Why No Recovery? Here’s the Answer

Last week, the president attempted to explain why the economy hasn’t recovered yet. First of all, that’s interesting, simply because the summer of 2010 was officially dubbed “Recovery Summer.” Hmm, what happened to that?

Obama said there are headwinds against that recovery, and then went on to blame gas prices and problems in other parts of the world—anything but his own policies.

That phrase—bumps on the road to recovery—gave the cartoonists a lot to work with:

I didn’t need to see how his policies were going to work; I already knew ahead of time that they wouldn’t because they violate sound economic principles. We are now three years into a recession that has the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, and there is no genuine recovery in sight. The reason? Obama’s policies are burying us deeper into it, in the same way FDR’s policies did in the 1930s. The New Deal never brought prosperity because it couldn’t; the Obama Raw Deal won’t do it either.

As a nation, we are about to go bankrupt, yet he wants to continue spending, both on the domestic side and on foreign aid:

We also want to bail out Egypt and send more billions. A rather fascinating poll of Egyptians, however, shows that the majority over there don’t want our money. Let’s grant them their wish.

All of this should sink any chance for Obama’s reelection. He’s going to need a lot of help in other ways:

This is the most wonderful opportunity the Republicans have had in a long time. Throwing Obama out of office in 2012 should be a slam dunk. Yet there is the possibility they could blow it anyway. How? By nominating the wrong person to challenge the Obama agenda.

Wake up, Republicans.

Weiner vs. Genuine Repentance

You knew it had to happen, right? When someone like Congressman Anthony Weiner dominates the news cycle, I can’t ignore him completely. I don’t intend to enter into the realm of double-entendres or get involved with the details of what he has done. You already are aware of the details—unless you’ve been on a deserted island for the past week. His so-called confession on Monday was anything but a real confession, and that’s where I would like to focus.

I stayed silent about the Weiner story on purpose because I wanted more facts to come out first, and I figured they would. I never for a moment believed his fantastic tale of being “hacked.” Why not? I’ve watched Weiner for years; his character was obvious from the first time I listened to him. Lying about policy was his staple already; if he had to lie to cover up his indiscrections, I had no doubt he would. I mean, get serious. Who really believed him?

Yes, he had his staunch defenders in the Leftist blogger world, aided by like-minded compatriots at MSNBC and other media outlets. A great cry went up that it was a vast right-wing conspiracy. Now where did we hear that before?

Finally, though, when confronted with more incriminating photos, one of which apparently was so pornographic that Andrew Breitbart, who now possesses it, has declined to release it publicly to spare Weiner’s marriage, the congressman realized the jig was up, and he had to put on a contrite face.

Supposedly, he takes “full responsibility” for his actions, yet refuses to resign. In other words, he doesn’t want any real consequences for what he has done. He’s hoping that a “confession” will be enough, and that he can continue taking taxpayer money as a representative of the people. After all, he’s got the Bill Clinton model he can follow. For the record, what Clinton did was worse than Weiner’s actions, but he was allowed to remain as president when he should have been kicked out on the street.

What Weiner did in his press conference was put on a show of humility without anything substantive to indicate it was genuine. I’m reminded of the Scripture where the apostle Paul has to discipline someone in the church at Corinth. He had written to the church a stern message, and it created the proper reaction:

For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. … I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God. … For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. [see 2 Corinthians 7]

Paul clearly explains that there are two types of sorrow: one that doesn’t produce the fruit of repentance; another that provides evidence of a genuine realization of sin and leads to a changed life.

Has Anthony Weiner truly changed? Not if he seeks to keep his perks as a congressman when he has disgraced himself publicly. His moral character disqualifies him from holding any public office. If he were truly repentant, he would step down.

He may have to do so anyway, simply from the external pressures. Yet I wouldn’t be surprised if he weathers this storm; after all, Bill Clinton did even though some of his own people said he had to resign.

Shame is a lost trait in our society.

Republicans have disgraced themselves at times, too. Most of them had to leave office rather quickly. The Republican party at least holds to a moral standard publicly, which, if it is violated, points to hypocrisy. But at least it has a standard. There’s a political cartoon from a couple of years ago that I recycle now and then—it speaks so eloquently to our moral situation today. It’s time to use it again:

Anthony Weiner is a fine representative in one way: he represents the moral standards of his party quite well.

Battles in the Budget [and Philosophical] War

The budget battle has only begun, and one very important part of that will be the debt ceiling. House Republicans had their first vote on it last week, denying the Obama administration its desire to raise the limit.

It was only the first shot in this war. More will be forthcoming.

Then there’s the ongoing fight to repeal Obamacare. It’s really quite amazing how something that was billed as great for everyone has become the focal point of many groups wanting waivers from its requirements—and the administration doesn’t seem reluctant to give them.

Businesses see disaster approaching, so they naturally want to avoid it. Of course, the best way to avoid it is to throw it out completely.

Also on the health front is the problem with Medicare—its bankruptcy. Yet one political party doesn’t even want to think about it until much much later.

On Medicare, I take a position different from both liberals and most conservatives: I don’t think it should even exist. First, there is no constitutional authority for it; second, it is driving the nation into greater financial chaos; finally, it is program Karl Marx would have loved. Here we are getting all exercised [rightly] about Obamacare, yet we act like Medicare is wonderful. Philosophically, there’s little difference. Medicare was the brainchild of LBJ’s Great Society.

Well, I don’t expect my position to get anywhere at this point. If we can at least get it closer to a free-market solution, we will be headed in the right direction. I’ll take small steps in the right direction anytime; they can lead to bigger steps.

It’s Time for Principles

I truly wish elections didn’t turn so much on the state of the economy. I’d rather people have a more basic understanding of principles that emanate from a Biblical foundation—economic, moral, education, governing—and a fidelity to the limits imposed by constitutional authority. Those limits were placed there by the Founders for the sake of preserving our liberties.

There are times when the bad state of the economy will work out in favor of the change I desire [the current situation, hopefully], but it also works the other way: think “Bill Clinton.” So, as I said, it would be preferable if the electorate weren’t so fluid, tossed by every wave of economic uptick and downturn.

As 2012 approaches, many will simply look at how the economy is functioning and make choices based on that. If things continue as they are, Obama is in trouble:

While mouthing the platitudes of controlling the deficit and reducing spending [anyone remember his promise to go through the budget line by line, eliminating pork?], he has never met a spending cut he has liked, except possibly for defense, which just happens to be the main reason for the government to exist in the first place.

The president recently went to Europe to attend the G8 meeting. On the way to the meeting, he stopped off in Ireland, from which some of his ancestry hails. That country has had some of its own economic woes:

Obama’s counterparts in the Congress aren’t doing much better at facing reality. By law, the Congress should have passed a budget by April 15. The House, controlled by the Republicans, did its part before that date. We’re still waiting on the Senate. Now, who is in control there? Oh, right . . .

Majority Leader Harry Reid has even said he doesn’t plan to put forward a budget. The strategy is to continue criticizing the Republicans’ plan. This is not new territory for Sen. Reid. When the whole Congress was controlled by Democrats before the last election, neither the House nor the Senate passed a budget. For them, apparently, politics takes priority.

It should work against them. If the electorate truly understood the requirements and saw clearly that the Senate Democrat leadership is ignoring its responsibilities, that leadership should have to pay dearly in 2012. Will that happen?

Meanwhile, Republicans—or some of them, at least—are attempting what has been long considered the political impossibility of tackling out-of-control entitlements. In the past, any attempt to make changes to Social Security, in particular, has been political suicide. Social Security often has been labeled the “third rail of American politics.”

Will they have the backbone to do what’s necessary? If the voters wake up and realize the whole system is on the verge of collapse and something meaningful has to be done, there is hope. Again, I would prefer that Republicans do the right thing even if their plans don’t show well in public opinion polls, but backbone is stiffened when there is some degree of public support.

So, voters of America, will you do what is right or continue to be tossed here and there by the winds of economic fortune?

It’s time to be Biblically principled.

The Media Drumbeat

Have you caught the new media mantra? It goes something like this: “What a weak field of presidential aspirants on the Republican side. There’s no one of real stature there.” The goal of some, I believe, is to repeat this endlessly until the majority believes it. After all, if something is uttered often enough, it must be true, right?

Well, that field includes a former governor of Minnesota who managed a Democrat-majority state for two terms and still maintains his conservative credentials. It also has a sitting congressman, a former senator, another former governor, and a business CEO. A congresswoman who not only raised her own family but also opened her home for twenty-three foster children is poised to enter the race as well.

Now, I don’t agree with all of those candidates on everything, and there are a couple I could never see myself voting for, but that doesn’t mean it’s a weak field. Do you want to consider weak credentials for the presidency? How about the following example?

Consider a man who, while a state senator, earned a reputation as “Senator Present” for avoiding votes on many controversial issues—who served as a U.S. Senator for two years, virtually in absentia because he almost immediately began running for president—who commented that he had visited all 57 states [does anyone recall the media ridiculing him for that? Sarah Palin never said she could see Russia from her front porch, yet she is still ridiculed for that bogus statement made by a comedian]—who told supporters that the problem with some Americans is that they are bitter clingers to their guns and their religion, and they don’t like anybody different than them—who clearly told a man that it was best for the government to redistribute his income to help others—who sat in a church for twenty years listening to a wacko “pastor” speak out against America and Israel and white people generally—a man who had absolutely no executive experience and never ran anything—

Do I really need to continue?

Yet somehow this man became president, while a true reform governor like Palin has been ripped apart for things she never said and events she never caused [remember the Tucson shootings?].

This past week, he said Israel should return to its pre-1967 borders. I know he tried to backtrack afterwards, but if you listen carefully even to his later words, the onus is on Israel, in his mind, to make concessions—even to terrorist organizations like Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu took this president to task the day after his infamous statement. Some commentators were horrified that a foreign head of state would dare to “lecture” the U.S. president. If you watch what Netanyahu said, you will see that he carried himself with diplomatic civility while delivering a much-needed message.

The tragedy is that this president is so ideologically bound to the other side that he won’t really learn anything from the lesson.

So, as you hear the media drumbeat that will attempt to trivialize Obama’s competition, keep in mind these media people have their own agenda. They are “in the tank,” so to speak, for his reelection. Don’t allow the “newspeak” to sway you. Listen to what those competitors for his job are really saying and make up your own mind as to their worthiness. In my opinion, any of them would be an improvement over what we now have.

Taken for a Ride?

The grumbling on the Right is increasing with respect to the budget deal agreed upon last week. At first glance, it appeared that $38 billion was cut from the current budget. That, by itself, was a reduction from the $61 billion the House Republicans had passed.

It wasn’t much of a cut to begin with—consider that $4 billion gets added to the debt each day—but now it’s beginning to look even worse. More careful scrutiny of those cuts reveals most of them are a little phony. Some are budgetary sleight of hand, many are simply unspent funds from this year for certain programs that weren’t going to be spent anyway. One estimate says that only about $14 billion can be called “real” cuts.

Does this mean that the Republican House leadership under John Boehner has been taken for a ride?

I freely admit I’m more than a little disappointed in the results. Within me is a desire to cry, “Where are your principles? Why did you settle for so little?”

Yet there is another side of this that has to be taken into consideration. First, if Republicans had pushed harder, it might have led to that vaunted government “shutdown,” an action that the media would have pinned on the Republicans despite the evidence that the blame rests on the other party. Second, there is still another party in D.C. I wonder if some people have forgotten that Democrats still control the Senate and the White House. Republicans have only one-third of the components of the legislative and executive branches.

It’s a daunting task to get anything done with that kind of entrenched opposition.

Another factor to consider is that this was just the first skirmish in a long battle: coming up next are the debt ceiling debate and the new fiscal year’s budget. Even if Republicans had achieved their original goal of a $100 billion cut in expenditures, that would have been the proverbial drop in the bucket.

I’m not going to rush to judgment and declare the Republican leadership to be devoid of backbone–just yet. Let’s see what future negotiations accomplish. If something is done that deals substantially with so-called entitlements like Medicare, and if they hold the line on the debt ceiling, there is still hope.


In no particular order, and with no real precise plan, I thought I’d run by you the best political cartoons dealing with Congress and the budget. Let’s get started.

I’m always amazed by how smoothly Democrats blame Republicans for everything, painting dire pictures of deprivation and untold catastrophes if Republicans ever get their way:

Democrats and Republicans obviously have different solutions to the financial crisis we face:

But maybe there is hope. Can Democrats change their ways?

That’s not very impressive. Maybe we’re missing the whole point by focusing on political parties. Maybe those most affected by policies should be our focus: