Archive for the ‘Economy’ 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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Back in October, 2008, I printed this blog opining about how far left Obama was, that he was even left of a self-described Socialist and that it didn’t take too much research into his radical Chicago neighborhood to reckon “Primary Obama” was the truth and “General Election Obama” was the lie.

Now that he has spent more money than anyone in human history (even more than the Soviet and Chinese Communists), now that his war on free markets (capitalism) has sent investors running for the exits (and reduced our net worth by trillions of dolllars) and now that he has decided to spike our energy costs (with Cap & Trade), despite all the pain it will cause in a depressed economy – I can officially declare, unfortunately, I was right, Obama was left – far left. 

In his first 100 days, with millions losing their jobs, Obama still wants to spend much of his time, and hundreds of billions of dollars of our money, attempting to advance his progressive-socialist agenda rather than focus on the financial and housing crisis.  At last night’s press conference the President said, “I think that the last 64 days has been dominated by me trying to figure out how we’re going to fix the economy”. 

Really?  If he’s been working so hard at fixing the economy, why has he only filled one (Secretary Geithner) of the 18 open slots at Treasury that require Senate confirmation?  There is no Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, yet Obama is making tax policy.  There is no Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets – no wonder Obama totally mismanaged the AIG mess.  Why didn’t he clear his calendar in the first week in office and fully staff these Treasury positions to help turn this economy around? 

Even supporters are stunned that, instead of focusing on the economy, Obama has found time to close Gitmo, give $3 billion to ACORN, cut defense spending while troops are still fighting and dying, support a plan to take away a worker’s right to a secret ballot, add millions more to federal health insurance plans, implement an extreme environmental agenda, raise taxes, suspend trials for terrorists, make wounded warriors pay for their combat injuries, fly to California to insult disabled Americans on late night television, research what teams should be in this year’s NCAA college basketball brackets and laugh on 60 Minutes about the bad economy. 

This is reckless and sad – nothing funny about it.    

This is one of those moments where it is useful to see why some of us conservatives were warning America about Obama back when America still had a chance to chose a different path.  Contrary to the popular Democratic/Media narrative at the time, we were not alarmists – conservatives were dead-on accurate, and deserve the credibility that comes with being dead-on accurate. 

Here’s what I said back in October, 2008 about how far left Obama was and why:  

More Liberal Than A Socialist

Many people have heard that the National Journal rated Barack Obama the Most Liberal Senator in 2007.   Obama’s could have picked anyone to be his running mate, and he chose Senator Joe Biden – the 3rd most liberal.

What you may not know is that one of my Vermont Senators, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was rated 5th most liberal and is a self-described Socialist. 

That makes Obama left of a Socialist.

Before you tune me out because I used the “S” word, do a little research.  Invest a little bit of time learning about:

  • Saul Alinsky – the father of community organizing.  Clinton wrote her senior thesis about Alinsky.  Obama learned Alinsky’s methods so well that he taught them to others.
  • Weather Underground – radical group known for bombing the Pentagon, the NY Police HQ and the Capitol.  Co-founded by Bill Ayers.  
  • Bill Ayers – co-founder of Weather Underground who hosted a party to launch Obama’s political career in his living room.  
  • Bernardine Dohrn – Bill Ayers’ wife, convicted for Weather Underground activities, unrepentant in her support for Marxism-Leninism, now an adjunct professor of law @ Northwestern.  
  • Black Panther Party – Ayers and the Weather Underground declared war on the U.S. Government after the death of a Panther Fred Hampton.
  • Haymarket Riot – An event that seemed to have started it all. 
  • Rashid Khalidi – former PLO spokesman & Obama family friend.
  • Tony Rezco – a huge Obama fundraiser convicted of fraud and bribery.
  • ACORN – The nation’s largest radical organization and Chicago ACORN it’s most radical chapter.   They played a big part in pushing sub-prime loans that crippled our financial system and committing voter fraud in several states. 

Just Obama’s ties to ACORN should disqualify him from running for office.  Add in all the rest and the prospect of an Obama Presidency is truly frightening.

I have no doubt in my mind that Obama is a socialist and, with a little education, you will know that too.

Maybe you’re OK with that.  I’m not.

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Lately, left-leaning economic pundit Jim Cramer has received friendly fire from Obamacrats for comments like this posted @ TheStreet.com:

We need to declare a war on unemployment and solve it before we let it get out of hand. We need to stop house-price depreciation. Neither the pork-laden stimulus plan nor the confusing mortgage proposal put forward by Obama will defeat either enemy. When Obama trounces both unemployment and house-price depreciation, he will have the power to enact anything he wants. But all the initiatives he wants to rush, like tax hikes, changes in health care, tinkering with the mortgage deduction — good grief, right now in the midst of the worst housing downturn ever — and the tough cap-and-trade rules, will derail any chance we have of turning this economy around. Instead, they put the Second Great Depression smack on the nation’s table.

I couldn’t have said it any better myself.   Obama doesn’t care, but maybe there are some Democrats who will listen to Mr. Cramer and respectfully decline to join Mr. Obama in the history books. 

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What a remarkable election!  Despite the fact that Obama supporters dominated our education system, our film industry, our unions and our news media, John McCain and Sarah Palin fought the good fight and came close to winning anyway.

Despite being outspent 5 to 1 and 4 to 1 in many key states, McCain-Palin only lost Florida (27) by 2 points, Ohio (20) by 3 points and Virginia (13) by 3 points.  If those three states (60 votes total) had gone the other way, the totals would have been Obama-Biden 277 to McCain-Palin 260. 

Over 110 million Americans cast their votes and McCain-Palin only lost by 4 million or 3.6% of the total – not a landslide or a mandate by any stretch – just a hard-fought contest between two strong campaigns.

I know a lot of pundits will start nit-picking McCain-Palin first thing tomorrow, if not already, but I wanted to say how proud I was of the way they fought this campaign and how much they accomplished against very long odds.

My family feels like we have gotten to know both John McCain and Sarah Palin and feel great affection for the inspiring leaders they both are, for their wonderful families and for the long hours they put in helping to keep U.S. free and reminding us how great this country is. 

Thank you Senator McCain!  Thank you Governor Palin!

McCain introduces Sarah Palin to the Presidential Campaign - Photo by Mark Lyons-EPA

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I often hear pundits and commentators, on the left and the right, say “this is a tough year for the GOP because the economy is so bad”. 

Why?  Why blame the GOP for the economy? 

Is it possible that we can take a few moments and think this through a little bit?

The economy isn’t all bad, just parts of it.  So, what are the bad parts?  Which parts are causing us problems?

  1. Too much “Toxic Paper”.  The world invested trillions in mortgage products that contained lots of loans made to high-risk borrowers but guaranteed by the U.S. government.  This irrational exuberance lead to a housing bubble that, predictably, came crashing down, bringing financial markets to their knees. 
  2. Energy costs skyrocketed.  When oil prices shot up, the price of everything else shot up.   This increased the structural costs to everyone – reducing discretionary income, reducing sales, wiping out profits resulting in layoffs and making it much harder for the average person and business to make ends meet.
  3. Too much debt.  Even before the first two problems, U.S. households were carrying too much debt.  In the same way that having a nice chunk of savings helps you weather storms, having no savings and a lot of debt makes you vulnerable to storms.   

So, who caused these problems?  Yes, there are millions who don’t think things through very much and will blame everything on Bush.  There’s a lot of news media in this group.  Ironically, this same group will not give Bush credit for the good news in Iraq.  If you can make sense of that position, gold star for you.

Another group wants you to blame everything on Bush because they either want his job (Obama), or they want Obama to have his job, and, even though they know better, they will attempt to fool enough people to blame Bush, and McCain by association.  Barack Obama loves to say the current financial crisis is the “final verdict” on “eight years of failed Bush policies”.

Which Bush policies hurt the economy?

Tax Cuts?  NAFTA?  Too much spending?  Iraq?  Support for free markets?  Except for too much spending, which Democrats want more of, none of these “Bush policies” have anything to do with those things we already said damaged the economy (toxic paper, energy costs and too much debt).  On the contrary, Democrats are responsible for toxic paper and high energy costs.

So, using the Audacity of Reason, you can see that blaming Bush for the bad economy is weak, at best, and a bald-faced lie, at worse.  It’s much more credible to blame Democrats for two reasons:

  1. Toxic Paper – Democrats encouraged the sub-prime loans (toxic paper) that are choking our financial markets.   Clinton took Carter’s CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) and turbo-charged it.  Sub-prime loans under Clinton increased five-fold from $200 billion per year to over $1 trillion per year.  That’s a lot of money.  The Germans, Chinese and the Saudis never imagined that something called a “U.S. Mortgage obligation” was given to an unqualified borrower, sometimes without income verification.  Surprise!  Thank you ACORN!
  2. High Energy Costs – Democrats keep energy prices high by clinging to their extreme environmentalism.   I like cleaner air and water but Democrats have taken that bit of common sense too far.  For example, modern offshore drilling is pretty safe now – at least the way U.S. companies do it.  Although OPEC has much more lax environmental laws, Democrats will attack them for not producing more oil instead of lifting the ban on clean U.S. drilling.  Obama led Democrats had a chance to lift the ban on offshore drilling or go on a 5wk paid vacation – they chose the vacation.  Ten years ago, Bill Clinton refused to drill in ANWR, preventing us from adapting to increased worldwide demand and Hurricane Katrina.  For thirty years Democrats have refused to allow a new nuclear plant or refinery to be built in this country.   It goes on and on and on…we have paid a steep price because of Democrats on this issue.

When the housing bubble burst, it was like watching a patient cough up blood – they looked fine but inside the patient was very sick because of the sub-prime loans Clinton injected into the U.S. economy back in the 1990s.   Bush applied chemotherapy treatment (the bailout) and we’re now waiting to see if the patient recovers.  That depends on how Bush administers the chemotherapy and whether the next doctor nurtures the patient with lower taxes (McCain) or kicks the patient in the teeth with higher taxes (Obama).

I pray tonight that America chooses McCain.

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Barack Obama loves to say the financial crisis is the “final verdict” on “eight years of failed Bush policies”.

Which Bush policies hurt the economy?

Since O’Reilly had only a half hour with Obama and the rest of the media has given him a pass, we still don’t have the details about what Obama meant by that sound-bite.  I think Obama’s a closet socialist so he may think Bush didn’t grow government enough.  However, Senator McCaskill assures us Obama will “camp in the middle”, so perhaps Obama just disagreed with Bush about priorities. 

To keep things simple, I’ll just take a guess which five areas the public might think of when they hear the phase, “eight years of failed Bush policies.”

Tax cuts?  Often, Democrats blame the Bush tax cuts for the booming deficit.  Problem is tax receipts are much higher since the tax cuts passed.  Let me repeat – tax revenue is higher.  The Bush tax cuts worked so well to stimulate the economy that the U.S. economy has kept growing despite the worst terrorist attack (9/11) and natural disaster (Katrina) in U.S. history and two long wars.  So, there’s no evidence the tax cuts hurt the economy – to the contrary, they helped a great deal, which is why McCain wants to keep taxes low and offer some additional cuts.

Foreign Trade?  Nope.  Exports, including U.S. manufactured goods are way up under Bush.  If anything, Obama’s more protectionist, pro-labor policies would have hurt the economy.

Spending?  Yes, Bush has spent a lot to pay for 9/11, to increase security, to restore Clinton cuts in military spending, to help the Gulf Coast after Katrina, Ike, etc… and to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In addition, Bush has increased spending on programs like the one to to help ex-convicts integrate back into society.  It’s true that Bush has allowed a lot of pork spending, but often that was necessary to secure votes to fund national security programs, and wars, that have kept us safe.  Sadly, Democrats would have withheld their support otherwise.  In any event, if too much spending is the problem, Obama will make things worse.  If you think Bush did not spend enough – you should probably go to bed without a cookie.  Bad Socialist – no cookie.

Iraq?  One thing Democrats say is not a priority is the Iraq War.  Set aside the fact that the Iraq war cost less than 5% of the total budget, much lower than other important wars.   Also set aside the fact that the World is much better off with a Democracy in place of Saddam (see Joe’s Right About Iraq War).   How can Democrats complain about the cost of the Iraq war when they voted for it?  Obama often says he’ll save $10 billion / month by pulling troops out of Iraq.  How is that possible when he says he’ll increase troops in Afghanistan?  And if Obama pulls out of Iraq too early, odds are that the problems that follow will require us to come back at a higher cost (in blood and treasure) than if we just stayed and finished the job right (McCain’s plan). 

De-regulation?  This fits the Obama narrative that de-regulation caused the credit crisis.  I agree that regulations need to be updated to adequately monitor some of the new exotic Wall Street products but blaming deregulation is like blaming the police for property damage after the Detroit Pistons won their first national championship.  Would there have been less damage if there were more police?  Of course.  However, the real culprits are the criminal jerks who celebrate championships by lighting cars on fire.  The criminal jerks in this case are Chris Dodd, Barney Frank & Hank Paulson and Democrats in general.

I don’t need need to wait for history’s judgement – I can think this through myself.  Obama’s claims that our current economic problems are Bush’s fault says more about Obama’s desire to manipulate you than about Bush.  Contrast that with McCain’s readiness to admit where Republicans have failed.  Obama says a lot of things that don’t stand up under scrutiny.

Someone who doesn’t back up what they say, probably can’t.

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To his credit, Joe the Plumber actually cares about Iraq and understands its role in the larger War on Terror, “I’m not sorry that we’re in Iraq … what we’ve done over there is an incredible, incredible thing. Has it kept us safe? Absolutely.”  Fantastic!  You Go Joe!

Joe’s right to be proud of America’s liberation of Iraq.

Unlike Joe, Obama and the Democrats continue to bad mouth America and our liberation of Iraq.  If I hear Obama complain, one more time, we’re worse off because of the Iraq War, I’ll go ballistic.  Last night, at the last Presidential debate, McCain should have said looked Obama in the eye and asked,

Would you prefer that Saddam still rule Iraq?

Obama has said many times that the strategy of “containing” Saddam was working and had Bush not invaded Iraq, Saddam would have eventually been forced out (he doesn’t say how) or more likely, contained and prevented from threatening the U.S.  Strategically, this is flawed thinking.  In addition, it is bad judgement about what was really happening. 

According to many reports, it is much more likely that the opposite is true – that Saddam would have convinced the U.N. to drop sanctions and the Oil for Food program entirely.   It is well documented that Saddam had promised many in the French, German and Russian governments financial incentives to support lifting sanctions and prevent a U.S. invasion.  That’s why it was so hard to get Security Council cooperation for Operation Iraqi Freedom – most of the Security Council was bought and paid for.  In fact, I thought there was even allegations that British politicians may have been bribed.

So removing Saddam and his sons through sanctions and “tough diplomacy” is, and was, pure fantasy.  Bush, who was elected U.S. President, is responsible to voters and history for the decisions he makes, could not engage in such fantasies.  Obama, at the time, was just a state senator, with no federal responsibility and ran essentially unopposed.  But let’s examine Obama’s fantasy for a moment.

What if Saddam had been in charge since 2003?

A public health specialist at Columbia University, Richard Garfield, estimated there to be as many as 350,000 “excess deaths” or deaths in excess of normal infant mortality, in Saddam’s Iraq from August 1991 and March 2002 or about 3,000 per month.  

Let me repeat, about 3,000 children per month died from malnutrition, and other preventable causes, while Saddam built several Presidential Palaces and monuments to himself and his sons.  These aren’t just any palaces, they’re 7 to 10 times the size of the White House or Buckingham Palace:

Again, 3,000 children per month, while Saddam was “contained” by the U.N.  That means…

Under Obama’s plan, hundreds of thousands more Iraqi children would be dead.

Yes, Obama’s plan would have saved over 4,000 U.S. soldiers their lives, and billions of dollars, but about 200,000 Iraqi children would be dead, thousands of young girls would have been raped by Saddam’s sons and thousands of dissenters would have been tortured or disappeared in the night.

In addition:

  • 23 million Iraqis would still be oppressed by a murderous dictator instead of free, voting and helping us with terrorism.
  • Iraq and Iran would now be in an arms race.  If Saddam did not have WMDs, you can bet that, by now, he would have acquired them to counter Mahmoud’s and Iran’s aggression.
  • Saddam would still be rewarding the families of suicide bombers ($25,000 each) for each successful mass-murder of Jewish Israelis.
  • Saddam may have wiped out another Kurdish town with chemical weapons like he’s done before.
  • Instead of a free and democratic Iraq providing a model for how warring tribes can resolve their differences peacefully through the courts and the ballot box, Saddam’s Iraq would reinforce the long-standing Middle East tradition that aggression is rewarded with power.
  • If left in power, Saddam may have invaded Kuwait again or Saudi Arabia or Jordan.  If Obama thinks Saddam and his sons would have behaved over the last 5 years or the next eight, his judgement is even worse than I thought.

Contrary to Obama’s constant lies about Bush creating a mess in the Middle East that the next President will have to clean up, Bush has actually made things much easier for the next President.  Does anyone believe al-Maliki will be a greater problem for U.S. than Saddam?  Does anyone believe Iran would have been less of a threat with Saddam next door for the last five and the next eight years?  Is it harder or easier to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without Saddam’s payments to the families of suicide bombers?

The odds of a much wider Middle East war have gone down dramatically.  The “Arab street” has seen, for the first time in hundreds of years, Kurds, Sunni and Shia work together to solve their problems peacefully.  Of course, there is still violence and danger in Iraq but it is clearly on track to provide an inspiring example of democracy in the heart of the Middle East.  This will make it harder for Al Qaeda to recruit and retain members who will see for themselves that America removed a murderous dictator, helped Arabs stand up their own democracy and will leave in 2011 as friends and liberators – not imperialists, not Arab haters, not evil. 

Bush and McCain were right to liberate Iraq and win a key battle in the War on Terror.  

Obama was wrong to advocate that the U.S. allow Saddam to keep raping, torturing and murdering.

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