Views on the News – 12/29/2012
By: David Coughlin
It hasn’t been two months since Barack Obama won re-election, but already we’re finding out things that were kept from us during the campaign that demonstrated the gap between what we were told during the campaign and the reality on the ground. How often in recent weeks have we learned that what we heard on the campaign trail from the Obama camp, and which were echoed by a cowed and subservient press, were either distortions or outright lies, enough to keep a majority of us fooled, and help win a second term for the incumbent. Now, we’re finding the reality to be something different:
· Economy: Obama claims “The economy’s getting stronger … confidence is growing,” but all signs indicate just the opposite. Real weekly earnings for American workers have fallen 3.5% since Obama took over. The Census Bureau reported after the election that the number of Americans in poverty grew by 712,000 people in 2011. A record 47 million people today are on food stamps, up 47% since Obama took over. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index tumbled to 72.9, its lowest reading since June, from 82.7 in November. The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index fell 7.6% in December to 45.1, a pessimistic reading and the lowest since December 2011. The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index fell 5.6 points in December to 87.5, one of its lowest readings ever.
· Employment: Unemployment has dropped to 7.7%, but only because hundreds of thousands of Americans have left the workforce and initial estimates are revised downward each month. The total number of people with private-sector jobs may have grown by 2 million over the last year, but only after 2.4 million people have left the workforce entirely over the same stretch, so there is no net real job growth.
· Regulations: President Obama claimed how few regulations he implemented, but now we find the EPA set to release a tidal wave of new rules to slash CO2 that will close as many as 332 energy plants, while costing the U.S. economy $700 billion.
· Budget: Obama promised a “balanced” approach to taxes and spending, but instead we find spending will surge 55% over the next 10 years under Obama, nearly $2 trillion in added spending, swamping Obama’s promised “cuts” of $880 billion.
· Taxes: Obama and his Democratic surrogates promised no new taxes for the middle class, but now we find major tax hikes in store for middle-class Americans, starting with ObamaCare’s 18 or so new taxes, and ending with the admission of that taxes on everyone must rise dramatically to pay for the Democrats’ spending orgy.
· Benghazi: The September attack on our consulate in Libya, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, displayed lack of preparedness, lack of military support, and an active cover-up of the malfeasance.
· War On Terror: Obama claimed the war against al-Qaida was basically over, but now we find governments friendly to al-Qaida have taken over in Libya and Egypt, with Syria soon to follow. Quietly, Obama is sending troops back to Iraq to help stabilize the country and plans to send Army teams to as many as 35 countries in Africa to battle growing terrorist threats, mainly from al-Qaida.
Americans were duped, told to believe one thing only to discover right after the election reality was something else. Now we can look forward to another four years of “hope and change,” and you can be sure of one thing: Americans have many more “surprises” in store.
(“With Election Over, Americans Find They Were Duped by Democrats and Obama” dated December 24, 2012 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/122412-638250-obama-claims-on-the-husting-prove-to-be-false.htm )
In the last election, Obama and the Democrat-media complex successfully portrayed “The Man” as Romney, the rich, Republicans, and anyone perceived to be standing in the way of whatever it was that Obama-supporters wanted. Obama tailored specific messages, labeled with “you didn’t build that,” “tax the rich,” “punish your enemies,” and “vote for revenge” to pander to this faux outrage. Most Obama fans have yet to realize that when they “stuck it to The Man” by voting for Obama, they were, in reality, sticking it to themselves. Obviously, most won’t admit or recognize that they’re afflicted with “Stick-it-to-The-Man-e-osis.” In their feverish state, many Obama-supporters believe that they won a “mandate” to Obama-money, whether it grows on trees or piles up in bottomless stashes of The Man. Some have woken up from their delirium to find, instead of gas in their car’s tanks and paid-off mortgages, pink slips in their mailboxes or reduced working hours. Others will find that they will probably not be able to keep either their doctor or their insurance, and that a very powerful Man, Uncle Sam, has invited himself into the examining room. Many of the groups that supported Obama, whatever their reasoning, are beginning to realize that their strategy is indeed backfiring. All while Obama continues to agitate those afflicted with Stick-it-to-The-Man-e-osis with his divisive rhetoric that pours salt on the wounds the contagion opens or inflicts. Whether they’ll see past the hazy target of “The Man” painted over the abyss by the Democrat-media complex, or actually look down past their toes and see the trillion-dollar darkness below, depends on how severe the case they’ve contracted. The Democrat-media complex, besides being the main carrier of the stick-it syndrome, is itself afflicted with a peculiar strain that blinds them to their own hypocrisy and exploitation. So far, the TEA Party seems to have a natural immunity, but a few conservatives are beginning to wonder if some of the Republican establishment is susceptible to a form of the sickness. Perhaps, a real “Man” really does deserve some sticking? In a speech about a year ago, Sarah Palin observed that both parties have contributed to the creation of the “permanent political class” and “crony corporate capitalism.” She said, “This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk… It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys.” This is “The Man” that all Americans should be targetting: big government, the corrupt political class and their redistribution schemes, bureaucracies, and cronies, aided and abetted by the mainstream media. America has the potential to recover from what ails us, led by a party that recognizes the real “Man“ and defines a winning plan to stick it to these leftists and bring them down.
(“Stickin’ It to The Man” by Cindy Simpson dated December 22, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/12/stickin_it_to_the_man.html )
In this once free country, we have settled into a “permanent revolution” of non-stop fear and anxiety paralysis, induced by the mainstream media’s terrorist tactics so that citizens learn to stop standing up for their rights and give in to unlimited government. The media narrative is that America is to blame for the miscreants and fluke tragedies of everyday life in a nation of more than 300 million people in one of the largest countries in the world. Every last individual is to be suspected as a potential criminal, because we have depraved criminals. Every American must be asked to give up his rights, because some don’t know how to responsibly exercise their rights. Those responsible citizens who believe in such well-accepted things as free speech, the right to adequate self-defense, and a government that spends within our means have all of a sudden become “extreme.” The right wants us to fear others. The left wants us to fear ourselves. What we should fear is the government. The behavior of the media and the government make it apparent that both parties have ulterior motives, and are exploiting tragedies for political gain in a way that would make terrorists proud. In a masterstroke of irony, the same tree-hugging, weed-smoking, communal-living lefties who once wanted to “drop out” of the system now clammer for a micro-managing, hyper-regulatory, tax-and-spend government with powers tantamount to a police state. People can no longer trust themselves is the underlying message; they should trust the government with complete power in the blind faith that it will never be abused. The liberal mind is a relativistic maze of internal contradictions strung together by fuzzy yarns of emotion and repressive tolerance. Mobilization to enact sweeping changes, such as something radical like gun confiscation, was clumsy and ineffectual. The populace was not sufficiently terrorized to give up its right to self-defense, whether from a criminal or the state. The hard left was once again forced to take the incrementalist road. People were alarmed and therefore wanted to “cling to their guns.” What the left needed were alarming tragedies that would persuade people their guns needed to be pried away. Left-wing agitators didn’t need to conjure up a catastrophe; they merely needed to observe the maxim “never let a good crisis go to waste.” What gives the mainstream media game away to some extent are those things they choose to highlight and those they choose to ignore. Some things promote the left-wing media agenda, others do not. It’s in some ways a matter of timing, but also one of editorial discretion. There had been the first WTC bombing attack in 1993, the Khobar Towers bombing of 1996, the U.S. embassy bombings of 1998, and the U.S.S. Cole bombing as Clinton was departing, but these events were intentionally muted by media that were more concerned with the President’s legacy than with effective and factual reporting. The left didn’t mind renewing the Patriot Act, because the Department of Homeland Security is like a mini-KGB for spying on Americans and running depraved operations like Fast & Furious, which deliberately put assault weapons in the hands of drug cartel members. These fine folks then predictably used those untraced weapons to kill dozens of Mexican citizens and at least one American, border patrol agent Brian Terry. When the scandal didn’t promote the gun control agenda, you didn’t hear about it. Activists in the mainstream media want to convince us that we are sick, that America is sick, and that we cannot be trusted with freedom, but in reality it is the mainstream media who are sick because these control freaks of the left are intrinsically without shame and will exploit any tragedy to further their unquenchable powerlust.
(“The Climate of Fear & the Pervasion of Powerlessness” by Kyle Becker dated December 22, 2012 published by Conservative Daily News at http://www.conservativedailynews.com/2012/12/activist-media-terrorism-the-pervasion-of-powerlessness/ )
President Obama demands more stimulus spending to avoid the “fiscal cliff” after increasing the national debt $6 trillion to $16 trillion, yet the Democrats’ cure is even more spending. Obama demands around $75 billion in new spending to stimulate the economy in 2013. “Keynesian Economics” is the insane belief that the economy can be stimulated by government spending. It provides the excuse to depart from common sense that allows politicians to ignore the alarm bells. It is ludicrous mainly because our government doesn’t have any money to spend. If the government had a surplus saved up, spending actual money might give our economy a short-term sugar high (with dubious long-term results), but our Federal and state governments must first suck money out of the economy by borrowing it. History has repeatedly proven that this is nonsense, yet Democrats will not let go of the Keynesian Myth. America’s modern Democrats want to believe that the government is the center of society. The New Deal was the largest real-world test of the Keynesian Myth in recent history. Franklin Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau confessed that the “New Deal” was a failure in sworn testimony before Congress on May 9, 1939:
· “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. … And an enormous debt to boot.”
It’s like this: You scoop water from the deep end of a swimming pool with a bucket, run around to the shallow end, and then pour the water into the shallow end of the pool. The entire swimming pool is one inter-connected whole. You are accomplishing nothing… except spilling some water (waste) and using up energy (administrative overhead). So our government vacuums money out of the economy by borrowing it. The money is largely wasted because it is directed according to political goals and to benefit political cronies, not by sound economic criteria. No one is accountable for good or bad results. Some of the money is wasted on administrative overhead. Some of the money is wasted on fraud or abuse or to line people’s pockets, but nothing real has changed. So the economy will end up right back where it was before — after a sugar rush hangover. Salaries might be bigger only due to inflation lowering the value of the dollar. Advocates for the Keynesian Myth argue that unemployment dipped during the Great Depression from 20% to “only” 14% in 1938, before it jumped back up to 17% by 1939. They insist that “austerity” budgets drove unemployment back up again to 17%. So liberals admit that Keynesian Economics is a failure. As soon as the government spending stops, the economy slumps back where it was before. Nothing has actually changed. The Keynesian Myth promises that the economy can be fundamentally improved. Liberals argue that Roosevelt’s stimulus was not big enough and it took World War II to finally end the Great Depression. Christina D. Romer, Chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, reluctantly lets the cat out of the bag. It was not World War II deficit spending but the military draft removing nearly 10 million men from the work force. Romer also reluctantly concedes that economic participation was driven by national survival. In a recession, consumers pull back on spending out of fear and limited funds, while businesses wait for the economy to improve. Top economists show us that the government cannot expand the economy through deficit spending because borrowing disrupts and displaces other economic activities. When political cronies benefit, honest business building is demoralized and discouraged. Economic growth is harmed by liberal meddling and government disruption of the private sector. The TEA Party is fighting against out-of-control government spending as its most important priority. Ordinary Americans were driven out of their living rooms and into the streets to form the TEA Party by the fiscal madness in Washington, but the TEA Party cannot bring a stop to deficit spending without confronting the Keynesian demon at its core.
(“The Madness of Keynesian Economics” by Jonathon Moseley dated December 4, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/12/the_madness_of_keynesian_economics.html )
The year 2012 saw the triumph of cold reality over pie-in-the-sky dreams as people voted again for what they wanted not what they received. Barack Obama in 2008 won an election on an upbeat message of change in the hope that the first black President would mark a redemptive moment in American history. Four years later, the fantasies are gone. In continuing dismal economic times, Obama ran for re-election neither on his first-term achievements: ObamaCare, bailouts, financial stimuli and Keynesian mega-deficits, nor on more utopian promises. Instead, Obama’s campaign systematically reduced his rival, Wall Street financier Mitt Romney, to a conniving, felonious financial pirate who did dastardly things, from letting the uninsured die to putting his pet dog Seamus in a cage on top of the family car. The so-called fiscal cliff offers more examples of 2012 dreams giving way to reality. Obama will probably get his long-promised taxes on the rich, but there are not enough caricatured “millionaires and billionaires” even to make a dent in his administration’s fifth consecutive $1 trillion-plus deficit. Instead, all that is left for Obama is to go over the cliff or wait for Republicans to counter-propose the necessary cuts in entitlements so that he can both reluctantly accept these budget-saving measures and demonize those who so threaten “the most vulnerable.” What will stop the massive borrowing is not the myth of bipartisan cooperation, but the reality of returning high interest rates that will make the current splurging simply unsustainable. In February, the European Union grandly announced a second 130 billion-euro bailout of Greece and an apparent solution to the southern European debt crisis, but the year ended with Greece never poorer and never more indebted. The proper solution was never band-aiding Greece with some German euros, but rather asking why under the EU system had Greece, and other Mediterranean EU members, been allowed to become so indebted for so long in the first place. On June 30, supposed reformist Mohamed Morsi was sworn in as president of a new democratic Egypt amid grand talk of the Arab Spring. But in November, Morsi, as a good Islamist, hounded out of office his secular rivals in the judiciary and suspended the rule of law, and days ago, by popular vote, Morsi oversaw the implementation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s version of Sharia Law as the basis of the new Egyptian constitution. Given the chaos of Libya and Syria, and the murder of Americans in Benghazi, the cruel winter of 2012 has now ended the dreamy Arab Spring of 2011. As the year ends, there are ominous signs of impending financial implosion at home. Abroad, we see a soon-to-be nuclear Iran, an even more unhinged nuclear North Korea, a new Islamic coalition against Israel, a bleeding European Union, and a more nationalist Germany and Japan determined to achieve security apart from the old but increasingly suspect U.S. guarantees. The year 2012 should have taught us that dreaming is no answer to reality; 2013 will determine how well we learned that lesson.
(“2012: When Dreams Died” by Victor Davis Hanson dated December 7, 2012 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/victordavishanson/2012/12/27/2012-when-dreams-died-n1474172 )
David Coughlin is a political pundit, editor of the policy action planning web site “Return to Common Sense,” and an active member of the White Plains Tea Party. He retired from IBM after a short career in the U.S. Army. He currently resides with his wife of 40 years in Hawthorne, NY. He was educated at West Point (Bachelor of Science, 1971) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Masters, Administrative Science, 1976).