Friday, August 31, 2012

The Text of the 'Real' Speech Clint Eastwood Meant To Give At The GOP Convention

'A Man's GOT to Know His Limitations'

These are clips from some of Clint Eastwood's movies and interviews that we think he may have left behind on a sheet of paper when he came out onto the podium in Tampa last night.

He is 82 now, and after all, he is Clint Eastwood.  He can sorta do whatever he wants by now, can't he?

We are not 100% sure...and we are not going to ever ask Mr. Eastwood in person either.  But we think the quotes below, along with some judicious editing from us, might have been what he had in mind beyond his simple direct truth that all sides can agree on whether it is President Obama or was President Bush or any elected official you can vote for or against at any level of government: 

'We own this country. Politicians work for us. When they don't do the job, we gotta let them go'.

  • 'There are aspects of characters I've played that I might like but I don't like all the things about him. In 'Dirty Harry', the whole romance of the film is the fact that he's a guy who hates bureaucracy. Well, who doesn't hate bureaucracy?'
We all hate bureacracy, don't we?  Red, blue, purple, white, black, Asian. America as a nation that has always been suspicious and wary of concentrated power in the hands of the few.  Why should our generation be any different than any that has gone before us? 
That is the main problem I have with President Obama. He seems to love more bureaucracy!  Show me where he hasn't exhibited a predisposition to pass more legislation and regulations and rely more on the ingenuity and resiliency of the American entrepreneur and worker and I might change my mind. Some. But I doubt it.
  •  'If you approach a film with the feeling that you are going to have some impact on society then you're liable to get carried away with yourself. Alfred Hitchcock once told me, when I was analyzing a lot of things about his pictures, "Clint, you must remember, it's only a movie.'
Same with politics.  It is 'only' politics.  I was Mayor of Carmel, California for 2 years, remember, so I know the difference between campaigning and governing. The important part to remember that once the 'fun' and the 'dirty' parts of politics are over and done with on Election Day, you have to govern this nation as a whole, not as part of a whole. President Obama has failed to unite us a nation and has instead chosen to use division and class warfare to separate us from each other.
I can't abide by that. 
  • 'I don't believe in pessimism. If something doesn't come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it's going to rain, it will.'
'President Obama: Quit complaining about the bad economy you inherited.  You wanted this job bad enough to run for it for 2 straight years and spend about $1 billion to win the nomination and the general election. George Bush didn't tell you to pass the policies you did that haven't worked to get us out of this economic slump.  Those are entirely your own job and your own responsibility.  George Washington didn't complain about having to cross the Delaware on that cold Christmas Eve night in 1776.  He just did it.  Be a leader, not a whiner.'
  • 'Extremism is so easy. You've got your position, and that's it. It doesn't take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right you meet the same idiots coming around from the left.'
(We can't say it any better than Clint Eastwood.  Cause it is most definitely 'true')
  • 'There's a rebel lying deep in my soul. Anytime anybody tells me the trend is such and such, I go the opposite direction. I hate the idea of trends. I hate imitation; I have a reverence for individuality.'
America was made by rebels.  Rebels who left Europe and England because of religious oppression. Rebels who couldn't stand the dictates of a distant King across the ocean.  Rebels who fought the Civil War before America could be birthed a new freedom in 1865.  Rebels who fought for the rights of women to vote in the early 20th century.  Rebels like Martin Luther King who fought for the full rights of our fellow African-American citizens.
The day America loses its sense of James Dean, John Wayne, and, yes, Clint Eastwood, then we will really have problems. 'A Little Rebellion is a Good Thing' as Thomas Jefferson would say.
  • 'Westerns. In a Western you can think, Jesus, there was a time when man was alone, on horseback, out there where man hasn't spoiled the land yet.'
We all have our failures and our faults. It isn't just the Republicans who are bad or the liberals.  We want a leader who will bring out the 'better part of our angels' as Ronald Reagan referred repeatedly.  That is how we are going to solve these problems and heal this nation, together, as one nation, one society, one America.
  • 'A Man's GOT To Know His Limitations'
'President Obama seems like a nice man. Except when he allows his political henchmen such as David Axelrod and David Plouffe to run those awful ads accusing Mitt Romney of murdering that lady who contracted cancer after working at a company in which Bain Capital had invested.
He is just not a budget or a numbers guy.  He has not shown any predisposition to attack or arrest the explosion of these budget deficits which have now AVERAGED $1.3 trillion per year during the 3 years he had full control of the budget.  He has personally allowed $12 trillion of new debt to be either created or not eliminated due to his actions/inactions as Budget Commander-in-Chief.  He has not seen one federal program outside of the defense program that he thinks is bloated, wasteful or due for major significant reforms and reductions. Everything in the federal budget has gone way up in cost and price under President Obama, not down.
He has got to know his limitations in this regard.  If he doesn't, then that is reason enough to just 'let him go'. 

  • 'Go ahead. Make my day.'
Vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  There!  I have said it.  I am from Hollywood and I approve this message.

* most of this list comes courtesy of 10 Top Best

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

'A Little Rebellion Now And Then Is A Good Thing...'

'I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.' -Thomas Jefferson Letter to James Madison from Paris, January 30, 1787 after Shays Rebellion, a revolt of Massachusetts farmers over conditions in 1786

Did anyone get a whiff of the coming generational debate that people have been saying was 'coming' for the past 30 years in Paul Ryan's acceptance speech?

It was more like a hot blast from an open furnace, wasn't it?

For the past 30 years, we have been hearing from economic experts that the current state of entitlements in America were 'unsustainable'; 'on a growth path that will crowd out everything else' and 'had to be reformed'.

30 years.  That's a long, long time, people. Three decades. When Ronald Reagan took office.

Our favorite quote ever heard on the House Budget Committee was when some so-called 'expert' had this to say about entitlements in 1991:
'The growth of entitlements, particularly in our health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, are going to swamp the US budget in about 15 years unless we do something to deal with the cost-drivers such as tort reform, third party payors, (and a host of other factors).  But don't worry: (and here's our favorite part) 'This will never happen because the American people and Congress will be smart enough to avoid anything like that from ever happening!'
Closed quote.

We hate to inform this 'expert' but apparently we have not been smart enough to head off the funding crisis of Medicare and Medicaid at the pass and neither have we been smart enough to deal with the cost drivers underlying health care inflation in general.

Obamacare took a complete pass at even talking about these important factors.  It was as bad as seeing President Obama whiff on the first tee playing golf one day.  Instead, President Obama and the Democrat Congress in total charge at the time (2009-2010) chose to cover their eyes and ears and mouths like the 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil' mystic apes of Japan and wished, hoped and prayed that health care inflation would 'just go away!' because they say it should.

Well, last night, you heard the 'shots heard round the country' from Paul Ryan's speech on the debate that has needed to be made out in public for these past 30 years.

We need this debate.  We want this debate.  And every single person under the age of 55 should participate in this debate.  (If you are over the age of 55, this does not concern your benefits because no one on either side is going to take away your SS or Medicare benefits and push you off the cliff in a wheelchair like the Democrat ads depict Republicans doing)

(unless maybe you are wealthy as Croesus like Warren Buffett himself...what is the world is a civilized society like ours sending him a $2000/month SS check or subsidizing his medical bills to the tune of 85%+ in Medicare when he can buy dozens of hospitals and tell them to treat him for free?)

You know how long the Founders took to actually even allow a debate on the 's-word' (slavery) when they wrote the US Constitution?  21 years.  There is not one single word calling it 'slavery' or talking about 'slaves' in the entire Constitution....even the Founders knew how bad the institution of slavery truly was.  They could not bring themselves to embed the 's-word' in the same glorified document that amplified what Mr. Jefferson meant when he wrote the words 'All men are created equal' in the Declaration of Independence 12 years previous.

After 1808, 21 years after the Constitution was written in 1787, they would finally allow amendments and legislation that would deal with the tricky issues of runaway slaves, importation of slaves and ownership of slaves.

Why 21 years?

Because that would give the writers of the Constitution time to age out and perhaps die (life expectancy was about 2/3'rds of what it is today back then, if that).

They wouldn't be around to deal with that thorny issue!

Same deal with the current debate on Medicare.  If you are under the age of 55 today, you will be affected by any changes to Medicare one way or another.

1) If we allow it to go broke while your parents are on it (and then they all come back to live in your house with respirators and oxygen tanks), then you will have to deal with it out of your own resources; or

2) If Medicare is reformed like it could and should be reformed today, by the time you are eligible for it, it will be on a sustainable basis based on  sound financial principles as it should have been all along since inception in 1965.

Anything passed under a Romney/Ryan Administration (if President Obama and Veep Joe Biden were truly serious about saving and reforming Medicare, they would have already done it in the last 4 years, wouldn't they?) with a willing Congress will not fully phase-in until 2022 or so on Medicare at least.

Now, you are going to hear the blowhards and the foaming-at-the-mouth fulminators such as Chris Matthews (is there anyone any better at that than he?) that Romney and Ryan want to 'end Medicare as we know it!'

Well, Medicare is broke right now!  Can't these people read or understand numbers?

I swear, if I was 23 again, I might be in the Shays Rebellion of 2012, except this time it would be over the inequities of paying large amounts of payroll taxes into an unsustainable federal Medicare program that will not be there when I turn 65 in the Year 2054 unless it is massively reformed and improved right now.

Thomas Jefferson was right.  'A Little Rebellion' every now in America is what has always refreshed our Republic when things just went not quite right, haven't they?  Civil rights, women's suffrage...most every time Americans have 'rebelled', it has been to fight a concentration of power by some faction focused on maintaining power in government at all costs.

The same thing is probably happening today as we speak. The creation and evolution of the Tea Party over the past 2 years has just been the canary in the mineshaft of the unease and unrest that most of the nation feels towards more concentration of power in Washington on the shores of the mighty Potomac River.

How the Boomer Generation that grew up 'rebelling' against 'The Man!', the Vietnam War, Big Government and everything else 'big' in the crazy '60's ever wound up worshiping at the altar of 'More Massive Government!' and wanting 'more control' by bureaucrats in Washington is simply beyond us.

There was a poll taken by a reputable firm some years ago where more young people believed that aliens have landed on Planet Earth and are walking amongst us than believed that Social Security and Medicare would be there for them when they retired.

Have you listened to Chris Matthews lately?  They might be right.

The time to talk about reforming and changing Medicare and Social Security for future generations is now.

Try to focus on the substance of the arguments and not the fulminations of tv cable show talk show hosts.

Friday, August 24, 2012

President Obama and Congress: Who is 'Thelma' and Who Is 'Louise' As They Drive The US Economy Off The Fiscal Cliff?

Thelma and Louise Setting Fiscal Policy in DC
The CBO recently came out with an update to their 10-year Budget and Economic Outlook...and it wasn't pretty.

Basically they said if the fiscal cliff is not fixed by President Obama and the House and the Senate before the end of this year, 2012, we will fall back into a recession.

How's that for grabbing your attention? You want to go backwards and relive the downside of the past 4 years, again?

Here's the report in full:  CBO  Read it for yourself if you have the guts and the stomach for it.

Below, we have taken the summary and inserted somewhat irreverent and pithy comments in red as if we were hearing it for the first time in a Budget Committee hearing and thinking these thoughts to ourselves. You'll be amused and maybe somewhat stunned what goes through the mind of a congressional staffer during such a hearing, besides the obligatory 'What am I going to have for lunch today?' and 'Who do the Redskins play this weekend...I wonder if I can get a ticket from someone?':

'For fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30), the federal budget deficit will total $1.1 trillion, CBO estimates, marking the fourth year in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion. Wow, that is really, really bad! Wonder if Presidents Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton or Bush 43 would have gotten the pass President Obama has gotten from the media if they had had 4 straight years of $1 trillon+ annual deficits?

That projection is down slightly from the $1.2 trillion deficit that CBO projected in March. Thank God for little favors then! At 7.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), this year’s deficit will be three-quarters as large as the deficit in 2009 when measured relative to the size of the economy. What the heck are they trying to say here exactly? Just say it then. Federal debt held by the public will reach 73 percent of GDP by the end of this fiscal year—the highest level since 1950 and about twice the share that it measured at the end of 2007, before the financial crisis and recent recession. Twice as bad.  We were told by President Obama that he was going to cut deficits in half, not expand them.
CBO expects the economic recovery to continue at a modest pace for the remainder of calendar year 2012, with real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growing at an annual rate of about 2¼ percent in the second half of the year, compared with a rate of about 1¾ percent in the first half. The unemployment rate will stay above 8 percent for the rest of the year, CBO estimates, and the rate of inflation in consumer prices will remain low. Both of those growth and unemployment numbers are bad.
CBO has prepared—as it does under its routine procedures—baseline projections (Dream World) that incorporate the assumption that current laws generally remain in place; those projections are designed to serve as a benchmark that policymakers can use when considering possible changes to those laws. 

However, the outlook for the budget deficit, federal debt, and the economy are especially uncertain now because substantial changes to tax and spending policies are scheduled to take effect in January 2013. Therefore, CBO has also prepared projections under an alternative fiscal scenario, (Real World) which embodies the assumption that many policies that have recently been in effect will be continued.
Key aspects of our projections are illustrated in the figures below.

What Policy Changes Are Scheduled to Take Effect in January 2013?

Among the policy changes that are due to occur in January under current law, the following will have the largest impact on the budget and the economy: no kidding

A host all of the Bush tax cuts of significant provisions of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-312) are set to expire, including provisions that extended reductions in tax rates and expansions of tax credits and deductions originally enacted in 2001, 2003, or 2009. (Provisions designed to limit the reach of the alternative minimum tax, or AMT, expired on December 31, 2011.)

Sharp reductions in Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services are scheduled to take effect. Will never happen. Ever seen the doctors or hospital lobbies go into full triage mode on Capitol Hill?.

Automatic enforcement procedures established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) to restrain discretionary and mandatory spending are set to go into effect.

Extensions of emergency unemployment benefits and a reduction of 2 percentage points in the payroll tax for Social Security are scheduled to expire.

What Is the Budget and Economic Outlook for 2013?

CBO’s Baseline which won't happen : Taking into account the policy changes listed above and others contained in current law, under CBO’s baseline projections:

The deficit will shrink to an estimated $641 billion in fiscal year 2013 (or 4.0 percent of GDP), almost $500 billion less than the shortfall in 2012 wow! how great would that be from purely a deficit-reduction point-of-view...if it were only true that it was going to happen.

Such fiscal tightening mostly massive tax hikes on everyone paying taxes will lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession, D'uh! Ya think? A recession is when someone you know loses their job; a depression is when you lose YOUR job with real GDP declining by 0.5 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013 and the unemployment rate rising to about 9 percent in the second half of calendar year 2013. not good at all

Because of the large amount of unused resources in the economy and other factors, the rate of inflation (as measured by the personal consumption expenditures, or PCE, price index) will remain low in 2013. In addition, interest rates on Treasury securities are expected to be very low next year.

An Alternative Fiscal Scenario: This is what is almost 99% likely to happen 

To illustrate the consequences of possible changes to current law, CBO has produced projections under an alternative fiscal scenario that incorporates the following assumptions: 
  • that all expiring tax provisions are extended indefinitely they will be (except the payroll tax reduction in effect in calendar years 2011 and 2012); 
  • that the AMT is indexed for inflation after 2011 it will be..cause if it isn't, 28 million newly AMT-dinged taxpayers who would be affected by the AMT will go absolutely ape-crazy;
  • that Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services are held constant at their current level no way these massive cuts will ever be allowed to last (no one really believed they would when Obamacare was passed anyways, not even the Obama people); 
  • and that the automatic spending reductions required by the Budget Control Act, which are set to take effect in January 2013, do not occur they won't; no one is that stupid to allow them to take place (although the law’s original caps on discretionary appropriations are assumed to remain in place).
That set of alternative policies which is going to happen would lead to budgetary and economic outcomes that would differ significantly, both in the near term and in later years, from those in CBO’s baseline which was all a dream world anyway:

In 2013, the deficit would total $1.0 trillion, almost $400 billion (or 2.5 percent of GDP) more than the deficit projected to occur under current law. no surprise here

The economy would be stronger in 2013: Real GDP would grow by 1.7 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013, and the unemployment rate would be about 8 percent by the end of 2013, CBO projects. so hiking taxes really does retard economic growth, huh?

What Is the Budget Outlook for 2014 to 2022 Under Current Law (CBO’s Baseline) (The 'Fake' Baseline that will NOT Occur)?

  • Deficits and Debt: Budget deficits are projected to continue to shrink for several years—to 2.4 percent of GDP in 2014 and 0.4 percent by 2018 (which would be great but it won't be allowed to occur because the Bush Tax Cuts will be extended and the Medicare cuts in Obamacare and the defense cuts in sequestration will not be allowed to stand, among other spending cuts)—before rising again to 0.9 percent by 2022. With deficits small relative to the size of the economy, debt held by the public is also projected to drop relative to GDP—from about 77 percent in 2014 to about 58 percent in 2022. (Good, but won't happen) Even with that decline, however, debt would represent a larger share of GDP in 2022 than in any year between 1955 and 2009. Not good.
  • Revenues: Most of the projected decline in the deficit occurs because revenues are set to rise considerably in the coming years under current law (meaning the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire, which we already know they won't be allowed to do)—from 15.7 percent of GDP in 2012 to 19.6 percent in 2014 and 21.4 percent in 2022. Between 2012 and 2014 alone, revenues in CBO’s baseline shoot up by one-quarter as a share of GDP because of the expiration of various tax cuts at the end of 2012, the expiration of provisions related to the AMT at the end of 2011 (which will boost tax receipts mainly in 2013 and later), and other factors. all this means is that if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire as under current law at the end of this year, CBO expects tax revenue collections by the Treasury to explode somehow, even in this still-weak economy.  Ask any residential/commercial real estate person or anyone associated with the construction industry if they expect to pay the same amount of taxes next year if the Bush tax cuts expire as they did in 1999 under Bill Clinton.  The answer is a resounding 'no' because their businesses are now cut in half or more vis-a-vis 13 years ago
  • Outlays: Outlays, by contrast, are projected to be a smaller share of GDP in 2022 under current law (22.3 percent) than they are in 2012 (22.9 percent). Discretionary spending is projected to decline relative to GDP throughout the next 10 years because of the caps on discretionary funding that stem from provisions of the Budget Control Act. Caps work.  PAYGO works.  Both make legislators set priorities for spending instead of just spending everything on everything and trying to make everyone happy. By CBO’s estimate, discretionary spending will fall to 5.6 percent of GDP by 2022—the lowest level in at least 50 years. Progressive liberals should be panicking as entitlement spending will continue to squeeze out education, welfare and environmental protection programs. Mandatory outlays will remain about the same as a share of GDP through 2019, CBO projects, and then will grow faster than the economy, reaching 14.4 percent of GDP in 2022, compared with 13.2 percent in 2012. more older Boomers lasting and living longer than their predecessors.
  • Net Interest: Despite the surge in federal borrowing in recent years, net interest outlays are projected to hold steady at 1.4 percent of GDP through 2015, primarily because interest rates are expected to remain near historic lows for the next few years. Interest rates are anticipated to rise noticeably thereafter, causing net interest outlays to increase to 2.3 percent of GDP by 2020, CBO projects. What the heck happens if interest rates go to 5%? 7%; 21% (hey, youngsters!  it happened in 1981-82 here in America, you can look it up!)

What Is the Economic Outlook for 2014 to 2022 Under Current Law (CBO’s Baseline)? Which assumes that the Bush Tax Cuts expire, remember.  And the cuts in Medicare and defense and discretionary spending will be made and maintained.

  • Economic Growth from 2014 to 2017: As the economy adjusts to a lower path for budget deficits, real GDP is projected to begin growing again in late 2013. CBO must be assuming that the business community will react with relief and start investing once they feel like some adults are running the White House and Congress again. The pace of economic expansion will average 4.3 percent from 2014 through 2017, CBO projects, although the economy will continue to operate below its potential level (when output reflects a high rate of use of labor and capital) until 2018. below potential growth til 2018. Ugh.
  • Unemployment Rate from 2014 to 2017: As economic growth picks up, the unemployment rate is projected to decline to 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 and to 5.7 percent by the fourth quarter of 2017. Wow.  Well, then, whoever wins this Presidential race is going to feel like they won the jackpot when everyone sings their praises long about 2017, won't they?
  • Inflation and Interest Rates from 2014 to 2017: Inflation (as measured by the PCE price index) is projected to inch up toward 2 percent by 2017. CBO anticipates that, as the economy strengthens, interest rates will return to more-typical levels; the rate on 3-month Treasury bills is projected to be 3.4 percent at the end of 2017, and the rate on 10-year Treasury notes is projected to be 4.6 percent. these are still not very high
  • The Outlook for 2018 Through 2022: Beyond 2017, CBO does not attempt to predict the timing or magnitude of fluctuations in business cycles. CBO’s economic projections for the 2018–2022 period are based on trends in the factors that underlie the economy’s potential output, such as the size of the labor force, the stock of productive capital, and productivity. meaning CBO is just 'guessing' and pulling numbers out of thin air around them in Ford Annex Building again. In those projections, the growth of real GDP averages 2.4 percent between 2018 and 2022, and inflation hovers around 2 percent. By late 2022, the unemployment rate declines to 5.3 percent, and interest rates on 3-month Treasury bills and 10-year Treasury notes are 3.8 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively. And everyone eats apple pie and sings the National Anthem before and after every meal again

What Is the Budget and Economic Outlook for 2014 to 2022 If Many Current Policies Are Continued (As in CBO’s Alternative Fiscal Scenario)?

  • Under the alternative fiscal scenario, the most likely scenario where the Bush tax cuts are extended and the Medicare/etc cuts are never implemented deficits over the 2014–2022 period would be much higher than those projected in CBO’s baseline, averaging about 5 percent of GDP rather than 1 percent. That, ladies and gentlemen, would be around $720 BILLION MORE in additional deficits per year! Hello? Is Anyone At Home?. Revenues would remain below 19 percent of GDP throughout that period, and outlays would rise to more than 24 percent. Debt held by the public would climb to 90 percent of GDP by 2022—higher than at any time since shortly after World War II.
  • Real GDP would be higher in the first few years of the projection period than in CBO’s baseline economic forecast, and the unemployment rate would be lower. However, the persistence of large budget deficits and rapidly escalating federal debt would hinder national saving and investment, thus reducing GDP and income relative to the levels that would occur with smaller deficits. In the later part of the projection period, the economy would grow more slowly than in CBO’s baseline, and interest rates would be higher.  It has happened this way in every other nation in human history which has tried to overspend its tax revenue for prolonged periods of time and borrowed it all or manufactured it all by printing more money.  Something always happens in history such as the debt-holders stop loaning money or inflation rears its ugly head.  Always.  America is not immune to the laws of supply and demand and economic gravity.
  • Ultimately, the policies assumed in the alternative fiscal scenario would lead to a level of federal debt that would be unsustainable from both a budgetary and an economic perspective. In other words, CBO is saying 'Goodnight, Irene!'

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

President Barack Obama Is The Least Fiscally Responsible President in Modern American History


Our last post comparing President Barack Obama's record on the budget deficits and national debt to the worst losing record of any Duke University head football coach in history struck a nerve with some people.

Here's one way to see if you are truly 'unbiased' or not when it comes to looking at President Obama's fiscal record with a completely objective eye:  Every time you see Obama's name below, substitute the name 'George Walker (Bush) 43' and see how you would feel if you thought the deficit conundrum of the past 4 years were 'all (Bush)'s fault!'

Some people do, you know.

We have added a citation for each and every recitation of the many ways that President Obama has been fiscally profligate over the past 4 years.  Click on them at the end of every accusation and see for yourself what the actual facts are before you get all agitated about it.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York once famously said:  'You are entitled to your own opinion, not your own set of facts.'

If we are wrong about Obama's desultory fiscal record as Budget Commander-in-Chief, we will be willing to stand accused and apologize profusely.

But if we are right, and you say you think you are a fiscal conservative, you will have to admit that you can not, and will not, vote for him this fall because you want to believe he is a 'fiscally responsible' President.

Because he most definitely is not based on the facts below.  Sadly for us as a nation.

  • $5 trillion of new debt being loaded up under the Obama (Bush) presidency on your children, children's children and children's grandchildren to be paid back one day, somehow. (go to this Debt To the Penny website and type in the dates of Obama's (Bush) Presidency from 1/20/09 to today and you will get the total)
  • More debt in 4 years accumulated under President Obama (Bush) than in any 4-year time in American history (Stephen Bloch)
  • President Obama's (Bush) budgets have garnered exactly zero votes in the House and the Senate in the last 2 years he has submitted them.  Zero.  As in DOA- 'Dead on Arrival'. SDOA is more like it:  'Stone Dead On Arrival' (Budgets)
  • Obama's (Bush) bailout of the Detroit automakers now looks like it will cost the America taxpayers $25 billion in losses due to the swooning stock price of GM. (GM Bailout)
  • Obama's (Bush) $1 trillion of economic stimulus didn't stimulate any economic growth or new jobs that anyone can really put a finger on.  (CBO)  (The Grumpy Economist)  (who knows?)
  • The one time when President Obama (Bush) actually had full discretionary authority in his own hands to reduce future deficits by over $3.7 trillion, he blinked.  He could have not signed the extension of the Bush 43 tax cuts as of December 31, 2010 and every tax rate would have reverted to the Clinton-era tax levels President Obama so admires.  Boom! $3.7 trillion in lower deficit projections for the next 10 years. President Obama (Bush) had it in his power to do this...and he whiffed. (Obama Signs Extension)  (CBO Estimate of Bush Tax Cut Extension)
  • President Obama (Bush) created the Bowles-Simpson Commission to come up with a viable solution to our nation's most pressing problem.  They did it and presented it in December 2010.  President Obama (Bush) took one look at it and punted the ball on first down and then ran out of the endzone faster than Forrest Gump. Obama (Bush)  didn't even have the guts to introduce his very own commission's recommendations in the next year's budget submission to Congress. He whiffed. Again. (The Chicago Guys Made Me Do It!)
  • Between signing the W tax cut extension ($3.7 trillion) and not agreeing to the Bowles-Simpson recommendations of $4 trillion in deficit-reduction, President Obama (Bush) allowed close to $8 trillion in new debt to be created over the next 10 years.  Congratulations!  Those are two of the biggest whiffs on fiscal discipline in modern American history!  $8 trillion in more debt for our youngsters to deal with. (2+2=4; $3.7T+ $4T= ~$8 Trillion, give-or-take a few billion here and there)
  • Obama (Bush) could have vetoed the $1 trillion stimulus package as President...but...he introduced it in the first place! So how could he have vetoed his own bill?  (Ezra Klein says it was actually between $1 trillion and $1.7 trillion!)
  • Obama (Bush) could have vetoed Obamacare that is now estimated to cost 'only' about $2.2 TRILLION more than when first scored by CBO when passed in March 2010 but, hey!  wait a minute!  That was his bill as well!  A President can't veto his own legislation, now can he?  (Chuck Blahous) ($2.6 trillion)
  • Obama's (Bush) Cash for Clunkers program might go down as one of the most-misguided federal public policies of all time, almost close to Gerald Ford's 'Whip Inflation Now!' (WIN) campaign. 'Clunkers of Legislation' would be more appropo of most of the Obama term in the White House.  (Clunkers)
These are just 'facts', not 'opinions', or 'bromides' or 'spin-doctoring'.  Just plain facts, ma'am.

You make your own decision.  If anyone can convince us that President Barack Obama is a fiscal conservative based on these facts above and wakes up every single day trying to find ways to balance the budget and reduce federal spending first and foremost, we will vote for him in the upcoming election.

We promise.  Being a fiscal conservative in these times of exploding debt and deficits is that important to us.

However, if you can not refute the totality of these charges listed above, don't even try to convince us.

Over $12 trillion will be added to the national debt totals and passed on to your kids and grandkids to pay for as a result of the actions and inactions of President Barack Obama.  If you are cool with that, that is your problem.

Not ours.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

President Barack Obama Is the 'Coach Carl Franks' of Presidential Budget Discipline

What Do You Do With A College Football Coach With the Following Record: 3-8; 0-11; 0-11; 2-10; 2-5?

You fire him. Of course.

Duke University has fallen on hard times on the football field for, oh, let's say the better part of the past 18 years.  Really for most of the last quarter century.  Make that the last 50 years.

When charts are made of the worst Division-1 college football programs in America, Duke University ranks routinely at the bottom of the list.

In fact, dead-last at 119th if you just consider the records since 1995.

Stanford has done very well on the gridiron lately.  So has little Wake Forest with the perhaps the second smallest college enrollment in D-1, behind Tulsa University.  It is hard to say that small colleges with high academic standards can't compete in college football over the past 2 decades, isn't it?

During the desultory 1999-2003 seasons, Coach Carl Franks, then-head coach of the Duke University Football Blue Devils (as opposed to the perennial top-ranked basketball and lacrosse Blue Devils) compiled the following records in D-1 football as a member of the ACC conference:

3-8.  0-11. 0-11. 2-10. 2-5.  Total record? 7-45 for those of you counting at home.

1 win was over the Div-II Western Carolina Catamounts. 1 was over Rice which was just about as bad as Duke during this period of time. No ACC wins for 4 straight years.

In short, it was about as bad as you could imagine.

Until halftime against Wake Forest in 2003.  When Duke went to the locker room at halftime, they were down by 41-0 to the Demon Deacons of Winston-Salem.  41. to. nothing.  After only 30 minutes of play.  More than 1.36 points per minute of excruciating drubbing at the hands of an academic and enrollment peer 90 miles west of Durham.  On Duke's home field in Wallace Wade Stadium.

The decision to relieve Coach Franks, as nice of a guy as he could be, was made by the Duke AD during that halftime.  It was just 'too embarrassing' he was quoted as saying.

What has this sad story got to do with anything?

We have been intrigued by people who have been going off on Paul Ryan and the budget he has put forth while Budget Committee Chairman.  They say it is 'dangerous!'; 'irresponsible!'; 'crazy!'

Well, #1, Paul Ryan's 'budget' is not the budget put forth by Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney of the Republican nominee for President, not Paul Ryan.

The truth of the matter is that a President can only 'suggest' a budget each year.  Congress has to pass a budget resolution each year (which is not even binding law) and then pass appropriations and reconciliation bills to meet those objectives.

It is the 'People's Congress', remember?

However, since a President controls the bully pulpit and is the only person elected by the entire nation, it is incumbent upon him (or her one day) to put forth a blueprint, a priority list and 'lead us' all towards some mutually beneficial goals as a nation.

Such as a balanced budget.  Lower spending.  Less national debt.  Lowered chances of everything spinning out of control from inflation to higher interest rates to a massive devaluation of the dollar, you know, those kind of things.

Not 'leading us' from the White House to avoid all of these adverse outcomes down the road is truly 'dangerous', 'irresponsible' and 'crazy'. Inflation and high interest rates are non-discriminatory and 'regressive' as heck because they destroy the lives of people on low or fixed incomes faster than those who are not.

Let's look at the record of our current 'Head Coach' in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of These United States of America.

What is President Obama's record as 'head coach', and his alone, over these past four years on the one front that actually affects us all, the federal budget which affects the economy and a ton of other things (don't let anyone try to fool you and say that it doesn't cause it does)?:
  • $5 trillion of new debt being loaded up on your children, children's children and children's grandchildren to be paid back one day, somehow.
  • More debt in 4 years than in any 4-year time in American history
  • His budgets have garnered exactly zero votes in the House and the Senate in the last 2 years he has submitted them.  Zero.  As in DOA- 'Dead on Arrival'. SDOA is more like it:  'Stone Dead On Arrival'
  • His bailout of the Detroit automakers now looks like it will cost the America taxpayers $25 billion in losses due to the swooning stock price of GM.
  • His $1 trillion of economic stimulus didn't stimulate any economic growth or new jobs that anyone can really put a finger on.
  • The one time when President Obama actually had full discretionary authority in his own hands to reduce future deficits by over $3.7 trillion, he blinked.  He could have not signed the extension of the Bush 43 tax cuts as of December 31, 2010 and every tax rate would have reverted to the Clinton-era tax levels President Obama so admires.  Boom! $3.7 trillion in lower deficit projections for the next 10 years. President Obama had it in his power to do this...and he whiffed.
  • He created the Bowles-Simpson Commission to come up with a viable solution to our nation's most pressing problem.  They did it and presented it in December 2010.  President Obama took one look at it and punted the ball on first down and then ran out of the endzone faster than Forrest Gump.  He didn't even have the guts to introduce his very own commission's recommendations in the next year's budget submission to Congress. He whiffed. Again.
  • Between signing the W tax cut extension ($3.7 trillion) and not agreeing to the Bowles-Simpson recommendations of $4 trillion in deficit-reduction, President Obama allowed close to $8 trillion in new debt to be created over the next 10 years.  Congratulations!  Those are two of the biggest whiffs on fiscal discipline in modern American history!  $8 trillion in more debt for our youngsters to deal with.
  • He could have vetoed the $1 trillion stimulus package as President...but...he introduced it in the first place! So how could he have vetoed his own bill?
  • He could have vetoed Obamacare that is now estimated to cost 'only' about $2.2 TRILLION more than when first scored by CBO when passed in March 2010 but, hey!  wait a minute!  That was his bill as well!  A President can't veto his own legislation, now can he?
  • His Cash for Clunkers program might go down as one of the most-misguided federal public policies of all time, almost close to Gerald Ford's 'Whip Inflation Now!' (WIN) campaign. 'Clunkers of Legislation' would be more appropo of most of the Obama term in the White House.
We could go on and on and on but it would be like watching replays of the Coach Carl Franks weekly television show from 1999-2003 which was as painful as picking burrs out of your feet from walking across the hot sand at the beach to your cottage barefoot.

This recounting of the ways President Obama has failed as a fiscal manager of the national fisc is 1000 times more painful, wouldn't you have to agree?

You can always say: 'Well, President Obama is such a nice man!'

We used to think so as well based on his family and wonderful young daughters and all that.

However, any person who would allow and encourage such ads as the ones leveled against Mitt Romney for allegedly 'murdering' a woman when one of the Bain investments went sour and the business was closed, and not even publicly denounce whoever did it (it was David Plouffe, one of his closest political advisers and head of Priorities USA), well, that makes you wonder just how 'wonderful' of a person President Obama must really and truly be, doesn't it?

Campaigns reflect the morality and character of the candidate at the top.  We had the honor of being intimately involved in 5 large-scale campaigns over the years, 4 with former Congressman Alex McMillan (NC-9) and US Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2002.

All 5 were run above board and generally without the dirt, grime and greaseballs associated with many modern American campaigns including this one.  Why? Because both Alex McMillan and Elizabeth Dole told all of their campaign managers and workers this one thing (cause I heard it myself many times):

'If I can't win based on my record and positions on the issues, I don't deserve to be elected'.

They are both great people.  As were their opponents, D.G. Martin who ran against Mr. McMillan in 1984 and 1986 and Erskine Bowles who ran against Elizabeth Dole in 2002.

We are much more concerned, however, about what a candidate or President does and says about the federal budget and the economy than any nasty comment they can say about someone from their childhood or business past.  Those things just 'don't matter' when we have close to 20 million Americans un-or-underemployed today and a national debt that is exploding like a mushroom cloud over our future.

We think we have hit the national equivalent of Duke versus Wake Forest, down 41-0 at halftime.  We think President Obama's record on the budget and the economy is worse than the 13% 'winning' (sic) percentage (more like the 87% 'losing' percentage) of Coach Carl Franks.  We have not seen any inclination on his part that gives us even one scintilla of hope that he would all of a sudden change his stripes during a second term and become a 'budget hawk'.

He has already allowed close to $12 TRILLION  in more debt accumulation to occur by his inaction and active pursuit of more spending during his first 4 years as President.

Want to go for another $12 trillion to get it to a full $24 trillion by the end of his second term?

We think the American people need to admit that a change is needed, even if you think the head coach is a 'nice guy'. Coach Carl Franks could not have been a 'nicer person' people who knew him would say.

It is more than 'embarrassing'.  It is 'dangerous', to your economic future and the future of your children and grandchildren to allow President Barack Obama 4 more years of inaction on the biggest crisis we face as a nation today, the federal budget and exploding national debt.

We actually think Deputy Dawg could do a better job policing the growth in federal spending than President Obama has exhibited these past 4 years. He has had his chances and has repeatedly abrogated his responsibility to lead and to do what we elected him to do: solve this amazingly huge problem of federal over-spending and national debt.

You can vote for President Obama based on other issues if you wish.  But if you are serious about containing federal spending and consider yourself to be a fiscal conservative and want your children to have a better future with less debt to repay, you have no choice but to 'fire him' and not renew his contract for another 4 years as Budget Commander in Chief.

Just as Duke University had to fire Coach Franks after the halftime debacle of 2003 and keep looking for someone, ANYONE! who can bring Duke University back into the conversation as even having a Division 1 BCS Bowl Series football program.

Coach Cutcliffe:  Here's hoping Peyton or Eli Manning has a son coming to play QB at Duke pretty soon for you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

'Incivility Not A Problem: A Crisis' by Mike Johnson

(Mike Johnson is an old friend of ours who has seen the political wars on Capitol Hill and in Washington for a long, long time.  He served in the Ford White House, for goodness sakes! (now that was a long time ago!) and is now a principal with the OB*C Group in Washington, DC.

But he has seen it all, heard it all and, like many of us, done at least some of it all over the years.  He knows what he is talking about. So we are reprinting his recent article on the need to collectively solve the issue of uncivil discourse and incivility in the public square)


(Read it on-line at 'Incivility' on the New GOP Forum)

People are not sure what to call it—excessive partisanship, bad behavior, negativism, gridlock, polarization, stridency, intolerance, ideological extremes.

It is collectively, 'incivility' and it is, arguably, worse now than it has been in American history.

Something must be done about it.

Pundits such as Washington Post’s George Will and the Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone have argued otherwise. Barone, for example, recently bemoaned the bemoaners of what he called ‘hyperpartisanship’ in American politics, suggesting that the problem is not as bad as it may seem and attempts to rectify it in the past have just made matters worse. “These days,” he wrote. “you hear academics and pundits bemoaning hyperpartisanship of our politics. It has never been worse, some say.”

(I always wonder who the “some” or “many” are. Journalists quote them incessantly. But I digress.)

Barone disagreed with the ‘somes’, citing the 1880 Adams-Jefferson race as worse, and the Burr-Hamilton and Andrew Jackson-Charles Dickenson duels as examples of more despicable behavior than we have today.

He could have also cited Jackson’s 1828 Presidential race against John Quincy Adams during which Jackson’s wife Rachel was called a whore and they, bigamists. Jackson blamed her death on the ugliness of the campaign.

Who produced a TV ad implying that Mitt Romney was complicit in the death of a Kansas City woman, whose husband lost his job because Bain Capital closed his plant?

Believe what you will about it being worse than ever. I think it is, with the possible exception of some years leading up to the Civil War. It isn’t just one striking incident that makes the difference anymore, although the ad about the woman’s death is just plain barbaric.

In the past two decades there has been a sustained parade of every-escalating incivility. And, in this election year, the gutter couldn’t be more crowded. In just the last month, the Obama and his surrogates have accused Mitt Romney of the death, committing a felony, not paying any income taxes, tax evasion, racism, being rich and mean to his dog.

Obama has been accused of faking his birth certificate, killing the work requirement in welfare, harboring a terrorist sympathizer in the State Department, paying off supporters with government contracts, suppressing the military vote, and lying about a whole host of things.

But what’s the point? Does it have to be the worse before we do something about? Have we not matured at all since 1800? Should we not judge today’s behavior by a different standard than 200 years ago?

Are we not better? (our italics added)

Barone missed the target on another aspect of the ‘hyperpartisanship’ discussion. It’s not the real target, nor is it the real issue. He should have fixed his crosshairs on the broader, wider, more pervasive and more threatening problem of political and social incivility.

It is the reason partisanship is on steroids.

Unfortunately, pundits and politicians don’t address incivility in politics because it is hard to define, and therefore hard to measure. The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania defines incivility by using violations of congressional rules and procedures as a gauge; another organization measures it by monitoring news accounts of unseemly political behavior; columnist Kathleen Parker describes it as bad manners.

Ray Smock, former House historian, dismisses these attempts to measure civility: “We need a new way to measure civility and dysfunction than the limited historical anecdotes of the past or the feeble attempts of social and political scientists to count things, make charts, and declare civility in Congress to be better, worse or about the same,” he wrote in October of 2011.

“Despite the brawls of past history I maintain that the civility in Congress, on both bodies, but especially in the House, is at one of the lowest ebbs in congressional history. It is a crisis that should concern all Americans,” he said.

Maybe he would appreciate the work of two University of Colorado professors who concluded that civility is, in essence “constructive confrontation.”

Civility and its antonym don’t need exact definitions for the public to know what it finds unacceptable in our political discourse, as Carolyn Lukensmeyer of the University of Arizona’s National Institute on Civil Discourse, points out. To narrowly define it, just makes it more difficult to address. Defining it too broadly renders the discussion less meaningful.

Civility can’t be defined with statistics or measuring sticks; it can only be done with judgment. You know it when you see it.

And, according to research, most Americans seem to. They believe the lack of civility is destroying our political process. Research commissioned by Weber Shandwick found that 63 percent of Americans think incivility is a major problem that complicates the resolution of major issues and deters qualified people from entering public service.

Another survey by U.S. News found that 89 percent think civility is a serious problem. A majority of Americans expect it to get worse.

Eighty percent think campaigns are uncivil. A USA today study in 2010 found that 61 percent of Americans think TV news is pushing politics to be less civil.

It’s not just the public that believes incivility is a problem. The Institute of Politics at Harvard, the Annenberg Center, the Institute on Civil Discourse, the Byrd Center at Shepherd University, the Congressional Institute, the Aspen Institute, the Center for Civil Discourse of the McCormick Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts, the Congressional Management Foundation, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the latest, the—are you ready for this?—the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California, are just a few of the reputable organizations committing their resources to restoring civility to the public square.

Incivility has infected our body politic like a cancer. It is not a problem. It is a crisis. It renders our political leaders and policy makers unable to govern. It discourages good people from running for office. Those who do get so boxed in to rigid promises, pledges and commitments, by the time they take office they are politically impotent. It diminishes the quality of our public servants and makes it almost impossible for them to do their jobs.

Our government and our political process are broken because good politics and good governance cannot take place in a hostile, angry, divisive environment in which the rules of decorum, decency and collaboration are ignored.

We’ve even gotten to the point where lying, itself, is no longer a political liability. We are living in an age when lying is called factual selectivity; when we convince ourselves that what we say is true or true enough, regardless of its veracity.

Columnist Michael Gerson observed in July that political polarization “causes some to abandon civic engagement in disgust, and others to join angry ideological insurrections. In Congress, it adds to the obstructive power of cohesive partisan blocs…”

Look no further back than the yet unfinished 112th Congress. Members of what was once a great deliberative body, couldn’t pass a farm bill or a transportation bill, or any of 12 appropriation bills. The Postal Service is $5 billion in debt, but they couldn’t agree on a reform bill. Our country is continually under assault from cyberspace, but they couldn’t agree on a cyber security bill.

They are still facing harsh deadlines on the expiration of almost 80 tax provisions. They haven’t dealt with the alternative minimum tax, Medicare payments to doctors, and a soon-to-be-breached debt ceiling. Welfare reform is two years late. They couldn’t agree on tax and spending reforms in 2011, so they copped out and created a mechanism called sequestration that will produce a trillion dollars in indiscriminate cuts in government programs if nothing is done.

Blaming Congressional inaction, the President has embarked on a dangerous course of changing government by executive fiat, removing government one step further away from the prerogatives of the people.

The most used expression in Washington is “kicking the can down the road,” the euphemism for failure. Meanwhile, the country is still muddling through the slowest economic recovery in history, with 23 million people still unemployed or underemployed and millions more suffering from the anxiety of the unknown, worrying about whether their pensions are safe, paying for college educations, paying the rent, keep their homes out of foreclosure, and even putting food on the table.

Survey research has found for the first time that  people don’t believe their children will be better off than they. Respect for the institutions of government is as low as it has ever been. That is the human toll of incivility and a government frozen in time. This is not normal and it should not be allowed to become the ‘new normal.’

We must change both climate and behavior.

There are three fundamentals of change, inextricably linked to one another: politics, the media and public attitude. One cannot undergo change without the others.

There are probably not a lot of starkly right and wrong answers on how to bring about serious change, but there are plenty of choices. Here are some:

  1. On the political front, we need to change the rules and procedures that govern Congressional action, particularly the restrictions on participatory democracy like the filibuster in the Senate, and the rules that dictate how legislation is considered in the House. 
  2. The practice of gerrymandering congressional districts predetermines who can and can’t run for office must change. 
  3. National campaign financing practices that disenfranchise local voters must be reformed. 
  4. We should even begin to challenge the excessive control of political parties over the governing process, as proposed by former Congressman Mickey Edwards in his new book. 
There are many other inhibitors to politicians working together, deliberating honestly and making decisions collaboratively. Some of it is as basic as putting members of Congress together more often in bipartisan and personal setting where they can get to know each other and work with each other on a different plain.

In the media, those people who want to engage in the political process need more outlets that offer facts and information over opinion and talking heads that yell at each other. They need more light and less heat. The media should distinguish between 'infotainers' and journalists, and insist on coverage of real issues like the economy, trade and energy development, rather than pet dogs, painted rocks, income tax returns, birth certificates, garage elevators, and family vacations. 

The media need to put aside the bias, silence the empty-headed antagonists, quit trying to incite riots, confirm their facts, tell us who their sources are, quit interviewing each other, refuse to cover rumors and innuendo, and quit promoting their own books and television shows.

They need to focus less on igniting passions and more on stimulating the mind, informing the intellect, so that people are better able to do what needs done, not only in politics, but in their daily lives.

Most importantly, the American people need to take control of the government for which they are responsible.

Benjamin Franklin, leaving Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, made clear the public’s role. When asked by a woman who wanted to know what came out of the constitutional convention, Franklin said: “A Republic, madam,if you can keep it.”

It is, ultimately up to the people to exercise oversight over all, the institutions of government and politics and the media. That means re-establishing the values on which they want government to function and enforcing them.

If survey research is correct and most Americans want good governance, civility, problem-solving and collaborative politics, then they have to elect people with the courage to compromise.

It doesn’t matter whether you want government smaller or government bigger, policy makers and politicians have to act in order to reach those goals.

  • They can’t act unless they reach consensus. 
  • They can’t reach consensus unless they compromise. 
  • They can’t compromise when the political system is gridlocked by gross incivility and ideological stridency. 

There’s a choice to be made. Civil discourse is essential to reaching solutions, whether you’re in national government or at the kitchen table.

Ohio Senator James Garfield tried to explain that to a divided and rancorous Republican convention in 1880 in his nomination of Senator John Sherman for President. What he said to the delegates applies to those who have turned this 2012 campaign into a back alley brawl 130 years later.

He described the convention as a “human ocean in a tempest".
“I have seen the sea lashed into fury and tossed into spray, and its grandeur moves the soul of the dullest man. But I remember that it is not the billows, but the calm level of the sea, from which all heights and depths are measured…" 
Final actions, he said can only be determined when conditions are calm and the true measure of public opinion can be seen.

When will we, a more mature people, ultimately responsible for the governance of the Republic, demand that the tempers be quieted and the sea be calmed, and the character and human respect befitting the country be restored to the conduct of our public business?

It had better be soon.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Did President Obama Ever Run a Lemonade Stand?

This presidential election is going to be about 1 thing and one thing only:

'Do you believe that America is built on the notion that free people engaging in free enterprise is the BEST thing we can do as a nation .... or that everything flows from the federal government?'

That is pretty much it, ladies and gentlemen. We have always had the debate in our national elections over more or less 'control' from a centralized authority in Washington starting with the debates in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

This one, however, goes far beyond just what the 'proper role of government' should be in America.  This election fundamentally comes down to whether you believe that all freedom, all prosperity, all benefits in America comes primarily from our government or from private people making decisions on their own every single day.

President Obama represents a major change from virtually every other American President in our history in his outlook on free enterprise and capitalism.  His actions, policies and words over the past 3.6 years as Chief Executive have skewed heavily towards the notion that he believes the federal government is the 'be-all/end-all' when it comes to bestowing favors and blessings on the American people from Washington.

His every utterance oozes with the notion that anyone who succeeds in America must have done something 'wrong' to have succeeded somehow.  He views every business as a conduit for more redistribution of benefits and programs as dictated by his Administration and friends in Congress. The notion that businesses exist primarily to provide a return on investment for the owners and shareholders seems to bounce off of him like a rubber ball.

He views business with disdain as he describes the 'failed policies of the past' under Bush, Clinton, Bush 41 and Ronald Reagan when a total of close to 50 million new jobs were created in America as 'trickle-down economics'. He has vowed to never allow the United States to return to 'those days' which were nothing but loaded with heady job growth for the most part of the last 30 years.

Based on the anemic record of the past 3.6 years under his leadership and ideas, it appears as if he has 'succeeded' (sic), hasn't it?  We are not returning to those days of rapid economic job growth any time soon under the policies he has espoused and passed, right?

Here's our question:  If financial prosperity doesn't flow from the top down in business, what is the opposite that President Obama would like to see....Trickle-Up Poverty? 

If President Obama is given another four years in the White House, we don't see him changing his spots one bit as Bill Clinton did in 1994 after having his head handed to him in the mid-term elections by the Republicans who took control of Congress for the first time in half a century.

Here's something we have not seen or heard in the narrative about President Barack Obama over the past 5.6 years he has been in the national spotlight:

'Did he ever run a lemonade stand in Hawaii growing up?'

Don't laugh.  This is a serious question. Did President Obama ever run a lemonade stand growing up in Hawaii?

The reason why we ask is that we know that private enterprise is very hard work.  Very hard, challenging and financially risky work on a daily basis.

If you have ever run a lemonade stand at a very young age, you learned what it takes: planning to get the supplies for the lemonade; finding the right place to set up the stand; getting people to stop to buy your lemonade (marketing/promotion) and then worrying about whether you made enough money to do the same thing again the next day and the next and the next.

We have a son who not only set up a lemonade stand when he was younger, he also set up a cotton candy stand and a shaved ice stand in our neighborhood.  One time, we saw him in the living room drinking a cold Coca-Cola and we asked him:  'Who is running your lemonade stand if you are in here drinking a cold Coca-Cola when it is 100 degrees outside?'

We looked outside and he had 'recruited' 2 of his brothers and a couple of friends to run the business while he was inside the air-conditioned house.  2 were manning the stands, selling the product and making change for each transaction; 1 was down around the corner with a sign 'directing' people to the 'Best Lemonade Stand in the Universe!' or something like that and the others were fanning out through the neighborhood knocking on doors asking people to come to the lemonade stand and buy a pitcher or two.

That was hard work.  And he made $20 that day.  $20.  For selling homemade lemonade. Paid his brothers and friends $10 or so and made $10 profit for himself to keep and plow back into his business for the next time around.

His brothers and buddies got paid so they were happy.  Our son covered his costs and made a profit and was happy. What the heck is wrong with that?

That is a microcosm of how every business works in America or anywhere else free enterprise is embraced and allowed to flourish in the world.  If you don't understand that or appreciate it, you have no chance of understanding how we can get this nation back on its feet and moving ahead where everyone can benefit.

The 'government' (paid for by the taxes paid on the profits earned by that businessman/woman) did provide the roads on which people could travel in a car to get to that lemonade stand and the sidewalks on which the lemonade stood.

But that was it.  What our son earned that day was the result of his own creativity, his own gumption, his own salesmanship and his own risk-taking personal profile.  He 'shared' his creativity and energy with his brothers and friends by 'paying' them for their work which they loved because they went to the 7-11 immediately and bought a bunch of Cherry Cola Slurpees.

Our 'guvmint' is paid for by YOUR taxes!  You OWN this government!  No one else 'owns' it or 'runs' it. You get to tell the Guvmint what to do each and every time you vote in ANY election!

If you want more of it (government), work to elect people who will provide it for you.  If you want more freedom and less government, then you have to work your fanny off to get them elected so you won't have your business swamped by more taxes and regulations.

(By the way, we ascribe to the belief that 'Freedom Ain't Free...and Neither is Free Enterprise!'.  So that means you have to open up your checkbook or use your credit card and contribute the maximum amount you can to any federal candidate you support.  You can contribute $2500 in any one election to any specific candidate so you either do that or you suffer the consequences when someone who disagrees with you gets elected and starts dinging your business for more taxes like it is his/her personal cash register...ka-ching!)

The 'guvmint' doesn't take any risk when you put your money in a product you want to make or sell.  The government was not there to 'bail' our son out if no one stopped to buy his great lemonade. (he would have been bailed out if his lemonade stand was on Wall Street or in Detroit, presumably)

We had a friend in high school who decided he wanted a new car so his parents told him:  'Sure!  You can buy yourself a car!  How are YOU going to do it?'

So our friend got up every morning at 4:30 am and delivered a couple of hundred newspapers every day for 3 years of high school. When everyone else was sleeping. Many of us laughed at him and kidded him about being 'just a newspaper boy!' while the rest of us were trying to be cool or popular or whatever.

He drove a brand-new 1972 silver Camaro during high school.  No one else did (unless the more financially well-off kids had their parents hand them a new one for some reason).

He rose quickly after college to become the vice-president of marketing for a very large international telecommunications corporation before the age of 35.  Delivering those newspapers and collecting the bills every month served him well.

Here's our point:  We sure would feel a lot better if we had ever heard one story from President Barack Obama when he was known as Barry Soetero as a youth about him selling lemonade from a lemonade stand in Hawaii or delivering papers wherever he was living in high school.

We haven't.  Have you?

At least we would know for sure that President Obama truly understands what it takes to run a business, meet a payroll and also pay large amounts of taxes to keep the rest of the country going.

This election is all about whether we continue on the path towards more government intervention in our nation's business or whether we stop and make almost a U-turn back towards more personal freedom in the marketplace and workplace.

You get to make the choice this fall between the Obama/Biden incumbent team and the Romney/Ryan team.

So choose wisely.  Our future is depending on it.

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