Tuesday, September 04, 2012
“Trickle Down Fairy Dust”
Comment by Dick McDonald
The chief strategist for Obama’s 2012 Presidential Campaign, David Plouffe, states this morning on Sunday Talk that Governor Romney is offering the same policies that got us into the Great Recession in the first place – “top-down trickle-down fairy dust.” “It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work now.”
Unfortunately many uninformed citizens will buy this deception because the Republicans don’t forcefully dispute these lies. First of all the Great Recession was caused by the Democrat’s forcing banks to finance with government guarantees homes for people who couldn’t afford them.
Those guarantees from Freddie and Fannie were backed by the people of the United States essentially without their knowledge or approval because had they been asked they never would have given it. It is time for the Republican talking heads to speak up and destroy the fallacy that their policies caused the Great Recession.
The trickle-down, top-down charge is ludicrous. That is how economies have always worked. Before 1776 just a very few people called all the shots. The kings, queens and other monarchs dictated what trickled down to the masses. The democratic revolution in America changed all that to allow just about anyone to become powerful and wealthy and trickle down economic benefits on others.
Today we have several million industrious people in America that do the trickling. These are the same people Democrats are blaming for a bad economy. It is their 2012 campaign to vilify and punish them as greedy selfish heartless Republicans.
The implied policy of the Democrats is to unmercifully tax and regulate the “heartless” and redistribute their wealth to the middle class – with no mention of the poor (Democrats don’t mention the poor as they already have them buffaloed).
What Republicans should vehemently promote is that trickle-down is the effect of wealth creation not the cause. Wealth is created by the mere fact that opportunity to create it exists in America. Republicans should shout from the rooftops that Democrats are stifling and limiting opportunity at every turn and that is what is causing the massive reduction in the personal wealth of Americans and blocking its recovery.
Opportunity is what is meant by the word free in the term free market system. Republicans need to make this abundantly clear to those who want to vote for a Democrat. The American Dream depends on it.
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Liberty vs. government
No visual dominates the landscape of our nation's capital like the Washington Monument. Today, however, other than memorializing our first president, it also provides a message about the role and efficacy of government.
Last year on Aug. 23, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit Washington, D.C. The earthquake caused cracks in the monument, which stands at a height of almost two football fields, so the National Park Service shut it down.
Now, one year later, the monument remains in disrepair, closed to the 600,000 annual visitors it usually receives.
The Washington Post reported in January that the monument would be closed until sometime in 2013. According to that report, the contract to do the repairs would "probably not be awarded until late summer, with work starting sometime after that."
Now the latest report in The Washington Post indicates that repair of the monument may not be complete until sometime in 2014.
In January 1994, Los Angeles was hit with a massive 6.7-magnitude earthquake, knocking down two sections of the Santa Monica Freeway.
An initial estimate from the California Department of Transportation was that it would take 12 to 18 months for repairs.
Considering the massive potential costs to the local economy of shutting down sections of the world's busiest freeway, Caltrans officials decided to turn loose the time-tested formula for American success: market incentives and individual ingenuity.
They opened bidding to contractors who would accelerate the repair process, offering incentive bonuses for early completion.
The result: The repairs were completed in less than three months, with the contractor collecting a $14.5 million bonus for finishing 74 days ahead of schedule.
A rule of life is that we can always expect the unexpected.
Natural disasters deliver this truth in graphic and shocking ways. But the unexpected is with us constantly, natural disasters or not.
It's why an enduring society must be a free society. Only when free can individuals deal with life's endless surprises in creative and resilient ways.
Bureaucracy and government control are guarantees for failure.
Now, sadly, we watch those on Louisiana's Gulf Coast bear the brunt again of a brutal hurricane.
Think of the despair that followed Katrina. There was no shortage of opinions that New Orleans was done forever, that it could never recover.
But, human resilience, will, creativity and freedom have revived this city.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the New Orleans region is below the national average.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the surge of entrepreneurial activity that has occurred there. Tax incentives have given birth to a growing, nationally competitive film industry, with music and software design following suit.
A failed public school system has been revitalized, with 80 percent of the schools now charter schools.
Shouldn't it tell us something that Apple, the icon for innovation, once on the brink of failure, is now the most valuable company in history?
And that all the major areas where we are having problems are areas controlled or dominated by government?
Americans don't need to watch fancily produced political conventions to know that one question faces us this year: Do we want to be free?
Spain (past and present) shows where Obama's policies lead
The economic model President Obama wants America to embark on has been tried many times in many places and every time its failed. We are reminded of this when we look at Spain. Massive government spending on projects like countless airports never used, high speed rail and new highways.
Sure, it looks fantastic but there are no commercial trucks, there are no commuters, and the only mobility is downward. Three regions of Spain have requested emergency bailouts and more are lining up.
They are bogged down with gigantic debt for public projects that were ill-advised and have become costly white elephants.
* Murcia needs 1.0 billion (200.0 million for a much-delayed airport that looks like a flop before it even opens)
* Valencia needs 3.5 billion just to cover current needs and help its army of homeless as a 26.0 million new hospital sits there gleaming with only 120 beds but six operating theater.
* Catalonia need 5.0 billion after wasting money on things like an 150.0 million airport that gathers dust but not birds because they pay a falconer 200,000 euros annual to keep them away.
As much as Spain stands today as a cautionary tale against mindless spending in the name of short-term glory (so many projects have grandiose statues often in the image of local politicians) and temp jobs (and really redistribution of wealth from taxpayers to union workers) it was the Spain of the past that truly stands as the best example of how the greatest nation in the world can begin a decent into an also-ran nation with 25% unemployment (there was another glory period under King Charles III 1759 to 1788). The Spain of King Philip II.
When he became King in 1556 at age 29 King Philip II of Spain his nation was rising above all others in the world. His reign covered much of the world but was marred by massive spending and borrowing. In the end the empire went bankrupt 13 times from 1500 to 1900. The ball got rolling with an ambitious scheme to conquer the world including the Netherlands and Britain. What good is being in the midst of a Golden Age and not own your largest rivals? But wars are expensive and not just the ones fought back then with swords and cannons. Wars on poverty, drugs, and these days success all take on budgets.
Of course it comes down to government spending and realizing when it's time to reel it back. The string of bankruptcies began. Some scholars claim the first three (1557, 1560 and 1575) were simply liquidity shocks But the nation continued to not be able to pay its debts and fell bankrupt again in 1596.
Instead of cutting back on ambition or spending, Spain had other ideas on how to tackle their fiscal problems- raise taxes.
From 1559 to 1598 taxes increased 430% raising 1.4 million ducats and still not enough to offset government spending. Making matters worse was the fact Aristocracy was exempt from paying taxes. This create a real and legitimate war of envy across Europe and eventually led to a revolution in the New World. Speaking of the New World, not only was all that tax money pouring into the coffers but Spain was raking in mounds of gold and silver from the Americas. (Demand was so intense that natives were broken and killed sparking the demand for slaves from Africa that could handle the heat and workload.)
Even with all that cash pouring in spending remained out of control. In the meantime Spain eventually lost a prolonged war in the Netherlands that saw the Dutch declare independence, and an ill-timed invasion of Britain saw the demise of the so-called "invincible armada." There was also the suppression of the Moriscos revolt where 80% of the arms used by Spanish military and mercenaries were imported.
Because of Spain's massive spending and series of bankruptcies there was very little investment in the nation and its private businesses. Like the United States today lenders were willing to make investments in debt knowing defaults would only trigger much higher interest payments later. Moreover, Spain during its Golden Age and America today were cash machines. Yet, the underlying fundamentals were fading. The circumnavigation of the world brought in cheap products from China and India not only hurting taxes collected from Silk Road trade but also harming domestic manufactures.
Spain's current situation after spending the kind of money on public works advocated by the left in America serves as a great example that simply building it doesn't mean they will come. But, it's the Spain that once ruled the world that truly underscores how governments spending can destroy the greatest of empires.
By the way the mainstream media is giddy over how well the levies held up this week. The fact that Irene's punch was to Katrina what a seven year old kid's punch was to a Mike Tyson in his prime I'm giddy the levies held, too. But make no mistake nobody is upset with spending used to keep Americans safe. We want to be safe from nature, terrorists and military threats (now and down the road). This is a lot different than pouring billions of dollars into making over-priced glass panels that can't compete with cheaper versions from China. It's different than taking money from taxpayers to pay off political donors. Its different than punishing earnings of hardworking people and job creators out of uncontrollable envy.
Liberal Media Brings Out the Hockey Pucks
In 2004, Arnold Schwarzenegger, then a popular figure in the Republican Party, gave an exciting, upbeat and surprisingly funny speech at the GOP convention. He covered a lot of territory: the story of how he came to America, how he became a Republican after listening to Richard Nixon, and other highlights of his life story.
Afterwards, then-CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported that Schwarzenegger "slapped John Kerry around like a hockey puck."
The only problem: Schwarzenegger never mentioned John Kerry, not even once.
I bring it up because it's hardly news that much of the press likes to report the convention as they want it to be rather than as it is.
It's also somewhat less than a thunderclap revelation that the press and the Democratic Party tend to see things the same way. Which is why it's unremarkable that the "fact-checkers" and Democratic Party press-release writers are on the same page.
Hence the relentless coverage of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's "lies" during his convention speech. His story about a Janesville, Wis., GM plant, in particular, has stirred up a journalistic fuss:
"A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: 'I believe that if our government is there to support you ... this plant will be here for another hundred years.' That's what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year."
The Associated Press fact-checkers were among the most restrained in their "correction."
"The plant halted production in December 2008," the AP explained, "weeks before Obama took office and well before he enacted a more robust auto industry bailout that rescued GM and Chrysler and allowed the majority of their plants -- though not the Janesville facility -- to stay in operation."
The first problem is that Ryan wasn't referencing the bailout at all, but the sorry state of the overall economy and President Obama's record of over-promising and under-delivering.
A bigger problem is that the AP didn't even look up its own reporting about the Janesville plant. "Production at the General Motors plant in Janesville is scheduled to end for good this week," the news services reported on April 19, 2009. "GM spokesman Christopher Lee says operations at the southern Wisconsin plant will cease Thursday."
And there's the small matter that everything about Ryan's statement was true if you go by the plain meaning of the words.
Or consider the media's obsession with the alleged racism of the GOP. The folks at MSNBC are particularly obsessed with the race angle. New York Magazine political reporter John Heilemann and "Hardball" host Chris Matthews concluded the other night that the word "Chicago" is racially loaded code.
"They keep saying 'Chicago,'" Matthews said. "That's another thing that sends that message -- this guy's helping the poor people in the bad neighborhoods, screwing us in the 'burbs."
Heilemann nodded, adding, "There's a lot of black people in Chicago."
One standard cliché is to bemoan the fact that there are so many "white faces" among the delegates. This potted observation is usually brought up in connection with some chin-pulling insight about the GOP's problems reaching out to minorities.
Many an hour can be wasted listening to the gang at MSNBC expressing their deep concerns about this pressing issue and how the GOP must adapt to a more diverse America. Perhaps the GOP would do better if allegedly serious people stopped going on national television and saying that even the use of the word "Chicago" is now racially loaded.
Meanwhile, one thing the GOP could do is put forward some really attractive and compelling minority speakers to deliver its message. Indeed, that's what the GOP did on its first night of the convention -- and the concerned folks at MSNBC opted to stop covering the speeches whenever a minority took the stage.
If the coverage of this convention is an indication of the trajectory the media will follow for the rest of the campaign, you can be sure of three things: Lies will be defined as facts that are inconvenient to President Obama, racists will be understood to be Republicans who are winning an argument, and truth will be slapped around like a hockey puck.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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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)
Posted by JR at 12:33 AM