Thursday, August 1, 2013

Statist Agendas Destroy Jobs and Growth

Daniel J. Mitchell / Townhall Finance Columnist

President Obama made a much-hyped pivot-to-the-economy speech Tuesday in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
I already explained, immediately following the speech, why his “grand bargain” on corporate taxes was not a good deal because of all the hidden taxes on new investment and international competitiveness.
But I also had a chance to dissect the President’s overall track record on the economy for today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Here’s some of what I wrote.
…he didn’t say anything new or different. His audience was treated to the same tax-spend-and-regulate boilerplate that the President has been dispensing ever since he entered political life. …with Obamanomics, not only has America failed to enjoy the traditional period of four-to-five percent growth at the start of a recovery, the economy hasn’t even gotten close to the long-run average of 3 percent. That’s a damning indictment. But it gets worse. The data on employment is downright depressing. A look at the numbers reveals that the nation is suffering from the worst period of job creation since the Great Depression. Most startling, we still haven’t recovered the jobs we lost during the recession.
That’s some strong rhetoric, but there are plenty of numbers to back up my assertions.
Let’s take a look at the interactive website maintained by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank. This site allows users to compare all business cycles since World War II.
Let’s start by comparing the current business cycle to what happened under Reaganomics.
AFP Reagan v Obama GDP
As you can see, we’ve had a very sluggish recovery compared to the boom we enjoyed in the 1980s.
Not all of this is Obama’s fault, by the way. Here’s some more of what I wrote for the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
…all of these problems started before President Obama ever got to the White House. President Bush also was guilty of too much spending and excessive regulation, and his policies helped push the economy into a ditch. Unfortunately, even though he promised “change,” President Obama has been adding to Bush’s mistakes — and also raising taxes.
Some people may be wondering whether it’s fair to compare Reaganomics to Obamanomics. Maybe I’m cherry-picking data to make Obama (and Bush) look bad.
Since I’ve already admitted that it’s good to be suspicious of all people who work in Washington, I don’t begrudge folks who are skeptical of what I write.
So let’s now look at the Minneapolis Fed’s data for every business cycle since the end of World War II. As you can see, we’re currently mired in the most anemic recovery on record.
AFP GDP
The employment data is even worse than the GDP data.
The comparison of Reaganomics with BushObamanomics is startling. There was a jobs boom in the 1980s, while today we haven’t even recovered all the jobs lost during the downturn.
AFP Reagan v Obama Jobs
And if we look at the current “recovery” compared to all other business cycles, it becomes even more apparent that big government is generating very bad results for the American people.
AFP Jobs
Here’s how I conclude my column.
…what’s the bottom line? The world is a laboratory, and the lessons are very clear. Jurisdictions with small government and free markets, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, grow rapidly. Nations with bloated welfare states, such as France, Italy and Greece, suffer from stagnation and decline. The United States historically has been somewhere between these two camps, which is why we had average growth of about 3 percent. We’ve become a lot more like Europe during the Bush-Obama years. That helps to explain why our growth numbers and jobs data are now so disappointing. Unfortunately, the President’s speech shows that he wants to step on the gas rather than turn the car in the right direction.
In other words, if we want more prosperity, we need to follow the recipe of free markets and small government.

Evil Never Sleeps

Michael Reagan/ Townhall Columnist


Rush Limbaugh fielded a phone call the other day that even he couldn't answer.

"What's happened to the country I live in?" asked the frustrated woman. "And what do we do now?"

The Great Rushbo was understandably flustered.

Coming up with a cure for what ails America after five years of Barack Obama and decades of bigger and stupider and meaner Big Government in D.C. is not something you can do off the top of your head.

The woman's question reminded me of a question Newt Gingrich posed to me about five years ago.

"Mike," he said, "how is it that our side can elect great conservatives like your father and Margaret Thatcher but then after we win those elections everything seems to fall apart?"

What Newt said about conservatives squandering their biggest victories is true. My father's glorious conservative revolution of 1980 is largely undone today, washed away by 30 years of higher taxes, more regulations and a weak-kneed foreign policy.

Even Newt himself is an example of the problem conservatives have had in not being able to take full advantage of their greatest victories.

He was able to foment his own mini-revolution in Congress in 1994. For a while, as Republicans took control of the House for the first time since the Korean War, it looked like half a century of executive power and federal over-reach were finally going to be checked, if not rolled back.

But then Newt's historic and inspiring conservative resurrection fizzled.

The 54 new Republican rebels who helped Newt "take over" the House, as the liberal media liked to say, forced Clinton to reform welfare and kept federal spending in check -- at least until Congress let Bush II and Obama open the floodgates and drown us and our grandchildren's grandchildren in debt.

I think I've figured out what the problem with conservatives is. We don't understand the rules of the political power game. We think after we win big elections or defeat the Soviet Union, we can go home and savor our victories.

We think after we win our big fights, it's the end of the game. Welfare reform passes -- game over. Berlin Wall falls -- game over. We won, you lost -- game over.

But liberals and progressives understand the power game. They know it never really ends. What conservatives see as a victorious ending -- the takeover of the House or the election of George W. Bush -- liberals and progressives see as just the beginning.

The other side never stops fighting. When Scott Brown won that special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts to fill Ted Kennedy's seat in 2010, conservatives were dancing in the streets because they had won their 60th vote to stop Obamacare.

Conservatives thought Brown's shocking win was the end and went home. The liberals knew it was just the beginning of a tough fight. What did we get in the end? Obamacare. Plus U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

If we conservatives want to win the day and prevent liberals and progressives from undermining our way of life, sinking us in a sea of debt and turning us into a socialist Banana Republic, we have to never stop fighting.

Evil never sleeps. Nor do its practitioners in Washington and in our state capitals. If we want good to triumph over evil in the long run, we have to learn to see our big victories not as the end of the fight but the beginning of the rest of the battle.

Howard Dean And The Death Panels
by / Personal Liberty Digest

Howard Dean And The Death Panels
PHOTOS.COM
In Monday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, former Vermont Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean offered up the opinion piece “The Affordable Care Act’s Rate-Setting Won’t Work: Experience Tells Me The Independent Payment Advisory Board Will Fail.” At first glance, Dean’s dense argument seems to be both for and against one of Obamacare’s most basic principles. But closer inspection reveals yet another in the myriad cracks which have appeared in Obamacare’s wall like a web spun by a meth-addicted spider.

The trick lies in the language. When Dean refers to the “so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board” as “essentially a health-care rationing body,” he’s not describing the unworkability of some random bureaucratic tumor, the likes of which always sprout from obese Federal programs. He’s talking about something with which we are all far more familiar. Dean is admitting that the “death panels” are bad politics incarnate. And that’s one hell of an admission, considering the fact that Obamacare proponents have been denying the very existence of death panels since they began assembling Obamacare in their Frankensteinian laboratory.

Of course, Obamacare has stumbled before. Its first iteration, 1994’s abominable “Hillarycare,” collapsed under the weight of the enormous unpopularity not only of socialized medicine but its most visible proponent: the unelected and, therefore, unaccountable Hillary Clinton. Well aware what Barack Obama was planning, the worthwhile half of the McCain/Palin 2008 Presidential ticket — then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin — in 2009 pointed out Obamacare’s inclusion of what Dean refers to as “essentially a health-care rationing body” but she more accurately termed “death panels.”

Like most of her pronouncements, Palin’s “death panels” remark drowned in the roar of the Democrats’ campaign of appallingly misogynist hatred. She was, as is every woman who defies the Democratic syndicate, subjected to bone-chilling venom for her forthrightness. The “death panels” remark engendered exceptionally crude liberal attacks on everything from her intellect to her sanity.

The left-wing propaganda site Politifact even called her remark its “Lie of the Year” for 2009.

According to the Democrats, the death panels were a fiction, a figment of Palin’s imagination with no more connection to reality than a Piers Morgan monologue.

And yet, there was Dean in Monday morning’s WSJ, arguing that not only are the same death panels Palin identified — and was excoriated in often violent and/or pornographic terms for mentioning — real; but they’re a bad idea.

Given Obamacare’s background, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there might be some bureaucratic bits and pieces that lean toward “bad.” Indeed, Obama’s first attempt to impose it upon the people failed, but it returned immediately like a zombie in a George Romero movie. Following a long and brutal run through the courts, Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the lightning strike needed to get Obamacare up off the table and out where it could terrorize the villagers. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the villagers — the American taxpayers — wanted to grab the pitchforks and torches left Obama unfazed.

Now, one of the most prominent Democratic firebrands of the past decade — and certainly one of the loudest — Howard Dean has come out against the Obamacare death panels his Democratic Party accomplices insist don’t exist. That prompts me to offer one of the rarest statements ever uttered in human history: “Listen to Howard Dean.” It also prompts me to point out that the Democrats need to take a break from waging their actual war on women to offer an apology to a woman upon whom they have waged actual war. Palin got it right. And they should be very contrite.

Granted, if the Democrats had to apologize for every lie they told about Obama’s fraudulent folly, they’d never have time for much else. All things being equal, that might not be such a bad conclusion.
Op-ed: 
'Stand down'...words from the mouth of a traitor  
By: Diane Sori

Benghazi…NO diversions, distractions, or ‘supposed’ phony scandals that are anything but, will take my focus off Benghazi. Benghazi…where four Americans were willfully, deliberately, and with malice left behind to be slaughtered, and that is indeed grounds for treason and NO one can convince me otherwise.

At the heart of Benghazi are two critical issues…first, why was Ambassador Stevens silenced (and I believe his murder was a silencing), and second, who gave the infamous order to ‘stand down’ when help could have arrived in time to save him and the others.

The first issue is easy…Ambassador Christopher Stevens had to be silenced to stop him from going public with information he found out about our traitor of a president, for I believe, and have said since day one, that Barack HUSSEIN Obama was smuggling guns and weapons under the table to the Syrian rebels…rebels supported and funded by al-Qaeda. And that is a clear cut case of ‘aiding and abetting the enemy’…TREASON.

The second issue is a bit more complicated as there are two distinct sides countering each other. One side, Obama and those in his orbit including sadly some in our military, say NO order to ‘stand down’ was given. The other side, those who demand the truth be told so there can be justice for the Benghazi 4 say YES such an order was absolutely given.

I obviously belong to that second group, and as such I decided to do some research on the chain of command in relation to issuing a ‘stand down’ order. What I found could give credence to the claim by many that Barack HUSSEIN Obama did indeed issue that order, and did so to cover his illegal unconstitutional dealings with a group of the most vile of terrorists (NEVER forget 9/11) for his goal is clear as his own words say it all…”I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction”… words from page 261 of his book, ‘The Audacity of Hope’.

Issuing a ‘stand down’ order does follow a specific chain of command, and the one relating to Benghazi would go like this, in order from top to bottom…President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary’s of the various armed services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines), Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff, the various Chief’s of Staff for each military service, the Commanding General for AFRICOM, and the local command structure under AFRICOM.

ALL in the command chain below Obama have denied giving such an order, including then Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (remember, Dempsey testified that orders were given to assist in Tripoli but NOT to assist in Benghazi but NEVER telling who gave that order but we know it was NOT him). And all the military branch Chiefs have also said they gave NO such order. And while AFRICOM Commander General Carter Ham did give testimony in a closed door hearing before the House Armed Services Committee investigating Bengahzi, we still do NOT know his testimony, but know that if he had given such an order it would have been made public for all to hear for it would have cleared Obama, especially important because everything possible is being done to try and distance him from this event, especially after his nonsense about a YouTube video.

But NO such announcement assuming responsibility for that ‘stand down’ order has been made by General Ham so logic would dictate he gave NO such order. And remember, Panetta announced back in October 2012, that General Ham would be retiring for refusing to obey orders NOT to assist the US personnel in Benghazi on that fateful night, and that on Saturday, October 27th, Panetta confirmed that General Ham had indeed been ‘relieved’ of his AFRICOM command.

Now here is something interesting about the official command chain…neither the Vice-President nor the Secretary of State is in that chain. But, the Vice-President and the Secretary of State do have the authority through the President to countermand any one below the President. And while the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary influence military decisions (to some degree) through the National Security Act and through their advisory positions to the President, they do NOT have the authority to issue an actual ‘stand down’ order on their own as that can ONLY be done by those in the direct chain of command.

Yet according to whistleblower Gregory Hicks (the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya at the time of Benghazi), who when testifying before Congress said that after the first attack a security team left Tripoli for Benghazi with two military personnel, and that four members of a special forces team in Tripoli wanted to go in a second wave but were ordered to ‘stand down’ (but he did NOT know who gave that order).

And remember even though many were close enough to assist and possibly save Ambassador Stevens and the others, including Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette, commander of a Navy Carrier Battle Group that was within range to help…including two Marine anti-terrorist teams based in Rota, Spain who were ready, willing, and able to help…and also including a 130-man, fully armed Marine Force-Recon unit on the ground in Sigonella, Sicily…all ready to deploy to Benghazi to help, yet all say they were told to ‘stand down’. And that ‘stand down’ order assured that Ambassador Stevens would die with Information Officer Sean Smith and ex-Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty becoming collateral damage…becoming just more ‘bumps in the road’.

So, the bottom line is if then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta did NOT give the order to ‘stand down’…if then AFRICOM General Carter Ham did NOT give the order to ‘stand down’…if General Dempsey, then Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff did NOT give the order to ‘stand down’…and if all the other then Commanders and Officers did NOT give the order to ‘stand down’…that leaves only one person who had the authority to give that order…the one person who had the most to lose if Ambassador Stevens survived…and that one person is Barack HUSSEIN Obama.

And that my friends is grounds for treason for this miserable excuse of a president has blood on his hands for NOT only willfully and maliciously leaving behind the Ambassador and the others, but I believe the issuing of that ‘stand down’ order assured they would die. And who knows maybe Obama even had a hand in planning the attacks…but that is only my opinion but a pretty good educated guess I’d say, especially knowing where this man’s loyalties lie…and those loyalties are most assuredly NOT with America.

Sad…it’s all so sad and until the truth is known…until those responsible are brought to justice…Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and ex-Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty cannot Rest in Peace…and that is the added salt in the wound that is Benghazi.