Views on the News – 7/6/2013
By: David Coughlin
After running for re-election vowing to make jobs and economic growth his top priority, President Obama has focused on everything but since winning. In the first half of 2013, Obama made dozens of speeches on gun control, immigration and global warming, but aside from a little “jobs tour” and one big speech back in February, Obama has been virtually silent on the economy. In poll after poll, the public has made clear that it wants Obama and Congress to focus on jobs and growth above all else. In a Gallup poll taken in May, for example, 86% said creating more jobs should a top or high priority while the same share said economic growth should be job one. Out of the 12 priorities on Gallup’s list, gun control ranked 11th and immigration reform 12th. Global warming didn’t even make the list. A Pew Research survey found basically the same results, with 86% saying strengthening the economy should be a top priority in 2013, only 37% listing gun control, and just 39% listing immigration, and dealing with global warming” coming in dead last at 28%. First-quarter GDP rose at a 1.8% annual rate, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, not the 2.4% it previously estimated. Downward revisions to consumer spending were the main driver. That comes after Q4′s 0.4% growth, which means the economy has been at a virtual standstill for six months. While Obama’s four-year old recovery continues its long slog, the job market grows increasingly grim. While the official unemployment rate has fallen to 7.6%, that’s largely because millions of Americans dropped out of the workforce. Sentier Research found real median household income is 5% below where it stood four years ago. ObamaCare’s employer mandate already is suffocating job growth and cutting into part-time hours as employers try to avoid its huge price tag, a fact that numerous surveys and reports have made clear. Immigration reform will likely depress average wages over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Obama’s massive push on global warming will raise energy costs, kill jobs and waste billions of taxpayer dollars on futile green energy projects. Unless he changes course, the only legacy Obama will leave behind is a weakened economy, lowered prosperity and a diminished future for millions of Americans.
(“Weak Economy Exposes Obama’s Upside-Down Priorities” dated June 26, 2013 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/062613-661539-obama-priorities-not-shared-by-american-public.htm )
There is a chasm in American society that is only getting wider and that is the stark distinction which exists between those who generally want to be able to live their own lives in peace with as little interference from others (especially the government) as possible, and those who generally want greater and greater intrusion into their own lives and the lives of others, for various reasons – a division between what I call “liberty people” and “slavery people.” The liberty people are the ones who aren’t really interested in regulating or coercing other people to do what they want them to, when these others aren’t hurting someone else. Liberty people think we all should pretty much mind our business and leave private matters private, instead of putting them into the public domain and subjecting them to government interference. On the other hand, slavery people are the opposite – they want to invade your privacy, impose their agendas onto your lives, and control your actions and thoughts as much as possible. One of the most pervasive areas of disagreement between liberty people and slavery people is that of whether, and with how much, we ought to subsidize our fellow citizens who could work and earn for themselves. There is a tremendous legion of Americans who believe that other Americans have a duty to give them free things – a monthly check, free housing, free health care, free child care, and what have you. This Free Stuff Army (FSA) dutifully votes for whichever politician promises them the most goodies at someone else’s expense. However, supplying the funding to satisfy this ever-increasing demand of the lazy and incompetent means that somebody, the productive people of the nation, will have to have more and more of their earned wealth confiscated by the police powers of the state. This can only serve to expand the scope and power of the government into peoples’ lives. It expands against the productive class because more and more coercive apparatus is needed to confiscate and redistribute their wealth. The slavery people are “free” from the burden of having to be responsible for themselves, but at the price of being unable to live their own lives as they see fit. Liberty people are themselves willing to live with these risks and leave the government out of the equation. The productive people who subsidize this welfare state are typically liberty people. They don’t see why they are expected to support those who can’t be bothered to support themselves. They resent the intrusion of the tax-grabbing apparatus of the state into their own ability to support themselves and their families. Liberty people would rather people be forced to sink or swim, to take responsibility for themselves instead of childishly farming off life’s risks onto other people. Liberty people are themselves willing to live with these risks and leave the government out of the equation when it comes to providing for their own needs and wants. Foundationally, the distinction boils down to maturity and responsibility. Liberty people are responsible for themselves, mature, adult actors in ordered society who seek to refrain from imposing undue burdens on others and who expect reciprocation in this. They want other people to leave them alone as much as possible. Slavery people won’t take responsibility for themselves, but think others should provide for them a living, comprehensive safety and security from every trial of life, and the “freedom” to impose their own particular lifestyles onto others, regardless of what the others think about this. The problem facing America is that we have far too many slavery people, and far too few liberty people. How to change this situation is the question we must answer, and we may find that it’s simply too late. We won’t see it change until the whole system comes crashing down and there’s no money left to give to the Free Stuff Army and there’s no more hyper-intensified legal structure left to support the boutique social causes of the Left, but until that day comes, we who actually care about liberty need to try to avert it by waking as many of our fellow Americans up to what liberty really is.
(“Liberty People versus Slavery People” by Tim Dunkin dated June 29, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/56235 )
The subject of climate change has returned to news headlines lately because of the President’s speech, but the broader population was not enthusiastic. About 25 years ago, a Congressional hearing was staged to promote the idea that CO2 emitted by mankind burning fossil fuels is causing the globe to heat up excessively. About 8 years ago, the belief was near-universal that global warming was real and dangerous, but since then, new scientific data has emerged showing it isn’t so. Moreover, people have learned that the cost of complying with proposals to eliminate CO2 will be very high. The foremost scientific observation is that there has been no warming for 15 years. Meanwhile, CO2 in the atmosphere has been steadily increasing, and recently crossed the “milestone” of 400 parts-per-million (ppm) in the atmosphere. The computer models, which have built-in the assumption that CO2 will cause temperature to rise, have predicted temperature-rise numbers that are totally and obviously in disagreement with observations, and as a result, the models have lost credibility. A series of satellites has been monitoring temperatures over the entire globe for 1/3 of a century by now, and no net global warming has been observed. Starting around 2006, investigators found that a high percentage of official temperature measurement stations were not reading accurately, due to problems of positioning or maintenance, so the land-based temperatures reported became suspect. In the 1990s, a small community of scientists began to affiliate who didn’t accept the “common wisdom” that CO2 causes global warming. When their numbers grew to significant size, they were denounced as “climate deniers.” Meanwhile, the large majority of scientists, and certainly the nonscientific public, went along with the prevailing belief that CO2 causes global warming. Until quite recently, there was a solid “consensus” defending that establishment policy, but that has all crumbled now. The major “ClimateGate” scandal of 2009 revealed the deceit that the leading theorists had been practicing, and showed that scientists can be just as conniving and disingenuous as ordinary mortals. Thereafter, increasing numbers of competent scientists looked more closely at the data, and switched to the “climate skeptic” position. The assertion that CO2 is about to cause catastrophic change is now categorized as “global warming alarmism.” Among scientists there has been a gradual erosion of support for the global warming hypothesis. Meanwhile, the public lost interest in the entire topic. The media were far behind the public. The Pew Research Center asked Americans to list their policy priorities for 2013 and down at the bottom of the list, with less than 40% support in each case, were gun control, immigration and climate change. In Europe, a new type of alarm is occurring as people in Germany and England look at their electric bills as policies put in place by their governments to limit CO2 output have turned out to be terribly expensive, and the people want to stop funding “green energy” projects. Meanwhile, in the USA, the administration (especially the EPA) is planning a new offensive against CO2, introducing various new taxes and regulations. The incumbent government is so ideologically committed to opposing CO2, and so inattentive to scientific data, that it is oblivious to the costs that will be incurred.
(“Anatomy of a Controversy” by Tom Sheahen dated June 27, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/anatomy_of_a_controversy.html )
The economy waits in breathless anticipation of our newest declaration of dependence is the plan to replace one bad, failed, impossible homeownership utopia, with another slightly less-worse utopia that will fail as well. The Senate is working on a plan to “reform” housing in the country so that nothing really changes, called Corker-Warner Housing Reform. It goes to show that you can fool all of the media some of the time, and some of the media all of the time and all of the media all of the time as long as you get two beltway insiders from different parties to support it and tack on the word “reform.” They are going to give this so-called “reform” a patina of change by folding up the really bad ideas called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and turning into a new scheme called the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation. The idea is that the federal government will now formally “insure” mortgages, whereas before the arrangement was more like a wink and a nod to the investment market if the real estate crashed, which of course that will never happen, the federal government would step in as guarantor of last resort for real estate. Now the Senate is proposing to eliminate the government ambivalence and state plainly: “We will be the insurer of FIRST resort.” Where does the Constitution say the federal government should be in the home mortgage business? What the Senate is proposing is that the investment risk inside the housing market be shared by private investors and taxpayers. The world waits to celebrate another triumph of central planning, without which the American birthright of lobbying for someone else to pay for your house would die… What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
(“This Will Leave a Mark: More Partisan ‘Reform’” by John Ransom dated July 3, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/johnransom/2013/07/03/this-will-leave-a-mark-more-bipartisan-reform-n1632412 )
ObamaCare is an unaccountable, unaffordable bureaucracy superimposed on top of an unsustainable, unconstitutional entitlement program. In a significant setback for President Obama’s signature domestic initiative, the administration abruptly announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in his health care law’s mandate that larger employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties. The decision postpones the effective date beyond next year’s midterm elections. This is a naked display of lawlessness and an embarrassing setback to the Obama administration’s centerpiece legislation. Republicans’ gleeful reactions made clear that they would not cease to make repeal of ObamaCare a campaign issue for the third straight election cycle. The 2010 Affordable Care Act required employers with more than 50 full-time workers to offer them affordable health insurance starting next year or face fines. Some companies with payrolls just above that threshold said they would cut jobs or switch some full-time workers to part-time employment so that they could avoid providing coverage. Under the provision to set up state-based marketplaces, subsidies are supposed to be available to many lower- and middle-income people who do not have access to coverage from employers or other sources. “We are on target to open the health insurance marketplace on Oct. 1 where small businesses and ordinary Americans will be able to go to one place to learn about their coverage options and make side-by-side comparisons of each plan’s price and benefits before they make their decision,” Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser, wrote on the White House Web site. This administration action is a cynical political ploy to delay the coming train wreck associated with ObamaCare until after the 2014 elections. ObamaCare is collapsing under its own weight. Senator Mitch McConnell concludes “The fact remains that ObamaCare needs to be repealed and replaced with common-sense reforms that actually lower costs for Americans.”
(“Crucial Rule is Delayed a Year for Obama’s Health Law” by Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear dated July 2, 2013 published by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/us/politics/obama-administration-to-delay-health-law-requirement-until-2015.html?_r=0 )
President Obama proposed that the U.S. and Russia reduce their strategic nuclear warheads by one-third. “So long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” but they do exist, and even the President of the United States can’t change that. The Obama dream of “nuclear zero,” a world without nuclear weapons, is pure fantasy, and his current proposal is dangerous. The advent of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II did not diminish the safety and security of the United States or any other country. There is reason to believe that, paradoxically, these dangerous weapons have contributed to safety and security and still do. While the U.S. was taking steps to reduce its nuclear-weapons and delivery capabilities, Russia was dramatically increasing its stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons. Today this stockpile exceeds that of the U.S. by a factor of ten. At the same time, Russia upgraded its strategic nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and testing and manufacturing capabilities. China followed the same path as Russia increasing its stockpile of strategic nuclear-weapons and delivery systems beyond what U.S. intelligence agencies and arms-control organizations have estimated. We know the direction of Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear-weapons and missile programs. In the context of the expanded nuclear-weapons and delivery capabilities of potential aggressors, Obama’s claim that eliminating an additional one-third of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons will make us safer makes no sense. Maintaining a nuclear retaliatory capability will be necessary as long as adversaries with nuclear weapons exist. The number of nuclear-weapons and delivery systems we need can be determined by a formula: It is the number necessary for us to maintain nuclear-weapons and delivery systems (1) in sufficiently dispersed locations to make them immune from annihilation in a surprise first strike and (2) capable of inflicting fearsome losses on any adversary of the United States or of allies to which we have promised to provide a nuclear deterrent.
(“Obama’s Nuclear-Zero Dream” by Jack David dated June 29, 2013 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/352363/obamas-nuclear-zero-dream-jack-david )
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).