009), 43.

[4] Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2010), 273-74.

[5] McDurmon, 43.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Grudem, 274.

[8] 2011 Chart Book, “Federal Spending Chart 7.”  Retrieved from http://blog.heritage.org/2011/08/21/chart-of-the-week-defense-spending-has-declined-while-entitlement-spending-has-increased/ on January 10, 2012.

[9] A baby boomer is a person who was born during the demographic Post-World War II baby boom and who grew up during the period between 1946 and 1964.  Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomer

[10] John Wihbey, “2011 Annual Report by the Social Security Board of Trustees,” Retrieved from http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/politics/social-security-report-2011/.

 [11] McDurmon, 47.

[12] Richards 51.

[13] Ibid., 47.

[14] Castro, Fidel; Ramonet, Ignacio (interviewer) (2009). My Life: A Spoken Autobiography. New York: Scribner.

[15] Richards, 30.

[16] Richards, 30.

[17] Richards, 31.

[18] Richards, 30.

[19] Ibid., 31.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid., 25.

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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Socialist Candidates

A Spectre is Haunting America. Don’t Let It

By Dr. Richard A. Jones—November 12, 2008

Now that what some might call the “unthinkable” has actually happened, it’s certain that a vital remnant in the Church will wake up and realize that, “It’s time to start paying attention.” Had McCain won, the Christian Right likely would have given another overconfident sigh of relief, hoping that the other side would somehow not be able to advance its anti-Christian offensive in 2012. (It would have advanced anyway.) Either way, it’s folly to forget that the difference between the American Dream-killing, wealth-redistributing leftist, Obama, and the RINO McCain is negligible. A tip-off that both are operative socialists was made clear last primary season when mainstream media palmed off these two inexplicable “choices” onto us. Values voters never had a say. But that’s all spilled milk. It’s time to explore how it was that what was once essentially a Christian-leaning, U.S. voting populace was so easily set up for passive acceptance of a clear-cut socialist candidate in each party. Don’t be surprised by the major cause.

 

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Dedication to Marxism by East Coast political, academic and media types goes back to the days of FDR and even before. But, it neared max toxicity in the 1960s with Viet Nam. By 1989 and 1990, Marxist devotion in the U.S. had not weakened in the least even though the Cold War had ended and the USSR folded. That’s because, as we’ve argued here, true socialism at its core is an intense, life-dedicated hatred of God and the Christian family. And hatred of God is ever-present. This passion is what keeps the fires of nihilism and Marxism burning on campuses nationwide (and eventually in the public schools) even though it waned (for a season) in the Soviet Motherland. Viet Nam era zealots like Bill Ayers never stopped pushing radicalism at ever-lower grade levels in the schools. So it’s no surprise that mind-programmed young voters (and plenty of church goers, per Barna polling) have slowly fallen for Washington’s “equality, compassion (and vote-buying) plan;” i.e., socialism. How did this catastrophe come to pass with nary a whimper?

Many think that a deceived Protestant Church in America was the key. It abetted the slippery slope to socialism via a century-long bad habit of effeminate pietism and its cave-in to an “it’s just about over,” irrelevance-guaranteeing, dispensationalism. (Both of which developed mainly because due to loss of the best U.S. men during the cynically contrived Civil War.) Once the shroud of pessimistic end-times resignation had smothered what de Tocqueville experienced as “pulpits aflame,” the soft undermining effect of passive church irrelevance in a fast-changing society was assured. By election time 2008, scores of feminized, liberal-leaning pulpits had been taken in by the Left’s vague slogan of “change;” a change that a “truly loving God” supposedly desires.

As 1960’s radicals like Ayers and company wormed their way into the teacher colleges, the plan was that children…especially Dr. Benjamin Spock’s permissively trained and spoiled victims…would be progressively dumbed down to accept humanistic, anti-Christian socialism. The zeitgeist of the age was one of busy Baby Boomer parents marching resolutely to the beat of “me, mine and materialism.” While both parents took two salaries in order to pay their taxes and feed a consumption mentality, the planners knew that schools would be the perfect holding tank by day for “open minded” (read “gullible”) children who were getting, if any, only minimal moral guidance at home. What was being surreptitiously taught in the mega-compliant government schools was less critical to parents than the convenience of the handy babysitting. A passive Church, meanwhile, yawned. Only Rev. Rousas J. Rushdoony, virtually alone through the 1970s and 1980s, warned about the grave threat on the near horizon should government-controlled education be allowed to prevail. Has it prevailed? Having to ask the question gives the answer.

It was during this pivotal and still feasible-for-action time frame that others besides Rushdoony should have perked up and given the alert. Pro-active response conditions were still favorable. Post-Viet Nam, as socialist fruit began growing apace in the schools, pastors and young parents alive in the 1980s and 1990s (who would have been born at a time when the Cold War’s lessons about communism’s threat were still vivid) should have paid attention. And communism, as is well known, is merely the freedom-hating socialism of Obama and McCain worked out to its inevitable conclusion. With the facts so clearly visible, why didn’t those Boomer parents and their pastors figure it out?

It wasn’t just Dr. Spock. It wasn’t just end-times misinterpretations that led to irrelevance within church leadership. Post-Viet Nam pastors had other concerns stopping them from storming pulpits and with rhetorical swords drawn, proclaiming; “Parents: Remove God’s children from the humanist schools.” With Christianity under attack on all fronts, especially media, academia, and the entertainment sectors, humanistically-deceived moderns began leaving church. With tithing and giving down, pastors had worries other than the pesky socialism threat. They caved in to financial “reality,” very often using the wholly unjustified “salt and light in the schools” pretext. Instead of “taking a chance on God” and declaring truth, they ignored the get-them-out warning. They feared backlash from parents and public school teachers among the congregants. It was and is that simple.

But there’s plenty of blame to go around. All of the best known national power ministries on radio and TV happily followed suit. They too feared jeopardizing their donations and product-sales base. True, these national voices gave occasional, random attention to the school problem, but were quick to say, as a covering mantra, that the two alternatives, home education and private schools “are not for everyone.” Result: Only a few previously pro-materialism-leaning parents were sufficiently aroused to change gears, even for their own children. From pew to pulpit to the big production ministries, the ball was dropped, and the youth contingent response in the 2008 election reflects this failure. Millions of younger voters from churched homes (and often joined by their parents) had, in fact, succumbed to school socialism-based, pro-permissive, pro-class envy, pro-homosexual, pro-green, anti-defense and anti-capitalism deception. Twenty-first-century parents and leaders must wake up. “If you forebear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain…. If you say, behold, we knew it not, does not he that ponders the heart consider it? And he that keeps the soul, does he not know it? And shall he not render to every man according to his works” (Proverbs 24:10-11).

“Children of the State” in World Magazine for November 1, 2008, unintentionally revealed the degree of American reluctance to grasp 40 years of brutal truth…years at least somewhat reminiscent of 1930s Germany. It stated: “If you want a classic example of how fast a whole culture can be turned on a dime, redirected by 180 degrees, try this: Just when it seemed, through the 1980s, 1990s, and even well into the past decade, that a socialist mindset had been successfully put down in the United States, back it comes- with a vengeance.” No! 2008 was not a “here it comes back,” inexplicable surprise. Exactly the opposite! Since the 1970s, youth socialism-indoctrination has been like a freight train coming. And in 2008 it arrived-with a vengeance, right on schedule and just as planned. If not addressed now, 2010 will be worse. Today’s younger voters are politically illiterate, socialist-leaning, damaged goods and much of this because of a church-wide, millstone-risking refusal to protect Christ’s “little ones” (Matt. 18:6). “For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are led of them are destroyed” (Isa. 9:16).

Wiser heads in the Church; in some rare pockets of government, and we here at American Vision, know that this trend to socialism and, with it, the soon loss of our freedoms, must end. That pitiable throng of those taken in by this fairy tale must decline. Those adults-to-be of tomorrow (and already-adults of today) who would help lead us out of the trap must increase. American Vision’s specialty in the culture wars has always been to supply God-honoring materials for Christians who want to enhance their Kingdom-advancing skills. But AV’s offerings will fall increasingly on deaf ears if the adult readers of tomorrow continue “learning” in the other side’s youth training camps. Why not tell your pastor to think over the challenge? Tell him that an obedience-respecting God will honor his leadership. This is a transformational hour in history and the hour is late. As Cliff May wrote last week in National Review; “The Democrats, i.e., the Left, now have the White House, control of both houses of Congress, a majority of governors’ mansions, a majority of state legislatures, the entertainment media, the elite news media, the unions, the educational establishment, the lion’s share of the philanthropic community, and increasing power over the courts.” ACORN is on its way to OAK status. Christians need to grow trees of influence of their own, their own forests, and fast. Failure to act now guarantees that things will all only get worse, and not just in the political realm but in all of them. We ask you to join us by removing your own children and encouraging others to do the same. Set January, 2009 as your target date. We don’t have forever. Thank you.

 

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Two Inescapable Truths

Townhall.com Columnist
by Michael Medved

With three weeks to go before a fateful Presidential election all politicians and activists must confront two inescapable truths:

1-      In the midst of the unfolding crisis in the financial system, the economy isn’t just the major issue, it’s the only issue. Other controversies involving social and foreign policy disputes that seem disconnected from the financial breakdown, will waste time of campaigners and candidates and alienate the public in the process. 

2-      The people have become so profoundly skeptical of their political and business leaders that sweeping reform programs and positive proposals for change will gain no traction. When it comes to rescue and renewal plans for the collapsing economy, the public doesn’t understand and doesn’t trust them.

THE DECIDING FACTOR

If the candidates can’t grab attention for any issue other than the economic crisis, and if all prospective solutions will leave the public cold, what can they positively talk about in the final days of this bitterly fought election?

Each of the candidates will concentrate on warning the public about his opponent. They will make mirror image arguments: yes, current conditions are terrible and alarming—and, as a matter of fact, my opponent and his pals played a big role in creating this mess. What’s more, if he gets his hands on the White House, a bad situation will get far, far worse, bringing unimaginable pain to the American people.

Whichever candidate makes this argument most convincingly will win the election.

Despite the messianic expectations that earlier attended the Obama campaign, the people won’t vote this time on glittering visions of hope and change. They will vote for the candidate who scares them least, and who provides the best indication of allowing the normal processes of recovery to take their course. 

COUNTERING THE OBAMA ADVANTAGE

Barack Obama enjoys a significant advantage when it comes to blaming his opponent and frightening the public. His line of attack is simple, direct and, by now, painfully familiar: “This current crisis is the inevitable result of eight years of the disastrous policies of George W. Bush— policies enthusiastically supported by John McCain. Now is the time for change and new directions, not more of the same.”

The McCain campaign already understands the way to undermine this argument – but they must begin to do so more energetically and insistently.

First, they must make it clear that Democrats deserve at least as much blame for the Wall Street meltdown as do Republicans— a case that’s already supported by common public attitudes. For the most part, the American people maintain a “plague on both their houses” attitude toward professional politicians, expressing contempt for both major parties. They demonstrate this contempt in public opinion surveys showing record low approval ratings for the President of the United States. But at the same time, they feel even more disillusioned with Congress—the one branch of government currently dominated by Democrats. In all major polls, George W. Bush draws two-to-three times higher approval percentages than the Nancy Pelosi-Harry Reid Congress. As John McCain tartly observes, Congressional approval is “pretty much down to blood relatives and paid staffers.”

The campaign must re-focus the public’s attention on the fact that the Senate and House that they despise are being run by Democrats— and that Barack Obama supports these people and means to extend their work. In this sense, a vote for Obama is truly a vote for “more of the same.” If the people recognize that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have provided disastrous leadership in Congress, why would they choose to put their ally and colleague in the White House?

Surely, it’s no coincidence that the current economic collapse occurred only after six years of the Bush boom, and largely coincided with the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2007.

McCain should follow the example of one of his heroes, Harry Truman, and run energetically against the “disastrous Democratic Congress” and the prospect of giving these bozos undivided control of our federal government.

The second point the Senator and his supporters must make involves distinguishing his personality and policies from George W. Bush. Most Americans realize that these two former rivals (W and Mac) have sparred on many issues, and cooperated on many issues, but McCain helps himself whenever he claims the “maverick” mantle and reminds voters of his many disagreements with Bush and his leadership.

SCARY AND DANGEROUS, BEYOND DOUBT

While countering Democratic attacks, McCain supporters must launch their own frontal assault on the Democratic nominee and make the case that his Presidency would inevitably intensify, deepen and prolong the current economic crisis.

It’s not enough to suggest that Obama is untested, inexperienced, or “not ready to lead.” The current situation calls for more than planting doubts about the Illinois Senator. Republicans must show that he is scary and dangerous, beyond doubt.

Three aspects of Obama’s leadership would wreck the economy even further and help turn a crisis into a catastrophe:

-          Higher Taxes, Runaway Spending, Bigger Deficits

-          Bad Character, Bad Values

-          Unpredictability and Hyper-Partisanship

RAISING TAXES MEANS FEWER JOBS, SHARPER RECESSION

Barack Obama claims that under his plan, 95% of Americans will either get a tax cut or pay the same that they do today. It should be easy to feed the public’s natural skepticism about that pledge by reminding them of Obama’s many costly promises — $50 billion more per year to the UN to fight global poverty, $160 biillion a year for a new health care plan, $150 billion to encourage energy independence, doubling of the Peace Corps,  universal preschool funded by the federal government, $4,000 a year to all kids who want to go to college and pledge future service, and new $1,000 per couple welfare checks (called “refundable tax credits”) to more than 40 million American households who currently pay no federal income taxes.

Independent analysis suggests that Obama wants to raise federal spending some $800 billion a year. Everyone understands that he can only do so my increasing the total tax burden or vastly increasing our deficit. He would no doubt do both as president.

Earlier in the campaign, Obama promised to pay for his vastly expensive new programs by ending the Iraq war and bringing the troops home. More recently, however, he’s admitted that he’d need to keep a substantial American presence in Iraq on a long-term basis – as many as 75,000 troops. Of the soldiers he would still remove from that conflict, he’s pledged to send most of them immediately to Afghanistan. It’s hard to see why troops in Afghanistan would save substantial money as opposed to troops in Iraq.

There’s no question that the total tax burden would increase under Obama. Instead of the 18% of the Gross Domestic Product currently consumed by the Federal Government, he could take the share as high as 22% or even 25%.

Most people instinctively understand that if our leaders make the total tax burden significantly heavier, it will hurt them eventually.

They can also see the disastrous logic behind raising spending and taxes in the current situation.

If, at a time of credit crunch, your boss must pay much more in taxes, he have less money on hand to pay you a raise or to hire new workers.

Even before the present crisis, Obama’s ambitious plans for governmental expansion looked frightening to many Americans. In today’s mood of insecurity and uncertainty, those vastly expensive schemes should seem terrifying and irresponsible.

CHARACTER COUNTS IN CRISIS

When Republicans try to bring up Obama’s unsavory associations with Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko or Jeremiah Wright, Democrats object that no one cares about such nasty trivia at a time of national financial meltdown.

But the right answer to this defense is that in a time of historic crisis character counts more than ever, and an effective leader needs to demonstrate the ability to inspire and unify the country.

As with Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and so many other politicians engulfed by scandal, it’s not the crime, but the cover-up.

If Nixon had admitted the role of his top aides in the ill-conceived Watergate break-in and apologized to the nation, he would have finished his term. If Clinton made no attempt to lie about his tawdry involvement with an intern, there would have been no impeachment.

And if Obama had come clean about his long-standing associations with radicals, America-haters, and crooked operators, and if he had expressed regret for his own poor judgment in earlier stages of his career, these connections would have disappeared long ago as an issue in the campaign.

As it is, however, his insistence that Bill Ayers was “just a guy in my neighborhood” or, even more preposterously, that he knew nothing of his violent, radical, wanted-by-the-FBI past, leaves him vulnerable to charges of duplicity and deception.

Integrity always matters for a prospective president, but it matters most of all at a time of economic collapse based largely on a loss of confidence in our leaders.

Questions about Obama’s background (“Who is Barack Obama?” John McCain has begun asking) go right to the heart of his suitability as a leader who can lead the way to economic recovery. The President must play the leading role in restoring public trust in the nation’s economic system. Obama is poorly equipped to play that part if he himself remains untrustworthy, and his background shows little support or sympathy for the free market system.

POLARIZING RATHER THAN PULLING TOGETHER

Most Americans understand that recovery and survival will require a joint effort involving all our institutions and all our citizens. Partisanship looks particularly petty in today’s Washington: the markets and the public responded very badly when Congressional efforts at financial rescue initially collapsed in a welter of recriminations and bickering.

As the Senator with the most liberal voting record of all his colleagues (more liberal than even self-described Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont!), Obama hardly looks like a credible consensus politician. As McCain quipped at the first debate: “You can’t reach across the aisle when you’re starting off so far over to the left.” Moreover, Obama has never stood up to the interest groups, activists, or political bosses in his own party.

McCain has made a specialty of challenging his fellow Republicans – and some of the most strident right-wingers have never forgiven him for it. Obama, in contrast,  has enjoyed crucial support from the most extreme elements in his own party.

Moreover, an Obama presidency promises to usher in a new era of bitterness and hyper-partisanship. He would preside in Washington alongside Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, with little reason to compromise or seek common ground with his opposition.

McCain, on the other hand, would work with a Congress that will no doubt remain Democratic, providing the divided government that Americans seem to prefer – particularly in hard times. People look back fondly and positively on the era of Newt Gingrich working reluctantly but effectively with Bill Clinton, or Tip O’Neill managing to jump-start the economy, save Social Security, and turn the corner in the Cold War by cooperating with Ronald Reagan.

Finally, Obama’s still unformed political personality and his constant bobbing, weaving and contradictory posturing on a wide range of issues, will deny the economy the stability and predictability it needs most as the launching pad for recovery. Corporate planning or restructuring suffers when business leaders have no idea what to expect in terms of tax rates or regulation or ambitious new programs.

In that regard, a financial crisis calls for solidity, not radical change.

RESPONDING TO PUBLIC PAIN AND FEAR

A decent politician should never exploit public pain and fear, but he must respond to it.

John McCain now faces a vastly different campaign than he did a month ago.

He doesn’t need to outbid Obama with big plans or soaring rhetoric.

He needs to reassure the people that their world won’t unravel further and that under his steady leadership, the bumbling Democrats in Congress won’t be allowed to push a shaky situation to a full scale crack up.

He needs to make it clear that Obama has disqualified himself for leadership in a difficult time on three bases — calling for bigger government and higher taxes, showing shady character and questionable values, and displaying hyper-partisanship and unpredictability.

After nearly two years of ceaseless and exhausting campaigning, John McCain now trails Barack Obama in what remains a close race.

Conventional wisdom says that disastrous economic news unavoidably assists Barack Obama, but why at a time of menace and insecurity should a desperate public turn automatically to an untried rookie with no background whatever in executive leadership or economics? At least McCain served for many years as influential chair of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Three weeks can constitute an eternity in politics, and the big events that have frightened the public and refocused their attention on the importance of this race have also served to launch what could easily become a brand new campaign.

 

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The Consequences of Ignorance

By Rev. Tommy Davis

Greater than any disease is the issue of ignorance. I often talk to well meaning folks who have so many opinions about the Bush Administration and the economy while the facts that would truly advise them are totally ignored.

One lady told me that Bush is raising the price of oil to profit from its earnings. Another time I was told that the Republicans think they own the whole country and just allow us to live in it. On the same note I have been told that Obama is a very smart guy and he should be president.

Most of these statements spew forth from black and white liberals who desire freedom and prosperity at the expense of the wealthy. Economically, it would not make much sense for Bush to support buying oil from the Middle East when he could yield greater returns from the American oil industry.

Second, the United States is not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OPEC is made up of thirteen countries who control two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves. Their output is over 35 percent of the market. It’s OPEC who controls crude oil prices, and its government taxation that finally determines the price after refinery on American soil.

If the U.S. Government raises taxes for oil companies then those costs must be transferred over to the consumer in order for businesses to make a profit, pay their employees and reinvest capital.

A Republican form of government that believes in low taxes and small administration understand that the public will benefit more from innovative ideas through free-market competition. It is high taxes and government price controls that leads to inflation and an unstable market. Remember, it was Franklin Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act (NRA) of 1933 that helped prolong the Great Depression. The NRA required above-market wages for fresh hires which led to elevated unemployment.

Obama is a repackaged Roosevelt’s New Deal (‘Change’). The federal government attempted to control costs and production through many policies and ‘agreements’ with trade associations.

A president who signs activist legislation that penalizes businesses for providing goods to consumers will only make it more difficult for those very consumers to either purchase their desired goods; or those goods would not be provided at all due to the high cost of production and low return on capital (when a company is forced into bankruptcy).

FDR’s New Deal that found support with a majority Democratic Congress was a fable but he sold it to a desperate people. In similar fashion, Obama’s “change” is another step in taking America down a comparable road until a new “Ronald Reagan” gives power back to the consumer and restores true competition in the business world. Thus, resulting in a superior change in our economy.

 

 

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No Comparison

Obama’s No Ronald Reagan
By Dinesh D’Souza
Monday, March 10, 2008

On Hannity & Colmes recently, conservative pundit Oliver North sought to portray Barack Obama as an “empty suit,” at which point Democratic political strategist Bob Beckel erupted, “That’s what they said about Ronald Reagan.” Beckel went on to make the case that Obama’s candidacy resembles the Reagan candidacy of 1980.

Is it possible that Barack Hussein Obama is the next Ronald Wilson Reagan? Well, Reagan too was a strong advocate for “change.” When Reagan ran for office the economy was in a shambles. Inflation was in double digits, growth was stagnant, interest rates were high, and the stock market was barely higher than it was a decade earlier. Abroad, the Soviet bear had gobbled up 10 countries between 1974 and 1980. There were 100,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan. In Iran, U.S. policy had helped topple the Shah and usher in the Ayatollah Khomeini. Hostages were being held by Islamic radicals. President Carter diagnosed Americans as suffering from a kind of national depression which he called “malaise.” Clearly change was in order.



US Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks in Laramie, Wyoming, March 7, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
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But Reagan was a man of large ideas. He positioned his career against the big idea of the twentieth century, namely collectivism. Reagan saw collectivism in a menacing Soviet empire abroad, and an expanding welfare state at home. When I first came to America the national ethos had been set by John F. Kennedy who told young people that if they were idealistic and caring, they should join the Peace Corps. To Kennedy it was the government servant who was the true noble American. Reagan disputed this. To him it was not the bureaucrat but the entrepreneur who was the embodiment of American idealism and greatness. Reagan sought to bring about a cultural shift in America in which parents would rather see their children become inventors and business owners rather than paper-pushers in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Reagan also had concrete ideas about how to bring about his grand aspirations. He sought to roll back the Soviet empire by deploying Pershing and Cruise missiles in Europe. He sought to deploy missile defenses to shoot down Soviet missiles and also to invite the Russians into a defensive arms race that he knew they couldn’t win. He proposed bringing the top marginal tax rate down from 70 percent to 28 percent. He proposed a 30 percent across-the-board tax cut. He sought a restrictive monetary policy to wring inflation out of the economy, combined with tax cuts to unleash entrepreneurial initiative. He backed privatization of government activities that could be better performed by the private sector.

Let’s leave aside Reagan’s astounding accomplishments in actually getting his ideas implemented, and the great political and cultural revolution they produced. Let’s just focus on the fact that Reagan had the vision and he had the specific policies to produce it. Where is Obama’s vision for America that goes beyond “bringing us together”? How exactly does Obama propose to do this? What are his imaginative fiscal and monetary proposals? If Obama wants to get troops out of Iraq, what is his alternative strategy for winning the war against radical Islam? Does he have anything more to offer other than the vacuous “really going after Bin Laden”? To ask these questions is to answer them.

Of late Obama has been responding to charges of inexperience by saying, in effect, that experience doesn’t matter. And there is a grain of truth in what he says. True, people with experience sometimes screw up. But in the end Obama’s argument is a non-sequitur. Just because good generals sometimes make bad maneuvers, it doesn’t mean that military companies should from now on be headed by people who have never previously served in combat. Experienced skaters sometimes slip and fall. Still, it doesn’t follow that the U.S. Olympic team should therefore be made up of people who haven’t skated before. The conventional wisdom is that it would be harder for John McCain to beat Hillary Clinton than it would be for him to beat Barack Obama. From what we’ve seen of Obama so far, I’m not sure this is so. But it may be useful for let Democrats think this. The party that by all reckoning should win the White House in November may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza’s new book What’s So Great About Christianity has just been released. His book The Enemy at Home will be published in paperback in February.

 

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What Kind of ‘Experience’?

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By Thomas Sowell
February 5, 2008

The front-runners in both political parties — that is, Hillary Clinton and John McCain — are making “experience” their big talking point. But what kind of “experience”?

Both have been around in politics for decades. But just what did they accomplish — and how did it benefit the country?

Whether in Arkansas or in Washington, Hillary Clinton has spent decades parlaying her husband’s political clout into both money and power. How did that benefit anybody but the Clintons?

For those people whose memories are short, go on the Internet and look up Whitewater, the confidential raw FBI files on hundreds of Republican politicians that somehow — nobody apparently knows how — ended up in the Clinton White House illegally.

Look up the sale of technology to China that can enable them to more accurately hit American cities with nuclear missiles. Then look up the money that found its way to the Clintons through devious channels.

Look up Bill Clinton’s firing of every single U.S. Attorney in the country, which of course included those who were investigating him for corruption as governor of Arkansas.

It may be old-fashioned to talk about character and integrity but they can have a lot more to do with the fate of this nation than “experience” at playing political games.

More to the point, Presidents of the United States lacking character and integrity have inflicted lasting damage on the office they held and on the nation.

The country has never trusted Presidents as much as they did before Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon betrayed that trust. Trust, like other features and powers of the Presidency, is not simply a benefit to the particular incumbent.

The nation as a whole is stronger when it can trust its President who, after all, has vastly more knowledge available on both domestic and international problems and threats.

It would be hard to find two people less trustworthy than the Clintons or with a longer trail of sleaze and slime.

Senator John McCain is also touting his “experience,” both in politics and in the military.

Senator McCain’s political record is full of zig-zags summarized in the word “maverick.” That is another way of saying that you don’t know what he is going to do next, except that it will be in the interests of John McCain.

While you are on the Internet looking up the record of the Clintons, look up John McCain’s record, including the Keating Five, the McCain-Feingold bill, and the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill.

Senator McCain’s trump card is his military experience. Some say his military experience is especially valuable when we are under threat from terrorists. But is it?

John McCain’s military service was both honorable and heroic. But let’s not confuse that with experience relevant to being President of the United States.

John McCain was a naval aviator, an important and demanding job. But a naval aviator is not like Patton or Eisenhower.

A naval aviator does not plan battlefield strategy, much less global military strategy, which a President must oversee, with the help of experienced generals and admirals.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the First World War. But he depended on General George C. Marshall for military strategy in the Second World War.

Give McCain credit where credit is due: He supported the “surge” in Iraq, which rescued a deteriorating situation. But so did George W. Bush, who has never touted his military service and Dick Cheney who was never in the military.

The most charitable interpretation of Senator McCain’s constant touting of his military service is that he is simply milking it for political advantage.

It would be truly dangerous if McCain really considers himself a military expert, who can therefore ignore the advice of real military experts as President of the United States.

A man like McCain, with a history of being headstrong and shooting from the hip, is the last thing we need as President, in an age of complex global threats, including terrorists who may get nuclear weapons within the next few years.

——-

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His Web site is http://www.tsowell.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2008 in Politics

 

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