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Liberal Sensibilities — a Definition

8 Feb

From Mark Levy, in a recent “Ask Mark” column:

“[L]iberal sensibilities are far different from the sensibilities of mainstream Americans. For instance, we’ve been told by liberals how great Obamacare would be, yet this week the CBO reported that 30 million people will remain uninsured after Obamacare is fully implemented.

“So after all this economic upheaval, we’re left with the same number of uninsured we began with. That is like cutting off the end of a blanket, sewing it onto the other end and claiming that it’s a larger blanket. That, my friend, is an example of sensible as defined by liberals.”

This complete column can be found at http://www.creators.com/opinion/mark-levy/obamacare-job-loss-liberal-sensibilities-and-jay-leno.html

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Simple Prescription for Eliminating “Poverty” in America

2 Feb

Mona Charen, one of my favorite columnists, recently wrote the following paragraphs about the poor and unemployed in a piece that can be found in full at http://www.creators.com/opinion/mona-charen/will-anyone-watch-tonights-speech-why.html

I think this is very well said – enjoy.  [I put “Poverty” in quotes in my title because I have serious concerns about how loosely we define poverty in this country — there are probably a few billion people in this world who would feel as though they were solidly in the middle class if they were as well off as most of the folks we have arbitrarily defined as “living in poverty”.]

Excerpt from Ms. Charen:

Most economists agree that increasing the minimum wage has a tendency to discourage hiring. Second, most people who earn minimum wage are not heads of households. Third, 80 percent are not poor. Fourth, most receive a raise within 12 months. Fifth, the states containing half the population already have minimum wages above the federal level.

What the soft shoe about income inequality and declining upward mobility is meant to disguise is that Obama has presided over an economy that is providing diminishing opportunities for work. People who work full time are almost never poor. The Current Population Survey of the Census Bureau found that among full-time workers, the poverty rate in 2013 was 2.9 percent. Most of those who are poor are not working at all or are working only part time.

Long-term unemployment is demoralizing for the jobless and expensive for taxpayers. Rather than attempt to set wages from Washington, Obama’s entire focus ought to be on removing obstacles to hiring. . . .

Obama will boast that he has a “pen and a phone.” He can use his pen to relax some of the job-depressing regulations his administration has imposed, particularly in the health, financial and energy sectors. He can use his phone to approve the Keystone pipeline. And he could use his influence to extol the essential habits of success, without which more and more Americans will fail to flourish. As the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported years ago, if Americans do three simple things, they will not be poor: 1) graduate from high school , 2) get a job and 3) wait until marriage to have their first child.

[End of excerpt]

Differences between Income Groups Clarified

7 Jan

From PA Pundits – International

“It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson (1781)

Columnist John C. Goodman noted recently:

“In a study for the National Center for Policy Analysis, David Henderson found that there is a big difference between families in the top 20 percent and bottom 20 percent of the income distribution:

Families at the top tend to be married and both partners work. Families at the bottom often have only one adult in the household and that person either works part-time or not at all:

In 2006, a whopping 81.4 percent of families in the top income quintile had two or more people working, and only 2.2 percent had no one working. By contrast, only 12.6 percent of families in the bottom quintile had two or more people working; 39.2 percent had no one working. …

Having children without a husband tends to make you poor. Not working makes you even poorer. And there is nothing new about that. These are age old truths. They were true 50 years ago, a hundred years ago and even 1,000 year ago. Lifestyle choices have always mattered.”

————————————————————————————-

I daresay, also, that people in the top 20% of the economic distribution also paid more attention to getting a solid education than those in the bottom 20%, and probably grew up in a two-parent family.  One could argue that they started with an advantage, but at some point we have to bury that excuse and start strongly emphasizing and focusing on family values and the importance of education among the bottom 20%.  I think this is the only way to improve the upward mobility of this group.

The “Trickle-Down Theory” Exposed

7 Jan

Economist Thomas Sowell has a recent column titled “The Trickle-Down Lie”, in which Dr. Sowell reminds us that the oft-used phrase by the left, the damnable “Trickle-Down Theory”, is not a real theory at all, and “trickle-down” is found in no reputable texts.  He also mentions that high-profile, even far left, Democrats from the past have, in fact, cautioned against over-taxing the economically well-to-do.  The “Lie” being that conservatives have grasped onto this “theory”, to the detriment of all humankind (or so we might believe).

The full column can be found at http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/the-trickle-down-lie.html

. . . but here is an exciting excerpt:  [Emphasis is mine]

New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his inaugural speech, denounced people “on the far right” who “continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics.” According to Mayor de Blasio, “They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work                         their way down to everyone else.” . . . .

The book  “Winner-Take-All Politics” refers to “the ‘trickle-down’ scenario that advocates of helping the have-it-alls with tax cuts and other goodies constantly trot out.” But no one who actually trotted out any such scenario was cited, much less quoted.

One of the things that provoke the left into bringing out the “trickle-down” bogeyman is any suggestion that there are limits to how high they can push tax rates on people with high incomes, without causing repercussions that hurt the economy as a whole.

But, contrary to Mayor de Blasio, this is not a view confined to people on the “far right.” Such liberal icons as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson likewise argued that tax rates can be so high that they have an adverse effect on the economy.

In his 1919 address to Congress, Woodrow Wilson warned that, at some point, “high rates of income and profits taxes discourage energy, remove the incentive to new enterprise, encourage extravagant expenditures, and produce industrial stagnation with consequent unemployment and other attendant evils.”

In a 1962 address to Congress, John F. Kennedy said, “it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.”

This was not a new idea. John Maynard Keynes said, back in 1933, that “taxation may be so high as to defeat its object,” that in the long run, a reduction of the tax rate “will run a better chance, than an increase, of balancing the budget.” And Keynes was not on “the far right” either.

[End of excerpt]

Now, it is fair to argue just what level of taxation begins to turn the curve the wrong way, but it is entirely disingenuous to assert that “lowering taxes to increase revenues” is just another dumb idea from the far right.

Republicans Overreaching? I’ll Tell You What’s Overreaching!

23 May

The Democrats have taken to using the term “overreaching” to describe the Republicans’ efforts to get to the bottom of the IRS, AP, and Benghazi situations.  What I think is that someone needs to throw the following list loudly and repeatedly into their faces.

To my way of seeing things:

Overreaching is when the IRS, motivated by Administration-driven partisanship and rhetoric, targets conservative groups for “special” attention.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when a public employee (e.g., Ms. Lerner of the IRS) proclaims her complete and utter innocence in the matter of IRS targeting of conservative groups and then arrogantly thumbs her nose at a duly constituted congressional probe and proclaims she will answer no questions, taking the 5th instead.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

On the other hand, overreaching is when congressional committees demand higher ethical behavior (e.g., truth) from witnesses that appear before them than these congressmen demand of themselves.

Overreaching is when a huge health care bill that affects every American is rammed down the throats of Americans, who opposed the bill in majority;  a bill that the congressmen never even got a chance to read and digest  – now seen to cost Americans billions, if not trillions, of dollars, while not even achieving its coverage promises.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the Administration decrees that all birth control (including morning-after pills) must be provided free of charge in all employer insurance plans, thus both formalizing an infringement on freedom of religion and the government’s approval of removal of all constraints on casual sex and personal responsibility.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when there are lies about Benghazi concocted and promulgated for weeks after the terrorist event has occurred, in order to prevent damage to a presidential campaign.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the Administration targets phone records of journalists to serve its own nefarious purposes.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when government starts telling us what size drinks we can buy in the marketplace.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the President of the United States presumes to tell Americans that the market system is “unfair”, when he has little or no experience in the market system — and the American market system has been the greatest engine of general prosperity ever seen on earth.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the President of the United States inflicts unnecessary “pain” on Americans in the name of sequestration, when sequestration does not actually reduce spending by the federal government, and can be implemented with little actual “pain” and inconvenience.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the federal government imposes national education standards that actually lower the standards in some states that have implemented their own high standards, and now must reduce those standards to qualify for federal funds.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the Administration decrees that free speech can be limited on college and university campuses, and that lives can be destroyed based upon a simple charge of sexual harassment or misconduct without proof being necessary – the assumption of guilty until proven innocent.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when a gun control bill is slammed together in the aftermath of a tragic shooting event, simply for political show, when the particular bill would have done nothing to prevent this tragedy.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the Administration throws billions of taxpayer dollars at financially and logically unsound “green” energy companies, companies often with strong Obama supporters as investors or board members, only to see that taxpayer money go down the drain in bankruptcies.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the federal government engineers auto manufacturers’ bankruptcies, entering into financial business partnerships at the cost of the taxpayers in order that supportive unions won’t suffer too much, instead of letting the normal bankruptcy-and-re-emergent process take care of the problem.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the federal government makes it more economically advantageous for the unambitious among us to be on the taxpayer dole than to be a part of the work force.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the President of the United States stays in constant campaign mode for over 5 years (and counting – with associated costs being charged to the taxpayers who are having to tighten their own belts – millions upon millions of dollars.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the President of the United States makes a college graduation speech in which he re-emphasizes the mindset and continuation of victimhood in the United States.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the President of the United States weighs in on white-on-black crime in America (e.g., the Trayvon Martin case), when it is a fact that black-on-black crime is a far, FAR more serious problem than either of the other two combinations.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the Administration’s Justice Department overlooks direct violation of polling place neutrality by failing to seriously investigate those in the New Black Panther Party who adopted on-site intimidation methods.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when a Democrat-controlled Senate fails to obey the law and pass an annual budget – for three years running.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the Administration not only selectively fails to enforce federal immigration laws, but prevents states from then passing and enforcing their own.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the federal government puts together an “immigration reform” bill that is loaded with “overreaching” garbage, for example the fixing of wages of immigrant workers, and special consideration for foreign ski instructors (both of which are found among dozens of other “overreaching” provisions in the new immigration reform bill.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when politicians blame any specific administration, party, or market segment for The Great Recession when they know that it was loose government policies and failure to execute to existing regulations that caused the major problems.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the government tries to cover up its own contributions to The Great Recession by blaming market forces and piling on new [mostly unneeded] regulations for business, thus significantly slowing down the economic recovery.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

Overreaching is when the President of the United Sates repeatedly lies to the American public about the intentions and beliefs of his political opponents.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should ALL be outraged at this.

You can feel free to suggest your own examples of overreaching.  But in my opinion, these are the overreaches, NOT a committee’s attempts to investigate them.  Where there is true innocence, there is truly nothing to fear.

The Joys of April 15th

15 Apr

I distinctly remember a time when I was fine with paying my federal income taxes.  Proud to, in fact.  I have paid income tax every year for 45 years, some years a relatively small amount (my military years), and some years huge amounts (by my definition).  But it used to be about how blessed and fortunate I have been.

But the pride has entirely gone now.  And what is worse, I am at a point in life where I have to actually pay money when April 15th rolls around – withholding does not cover the “tab” at this phase of my life.  In fact, over the past several years I have found it galling, disgusting, disturbing, insulting, angering, and downright ridiculous to have to pay money out-of-pocket – to “write a check” – for an additional few thousand dollars (beyond withholding), well knowing that it is going to the most bloated, inefficient, misguided and corrupt organization in the United States – or passing through to millions of people who are on the public dole for no good reason other than they CAN be (and I am NOT talking about the truly needy here).

I believe Andrew Jackson made a comment after the Missouri Compromise of 1821 (?) that he was glad, or hoped, that he would not still be around when the country paid the price for dealing with the slavery issue through such compromises.  He happened to be on the wrong side of history (to say nothing, perhaps, of the wrong side of morality), but I understand his sense of foreboding.

The thought does cross my mind to take the Alfred E. Neuman approach to the destabilization and decline of what has possibly been the greatest, most innovative, most prosperous and most generous nation the world has ever seen – “What, me worry?” – since I expect the country will hold together until my passing.  At least I hope so.

Can we recover?  The only ways I can see a recovery is to 1) regain our moral footing and dedication to founding principles and common sense laws and regulations, 2) eliminate multiculturalism in favor of unity of purpose and culture (i.e., assimilation), 3) prevent the dependent class from achieving majority-voting-block status, and 4) get our financial house in order by constraining the size, reach, and spending of the federal government.

And do I see all these things happening?  Hardly.  But I am a great believer in miracles.

Afterthought:  I find that it is one thing to have money withheld for taxes out of salary, and maybe get some part of it back, and quite another to actually have to pay “extra” out-of-pocket.   Maybe what we need is a tax system in which there is MORE of a requirement to pay out-of-pocket — say, a target to withhold only 50% of estimated tax burden — so that ALL Americans (the tax-paying portion of us, anyway) can feel the pride or anger in writing that extra check to those bozos at the end of the year.  Think the cumulative outrage might get better performance out of them?

Another Great Commentary on Sequestration

7 Mar

Mona Charen has produced a great column titled “Gullible Nation”, in which she cuts right to the core of the sequestration issue and the incompetence in D.C.  Below are the first 5 paragraphs – you can read the entire piece at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/mona-charen/gullible-nation.html

Excerpt:

Responding to the Obama administration’s operatic warnings of catastrophe for Meals on Wheels for the elderly, Head Start, meat inspections, air traffic controllers, and police, fire, and 911 operators if the government reduces the rate of increase of federal spending by 2 percent, radio host Chris Plante offered the following suggestion: “Since this two percent obviously covers all essential government spending, let’s cut the other 98 percent!”

Even if these “draconian cuts” are implemented, the federal government will spend more this year than it did last year.

Another way to think about it is this: In 2007, the government was 40 percent smaller than it is today. Were poor people sleeping under bridges? Were the elderly starving? Were planes grounded? Was food unsafe to eat?

Here’s another question: Are Americans really this gullible? The president’s doom saying is so absurd that a mature country would hoot him off the stage. As it is, the housebroken media credulously report his obviously partisan scare mongering as fact.

As the sequester has loomed, the president and even many Republicans have argued that these “across the board” spending cuts (they’re actually just reductions in the rate of increase) are “stupid” and “destructive” and so forth. This raises (it doesn’t beg) the question: if cutting spending across the board is so stupid, what does that say about the priorities of the congress and president who passed these spending bills in the first place? If our spending priorities are so out of whack that cutting everything equally is unthinkable, why hasn’t the government adjusted those programs before now?

[End of excerpt]

Beautifully said.