Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

We’ve been begging our leaders for specifics on what to do to make a difference. Glenn Beck’s events (Restoring Honor, Courage & Love) represent a huge step towards getting our heads & hearts straight about the morality of our cause.  Others have also made contributions, but Levin’s proposal, The Liberty Amendments, deserves specific recognition – it is the first path to restore our founding ideals, based on the Constitution itself, that we can all contribute to, that has a realistic chance– if we pledge “our lives, our Fortunes, & our sacred Honor” to the success of the Liberty Amendments.

Our kids and our country deserve no less.

It will be a difficult climb but I believe the country is ready for a tangible solution to the threats our country faces. Make no mistake; we’re in a race against time and a ruthless progressive cancer. With a $17 trillion national debt, and $60 trillion more in unfunded liabilities, cities like Detroit going bankrupt and states like California threatening, we must right the American ship as soon as possible. Once a financial crisis occurs, it may be impossible to counter calls for a more powerful central government – especially if people go hungry or start blaming the usual suspects (capitalism, tea partiers, etc.)

One last comment before I summarize my ideas for the first five amendments. I believe it’s important for the leaders of our movement – we all have a different list, but mine would include, in addition to Levin, among others, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Yaron Brook, Sen. Rand Paul (and his father Ron), Sen. Ted Cruz (& his father Rafael), Sen. Mike Lee, Mia Love , Rev C. L. Bryant, Walt Williams and 2008 GOP VP nominee Gov. Sarah Palin.

Everybody has different ways of contributing to the cause of freedom. I hope that all of them discuss Levin’s book, advance the idea and help pass the Liberty Amendments. Sometimes silos are created where no one wants to promote what their “competition” is doing – that must not happen.  I would encourage all of them to be generous with their comments and their air & face time.  However, so far, I haven’t heard one word of the idea, or Levin’s upcoming book, from these folks – perhaps they’re waiting for the book?

As you can see from this post, I think it’s a mistake to wait. In fact, Levin’s idea motivated me to start blogging again for the first time in years.  It will be my 100th post, with over 26,580 visitors, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate #100.  Not only is it fun to see if my ideas for reform match up with Levin’s, but until his book comes out on August 13, I hope and pray my ideas will encourage others to come up with their own – can there be too much engagement in the cause of freedom? Of course, Levin’s specific amendments will be very important, but just his idea has lit the torch – by urging us to look within the Constitution itself for how to repair our Constitutional Republic.

Everyone has ideas – my first five are listed below and I’ll follow-up with more details on each one – but the main thing is to jump in and start, time’s not on our side.

The Liberty Amendments – My First Five

1. Voter Campaign Finance (VCF)

  • Limit campaign contributions to those who are registered voters that can vote for the candidate. For example, I live in VA 5th Congressional District – Robert Hurt’s my congressman. If he ran for House, under this Amendment, he could only receive campaign contributions from registered 5th district voters (easily checked against existing voter rolls) – no unions, corporations, out-of-district fat cats, PACs, etc. If you don’t have a legal right to vote in 5th district, you can’t influence the 5th District election.

2. Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA)

  • Cut Cap & Balance (HR 2560) was a great idea that died in the corrupt halls of Harry Reid’s U.S Senate – but just barely (51Ds-46Rs) – a real life example of the wisdom of Levin’s idea – Congress will not reform itself, we must go around Congress. My twist on Cut Cap & Balance is this: Limit federal revenues to 18% GDP, spending to 17% GDP limit and the remaining 1% for debt relief and, after that, an “Emergency Fund”.
  • In case of war, Congress can authorize spending to exceed 18% only if two-thirds of Congress approves. The 1% of GDP (of the 18% collected for revenues) would go to pay down the national debt (about $16 Billion/yr at current GDP) and, once debt free (woohoo!!), use the 1% for an Emergency Fund – to pay for declared wars and disasters but only if two-thirds approve “withdrawals” – restoring Congress’ power to limit wars with their Constitutional funding power.

3. Term Limits

  • This has been around for a while but my version would limit service in Congress to just 12 years total. This could be three House terms (3×2=6) followed by a Senate term (1×6) or two Senate terms (2×6=12) or other combinations. The main idea is to not allow folks to make a career out of DC politics while allowing them enough time to be effective.

4. Law Limits

  • Obamacare was over 2700 pages long. The recent immigration bill was 1200 pages. Neither of these very devastating bills, that affect all of U.S., has been read by their supporters or detractors – that’s not a democracy, that’s a marketing campaign. Just vote on one or two issues at a time. I don’t know a specific # – others can work that out – but perhaps < 10 pages.

5. Pardon Accountability

  • Require Presidents to prioritize pardons (100 or less) and announce their last pardons at least 90 days before general election. Although an outgoing POTUS can’t be held accountable, voters can hold parties accountable. I predict the outrages from Obama’s pardons – both the # and who – will force this Amendment to top of list.

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Originally posted on June 27, 2008.  This is my fifth revision.

Because America does great things with the energy it uses, it’s important to U.S. and the world to reduce energy costs as much as possible as fast as possible. 

Here are 8 steps to reduce energy costs now, jump-start alternative sources, replace foreign oil sources with domestic and improve energy efficiency:

  1. Sell 1% of the SPR, per month, until oil is < $100 barrel again.  
  2. Spend the SPR money, about $1 billion / month, to jump-start alternatives like Picken’s wind project, solar and hydro. 
  3. Make a 9pm EST Primetime announcement that the U.S. will begin drilling in the OCS and ANWR effective immediately.  Announce that it will be a national priority to help oil companies get rigs out to those sites as fast as possible and that, if necessary, the military will assist, shipping lanes will be interrupted, etc., in other words, rally the nation!  It’s important & urgent to save our economy…Let’s act like it!
  4. Offer $100 billion for the first person or company to invent an inexpensive  way to retrofit existing cars to get > 100 mpg.  It’s great if auto makers offer new cars that get high mpg but for every new car sold there are thousands already on the road. 
  5. Build the largest nuke plant in the world in the Nevada desert, right next to the Yucca Mountain Repository, and plug into the national grid.  Why risk transporting the nuke waste any farther than necessary?
  6. Identify the 10 worst users of energy, efficiency-wise, make them famous and use carrots and sticks to make sure the list is completely different next year.
  7. Abandon all efforts at biofuels – that was a really stupid idea.  Not only is producing food energy-intensive but we need all the food we produce to feed people, not cars.  USE FOOD FOR PEOPLE.
  8. Remove regulatory burdens preventing new oil & gas refineries from being built and existing ones from being expanded. 

So why do we need an energy plan?  Is there a crisis?  Some prominent Democratic leaders, including Barack Obama, would like you to believe high energy prices are punishment for 5% of the world’s population using 25% of the world’s oil or bitter medicine necessary to force us to finally do the right thing:  conserve. 

This explains their lack of action. 

Others, including myself, have a different take on things:

America does great things with the energy it consumes!

The U.S. economy produces over $13 trillion of goods and services  – more than Japan, Germany, China & the U.K. combined!  We create most of the world’s great inventions.  We produce most of the world’s food – food is energy-intensive.  We use lots of energy to help maintain a fantastic military that helps keep the world safe.  Our incredible economy creates lots of wealth, a big chunk of which is donated to help feed and clothe the rest of the world. 

We also produce most of the world’s medicines, music, movies and manufactured goods.  Does that surprise you?  You may have been misled into thinking the U.S. has lost all it’s manufacturing to China.  Actually, in real dollars, American manufacturers produced $1.53 trillion worth of goods in 2005—up from $900 billion in 1992.  Let me repeat, we manufacture 70% more goods than we did in 1992 in real dollars – that takes energy, lots of it. 

So, why shouldn’t we use the most energy?   We create the most goods and services (and inventions, music, film, food, medicines, aircraft, etc..)  In addition, we’re extremely efficient using our energy.  By 1999, we were able to produce the same goods and services we did in 1972, using 74% less energy.  In other words, Mr. Obama, we already conserve, have been for years, we just call it being "efficient", and we do it to save our companies and families money. 

We should celebrate our economy and what we produce, not feel guilty about much energy we use to produce it!

This plan has huge benefits for the United States:

  1. Selling SPR oil and opening up the OCS and ANWR sends a huge message to world oil markets that the U.S. is finally serious about using all it’s available resources to meet it’s energy needs.  Although the OCS/ANWR oil will not be delivered immediately, speculators trade on trends and the trend for oil prices will finally start heading down. 
  2. Exactly how much will prices drop?  Oddly enough, a Democrat in Congress may have answered that question.  Peter Welch (D-VT),  sponsored H.R. 6022 to stop adding oil to the SPR.  He says that, not purchasing 70,000 barrels per day, "may reduce gas prices 5 to 24 cents per gallon".  Every Senate Democrat voted for it, including Obama and Hillary, and Bush signed it.  So, Democrats have agreed, on record, how much the price of gas will drop (21 cents) when the supply of oil increases by 100,000 barrels.  Remarkable!
  3. Using Congressmen Welch’s math, just selling SPR oil should save 49 cents / gal.  Do you know anyone that wants to save 49 cents a gallon?  EVERYONE!  As far as OCS/ANWR, we looked at the 2006 OCS Assessment and the 1987 ANWR report, and they’ll yield 2 to 4 million barrels per day.  Using Rep. Welch’s math, oil from OCS/ANWR may push the price of gas to below $1 per gallon.   It may not be that much, but the more U.S. oil we produce, the lower the worldwide price, the more the world loves U.S. – it’s economic science.   
  4. This should drop not just the price of oil, but nearly all U.S. consumer prices.  A solid plan until lower price kick in should help calm consumer fears about the future of the U.S. economy.  Right now, the only thing standing in the way of providing the American people cheap energy again is the Democratic leadership in Congress, you know, the ones with a 9% approval rating, an approval rating so low the term "historic" is getting old.  The usual suspects refusing to drill include Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton and, of course, their Presidential nominee, Barack Obama.  Increasingly, voters are getting more and more angry.  
  5. The SPR has about 700 million barrels of oil so 1% equals 7 million bbls.  At $142 per bbl, selling 1% per month of the SPR  will net about $1 billion dollars per month for investment in alternative energy .  Oil, gas, coal, natural gas and nuclear will meet our near term needs (next 30 years) while we transition to alternative energy (wind, solar, hydro).
  6. Aggressive domestic drilling replaces foreign oil with domestic and that prevents hundreds of billions of US dollars from going to countries hostile to our interests, lower our trade deficit,  and creates hundreds of thousands of US jobs.
  7. The more oil produced in the U.S. the more control we have over how it is produced.  For example, U.S. deep sea drilling standards minimize damage to the environment if there’s an accident.  Right now, we have no control over how a well drilled off the coast of Nigeria is regulated.
  8. Abandoning bio fuels will reduce pressure on food prices and help get food to those who need it most – the hungry.
  9. This plan generates billions of dollars for alternative energy research without any money from the federal budget – this helps keep our deficit down, interest rates down and the dollar up – all good for U.S. consumers.
  10. One nice side benefit of increased domestic production is that all our allies, Europe, Japan, Australia, South America, Afghanistan, will also benefit from lower worldwide oil prices after we increase US output.  They will be grateful that we have finally taken pressure off not just gas price but prices overall and avoided a worldwide recession, if not depression.

Our leaders, and our voters, have a choice.  Empower America (pun intended) with my plan or continue to gamble that alternative energy, OPEC lawsuits, humiliating US oil companies executives (who control less than 6% of the world’s oil reserves) and even more conservation will pay off soon.  Barack and the Dems have no plan to address our growing near-term energy needs and, given the pain that $5 gas will cause us, that’s remarkable. Sacrificing all that America offers the world, holding fast to extreme environmentalism when American families are suffering, seems to me to be a mistake of monumental proportions. 

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I recently watched a Major Garrett interview of Senator Clinton @


It was a rigorous discussion of inside-the-beltway issues like whether Michigan and Florida should be seated and isn’t the recent tide of super delegates to come out for Obama a sign Obama’s the presumptive nominee?  As interesting as those topics are for political junkies, like myself, I can’t help but wonder why aren’t more questions asked that would really help voters make up their minds?

For example:

  1. To really reduce the price of gas for those WV nurses (who can’t see certain patients because of gas prices), what about drilling in ANWR and off the coasts, with strict environment-protecting controls, and releasing some of the SPR until those new wells come online?  This would really lower the price of gas for average Americans, replace foreign oil sources with domestic and improve our trade deficit.  The Dems have really limited domestic drilling – which has kept domestic supply down.  If Democrats don’t go along with it now, why shouldn’t those nurses, and everyone else, blame the Democrats for high gas prices?
  2. Isn’t it true, Senator Clinton, that the booming 90s economy, you keep taking credit for, actually began in March, 1991 – a full 21 months before your husband took office?  Isn’t it also true that the 1994 Republican’s fiscal discipline and the Bush 41 recovery have more to do with the late 1990s surpluses than anything your husband did?  If so, why should Americans trust you with our economy?  In fact, given the Dem majorities, isn’t it more likely a Hillary economy would be more like Carter’s economy than the one your husband inherited?
  3. Lastly, and far more important, are questions about Rwanda – most media has been afraid to ask the Clintons about Rwanda – until now.  After the Holocaust, we promised “never again” at the 1948 UN Genocide Convention.  In 1994, over 50,000 blacks per week were butchered to death during the Rwanda Genocide.  To avoid our UN obligation, President Clinton tried to convince the world it wasn’t technically “genocide”.   Incredibly, the world believed President Clinton and, for 14 long weeks, the slaughter continued until over 800,000 blacks died.  Senator Clinton – As someone who has fought for women and children for 35 years, why didn’t you speak out publicly against your husband when you saw the news footage of the Kagera River, red with the blood of victims and clogged with the bloated & hacked body parts of women and children?  You call yourself a feminist and yet you remained silent while hundreds of thousands of black women, young and old, were raped and mutilated.  Why did you remain silent?
  4. Do you believe your husband’s apologies are enough given that over 800,000 blacks lost their lives on his watch?  Recent reports indicate your husband and V.P. Gore may have been aware as early as week three that a horrific genocide was happening, but did not acknowledge it publicly. 
  5. By week three, the Hutus had slaughtered over 100,000 Tutsis.  When did you begin to think it was genocide?  If early on, why not speak out publicly to save lives?  If not until later, why should America trust you to be President if you failed to see such a significant human disaster was unfolding and that urgent action was needed? 

I know these questions are a little rough but the subject matter is rough.  I truly believe journalists have a solemn obligation to hold leaders accountable, even if questions are difficult.

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Contrary to popular belief, a bad economy can be an advantage for Senator McCain – it depends on how he handles it.  Just because the GOP has the White House during an economic downturn, doesn’t necessarily mean the country will replace them with Democrats. 

Three things can happen after November – economy gets better, stays the same, or gets worse.  Putting Dems in the White House could make the economy worse – in fact, if history is any guide – that’s likely.    Since McCain is self-described economic light weight – he needs some help.

Here are three steps to help McCain address the economy – the number one issue for most Americans:

1) Announce (early) Mitt Romney will be his Vice-President.  Romney is a private sector superstar that fills a huge gap in McCain’s otherwise strong resume. Romney’s excellent at promoting free market solutions to effectively counter the populist rhetoric of Obama/Clinton.   He’s also great at explaining why doing nothing (letting markets sort things out) is usually best.  Make no mistake, both Democrats seek to turn this country left and back to the bad old days of socialism and progressivism.  We need a strong defender of capitalism on the ticket – nobody better than Mitt Romney.

2) Working with Romney, McCain should draft a major economy speech that educates voters about the successes of capitalism and how markets work best unfettered. For example, he can highlight how many hundreds of millions of people from India and China have moved from poverty to middle class and how that helps our economy (exports). He could talk about how liberal government policies and unions have crippled Detroit and Michigan hinting if you want America to follow the same course – elect Obama/Clinton. 

3) The knockout blow would be to debunk the myth that America can trust Democrats with the economy because of the great Clinton economy of the 1990s. The fact is the booming economy of the 1990s began with a recovery in March 1991 – 20 months before Clinton took office in January 1993. (See the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis @ bea.gov).   In addition, the Clinton budget surpluses that Hillary’s so proud of were a direct result of the fiscal discipline of the historic 1994 Republicans and their Contract with America. 

McCain should help Americans understand that an Obama-Clinton economy would look more like Jimmy Carter’s economy than Bill Clinton’s economy. In 1976, like 2008, a Democrat became President (Carter) with a struggling economy and a Democratic Congress. That combination (Dem President & Dem Congress) made a bad situation worse. Do we want to repeat history and be worse off in four years? 

Now that’s some straight talk!

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The GOP is split right now.  Oddly enough, Huckabee’s stubborn reluctance to withdraw seems irrelevant.   The real problem is McCain.

The unethical way McCain sucker punched Romney in Florida.  The unprincipled way McCain stood with those who came here illegally and against those who took a “principled stand for the rule of law”.  The ungrateful way McCain sneers at those who in the private sector who, by the way, create the wealth that pays for our kick-ass military.

One way forward is to put Romney on the ticket.  Here’s why:

  1. Romney earned more delegates and votes than any other potential VPs.  Had he stayed in, Mitt’s lead over Huckabee would have increased.
  2. Romney can help McCain in swing states like MI, MN, MA, ME, NV and Colorado.  Huckabee only helps him in states solidly GOP anyway.  
  3. Romney’s tough on illegals – very important for conservatives concerned GOP sold them out for pro-illegal immigration business interests.
  4. Romney can energize the base (and raise money) while McCain campaigns hard for independents – it’s a winning combination.
  5. Romney fills some gaps in McCain’s resume.  Mitt’s brilliant on the economy and champions, rather than scorns, profit-seeking capitalists.
  6. Romney as V.P. will reduce anti-McCain vote that Huck’s getting
  7. Romney has raised more money and has more money than anyone. 
  8. McCain looks like he might kick soon – nice to have Romney next in line.

Are there others?  Maybe.  Dr. Condi Rice is a favorite of mine – nobody has more foreign policy experience and she would effectively counter a woman or a black on the other side.  Huckabee ate popcorn-fried squirrel in college – so, by law, he’s out.  I really like Giuliani but he ended up with zero states after mounting a 50 state campaign.  Thompson voted no when asked to impeach Bill Clinton – that’s a non-starter for me and most GOP.   Bobbie Jindall of Louisiana is a possibility but, like Tim Pawlenty of MN and Charlie Crist of FL, can only offer one state with the promise of more.

Mitt offers the reality of more – he has millions of real votes and hundreds of real delegates.  Mitt beat McCain in 5 key swing states – three that Kerry almost lost in 2004 (MN, MI, ME-31 electors) and two states Bush almost lost (NV, CO-14 electors).   In addition, Mitt would help McCain tremendously in MA (12 electors), where Mitt was Governor, and neighboring NH (4 electors) where Kerry beat Bush by only 1% point.  In contrast, almost every state Huckabee beat McCain (GA, AR, TN, KS) was solidly for Bush anyway in 2004.

Net, net – Romney on the ticket may add 47 to 61 electors.  Bush beat Kerry by only 34 electors.

Another appeal of Romney as V.P. is that you have tens of millions of supporters, including more than a few hugely influential talk radio hosts, who feel Romney is due – that McCain hijacked the party and that Romney should have been our standard bearer.   Putting Romney on the ticket gives those supporters permission to get behind McCain.

Back to reality – McCain hasn’t appointed Romney V.P. or apologized for Florida or signed a no-Amnesty pledge so why should we support him? If he had won, “fair and square”, we’d support him – but he didn’t.

Honesty matters. Integrity matters.  I’m not supporting McCain until he sets things right.

I don’t care how many persuasive GOP establishment folks write articles about how much McCain is a “true conservative”.  This is up to McCain.  So, I’ll ask his “surrogates” to..stop wasting my time!

Set things right, Senator McCain, then ask for my support.

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John McCain won the Florida primary by lying to Florida’s military voters about Romney’s position on the war.  The only evidence he had was a single 72 second GMA interview that took place April 3, 2007.

McCain, Fox News and other media virtually ignored all of Romney’s comments on the issue during hundreds of interviews, including the first 8 seconds of that same GMA interview.  In addition, McCain had 14 debates to confront Romney on this issue, man to man, but in Clintonian fashion, he drops his political hit job on Florida 3 days before the primary.

(Remarkably, Fox News helped propagate McCain’s propaganda by redacting the first 8 seconds of the interview – I blog about this here).

I thought it might be interesting to read, during CPAC 2008, what Romney said about Iraq at CPAC 2007:

“Now, Iraq… (Applause)
You know this. Iraq is just one front in this global war against the violent, radical jihadists. We’ve removed Saddam Hussein but, afterward, I’m afraid to report that we were underprepared and underplanned and undermanaged and undermanned.
But walking away now because of those mistakes or dividing the country and then walking away would have real and severe risks for America and for our troops.
And that’s why I support the troop surge, for that reason. And one… (Applause)
And one thing I think we all can agree on: We shouldn’t let Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid dictate our battle strategy to the commanders in the field or to the commander in chief. (Applause)”

Does this sound like Romney supports the surge or timetables?

What does it say about McCain that he lied to military voters to win a primary?

Can you say that McCain won the nomination “fair and square”?

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Once again, we were treated to another MTP where Russert holds up McCain as the shining RINO on the hill he is.

Right out of the box, Russert puts up this McCain quote, “The fact is…Governor Romney has hedged, equivocated, ducked and reversed himself.” and “presses” McCain by asking him what he is talking about “specifically”.  Russert essentially asks McCain to dig a little deeper into his distortion of Romney’s record so those that didn’t get it the first time will really be misled this time. This is more than throwing softballs – it’s handing the batter a bigger bat.

Senator McCain straightens himself and prepares to give us some straight-talk.  He then implies that Romney was unclear about whether we maintain the surge in Iraq.  In the first 8 seconds of the interview below, the interviewer says, “You (Romney) have been very vocal in supporting the President and the troop surge yet the American public has lost faith in this war.”

During those months that McCain mentioned when things looked bleak, we now know that:

Romney was for the surge – not timetables.

Back to our love fest, McCain also states that “just a fact” that Romney was for timetables.  Seeing the “straight-talker” lie with such ease, like the other candidate endorsed by the New York Times, was stunning and, hopefully, helped some GOP likely-voters to reject McCain’s candidacy.  The fact is that Romney was trying to answer, forthrightly, a question about whether there should timetables for troop withdrawals.

Here’s Romney’s answer:

So, did you come away from that interview thinking Romney was for troop withdrawals?


Nobody would, except maybe a candidate who sees his long-held dream of working at Pennsylvania Avenue’s other end coming to an end.  McCain has wanted the Presidency for a long-time and feels he got Bush-whacked in 2000 in South Carolina.  Not one to let the facts get in the way of his opinion, he tries to convince Florida and the nation that Romney has been for timetables for withdrawals when that’s not what he said last April or a hundred times since, especially in the debates.

Why didn’t McCain criticize Romney in one of the 13 debates so far?

Because Romney has never supported timetables and, in fact, called for Bush to veto timetables. How do we know this without scouring LexisNexis or Google? Because had a leading GOP candidate supported timetables for troop withdrawals than his other opponents, and the media, would’ve pounced on it and they didn’t.

Russert himself has had Romney on since then and does anyone doubt that Russert’s MTP team would have dug that gem up if it was there and shoved it in Romney’s face – but it wasn’t so they didn’t.

By the way, in the GMA interview, there’s a banner that says, “Republicans Rocked.  Governor Romney’s Surprise”.  The surprise was that Romney had set a fundraising record for GOP candidates.  The media often mentions Romney’s wealth – implying that’s why he’s winning.  They rarely mention that he has raised more money than any other candidate or that in states where he spent a lot of money (NH) he didn’t win. 

There never mention that lots of money can be an asset that gives Romney the advantage over McCain.

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