Archive for August, 2011
August 24th, 2011 at 6:34 pm
Irresponsible and Unpatriotic

Peter Kirsanow catches Barack Obama calling himself irresponsible and unpatriotic.  Heh, heh.

Of course, it really galls me when the left yells and screams about conservatives accusing them of being unpatriotic, even when we’ve done no such thing, while they actually use that very word to describe us again and again. Oh, well…. Let them be hoist by their own petard.

August 24th, 2011 at 2:18 pm
Social Security Disability Insurance Going Bankrupt Too

Recently, I wrote about the Social Security Trust Fund being a piggy bank for other federal spending programs.  In return, federal spenders put worthless IOUs back in piggy with an implied promise to pay back the debt with higher taxes in future years.

Now, there is word that Social Security Disability Insurance – yet another expense drawn from the empty retirement Trust Fund – will go bankrupt by 2017.  The reason for the rapid insolvency of disability insurance is simple: eligibility for disability can begin before reaching retirement age.  Per the Associated Press:

Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can’t find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.

The more President Obama’s Washington dithers on enacting policies to spur economic growth, the more unemployed people will be forced to find money wherever they can.  The vast majority of Americans want to work, but Obama’s job-killing policies just aren’t giving them the chance.

It would be an unnecessary irony if a liberal like Obama presided over an austerity government that not only raised taxes, but also cut services like Social Security that liberals love.  Yet that is the path we’re on as a recessed economy lurches from market plunges to debt downgrades to a contracting job market.

We need an “opportunity president,” and this one surely isn’t it.

August 24th, 2011 at 2:07 pm
Portnoy: Blacks Should Blame Obama, Not Tea Party

Howard Portnoy at Hot Air offers to help redirect the frustration Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) vented recently against the Tea Party to a more appropriate target:

The situation creates a catch-22 for Waters and other black politicians. They can continue to rail out helplessly at forces they have no control over. Or they can accept the bitter reality that the messiah they thought they were electing is either mythical or yet to come. Is it possible that the calls to primary Obama will come from, of all places, the black community? It would certainly represent a healthy first step toward a post-racial America.

August 24th, 2011 at 10:49 am
Marco Rubio’s Speech on the “Proper Role of Government”

In a major speech last night at the Reagan Library, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke with clarity about “the proper role of government.”

Saying that the United States must always aspire to compassion and prosperity, Rubio argued that an ever-expanding federal government will doom the nation to failure.   “Americans in the 20th century built here the richest most prosperous nation in the history of the world. And yet today we have built for ourselves a government that not even the richest and most prosperous nation on the face of the earth can fund or afford to pay for.”

At a time when high-sounding but often empty shoot-from-the-hip sound bites dominate the national dialogue, the understanding and vision with which the Florida Senator spoke is a breath of fresh air.

Watch the must-see speech below.


August 24th, 2011 at 9:30 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Just Minutes Before the D.C. Earthquake
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 23rd, 2011 at 5:41 pm
A Senik in the Bay Area
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CFIF readers in the San Francisco metro area (come on, we know you exist) be warned: I’ll be coming to a radio dial near you tomorrow morning.

I’ll be guesting on Brian Sussman’s morning show on KSFO AM 560 to discuss California state legislators’ refusal to make their official budgets available for public review.

No word on timing yet, but I’ll update the post once I know. Feel free to throw the car into park on the Golden Gate Bridge and wait in anticipation though.

August 23rd, 2011 at 8:31 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Krugman Zone
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 22nd, 2011 at 9:43 pm
The Moral Superfluousness of Joe Biden
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Vice President Biden was at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, yesterday for an address on U.S.–Chinese relations. Looking over his remarks, one gets to thinking that the Taiwan Strait is nowhere near as dangerous a space as the distance between Biden and a hot microphone.

Biden, remember, is a scholar of everything, prone to confusing the ridiculous with the sublime, and loquacious in inverse correlation to his erudition. So it should come as no surprise that the Vice President felt free to weigh in on the dynamics of Chinese society. The particular angle he chose, however, may surprise. From the remarks:

You have no safety net.  Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family.  The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people.  Not sustainable.

Leave it to Biden, the court jester of an administration that has shown no regard whatsoever for fiscal prudence, to reduce what has been called “the biggest single holocaust in human history” to an accounting problem.

In that conceit, Biden is not so different from the Communist Chinese who created the one-child policy. Their rationale, after all, was to reduce the burden on Chinese society that would stem from population growth. In essence, it is a tyranny of the living over the unborn — an ideal that could not be further removed from the Declaration of Independence’s promise of rights given by God. In China, the most basic right of all — the right to life, which has pride of place in the Declaration’s enumeration — is a function of one’s perceived worth to society.

That, Mr. Vice President, is worth ‘second-guessing’. As for your glib dismissal of the moral stain imposed by China’s macabre exercise in totalitarianism? “Not sustainable.”

August 22nd, 2011 at 5:21 pm
Ryan’s Express Exit

Well, Paul Ryan is out of the presidential race without having entered it.  For those of us who value limited government and want to see fiscal discipline in Washington, and who desperately want a candidate who can articulate the need for and details of reforms, it is a disappointment that Rep. Ryan will not enter the race.

It does occur to me that of the candidates who are in the race, the one whose record and platform both match most closely with Ryan’s is former Sen. Rick Santorum. Far be it from me to issue any endorsement, especially considering that candidate selection involves political considerations in addition to mere analysis of records and platforms, but my prediction — as an analyst — is that Santorum will at least attempt to make a big move to attract activists who had been waiting on the sidelines to see what Ryan would do. Santorum remains a long shot, but he’s steadily creeping up in terms of public consciousness and support.

Of course, both Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann also would claim the mantle of Ryan-esque conservative reformers (although, frankly, Bachmann doesn’t fit because Ryan is an institutionalist and legislator whereas she is consciously an outsider and back-bencher), and the immediate benefit may flow to Perry as the most Ryan-like front-runner (the bandwagon effect is alive and well).  But in terms of persona, geography, personal backgrounds, style, and mastery of the substance of national issues, Santorum and Ryan are indeed a close fit.

It will be interesting to see if any other boomlet starts to try to recruit yet another candidate into the race (other than Sarah Palin, who has always been a possibility) — or, if, finally, the field (other than Palin) starts to settle down and the attention at last turns to those actually in the race rather than to those on the outside that some people wish would get in.

August 22nd, 2011 at 3:10 pm
Clarence Thomas and the Tea Party

From a must-read profile in the New Yorker on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas:

The implications of Thomas’s leadership for the Court, and for the country, are profound. Thomas is probably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Court since the nineteen-thirties. More than virtually any of his colleagues, he has a fully wrought judicial philosophy that, if realized, would transform much of American government and society. Thomas’s views both reflect and inspire the Tea Party movement, which his wife has helped lead almost since its inception. The Tea Party is a diffuse operation, and it can be difficult to pin down its stand on any given issue. Still, the Tea Party is unusual among American political movements in its commitment to a specific view of the Constitution—one that accords, with great precision, with Thomas’s own approach. For decades, various branches of the conservative movement have called for a reduction in the size of the federal government, but for the Tea Party, and for Thomas, small government is a constitutional command.

Later on, the profiler notes that Thomas – along with other conservatives on the Supreme Court – is poised to overturn the clearest expression of government overreach in a generation: ObamaCare.  If that happens, Thomas’ judicial philosophy, and the Tea Party’s importance, will be vindicated.

August 22nd, 2011 at 2:30 pm
More Liberal Rationalizations for Doomed Huntsman Campaign

The liberal obituaries for the mostly-dead Huntsman for President campaign get an interesting addition from Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast:

The Huntsman strategy here is obvious: position himself as the moderate and reasonable guy on the off chance Republicans decide to be moderate and reasonable. We must assume he is aware that his odds on this are rather long, so what he’s really hoping for is to be the consensus candidate of 2016. Maybe the party just has to go through this purge, this Reign of Terror; so just let it do that, and once it does and nominates an extremist who can’t beat a weak incumbent during a time of 9 percent unemployment rates, and the heads are piled high enough in the tumbrels and enough people finally have returned to their senses, he will ride the Thermidorian wave to victory after Obama leaves town.

So, the Tea Party in particular and the conservative movement in general is creating a “Reign of Terror” that is depriving liberals of the most progressive member of the GOP presidential pack from facing Obama next year?

There’s a frightful reality fast-approaching, but it isn’t a 2012 match-up seeing who’s less conservative.  It’s the fiscal and cultural time-bomb that is ticking ever closer to exploding if Barack Obama or Jon Huntsman’s views are put into practice.

H/T: Political Wire

August 22nd, 2011 at 2:13 pm
TODAY’S RADIO SHOW LINEUP: CFIF’s Renee Giachino Hosts “Your Turn” on WEBY Radio 1330 AM
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Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CST to 6:00 p.m. CST (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

–  4:00 p.m. CST/5:00 p.m. EST:  George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom – End of the Space Shuttle Age;

–  4:30 p.m. CST/5:30 p.m. EST:  Anna Rittgers, Senior Fellow, Independent Women’s Forum – Obamacare; and

–  5:00 p.m. CST/6:00 p.m. EST:  Greg Brown, Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser – TRIM Notices and Navarre Beach Lawsuit.

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.

August 22nd, 2011 at 10:53 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Double Dip
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 20th, 2011 at 8:11 pm
Now Liberals Think Huntsman Candidacy Doomed

After a barrage of base-hating tweets, even the liberal website Talking Points Memo thinks former Utah Governor and Obama China Ambassador Jon Huntsman’s GOP presidential campaign is headed for failure.

TPM’s headline says it all: “Is He Even Trying?  Huntsman Seems Determined to Alienate the GOP Base

CFIF and others have been all over Huntsman’s record, noting how deliberately incompatible it is with almost any slice of the Republican electorate, let alone conservatives.

If voters want a former governor with corporate ties and moderate-to-liberal positions, they’ll vote for Mitt Romney.  If they want someone else, it won’t be Huntsman.

August 20th, 2011 at 7:19 pm
Tea Party to Back Scott Brown Over Elizabeth Warren?

Though Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) hasn’t exactly been the reincarnation of John Adams, some Bay State Tea Party leaders are weighing whether helping reelect the moderate Brown is better than sitting back and letting him duke it out with Harvard professor and Obama protégé Elizabeth Warren next year:

“Elizabeth Warren is a game-changer,” Varley said. “Elizabeth Warren is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive. We can say we may not be thrilled with Sen. Brown, but we certainly don’t want Elizabeth Warren.”

Unlike other GOP moderates like Senators Olympia Snowe (ME), Orrin Hatch (UT), and Richard Lugar (IN), Brown will likely get a pass in the primary, and have uber-liberal Warren to show as a much worse alternative.  Between now and November 2012, hopefully Brown gives Tea Party voters something to vote for.

H/T: FoxNews

August 19th, 2011 at 7:31 pm
Economics Isn’t That Hard, Stupid

In case you missed it, Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal explains “Why Americans Hate Economics” with two wonderfully clear paragraphs.

The first explains where economics as a discipline went wrong:

How did modern economics fly off the rails? The answer is that the “invisible hand” of the free enterprise system, first explained in 1776 by Adam Smith, got tossed aside for the new “macroeconomics,” a witchcraft that began to flourish in the 1930s during the rise of Keynes. Macroeconomics simply took basic laws of economics we know to be true for the firm or family—i.e., that demand curves are downward sloping; that when you tax something, you get less of it; that debts have to be repaid—and turned them on their head as national policy.

The second shows where Keynesians err:

The grand pursuit of economics is to overcome scarcity and increase the production of goods and services. Keynesians believe that the economic problem is abundance: too much production and goods on the shelf and too few consumers. Consumers lined up for blocks to buy things in empty stores in communist Russia, but that never sparked production. In macroeconomics today, there is a fatal disregard for the heroes of the economy: the entrepreneur, the risk-taker, the one who innovates and creates the things we want to buy. “All economic problems are about removing impediments to supply, not demand,” Arthur Laffer reminds us.

Knowledge becomes inaccessible only when an influential group decides that reality doesn’t fit their ideal.  The Keynesians have had their day.  It’s time for the proponents of sound money and economic growth to have their turn.

August 19th, 2011 at 7:05 pm
Obama Justice: Amnesty by Fiat

Here’s an update from the New York Times about how the Obama Administration is implementing the DREAM Act without waiting for Congress to actually pass the measure into law.

The decision would, through administrative action, help many intended beneficiaries of legislation that has been stalled in Congress for a decade. The sponsor of the legislation, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, has argued that “these young people should not be punished for their parents’ mistakes.”

The next paragraph explains the motivation:

The action would also bolster President Obama’s reputation with Latino voters as he heads into the 2012 election. Just a week ago the leaders of major Hispanic organizations criticized his record, saying in a report that Mr. Obama and Congress had “overpromised and underdelivered” on immigration and other issues of concern to Latino voters, a major force in some swing states.

At least the Times is honest.  We’re still waiting for the White House.

August 19th, 2011 at 1:30 pm
Dismal Reality of Green Jobs: There Aren’t Any
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Earlier this week, I shared the story of a $20 million, federally-funded “green jobs” initiative in Seattle. Initially projected to create 2,000 jobs, the plan has instead created about 14. And if you take a look at today’s New York Times, you’ll see that this isn’t an isolated development:

A study released in July by the non-partisan Brookings Institution found clean-technology jobs accounted for just 2 percent of employment nationwide and only slightly more — 2.2 percent — in Silicon Valley. Rather than adding jobs, the study found, the sector actually lost 492 positions from 2003 to 2010 in the South Bay, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.5 percent.

Let’s clarify the point of objection here. I (and, I suspect, most conservatives) have nothing against “clean technology” (though the sanctimoniousness of its most fervent supporters is a lot to stomach). The real problem comes from government support for these initiatives.

The reason that green tech hasn’t birthed a fecund job market is because the economics are still not there: no one has figured out how to make these technologies viable at a price point lower than conventional fuel sources. When the government subsidizes that failure, it only delays the arrival of that economic breakthrough.

For that reason, the clean tech crowd should ask the government to get out of the way. As long as driving hybrid vehicles or putting solar panels on your roof is purely a statement of environmental consciousness, green products will remain niche tokens of consumer activism. Once they’re actually good investments, the green jobs boom will create itself.

August 19th, 2011 at 12:53 pm
CA Gov. Brown Picks Wrong ‘Jobs Czar’

California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown appointed Michael Rossi, former Bank of America executive and GMAC subprime mortgage guru, to be his unpaid “jobs czar.” Brown hopes that Rossi will be able to tell Brown how to revive the state’s sagging economy.

It’s telling that Brown chose a career Big Business executive instead of a successful entrepreneur.  The two types of people – and their skill sets – couldn’t be more different.

Rossi’s path to success involved managing large corporate structures that focus heavily on exploiting government-created revenue streams, such as subprime mortgages that but for government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s guarantee would never have been made.  It also doesn’t help that today BofA is announcing its second straight year of layoffs (3,500 employees this year alone).

It would be far better for Brown to enlist the help of an entrepreneur with success starting and growing businesses.  As the Kauffman Foundation showed in a study released last summer, “new firms add an average of 3 million jobs in their first year, while older companies lose 1 million jobs annually.”

Here’s the Kauffman Foundation’s explanation:

Most notably, during recessionary years, job creation at startups remains stable, while net job losses at existing firms are highly sensitive to the business cycle.

“These findings imply that America should be thinking differently about the standard employment policy paradigm,” said Robert E. Litan, vice president of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “Policymakers tend to focus on changes in the national or state unemployment rate, or on layoffs by existing companies. But the data from this report suggest that growth would be best boosted by supporting startup firms.”

If Governor Brown wants to create jobs he should consult the people creating jobs – not those managing a declining workforce.

August 19th, 2011 at 12:30 pm
This Week’s Liberty Update
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Center For Individual Freedom - Liberty Update

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out. Below is a summary of its contents:

Senik:  10 Big Lies from the Obama Administration
Ellis:  Obama Preaches Newest Version of Tax “Bracket Creep”
Hillyer:  Lawless Obama Courts Defeat
Lee:  Warren Buffett: Hypocritical and Factually Incorrect in Calling for Higher Taxes
Ellis:  Obama Lectures Carmakers on How to Run a Business

Freedom Minute Video:  The President’s Vacation from Reality
Podcast:  CEI’s Sam Kazman Discusses New Fuel Economy Mandates
Jester’s Courtroom:  Team Loyalty Leads to Lawsuit

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez
Quiz:  Question of the Week
Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

If you are not already signed up to receive CFIF’s Liberty Update by e-mail, sign up here.