Reinventing Success

Be prepared. We’re about to see history rewritten again. Did you know that the Republicans are the ones who want to tax you more? Did you realize that the massive spending over the past three years is their fault? Surely you understand that the jump from a $9 trillion dollar national debt to more than $15 trillion in that same period is due to outlandish financial recklessness by the GOP?

How do we know all these things? Why, President Obama tells us so. What remains now is to see how many of our fellow citizens fall for the line. The president is in full campaign mode [as if he ever abandoned it], trying to pull a Harry Truman and blame a do-nothing Congress for the failure of the economy. He’s half right—the Democrat-controlled Senate has killed a myriad of bills passed by the Republican-dominated House that would have created the proper types of incentives to get the economy on track again.

Oh, but that’s right, the economy is already back on track, isn’t it? The administration touts the drop in the unemployment rate from 9.1% to 8.6% as evidence that Obama’s policies are working. What they don’t want you to grasp is that the main reason for that drop is that more than 300,000 people have given up looking for work; they’ve removed themselves from the potential labor force. That’s a strange kind of recovery.

But let’s give President Obama credit where he’s earned it. He has proved to be hugely successful, if you reinvent the concept of “success”:

Yes, he’s the consummate professional when it comes to that.

A Beneficial Retirement

Holidays are respites from problems, but those problems don’t go away. While I love Thanksgiving because of its Christian origins, simply celebrating Thanksgiving doesn’t solve what ails us, particularly when so many in the country don’t want to recognize the Giver of all good things. Now with Thanksgiving behind us, there remain many unresolved issues:

One really good thing has happened, though: Congressman Barney Frank has announced his retirement. That, by itself, is a step toward recovery. Frank was one of the principal sponsors of our current economic crisis as the primary “pusher” of bad mortgage loans, a fact he’s never admitted.

Frank’s entire career has been one painful moment after another, starting with his open and unapologetic admission of homosexuality, to his censure for allowing a prostitution ring to operate out of his D.C. townhouse, to his constant badgering of opponents. When it comes right down to it, Barney Frank is a pretty despicable human being. I don’t often say things that baldly, but I’m willing to make an exception in his case.

Commentator Charles Krauthammer had a few choice words about Frank’s announced retirement as well:

History will remember him as the man who said [September 11, 2003] … “these two entities, Fannie and Freddie, are not facing any kind of financial crisis.” And then he goes on the offense for anybody who might imply that it was [in crisis]: “The more people exaggerate the problems, the more pressure there is on companies, the less we see in terms of affordable housing.”

Well, it wasn’t affordable housing. It was unaffordable housing. And that’s what he was pushing—and trying to deflect those who were trying to rein in these entities. …

I would say that the best thing, the most important thing he has ever done to prevent the crash from ever happening again is what he did today—retire.

Yes, his work is done, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Ah, Those Lazy Americans

President Obama raised some eyebrows this week with his pronouncement that America has been lazy the last couple of decades in attracting business. Most of those raised eyebrows were over the audacity to say that America has been lazy. While my own eyebrows unite with those of others, I’m also just as incredulous that he actually has any interest in entrepreneurship. Well, it’s good for show, at least.

Cartoonists had a fun time dealing with it as well:

As he sits on a deal that would have created many jobs. Then there is this other company he’s not too fond of that wanted to open a new plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state:

Of course, businesses might take a little more initiative if not for the burdens placed on them by this administration’s regulations:

As usual, our president is far more adept at blaming others than turning the magnifying glass on himself.

Herman Cain & Principle

Obviously, I’ve been impressed by Herman Cain, or I wouldn’t spend so much time talking about him. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the potential problems with his candidacy. He’s going to have to be more careful with what he says, now that everyone is ready to play “gotcha” with any slip of the tongue. They did the same thing with Reagan back in the 1980 election. They called him just a grade-B movie actor, someone who didn’t have any foreign policy experience, and even a dimwit. Looking back now, that’s all pretty laughable.

For Cain to sidestep those “gotcha” moments, he can’t say things like he would trade all the prisoners at Gitmo for one U.S. soldier taken hostage. He also can’t joke about an electric fence on the border that can kill anyone who tries to climb it. The first one he took back immediately, once he realized his mistake. The second he backtracked on to the extent that he noted it was a joke, but that he still believes we need to take border security more seriously.

Yet, compared to all the other candidates for the Republican nomination, he has shown a lot more courage of conviction when it comes to tackling the current tax code mess and the need to promote economic growth. I’m quite aware that there has been a critique of his 9-9-9 plan that says people will pay more under that plan. Others disagree with that analysis. It’s the same old story—find two economists, get three opinions.

Let’s assume for a moment that the critics are correct. I still like the outline of what he is offering. Why? It deals with principle. Cain wants to move us to a Fair Tax that eliminates the income tax forever. His 9-9-9 is just the first step toward that. That makes him the only candidate who is challenging the idea that the government can take money from your paycheck even before you see it. The roots of the progressive income tax [the more you make, the greater percentage you pay] is found in the Communist Manifesto. Marx and Engels promoted it as a way to redistribute income from those who have to those who don’t have as much. In other words, it’s not really your money; the government has first claim on it.

I liken Cain’s approach to the original Tea Party—you know, the one in Boston back in 1773—where those who opposed the landing of the tea did so on principle. That tea actually was less expensive than before, but the tax on it was placed there without any representation on the part of the colonists. They had no say in it. So even though the tea was cheaper, they rejected it on principle. The corollary? Even though I may [and that is disputable] pay a little more in taxes with the 9-9-9 plan, at least it moves us closer to wiping out the income tax altogether. Then we will pay taxes only on what we choose to purchase. We get all the money we earn in our paychecks, and then decide how much of it we want to part with. The principle is that the money really is yours to begin with.

If we can establish that, we will have taken a major step in the direction of our original constitutional understanding.

It’s coming down to this on the Republican side: either Mitt Romney or the non-Romney will be nominated. None of the other candidates, in my view, have a realistic chance of snaring the prize, except for Cain. So what does the Republican party want—someone who gave us the precursor to Obamacare and who is suspect on issues from the environment to abortion, or someone who wishes to chart a course for greater economic freedom?

For me, the decision is not difficult.

Yes, We Can!

About the only thing I have in common with the “occupiers” of Wall Street is a disdain for some of the “fat cats” who think the world revolves around them. Yet that self-centeredness is not unique to Wall Street. It’s the common human malady, and in the case of the bad economy we’ve suffered the past few years, Wall Street alone is not to blame—although some people are always quick to blame someone else when things go wrong:

In fact, some people have become expert in blaming others for their woes. Yet they continue to hawk the same old remedies that aren’t remedies at all:

There’s at least one part of the economy that has shown some innovation during the Obama years:

What a success story! We should reward this administration with four more years, right?

We can’t leave? Well, to quote the man himself, “Yes, we can!”

The “Plan”—Where Have We Seen This Before?

The details of the Obama jobs plan were unveiled yesterday. Most of the plan is warmed-over stimulus policy. The president is sold on the efficacy of the Keynesian model of economics. That’s where you spend tax money to try to promote growth. The only problem is that most of the growth is in the government sector. The private sector lags behind. Yet that’s where real jobs are grown.

We operate on a false assumption: government somehow creates prosperity. Presidents like Obama believe he and his policies are the engine whereby jobs are manufactured. That’s more “virtual reality” than anything else. He clings stubbornly to the idea that the next $400-some billion will finally do it—put us over the top economically. In the real world, all that does is put us deeper in debt.

One cartoonist explained the Obama approach this way:

Another one with the same perspective illustrated it in this manner:

They’re both right.

This foolishness needs to end before we do.

The Strategy vs. the Facts

The Obama strategy for reelection is painfully obvious: blame a “do-nothing Congress” for the current economic woes. Hey, if it worked for Harry Truman, it could work again—that must be the thought process behind it. Eighteen times in his “jobs” speech, Obama said Congress had to pass his bill right away, thereby setting the stage for blaming the Republican House if his plan doesn’t pass.

Keep in mind there is no real plan yet. All we have is a speech. No bill exists to be passed by Congress.

Of course, his “plan” is nothing more than another huge stimulus package, approximately $450 billion. He claims it doesn’t add anything to the deficit, that everything is paid for . . . somehow. He’s a trifle short on specifics as to how that has been accomplished. In fact, he’s punting it to the so-called Super Committee that has to come to an agreement to offer to the Congress.

All talk, no substance. So what else is new?

And the blame game continues apace when the real problem is this administration’s policies:

He claims he is the friend of business, and that he’s doing all he can to make life easier for the business climate. There are those who might disagree—they’re called businessmen:

And when Republicans try to help business, the president becomes the greatest obstacle:

All the while blaming Republicans for the lack of economic recovery. The hypocrisy is so thick, I truly wonder how anyone with even some rational sense can miss it. Obama, during the 2008 campaign, practically declared himself the One who would lead us out of our wilderness. So how’s that alleged leadership being perceived lately?

Don’t expect a promised land anytime soon. If this man stays in office past 2012, don’t expect it before a successor can take over in 2017. I really believe this upcoming election can be considered the most significant in my lifetime, and that’s saying a lot, considering how long I’ve been around.