Saturday, September 29, 2012

What Price Hope & Change?

While listening to the news earlier this week I was surprised by a statistic tossed out by the host of a popular talk radio program regarding the economy under Barack Obama.  Even though I'm not a fan of the current President, I found the claims hard to believe.  So I did a little "fact checking" of my own.  Some of what I found was startling, to say the least.

Consider the following economic statistics (all government numbers):

When Barack Obama entered the White House, the average price of a gallon of gasoline nationwide was $1.85.  Today, it is $3.59.  This amounts to an average increase of more than $950 per year for gas alone! [Note: This is for each car. The average American household spent a staggering $4,155 on gasoline during 2011.]

Back in 2007, about 10 percent of all unemployed Americans had been out of work for 52 weeks or longer.  Today, that number is above 30 percent!  The official U.S. unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for more than 40 months in a row.

When Barack Obama first took office there were 2.7 million long-term unemployed Americans.  Today there are twice as many.

Today there are more than 88 million working age Americans that are not employed and that are not even looking for employment.  That is an all-time record high.  Overall, there are more than 100 million working age Americans that do not currently have jobs.

In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans fell into poverty.  That was the largest increase since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

When Barack Obama first entered the White House there were only 32 million Americans on food stamps.  Now, that number is over 46.4 million.

At this point, 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty, while the poverty rate for children living in the United States is a whopping 22 percent

Real median household income (adjusted for inflation) since Barack Obama entered the White House has  declined by $4300.  Per year!

At this point, the U.S. national debt is rising by more than 2 million dollars every single minute. The U.S. national debt has risen by more than 5 trillion dollars since the day that Barack Obama first took office.  In a little more than 3 years Obama has added more to the national debt than the first 41 presidents combined!

If the federal government had used generally accepted accounting principles the real U.S. budget deficit (not total debt) in 2011 would have been $5,000,000,000,000!  (5 Trillion dollars) as opposed to the still-massive $1,000,000,000,000+ (1+ Trillion dollars) reported.

In January 2009, the month President Obama entered the Oval Office and shortly before he signed his stimulus spending bill, median household income was $54,983. By June 2012, it had tumbled to $50,964, adjusted for inflation. (See the chart.) That's $4,019 in lost real income, a little less than a month's income every year!

Unfair, you say, because Mr. Obama inherited a recession? Well, even if you start the analysis when the recession ended in June 2009, the numbers are dismal. Three years after the economy hit its trough, median household income is down $2,544, or nearly 5%.  In other words, the Obama "recovery" has been worse than the Bush recession.

So, if you just combine two of the above factors, the increase in gas prices and the decline in household income, you come up over $5000 in annual income short of where you were four years ago.  I didn't bother to figure out the total dollar costs of the rise in price of other staples such as food, utilities, and health care  (I was depressed enough already), but it's undeniable that we're hurtin', and the remedy offered by the Obama administration isn't working to cure the economy.

Doctors in the Middle Ages once believed that the application of leeches would cure the patient.  Didn't work for them then, won't work any better Obama now.


Something else for you to chew on:  The United State's standing in the World Economic Forum's competitiveness rankings.

In the 2008-2009 report the U.S. ranked #1 in global competitiveness.  The latest report, just released, shows that the U.S. has slipped, dropping from 5th to 7th, behind Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany, followed by the UK (8th), Hong Kong (9th), and Japan (10th).
--WashingtonPost  and WeForum

When it comes to economic freedom, it's even worse.  In the latest report on world economic freedom, both the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation rank HONG KONG at #1.  Heritage has the U.S. ranked 10th, while Cato has us at 18th in the world.  A communist country has a freer economy than the U.S.! Following Hong Kong were Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland. Oh, and where were we prior to the Obama Presidency?  #1.
--DailyCapitalist  PRNewswire

Friday, September 21, 2012

47% v Redistribution

It's the battle of "secret" and "previously unreleased" recordings.  James E. Carter IV (grandson of former Pres. Jimmy Carter) provided to the Mother Jones website a video recording of Gov. Romney speaking at a private fundraiser in May (the recording appears to have been made clandestinely on a cell phone, in violation of Florida law.  No word on any legal action being considered).  In the snippet of the recording initially released, Gov. Romney is answering a question about motivating people to get behind his message of reduced taxes and reduced government spending:

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.
I mean the president starts off with 47, 48, 49, he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income taxes. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income taxes.  So our message of tax cuts doesn't connect. He'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years.

So my job is not to worry about those people, I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what he looks like."

Objectively, what's wrong with this statement?  It's factually correct in it's evaluation of those who currently have no net Federal Income Tax liability.  If anything, he understated the situation (latest estimates are that the number of Americans who have no net Federal Income Tax liability could be as high as 49%!)  Predictably, the response from the President and various Democrat politicians has been to claim that Mr. Romney is out of touch and doesn't care about the poor, is only out for his millionaire friends and big business.  If you really look at what he said, however, you will find his statement to be true.  Perhaps uncomfortably so.

Whenever you have conditioned a group of people to become reliant on government handouts, subsidies, welfare benefits, food stamps, etc, you have also sown the seeds of helpless dependency and an eventual fear of possible cuts to those benefits, regardless of whether or not they are financially sustainable.  If you are dependent on welfare or other government benefits for your whole existence, for example, and a Democrat says that if you don't vote for him/her their Republican opponent is going to cut your benefits, or your Social Security, or your VA Pension, you are naturally going to be afraid to take the risk of losing your sole source of support and will vote Democrat.  That's the point Mr. Romney was addressing.  That those who feel dependent on government aren't likely to take the risk of not voting for the candidate/party promising continued or increased benefits and taking the chance that the other party might have a better long term solution for their situation. 

It is also unarguable that a large proportion of those on government assistance DO, in fact, believe that they are victims.  Victims of an unfair society, victims of bad luck, victims of greedy corporations and businesses, victims of the evil rich guys, etc.  Seeing themselves as victims, they reasonably believe that it is one of the primary functions of government to address their victimized status by making sure they get what they are entitled to, by whatever means necessary.  Including, but not limited to, increasing taxes on the so-called rich to provide more benefits to the less fortunate (a recent poll found that 73% of Democrats believe that it is one of the functions of government to provide a guaranteed minimum level food and shelter to people).

Anyone who has listened to more than two of Mr. Romney's speeches knows that the claim that he doesn't care about the poor and can't relate to anyone who has suffered hard times is an absurd mis-characterization of the man's position.  What he has stated numerous times in different ways is that his vision for America is one where we take care of the least fortunate among us, "Americans are a caring people, we have always taken care of each other and we always will", and where the government maintains a safety net for those who suffer misfortune or illness/injury, helps them back on their feet, and then "gets out of their way and allows them to create their own future prosperity."  The "getting out of the way" is key.  You will never do as well as a Ward of the State as you will if you are allowed to live up to your full potential.

You can access the full transcript of Mr. Romneys speech here

Not to be outdone, the Romney team responded quickly with the following recording (not clandestine) of a speech given by then-state Senator Obama in 1998 at Loyola University:

I think that what we’re going to have do is somehow resuscitate the notion that government action can be effective at all. There has been a systematic, uh, I don’t think it’s too strong to call it propaganda campaign, uh, against the possibility of government action and its efficacy and I think some of it has been deserved. 

[The]Chicago Housing Authority has not been a model of good policy making. And neither, necessarily, have been the Chicago Public Schools. What that means then is that as we try to resuscitate this notion that we’re all in this thing together — leave nobody behind — we do have to be innovative in thinking, 'how…what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live?'

And my suggestion, I guess, would be that the trick — and this is one of the few areas where I think there are technical issues that have to be dealt with (as opposed to just political issues) — I think the trick is figuring out 'how do we structure government systems that pool resources and, hence, facilitate some redistribution?'”

Because I actually believe in redistribution — at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot."

Gov. Romney immediately jumped on these remarks to illustrate Pres. Obama's supposed antipathy to American business and entrepreneurs.   And he was attacked in turn for doing so.  As we did with Mr. Romney's remarks, let's look a little closer at what appears to be a pattern of belief for Mr. Obama:

He believes "... in redistribution — at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot." and wants to "...structure government systems that pool resources..." but he doesn't specify what that certain level is, leaving it open to speculation.  No one has asked him to clarify at what level someone has a "fair shot" at being a success or exactly what resources he wants to "pool".  Maybe we should give everyone who doesn't have it a check for $100,000 and tell them, "Here's your chance, make the best of it."?  What is most likely to happen in that circumstance is that a large majority of those who had nothing when they received the hundred grand would be broke within six months, due to poor decisions and wasteful spending (although they would place the blame on someone, or something, else), while those who already had some measure of success would have leveraged their money towards greater success and security  (There's a parable in the Bible that illustrates this lesson particularly well).  What would be the answer to the new problem of those who failed to succeed, even when they were given such a huge step up?  Do we make this redistribution an annual event?  At what point does the redistribution accomplish it's stated goal of "making sure everybody's got a shot"?  (Here's a clue:  Progressives equate having equal opportunity with experiencing equal results.)

You can access the Loyola speech here.

Does his belief in redistribution indicate at least a sympathetic leaning towards Socialism or Marxism?  Well, we do have a history of Pres. Obama's quotes on the subject, including "I just think that when you spread the wealth around, it's better for everybody"--Obama, speaking to "Joe the Plumber", "There will be a time for profits, a time for bonuses, but that time is not now."--Obama, on corporation's profitability during the financial crisis of 2008.  "The rich are going to have to do with a little bit less, so the rest can have a little bit more"--Michelle Obama, on increasing taxation on the rich.  "I didn't run for President to help out the fat cats and rich bankers on Wall Street"--Obama, speaking on his desire to increase regulation on banks and businesses.  "If you've got a successful business, you didn't build that!  Someone else...made that happen."--Obama, pointing to government assistance and infrastructure spending as the basis for success in business.  And finally, you have the biggest example of Pres. Obama's belief in centralized governmental power, Obamacare, which many have said is a back-door attempt to institute single payer (ie, government-run) healthcare:  “I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world....cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody."--Obama, speaking to the Illinois AFL-CIO June, 2003

Click here to access the healthcare recording.

While no recordings have as yet come to light of Barack Obama plainly saying "I believe in Socialism" or "I believe in Marxist ideals", the above at least seems to indicate beliefs directly at odds with the traditional American system of individualism, being able to enjoy the fruits of one's success and providing for one's self.  Especially when combined with his own assertion that his youth was spent in close association with various communists, anarchists, and student radicals as well as mentors the likes of Jeremiah Wright and Frank Marshall Davis.

So it would seem that we will, indeed, have a clear choice between two sharply contrasting ideologies concerning the type of country we will be going forward.  Will we choose the path of freedom, exceptionalism and self-determination?  Or the path of mediocrity, complacency and dependency on others?  Will we choose the uncertainty of attempting to achieve our own individual success?  Or will we give up independence in favor of a perception of security?  As I've written in earlier posts, we are near to the tipping point warned of by Alexis de Tocqueville, and others that the failure of the great American experiment will not come about from a foreign invader, but from within, once the population receiving from (and depending on) government matches or exceeds those whose labor and treasure supply government.  The balance is now 51% to 49%.

Which side are you on?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fruits of a Policy of Appeasement

Before I get into the rant on the fecklessness of our so-called "President" and his administration, I want to ask everyone to send their prayers to the families of Ambassador Stevens and the others, including 2 former Seals working detail at the embassy, killed in the violence perpetrated by the followers of the "Religion of Peace".  I can only pray that some of the reports coming out of the Middle East concerning what happened to our Ambassador turn out to be nothing more than rumor.  From what we've seen from these animals in the past, however, I fear that the worst we've heard is the least of what occurred.  May God accept the victims into His care, and may He comfort those they leave behind.

Now, on to the matter at hand this week.  Namely, the actions--and inactions--of our President.  The man who many claimed would calm Middle East tensions simply by being who he is.  The man who began his term as President of the United States by going on a world tour of apologies for the very country he is supposed to protect and promote the interests of.  The man who said that his political opponent shouldn't have made any statement about the attacks on our Embassies and our people because he "shoots first and aims later" (hey, at least our guy is a straight shooter, doesn't need a teleprompter, actually takes and answers questions at a press conference and doesn't feel a need to poll test every remark).  The man who claims that his political opponent shouldn't be considered for President because of his assumed lack of foreign policy experience.  As if the policies of appeasement followed by Obama and his administration have been so effective in improving America's image and security in the world.  At least Gov. Romney's remarks were Presidential.  He defended America and condemned the attacks in no uncertain terms.  Obama, et al apologized.

During the primary season in 2008, Hillary Clinton ran one of her most effective ads, the "3am Phone Call", questioning Barack Obama's qualifications to handle just such a situation as this.  Well, now we know just what his reaction to such a call is:  He. Went. Back. To. Bed!

He apparently didn't consider the attacks serious enough to even lose a night's sleep monitoring the situation.  After all, he had to get his beauty sleep for his fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day.

His detractors have long said that his sympathies lie more with the Islamist's causes than with America's.  Behavior like this just gives more credence to such claims.

It has been reported that President Obama has attended less than half of his Daily Intelligence Briefing's (in contrast to former President George W. Bush, who held these briefings as the first order of business every day he was in office).  The last one Obama attended was back on the 6th of September.  The Intelligence Committee was briefed just the day before that such a protest/attack on our Embassies was likely.

There are further reports from reputable sources that the Obama administration had word of the pre-planned protests as much as 48 hours before they occurred.  And did nothing.  Ambassador Stevens was enroute back to his post in Libya and received no warning from the man responsible for his safety concerning the environment he was returning to.

It was the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, yet there were no plans in place to provide for increased security at our Embassies or other sensitive sites in the region.  One can only guess that Obama believed that because of the transformational nature of his Presidency and it's assumed effect on the people of the Middle East that nothing would happen (I guess he's never seen footage of just how this anniversary is celebrated by our "friends" in the Middle East).  When the attacks came, the first action taken by the administration was the release of a statement by the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt apologizing for the content of a YouTube video (supposedly the cause of the unrest) that mocked the "Prophet" Mohammed in hopes of calming the crowd and convincing them not to riot.  We can see how well that worked out.

Now that the riots are spreading across the world, the appeasement continues.  The Feds are now questioning the supposed producer/director of the video.  Are we really on the verge of subsuming the Constitutional guarantee's of Freedom of Speech to geo-political concerns?  This video had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks other than to provide a convenient excuse for the Islamists to hide behind.  The online video was posted as a "trailer" for a movie.  The movie was screened (for an audience of less than 10) several months ago.  If a 17 minute video trailer is the cause of this much unrest, how much more the full length movie?  No, the attacks were an orchestrated event timed to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary, a fact being confirmed by our intelligence services.  Still, President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and other administration officials are continuing to apologize for the video in a vain attempt to quell the uprisings, projecting weakness throughout the region not only to our enemies, but also to those who would be allies.  Every leader in the region conducts the business of their country from a position of strength.  The culture of that region is such that kindness and apologies are seen as signs of weakness and indicate a lack of fitness to rule.

Let me get this straight.  We are under assault and as a country our reaction is to apologize to those assaulting us?  Talk about looking weak!  Bullies and terrorists have at least one thing in common, they always attack where they see weakness.  Apologizing for the actions of the dimwit who posted the "trailer" only served to further inflame the mob.  Apologies confirm that you feel guilty, to these people.  Therefore, if you apologize, by definition, you are guilty.

We had no reason to apologize.  The film was not/is not a reflection of American beliefs.  However, one of the fundamental differences between our country and others is the existence of the 1st Amendment right to free speech.  Other countries, especially those in the Middle East, don't really understand this.  They live under totalitarian regimes where the governments are all-powerful and control virtually every aspect of their lives and nothing appears in media without the express approval of the government.  As a result, they are easily led to believe that the mere existence of such a video is proof that America supports those views.

Foreign Embassies are considered to be sovereign soil, as inviolate as the countries they represent.  As such, it is the host country's responsibility to ensure the security of the Embassies, as well as the safety of their employees.  Armed attacks on these Embassies, much less on our Ambassadors themselves, qualify as Acts of War by all international laws and treaties.  The assassination of an Ambassador by itself qualifies as an Act of War against his/her home country.  And Obama, et al apologize.

When the mob moved in on our Embassy in Cairo, Egyptian security was strangely absent and the mob was allowed to break the perimeter, climbing over the wall and gaining access to the Embassy itself (by order of our President and State Dept., the Marines guarding the compound were not allowed to carry loaded weapons.  The assault on the Embassy should have resulted in a live fire exercise but  our President and his administration don't want to offend anyone by allowing our people to defend themselves), while in Libya it has been reported that Libyan security forces initially moved the Ambassador and staff to the safe house, then their location was leaked to the mob by someone in the security force, resulting in the death's of our representative and his staff.  And Obama, et al apologize.

President Obama has only recently begun to denounce the attacks (although he prefaces his remarks with an apology for offending Muslims).  As the saying goes, "Talk is cheap".  We, as citizens, and the rest of the world need to see action.  Concrete consequences to the actions of the terrorists and the inaction of the governments that allowed and/or promoted the attacks (Pres. Morsi of Egypt is the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, long considered a terrorist organization and a promoter/organizer of these very protests).

The first of the consequences should be the suspension, or revocation, of any and all foreign aid to these countries until, and unless, they cooperate in the apprehension and prosecution of these terrorists.  They should also be put on notice that America will be conducting it's own operations aimed at tracking down these murderous animals and that any interference from them will result in further penalties.  They should also be required to provide reparations to the U.S. for damages done.

Former President Bush was castigated by the left for his statement "If you're not with us, you're against us".  concerning the prosecution of the War on Terror.  Then they came up with soft-sounding phrases to replace War on Terror, which they considered too "provocative", with phrases like, "Overseas Contingency Operation", "Man Caused Disasters" and "Workplace Violence" in an attempt not to offend Muslims/Islamists.

Former President Bush, et al stood strong for America and it's culture of freedoms and individual rights.  President Obama, et al apologize.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Well, it's official.  With the formal nomination of Barack Obama for president of the United States, the contest is now truly joined.

The real highlight of the evening was when former Rep. Gabriel "Gabby" Giffords walked across the stage to lead the attendees in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.    I imagine there were more than a few in attendance who either choked on the words or stood mute. Nonetheless, Mrs. Gifford's story is truly inspirational.  A story of overcoming great obstacles with an even greater grace and courage.

Otherwise, it went along expected lines.  When the cameras were rolling live the speakers toned down the rhetoric somewhat, while giving lip-service to beliefs not evidenced by their actions.  Including, but not limited to, San Antonio's mayor talking about the ethic of pulling one's self up by their own bootstraps.  How does that square with the demand that increased social spending is necessary because people can't make it without government help?  Not to mention the claim that "you didn't build that"?

Over all, I was unimpressed (and unsurprised) with both the tone and substance of the event.  Instead of a recitation of the administration's "successes" over the previous 4 years projected forward to illustrate a bright vision of the future, what was served up at the Democrat National Convention was a rehash of partisan "red meat".

The various Obama surrogates over the early days all made reference to the spurious claim that Romney/Ryan will raise taxes on the middle class to give themselves and their millionaire/billionaire buddies additional tax cuts.  Claiming, among other things, that taxes for the middle class and seniors would go up by as much as $6400 per year (a claim that has been thoroughly debunked as a discarded plan put forth a couple years ago, not anything currently promoted by Messrs. Romney & Ryan, nor by any other leading Republican voice).

There were claims made that the Romney/Ryan ticket would immediately impact retirees and Medicaid/Medicare recipients, that a Romney/Ryan administration would see increased outsourcing of American jobs, that they would benefit the rich at the expense of the poor, etc.(see end of this post for extensive fact checking).

Some of the speeches were quite good.  In fact, no less a conservative luminary than Rush Limbaugh said that, while he didn't think too much of the content, the First Lady's speech was a magnificent example of perfect delivery of a public address.

Others, not so much.  Aside from the predictable Republican bashing, just the general tone was oddly disappointing for a re-election campaign.  It was anything but uplifting.  There was a steady undercurrent of doom and gloom only narrowly averted by our "courageous" President and a recitation of misfortunes that they say are certain to return if Obama is not reelected.

The speeches given on Thursday night by Vice-President Biden and President Obama were curiously unspectacular, given that they were preaching to the choir.  VP Biden's speech began very slowly, beginning with a recitation of various hardships and ending with what I assume was meant to be seen as passion, but was interpreted by at least one political commentator as "angry rhetoric".  I guess we've finally seen the appearance of the "angry white male".

The President's speech was hardly better, leading many to comment that instead of using the moment to inspire, he "phoned it in".

All in all, the DNC, in contrast with the RNC held a week earlier, seemed to be less effective at illustrating the reasons to vote FOR the Democrat nominee.

The Dem blogs were all afire with supposed "fact checks" after the Republican National Convention last week, often referencing liberal media outlets and each other as the cited "authority".  In contrast, the fact checking posted below was not done by a conservative blogger, or Fox News, but by the AP.  Hardly a bastion of Republican/conservative thought.

[Publisher's note:  The use of italics  below denotes emphasis added.]


FACT CHECK: Obama and the phantom peace dividend

Obama says he wants to use money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay down debt and put people to work in America.

Fact: Using war "savings" to pay for other programs is nothing other than financial sleight of hand.  The wars were financed by borrowing, so there is no existing budgetary item that can be replaced by the new spending.  It will have to be financed by continuing to borrow, thus, it can't result in any real savings. 


Obama says that he wants to strengthen Medicare/Medicaid by reducing the cost of healthcare, not by making seniors pay more

Fact:  Some of the administration's proposals that have been "floated" in negotiations over healthcare reform (re-vamping co-pays and deductibles) would, indeed, ask some Medicare beneficiaries to pay more, raising costs for retirees and increasing premiums for some.
[Publisher's note: The AP report left out the the proposal by the Obama Administration to cut payments to Medicare/Medicaid providers as a cost saving measure.  Something sure to result in fewer doctors and medical facilities willing to accept new Medicare/Medicaid patients.]


Obama claims that this election is a choice between a party that wants to give tax breaks to "corporations that ship jobs overseas" and the party that wants to use government to "open new plants and train new workers and create jobs here in America", while Joe Biden claims that Gov. Romney's  proposed territorial tax system "will create 800,000 jobs, all overseas".

Fact:  Gov. Romney's proposal is aimed at encouraging investment in the U.S., not overseas.  His plan would replace the current global business tax system that, thanks to the various credits, exemptions, and deductions actually provides a incentive to business to keep profits overseas as a means of avoiding higher U.S. tax burdens.  Expert opinion differs on the impact of Mr. Romney's territorial tax system on U.S. employment, but Biden's implication that it would send jobs overseas is not supported by the expert he cites.

Kimberly Clausing is an economics professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.  She stated that a territorial tax system could increase employment in low-tax countries by 800,000, but that did not mean that it would be because U.S. jobs were outsourced.  She later wrote: "My analysis does not speak to the effects on jobs in the United States."


Obama claims that his economic plan, if adopted, would cut deficits by $4 Trillion over the next 10 years.

Fact: Then-candidate Obama promised in 2008 that if elected he would cut the deficit he "inherited" by half by the end of his first term.  He's not gonna even come close to that mark.  The deficit when he took office was $1.2 Trillion and his additional $800 Billion of stimulus spending increased the shortfall to over $1.4 Trillion.  So much for cutting the deficit in half.  In fact, the White House's own projections are for this year's deficit to be appx. $1.2 Trillion, the fourth consecutive year of $1+ Trillion deficits!
[Publisher's note: Obama's $4 Trillion figure includes more than $1 Trillion in cuts already signed into law.]


Biden claims that the Obama administration has created 4.5 million private sector jobs.  It was a line repeated by several speakers at the convention.

Fact: It's a very misleading use of statistics.  Intentionally so. (I'd call that a lie, myself)  They are counting jobs created only from the lowest point in the recession, intentionally ignoring the jobs lost earlier in his term.  This lets them hide the fact that overall joblessness has actually risen over Obama's term.  Other claims of job gains by the Obama administration are supported only by cherry picking their statistics. From the beginning of Obama's term, manufacturing jobs have declined by more than 500,000, according to the Labor Dept.'s Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Never since World War II has the economy been so slow to recover the jobs lost in the previous downturn.


Obama says that our troops will be brought home from Afghanistan in 2014, finally ending "our longest war".

Fact: Not quite.  While most troops will leave by the end of 2014, some analysts say the U.S. will require a post-conflict force of as many as 20,000 American troops to continue training Afghan forces, continue the search for terrorists, and to keep watch on other activity in the region.


VP Biden claims that Romney/Ryan aren't telling the American people that their plan for healthcare would "immediately cut benefits to more than 30 Million seniors already on Medicare".

Fact: A Medicare plan put forward by Rep. Ryan in Congress would have no immediate effect because it would only apply to future retirees.
[Publisher's note: Rep. Ryan's proposal would restructure Medicare for those under 55 at inception, including an option for a government sponsored healthcare voucher to help individuals purchase their own insurance, chosen by themselves according to their needs (they would also be allowed to keep any money left over after the purchase of insurance to use as they want as an incentive to search out the best coverage for the lowest cost, helping to lower premiums over all), while giving them the option to remain in traditional Medicare.]

Romney's plan to restore Obama's cuts in payments to healthcare providers could have unintended consequences for the program, since restoring payments to providers could accelerate the depletion of Medicare's trust fund for inpatient care.
[Publisher's note: This issue is addressed by the restructuring of Medicare for those under 55 proposed in the Ryan plan.]

You can access the entire article at the link below:

After all this, I think a little levity is called for.  Libertarian blogger/financial writer Peter Schiff was at the DNC speaking with some of the attendees.  Here's what they believe is a reasonable solution to part of our economic problems.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


This week, the Republican National Convention wrapped up in Tampa, FL.  There were the usual claims/counter claims by pundits on the network and cable news & opinion shows, although the comment by the Yahoo!News yahoo that "the Republicans are happy to have a party while black people are drowning" was more than a little over the line (Yahoo!News has since fired the individual).

Over all, I was very impressed (and more than a little surprised) with both the tone and substance of the event.  Instead of the constant diet of political "red meat" hoped for by the more rabid partisans, we got almost a reiteration of Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America", although no one used that phrase or even mentioned former President Reagan.

While President Obama's failures of policy were illustrated, sometimes pointedly, it wasn't done with the venom that so turns some independents away from politics.  Despite cries from the left that it was unfair to make some of those claims, even claiming that some of the speakers were lying outright, Obama's record is perfectly legitimate material for debate. (The claim that Paul Ryan's reference to the closing of a GM plant was a "pants on fire" by fact checkers turns out to itself be less than honest.  While the decision to close the plant was made late in 2008, it didn't actually close until April of 2009.  While campaigning, Barack Obama, in a speech at that same GM plant, said that "with the support of government, this plant will be making cars for another 100 years."  Apparently, when he took over GM, closing dealerships, illegally forcing bondholders to take a loss in order to give the union a large stake in the company as payback for their support, using taxpayer funds to bailout GM and strengthen the union's pension, he forgot his promise to the men and women working the line at that plant.  "Pants on fire"?  Not so much.)

The general tone of the event was not what has gone before, but what lies ahead.  The speeches outlining what conservatives believe and love about their country far outweighed any "Obama bashing".

My favorite moments included speeches by Ann Romney, Mayor Love of Utah, (former Secretary of State) Condoleeza Rice, Gov. Martinez, Gov. Haley & Sen. Marco Rubio.

Ann Romney did a fantastic job of introducing her husband to the wider public audience.  Largely dispelling the "silver spoon" moniker, she recounted their start as a young couple in a basement apartment, where their desk was a door on a couple of stands and their dinner table was a fold down ironing board.  She reminded those who claim that Mitt Romney is an out of touch, greedy rich guy that when he rescued the Olympics in Salt Lake City he did so without taking a salary, when he was Gov. of Massachusetts he took no salary, and when he went back to turn around the disaster that was the "Big Dig" he, again, took no salary.  Hardly the actions of a greedy man.  Secretary Rice brought down the house with her speech, closing with a personal account of the opportunities available in America; her mother and father, while they couldn't take her to a restaurant in the segregated south, still loved the country enough to convince her that, even if she couldn't eat a hamburger at the Woolworth's lunch counter, she could grow up to be anything, even President of the United States, and that little girl did grow up to become Secretary of State.  Mayor Love, Gov.'s Martinez & Haley, & Sen. Rubio also recounted their own personal versions of the American success story.  Marco Rubio recounted his father working 16 hr days and working for a time as a convention bartender saying, "My father was happy for the work, but it wasn't the life he wanted for his children.  My father worked at the bar in the back of the room so that someday I could stand behind the podium at the front of the room".  Each of these speakers had their own individual story of immigrating with little or nothing and/or coming up from desperate conditions to become successful.  So much for the War on Women and Republican "hatred" of immigrants.  All off the speeches illustrated the promise that is America.  The promise of opportunities largely unavailable in any other country.  They exemplify the ethic of hard work and dedication bringing success.  The Republicans are often accused of not being "diverse".  This lineup of speakers gives the lie to those claims. 

The speeches by Gov. Christy, Rep. Paul Ryan, and Mitt Romney himself were hardly any less inspiring.  It was widely expected that Chris Christy would reprise his role as an attack dog against the Obama administration.  However, while he did have more than a few criticisms of the current administration, his speech was not the bombastic assault many expected (and more than a few were hoping for, to be honest).  Instead, he spoke to the need to turn things around and of a vision of what is possible for the future, referencing his time as Governor of New Jersey.  His speech was more about making things better in the future than lamenting the failures of the past.  Paul Ryan was the highlight of the event on Wednesday night.  His speech was likewise all about the plans for the future of the country, talking about his and Mr. Romney's plans to get the country back to work, eliminate Obamacare and truly address the problems with healthcare costs, and the need to restructure the Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security entitlement programs in order to avoid their collapse in the not to distant future, preserving the programs for current seniors and those near  retirement age while changing how the programs are structured and funded to ensure they remain viable in the future as a supplement to those young enough to adapt and make changes to their own retirement plans.  The climax was Mitt Romney's acceptance speech on Thursday evening.  He wasn't flashy & he didn't set the world on fire. Instead, he was something not often seen in politics today.  He was sincere.  He was honest.  He was real.  He delivered his speech with an open earnestness reminiscent of America in a bygone age.  Human?  He was supremely so.  In fact, he at times seemed to be something more.  In spite of his obvious wealth, we saw the "every man" his critics said he could never be.  He can't relate to the problems and desires of regular Americans?  Go back and listen to the part of his speech where he relates the early years of his marriage to Ann where he talks about the long hours and weekends, about 5 boys who "felt a need to re-enact a different world war every night".  Where he said "if you were to ask Ann or myself what we'd give to be able to break up just one more fight between the boys, or to wake up and see a pile of boys in your bedroom......well, every parent knows the answer to that question."  Not a dry eye in the house, indeed.  Tell me again how this man is  cold, greedy, heartless and uncaring of the poor.

The Republican party put on a very effective event illustrating their governing philosophy and their plans for a prosperous future for America, calling on people of all faiths and political leanings to come together, contrasting that with the alternative promoted by President Obama and the Democratic party, which seems primarily to be based on a program of division along the lines of class, ethnicity, and gender/sexual orientation.

The Romney/Ryan ticket is the best opportunity for the Republicans to retake the White House in November, and the policies promoted by them (if they are followed up on and implemented as promised) are the best hope for a return to a prosperous America many of us feared gone forever.

The Democrats are holding their convention this next week in Charlotte, NC.  I will predict here and now that the tone of their convention will be much different that what was on display in Tampa.  We will see much greater viciousness towards their political opponents.  We will see attacks and accusations flying thick and heavy.  We will hear predictions of the devastation to come if the Republicans win the election.  We will hear claims that the administration's actions and economic policies have worked/are working (despite any objective evidence).  We will definitely hear that the Republicans want to raise taxes on the middle class in order to give huge tax cuts to "millionaires and billionaires".  What we won't hear or see is an optimistic vision of America's future.  What we won't hear or see are any specific plans for the improvement of the American economy.

Liberal/Progressive Democrats accuse the Republicans of being the party of "angry white guys".  Odd that none of them showed up at the event in Tampa.  I guess we'll have to wait for them to show up in Charlotte.