Views on the News – 3/30/2013
By: David Coughlin
Democrats used to hate fighting elections on guns, God, and gays, preferring to campaign on jobs, education and health care, but considering the lack of any economic success recently, this turf don’t look so friendly anymore. It’s not hard to see why they’re changing gears to fight a culture war of their own choosing. The U.S. economy is still suffering through the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression. Unemployment is stubbornly high, especially for Americans age 25 to 54, who make up the core of the nation’s workforce. The American public does not approve of Obama’s bumbling and ineffectual attempts to handle the economy. Meanwhile, Obama’s failure to reach a grand bargain on deficit reduction has completely killed any hopes for new jobs or education programs. Instead of pushing for new stimulus spending or $10 billion a year for his proposed early education program, Obama is just trying to survive this year’s $85 billion in sequester spending cuts. Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment, ObamaCare, remains highly unpopular. Health care premiums are rising, as its opponents predicted, and numerous newspaper stories are now highlighting how the law is either discouraging new hiring altogether or forcing more Americans into part-time work involuntarily. Suddenly, guns, God and gays don’t look as bad as key issues for the Democrat Party. Obama devoted his weekly radio address to proposed new gun control laws, including background checks and the restoration of a demonstrably ineffective assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 after failing to prevent several of America’s saddest and most memorable mass shootings. Given that nearly all gun violence is perpetrated with handguns, it seems Obama’s new focus on guns is designed not so much to prevent gun deaths as to energize Democrat voters who look down their noses at gun enthusiasts in flyover country. The most dangerous place to be in Washington was between a microphone and every Democrat politician looking to announce their newfound support for same-sex marriage. Democrats, detecting a sudden shift in public opinion on the issue, are just now starting to lead from behind. Unless the economy markedly improves in the near future, or ObamaCare is miraculously implemented without a hitch, expect Obama and the White House to turn the 2014 election into an all-out culture war centered around gun control and gay marriage because these are the only issues even remotely friendly to him these days.
(“The culture war is all Obama has left” dated March 26, 2013 published by Washington Examiner at http://washingtonexaminer.com/editorial-the-culture-war-is-all-obama-has-left/article/2525467 )
The latest waste of taxpayer money, following close on the heels of the way over-hyped sequester, has been Obama’s Mid East Charm Tour. It just hasn’t gotten through his thick skull and massive, personality disorder-driven ego that the American people are not buying his lies like they used to. They’re starting to connect the man to his mindless Marxism, their economic and social pain to his policies. They are finally realizing that the Fraud-in-the-White House is just that. B. Hussein, however, insulated from the nastiness of reality as he is by the Ministry of Propaganda, tried to take the tour overseas. The result, as with all his incredibly inept and incompetent attempts at diplomacy, statesmanship, and foreign policy, has been another embarrassing failure. In spite of his pandering to Muslims, especially those with radical, fundamentalist views, it’s coming out very publicly that they hate him even more than they did George Bush. Iran, that bastion of Islamic love and tolerance, has stepped up its saber-rattling, and it appears that it’s just a matter of time before a major, hot, bullets, bombs, missiles, and maybe nukes confrontation occurs. Four years of dithering by Obama and the State of Disarray Department under Hillary, and now the criminal/traitor John Kerry, have fueled the delusions of Iran’s leaders that they are all-powerful, unstoppable, and the rightful rulers of the coming global Caliphate. Meanwhile, North Korea, led by the second runner-up in a Pillsbury Dough Boy look-alike contest, has called off the ceasefire that ended the Korean War, sixty years ago. Kim Jong Un, a second generation wacko, feels threatened by our Nobel Peace Prize “winning” Commander-in-Chief, and has mobilized his army and is threatening to launch nukes at us. Obama just can’t figure out why the Russians don’t like him, since he unilaterally committed to reducing our nuclear arsenal, reneged on our promise to provide the missile defenses mentioned earlier, after the Russians objected, and he assured Putin that after he was re-elected he would sell us out even more. Russia and China have been mending fences, doing the “reset” to their relationship that Obozo and Hillary botched so completely. A few points to consider: 1) Muslims hate, and are obligated by the writings of Mohamed to kill, apostate Muslims such as Barack Hussein; 2) To the genuine Marxists in Russia and China, American Marxists are cheap imitations, Stalin’s “useful idiots;” and 3) In the 1906s, American Marxists were terrified that black people would realize that their interests are the same as working whites. That is beginning to happen, more and more, and an exodus from the Democrat Plantation is gaining momentum.
(“Obama Just Don’t Get It” by Michael Oberndorf dated March 23, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/54001 )
If you torture the economic data long enough, it will confess to anything! People are still losing jobs at a faster rate than we’re creating them. Thank God for the best recession in the history of mankind. Thank God for Barack Obama being the best recessionary President in the history of mankind. Just think about how great everything would look if Barack Obama wasn’t president, er… I mean: how bad everything would look. State unemployment benefits claims dropped by 5,000 to 366,000, in a politically-adjusted, “seasonally-adjustment.” That was a higher level than analysts had expected, although the downward trend in layoffs still suggests the economy is strong enough that employers will need to add to their staffs. So now we suck worse than we thought, but just not as badly as we could. That’s because last month employers added a whopping 17,000 jobs to their staffs nationwide, or a staggering 340 jobs per state. Way to go government! Thanks to God Almighty for your seasonal adjustments. Despite the farcical forecasts of government economists, Columbia journalism students, and assorted illiterate money scribblers of all varieties, this is not the best recession in the history of mankind, although history might dub it the Greatest Recession. Nothing more adequately exemplifies the bankruptcy of our fiscal and monetary policies than the effort by the Federal Reserve and politicians to continue to pump more useless money into our system. The only thing this newly printed money bought us was debt financing for the political class that needs more and more of it to keep their con going. If government spending was the answer to our problems we would have entered a golden age long ago. As it is, our spending binge has only helped gold replace the dollar as a place of safety in the world. Who knew that the only thing we had to fear was in not fearing ourselves enough? Generations before us thought they fought for our freedoms, but the only free thing we care about now is “free” money and that’s a freedom we can’t afford.
(“The Greatest Recession” by John Ransom dated March 25, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/johnransom/2013/03/25/the-greatest-recession-n1548016 )
The Great Recession is an apt name for America’s current stagnation, but the present phase might also be called the Grand Illusion, because the happy talk and statistics that go with it, especially regarding jobs, give a rosier picture than the facts justify. The country isn’t really advancing. By comparison with earlier recessions, it is going backward. Despite the most stimulative fiscal policy in American history and a trillion-dollar expansion to the money supply, the economy over the last three years has been declining. After 2.4% annual growth rates in gross domestic product in 2010 and 2011, the economy slowed to 1.5% growth in 2012. Cumulative growth for the past 12 quarters was just 6.3%, the slowest of all 11 recessions since World War II. Last year’s anemic growth looks likely to continue. February’s headline unemployment rate was portrayed as 7.7%, down from 7.9% in January. If you account for the people who are excluded from that number, such as “discouraged workers” no longer looking for a job, involuntary part-time workers and others who are “marginally attached” to the labor force, then the real unemployment rate is somewhere between 14% and 15%. Other numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have deteriorated. Since World War II, it has typically taken 24 months to reach a new peak in employment after the onset of a recession. Yet the country is more than 60 months away from its previous high in 2007, and the economy is still down 3.2 million jobs from that year. The job-training programs announced by the Obama administration in his State of the Union address are sensible, but they won’t soon bridge the gap for workers with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. When employers can’t expand or develop new lines because of the shortage of certain skills, the employment opportunities for the less skilled are also restricted. The stress should be on vocational training, postsecondary education and every program that will broaden access to computer science and strengthen science, technology, engineering and math in high schools and at the university level. The payoffs from these programs are in the future, and it is vital today to increase the number of annual visas and grants of permanent residency status for foreigners skilled in science and technology. The current situation is preposterous: The brightest and best brains from all over the globe are attracted to American universities, but once they get their degrees America sends them packing. Keeping these foreigners out means they will compete against us in the industries that are growing here and around the world. What the administration gives us is politics, when what the country needs are constructive strategies free of ideology. The risks of future economic shocks will multiply so long as we remain locked in a rancorous political culture with a leadership more inclined to public relations than hardheaded pragmatic recognition of what must be done to restore America’s vitality.
(“The Great Recession Has Been Followed by the Grand Illusion” by Mortimer Zuckerman dated March 25, 2013 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323393304578364670697613576.html )
Americans have a healthy respect for free market competition and are resistant to government interference. For example, 69% of Americans believe that large corporate executives are overpaid, but only 17% want the government to regulate their pay. It’s remarkable that 50% of voters nationwide favor a plan to break up our nation’s megabanks, while just 23% are opposed. There are more than 5,000 banks in the United States today, but 12 of them control 69% of the banking industry’s total assets. Most Americans want these megabanks treated like any other. If a large bank reaches the point where it can no longer meet its obligations, just 25% support a bailout to keep it in business. The view from Washington, D.C., and Wall Street is that these firms must be propped up at all costs because their collapse would hurt the overall economy. Big banks engage in risky behavior knowing they can’t lose because the federal government will have taxpayers pick up the tab. Voters understand this, and two out of three recognize that most of the bailout money went to those who created the problem in the first place. That’s one reason why 75% expressed anger at the bailed-out banks in 2011; 49% were “very angry.” That public anger led to passage in 2010 of the Dodd-Frank Act, a law that scored political points but didn’t address the biggest problem. It’s hard to put much faith in regulatory answers given the revolving door between big banks and big government. The problem is that no bank should ever be in a position where it could be deemed “too big to fail,” so the only solution is to break up the megabanks. The way to do that is to end the government subsidies the banks receive that guarantee their survival. Currently, even the worst run big bank can access money on better terms than better run smaller banks. The 10 biggest banks receive subsidies of $83 billion. Not surprisingly, in a nation where people hate crony capitalism, just 7% think these bank subsidies should continue, while 76% want them to end.
(“It’s Time to Bust Up the Big Banks” by Scott Rasmussen dated March 22, 2013 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/03/22/its_time_to_bust_up_the_big_banks_117603.html )
Senate Democrats voted overwhelmingly to repeal a piece of ObamaCare they’d approved three years before, and they may soon decide the rest of the law has to go as well. The rollout of the law is as bad as signs increasingly suggest it will be, even Democrats may start lining up to join the repeal effort. The latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found just 37% have a favorable view of the law today. Even Democrats are less supportive, with only 58% expressing a favorable view of ObamaCare. The GAO has found that ObamaCare would actually add $1.4 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years, and as much as $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years. Every day brings more bad news:
· The Senate voted overwhelmingly to repeal the ObamaCare tax on medical devices because of the ill effects even Democrats admit it will have.
· The National Federation of Independent Business warned ObamaCare’s “health insurance tax,” which will force insurance companies to cough up $100 billion over the next decade, will kill up to a quarter-million jobs after insurers hike premiums to pay for it.
· The Wall Street Journal reported insurance companies are telling brokers about huge premium hikes due to ObamaCare’s benefit mandates and regulations.
· A survey by Deloitte found 62% of doctors report that their colleagues will retire earlier than planned as their pessimism about the future of health care grows.
Even the mainstream media, which three years ago was actively cheerleading for ObamaCare, has suddenly woken up to the harm it’s causing. The Washington Post reported how small businesses face “tremendous confusion and fear” about the law’s impact. The New York Times reported on a family-owned bakery near San Diego that estimates ObamaCare’s insurance mandate will consume 85% of its profits, forcing the company to consider cutting jobs to avoid that massive hit. The National Federation of Independent Business found that 12% of companies have already been notified that their current coverage will be canceled or will not be renewed because it doesn’t meet ObamaCare requirements. The saddest CBO estimate was that, by 2023, there will still be more than 30 million uninsured Americans. ObamaCare backers like to console themselves that the public’s negative opinion about the law is based on ignorance. The reality is ObamaCare will probably never be more popular than it is today, since its harmful side effects are still just theoretical. If ObamaCare does produce skyrocketing premiums, insurance exchange fiascoes, lost workplace health coverage and lost jobs, the little public support it gets now will collapse, and Democrats may find themselves scrambling to toss ObamaCare overboard, before voters do the same to them.
(“After 3 Years, ObamaCare Repeal Still a Viable Option” dated March 22, 2013 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/032213-649122-dems-face-peril-if-obamacare-crashes.htm
“Three Years of Broken Promises” by Michael Tanner dated March 27, 2013 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/344033/three-years-broken-promises-michael-tanner )
Delays in federal permitting for oil and gas exploration on public land is likely reducing national energy production and depriving the federal government of revenue. There is a mounting body of evidence undercutting the administration’s claims that it has fostered increased oil and gas production. Production on federal government lands has plummeted during Obama’s Presidency. The USDA inspector general examined 1,881 applications for drilling permits on public land, and fewer than 4% of those applications were “recent” or filed in the last 180 days, and the rest had experienced prolonged delays. This is the second analysis by a federal body this month to support claims by administration critics that its energy policies have restricted domestic oil and gas production. The President continues to tout total production numbers while avoiding any mention of the decline in production on federal land. Obama’s policies are restricting those revenues by delaying approval of oil and gas projects on federal land. Oil and gas production on federal land is currently below fiscal year 2007 levels. All of the increase [in crude oil production] from FY2007 to FY2012 took place on non-federal land. Natural gas production on federal land fell by about 23% during the same time. CRS found that from 2006 to 2011 the average processing time for an oil or gas drilling permit application on federal land increased from 218 days to 307 days. The bottom line is that if we could access more of our public and private lands, we would be creating more jobs and producing more energy.
(“Production Obstruction” by Lachlan Markay dated March 25, 2013 published by The Washington Free Beacon at http://freebeacon.com/production-obstruction/ )
President Bush’s 2007 surge-based turnaround was one of the greatest military feats in history, while President Obama’s reversal of it was one of the greatest defeats. Obama has seen to it that his predecessor’s victory in Iraq, in which Bush extraordinarily resisted the Washington establishment of both parties to authorize the surge, ultimately ends in a U.S. failure. Ten years after the liberation began, more than 4,400 of our soldiers and Marines are dead, roughly 32,000 have been wounded, and spent in excess of $800 billion. Within Iraq, we now witness the once far-fetched spectacle of Islamo-fascist Tehran apparently doing all it can to block a no-confidence vote in the Iraqi parliament against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Not long ago, Maliki was our democratically elected man there; now Secretary of State John Kerry fecklessly begs him to stop Iran from flying arms across Iraq to the terrorist Bashar al-Assad regime in blood-drenched Syria. Why would Maliki, or any Iraqi politician, listen to America after we abandoned his people before our job was done, and now have little or no power or influence left in Iraq? Iraq was supposed to become a Muslim island of political freedom and economic prosperity whose reverse domino effect would overwhelm not just the rule of the mullahs in Iran but al-Qaida-like jihadist movements throughout the Middle East. It would be a first step in what Bush in his second inaugural called an “untamed fire of freedom,” that with “America’s influence” used “confidently in freedom’s cause” would ultimately “reach the darkest corners of our world.” Meanwhile the New York Times, one of the most ardent foes of Bush’s war policies, mused that “as much as we’d prefer to forget about Iraq, what happens there matters more than ever for the Middle East.”
(“Bush Win in Iraq, But It Now Seems It’s A Lost Cause” dated March 27, 2013 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/032713-649593-iraq-slipping-away-bad-news-for-america.htm )
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).