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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Who Should We Trust on Economics?

If John McCain loses this election, chances are the chief reason will be the concerns we all have about the economy and the current financial crisis. Arguably, McCain's instincts to return to Washington to work on the "emergency" bailout bill were noble. They're certainly in tune with his overall perspective on every issue: Country First. However, Obama's decision to stay as far as possible from the negotiations paid off. The press and the rest of the Democrats falsely, but successfully, laid the blame for the crisis on Pres. Bush and the markets. Obama and McCain were neck-and-neck when the crisis broke, but Obama opened and held a lead as events developed.

As much as everyone is fed up with the Bush Administration, let's consider which party and which presidential candidate is better equipped to deal with the ongoing economic problems we face. There are essentially two ways of looking at society and the economy: from an individualistic standpoint or a collectivist one. Remarking on the Joe the Plumber phenomenon, Jonah Goldberg writes on National Review Online:
"Who knows what it will do for McCain in the end, but the Joe the Plumber phenomenon is real. At the rally, supporters carried handmade signs reading “Phil the Bricklayer” and “Rose the Teacher.” Wurzelbacher symbolizes an optimistic, individualistic vision of America sorely lacking — until recently — in McCain’s rhetoric.

Barack Obama, in contrast, has offered the most rhetorically eloquent defense of collectivism since Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his biographical video at the Democratic convention, he proclaimed that in America, “one person’s struggle is all of our struggles.” In his acceptance speech, he artfully replaced the idea of the American dream with the century-old progressive nostrum of “America’s promise.”

But the two visions are in opposition: the former individualistic, the latter collectivist. We each have our own idea of the American dream. Joe the Plumber’s is to own a small plumbing company; yours might be something else entirely. In America, that’s fine, because the pursuit of happiness is an individual, not a collective, right."
The two parties embody these competing visions of economic policies, although imperfectly. The Republican ideals are those of individual effort, risk taking, and the freedom to win rewards or suffer failure. This is the view of the individual in control of his/her own destiny and responsible for what he/she makes of opportunities. The Democrat view is that most people are not able to fend for themselves, and it is the responsibility of society to take care of them through government actions. The individualist view leads to a desire to keep taxes down and the sphere of government actions limited. The collectivist view leads to a desire to add new government programs, expand existing ones, and seek an ever higher share of the "national wealth" to promote "fairness."

There certainly are exceptions to the party breakdown on this point. John McCain has hardly been a staunch supporter of limited government and the individual in economic policies. It's impossible to argue that George W. Bush has been keeping the size and role of government in check. There probably are some Democrats who support minimizing the government's interference in markets and letting people keep what they earn, but I am unable to come up with any examples of prominent figures in the Democrat party today.

The collectivist view calls for government to "create jobs." The individualist view sees that real jobs only come from private enterprise. The visible jobs "created" by government spending are more than matched by the less visible jobs lost or not created in the private sector.

The ultimate outcomes of these two competing visions are easy to see, if we look. Low taxes and economic freedom are always associated with growth, jobs, flexible adaptation to changes, and rising standards of living. High taxes and extensive government regulation of economic activities are always associated with slow/no growth, misallocations of resources, high unemployment, and stagnation. Taken to its limits (i.e. Marxism), the collectivist view destroys the private sector and even leads to complete breakdown of society and famine. These results are consistent, wherever they are tried: the stagnation of European socialism; the growth of tax-cutting European states; the perpetual economic failures of communist governments; and the improvements even there when markets are allowed to work.

The American economy is still the envy of the world, but that is not our birthright. It is the result of our sustained commitment to economic freedom and individualism. That system is threatened today. As a result of the bailout much of the banking system is effectively nationalized at this point. It is imperative that these companies be returned to private hands as soon as practical. Otherwise the banking system will become just another political honey pot, used to reward favored groups. Meanwhile, the main causes of the crisis, the quasi-government/quasi-private Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not dead, and the political forces that created them are still in place. We need to drive stakes through the hearts of these companies now to make sure they are never allowed to re-awaken and repeat the activities that brought us to the brink of financial ruin.

Frankly, I don't know if we can trust John McCain to make the right economic decisions going forward. However, it is completely clear that Barack Obama and potentially large Democrat majorities in the House and Senate are sure to make the wrong decisions for our economic future. We can at least hope that McCain will counter some bad policies.

Obama's history shows a consistent desire to ally and align himself with far left people and groups. His proposed "tax cuts" are nothing but income transfer plans, welfare checks to those who don't work paid for with confiscatory taxes on those who do. He, like many Democrats, speak as though all private income rightfully belongs to the government. His appetite for massive, new government programs to solve all society's ills is insatiable: national healthcare; new alternative energy schemes; new payments to the UN; a new Dept. of Peace and Non-Violence; and more. He has shown hostility toward free trade in talking of "renegotiating" NAFTA and opposing the free trade agreement with Columbia. It's widely agreed that the Great Depression was precipitated in part by the protectionism of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.

Free market capitalism is not just the most efficient mechanism for organizing a society and generating wealth. It is also the most moral, because if you want something from someone else you must offer something of value in return. Obama's rhetoric is full of class warfare clichés and denunciations of "trickledown economics." He is set to sweep into office promising only "change" with a crisis to justify whatever he defines that change to be, and a huge partisan majority to enact his visions. Based on what he tells us of his plans and what we can guess he is not telling us, this would be extremely bad.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Campaign Spending Record

Obama is spending $293,000 per hour (24/7) in October for the first half of the month, according to NBC. That's $105.6 million for the 15 day period. 

So the "outrageous" expense of Gov. Palin's campaign wardrobe by the RNC covers a little over half an hour of Obama's burn rate. Good thing we got all that dirty money out of politics.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Conservative for Obama

We hear lots of stories about Obamacons, conservatives who are supporting TheOne in his quest to ascend to his rightful place in the American firmament. Now another prominent conservative voice has joined the choir:
Larijani: Iran prefers Obama - Israel News, Ynetnews: "Iranian parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Wednesday that Iran would prefer Democrat Barack Obama in the White House next year. Larijani also dismissed any idea that the US would attack Iran.

'We are leaning more in favor of Barack Obama because he is more flexible and rational, even though we know American policy will not change that much,' Larijani said at a press conference during a visit to Bahrain.

How to deal with Iran and the crisis over its nuclear drive has been one of the foreign policy issues in the Nov. 4 race for the White House between Obama and Republican John McCain.

Larijani, a leading figure in the conservative camp in Iran, also said the United States was too busy dealing with the global financial crisis to consider waging an attack on Iran." [emphasis added]
Who knew Iran had conservatives, too? We feel better just knowing there are prominent figures in the Iranian government who support small government, the market economy, low taxes and individual liberty. If even Iranian conservatives can come out in support of Barack Obama, we can all rest easier at the prospect of an Obama Dynasty.
Larijani also revealed that he has personally donated the maximum amount to Obama's campaign, 37 times so far.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Who Is Bill Ayers?

The Real Issue Isn't Joe

Monday, October 20, 2008

Something New Here by Stanley Kurtz on National Review Online

Stanley Kurtz of National Review lays out the connections among Obama, the socialistic New Party of Chicago, and ACORN. There are many.
Something New Here by Stanley Kurtz on National Review Online: "At what point will the press force Obama to own up to the full extent of his ties to ACORN? At what point will the press demand a full accounting of Obama’s ties to the New Party? At what point will the depth of Obama’s redistributionist economic stance be acknowledged? Barack Obama is hiding the truth about his political past, and the press is playing along."
Unfortunately, it seems it is up to a few honest reporters like Kurtz and regular people like us to spread the word about this. 

We Are All Joe the Plumber

It's official. In less than a week the Dinosaur Media have already spent more time and effort investigating Joe Wurzelbacher, a regular guy who had the temerity to ask Obama a question, than they have spent in the past year investigating the candidate. It wasn't even a "gotcha" question, but Obama, unable to see his teleprompter from Joe's front lawn, accidentally blurted out something that betrayed his actual, i.e. socialist, views.
"It's not that I want to punish your success. I want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success, too. My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Before you could say, "Politics of Personal Destruction" the race was on to find some dirt, any dirt, on the man who asked the question that Obama whiffed on. John at Power Line writes of the crusade to discredit Joe in Bring me the head of Joe the Plumber:
"As Barack Obama made the rounds in his neighborhood, Joe the Plumber elicited Obama's frankly redistributionist statement that he seeks to 'spread the wealth around' in his tax plan. Clearly this cannot stand.

The question itself revealed a kind of offense against royalty that in French goes under the rubric of lèse majesté. Moreover, Obama's comment betrays a frame of mind that is unpopular among independent middle-class voters whose vote may still be up for grabs. Joe the Plumber embarrassed The Man Who Would Be King."
We haven't seen anything like this since Sarah Palin was tapped by McCain as his running mate. Sayeth The One: "Let he who is without sin ask the first question. The rest of you, shut the f*** up."

Surprise! Joe did have some things in his past he'd prefer not to have everyone know about. Who doesn't have something, be it a crazy uncle, some other nuts, a few old terrorist pals. or our own role in creating the financial crisis? Some members of the media section of the Obama campaign suggested McCain should have "vetted" Joe before talking about The Incident. However, Joe, along with the rest of us, was "vetted" back during the founding of this great country. We have the right, at least for now, to ask questions of our leaders, even questions that embarrass them.

The real issue isn't Joe or what he said, but who Obama is, what he says and what that means. The fact is that Obama's tax plan would raise tax rates dramatically on people founding and running successful small businesses. Joe doesn't own one yet, but, God bless him, he wants to and he's working hard to make it happen. That's what creates the wealth that Obama wants to redistribute to people who are, for the most part, not working as hard as Joe. And Obama calls his stealth socialism "good for everybody."

Talk about a close call. Obama caught himself just in time. His initial thought was to say, "From each according to his abilities. To each according to his needs."

Obama said to Joe that he doesn't want to punish his success, and that's true. If he wanted to punish him, he'd give Joe a baby.

See also Mark Steyn's "Joe the Plumber vs. Joe the Hair-Plugger."

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