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 Week: Israel, the Budget, & California Prisons

The past week or so has been filled with so much news I haven’t had the opportunity to cover it all. I did talk about the president’s comment on Israel’s pre-1967 borders, but I didn’t get to all the cartoons about it. Here are two of my favorites:

Some have suggested the United States go back to its pre-1959 borders, which would then exclude Hawaii. I wonder why they were wishing for that?

Meanwhile, some Democrat agency made a commercial trashing Paul Ryan’s budget plan by showing him pushing an old lady in a wheelchair over a cliff. One cartoonist used that image for his commentary:

Never mind that Ryan’s plan doesn’t change anything for people age fifty-five or older. That would be dealing with facts—something rather foreign to those who love to demagogue this issue:

Then there was a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court—a 5-4 decision with Justice Kennedy providing the swing vote again—telling California to release thousands of prisoners because their rights were being violated by the crowded conditions in those prisons. They got that way, of course, because California is, for all practical purposes, broke, and unable to spend money on them. Well, actually, there would be money available if priorities were different, but that’s another story. This one has enough ramifications of its own:

Remember this card? It’s been altered slightly to fit the current situation:

Another reason not to live in California.

Cartooning the Issues

A minimum of commentary today—a maximum of cartoons. Let’s focus on the big issues facing Congress and the administration, such as the budget:

Or how about the energy issue?

And don’t forget immigration:

I hope those won’t be “last words” that we regret.

The Senate Goes AWOL

Six senators—dubbed “The Gang of Six”— have been working to come up with some kind of budget deal that they think everyone will accept. Of course, they could just adopt the Ryan plan already passed by the House, but that is anathema to the Democrat-controlled Senate. So these six, comprised of three Democrats and three Republicans, have labored to find something that will work.

No more. The six have been reduced to five with the withdrawal of Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma. He finally concluded that Democrats were not serious about real spending reductions. In other words, he’s come to a moment of clarity.

And Harry Reid, supposed majority leader, isn’t in any hurry to offer a plan. He spends most of his time blaming Republicans, despite the fact that House Republicans have put forward a plan that has passed that chamber.

Sen. Reid is about as phony as they come.

While the Senate fiddles, the U.S. economy fizzles. The debt continues to grow:

There are a few other problems as well:

To add to the consternation, there’s the issue of the debt ceiling being reached. What should Congress do about that? Well, a lesson from private life might be helpful:

Maybe it would be better to learn to live within our means and cut back? Nah, what am I thinking? That would show too much common sense.

The Budget, the Debt, & the Media

The budget and economic issues are once again going to come to the forefront shortly, if they haven’t already. Republicans and Democrats couldn’t be further apart in their view of the status of things and what needs to be done. While Republicans are warning against raising the debt ceiling without significant cuts in spending, Democrats have a different take on the situation:

President Obama himself has yet to get serious about the coming economic Armageddon. When he does mention it, he always blames it on the Republicans. Pardon me, but who controlled both houses of Congress from 2007 until this year? And who has added more than $5 trillion to the debt in just two years? Is this really something to be proud of?

Of course, conservatives/Tea Partiers have to be serious as well. They pushed for changes in spending; now they have to be willing to walk their talk, particularly on issues that affect them directly:

You can be sure if they become hypocritical on this, the media will hold them to account. One only wishes they would do the same on the other side:

As I’ve said before, I’m grateful we no longer have to rely on three networks to know what’s happening. Apparently you are, too, since you’re reading this blog.

Osama bin Laden & Other Realities

Many have commented on the utterly fantastic/unreal situation of the hideout of bin Laden being right under the nose of the Pakistani military, so I won’t belabor the point. This cartoon, however, hits the right tone:

President Obama will have his day[s?] in the sun over the takedown of bin Laden, and some are speculating that this will make him unbeatable in 2012. Would that be just as unbeatable as George Herbert Walker Bush in 1992 after he had a 91% approval rating in March 1991? The president still has to deal with other realities—many of his own making:

The budget issue is not going to go away. The Obama approach to the budget, which says we can wring everything we need out of the rich, has been tried before. Where does he get these ideas?

In Obamaland, corporations are inherently evil [unless they are funding his campaigns], and something must be done to ensure they “pay their fair share.” There’s only one problem with that:

Democrats are trying to make the Ryan budget invisible as well. They are not up to making the tough decisions because their philosophy of government doesn’t allow them to go there. More taxes. More spending. That is their “path to prosperity.”

It never works. Frankly, I’m not sure some of them really want it to work anyway. They’re far more interested in control than prosperity. Watch the debates as it goes forward and be alert to that possibility.

Obama vs. Ryan

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has gone where few congressmen have dared to tread—into the thicket of budget/entitlement reform. Ryan has proposed a bold plan for revamping the way Congress handles its financial responsibilities; he calls it “The Path to Prosperity.” In it, he tackles most of the weighty problems of our massive debt and tries to show a way out of it without raising taxes. His path leads to energizing American entrepreneurship and significantly reducing the debt over the next decade. I haven’t read it yet, but I have absorbed sufficient commentary on it to know that even if I don’t agree with every part of his proposal, I can commend him for sparking what could be an extremely profitable debate. His venture into this controversial arena should be applauded.

That’s not what happened yesterday, however. President Obama gave his big speech on the debt crisis and basically trashed Ryan’s blueprint for recovery. He demagogued on the issue [is that a surprise?] by calling the plan an abandonment of the elderly, the poor, and the infirm—especially sick children—leaving them to “fend for themselves.” He then outlined his “plan” for relieving the nation of its staggering debt [five trillion of which has been added on his watch] by—are you ready for this innovative approach?—raising taxes on the “rich.”

What we were then treated to was a classic “us vs. them” stemwinder that blamed everything on the rich and pointed to the solution: taking more from them. It was as close to a Marxist, envy-laden speech as a person can get without officially declaring oneself a Marxist. For those who doubt Obama’s basic worldview, read this speech and receive an education.

Obama’s hubris was even more astounding in that he invited Ryan to be present in the audience to hear him trash the very plan Ryan has initiated. Ryan was stunned. He had expected an olive branch and was excited to be invited. That obviously didn’t happen. Afterwards, Ryan had a few choice words for the president:

What we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country’s pressing fiscal challenges. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief. … This is very sad and very unfortunate. Rather than building bridges, he’s poisoning wells. … Exploiting people’s emotions of fear, envy, and anxiety is not hope; it’s not change. It’s partisanship. We don’t need partisanship. We don’t need demagoguery. We need solutions.

As I read how Obama treated Ryan, I was reminded of one of his State of the Union addresses in which he berated the Supreme Court—while the members of that Court were sitting right in front of him. Hubris.

But what else have we come to expect from this president? He will let others take on the heavy responsibilities, then try to take credit for himself.

He’s extremely adept at playing the game:

The only problem is—this is not a game.