Monday, October 24, 2011

Progressive America

Derek Hunter

Unemployment stands at 9.1 percent, with real unemployment closer to 20. Nearly 50 million Americans are on food stamps. We’ve added $4 trillion in new debt in less than three years. And there’s no sign any of this will change soon.

The seriousness of the times require serious leaders...and all we have is Barack Obama, Congressional Democrats and a sea of unwashed “gimmie-crats” sleeping in parks demanding more. Welcome to Progressive America.

As more “Green” scandals involving “friendly” treatment of friends and fundraisers for the president emerge, no one with a “D” after his or her name seems to give a damn. Why would they? It’s not their money. Spending other people’s money is fun. Spending two as-yet-unborn generations’ money is even more fun because you won’t be around when they realize what you’ve done to them. It’s the progressive way.

Not all our problems are Obama’s fault, of course. But his progressive “solutions” to the problems he inherited amount to blowing a hole in the side of a sinking ship in hopes of letting the water out. It might seem like a good idea on paper but only if you don’t actually consider the problem in the solution.

In Progressive America, hatred and anger rule. Does someone have more than you do? Protest that outrage. Remember, after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., by the anti-Bush lunatic, when President Obama gave that speech calling for a “new tone” in politics? It was a hopeful moment for a nation reeling from tragedy and sick of name calling. It lasted five minutes.

The failure of progressives to control their tongues, to resist spewing such “tolerance” as “The Tea Party are terrorists,” “Republicans are hostage takers” and of talking-head goons from calling conservative women “whores,” is surprising only if you haven’t been paying attention. You can’t stop hateful rhetoric when it’s who you are.

You don’t even have to be conservative to be on the receiving end of an attack from the progressive mob. Wall Street gave more money to Barack Obama than any other candidate in history, yet the aromatically challenged mob isn’t camped outside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.; it’s drum circling on Wall Street.

If the protesters truly are angry about bailouts, shouldn’t they protest those who gave them rather than those who took them? If they equate money in politics with bribery, shouldn’t they take issue with those accept the bribes as well as those who give them? After all, it’s only an attempted bribe until it’s accepted.

Progressives tell you the system is corrupt, yet never mention Solyndra, Fisker, et. al. The system isn’t corrupt. A system can’t be anything other than a system. It’s the people who are corrupt. This doesn’t fit the progressive agenda, so you’re not likely to hear much about it. But this is, in fact, the heart of the problem.

The progressive agenda is about control – over everyone and everything. The movement was born of arrogance from people who thought they knew better, thought they were better. They were racists who once looked to eugenics to rid the world of “undesirables.” They were superior in thought and deed – and thus uniquely qualified to determine who was worthy of what in society. That mentality, that profound arrogance, continues to form the basis of modern progressivism.

The United States was founded by and for people who believed in the individual. But to be a progressive is to have zero faith in your fellow human beings, to look down on them. This was exemplified by Vice President Joe Biden this week when he doubled down on his “if Republicans don’t pass the president’s ‘jobs’ bill, rapes and murders will increase exponentially” vitriol.

He, the White House, which publicly stood behind his comments, and progressive talking heads all seem to believe Americans refrain from raping and murdering each other solely because there are police around. They believe we’re all animals, and only a powerful government can protect us from ourselves and each other.

Given that Republicans swept the 2010 elections and President Obama’s approval ratings are fast approaching his waist size, you’d expect reality to set in soon and for him to move to the political center. You’d be wrong. He is so insulated from reality and entrenched in the progressive philosophy that when he told ABC’s Jake Tapper “I believe all the choices we've made have been the right ones...” on the economy, he truly believed it.

As the election approaches, and if his poll numbers continue to fade, expect President Obama to redouble his efforts to implement as much of the progressive agenda through executive orders as possible. Expect Democrats in Congress to cheerlead the usurpation of their power and their media allies to cheer his actions when they can and ignore them when they must.

Some say progressives disrespect the Constitution, but you can’t disrespect what you never respected in the first place. The concept of limited executive power is foreign to them...when they’re in power. Should a Republican win next November and try to do half the things President Obama has done through executive order, the outrage from progressives will be, well …fun to watch.



Has Our "System" Failed, Or Has Our President

“The system has failed.” Have you heard this comment lately? Does it express how you feel about America? This one sentence, vague as it is, nonetheless captures a common sentiment about the current condition of the United States.

With the “occupy” protesters disrupting civic life around the country and President Obama publicly bonding with them, we’re seeing that magical phrase – “the system has failed” – being used in increasingly ambiguous ways. So it makes sense that the rest of us should ask a couple of important questions: What “system” are they talking about? And in what sense has that system “failed?”

At times it would appear that the occupiers are decrying our American system of constitutional, elective and representative government. “Our voices aren’t being heard,” many of them will say, implying that they are being trampled-upon by an abusive dictatorial regime.

But if you probe deeper and ask “what do you mean by that?,” it often becomes apparent that what the occupiers are really saying is “my policy ideas were rejected,” “the election didn’t turn out the way it should have,” or “I disagree with the outcome of the legislative vote (the congressional rejection of the Obama tax hikes is a perfect example of this).”

Thus, the claim that “the system has failed” implies a very self-centered, narcissistic view of the world – “the system is not producing the policies that I want, so therefore the entire system is wrong.”

Another component to the “not being heard” claim is the fact that many of the occupiers seem disinterested in participating in the processes of making public policy. Pollster Doug Schoen recently noted in the Wall Street Journal that while an overwhelming majority of the occupiers voted for President Obama in 2008, less than half will vote to re-elect him and at least 25% won’t vote at all in 2012.

Similarly, in a recent interview I did with occupier “Christine,” the intelligent and articulate 25 year old gushed on my daily talk show about how the movement signals a “new awakening” where people are “letting their voices be heard.” Yet when I asked, she couldn’t name any elected official who represents her in the U.S. Congress, her state legislature, her city council or school board, and she openly admitted that she did not vote in the 2008 presidential election.

At other times, the occupiers seem to be saying that our free-market economic system has failed. Some of this rhetoric implies a very simple, socialistic, “it’s unfair if one person achieves more than the other” type of mindset. Other occupiers present more complex concerns, as does the unnamed Los Angeles occupier who appears in the now-famous “WTF is going on?” Youtube video.

“I’ve been an electrician for ten years,” the man in the video shouts into a bullhorn. “My wife is a nurse….we both have good jobs…and we can’t afford a house…That aint right!...What is going on?” he cries.

These types of frustrations are real and common. But the angry outbursts suggest a lack of interest in understanding important economic concepts like the relative worth of “things” – the value of labor, and durable goods, for example – and the variable value of the currency.

Perhaps most noteworthy about our alleged “system failure,” is President Obama implying that he wants to replace it. Most of the reaction to the President’s recent interview with ABC News focused on the fact that he said, in no uncertain terms, that he is “on their side” – on the side of the occupier protesters, that is, and apparently not on the side of the rest of us Americans.

However the more intriguing comments from the President were mostly un-noticed. “We want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you’re supposed to do, is rewarded,” Mr. Obama stated, “and that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don’t feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers, that those folks aren’t rewarded.”

The President and the protesters may be shocked to learn this, but our free-market, capitalist economic system is already designed to accomplish this, and it does so pretty well – when it is truly “free” and competitive. When government refrains from punishing success with threats of ever-increasing taxation and regulation, people get rewarded for their hard work and responsibility and they’re incentivized to continue achieving. And when government allows businesses to compete with each other, excellence rises to the top and inferiority is allowed to fail.

President Obama has pursued policies that move us in the exact opposite direction. High-achievers are maligned in the President’s rhetoric and policy proposals. Mis-managed companies – failed banks and car companies in particular – are given “government bailouts.” And businesses that meet Barack Obama’s individual, political needs – G.E., General Motors, Solyndra, and Fisker Automotive of Finland, to name a few - are granted special privileges and waivers so as to become pre-determined successes.

The American “system” has not failed – not our economic system, nor our political system. But many of our currently elected government officials need to be replaced, along with many of their policies.



Government makes poverty much worse than it needs to be

If you live in a middle-class household, you generally expect your needs to be met through the marketplace. You buy or rent housing in the real estate market. When you aren't driving your own car, you catch a taxicab or maybe even hire a limo. You or your employer buy health insurance, and you choose your doctor in the medical marketplace.

For most poor families, the experience is very different. Regulations designed to protect entrenched special interests have succeeded in raising the costs of basic services so much that low-income families have been priced out of the market for many essential services. Middle-class and poor communities differ not just by income. For the middle class, basic needs are met by markets and they benefit from the customer-pleasing innovations that competition produces. All too often, the poor must turn to public programs with all of the customer-pleasing attributes of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Take housing, for example. The cheapest form of housing is small, prefabricated homes for zero-lot developments. However, zoning regulations in most cities outlaw them — an act that effectively doubles the price of the cheapest housing. There are also other expensive restrictions on new housing, such as forcing builders to build on bigger lots and mandating specific types of materials and construction methods. Regulations vary widely across the United States. In Houston, a less restrictive city, regulatory costs add about $13,200 to the price of an average home. In San Diego, a multitude of regulations add $240,000. These cost-increasing regulations have essentially priced many low-income residents out of the market for a private home, forcing them to turn to public housing instead.

Then there is transportation. Did you know that people in the bottom fifth of income distribution take more taxicab rides than middle-income families? The reason: a lot of poor people don’t own automobiles. Taxi fares are far higher than they need to be, however, because local governments tightly control entry into the taxi market. There is no reason in principle why someone with a van couldn’t pick up workers in a low-income neighborhood and transport them to a jobsite, charging each passenger a few bucks. The problem: Most cities make this activity against the law.

When low-income families are priced out of the market for private transportation, they must turn to public transportation. Since only a few cities have subways, that means turning to buses. Yet, even a simple trip to work or a supermarket can be a logistical nightmare if you have to follow city bus schedules.

And consider health care. Sad to say, but the paramedics who treat our soldiers on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan are not allowed to provide the same services back home for people who can’t afford, and perhaps don’t need, the attention of a physician. Although the restrictions differ from state to state, laws everywhere “protect” patients from care delivered by anyone other than a physician. This is despite studies showing that non-physician clinicians can competently provide from 60 percent to 90 percent of all primary care.

In some parts of the country, walk-in clinics in shopping malls allow nurses to give flu shots, take temperatures, prescribe antibiotics and deliver other timely, inexpensive care. But even these innovative services are often saddled with burdensome regulations. For example, in Massachusetts, regulations for clinics have such cost-increasing requirements as a separate entrance for patients, minimum size requirements for exam rooms, and a separate reception desk. When low-income families find they cannot afford private care, what’s the alternative? Community health centers and the emergency rooms of safety net hospitals. Yet these care sites often involve crowding and waiting, which limits access to care.

Child care is another basic service needed by many low-income families. In fact, low-income families spend about a third of their income on child care, as much as a typical middle-income family might spend on a home. In recent years, state and local governments have been making child care ever more costly, however. All manner of regulations are emerging, including the licensing of day care workers. Did you know that in most places, it’s illegal for a neighbor down the street to oversee children from the neighborhood for pay? Again, what’s the alternative? Low-income mothers must seriously consider abandoning the labor market altogether and rely solely on the welfare state.

Even a basic activity like keeping the neighborhood safe runs into regulatory barriers. In response to inadequate public police protection, an increasingly popular alternative is private police. In the United States, private security guards actually outnumber public police officers by a ratio of three to one; and they can perform most, if not all, of the necessary law enforcement tasks. Yet, government regulation has created substantial barriers for would-be security firms, including criminal background checks, examinations, training requirements, and insurance and bonding minimums.

A task force report produced by the National Center for Policy analysis calls for an end to these senseless policies, and advocates allowing our lowest-income citizens access to the benefits of the free market.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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