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Archive for the ‘Political Critique’ Category

Obama (Finally) Admits Support of Theft

In Opinion, Political Critique on January 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Earlier today in Las Vegas, after cracking wise about the wealth of Bill Gates, President Obama told us his views about ‘fairness’ in the tax code and in the fiscal policies of the USA.

This has nothing to do with envy.  It has everything to do with math.  It’s what I talked about earlier.  We’ve got to make choices.  Americans understand if I get a tax break I don’t need and a tax break the country can’t afford, then one of two things are going to happen.  Either it’s going to add to our deficit or somebody else is going to have to make up the difference.  [Or the government could spend less money?  Nah, no need to consider that.]

A senior suddenly is going to have to start paying more for their Medicare, or a student is going to have to pay more for their student loan, or a family that’s trying to get by, they’re going to have to do with less.  And that’s not right.  That’s not who we are.  Each of us is only here because somebody somewhere felt a responsibility to each other and to our country and helped to create all this incredible opportunity that we call the United States of America.

I guess he thinks it’s cute to personalize it (and remind us that he makes millions of dollars) but his policy agenda will affect more than Barack and Michelle Obama’s tax return.  Furthermore, I’m not sure, but I think that if the president told the Treasury to stop sending his $400,000 per year salary to him, they’d stop – just think how many people $400,000 of food stamps could feed, Mr. President.

But, here’s the point.  Look at his words.  He plainly, boldly and proudly admits that purpose of increasing taxes on ‘the rich’ is to give their money to other people.  Usually Democrats talk about taking money from the rich to fund a ‘program’ or to fulfill some laudatory objective (to provide relief, fund research or cure a disease).  Now they’re unafraid to be explicit about it.  See the bolded words above which are followed by: “And that’s not right.

Really?

Then, to top it off, he tells us the big lie that America is only here because of that way of thinking – ‘somebody somewhere felt a responsibility to each other . . .”  If there is any truth in that statement, it is only to the extent that free men and women decided of their own volition to work together for their mutual benefit.  American’s successes, America’s greatness, is not the result of the government acting as the arbiter of the right or fair amount of money one person is allowed to make before he’s informed that, as a matter of law, he must give 30% of the next dollar to the tax-man so the agent of fairness can determine which lucky third person should be rewarded by the gift of someone else’s money.

Frederic Bastiat warned us of legal plunder in 1850. *

But how is this legal plunder to be identified?  Quite simply.  See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.  See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.  If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

Some have accused Mr. Obama and his supporters of being socialists, and they scream “NO WE’RE NOT!”  Some accuse them of “class warfare” with the same result.  His defenders are correct; this is neither socialism nor class warfare.  It is theft and plunder.  That the crimes are carried out by the government and is ‘legal’ does not make them just or right.  And, it has become a ‘system’ and it perverts the law.  That systematic, sanctioned plunder has pitted Americans against one another just as Bastiat predicted.  It has created two America’s – the looters and the producers, with the government purporting to be the arbiter of fairness between the two.

This cancer must be excised from our lives or our nation will soon collapse under the weight of so-called entitlements, something more accurately called, in Mr. Obama’s words “spreading the wealth” by stealing from one man for the benefit of another.

* See HERE for Frederic Bastiat’s The Law for more on legalized plunder.

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Give me Elmo or give me NASCAR: A profound Choice?

In Economics, Financial, Opinion, Political Critique on December 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

Not really . .  . Give me liberty or give me death.  That’s profound.

A few months ago, FoxNews reports on the [low] level of the debate on the National Debt.

See Link Here (Debate over Army funding of NASCAR sponsorship)

When the fight is over which unconstitutional government expenditure should be kept in place, it’s a power struggle akin to a food fight; it is not a political discussion.  Maybe the Army’s NASCAR sponsorship is constitutional – after all, raising an army is a power granted the federal government by the people.
That question is open to discussion.  But NPR, PBS, Sesame Street – not even a close call.  Other government spending programs that are not close calls would include Dept of Education, Dept of Energy, health care law, Medicaid, corn subsidies, grants to states to build bike paths . . .Debating spending on the merits, goodness or effectiveness of the program makes for an enormous government, because there is a constituency for everything – see mohair subsidy and Murtha Regional Airport.
On the other hand, debating spending and other government actions on constitutional grounds makes the argument finite, unemotional and, in the end, lititgable by the non-political branch, the judiciary.  Could be a plan.  I think that the US Constitution was meant to work that way.  That would take a completely new group of legislators, because the current Congress is full of men and women who think their job is to bring home the bacon.
Or, we can elect politicians who will keep debating whether we should have the government feed the hungry – – – and watch the definitions of ‘feed’ and ‘hungry’ morph until debates over providing for the common defense, giving heating oil to the poor or buying viagra for grandpa are virtually indistiguishable, and more and more and more money will be taken from ‘rich’ person A and given to every erectile dysfunctional man, I mean ‘hungry‘ person B for his viagra, I mean,  ‘food‘.
How’s that working out for us so far?  The choice is simple and stark.
(A) 1789 – A limited, constitutional, democratically-elected government that protects individual rights – and nothing more, or
(B) circa 1917, Russia – A fair tyranny that wants income equality and leads to totalitarianism – we’ve all seen the movie.
WE CAN DO BETTER, AMERICA.

Open Letter to Newt Gingrich

In Political Critique on November 19, 2011 at 9:02 am

Mr. Speaker,

The “he’s a really smart hypocrite!” line against you is taking root.  Unfortunately, no one, including you, is making the distinction between (1) a former politician being paid as a consultant (fully-disclosed) and (1) a sitting politician taking campaign contributions (or sweetheart mortgages) while voting on matters that affect the contributor.

I suggest that disclosure of the actual advice (memos, notes from meetings, emails . . .) you gave to Freddie Mac would help us determine whether that distinction really constitutes a difference.

In other words, did Freddie’s money buy your expert advice or your political support?

Can you answer that question publicly or does Chris Matthews have a point?

Your friend,

 

Am I ‘Anti-government’?

In Opinion, Political Critique on November 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm

A standard line from the Democratic Party these days involves some version of “the right/GOP hates government and wants to eliminate all taxes, so government would possess no power.”

Sort of.

Or, actually, not at all.  The right and the GOP better correct that lie, and soon.

How?  It’s my belief that Americans are relatively indifferent about the effectiveness of ‘good’ government.  However, we are passionate about the power, the compassion and the productiveness of free men and women.

In my world, all of the left and the collectivists are free to try it their way – but they should not try and, under our Constitution, do not have the power to impose their approach on me.  I believe and history proves that freedom beats coercion every time, no matter how ‘good’ some coerced behavior might seem to be.

I say – Let me and those who agree live or die based upon the outcome.  I will bet my life on it.  Will Barack Obama or Harry Reid do the same if I take away their power (via confiscation of my income to finance their welfare state) to force me to agree with them?  I doubt it.

We can do better, America, but only if we’re free and government is smaller.

Watching Dominoes Fall or Leading From Behind

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on October 23, 2011 at 10:26 am

Our president is being praised for [watching the] toppling of the erstwhile dictator of Libya.  Much of the praise seems to be based on a mistaken comparison between the cost of our ‘mission’ in Libya and the cost of our 9-year involvement in Iraq.

So, although he hasn’t landed a fighter jet on the deck of a Navy carrier, President Obama is right to announce “Mission Accomplished” in Libya.  Really?

I must have missed it: since Libya’s mad man was slaughtered by a mob in the streets, there have been elections of a legislating body and a president, the adoption of a constitution, a dismantling of the dictator’s security apparatus, establishment of a new police force, the rebuilding of a substantial portion of Libya’s infrastructure, and the formation, equipping and training of a new police force?  WOW!  That’s a busy few days.  I’m sure we’ve confirmed there will never be any kind of insurgency or other unrest in Libya.

Two points:

First, whatever mission the United States had, has or should have had in Libya is in its infancy.  That desert region is comprised of tribes and multiple power-seeking factions and barely meets the definition of a ‘country’ and is years away from being in a state where its citizens could be said to be living in a nation based on the universal principles of freedom of the individual.

Second, as we celebrate the continuing progress in what has been dubbed the “Arab Spring” we  should reflect on how unimaginable any of these events would have seemed before George W. Bush said “you’re either with us, or you’re against us.”  Those simple but critical words (like a similarly mundane phrase – “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”) marked the beginning of what has been called the Bush Doctrine and should be as well-known as Mr. Reagan’s words.  They encapsulate the idea that America’s interests and America’s principles can be pursued simultaneously by spreading freedom across the globe and, thereby, minimizing potential threats from the likes of Usama bin Laden which 9/11 taught us were not prevented by geography.

It is to America’s detriment that the current occupant of the White House and so many of our policy-makers are so unaware of and/or ungrateful for the accomplishments of those who preceded them.  This premature celebration of Qadaffi’s murder as a “foreign policy victory” for the current administration is sign of immaturity and self-serving partisanship.  The dominoes would not be falling had the first one not been forcibly tipped over.  It’s much easier to watch dominoes fall than to have the nerve to push the first, biggest one over.

Do we live in a free country?

In Opinion, Political Critique on October 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Many Republicans believe that Mitt Romney is ‘good enough’ and that at least he’s not Obama and he’ll steer us clear of more of his disastrous policies.  The GOP and we conservatives had similar thoughts about George W Bush in 2000.  His conservative convictions were deeper than are Mr. Romney’s, yet even Dubya could not defeat the monster that is devouring our nation.  That monster can’t be tamed, it must be caged – that was, as I see it, the primary objective of our founders in drafting the Constitution – to restrain the powers granted to a federal government, to keep it subordinate to the sovereignty of the individual.

No serious surveyor of what is now referred to as the ‘US government’ can conclude that it is the product of the US Constitution, properly administered.  Rather, it is clearly the product of its occupants.  For starters, if a government is to be the subject of its people, for it to govern and not rule, it must be chosen by a process that is independent of itself, no?  For evidence that is not the case, one need only peruse the Federal Election Commission’s rules and regulations that dictate how a person can mount a campaign for federal office.

The entire FEC rule book is, essentially, a non-compete agreement that, by severely restricting the financing activities of any nascent political ‘party,’ grants the Democratic and Republican parties a monopoly on political activity.  The parties’ sole purpose is to elect government officials from among their inside-crowd membership.  From such an anti-constitutional starting point, there is no hope that the resulting ‘government’ will find itself bound by the Constitution.  Consequently, we are stuck with an over-weening, omni-present, omnipotent monster that is controlled by the political class and that feeds and empowers itself by dispensing favors to powerful interests – when a people gives a government more power, it will use it to perpetuate itself and it’s enablers; there can be and has never been any other outcome.  It follows that moneyed interests will buy protection from that power, and the two (power and money) are increasingly concentrated in a smaller and smaller cadre – exactly the outcome our founding fathers meant to prevent.

The “Romney-wing” of the GOP is no different from the McCain- or Dole- or Ford- or Rockefeller- wings were.  They all exist for the perpetuation of government power.  Most of its inhabitants are men/women who would last not one week outside of the cocoon they have created for themselves in Washington, DC.  Just look at Rep. Paul Ryan – his supposedly “radical” reform budget proposed spending ONLY $3.5 Trillion, as opposed to that spendthrift Obama/Reid budget which would total $3.6 Trillion.  Really, $100 billion, a whopping 2.7% difference is the GOP’s attempt at radical reform?  That won’t help our country survive.  It will merely delay the inevitable a couple weeks or so.

I wish I could share the more sanguine point of view of the Romney supporters.  I’m in the prime of my life; I’m hungry for freedom – freedom for me and, as importantly, for every man who therewith will make his life better and, while he’s at it, make MY and my 2 sons’ world better.  I don’t think any grant-giving or loan-guaranteeing government bureaucrat (Dem or Rep) would have ‘found’ Steve Jobs in 1975 and had the foresight to tell him “here’s $538,000,000 [see Solyndra]; now go be creative and change the world.”  He had to be free to take risks, along with the millions of others who succeed and fail day after day.  Each step we take, every tax dollar confiscated along the government path makes someone less free.  ZERO government is, of course, not the answer, but there has to be a limit, and it seems clear to me that the political class stepped over that line some many years ago.

Is there a level of spending between $3.6 trillion and $0 that is acceptable?   Is our government too small or too big.  In the language that most people use the word big to describe the government they mean to describe a government that commandeers >25% of the economic output of the country pursuant to a 70,000 page tax-code, a legal code that exceeds 200,000 pages and rules and regulations that consume millions of pages.  Big is an entity that commandeers $3.6 trillions dollars from the private sector and spends it the way 536 men and women want it spent.

That’s not a free country.  We need radical change, and Mr. Romney will not deliver anything of the sort.

Debt Limit Debate; The Plundering will continue until morale improves

In Opinion, Political Critique on August 1, 2011 at 10:34 am

OR

Mugger buys victim cup of coffee

The federal government will spend $3.6 trillion this fiscal year, borrowing about $1.4 trillion of that and paying $2.2 trillion with current tax receipts and other fees etc collected by the government.  In Washington, that situation is projected to continue for the foreseeable future, yet it is repeatedly called unsustainable (but I don’t think that word means what they think it means).


To reduce that deficit, we need to cut spending or increase taxes.

Wonder how that will go?

We’ve just seen what is being called an “historic” or “heroic” level spending cuts.  That radical act occurred at the brink of, we’re told, an international financial meltdown.  Those cuts amount to about $100 billion per year over ten years, mostly in the out years,  i.e. mostly a fantasy, not to mention are merely a drop in the bucket – 100 billion/3.6 trillion is a whopping 2.7%.  Also, these ‘cuts’ are reductions in increases – what a bunch of liars!

So, “cutting spending” is unlikely to happen, it seems.  Turn to the tax increase solution —> we would need to increase taxes by $1.4 trillion to cover the overspending.  That means we need to increase taxes by 64% ($1.4T /  $2.2T).  I dare the Democrats to propose that.  A 64% increase in EVERYONE’S taxes.  Or, try confiscating that much of the income made by “millionaires and billionaires” and watch them stop earning any money in the US.

Said otherwise – in a $14 trillion economy, we would need to confiscate 10% of the GDP in order to make up the difference.  That will not happen as long as there are elections, so we’ll keep borrowing from our children until the market figures out that they’re not likely to be able to pay it back.

It makes one wonder – Why can’t anyone in the political class (you would hope maybe a Republican could do it) make the simple point that we spend too much?  It’s so easy.  We know why no one makes the case; it’s because they’re all complicit in the lie and its consequences – their continued power.  The Republicans like power just as much as the Democrats like power, and reducing government spending reduces their power.

Sound the alarm – Melt-down is the only likely solution.  Watching these fools congratulate themselves for keeping our nation from “defaulting on its obligations for the first time in its history” would be funny if it didn’t portend disaster.  They have not the discipline to stop the wreck.  And, along the way, they accuse the Tea Party – the only part of the group acting responsibly – of being terrorists and thugs.

I see it like this…. the mugger has been caught with the loot.  The thief begs for mercy because (a) he was going to give the money to old/sick people, and (b) now the police (Tea Party) show up to stop the theft.  The thief declares that, as a result, all those old/sick people are going to starve and it’s Paul Ryan and Rush Limbaugh’s fault.  So, the mugger gives his victim $3.50 for a cup of coffee (i.e. a little bit of a reduction in the level of spending increases) and the mugging continues.

Weiners and Losers

In Opinion, Political Critique on June 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm

WeinerDon Boudreaux of CafeHayek.com makes the point that Congressman Weiner has admitted that he won’t leave Congress because he’s concerned about how he’ll make a living off the public dole.  (See his blog here.)

There are barely, I’d say, 5 members of Congress – both houses – who could make a living outside of the bubble of Washington, DC, where the only skill that matters (left or right) is being able to gain access.  These men and women are feeble-minded, arrogant, generally rude and otherwise not fit for polite society as generally known to most Americans.

It’s time to stop being surprised by their silliness and peccadilloes.  You see, they take themselves so seriously that they can’t imagine a life without people kissing their ring every time they walk in the room.  I live in DC and see it first-hand – when the cameras turn off, the smirks and superior posture and tone are revealed, and it’s truly ugly.  Their staffers bring them bottles of water, whisper in their ear to remember to mention so-and-so, phone ahead for their driver, and generally treat them like royalty.  And, their enablers in the press have the same superior attitude, also, by the way.  To all of them, it’s all a big Hollywood/Broadway production, and the voters are just a passive audience – that pays the bills!

In the end, the cocoon they have created for themselves makes them believe they are bullet-proof, all-powerful and invulnerable.  Weiner just happened to get caught by a TYPO.  The rest of them are just as guilty – not of sexual misconduct (who really cares) but of an arrogant disregard for any standards beyond this ONE: what’s a legal (ethics do not exist) way to raise enough money to retain the powers of office.  Nothing – repeat, nothing – else matters to the whole lot of them.

They’re a bunch of weiners and we’re the losers.

We need a House (and Senate) cleaning and a new brand of politicians – and SOON.

Obama Mid-East Speech – Line-by-line

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on May 20, 2011 at 1:43 am

On May 19, 2011, President Obama made a seminal speech on the Arab Spring (i.e., as he sees it, the long overdue end of colonialism in Northern Africa and the Mid-East) that reveals much more than his hostility to Israel’s interests in the region.

The Team

Did he really just say that?

Rather than praise Israel as the model for the rest of the region, Mr. Obama has Israel play the role of the provocateur.  The thinking of this man, when we read each line carefully, is unprecedentedly contrary to the idea that American ideals are universally true and best represented in that region by the example of our ally, Israel.  Indeed, the speech reveals a lack of depth in understanding the foundational principles of America – individual freedom and rights are lost amid a naive praise of democracy and self-determination – i.e. ‘majority’ rule unbounded by limits on government action.  That bodes ill for our country and the region’s future.

The most controversial point of this speech, it seems to me, has been missed.  Obama’s implicit point is that America’s interests in the region are now subordinate to the interests of “international order” and the unknowable interests of the unidentified instigators of the “Arab Spring” uprisings – the Muslim Brotherhood, the ‘street’ mobs, . . . who knows?  The mere hint of ‘democracy’ in a few previously, and now more, unstable, anti-Israel, Arab nations is to be used as pressure against Israel, the only free nation in the region, to subject itself to invasion and extinction for the sake of letting the people of its sworn enemies have a chance at freedom.  Never in history has a nation been asked to die so another nation might be free.  Is that the fate our president has in mind for  Israel?  Would it not be better to wait and see where the Arab Spring takes Libya, Egypt, Syria or Bahrain before the USA starts ordering Israel to make room for our new friends in their back lawn?

See my BHO mideast speech comments for a line-by-line – sometimes overly cynical – commentary on Obama’s May 19 presidential address.  It’s long – the speech was 45 minutes.  My comments are in red and inserted into the text of the speech as published on HuffingtonPost.com.

Government Beats Freedom in a Shut-out; Film at 5:00

In Opinion, Political Critique on May 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm

It is reported that lines are drawn in the sand; each political party has staked out its respective position from which there will be no retreat.  The Democrats want to run the government, i.e.  rule the people, by taking from them $3.6 trillion dollars per year, and the GOP would prefer to starve the beast and support an annual spending figure of a measly $3.5 trillion – a whopping 2.777% delta!

Differences of opinion about immigration policy, spending on planned parenthood, and whether Osama bin Laden should have been captured or killed are trivial in comparison to the fact that BOTH national parties are on board for commandeering upwards of 25% of the nation’s economic output (not counting state and local government spending) so it can be distributed by 535 politicians and their enablers instead of allocated efficiently by free men and women in the free market.  Why do government-lovers think that money left in the bank accounts of the men and women who earned it, that wealth left in the control of its creators, will do either nothing or, they seem to believe, mostly evil?  Why do they have such an awful opinion of free people and their priorities – are they projecting?

There is no fundamental difference between the two parties so long as neither party stands up for FREEDOM by way of demanding that there must be a significantly smaller federal government – NOW.  If a majority of the public won’t vote for that party because a majority is already dependent on the largess of their fellow citizens – then so be it; let the train-wreck happen, and we’ll pick up the pieces and start a new nation after this one fails.*

But the GOP (or someone) should at least give it a shot.  Government spending must be controlled so that free men and women can do what they think is the right thing with their money – and that might not be the same as the demands of a mob led by Harry Reid and Barack Obama, with the armed power of the IRS to back them up.  The confiscation of wealth from America’s productive class and the expenditure of that wealth to buy the votes of multiple constituencies were not the intended outcomes of the taxation and general welfare clauses of the Constitution.  Those clauses can’t (OK, should not) be stretched to mean that the confiscation of all or half or even 1% of Bill Gates’s money is moral so long as a majority of Congress says so – theft is theft.  Even if one takes the position that the general welfare clause is Congress’s wild card, am I denied the right to attempt to elect men/women to serve in Congress who agree with me that government’s power has moral boundaries?  I believe that Bill Gates has no obligation to fund AIDS research, feed the poor, build bike paths in Arlington, VA, or fund NPR.  Those are not acts that promote the general welfare AND his right to equal protection is found in the very same document.

I spent my lunch hour on Wednesday with a DC lobbyist employed by a Boston-based firm that is vocal in their support of the candidacy of Mitt Romney, because . . . . drum roll . . . Mr. Romney’s from their world; they’re very closely associated with the former governor, so it helps them as they recruit new clients to say “we’re very close to the presumptive presidential nominee for the GOP.”  They’re not even quiet, subtle or embarrassed about it – “hire us and we’ll help you convince the government to do favors for you.”  That is the standard sales pitch for all of their cohorts and competitors.  It’s a cesspool and the government-power drug courses through the veins of every man and woman in the big business of politics.  The media, the consultants, the lobbyists, the fundraisers, the candidates, their staffers . . . all of them are addicted to the same drug and are complicit in the send-the-bills-to-the-taxpayers game.  Their food is bought and rent paid for with the power they wield over you and me, the power of taxation, limited, they are convinced, only by their appetite and their ability to assemble a majority for long enough to get arcane language buried in a legislative act.

We need a new brand of politician – a brand that knows freedom is a more powerful force for good than is a government run by men who covet power bought with tax dollars – and SOON.

_______________

* “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”