Our Predictable President

Everything I predicted yesterday about the State of the Union speech came to pass. It’s not that I’m some kind of great predictor; it’s that this president is so predictable.

The speech was mostly recycled from previous speeches. The tone was the same as previous speeches as well—supremely arrogant. It takes a lot of hubris to declare you’re going to veto a bunch of bills while simultaneously lecturing Congress on how to work with others.

It takes equal hubris to claim that Obamacare is actually lowering costs and that the slight uptick in the economy is due to your policies when all you have done is obstruct the economy. The workforce is at its lowest ebb since the days of Jimmy Carter. The falling gas prices stem from private industry, not the government’s policies.

And his claim to be the champion of the middle class could easily be made into a comedy routine. He wishes to be perceived as a kind of hero who is taking from the privileged (who got there by oppressing others):

Obama Hood

Meanwhile, back on earth, the reality is somewhat different:

Sending Help

He tries to portray those who have succeeded as the enemies of the people. This is a typical class warfare tactic, able to fool the simple-minded in a single bound. But when he places the rich in the crosshairs, he has a loose definition of “rich”:

American Sniper

Economics 101:

Sorry

Economics, though, is something of which President Obama is woefully ignorant—or willfully ignorant.

If you didn’t approve of his speech, he might have a remedy for that, in keeping with how he currently conducts business in the Oval Office:

Peachy

Republicans to the rescue? We’ll have to wait and see.

“Free” College?

Do we really need President Obama to tell us what the state of the Union is? Well, he’s going to give us his views tonight in this annual ritual of meaninglessness. We already know what he’s going to say because the administration has leaked all pertinent information.

In no way is Obama going to be conciliatory or striving to work with Republicans. This is going to be an in-your-face declaration of progressive warfare. Top of his list will be the goal of collecting more taxes; in fact, he’s going to propose more than $320 billion extra over the next decade. Now who is that going to come from?

Why, the rich will pay it all, of course. He will position himself as the champion of the middle class, and if Republicans object, they will be targeted as the evil supporters of the privileged. Never mind that “rich” will be loosely defined and will include most of the unsuspecting middle class.

One of his top priorities for those new taxes is to fund his “free” community college proposal, supposedly providing everyone who wants it, two free years of community college. Buried in the details is the manner of funding: people who have been setting aside college funds in a tax-free account will, if his plan goes into effect, now have to pay taxes on the money they’ve been saving.

In other words, those who are paying for college themselves now have to fund those who are getting it “free.”

There’s something about that word “free” that people don’t really grasp:

Should Be Free

Keep in mind also the person who is making this promise:

Free College Caution

Some of the cartoonists have picked up on the smoke and mirrors of this promise:

Free College

See How It Works

The bottom line here is that President Obama is focused entirely on what the government can do for you. He’s far less interested in promoting policies that actually energize the economy and create jobs. But shouldn’t that be his priority?

Forgot Something

His ideology, which is anti-free enterprise, has worked against us for six years. None of his empty promises tonight will help one bit. The only solace is that his proposals are dead on arrival in the Congress. He knows that, so the entire purpose of this evening’s diatribe will be for political gain; he hopes this will paint the Republicans as the enemy of the middle class and that their refusal to do his bidding will hurt them in 2016.

It’s despicable politics at its worst. Yet it will fool some of the people all of the time.

Government Education: The Problem, Not the Remedy

I’ll be speaking tonight at the Winter Haven 9/12 Project meeting. The topic will be one of my favorites: government control of education. It’s not a favorite because I’m in favor of government controlling education, of course, but because I’ve seen the danger signs for years and want to be sure others understand them also.

Education in American began as a mostly private affair; the only thing even halfway resembling what we have today was when a New England town collected local taxes to cover the costs of a “common” school. Yet even during that time, private schooling prevailed, whether at home, with a paid tutor, or at a private academy.

The big change occurred in Massachusetts in the 1830s. That state became the first to set up a state-level board of education. One of the biggest concerns back then was having education in the hands of the churches. The Unitarians, who denied the divinity of Jesus, were the driving force behind this change. As the idea spread, orthodox Christians dominated early “public” schooling, but they also adopted the Prussian system that eventually led to the view that education was the proper sphere of the government.

As the nation’s foundational thinking shifted toward evolutionary humanism, so did educational philosophy, and eventually the Christian influence waned. The only saving grace was that the federal government hadn’t yet entered the field, attempting to force one philosophy on everyone. That changed also, with the Common Core experiment being only the latest scheme.

The loss of Christian foundations in education has led to abysmal results—in learning, in bureaucracy, and in student behavior. The best public school teachers know this is true. What’s the evidence?

Last One Is True

Twice As Many

The government-controlled education system is awash in political correctness and enamored with every new trend or innovation in educational theory. Rare is the school where real education can be found:

Dark Days

We’ve also bought into the belief that nearly everyone needs to get a college degree. Well, perhaps one reason for that, on the practical side, is that many of our college degrees give students what they used to receive in high school. I know, because I teach American history survey courses, which are basic information about what already should be common knowledge for anyone with a high school diploma. Yet few of my students have an understanding of those basics. But it’s not as though they are finally getting it in college either. Studies have shown that graduating college seniors have about as much knowledge of American history as they did when they entered college as freshmen. That’s only one example, from my field; I’m sure examples could be multiplied as we examine what is learned in disciplines other than history.

So college graduates leave their institutions after four years with a piece of paper saying they have achieved something, but how many have actually achieved what that paper signifies? There is one thing, though, that a large majority do leave college with:

College Debt

I would submit that the root of our problems is the acceptance of government’s role in education. Early Americans resisted government involvement for three reasons:

  • First, they feared any system that allowed the government to tell you what you should think. They already rejected the concept of a state-sponsored church because that would be the government saying what you should believe. Isn’t it rather ironic that a people who said no to a government church would later say yes to government education, which would set itself up as an imitation of a government church, telling everyone what they should believe and think?
  • Second, they believed education was the proper sphere of family, church, and locality. They never envisioned the bureaucratic juggernaut we deal with now.
  • Third, they knew it would become expensive, since bureaucracies always end up costing more than advertised. Whenever anyone tells you the public schools are offering free education, remind them that you pay taxes, and that, in most states, the majority of those taxes go into the education system. You’re not getting what you are paying for.

My approach is not to tinker with the current system and try to improve it. That’s somewhat like Gorbachev tinkering with the Soviet Union’s system and thinking he could make socialism work. Our education system is built on a faulty foundation of government control. Only when we realize that and allow for expansion of the private sector in education will we ever come close to the remedy for our current ills.

The State of the Union Address Made Simple

Yesterday, I declined to go into any depth regarding the president’s State of the Union Address. Today, though, I’ve decided it does require some commentary, but I’ve figured out how to be concise. Since nothing has really changed in any of his speeches for the past five years, all you need to know are the following few words:

Tax:

Spend:

Delusions:

Disaster:

That was ridiculously easy.

Negotiating the Fiscal Cliff

Less than one month from now, unless Congress does something substantive, taxes will rise for everyone. If that occurs, the economy will suffer another major hit. Economists are worried that history will repeat itself: during the Great Depression, FDR’s policies never really worked, and at the start of his second term, the country fell into a recession within the Depression. Currently, we have a president in FDR’s mold—only worse—whose policies haven’t worked, and now we’re poised to have a recession that has never gone away suddenly get worse.

President Obama says the problem is not enough revenue. I beg to differ. Here’s the proper perspective on the real problem:

You see, there really aren’t enough rich people to make up the difference. You could confiscate all their wealth and not make a serious dent in our fiscal black hole. The problem is spending. Beneath that spending problem is the ideology that constitutional limitations mean nothing.

Of course, Obama talks a good talk. If you listen to him, he’s a real deficit hawk. Is that why he’s added nearly $6 trillion to the national debt? The claim that he’s fiscally responsible is balderdash on its face, but there seems to be no end to the number of people who will fall for his line. He sounds so reasonable when he promises a “balanced” approach to our financial woes. Maybe people would understand him better if they could see a visual representation of what he means:

He and his party are all about bringing everything to the table for the negotiations. But again, their understanding of what that means differs from how the Republicans view it:

Treasury Secretary Geithner last week revealed what the Democrats are bringing to the table: $1.6 trillion in new revenue from tax hikes; a “promise” of $400 billion in savings in entitlement programs, but talks on that will be put off until next year; another stimulus bill, this one in the range of $50 billion; no limit on the debt ceiling—in other words, we can add debt upon debt without ever saying “enough.”

This is a plan? Where’s the compromise? This reminds me of a recurring image I have from my younger years, found in the comics pages of the newspaper:

Here’s another vivid illustration of what the current negotiations look like:

Obama thinks he can get away with this intransigence because he just won reelection, and he’s well practiced in blaming others for any impasse. Conversely, Republicans are not too good at getting out their message that the president and Democrats are the ones holding up the talks. Republicans fear being demagogued to death and having the American people think they’re the ones responsible for pushing us over the cliff.

The big thing Obama has going for him is that he’s not really concerned about the cliff; his ideology comes first: punish the wealthy and carve out more territory for the government to take over.

Obama is already blaming Republicans for wanting to raise taxes on the middle class. He says the only thing stopping the rise is the GOP’s insistence that the wealthy not pay more. In fact, Republicans are already proposing closing loopholes that would add to the taxes the wealthy will pay. And they are the ones who want everyone to keep their lower tax rates. Yet they are being cast as the evil party that wants to take more of your money. This would make an excellent situation comedy.

What should Republicans do? First, get a spine. Second, since they control the House, go ahead and call the president’s bluff. Pass their own bill that will show the American people they favor giving everyone lower tax rates while dealing seriously with the spending mania, particularly with entitlements. Third, learn how to communicate their policies so it will be clear to all but the most deluded Obamaites that the Republican approach is the only way out of our mess.

Put Obama on the defensive for a change. Take control of the message. Time is short.

The Fine Art of Twisting Scripture for One’s Own Purposes

Normally, I would be pleased for a president to attend a prayer breakfast, as President Obama did yesterday. But it would have been better if he had just been an attendee listening to someone with a genuine Biblical message. Instead, he was the speaker, and he used the occasion to say Jesus would approve of his policies, specifically his proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy.

He used the Scripture that says more is required from someone who has been given much. Well, let’s look at that Scripture in context. It’s found in Luke 12 beginning in verse 42:

And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

“But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

Where to begin?

First, the larger context of the passage has to do with the Second Coming. Jesus had just told a parable about those who were not ready. He then further explained that parable by telling this story. So far, there is nothing about the government taking more taxes.

Second, He emphasizes stewardship of whatever God gives us. The steward had a responsibility to carry out his particular tasks, and he needed to do so faithfully. One of those tasks was to provide rations to the master’s servants, but this is not a government endeavor. It’s simply using the master’s money to pay for services rendered.

Third, it’s an exhortation to stay focused and not allow oneself to turn to sin. He’s speaking of man’s propensity to follow his own selfish desires when he thinks the master [God] isn’t around to rebuke him.

Fourth, it offers a theology of divine punishment for those who don’t follow the will of God, but instead give themselves over to personal pleasures and desires.

Finally, we get to the line Obama used. It is a general principle that states the obvious: if you have been entrusted with much, you will be judged with a more stringent judgment. It actually places on emphasis on knowledge: those who know more, i.e., have a greater understanding of God’s will, and then disobey, will receive a stiffer penalty.

Nothing in the entire passage offers a hint of any government action, and certainly has nothing to do with sanctioning higher taxes on the wealthy.

Using Scripture for one’s own purposes by twisting it out of its context is deplorable. Mr. President, what you said at the prayer breakfast qualifies as deplorable.

The New War

I don’t think I’ve ever used eight cartoons in one blog. Let’s set the record today. Why so many at one time? Well, when have we ever had a president who has declared war on wealth and wealth creators as avidly as this one? His continuing adventures in socialism/financial incompetence provide excellent fodder for the cartoonists. Many consider his actions a new warfare:

Obama, naturally, doesn’t see it that way:

His concept for how to make the math add up follows a traditional approach—one that has been tried in countless countries from the old Soviet Union to the “new” Europe:

One may ask a legitimate question with respect to this approach:

Meanwhile, those who are trying to be rich are also being affected by our economic woes:

Obama’s deficit-reduction plan has some unique twists to it. He’s counting the discontinuation of the war in Afghanistan as part of it; you see, that’s money we were going to spend, but won’t in the future, so it’s part of deficit reduction. On that basis, you could throw in all kinds of possibilities for deficit reduction:

The only real barrier to genuine deficit reduction is one’s imagination, apparently. Yet programs that will remain on the books and will continue to mushroom don’t seem to find a spot in his plan:

To be fair, though, there is one segment of the population that likes what it sees:

I say it’s well past time to believe in something else.