Looking down today at the ravaged society that post-Constitutionalism has created, the observer is struck by a multitude of standout examples that illustrate the current-state of the decay.
In his denouncement of Andre Carson’s recent remark that “some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree”, Republican and Tea Party leader Allen West threatened to leave the Congressional Black Campus, to which Carson belongs;
Exxon Mobile sues the Federal Gov’t after having its leases prematurely terminated;
The number of deaths in Afghanistan of U.S. troops hits an all-time high of 66 troops in the month of August 2011;
A stock market expecting QE3;
A president at an all-time low approval rating among women;
Unemployment stuck in high gear;
Debt, debt, and more debt;
What one singular attribute do all of these diverse events have in common? One man and his party – President Barack Obama.
Acrimony is practically blatant. The murderous racial image of lynch mob is being hurled by Senior Democrats in Congress at their opponents. A black man defends his own Republican party against charges of racism.
A major firm sues the Federal gov’t for essentially cancelling its right to drill for oil. Not only does this suggest that the Federal government is in fact bullying oil and coal companies, but it is also interesting to surmise that perhaps Exxon has decided to publicly turn on the sitting president.
A revolting number of U.S. military were killed in Afghanistan this month. The war wages on bloodier than ever, without much notice by the Democrat party constituents who were broadly “anti-war.” The administration seems as unfocused on Afghanistan as it is on Iraq and even Libya. America finds herself embattled in three wars that the press largely overlook.
An economy shaken to its core and just limping. A record number of citizens are getting food stamps, and unemployment remains elevated at at least 9%. National debt remains a concern, as does government spending. Banks are beginning to lend, leading many to suspect that the long awaited widespread inflation may be around the corner.
And in foreign lands America’s foes grow stronger and more brazen. The middle east brews with uncertainly in its transitional period from long-time dictatorships. China builds its military. Russia remains untrustworthy and seems prepared to work directly in concert with our greatest enemies.
This is a time of American weakness in the world, as chosen by the Democrat party. This cynical, rogue administration and previous Democrat Congress have done nothing substantial since taking office besides implementing huge chunks of their state-centered agenda, including nationalizing the healthcare system. The depression continues indefinitely as our government pursues its of returning American into one giant nature preserve, save what the government says we can (and likely must) do.
It should be obvious to us is that government is causing rather than addressing this decline. Conservatism and strict adherence to the principles in the American Constitution will liberate the people, the economy, and the spirit like a breath of fresh air. In the meantime we must ride out the storm, and organize quickly for the next election.
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One of the irritating consequences of actually studying history and economics is that the feigned thoughtfulness of familiar talking heads become all but unbearable. Enter one Fareed Zakaria.
Mr. Zakaria, author of The Post-American World, a book “not … about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else” and host of CNN’s GPS (that’s “Global Public Square”), studied at Yale and Harvard, notably under the famed historian Samuel P. Huntington. He is also the former Editor of Newsweek magazine’s International Edition. With that pedigree and a Ph.D. to boot, one would think Zakaria could render a semi-sophisticated analysis of current events. Which brings us to his article on CNN.com today.
Entitled “China’s not doing us any favors,” it proceeds to explain that the Chinese must continue buying our t-bills in order to keep their currency devalued and fuel their strategy of “export-led growth.” Although Zakaria declines to explain exactly how this works, it’s relatively simple: China buys U.S. debt with new renminbi, keeping their exchange rate artificially low, and thus Chinese goods relatively cheap for American consumers. So far, so good.
What is astoundingly short-sighted is Zakaria’s conclusion, which he makes clear up-front:
The economic situation between China and the U.S. is the financial version of mutually assured destruction – that cold war doctrine of nuclear deterrence. If you destroy me, I will destroy you. [emphasis in original]
While it may be true that China must, in the short term at least, continue to buy U.S. debt to artificially prop up its economy, the long term presents grave problems for the United States. To understand why, one must consider that trajectory of U.S. debt under the Boehner plan, ahem, is headed to $23 trillion (up from approx. $14.5 trillion today) in a mere 10 years – or about 150% of annual GDP. This is simply unsustainable and will almost certainly end in a kind of default. China, meanwhile, by accumulating our bonds, continues to accrue leverage over the United States. Even a threat to drop a significant portion of our debt would have steep implications on the interest rate at which our government currently services its loans. In other words, the Chinese could threaten our ability to borrow by insinuating that we are not credit worthy. Such action may come at an opportune time for the Chinese; say, when they decide that Taiwan really does belong to them.
At that point, although the finances of Beijing may take a hit, it will be America who will face an ultimatum: cut spending drastically (likely ending entitlements as we know them), or massively raise taxes (in effect, socializing the economy and seizing private sector assets). One can speculate based on past events that American leaders will not touch entitlements, but instead choose to curtail our economic liberties even further. China, whose citizens have never known the freedom of Americans, have relatively little to lose. It’s America who stands to lose her heritage from this relationship; the Chinese communist party will endure the suffering of their people as they always do, imprisoning, torturing, and murdering any noisy protesters who may attract international attention. “If you destroy me, I will destroy you.” I answer that while China, if it so desires, can destroy American freedoms, there are no Chinese equivalents for America to threaten; the communist government already owns its citizens lives, cradle to grave.
Zakaria’s analysis fails see past the short term of 5 years. Meanwhile, his CNN viewers (probably not very many) are lulled into thinking that mortgaging America’s future to a hostile foreign government is quite safe, because the Chinese communist economic strategy is to fuel exports by artificially low exchange rates. Other commentators, like Mark Steyn, have focused on the fact that America’s interest payments to China finance the entire Chinese military budget. This is a concrete example demonstrating the unintended consequences of our own government’s profligacy. Yet perhaps more profound is the unspoken diplomatic leverage that China is aggregating, and the existential threat that reckless borrowing poses to the very fabric of our republic.
No analysis is perfect, and human speculation as such is subject to unknowable future events. However, in not mentioning the mid-range consequences of borrowing to his audience, Zakaria has exposed himself as an unserious thinker. Either out of genuine lack of foresight or deliberately ignoring ultimate consequences, he fails to inform his audience of a potentially catastrophic policy of lending away American sovereignty.
P.S. – By no means is Zakaria alone in his superficiality: Paul Krugman, the allegedly intelligent economist who dons a Nobel Prize, told Zakaria on GPS that to fix our economy, we should gear up for an alien invasion. Can’t make this stuff up. We don’t need a false threat of space aliens, but renewed faith in common sense. Borrow less, spend less, produce more. I quote the great George Orwell, who reminded us to first observe the obvious: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”
More New Yorkers Disapprove than Approve of Obama
by Chris Edwards
The first New York poll released after the conclusion of debt ceiling negotiations shows a striking slump in support for Barack Obama in New York. A Quinnipiac University poll released on August 12 shows that 49% of New Yorkers disapprove of his performance, while only 45% approve, reflecting a sharp drop in his approval rating, by 8 points, from the previous Quinnipiac poll released on June 29.
Particularly noteworthy are Obama’s approval ratings among:
· Independents (36% approve, 58% disapprove)
· New York City residents (57% approve, 31% disapprove)
· Democrats (75% approve, 19% disapprove)
· Union households (46% approve, 49% disapprove)
Compared to Obama’s performance in 2008, his support has eroded among New Yorkers, both statewide and in New York City, by approximately 28%. He won 62.9% of the votes cast statewide in 2008, as well as 79% in New York City.
Declines in support for Obama may be harming other Democrats. For example, the Democrat hoping to succeed fellow Democrat Anthony Weiner to represent portions of Brooklyn and Queens in Congress is ahead of GOP candidate Bob Turner by only six points (48% to 42%), perhaps due in part to popular former New York City Democratic mayor Ed Koch’s endorsement of Turner.
The significant erosion in Barack Obama’s support in a state and city in which he won some of his highest vote totals in 2008 should be of serious concern for Democrats.
Here are some thoughts, mostly conservative, of no particular relation.
1. Manhattan Mini Storage has arguably the most vile ads of any company that advertises on the subway. I’d rather learn where one can get clear skin, where to sign up for a study on heroine abuse, or how to manage impotence than be surrounded by MMS’s anti-Republican/conservative propaganda. Apparently the city is so dependently liberal that instead of hiring a marketing department to generate sales, they merely repackage MSNBC’s drivel and add their logo. From tasteless abortion jokes to mundane hatred of Sarah Palin, the only thing that surprises me is that liberals can actually run a successful enterprise. Maybe it’s run by savvy/cynical conservatives? Speculation aside, it does offer more evidence to support my belief that liberalism is a kind of religion in this town. (Think about it: As a Republican, would political affiliation ever enter your mind when choosing a warehouse? Or for that matter, a mechanic, travel agent, or plumber?)
2. It’s incredible to me the difference in opinion between so-called “stars” and ordinary Americans. Not a day goes by without a celebrity making an utter fool himself, opining on the issues of the day. Recently we were treated to another such incident from the always willing to sound off Matt Damon. Apparently, according to Matt, people go to work because they love it, not because they are provided incentives (such as pay, promotion, benefits, etc.). When the cameraman dared offer one sentence of dissent, the brave Matt cursed him out. You see, he not only gets paid millions per movie to act like a tough guy on film; no, he walks the walk, too. If somewhere a cameraman suggests that even one bad teacher may exist, Matt’s ready with a snarky expletive laden insult.
3. A lot of comparisons are being made between today’s economy and the economy of the 1970’s. Jimmy Carter, widely regarded as the most liberal president before Barack Obama, lost his re-election bid in a crushing defeat by Ronald Reagan due to stagflation. Reagan was elected, implemented conservative policies, and unleashed the creative energy of Americans that led to economic boom. Obama’s liberal policies have created a modern day Great Depression, and again Americans are looking to conservative leaders (particularly in the Tea Party) for solutions. This being said (and understood), why is it that only 30 years later, so many people are perplexed that liberal policies are again failing miserably? Has the collective memory suffered amnesia to this level? Is this the legacy of public education? Honestly, I don’t get it.
4. I was very fortunate tonight to be seated in the president’s seats at Yankee stadium. (Bad game for the Yanks… lost 5-1 and CC got rocked by 5 homers.) Someone had won the tickets at auction and asked me if I wanted to come. What I did not know until tonight was that Randy Levine, president of the Yankees, was in the Reagan administration. He also served in NYC government as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. The seats, as you would imagine, were great: mezzanine level between home plate and first base.
5. Two of my favorite commentators are Mark Levin and Mark Steyn. Both are funny and intelligent, and have a good dose of curmudgeonly hard-headedness (a quality integral to conservatism) to keep them from becoming cheerleaders for the Republican Party. So, you can imagine my pleasure when Steyn joined Levin on his radio program to promote his new book, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. You can listen to their conversation about America’s precarious financial condition, cultural divide, and prognostications for free by downloading the August 9 Levin program for free here. The interview is the last segment of the program.
Years of denying the laws of economics their final reckoning, while refusing to cut spending and tighten our belts, have brought us (and Europe) to the edge of another economic cliff. Futures markets are pointing downwards after the S&P downgraded America’s debt, and European leader spent the weekend trying to prevent Italy from defaulting.
U.S. stock futures were trading sharply lower in Asian trading hours on Monday after rating agency Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on U.S. debt to AA+ from AAA late Friday. In addition, Europe is continuing to struggle to contain its sovereign debt woes and said over the weekend it will actively implement its bond-buying program in an effort to calm markets.
To quote President Obama’s erstwhile spiritual leader, “America’s chickens have come home to roost.”
The decisions facing America’s policymakers, the Administration and Congress included, is whether the monetary is to remain expansionary (e.g., implementing QE3, which seems at least somewhat likely) and whether fiscal policy is to remain in deficit mode, or to reverse course completing, admitting error after 2.5 years of misguided policies and partisan handouts.
One thing seems certain: President Obama’s re-election prospects have been damaged mightily by his administration’s economic ignorance. For the president to once again pursue policies that perpetuate reckless spending seems unconscionable, and Republican’s should use this opportunity to sound the clarion call anew for fiscal sanity and significantly smaller government.
The big news last night and this morning is that Congressional leaders have agreed on a plan that the White House isn’t threatening to veto. The deal, as reported by CNN, includes $2.4 trillion in
spending cuts “savings” over the next decade, does not raise taxes, and raises the debt ceiling by $400 billion immediately, followed by another $500 billion pending Congressional approval. Finally, a commission is established whose goal will be to identify how to shave $1.5 trillion off the deficit (debt?) by the end of November. As CNN explains,
If the committee’s recommendations are enacted, Obama would be authorized to increase the debt ceiling by up to $1.5 trillion. If the recommendations are not enacted, Obama can still raise the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion. At that point, however, a so-called budget “trigger” would kick in, imposing mandatory across-the-board spending cuts matching the size of the debt ceiling increase.
Sound reasonable? Consider:
- The committee, who will be responsible for the brunt of the task, will have the authority to raise taxes. Boehner may have avoided immediate tax increases, but in another few months Democrats will likely again be clamoring for higher rates.
- $2.4 trillion over a decade works out to $240 billion/year, a paltry 15% of the expected $1.6 trillion deficit in 2011.
- In fuzzy D.C. logic, the $2.4 trillion in “savings” assumes a baseline increase of federal spending by 8% annually, and works off that assumption. In other words, if the federal government’s spending increases by “only” 5% per year, as opposed to the planned 8%, this is considered savings, even though total spending has still increased.
- Constitutionally permissible defense spending will be on the chopping block. The agreement does nothing to slow the growth in the boondoggles that are domestic spending programs, such as the atrociously suffocating Obamacare.
- Entitlements remain untouched. Somewhere between $60 – $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities exist and are still being ignored.
- Republicans have spent virtually all of their political capital, and worn the country’s patience thin. Cynicism abounds.
Imagine, if instead of working with Democrats, Republicans mounted a huge public relations campaign to bolster support for the Ryan budget and the Balanced Budget Amendment. Entitlement reform, credible deficit reduction without taxes, and long term financial health could have been achieved. The plan was popular with the people, as was the Balanced Budget Amendment.
Those of us who don’t think like the Beltway cretins should not deceive ourselves; the establishment kicked the can down the road with this compromise, will spend more of our money that we don’t have, and proved once again that our elected officials are far out of touch with the public. Tea Party activists, despite being dumped on by the mainstream media, despite being called “hobbits” by the reactionary Wall Street Journal, despite being regarded as sub-humans by what many rightly refer to as our “ruling class,” are more in line with the vast majority of Americans than ever before.
Drivel like this won’t much longer be tolerated. (“The trigger,” writes Julian Zelizer,” to this crisis, which threatens the health of the nation’s economy, was an aggressive move by tea party Republicans — hesitantly supported by the House leadership — to hold routine debt ceiling legislation hostage until they received exactly the spending cuts they demanded.” emphasis added) What threatens our economy, and frankly our Republic, is not spending cuts, but a debt and government that looks like it may swallow the entire American people, enslaving them to their government and its rationing/regulations as the British are enslaved to theirs.
I consider this a lost battle. Millions remain unemployed and the economy stagnant, even as Washington pats itself on the back. National debt and spending will both increase as a result of this deal, likely with taxes. The Republican leadership has shown themselves not as opponents to endless debt and decline, but instead as co-conspirators. Serious activists looking to restore fiscal sanity must redouble their efforts, and pin all the failures of this compromise on Obama, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, and Liberalism. Our case for cutting spending will be easier to make as a result of such pathetic half measures, even as our situation grows more perilous.
Surely such indecisive and gimmicky legislation is indicative of a great nation committing suicide. A speaker more concerned about acceptance by the news media than the future of his country and welfare of the disenfranchised, and a president determined to fundamentally change our longstanding institutions – two so-called leaders complacent with a deal that does virtually nothing but maintain the status quo. For my part, to aid in understanding, I’ve undertaken reading Saint Augustine’s City of God, which traces the decline of the Roman Empire through the erosion in character of its citizens. Does the American citizen possess enough fortitude to overcome an entrenched and reckless lawmaking and bureaucratic establishment, hellbent on destroying what remains of American freedom? Is there enough resolve in Conservatives to fight back the socialists, and those who would centralize the most trivial decisions, from the type of food you eat to what you use to light your home? Do Americans retain a self-confidence enough to tell their rulers to buzz off, or will they look to government to manage their finances, health care, energy consumption, transportation, and diet? This remains the question of our day.
Wait until 2012, they said. Now we’ll have to. To win the next battle and eventually the war, conservatives must retake the Republican party. Squishes must be primaried and Democrats defeated. When two-thirds of the citizenry approve of a balance budget amendment, the odds favor us. Boehner must be replaced by a leader who understands what is at stake, and who can communicate with and echo the will of the people.