Monday, August 13, 2012

The Democrats are trying to end Medicare as we know it.

Yes the headline is demagoguery and sensational, but it was meant to prove a point.  No, I don't think that Democrats are really want to end Medicare, but rather than engage in a fact based debate, the Democrats keep leveling this charge about Paul Ryan's proposal to bring Medicare back from the brink of fiscal ruin.

The left has been trying to paint Paul Ryan's medicare plan as something that will "destroy medicare as we know it."  The irony and hypocrisy in this statement is simply startling.  In fact I am absolutely sick and tired of the left's continual demagoguery of virtually every Republican's proposed solution to the very real fiscal problems that are combining to form a real threat to the future of the Republic. Rather than have a real debate where both sides can discuss how to solve problems, the left simply use scare tactics and vitriolic rhetoric in an attempt to just squash real debate, but I digress.

There are a few things that need to be pointed out, before a serious discussion can ensue about what needs to be done to salvage a dying program:

1)If nothing changes, Medicare will become insolvent in 12 years.  Now this is not some talking point from the Right, but rather this is the assessment and prediction of doom comes from the Department of Health and Human Services own report.  HERE is a link to an NPR story from last year detailing the when Medicare will become insolvent.

2)Paul Ryan's Medicare proposal in his budget (a budget that got more votes in both houses than President Obama's own budget proposals) does not change the benefit structure to anyone 55 an over.  This means that people who are either in the program already or are going to be entering the program in the next 10 years, will see no changes to Medicare, or will get exactly the same care that people already in the program currently enjoy.

3)President Obama and the Democrats have already cut Medicare by more than $700 billion dollars.  Well, I should not say cut, but rather they have raided medicare in an attempt to paint ObamaCare (The Affordable Care Act) as deficit neutral.  This accounting gimmick was used in the run up to the passage of ObamaCare so that the Democrats could say that ObamaCare would not add to the deficit.  Never mind that this has now been proven false, but one must wonder why the press has simply ignored this fact.  Had a Republican cut medicare like this, the press and the left would have eviscerated Republicans and claimed that they were trying to kill granny.  Obama cuts medicare and all we hear are crickets.

So, to play the Dem's game, one must ask two questions.  Why are Democrats trying to end Medicare as we know it and why are Democrats trying to kill seniors?  They have cut medicare by more than $700 billion, and by doing nothing, to fix the program's coming insolvency, the program is doomed.

Do I think this type of rhetoric is stupid? Yes. And I hate to even stoop so low, but I am so frustrated that the left, rather than have a debate on Obama's record and the differences in philosophy and the direction for this country, they have descended into demagoguery and distortions, the likes of which I have ever seen.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Monopolies are not just a problem in the Private Sector

"The great danger to the consumer is the monopoly — whether private or governmental."--Milton Friedman

As I have become a recent disciple of the late great champion of capitalism, Milton Friedman, my mind has been abuzz with the ideas of true capitalism and its power to lift people out of poverty.  There is a reason why the USA has been the greatest economic success story Earth's history has ever seen. It is because the constitution protects peoples' right to pursue their own self interest.  The pursuit of self interest is the driving force behind capitalism.  I would venture to guess that very few successful entrepreneurs ever started a business with the idea of providing benefits or charity to the masses as said entrepreneur's primary goal. A company opens its doors because the person or people who start that business want to, at the very least, earn an income that gives them financial independence without having to answer to someone else.  It is why, when one finds pockets of capitalism that are somehow shielded from government intervention, these sectors explode.  That is until government feels the need to extend its constricting tentacles and choke off the innovation that comes only when a person is able to pursue his or her own self interest.

Unfortunately since power is so enticing, the nature of most people is to consolidate that power.  The logical result of this within business is the monopoly, which almost everyone believes is a bad thing.  But, Is not an all powerful central government another form of a monopoly and just as dangerous as a private sector monopoly? Why is it that liberals, who will be the first to rightfully condemn private monopolies, are so blinded by their ideology to not recognize that centralized planning of any portion of the economy is a monopoly?  Do we not have numerous examples within the brief history of our own country that illustrate this point perfectly?  For every "Ma Bell" (which was broken up by the US government) there is a myriad of examples within the government where power has been consolidated, and the result is mismanagement, ineffectiveness and corruption.  There are anti-trust laws that allow government to regulate and break up monopolies as they get too powerful.  Now I am not arguing the efficacy or prudence of such laws (I personally think that the market will eventually take care of itself in these matters), but ask this question:
What recourse do citizens have when a portion of government has grown to big and unwieldy and has become a public "monopoly?"  Where can we go to break up such a monopoly?

People may try to argue that government will somehow be "fairer" as it takes care and provides for the  people.  First, who defines what is fair?  I certainly will have a different view of what is fair in comparison to someone else. Second and more importantly, History shows us that this notion is flawed anyway.  In almost every case government entities waste millions, if not billions of dollars, are unwieldy, and continually grow larger and larger, while providing fewer and fewer benefits to the masses and almost always at a greater expense to the public.

One can look at Public Education, Social Security, Medicare, The US Postal Service, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (just to name a few) and acknowledge their abject failures, or worse the ticking economic neuclear bomb that will go off if not defused, and wonder why do so many seemingly smart people  think that with something like health care, government will be able to finally do it right.

History tells me that the outcome of Obamacare (and subsequently single payer health care) will be no different than what we have gotten with some of the things I have named.

Someone once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result."  Insanity indeed.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Why European Socialism is Failing, despite Austerity Measures

Yesterday, Francois Hollande defeated Nicholas Sarcosy in what can only be described as a big Left turn for French politics.  The narrative being pushed by the main stream media and by socialists is that austerity measures have not worked, and most European countries are mired in double dip recessions.  The left is trying to argue that these "right wing" austerity measures have failed, and that only a return to the European Socialism will fix what is ailing these countries.

The problem with this thinking is simply untrue.  The first is that the austerity measures are to any degree "right-wing."  If right wing is defined as any departure from the central planning models that have dominated European politics for the last two decades, then yes these austerity measures are right wing.  The reality is that "conservative" in the US and conservative among European socialist countries means two different things. And finally just austerity measures are not the only thing that needs to be done.

What is really happening is that Europe is reaping what they have sown.  This is what happens when two or three generations have lived in such a cradle to grave social democracy.  They have a whole generation of people who think they are entitled to a free ride after doing so little.

What is worse is that the social democracies of Europe have reached the tipping point on taxation.  Countries such as the UK, France, Spain, Italy, etc, have tax rates that are close to 50% and that does not even count the 17% minimum VAT tax on everything bought in Europe (Some Countries VAT Taxes are higher).  Austerity will not work, because it is not addressing the real cause of the real problems in Europe, that taxes on  businesses are so high that they cannot generate enough capital to invest or to hire new workers.  High VAT and income taxes take away disposable income from consumers who might otherwise spend their extra cash on goods and services.

The only way for Europe to solve their financial problems, is to cut back on social programs and cut taxes.  The problem is that when the population is not willing to buy into what is wrong, and demand services that a country can no longer afford, that country is ripe for financial ruin.

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Unemployment Numbers Game

Isn't it interesting that as the November elections creep upon us, that the unemployment numbers seem to marginally improve. Today's unemployment rate is being reported to have dropped by a 10th of a percentage point to 8.1%.  This is fools gold however.  Only 115,000 new jobs were created in the month of April.  This number is outright pathetic.  It was such a bad number that stocks have reacted very negatively on the report.  As of this writing, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 115 points.  By any measure this is not good.

The only reason that unemployment has gone down is because the BLS cannot count those people who have stopped looking for work.  The labor force participation rate is what shows this.  The LFPR is simply the rate of people over 18 who are working, versus those who are not.  In the last 30 years we have seen the LFPR continually trend upward, mostly because more women are working, than prior to 30 years ago.  In the past several years, and particularly in the last three years, the LFPR has dropped significantly.  In fact the LFPR is currently at its lowest level since 1981.  Some of the LFPR are people who are retiring, but since women have been the cause of the LFPR trend moving upward, these numbers should really cancel each other out.  And if one looks at the trend on this graph, it is clear that the LFPR has dropped tremendously since 2008, when the economy really started to tank.

The big question that has not been asked is this.  Why, if we are in a recovery and jobs are being created, has the LFPR number not cratered.  Perhaps part of this is that baby boomers are beginning to retire. But one must, even with that pressure, wonder why the LFPR rate is STILL declining at the rate it is.  Some of those losses should be mitigated by people going back to work.

The other thing is the fact that net job creation during Obama's tenure is still at negative 1.6 million jobs.  When you put this all together, it seems that there is some major manipulation going on with regards to the unemployment rate.

In contrast to Obama's number of 1.6 million lost jobs under his watch.  Ronald Reagan, who inherited a horrible economy in recession, created more than 6 million jobs during his first four years in office.

There is no way around this one.  Obama's record on jobs is horrible.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Update on the Cheng Guancheng Ordeal.

The Cheng Guancheng fiasco just gets worse.  Here are some of the more recent developments. Here is Secretary Of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's statement about Cheng.
"I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng's stay and departure from the U.S. embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values. I was glad to have the chance to speak with him today and to congratulate him on being reunited with his wife and children.

Mr. Chen has a number of understandings with the Chinese government about his future, including the opportunity to pursue higher education in a safe environment. Making these commitments a reality is the next crucial task. The United States government and the American people are committed to remaining engaged with Mr. Chen and his family in the days, weeks, and years ahead."
Who wrote this Hillary or the Ministry of Truth from 1984?

Now read the story located here at the Daily Beast:

This excerpt casts a different light on the ordeal:

When U.S. officials escorted him out of the U.S. embassy shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, Chen thought he’d extracted a promise that at least one of them would stay with him at the hospital, he said. “Many Americans were with me while I checked into the hospital and doctors examined me. Lots of them,” he told me from his hospital bed, where he’s being treated for broken bones in one foot, an injury sustained when he fell after climbing a wall during hisdaring escape from house arrest late last month. “But when I was brought to the hospital room, they all left. I don’t know where they went.” The ordeal was all the more bewildering because Chen is blind and was hurt during his escape; he needs crutches or a wheelchair to move around.

Then there is this story that details the unraveling of the "deal" that had been supposedly put into place

Here is the most important excerpt from this story:

The State Department insists that blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng left the U.S. Embassy of his own volition Wednesday and that U.S. officials in Beijing did not convey threats to harm his family by Chinese officials, as Chen claims.
"At no time did any US official speak to Chen about physical or legal threats to his wife and children. Nor did Chinese officials make any such threats to us," said State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the Embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to [their home in] Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification." 
Nuland was responding to accounts by Chen supporters, now repeated by Chen himself to the Associated Press, that said Chen was pressured into leaving the embassy via threats to the safety of his wife and family. Chen told the AP that U.S. officials told him the Chinese would take his family back to their home province in Shandong, where they had been under extrajudicial house arrest and in some cases physically abused, if he didn't leave the embassy.
Why is the State Department now so vociferously defending themselves against the thought that they had conveyed threats to Cheng?  I am reminded of Shakepseare's Hamlet when Gertrude said, "The woman doth protest too much methinks."

If one reads between the lines however, it is clear that the message conveyed by embassy officials to Cheng most likely was taken as a threat by Cheng, since the home that they were being returned to is the place where Cheng and his family were subjected to persecution and abuse.

Ultimately this fiasco illustrates one of two possibilities.
  1. That the State Department and then by association the Obama Administration is incredibly naive and incompetent.  
  2. The Obama administration has intentionally misled Cheng and others in order to appease the ChiCom government so that they will continue to buy US Treasury bonds and further fund the massive overspending that has been engaged by the Obama administration.
Either one of these possibilities sends the clear message that Obama is incompetent and needs to be defeated in November.  

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The US is no Longer a Defender of Liberty!

When Reagan was POTUS, he often defended or provided verbal support to those people behind the Iron Curtain.  Lech Walesa, who was an outspoken Human Rights activist, and later President of Poland.  He was a man that stood up to the Polish puppet regime.  He was persecuted and was even imprisoned for a time because of his outspoken words against his government.  During this time Ronald Reagan offered the following to Lech and the movement he was defending.
"For too long the Polish Government has tried to make Lech Walesa a non person and destroy the free trade movement that he helped to create, but no goverment can destroy the hopes that burn in hearts of a people."
It was words like these that Lech Walesa and others behind the iron curtain heard, that buoyed  them up during the dark times and encouraged them to keep fighting the good fight.( Walesa said as much during a speech when unveiling a statue of Ronald Reagan in Warsaw)   The message the Ronald Reagan was trying to convey was, "We in America stand with those seeking freedom and Democracy."

Flash forward to the story of Cheng Guangchen, a blind Chinese dissident who had been imprisoned first and more recently had been under house arrest for four years.  He just last week made a daring escape from his house arrest and found temporary refuge in the US embassy in Beijing.  Cheng is a self educated lawyer and outspoken critic of China's forced sterilization and abortion policies that are a part of China's totalitarian government mandated one child per family policy.  In contrast to Reagan, here are President Obama's words in response to a news reporters question about Cheng.
We want China to be strong and we want it to be prosperous, and we’re very pleased with all the areas of cooperation that we’ve been able to engage in.  But we also believe that that relationship will be that much stronger and China will be that much more prosperous and strong as you see improvements on human rights issues in that country,”
No mention of Cheng.  There is not even a statement condemning China's deplorable civil rights record. Following this statement, the US embassy turned Cheng over to China's government.  The initial report was that this was a welcome and voluntary move by Cheng.  I personally heard NBC radio news state that Cheng willfully had left the embassy and was happy to get back to his family.  It was also reported that assurances were made about Cheng and his treatment and safety.

However a few hours later, news stories started to surface that Cheng's family had been threatened with recriminations for Cheng's actions, if he did not return home.   Cheng was reported to have been taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries sustained during his escape from house arrest.

The only reason that I can think of that explains the Obama administration's lack of support for human rights in China, is that they need China to keep financing America's debt.

The US used to be a defender of liberty against totalitarianism.  Now we defend and provide cover to totalitarian governments so that we can continue to borrow money from them. The fact that the US cannot be a defender of human rights against a regime and country that represents all of the ideals that the US opposes, shows that we are certainly a nation in decline.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Are College Aged People Stupid?

In 2008, Obama carried the youth vote by a wide margin and is generally consdiered one of the main reasons that he cruised to victory.  I get it.  He promised everybody everything, but more importantly Obama ran on a message of hope and change.  Young people had been bombarded by negative news about Bush and the War on Terror.  Futhermore, the economy tanked just in time for the 2008 election, and with that tanking, was any chance of McCain winning the election. 

Now, three years later, Obama is again campaigning for the youth vote.  He is counting on young people to help push him over the top and on to a second term.  More than that, Obama is pandering to young people by offering them more free money, or cheap debt, so that they can continue on through college without having to struggle the way so many generations before them struggled.  My question is.  Are you people stupid?

Why would you give Obama four more years, when all he had done is wrecked the economy to the point that 53% of recent college graduates are un or underemployed right now.  This is not from some conservative web site.  No less than The Atlantic and NPR are both reporting these statistics. 

Whats worse is that Obama is out campaigning about keeping student loan interest rates artifically low.  He is telling young people that a vote for a Republican means an increase in student loan costs.  So in essence Obama is trying to buy off the student vote.  What is really sad though is that in the current economy, students will graduate saddled with massive debt that they will have difficulty paying back because they will not be able to find jobs. 

Think about it people.  Under Obama, the economy has cratered.  It is growing now, but so slowly that it is very noticable.  People all over are still either unemployed or underemployed.  Unemployment is still over 8 percent and has been there for most of Obama's presidency.  And the only reason that unemployment has gone down is because the particpation rate in the labor force is at a 20 year low. 

Do you want this stuff to continue, or does real change need to be made.  The truth lies in Reagan's words at his inaguration:

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems.  Government IS the problem."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Newt's debate prowess is Fools Gold

While I will acknowledge that Newt Gingrich is a feiry debater and would most certainly clean Obama's clock in any debate format, the idea that Newt would be able to win soely on his strengths as a debater, is really more wishful thinking than reality. 

The fact is, is that Obama would never agree to six Lincoln-Douglas style debates.  Obama and his handlers are not stupid when it comes to elections, and would never allow him to be skewered over and over again in any debate format.  At most, I believe Obama would agree to two debates with Gingrich.  He would probably agree to three with Romney because I Obama is probably not very scared of Mitt in a debate.

Conservatives need to do a better job of evaluating the candidates.  Just using the debates as the primary measure of a candidates qualifications is not a very smart way to make such an important decision.  All things need to be considered.  Its interesting to me that when people evaluate Mitt Romney, the rightly consider his past flip flops and wonder if he is a true conservative. 

Newt, however, seems to get a pass on this same thing.  Despite the fact that he has supported both global warming and a federal indvidual mandate for health care, to name just a few of his positions where he has departed from Conservative thought, Newt is considered by many to be the most conservative candidate left in the field.  He also has positiioned himself as an outsider, despite the fact that he served in Congress from 1978 to 1998, and still lives in the DC area.

All I am saying is that before one decides all of the facts and the positives and negatives with all of the candidates.  Only then should he or she make a decision on who should be the republican nominee. 

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Rise and Fall of Whoever!

Its amazing to me that seemingly every primary candidate other than Mitt Romney has had his turn as they rise in the polls. First it was Michelle Bachman, then it was Hermann Cain, next it was Newt Gingrich, and now its Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.  The whole thing has become almost comical. 

I do want to make one thing perfectly clear. Despite all of this melodrama, the Republican Party is not divided.  Whoever survives this primary process, will not be wounded, but will be stronger and in a great position to defeat Barack Obama. 

I had made my mind up but have since rescinded my support and have decided to wait. 

The Iowa Caucuses are tomorrow.  My prediction is that Mitt will eek out a victory, but that will not be the headline. The headline will be that Rick Santorum, who will finish in third, is rising.  Whether this is real or just a blib on the radar, remains to be seen. 

Its going to be fun the next few months.  

No, there is no anti-Israel Bias at the NY Times.

Recently the New York Times published an Op-Ed of a Palestinian who describes the deplorable conditions that he says exist in Israeli prison...