Cut, Cap, and Balance Was the Right Move

The Republican-led House of Representatives has passed a bill called “Cut, Cap, and Balance.” It calls for cutting spending back to 2008 levels, capping spending to a certain percentage of the GDP, and raising the debt ceiling only if both Houses of Congress send a balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification. Political commentators are calling it dead from the start.

I agree, to a point. Will it pass the Senate? It might have a small chance [some Democrats might actually be afraid of losing theirs seats if they don’t sign on to it], but the real issue is whether Majority Leader Reid will even allow it to come to a vote. Even if it did pass the Senate, it would face a certain veto from President Obama. That’s why the political class is saying this was merely symbolic and a waste of time. That’s the part with which I disagree.

It’s important for the Republicans to stake out their position. The people of this country need to know what they stand for. They also need to know if they will abide by the promises they made in the last election. Since Republicans control only half of the Congress and have to deal with a president hostile to their efforts, there is little hope they will achieve this time what they seek, but this is all groundwork for the 2012 election. It shows, first of all, that they are serious about changing the direction of the country economically. Second, it can serve as a rallying point for the message that the Senate and the presidency must be in their hands if anything is going to be accomplished.

Therefore, I endorse what they have done. Sometimes in losing, you win.

If the voters can ever remove the blinders from their eyes, they will see what Obama’s economic policies are actually doing and how pitiful and insincere his “solutions” are:

There’s some concern on the Right about the provision for a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget—that it might hamstring the government or that it will be ineffective. Yet already the Democrat response to the call for this amendment is to decry its ability to stop any effort to raise taxes. I will consider seriously any concerns expressed, but I currently believe it’s still the only way to introduce fiscal sanity.

We shouldn’t have to need a constitutional amendment for this, but desperate times call for stronger measures.

Have Republicans Learned Their Lesson?

The last I heard there’s supposed to be a big meeting again tomorrow about the debt ceiling and how to proceed with government spending. President Obama, before the last meeting, told all participants to leave their talking points at the door, then promptly disgorged his own talking points with reporters. The hypocrisy is so blatant I remain amazed that his approval rating can still be in the 40s in the polls. This would sink a Republican simply because the media would pound it into the populace without restraint.

Since the economy is the top of the news right now, I’ve decided to set a record of sorts today for my blog. I’ve written a lot this past week. Today I’m going to let the cartoons carry the commentary more fully than I ever have before. Get ready for a lot of them that I’ve been storing. They’re all relevant to what’s happening.

Remember when Chris Wallace asked Michele Bachmann if she was some kind of flake? I’m waiting for the really courageous reporter to do this:

Valid question, I think. And what would happen to all those jobs if the government came down on corporate jet companies?

So what is the president’s strategy when he makes comments like those?

I think his real concern is rather easy to discern:

Things really haven’t been going too well:

Do we have any reasons to trust him?

So now Democrats and Republicans are in negotiation to figure out how to make the economy work again. There’s just one small problem:

I get this uneasy feeling that we’ve been here before, thinking that there is an agreement, only to have a trick pulled by the Democrats. This image keep coming to mind:

I hope I’m wrong, and that the Republicans have learned their lesson better than Charlie Brown ever did.

Ruminations on the Debate

I watched every minute of Monday night’s Republican debate from New Hampshire. The seven candidates lined up on the stage, I believe, did a fine job for the most part. Yes, I can quibble with some of the answers, and those who are regular readers of this blog know I am not a fan of Mitt Romney, in particular. Yet all, Romney included, exuded a certain confidence in what they believe, and were able to communicate their own message.

Michele Bachmann used the debate as the opportunity to make it official that she indeed is a committed candidate, and I think she acquitted herself well, coming across as knowledgeable and experienced. That was probably a shock to some. Next to Sarah Palin, she has probably been the most maligned by the mainstream media. What is it about conservative women that throws them into a tizzy?

Newt Gingrich had a rough week, and I think it showed on his face and in the way he conducted himself. He seemed too forceful to me, as if he felt this might be his only chance to redeem his flagging campaign.

That Greek cruise wasn’t the brightest idea.

No one really tried to challenge Romneycare, but all focused instead on Obama. Fine for now, but someone needs to step up and make a real point about Romney’s endorsement of an individual mandate in Massachusetts. His criticism of Obamacare falls flat when you look at his history.

You can expect the big guns to come out soon even as the media continues its false appearance of impartiality.

Breaking News: I interrupt this blog post to announce that Sarah Palin’s e-mails have revealed a real scandal after all. It appears that she really wanted to be the vice-presidential nominee in 2008. This shocking revelation undoubtedly will doom her as a political player for at least the next three decades. How can we put up with such blatant ambition in a politician when no one else on the scene has ever displayed such an attitude?

We now return to the regular blog posting.

So what strategy will the media and the opposition party put into operation? Nothing new. In fact, they keep returning to a tried and true method:

That charge is going to be a little hard to level against Herman Cain, but never underestimate the ingenuity of the opposition: you see, he’s just a “tool” of the racist elite. That won’t work, right? The populace is too engaged in the political debate to fall for it, right? We’re so informed that we can’t be misled, right?

It’s going to be a very long primary season.

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.