Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, National Security, Politics, The United States | Tags: Congressman from Florida, Lt. Colonel Allen West, Outspoken and Brave
This seemed appropriate to add.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Election 2012, Energy, Freedom | Tags: American Exceptionalism, Ronald Reagan, Why is America So Great?
If our stalwart presidential candidates could pause in attacking each other long enough to talk about just why this is such an important election, and what they hope to do about it, I suspect we would all appreciate it.
When Barack Obama spoke during the campaign about hope and change, not enough people paid attention to his record as the most liberal senator in the Capitol. We were dazzled by footwork, and halos that appeared about the candidate’s head, presidential seals and promises to bring peace and non-partisanship to Washington DC.
Liberals are puzzled by our continuing affection for Ronald Reagan, whom they detested. Ronald Reagan from 1975 to 1979 made more than 1,000 daily radio broadcasts, two-thirds of which he wrote himself. They covered all sorts of topics from labor policy to the nature of communism, from World War II to the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, from the future of Africa and East Asia to that of the United States and the world. *
Richard Mitchell, whom I quote often, said in The Graves of Academe:
Thinking is done in language, and understanding, a result of thinking, is expressed in language, but, when we simply adopt and recite what has been expressed, we have committed neither thinking or understanding.
It’s not easy to get your ideas down on paper. The radio broadcasts were roughly 400-500 words long, and about every subject ranging from Cuba, to Peace, Human Rights, Intelligence and the Media, Rhodesia, SALT Talks, Arms Control. In these thousand broadcasts, Reagan said succinctly what he thought about a vast array of subjects. And it’s why he could explain so clearly to Mr. Gorbachev just what he had in mind.
Richard Mitchell also said that the business of writing is to stay put on the page so that you can go back and look at the words and see where you have been stupid. Writing is a special case of language that allows you to get it right.
If our candidates had thought a little more deeply about just why America is so important, maybe we wouldn’t have an incumbent who believes that America is not exceptional.
Herbert Meyer, assistant to the director of the CIA during the Reagan administration, wrote at American Thinker “Why, Precisely, is America so Great?”
“The one thing that President Obama and all the GOP contenders for is job agree about is that America is the greatest country in the world. They all use this line in ever speech they make, and it always brings the crowd cheering to its feet. But none of these politicians ever quite gets around to explaining precisely why we’re the world’s greatest country. That’s too bad, because it’s a serious question that deserves a serious answer — right now, before Republicans choose their candidate and before the voters make their choice in November.”
He goes on to point out that politics is the relationship between the individual and the State, the relationship that we have been struggling to get right for thousands of years. Our Constitution established a relationship between the individual and the State that was unique in history. The individual was in charge, the State would serve the individual, and there would be an arms’ length distance between the two. It is this unique relationship that made all the difference.
If you think of this relationship as a kind of operating system — like the operating systems that drive our computers and our cell phones — you can see how it’s been steadily modified and upgraded throughout our history. In this sense, each new law enacted by Congress has been an effort to improve the operating system. At times in our history, for instance during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, the changes have been so substantial that it’s less like an upgrade and more like a wholly new version of the operating system that’s been installed. But never in our history have we replaced the original operating system — that extraordinary, uniquely American relationship between the individual and the State — upon which our country was founded.
Do read the whole essay, it’s worth your while.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Statism | Tags: Federal Control of School Lunches, Food Stamps and Hunger, The Myth of Starving Americans
There’s been an annoying commercial on the radio often in the last year. A young woman says that she lives just down the street, you go the same PTA meetings, and your children play together, but you don’t know that their family is suffering from — hunger.
It is annoying because she doesn’t live just down the street, she’s a well paid voice for radio commercials. But we worry about hunger. Is it true? There are so many people unemployed. We’re the richest nation on earth, are children and their families going hungry?
The United States government spends nearly $1 trillion a year to provide cash, food, housing, medical care and services to poor and near-poor people. About $111 billion is spent on food by federal and state programs. With all that money invested, is it possible that people are still hungry?
Heritage Foundation researchers Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield asked that very question. According to Census Bureau data for 2009 (the most recent year for which statistics are available) of the almost 50 million Americans classified as poor, 96% of the parents said their children were never hungry. Eighty-three percent of poor families said they had enough food to eat, and 82% of poor adults said they were never hungry at any time in 2009 due to a lack of food or money, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Nationally, one out of four school children received a free lunch in 1970. Today two out of three school lunches are free or nearly free. Some schools serve breakfast, and there is talk of offering dinner as well. On the other hand, reports of Los Angeles kids’ refusal to eat school lunches that conform to the new Dept. of Agriculture guidelines and rules, as promoted by Michelle Obama’s “Lets Move” campaign, have been major news. Anyone who has visited a school during lunch period has probably been shocked by the amount of food that goes into the trash bins. Most of the kids aren’t really hungry.
Stories appear fairly regularly about items purchased with food stamps. A receipt for many lobsters and a porterhouse steak purchased with food stamps was found in a grocery store parking lot in Wisconsin, widely circulated on the internet, and confirmed by Snopes. It’s not that people feel that food stamps should be used to purchase only beans and rice, but many of us who have never used food stamps have also never bought 7 or 8 lobsters and a porterhouse steak all at once. When the budget gets tight, we opt for good old reliable tuna casserole, or macaroni and cheese, instead.
Lyndon Johnson’s original food stamp program was fairly conservative, but the stamps are now a credit card (alleviating any stigma) and most constraints (save liquor) have been removed. Fraud remains a major problem.The person who bought all the lobsters and the porterhouse for free, resold them to someone for half the price, got caught and went to jail. Many restaurants and fast food chains would like to be included. The solution would seem to be some form of work requirement.
Americans are a generous people. They don’t want anyone to go hungry, but they don’t want to be ripped off either. The taxpayer dollars that support feeding programs represent a lot of hard work on the part of American families, and a lot of tuna casseroles as well.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2012, Freedom | Tags: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Great Depression, The Welfare State
Professor Burton J. Folsom Jr. is author of two books on Franklin Delano Roosevelt: New Deal or Raw Deal and with Anita Folsom: FDR Goes to War. Here is a speech he delivered at Hillsdale College on FDR’s energetic experimentation that did so much damage to the economy in the 1930s. The great myth has always been that FDR saved us from the Great Depression, and then it was ended by World War II. Wrong.
I have recommended Amity Schlaes The Forgotten Man. It is a new history of the Great Depression, and a wonderful book, with a fascinating cast of very real characters, that reads like a novel.
President Obama constantly compares his problems to the Great Depression. To indicate how big the recession he “inherited from George W. Bush” is (not his fault) but he flatters himself. The comparison lies not in the extent of the Depression [ July 1927: Unemployment 3.3%; Sept 1931; Unemployment 17.4%; Nov. 1933: Unemployment 23.2%; Nov. 1934: Unemployment 23.2%; July 1935: Unemployment 21.3%; Jan. 1938: Unemployment 17.4%; Jan. 1940: Unemployment 14.6%] but in the misguided efforts to make big government heal the economy.
FDR’s plan to make people dependent on government was a clear effort to garner votes for the Democrat party [see approximately minute 35.00 on the video]. Obama is making the same effort to make people dependent on Big Government in his campaign for a second term. I think most of us would prefer to see a recovering economy and recovering employment. The video is very worth your time. A lack of understanding of history may doom us to repeat it.
All is not well in the electric car business. Apparently there are more charging stations than there are cars. Some Chevrolet dealers are turning down the Volts that General Motors wants to ship to them.
In New York City, GM allocated 104 Volts to 14 dealerships in the area. Dealers accepted just 31 of them. The same group of dealers took more than 90% of the other vehicles they were eligible to receive. Customer interest is declining.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating the fires in three battery packs last year following government test crashes. GM has announced a repair aimed at protecting the battery pack, and NHTSA announced that they have closed their investigation and concluded that the battery pack poses no significant fire risk. Dealers are waiting for thing to settle down.
GM’s 2011 target was 10,000 units, and they sold only 7,671. They didn’t begin a full rollout until this past autumn. Industry people are paying close attention to the market demand for electric vehicles. Several other automakers are set to launch EVs this year. Many dealers have seen big drops in customer interest. The cars are pricey.
There appears to be a lot of government pressure to install charging stations, and for state and local governments to buy EVs for their auto fleets. The charging station parking slots at the mall here never seem to be occupied, but that probably doesn’t mean much of anything. The western states have long driving distances with few gas stations, let alone charging stations.
With range between charges at about 40-45 miles, long trips are for the adventurous, and require some real planning. Will the decline in concern about carbon dioxide and global warming play a part?
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Entertainment | Tags: Common Sense, Keeping It Simple, Value
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Statism | Tags: Obama Makes it Worse, Restoring Prosperity, We're Broke!
(click to enlarge) (h/t: Doug Ross Journal)
Does it sink in a little more if it is put in kitchen table terms? We are broke, and no one seems to mind. Our indebtedness, per person, according to CATO scholar Michael Tanner adds up to $189,000 each. The president, when he talks about the problem at all, seems to think that if we just get “the rich” to pay their fair share the problem will be solved.
Janet Daley, American-born columnist for the Telegraph, says that Barack Obama is trying to make the US a more socialist state. The ideas the President outlined in the State of the Union are based on the very model that is causing the EU to implode.
Mr Obama described his program of using higher taxes on the wealthy to bankroll new government spending as ‘a recipe for a fair, sound approach to deficit reduction and rebuilding this country.’…
Human beings are so much more complicated than this childlike conception of fairness assumes. When government takes away an ever larger proportion of the wealth which entrepreneurial activity creates and attempts to distribute if “fairly” (that is to say, evenly) throughout society in the form of welfare programs and public spending projects, the effects are much, much more complex and perverse than a simple financial equation would suggest. …
There is, it turns out, a huge difference between being provided with a livelihood and feeling that you have earned it. The assumption that all the wealth that individuals create belongs, by moral right, to the state, to spend on benefits or phoney job creation schemes (sorry, public infrastructure projects), is proving phenomenally difficult to expunge in Britain, so ineradicably has it embedded itself in the public consciousness.
Investors Business Daily explains that there are Six Big Myths about the tax code that Obama is spreading.
In his speech, Obama repeatedly turned to the tax code to explain what’s wrong with the country. It favors the rich, he said. It benefits companies that send jobs abroad. It subsidizes the dirty old oil industry. It’s the cause of our deficit problem. And worst of all, plenty of people and businesses aren’t paying their “fair share.” …
The claim that the rich don’t pay their fair share is simply untrue. The current tax code is extremely progressive, more progressive in fact than it was back in 1979, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
As a result, the richest 1% today accounts for 36% of all income taxes paid, while nearly half of taxpayers owe nothing at all, or get cash back.
Economist John B. Taylor offers hope. A strange and new idea: Individuals should be free to decide what to produce and consume, and their decisions should be made within a predictable policy framework based on the rule of law:
As this election year begins, a lot of people are wondering what we can do to restore America’s prosperity and create more jobs. Republican presidential candidates are offering their ideas, and at his State of the Union message on Tuesday President Obama presented his. I believe the fundamental answer is simple: Government policies must adhere more closely to the principles of economic freedom upon which the country was founded.
At their most basic level, these principles are that families, individuals and entrepreneurs must be free to decide what to produce, what to consume, what to buy and sell, and how to help others. Their decisions are to be made within a predictable government policy framework based on the rule of law, with strong incentives derived from the market system, and with a clearly limited role for government.
This op-ed was adapted from Mr. Taylor’s new book “First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring American Prosperity.”
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear | Tags: Common Sense Causes Panic, Forget Decarbonizing, Global Warming Is a Religion
Well, well,well. The Wall Street Journal opinion page had a headline today “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.“
Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 “Climategate” email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.
The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2. …
Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to “decarbonize” the world’s economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.
This kind of statement from major newspapers has been long overdue. The evidence has been incontrovertible, and building, but somewhere along the line “global warming’ became a religion, and its adherents tolerated no dissension. Many prominent scientists have long been skeptics, for science is a discipline built on skepticism. If you don’t constantly question your assumptions, you are going to reach a lot of dead ends, and maybe be deeply embarrassed at some point.
The rewards of being a true believer, however, trumped many lingering doubts. The skeptics were attacked, called “Deniers,” and supposedly intelligent beings suggested that anyone who denied global warming should be shot. The ClimateGate emails were not only revealing, but after the first release was fully digested, another batch appeared and the powers that be sicced the constabulary on finding the thief or hacker who stole the emails.
The revelations were becoming seriously troubling. Combine that with an out-of-control EPA in the United States, eager to eliminate any trace of the carbon dioxide we all exhale. The more ludicrous the power plays get, the more people are apt to start paying attention.
Budgets deeply in the red tend to concentrate the mind; and projects that seemed perfectly designed to demonstrate the forward thinking of promoters of everything ‘green’ and ‘clean’ started going belly-up in increasing numbers. You can shrug off a few bankruptcies as accidents due to factors beyond one’s control — but when the numbers pile up, it raises some real questions. Not everyone can be good at both economics and science — or math too, as far as that goes — but at some point those flashing red numbers on the budget should garner attention. Can that possibly be why President Obama’s budget is late again this year? Not likely, he just has trouble getting them in on time.
The Journal’s editorial was signed by sixteen prominent scientists from all over the world with sterling qualifications, representing some of the World’s most prominent institutions. They will be described as crackpots by the true believers, or on the payroll of the Koch brothers.
Filed under: Capitalism, China, Economy, Science/Technology | Tags: Obama Wants Jobs Insourced, Shipping Jobs Overseas, Trade and Manufacturing
What about manufacturing, aren’t all the jobs going overseas where people work for extremely low wages? How can we compete with that? It’s true that fewer people are employed in manufacturing plants, but we’re still manufacturing lots of stuff. We’re just doing it with fewer people.
The production line has been changing ever since Henry Ford invented it after visiting a meat-packing plant that was already using the concept. For simplification sake, at one time someone stood at a particular spot along the assembly line and separated the stream of parts into two different streams, but they developed gates or electric eyes that would do that without a constant attendant, eliminating the need for a worker. But that step was a long time ago. These two videos explain how the world has changed.
Here is a BMW USA manufacturing plant, in 2009. Body shop: spot welding by robots. Mounting of side sills on body structure. Hot-stamping: Heating, compression molding, quenching. Wedding: Drive unit engine, transmission, axle, exhaust system is bolted to the body. Final assembly: BMW 5 Series Sedan rolls out of factory.
There are lots of decisions built into every manufacturing plant, and every product. Skilled workers or cheap workers who can be trained to be skilled. Energy costs. Some manufacturing processes need to be located next to water. Some need rail transportation. Some big things need to be moved, and freeway overpasses are a problem. Is shipping a major expense or minor — depends on the size, fragility and weight of the product. Raw materials: where do they come from, what kind of transportation is needed — some manufacturing plants need to be close to the source of their raw materials. Some need to be close to their market. Where is speed a factor? Regulations play a part. Unions v. right-to-work.The decisions are complex, and involve far more than greedy businessmen looking for cheaper labor.
The New York Times recently explained why Steve Jobs bragged when Apple began building the Macintosh in 1983 that it was “a machine that is made in America.” Today, the iPhone is made in China, and the Times article explains the details:
Mr. Jobs angrily held up his iPhone, angling it so everyone could see the dozens of tiny scratches marring its plastic screen, according to someone who attended the meeting. He then pulled his keys from his jeans.
People will carry this phone in their pocket, he said. People also carry their keys in their pocket. “I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” he said tensely. The only solution was using unscratchable glass instead. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.”
After one executive left that meeting, he booked a flight to Shenzhen, China. If Mr. Jobs wanted perfect, there was nowhere else to go.
The facility in Foxconn City, where the iPhone is assembled, has 230,000 employees, many work six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant. Over a quarter of the workforce lives in company barracks, and many workers earn less than $17 a day, a good salary in China. When the first truckloads of cut glass arrived at Foxconn City, in the middle of the night, thousands of workers were aroused and lined up to assemble iPhones by hand. Since then they have assembled more than 200 million iPhones.
China could also supply engineers at a scale the US could not match. Apple executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly line workers. Do read the whole article. It offers a valuable insight into manufacturing and trade that really helps to explain a very complex problem. Not all of it, certainly, but it’s a help in telling when the politicians are knowledgeable or just pandering.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Foreign Policy, National Security, The United States | Tags: An Unprepared America, Rely on Special Forces, We'll Have More Drones.
—Melanie Phillips is a longtime British author and columnist, and someone well worth paying close attention to. Iran, she says, will not “come it it’s senses.”
War with Iran is a truly fearsome prospect.
Its likely consequences would include attacks on US air bases from thousands of Iranian missiles, the unleashing of terrorist attacks within the US and Europe, the rocketing of Israeli towns from the tens of thousands of missiles trained on Israel from Lebanon, the closing of the Straits of Hormuz thus paralysing western oil supplies, and doubtless other horrors.
The West has put tough sanctions on Iran, they have been urged for years, but the UK and the EU made threatening statements, and the Obama administration proved American weakness by extending his hand in friendship to a regime that was busy blowing up American soldiers in Iraq. Now the regime has built a secret nuclear plant inside a mountain where it is supposedly impervious to bombing raids.
The regime are religious fanatics driven by a belief in the return of the Mahdi, the last Islamic Messiah, which will take place soon either as a result of the end of days, or to bring it about. They do not worry that half of Iran might be obliterated as a result of their efforts. They would welcome that. They believe that continuing the nuclear program will facilitate his coming. The West, she says, is incapable of recognizing or understanding religious fanaticism. They insist on treating the fanatic as a rational actor, which they are not.
— No need to worry about Latin America, the president said — “Our ties to the America are deeper.” But oddly enough, the administration has no ambassadors in five Latin American countries. Our Latin American neighbors are building a regional organization — the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) which pointedly excludes the U.S. There was no mention of Ahmadinejad’s January visit to South America nor of the deepening ties of Iran and Venezuela. Iran wants diplomatic cover and international support against increased sanctions. Ahmadinejad plans to visit Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador and Guatemala. No mention of the war going on just on the other side of the border with Mexico with criminal organizations, that has cost nearly 50,000 lives.
Egypt is celebrating the first anniversary of the country’s revolt against the Mubarak regime. Ed Husain, author of The Islamist and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says “Granted, it is necessary to analyze America’s influence in the world, but it is quite another matter to almost campaign for a less powerful America, believing that somehow this spells progress.”
I am not an American, but I firmly believe that, on balance, American power is a force for good in the world. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was right to remind us repeatedly in Britain that the modern world is led by a free nation, a democracy, and not Russia or China.
Yet it’s American conventional wisdom to believe that the fall of Arab dictators, particularly Egypt’s, weakens American leverage in the Middle East. And this thinking risks becoming self-fulfilling prophecy unless the U.S. government finds its backbone and recognizes that U.S. power is not limited to backing tyrants. The current trajectory—of dancing around developments, leading from behind and expressing defeatist thinking—needs to stop.
President Obama said:”The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever. Our ties to the Americas are deeper. Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between or two countries in history. We made it clear tha America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope. From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease, from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta laid out details of a plan to cut a half a trillion dollars from defense spending, in addition to the half-trillion in cuts required under the Budget Control Act. Defense cuts already exceed 50 percent of deficit-reduction efforts. For every dollar the President hopes to save in domestic programs — he plans on saving $128 in defense. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2012, History | Tags: Blaming Banks for Congressional Fraud, Economic Consequences, Unlawful Agency to Track Down Fraud
President Barack Obama announced a new unit to be devoted to major financial crimes during his State of the Union speech. The Orwellian sounding “Financial Crimes Unit” is to be staffed with “highly trained investigators” and charged with tracking “large-scale fraud.”He also urged Congress to strengthen the penalties for financial wrongdoing.
The president also announced that Attorney General Eric Holder has been tasked with establishing a special team of federal prosecutors and state attorneys general devoted to investigating abusive mortgage lending and the packaging of risky mortgages that contributed to the financial crisis. He is apparently not going after Barney Frank and others in Congress who forced banks to lend to borrowers who did not qualify for mortgages under normal prudent rules of banking.
Banks are the most heavily regulated entities in the business world. The Democrat Congress used suspicions of “redlining” as an excuse for requiring banks to make mortgages more available for minorities, and to specifically to reduce their standards to encourage home ownership. Obama said:
I am asking my attorney general to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis.
We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them.” Now, it’s lenders’ turn to pay the price.
It was Washington that ordered lenders to make those risky loans. Now they are to be punished for doing too well what they were ordered to do before the crisis. Democrats injected risk into the financial system. Beginning in the 1990s they socialized the mortgage industry after declaring that traditional prudent standards of lending were “racist.”
Obama doesn’t care if it drives many banks out of business. That will further his claims of predatory lending and class warfare where rich bankers made fraudulent loans — as they were required to do by Congress. These risky loans were bundled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and sold as high-yielding securities to Wall Street and other nations as worthy investments in an era of fairly low-interest rates.
At a time when money is tight for small business, this will help to dry up credit at a time when contractors, entrepreneurs, growing small businesses are already having a hard time securing credit. Financial institutions will be even more afraid to deplete their capital, at a time when they might need it to pay protection money to this governmental scam. It’s an Alice in Wonderland world, Chicago version.
We even have an entrepreneur locally advertising on the radio seminars on how to make money “flipping houses.” Washington is still pushing for lowered mortgage requirements, which are what got us into this mess in the first place. What you are supposed to understand is that none of this is Obama’s fault — it’s the banks, it’s Wall Street, it’s the rich, and our valiant president is trying really hard to save us from predatory lenders who are trying to get rich by making loans that won’t be paid back. Though just how that works remains a mystery.