Let the Battles Begin

Gas prices are falling. The unemployment rate is slowly dropping. If you don’t see the underlying problems that are ongoing, you might think things are turning a corner. Yet when an unemployment rate falls, is it because the economy is robust, or have people taken themselves out of the job market? Hint: it’s the latter. Our workforce is at its lowest ebb in decades. When you lose hope finding a job, you fall back on the government, which is exactly where this administration wants you.

But if you’re counting on always being part of the safety net, don’t get too comfortable:

My Plan

About those wonderful new numbers at the gas pump, ask yourself just what the president has done to achieve this. Has he opened up new oil exploration? Remember, this is the man who refuses to go forward with the Keystone Pipeline. What we have to realize is that even when the government does its best to impede recovery, there are times when market forces create a better situation anyway. Yet that won’t stop Obama from taking credit, despite the evidence to the contrary:

Policies Working

The new Congress meets today to get set up and running. Both houses are now controlled by Republicans. I’m withholding judgment on their performance until I actually can evaluate their performance. They need to remember their primary task:

Dusting Off

It’s time to start observing this document again, and by observing I mean following it. That’s going to be the yardstick by which I do my evaluation.

Obama is going to double down on executive actions, and he threatens to use the veto for anything that comes across his desk that he doesn’t like. Will Republicans pass decent bills and then get enough Democrat support to override his vetoes? The battles have only begun. Let them come, I say–let them come.

In the Magic Land of Obamaworld

Obamacare just keeps clunking along. News alert: another unilateral change announced by President Obama. I’ve lost count on these. We now are told that those who have individual policies (that haven’t already been canceled) and those who have plans in small businesses can keep their plans for two more years before they will be forced to switch. The exact date for this extension runs into October 2016. Let’s see. What’s going on at that time? Could it be this is some kind of strategy to ensure a peaceful transition from Obama to Hillary Clinton? No, that can’t be. That would be entirely a political decision, and no one would be that blatant, right?

In the short term, the president has another tactic for drawing our attention away from the bloodletting that’s occurring with Obamacare—raise the minimum wage.

Direct Your Attention

Democrats see this as a winning formula for this year’s congressional elections. If Republicans will fight the hike, they will be portrayed as heartless and cruel. Never mind the actual economics of a minimum wage increase:

Minimum Wage

Historically, that’s exactly what happens. Businesses, in order to follow the law, have to hire fewer workers.

Unemployed

Those who suffer the most are the very ones this is supposed to help. This will raise the pay of some, while making it more difficult for others—mostly young people trying to start out—to climb the ladder economically:

You're Welcome

There’s no getting around the reality of the situation:

Telegram

If this doesn’t phase you, check your status—you may be living in a fantasy called Obamaworld.

The Redistributionist President

Barack Obama was in full socialistic, redistributionist mode yesterday. At a speech before an audience at the “progressive” Center for American Progress, he called income inequality a “defining challenge” for the U.S. Memories of his comments to Joe the Plumber flood the mind. First of all, one must ignore the fact that income inequality has only increased on his watch; so if that’s what he calls a defining challenge, he’s obviously failed at meeting it.

For someone like Obama, it is a fundamental tenet that some people just have too much, and it’s the government’s job to take from the wealthy and give to those further down the economic ladder. This recalls comments he made back in 2010, when he argued, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” Well, is it his responsibility to determine who has reached that point, if indeed such a point exists? There are some rich people I would like to see making even more money because they use it to promote the Gospel. Should the government step in and stop them? Let’s go back to a basic Scriptural principle—it’s not money that’s evil, but the love of money that leads us astray.

The president’s speech yesterday was full of all the progressive buzzwords and hobby horses: education spending; collective bargaining; minimum wage; Social Security; Medicare; and of course the omnipresent Obamacare. The progressive vision of how to create prosperity for all is for the government to shift the wealth around and get more of the wealth for itself so it can help us spend our way into prosperity. If that sounds a trifle contradictory to you, it only means you can think clearly:

Buck Would Stop Here

And don’t expect this administration to be honest about how its policies are working. We now know they fudged the unemployment numbers right before the 2012 election to make it appear things were rosier than everyone thought they were:

Fabricated Lie

Trust is not the hallmark of this White House. Honesty and transparency are in short supply. Why should we ever believe anything that emanates from that source? And given the progressive ideology that dominates, why would we want to give them even more funds to carry out their income inequality project?

Obama began his term of office with a national debt of $9 trillion; it’s now more than $17 trillion. How’s that spending-our-way-into-prosperity approach working out?

The New Economic Reality

Now that the Syria issue has been resolved—I mean, what could go wrong with Russia and the UN now involved?—perhaps we should turn our attention back to other matters. Congress is planning more hearings on the scandals that plague this administration; Benghazi is making a comeback, as well it should. Obamacare is rumored to begin running in October with the inauguration of state exchanges. Never mind that hardly any state is prepared for this and that the law is falling apart on its own. The push to defund this monstrosity is gaining ground.

Then there’s the economy, which the administration continues to try to spin as a “recovery.” Look at the numbers, they say—the unemployment rate is now down to 7.3%. Yes, let’s look at those numbers, carefully. What they would like to hide—and the media provides them the cover they need—is that the only reason the unemployment rate is dropping is because more people than ever have given up seeking a job and are no longer counted as part of the workforce. Our labor market is now at the lowest ebb since the Carter years. Do we really want to repeat that history?

Jobless Rate Fell

If the labor market were at the same level as when Obama took office, the umemployment rate would stand closer to 11% right now. But wait, there’s more.

What they—the administration and the media—also want to hide is that the majority of jobs being created are now part-time. A major factor in this is the threat of that looming Obamacare. Employers, seeing economic armageddon for themselves in the Obamacare requirements, are reducing the number of full-time workers to a minimum. The traditional job market, in which a person enters with a lower-rung, part-time job and works his way up to full-time, is now turned on its head:

Employment Cycle

This has become the new reality, and it’s not pretty. There’s only one way out of this:

 Turn Right

But that’s going to be up to the voters. Have they learned their lesson?

The United States of Detroit?

What happens after six decades of Democrat policies? Detroit. The city that, in 1960, had the highest per capita income in the nation and a population of 1.8 million, is now bankrupt and has lost over a million citizens, down to about 700,000. When I say Democrat policies, I’m also referring to the cozy relationship between Democrats and Big Unions. The auto industry failed for reasons that can be traced to bad decisions by management combined with concessions to union demands. That attitude carried over to the public-sector unions, whose pensions and other perks have now created greater liabilities than the tax base of Detroit can cover. City government ran huge deficits every year, refusing to cut back on spending. This coalition of Democrat politicians and union dominance spelled disaster:

Politics & Unions

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not rejoicing over this. But it’s a valuable lesson we need to learn as a nation. Not just cities, but whole states are in the same precarious situation as Detroit now finds itself. Where will the falling dominoes end?

Dem Work Zone

We can’t see beyond California in the cartoon above, but the threat is national. At the federal government level, we’ve gone on a spending spree the last five years that has dwarfed all the deficit spending we’ve done in previous administrations. Obama and his people have attempted to spend us into prosperity; not only does that never work, but it’s logically incoherent.

All the stimulus bills in the world won’t bring prosperity. The administration tries to point to the unemployment rate as a positive indicator. Since when has 7.6% unemployment ever been a positive thing? Especially after four years of artificially pumping up the economy? What they don’t want anyone to know is that we’ve never had so many people drop out of the labor force; consequently, the 7.6% is illusory. It doesn’t count all those who have given up finding a job. Neither does it take into account those who are trying to hold things together with part-time jobs:

 Ain't So Hard

Jobs Day

Ah, but the stock market is soaring. All is right with the world. That’s another illusion. Much of the gain we’ve seen there has to do with all the money being printed. It’s artificial as well. We are quickly becoming an economic basket case. Something needs to change before we become the United States of Detroit.

The Case Against Barack Obama: Domestic Policies

In my two previous posts, I’ve covered Barack Obama’s worldview and key character traits. His worldview consists of a blend of Marxism, anti-colonialism, and liberation theology. The three blend quite well, a type of unholy trinity. His character, dominated by a self-righteous arrogance and narcissism, leads to fantastic claims of future accomplishments—the lowering of the seas and the healing of the planet being the most ludicrous—and a tendency to put personal interests, whether golf or hobnobbing with celebrities, ahead of the responsibilities of his office. It was important to lay these two foundation stones before proceeding to his external policies because all of his policies are the result of his worldview and character.

There is a tendency in political analysis to separate economic issues from what are usually called social issues. I see that as a false dichotomy. All issues have a moral basis; nothing exists in a valueless vacuum. One’s views of morality are the basis for economic decisions just as much as they are for decisions on family and other social relationships. Obama’s worldview lends itself to a certain type of morality. He sees government as essentially beneficial, not only in matters of national defense but for practically every perceived problem. The more government control, the better for everyone. Private companies that depend on the profit motive are highly suspect; those who have succeeded have probably achieved their success on the backs of others. Therefore, government exists as the great equalizer.

The economic mess he inherited—and which he helped create as a member of Congress—could only be rectified, in his view, by inserting government as the savior. That’s why he pressed for and got the huge stimulus package. This was a package passed over the objections of most Republicans, but his party controlled both houses of Congress so he got exactly what he sought. And just how did that stimulus work?

Well, we have discovered over time that huge amounts of it went directly to those who supported his campaign. As a typical Chicago politician, he learned how to work the system. Obama brought crony capitalism to a new level. Who benefited most? First, there were the unions that were the beneficiaries of his largesse [actually that would be the taxpayers’ largesse, but he controlled where our tax money went]. There also were some Wall Street companies with whom he had close ties, even while his rhetoric was anti-Wall Street/pro-Occupy. His duplicity in this respect has become legend. One can’t forget as well all the money that disappeared into the black hole of green technology companies like Solyndra. That company was only the first to fold; others followed, regardless of the taxpayer funding they received.

The waste has taken on mythic proportions.

All that proposed green technology never materialized, so our energy issues continue unabated. Well, that’s too generous. We’ve gone backwards. He reversed the openness to offshore oil drilling and refused to approve the Keystone pipeline. Gas prices remain high as a result of those decisions. Then, to the astonishment of many, he sent taxpayer money to Brazil and other nations to help them develop their oil production. Further, he promises them that the United States will be their best customer. Any comments he may make about leading America into energy independence have to be seen as phony. All his actions make a lie of any such stated commitment. Why would he support the development of oil in other nations and not in his own? I think it all comes back again to his anti-colonialism, and his desire to lessen the economic power of the United States. You see, it’s not fair that we be so far ahead of other nations.

He cares not one bit for the massive deficit he has created. During the Democrat convention, the national debt passed the $16 trillion mark. Obama, in four years, has added more debt than Bush did in eight years. Actually, he passed the Bush debt well before the fourth year. It’s a remarkable achievement in one sense. He’s proven it can be done. No one would have believed it possible. Yet he seems rather unconcerned about it. He’s never made one step in the direction of reducing it. Why? Again, he doesn’t really see it as a problem. Government spending is what brings prosperity. The real question, though, is if he sincerely seeks prosperity. Perhaps he relishes the sad state of this economy because it helps bring America down to the level of other countries. That can be a reasonable debate. Meanwhile, he and his party act as if the deficit isn’t really there.

Unemployment has been miserable for his entire term. We have never dropped below 8%, which means this is the longest sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression. The promises he made were wonderful; the stimulus would bring it down to less than 7% very soon, we were told. The only reason the rate isn’t higher is that the workforce continues to plummet; more people than ever have given up looking for jobs. Maybe he’s found the key to a lower unemployment rate.

All he ever offers to remedy the situation is more government. The number of citizens on food stamps is at an all-time high, as is the overall number receiving some type of government assistance. He has no understanding of how a market system works; he doesn’t care to learn because he doesn’t believe in it. His Marxist indoctrination at an early age is ingrained. He rarely convenes his jobs council, and his disdain for small businesses and entrepreneurship is evident. Every time he talks about taxing the rich he aims directly at the small businesses that do most of the hiring. These small businesses now fit the definition of “the rich.” One of the direct results of this animus toward business was revealed this past week when the new number on global competitiveness came out. The United States has dropped from the top of the list to seventh. This is another one of Obama’s “accomplishments.

And then there’s Obamacare. How can we forget that, no matter how much we might like to do so? Frankly, it’s hard to know where to begin the critique on this one. It will not accomplish any of its stated goals: not everyone will be covered; costs will continue to rise; government bureaucrats will ultimately decide whether you get the treatments you need; it puts the government in control of one-sixth of the national economy; it tramples on religious liberty.

That last concern only surfaced recently as HHS put into effect regulations requiring that religious institutions offer all services through their health insurance plans, even those that go against their core beliefs. The furor began with the Catholic church and its teaching on contraception, but it has spiraled beyond that. Other Christian organizations have begun to realize it is forcing them to provide abortifacients. Lawsuits are springing up all over the land, and justly so.

On that abortion issue: Obama is the most vociferous proponent of abortion ever to sit in the Oval Office. He has publicly taken the side of Planned Parenthood and demands it continue to receive taxpayer funding for its “services.” That’s my money and yours being used to carry out the murder of innocent children. If Obama ever had a conscience on this issue, it has since been seared. He expects us to fall in line with his pro-abortion policy. I’ll repeat something I’ve said before: as an Illinois state senator, he was the fiercest opponent of a law that would have required doctors to provide medical care to infants born alive during an abortion. The Obama policy? Let them die.

He’s also the first president ever to advocate for same-sex marriage, thereby destroying the basic Biblical definition of a family. The quest to normalize homosexual activity is in full swing, and he is using the highest office in the land to promote it. As a Christian, I am appalled that the presidency is in the hands of a man who can be so callous toward helpless children and so determined to applaud sexual deviance.

The abortion and same-sex marriage debates are the ones normally termed “moral” issues—and they are. Yet all the others I’ve listed here are moral issues as well. It’s immoral to amass a huge debt and not care to pay it off; it’s immoral to take money from taxpayers and use it on his personal friends and pet projects; it’s immoral to make the United States more dependent on foreign energy sources when we have the capacity to develop our own; it’s immoral to penalize small businesses and hinder entrepreneuship; It’s immoral for the government to make life-and-death decisions in medical treatment; it’s immoral to try to force religious believers to violate their consciences.

Nearly every domestic policy in the Obama administration is fundamentally immoral, and that immorality stems from his worldview and his character.

The Obama Woes

President Obama’s press conference last week didn’t go as well as he had hoped. When asked about the economy, he stated, “the private sector is doing fine.” That brought such a barrage of incredulity that he had to go before the cameras once more and walk back those remarks. But the damage was done. The Romney campaign already has an ad running touting how out of touch the president is. The ad is accurate.

Yet there was another part of his statement that was even more revealing than his knowledge deficit on the status of the private sector. He remarked that the “real” problem we face is the loss of jobs in state and local governments. That, he believes, is the true indicator of our economic woes. In other words, cutting back on government spending is the culprit. If only governments at all levels would spend more, this economy would be booming. You know, like it did after his stimulus package. Right.

These comments showcase the Obama worldview: it’s a world where government is the engine for prosperity, not private business. Only more government spending and more government control over the choices of individuals, families, churches, and businesses will create the type of society where all are happy.

Well, he’s had three years to test that hypothesis. His administration touted the summer of 2010 as “Recovery Summer.” Does anyone recall that recovery? Where do we stand this summer?

Recovery Summer III is a sequel that has lost its glitter.

That press conference was only the last of a series of awful events for this White House in the past few weeks. Here’s a short list of what has gone wrong for the Obama team:

  • Key Democrats have criticized the Obama campaign’s attacks on Bain Capital, Romney’s old firm. Newark, New Jersey, mayor Cory Booker called the attacks “nauseating.” He’s no longer on the president’s short list for a cabinet post. Bill Clinton keeps going rogue as well, first saying that Romney did a fine job at Bain, then advocating the extension of the Bush tax cuts for everyone, even the wealthy. He was called to task on that last one and did his own walkback. Some are seriously wondering if he’s secretly hoping to torpedo Obama’s reelection. They’ve never been the best of friends.
  • The jobs report a week and a half ago was dismal. Even with more people dropping out of the workforce, the unemployment rate still went up.
  • National security leaks have outraged both Republicans and Democrats in the Congress. Some of these leaks could only have come from individuals in the inner circle of the White House due to the nature of the knowledge leaked. Accusations that the Obama campaign is orchestrating the leaks to bolster Obama’s “tough guy” image are increasing.
  • Scott Walker’s solid victory in the Wisconsin recall election does not bode well for Obama either. It means Wisconsin is probably in play for the Republicans. Obama studiously avoided being seen or heard anywhere near Wisconsin in the days leading up to the election. He knew defeat was looming.
  • Attorney General Eric Holder is on the edge of receiving a contempt of Congress slap in the face for his continued stonewalling on the Fast and Furious investigation. Holder’s arrogance and stubbornness mirror that of his boss.

But of course we know none of this is Obama’s fault. How do we know? He has said so repeatedly. When his portrait is eventually placed in the White House next to George Bush’s [sooner rather than later, one hopes], I think it may be one of the most original of all the portraits: