American Elephants


Doorbell by The Elephant's Child
January 15, 2013, 7:30 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , ,


Let Me Be Perfectly Clear! Here’s the Way Things Work. by The Elephant's Child
April 25, 2011, 9:21 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, History, Taxes | Tags: , ,

When people start talking about billions and trillions, many people just don’t want to hear.  They don’t understand the numbers, and they don’t want to be scared by something they don’t understand — big numbers.

The Big Budget Battle boils down to something very simple. Republicans blame the deficit and the national debt on spending.  The government has done too much of it.  The Democrats blame the deficit and the national debt on a lack of revenue. They just haven’t taxed enough — and they think the whole thing was caused by the Bush tax cuts anyway. James Capretta explains:

To Democrats, the solution to our budget problem has two components. First, massive and steady tax hikes, not just over the next few years but every year for the next quarter century to match the explosion in entitlement costs. Second, they want stiff government cost controls on the entire health sector, not just on public insurance programs.

For years, the only thing that stood in the way of Democrats’ securing these changes were unenlightened and intransigent Republicans. But when Democrats secured once-in-a-generation majorities in the 111th Congress, Republicans were no longer in a position to stand in their way. So Democrats took the opportunity not only to pass Obamacare — the largest entitlement expansion in two generations — but also to try to reshape the long-term budget picture according to their big-government vision.

The CBO  has said the total tax increase over the next 10 years will exceed $800 billion.  But Democrats were looking for a perpetual cash machine that would go beyond just a near term tax hike. They’ve returned to bracket creep. The tax hikes associated with ObamaCare — .0.9 % on wages and 3.8% on non.wage income — were sold as hitting only those with incomes over $200,000 and $250,000, but without indexing for inflation, more and more people will find themselves paying much higher taxes for Medicare. All you nice middle class folks may find yourselves classified as “rich ” before you know it.

The second part is giving the government a mandate to enforce limits on all spending for health care. Raising taxes and rationing care. But why are Democrats so desperately opposed to cutting spending?

Democrats’ success at the polls has always depended on giving things to people. Welfare, benefits, government health care, housing, tax credits, Pell grants,  extended unemployment, school lunches, school breakfasts, the list goes on and on.Many of the ‘gifts’ don’t work out so well, but their intentions were good.  Democrats believe that a good intention earnestly expressed is a policy.

Republicans success at the polls depends on principles. They ask you to believe in things like liberty, the free market, individual rights, competition, private property, low taxes,  the Constitution, responsibility and American exceptionalism. They don’t promise to give you much of anything except opportunity and freedom to follow your dreams.

Democrats ask Americans to become ever more dependent.  Republicans ask Americans to stand up to be counted.



Where Is Your Congressman? by The Elephant's Child

No Town hall meetings?  Absent from office hours?  Just where is your Congressman?  They have a lot to answer for, and a lot to explain!

(h/t: The Foundry)



Who’s Extreme? by The Elephant's Child

(h/t: National Review)



Is Being Out-of-Touch Disqualifying? And If Not, Why Not? by The Elephant's Child
June 11, 2010, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Liberalism, Politics | Tags: , ,


We often speak about our representatives in Congress being out-of-touch with the real people at home. This little exchange is a great demonstration. It seems impossible that any person serving in the United States Congress could possibly be unaware of the public’s concern about government spending. What on earth goes on in this gentleman’s head?

In general, I suspect that members of Congress have not yet fully absorbed the extent to which their statements can be excerpted and recorded for history. It’s hard for busy people to keep track, but little instances such as this one should determine elections. We won’t get the best and the brightest politicians, but we should have some basic standards that eliminate those who are so out of touch. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA)

The expression on Mr. Bernanke’s face is priceless.



Chris Christie’s Garden State Smackdown by American Elephant
May 14, 2010, 6:35 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Republicans? Are you paying attention? New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is holding class — giving lessons in how to govern, how to deal with the press, in short, how to do your jobs. This is exactly what Americans are desperately looking for. Unapologetic, common sense, conservative leadership.

Not pandering. Not equivocation. Leadership.

Every Republican politician in the country should be required to watch this video. I’m sending it to a few myself.

(h/t HotAir)



Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Lots of Talk, Little Action. by The Elephant's Child
April 28, 2010, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Economic freedom helps to create jobs.  For over a decade, the Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation have tracked the march of economic freedom around the world with the Index of Economic Freedom. Now there is more evidence from a state-level study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis.  The authors state:

Our results suggest that policy-makers concerned with employment should seriously consider the degree to which their own labor market policies, as well as those of the national government, may be limiting economic growth and development in their respective states.

Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his own labor and property.  In a society that is economically free, individuals are free to work, produce, consume and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state, but unconstrained by the state.

In economically free states, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.                                          (click to enlarge)


The stimulus was supposed to bring back the jobs and keep unemployment below 8.8 percent. The reality is something quite different.   Long- term unemployment has been growing significantly, and the stimulus bill and other “job bills” didn’t change the trend.  There are another 5.8 million  workers who want employment but are excluded from BLS unemployment statistics.

Texas significantly continues to outperform the rest of the American economy, especially California.  The reasons can be summed up in three little words:  unions, taxes and spending. The role of unions, particularly public unions is huge in California.  Texas has a relatively low rate of unionization — about a third of Californias.

Texas has had a good long run of small-government, low-tax conservatism.  Texas has a trillion-dollar economy that would make it the 15th largest national economy in the world if it were a country.  By one estimate, 70 percent of the new jobs created in the United States in 2008 were created in Texas.  That’s economic freedom, and it works.

The Obama administration had spent lots of words on job creation, but the legislation passed has favored unions, higher taxes, and lots of spending.  For example, the Democrats’ student-loan “reform” which was tacked onto the health-care reconciliation bill caused student lender Sallie Mae to close a call center in Killeen, Texas, eliminating 500 jobs.

The health-care bill itself will eliminate many jobs.  Higher taxes, higher premium costs, an ineffective small business credit, and the high cost of complying with health care regulations will hinder growth of small business and make increased hiring unlikely.

The inclination and beliefs of the administration lean toward big government.   Few in the administration have any significant experience in the business world, and they do not grasp the fact that government jobs are just another drain on the pocketbook of taxpayers.  They are jobs, but it simply doesn’t count as job growth.

Try explaining that to a Democrat.



The Great Issue is Debt, and Jobs, and Jobs and Jobs… by The Elephant's Child
March 15, 2010, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Taxes, The Constitution | Tags: , ,


This image appeared with an article in the New York Times talking about the President’s drive to pass health care reform.  The over-the-top artwork is by Nola Lopez from a photo by Damon Winter.  The president is apparently quite comfortable with images that portray him as some kind of Messiah. I cannot imagine any other president in history who would have tolerated such excess.

Jonah Goldberg recently commented at National Review: “Since taking office, Obama has continued to see the presidency as the perfect perch from which to campaign for the job he already has.”

The President today went to Ohio to continue his permanent campaign on health care legislation.  His campaign events during the 2008 presidential race attracted thousands of Ohioans.  This time he managed a crowd of about 200 people.  He has negative approval numbers in Ohio ( 34 percent approve of the job he is doing, 58 percent disapprove).

Ohioans care about jobs and the economy.  They want the president to focus like a laser on jobs, as he promised in the State of the Union address.  But ObamaCare is a job-killing program.   The center of the Democrat plan is a promise to provide subsidized insurance coverage to some 35 to 40 million people. This will cost about $200 billion a year by 2019.   Despite all the talk about “bending the cost curve” the CBO says the price will grow by 8 percent a year every year after that — in the same way Medicare and Medicaid have grown over the last  four decades.  Another runaway entitlement program is piled on top of the unaffordable ones that are already bankrupting the country.  The bill is so poorly designed that its implications  for the economy could be huge, and disastrous.  The incentives in the bill are destructive.

Democrat party leaders honestly think enactment of ObamaCare will yield political dividends.  55 percent thought that passage would help their party a lot.  They seem to live in an alternate universe.  They hear every day from a far-left base, that they must support whatever Team Obama wants. They get cherry-picked poll results .  They watch MSNBC, read the liberal blogs and the New York Times editorial page, and they have faith that their charismatic president won’t let them down.  They probably believe firmly in President Obama’s description of what is in ObamaCare.

Republicans, on the other hand, cannot believe what Democrats are doing.  They are convinced that they are committing political suicide.  Obama’s descriptions of ObamaCare bear no relationship to what is actually in the bill. Nancy Pelosi’s description of the bill as a “jobs bill” that would create 400,000 jobs seems like a line from Alice in Wonderland.  What can they possibly be thinking?

The president says, as he did on the campaign trail, that which he believes people want to hear.  It’s far past time that he stopped campaigning, and started being president — the office that he campaigned for.



Barney Frank (D-MA) Solves the Next Financial Crisis! by The Elephant's Child

The “educated class” and those who aspire to being thought of as “educated” have gathered in Davos, Switzerland for an opportunity to see and be seen the World Economic Forum to, in one panel, debate where the next global crisis will come from.

Unsurprisingly, they were all over the map, but in general they think that long-term government debt is a problem.   A few hours after this meeting, in his State of the Union speech, President Obama would call for a three-year government spending freeze, applying to a teeny-weeny sector of government spending approximately 16% of the federal budget.  Nine percent of the public thought that would be effective.

Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), who attended the Davos session as one of the selected “challengers” for the three presenters, called for large cuts in defense spending as well as tax increases — particularly on wealthy Davos types. Frank vowed:

I think almost every American here pays much less in taxes than you ought to.  I’m going to go back and try to raise the taxes of most of the people who attended here.

That’s just what we need, Barney.  Raise everybody’s taxes.  The real problem is s-p-e-n-d-i-n-g!  You are not just spending too much, but most of what you are spending is pure waste.  Rebuilding bridges that nobody uses, money for airports that have no flights, money for imaginary (and temporary) “green” jobs, guaranteeing loans for “clean energy” that will never be cost-effective.  Creating new bureaus, new administrations, new offices, and funding those who supported your campaigns.

Just stop! Please, please, just stop!



It’s Only Money, It’s Only Money, It’s Only Money. by The Elephant's Child
August 14, 2009, 12:37 am
Filed under: Economy, Politics, Statism | Tags: , ,

The federal deficit climbed higher in July, reaching record territory at $1.27 trillion with two months to spend remaining in the budget year. Ouch! Let’s be clear. This is the deficit — outgo over income.  The July deficit reflected government outlays of $332.2 billion, a record number for any month, up from $263 billion of July 2008.  Government receipts totaled $151.5 billion, so there is a bit of a gap.  Quite a credit-card debt for us to pay off.

When Barack Obama came into office, the deficit was $455 billion.  ($325.3 billion of that was from the bank rescue plan that Senator Obama supported).

Since January 20, we have had a $787 billion stimulus, a $33 billion expansion of the State Childrens’ Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), $330.4 billion in bank rescue money, and a $410 billion bill to fund discretionary spending for the second half of the current fiscal year.  The first “Cash for Clunkers” program was part of the Stimulus, but I think they appropriated another billion for more clunkers.  I don’t know where the auto bailout fits in. Congress is talking about a second stimulus, but perhaps that will go the way of the Nancy Pelosi Air Force which, blessedly, has been canceled.  Sanity, however briefly, has prevailed.

Most of the stimulus money that has been appropriated has not yet been spent, and most of what has been spent has gone to Democrat pet projects rather than to anything that promotes employment.  A lot has just been wasted.  Homeless funds for a town that has no homeless, guard rails for a road beside a dry lake, funds to rebuild bridges that get almost no traffic at all.  When the second part of the stimulus has been spent in 2010, perhaps it will be spent more wisely.  Or even better, perhaps it will just be cancelled.  Stimulus plans have never been a particularly successful way of addressing recessions.

Republicans usually favor programs that improve conditions for business so that they are encouraged to hire and produce.  Democrats usually favor programs that create temporary government-paid jobs.  One of the two has a history of success.

The total national debt is $11,666,485,985,008.  give or take a billion or two here and there.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner asked Congress to  increase the $12.1 trillion debt limit last Friday, saying it is “critically important” that they act in the next two months.  In a letter to U.S. lawmakers, Mr. Geithner said that the current debt limit could be reached in early mid-October.  “Congress has never failed to raise the debt limit when necessary,” Mr. Geithner said.

So that’s where we are.  ObamaCare is projected by the CBO to cost $1.1 trillion for the House bill and a little more for the Senate bill which is still under construction over the next decade.   Dr, Stephen Parente of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management says that the CBO is using outdated programs and the bills will cost $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively.

It looks like consideration of the Waxman-Markey climate bill will be put off until next year at least. I won’t include the depressing news about that.  If we could just persuade them to stop spending, forget the rest of the stimulus and allow the economy to recover — which it would be more likely to do if there is confidence about what the government is going to do.

(h/t: Neo-neocon)



Irresponsible! by The Elephant's Child
May 15, 2009, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law | Tags: , ,

All those zeroes are hard to understand.  Millions and billions and trillions all sort of melt together. Can you write $1.8 trillion with the correct number of zeroes?  That is the projection for the 2009 budget deficit. Polls suggest that the public tolerates these large deficits because they believe them to be temporary.  Dream on.

Here’s another video that attempts to put the spending in comprehensible terms.




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