Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Sowell, Rich Lowry, Mona Charen, WSJ Editorial Board. All these sources and more support the fuzzy and feckless Boehner plan. So many of the voices that conservatives can depend on are falling like dominoes, and “getting their asses in line” for the Speaker. I say puke.
What good does it do to pass a plan that does not seriously address threat of insurmountable debt? Why, of all people, Prof. Sowell is on board with this I cannot understand. Speaker Boehner’s plan will push off the difficult decisions to a committee of Republicans and Democrats, and in the short term give Obama more money to spend.
The Republican Party, despite having the support of the vast majority of the country (2/3 support a Balanced Budget Amendment!), has caved.
The few remaining holdouts include the two Marks, and Sarah Palin. John McCain, for his pathetic part, has joined the WSJ calling the Tea Partiers “hobbits.” A disgraceful smear that says much more about McCain and the WSJ than it does normal, concerned, and engaged Americans.
Right now – the debt ceiling debate – is the time to fight Obama and stop his agenda. At least that’s what conservatives were told when Boehner previously capitulated to the Democrats over the continuing resolutions. Now we’re being told 2012 is when we’ll make our stand. Speaker Boehner, you look like Neville Chamberlain more and more everyday. For somebody so concerned about your daughters, it’s very odd that your timidity overshadows any courage.
Any Member of the New York Republican Club will tell you that life in New York City presents many occasions in which you may feel uncomfortable. Whether it’s a conversation with coworkers about the news of the day, talking with friends and/or friends of friends, or someone else in your day simply assuming you’re a liberal democrat and saying something rather off-putting, it’s difficult to get through a month without being forced to speak about your unorthodox (i.e. conservative or Republican) views. While sometimes it is easier to brush this off and go with the flow, other times – assuming you are unwilling to lie – you’re forced to speak your mind. It is after you make the decision to speak out that you must decide whether to deftly parry the disagreeable point, or fully engage. I’d like to recount two recent discussions during which I chose to fully engage two coworkers, and reflect on what I learned about liberal Democrats in NYC.
I was in a car with them. One, a middle-aged woman who is also my quasi-superior, and the other a male graduate student intern. The woman (we’ll call her Susan) asks me what I think of the debt ceiling debate. Susan knows my politics, and considers me a political pariah. She is a quintessential New York liberal: although highly intelligent and a very thoughtful and decent person, cannot make a coherent political argument.
Caught off guard with the question but well-informed, I began by explaining that the idea we’ll default in the next week is unthinkable. I chided the news media for being utterly irresponsible in their reporting, and accusing them of towing the Democrat talking point about the August 2 Armageddon. The purpose of this myth, I explained, was to mobilize public opinion against the Republicans. The case for default is untenable for several reasons. As only $29 billion a month is required to service the debt, and this represents the first dime out of every tax dollar, actual default would require Obama to direct the Treasury to not pay interest on the debt. Not only would this be an impeachable offense in violation of the 14th Amendment, the aftermath of such a decision would be so detrimental to the economy of the world that Obama would lose all public support and likely the support of his party. And that’s assuming Geithner would comply. Further, I noted that all essential spending plus Social Security will be paid, but that Obama would be in the position of cutting the federal budget and thus be forced to prioritize spending and cut many his newest programs. The power over the purse is Congress’ greatest power, and thus limiting the Democrat’s ability to spend taxpayer dollars is essentially a check on their power. Moreover, I noted that Obama had failed in all discussions with Congressional leaders and that recent news suggested his party is feeling frustrated with his intransigence. I then professed my belief that because of President Obama’s miserable performance and doctrinaire liberalism, he would loose in a landslide come 2012.
After I finished about a minute later, she was speechless. To be fair, I don’t think she were prepared for such a sweeping analysis. I waited a couple seconds and then asked her what she thought.
“I think the Republicans are being assholes!” And, “Other countries don’t even have a debt limit.” Why was Europe broke, then? “Greeks are being greedy. Berlusconi is greedy.” What about Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland? Are they all greedy? “The EU complicates the situation.” This was the beginning and end of her argument. My account of her position leaves out only trivial details. I suggested that Obama had made his big-spending-big-deficits bed and now had come time to lay in it. The conversation ended soon after I said that the Greek violence may very well find its way here if we don’t get serious now.
What disturbs me most about this exchange and the point on which I’d like to focus is that I was talking to a very competent, multilingual, scientifically fluent, mid-level executive. Susan is no slouch, yet when it came to very basic civics, I think that a 5th grader would know more. (Perhaps Jeff Foxworthy could help us confirm this assertion.) Obama has spent more than any other person in world history, resulting in a genuine concern that is shared by millions of Americans and financial institutions alike, and Susan blames Republicans for not allowing him to spend more. That Europe was experiencing the inevitable result of reckless spending was basically irrelevant to consider.
Basic civics, like electing honest officials and protecting well-established private property rights, seemed a foreign topic. To Susan, economic literacy was the language of the right, rather than an enlightening field of genuine knowledge and recorded experience. My logical conclusion in considering type of mentality is that Susan feels entitled to her opinions, and no amount of proof will dissuade her. Now, for example, we expect a Christian and a Jew never to agree whether or not Jesus was in fact the Son of God. With the attitude that Susan brings to political beliefs, politics has become a kind of religion. She is a true Liberal, always will be, and to her Liberalism is dogmatic.
I write the following as much for my audience as I do to record an experience I found deeply disturbing. Although it may appear uncharitable, from the perspective of a political activist who is familiar with a good amount of political and economic literature, these are my thoughts. Please bear in mind that this is my third discussion with Susan about politics, always at her prompting.
I wonder is Susan has ever really reflected on what makes a society exceptional. In discussing politics with her, I detect no trace of reflection or reasoned argument. Politics to her is more like Mets vs. Yankees, and Mets fans never root for the Yankees. To suggest that politics is more about the government vs. the people, and maintaining a careful balance between rigid order (law) and liberty is preposterous, if not downright loony. The notion that the proper role of government is to preserve liberty is antiquarian, nebulous, and quaint. Principles are to take a backseat to pragmatism, and thus Obamacare will work if given enough time, all evidence to the contrary be damned. Frankly, it’s difficult for me to place in perspective the threat to society that occurs when so many of the educated and intelligent are politically hopeless. Can a society survive long when its so-called elite advocate policies of doom with the zeal of true believers? Will the vogue of the current “right thinking” (in this context, to be clear, that’s Liberalism) establishment come to dominate, or will the ordinary folk who still cling to common sense as a guide assert their democratic right and elect their own to power? Will Obama be defeated by the millions of Americans who refuse to reject their heritage and change America into Europe? And past Obama, will Liberalism in the future hold the high moral position it feigns to hold today?
For a possible answer, let’s turn to the third person in the car: the intern, “Harry.” Although mostly silent during my discussion with Susan, Harry brought up the topic of politics with me the following day. Busy and not looking to repeat myself, I said flatly “Harry, I don’t find that many liberals can have an intelligent political conversation. If you think Obama is going a good job, then please explain 9.2% unemployment, $14 trillion in debt, and inflation.” The reply from this 25 year-old? “It’s Bush’s fault.” A minute later, I learned that Jon Stewart and Bill Maher were his news sources. The stereotypical performance of a 20-something ignoramus nearly complete, he said Obama was “doing the right thing,” and that “millionaires and billionaires” should pay for the “middle class.” Obama should note that 2.5 years of class warfare are having their intended effects. The engineer MBA student could not produce a single fact compelling fact. I gently pointed this out to him, and reiterated my initial comments as to the adeptness of liberals at political conversation. He joked, smiled, acted as if it wasn’t his concern. And that was that. Back to work.
My experience with Harry confirms a fear: namely, that my generation is unaware that they’re unaware. Whereas Susan was dogmatic, Harry was clueless. Susan was a liberal by choice; Harry was a liberal by default. To Susan, conservatives were to be defeated because they were wrong; for Harry, it’s enough to know that Bush was stupid and Obama is smart. While both remained totally unencumbered with facts and analysis, Harry was a liberal because it was cool (at least to the extent that Bill Maher is cool, which to me rings oxymoron) and Susan because conservatism represents a form of soullessness.
From these discussions I draw two lessons for conservatives. The first is that the Republican party, if it is to be a conservative party, must work with other organizations to encourage the teaching of genuine civic knowledge. This includes sound economics, an end to the constant disparagement of religion and tradition, and the clear teaching of principles of governance enshrined in our Constitution. Civic education is sorely lacking, and even the assertion that one can be wrong politically (in the technical sense) is written off as violating the right to have an opinion. Relativism reigns indeed, and until there is broader agreement on the fundamentals of a free society tyrannical forces will always have an upper hand.
The second lesson for conservatives is that our battle is as much cultural as it is strictly political. I am convinced my generation is not dogmatically leftist, but simply has not been presented with a robust, alternative way of thinking about government. I admit that it is easier to promise handouts rather than explain why a free market is more beneficial to society as a whole than socialism, but to win the battle we must elevate the dialogue and get out of the habit of communicating in petty talking points. It is important to identify and promote eloquent, popular, and mainstream figures who can relate to the youth. We should embrace this charge: as Obama’s economy flounders, more and more young people are out of work and frustrated. If spoken to on their own terms, particularly when their future is at stake, we will find them natural conservatives. The connection must be made between responsible behavior and opportunity. Moreover, conservatives must reclaim the moral high ground on healthcare through vigorously promoting a freer market, and thus more productive and innovative, market in medicine.
In concluding my thoughts, the bad news for conservatives is that many who grew up in the 1960s would rather cut off their right hand than vote Republican. To convert Susan and liberals of her generation, the GOP would have to wage the equivalent of holy war. Their children, however, who are looking for jobs or early yet in their careers, are living with the consequences of a broadly implemented Liberalism at the Federal level. Many are left unemployed. Among the employed are mostly liberals of convenience, who know very little about politics. Harry is hungry for something new, something cool, and something that works. That something is called liberty. This is the good news for conservatives.
Title: NYYRC October Social
Location: Session House
Description: October 5th- NYYRC Monthly Social
Session House (Upstairs), 1009 2nd Avenue b/w 53rd and 54th Street
Drink specials, Cash bar, free appetizers served
Free Event, Members and Non-Members Welcome
First event or coming alone? Let us know and we’ll introduce you around!
The NYYRC’s very own Mark Goret offers his opinion on Republican candidate Bob Turner’s chances at claiming the seat of former (and now thoroughly disgraced) Representative Anthony Weiner.
From Human Events:
“Bob Turner can put New York-9 in Republican hands for two reasons,” Mark Goret, New York Conservative Party state committeeman and Conservative leader from Riverdale, explained to HUMAN EVENTS. “First, he got 41% of the vote against [then-Democratic Rep. Anthony] Weiner last November, which is unheard of in the 9th.
“And second, he’s a businessman, a citizen-politician like Ronald Reagan. Republicans lost the last three special elections for Congress in New York State because all of the candidates were state legislators—Jim Tedesco [NY-20 in ’09], Dede Scozzafava [NY-23 in ’10] and Jane Corwin [NY-26 in ’11]—and voters hold politicians, and especially state legislators, in contempt.”
Mr. Turner spoke at the NYYRC monthly meeting on July 21 to an enthusiastic and supportive audience.
As the country awaits the latest news on the “debt deal,” Moody’s, one of two credit rating agencies (the other being Standard & Poors), has become increasingly vocal that the United States should raise its debt ceiling, or lose its Aaa bond rating.
Now CNBC reports that Moody’s recommends that the United States do away with the debt ceiling altogether.
The United States is one of the few countries where Congress sets a ceiling on government debt, which creates “periodic uncertainty” over the government’s ability to meet its obligations, Moody’s said in a report.
“We would reduce our assessment of event risk if the government changed its framework for managing government debt to lessen or eliminate that uncertainty,” Moody’s analyst Steven Hess wrote in the report.
But should we take Moody’s as a neutral party? It’s hard to say. Consider:
1. Where was Moody’s the last 2.5 years, when our Federal government was accumulating the most debt in the history of the world?
2. A credit rating is meant to convey likelihood of default. Common sense tells us that the more money one borrows, all other things equal, the more difficult it is to pay back. By this logic, a strict limit on borrowing should actually bolster one’s credit score, not diminish it.
3. The debt ceiling is the only legal mechanism that is containing Barack Obama’s radical agenda. Although $14.3 trillion debt is an unfathomable amount of money, imagine $20 trillion, or $30 trillion. To pay off $14.3 trillion will require significant cuts and entitlement reform, or, alternatively, painful government rationing. Obamacare makes healthcare an excellent candidate for rationing, and indeed it has already begun.
4. The Federal Reserve just wrapped up the $600 billion “QE2″ program, effectively monetizing debt. (This means that government bonds were turned into dollars, and now sit on the balance sheets of banks.) Debt monetization is actually inflation, i.e. printing money. Eventually this practice leads to higher real prices, and typically higher nominal prices (see gasoline, food). More debt means more debt monetization, especially in light of a stagnant economy and a flailing tax base.
5. The United States Treasury has more than enough money to pay interest on its debt, pay Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid. To meet these obligations Geithner and Obama would have to prioritize, and cut some of their vote-buying programs (like generous unemployment benefits for the mass of joblessness they’ve created).
All this said, one has to wonder what is going on at Moody’s, and whether their integrity and independence has been severely compromised.
NYYRC Monthly Social
THE THREE MONKEYS BARWednesday, August 3rd, 2011 7:00PM – 10:00PM 236 W 54th Street (b/w Broadway & 8th Avenue) Subways B, C, D to 7th Avenue-53rd Street $4 Select Beers $5 Cocktails of the week Drink Specials, Cash Bar & Free Appetizers! Free event for Members and Non-Members. First event or coming alone? Let us know and we’ll introduce you around! RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
Republican Congressional candidate Paul Niehaus to be 2012 nominee for GOP, reports the New York Daily News.
Manhattan Republicans will gather tonight to name attorney Paul Niehaus as their candidate for the Upper East Side seat recently vacated by Democrat Jonathan Bing, who was appointed superintendent of the New York Liquidation Bureau by Gov. Cuomo.
Continues the article,
Manhattan GOP chairman Daniel Isaacs said Niehaus will be “an excellent candidate,” because he’s more experienced and better known than when he took on Bing. Manhattan Republicans will do their best to help fund the Niehaus campaign, he said.
Mr. Niehaus ran a promising, enthusiastic, and energetic campaign in 2010 against Assemblyman Bing, garnering 31% of the vote. The NYYRC congratulates Mr. Niehaus on his decision to once again challenge the prevailing Democrat lock in Manhattan.
Unemployment, by the latest government number, stands at an astounding 9.2%. Although according to the National Bureau of Economic Research the Great Recession ended in June 2009, for the 14.1 million Americans still looking for job it continues, 41 months since it began officially in December 2007. Traditional measures of recovery are flat, including employment, home prices, and GDP growth are all flat and trending toward worse times ahead.
The morass confounds the liberals in charge, leaving President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid, House Minority Leader Pelosi, and leading Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer sounding stupefied by the numbers. It seems that the success guaranteed by Hoover/FDR plan, that is spending the nation out of depression, has proved elusive. The President’s party is, in demagogic fashion, talking not about the joblessness, national debt, and currency devaluation but “corporate jets.” The administration under which GE pays $0 in taxes on $14 billion profit apparently believes that most Americans can be distracted with nonsense as their country teeters on financial collapse.
National debt stands at $14.3 trillion, the most ever owed by the nation, and $5 trillion of the debt has been accumulated under Obama, who entered the office of the presidency in the midst of depression. The American dollar is on par with the Euro, while the leaders of the European Central Bank scramble to bail out Greece once again. Fiscally over-leveraged Italy, Portugal, and Spain serve as the backdrop for these talks. The Euro is losing credibility daily, yet Federal Reserve has inflated the U.S.D. to such a point where they more than offset the financial turmoil in Europe.
The nations banks are still not lending. With over $1 trillion in reserves since December 2008, commercial loans are stagnant, if not dropping. Financial derivative products, precisely the products on which much of the blame went for the housing bubble, total $248 trillion. For perspective, at the height of the last housing bubble they totaled a mere $183 trillion. The nation’s car companies have not mounted the broad comeback promised by the government. The coal industry is being hit with new onerous regulations from the EPA. Housing prices are heading further south, and buyers increasing paying cash because the loan markets, and capital markets as a whole, are simply not functioning like they used to.
While in the next weeks when we hear the compromise talks among Boehner, McConnell, Reid, Pelosi, and Obama, remember the above facts. Republicans must stand firm and demand that the president responsibly address the deficit problem he created with Pelosi and Reid, and point to the rampant joblessness, despair, and cynicism among the populace as reasons they failed. Focusing the joblessness problem on Obama and his party is paramount, and pointing out that Obama looks toward to NASA’s shuttle program and the U.S. military for additional money to fund failed socialist experiments will help demonstrate his backward priorities.
All elected Republicans should vocal and direct: Obama has taken a recession and turned it into a recession. In doing so, he has diminished America’s role in the world as a leader. While Iran strives for the means to deliver a nuclear payload to Israel, and Pakistan, along with much of the Middle East, become increasingly fractious, our ability to counterbalance dangerous foreigns events deteriorates with our formerly vibrant economy.
Republicans would do well to keep this in mind, and demand that Obama slash spending, beginning with the programs he implemented and that have done so much harm to American citizens.