Friday, December 30

My Day

As you can see, I'm ready to welcome the new year in style, I'm a party machine.

Wednesday, December 28

Transformational Change Gets Some Coverage, Sort Of

Left-wing columnist Eugene Robinson had an article in today's paper that is a good example of many points I have made here on this blog in several posts this year. Robinson calls for transformational change, yet he obviously doesn't fully understand the real meaning of transformational change and the real changes that are needed in this country.
After World War II, the GI Bill dramatically boosted the percentage of Americans with college degrees. That one piece of farsighted legislation prepared a generation to run the industrial economy that was forged by the war — and helped absorb the excess labor that resulted from mechanization of the agricultural sector. We now need transformation on a similarly grand scale.
On the highlighted sentence, we agree. But, Robinson continues:
And it's important to recognize that while long-term debt isn't the most urgent problem facing the nation, it has to be addressed. Transformation, after all, isn't cheap.
Well, transformation can be cheap, especially if you're cutting. Robinson's leftist leanings tell him that what we really need is more spending, but focus the spending. This is where he starts to show his lunacy.
But our leaders, beginning with Obama, can't settle for playing small ball. As he campaigns for re-election, the president's task is to explain why this is a time to think big — and why we have no choice.
Don't hold your breath waiting for this President to think any bigger than the $1 billion his campaign plans to raise and spend to sell his version of history to the American public.

Robinson had much potential with this column. But he let his devotion to left wing ideology override the points he could have made. Robinson loves him some Obama, and that's fine. But when these hacks pretend to be more than they really are, their writings are little more than the characters printed on paper in China, North Korea, Cuba or Venezuela.

Tuesday, December 27

Editorial: Badly Written Bad Rules

An editorial in today's Wall Street Journal is also worth looking at. This editorial highlights some of sheer stupidity that passes for government "work" and "effort" these days.
Then there's the Affordable Care Act. Christopher Conover and Jerry Ellig of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, in a trio of forthcoming papers, systematically examine every rule issued to date to create the new health-care entitlement.
They conclude that "the federal government used a fast-track process of regulatory analysis that failed to comply with its own standards, and produced poorly substantiated claims about the ACA's benefits and costs"—including an upward bias for benefits, a downward bias for costs, and numerous material omissions. Little wonder for a law that contains the phrase "the Secretary shall" 1,563 times. 
Mr. Obama has made clear that the rules will keep coming, but at least his team could try to write good bad rules. Probably too much to ask.
If you think you're getting your money's worth from any chamber of your government, please let me know. 

As Iowa Goes, So Goes Iowa

In today's Wall Strett Journal, Michael Barone offers a very interesting piece.  Below, a few of the highlights worth keeping in mind as we head into the last week of campaigning in Iowa:
But the Iowa Republican caucuses have a poor record in choosing their party's nominees. In the five presidential nominating cycles with active Iowa Republican caucus competition, the Hawkeye State has voted for the eventual Republican nominee only twice—in 1996 for Bob Dole, in 2000 for George W. Bush—and only once was the Iowa winner elected president. 
- - - - 

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has been complaining for months that too few Republican presidential candidates in this cycle have been spending time in the state, doing retail campaigning in all or some substantial percentage of Iowa's 99 counties. True enough, Rick Santorum has done events in all 99 and Michele Bachmann is on a bus tour that will take her to all 99 too. But both Rick Perry and Herman Cain jumped to leads in Iowa polls without much personal campaigning there. 
If I were running the Iowa Republican Party, I would be seeking to vastly increase the turnout at the Jan. 3 caucuses. After all, those who turn out can be recruited to help in future Iowa Republican campaigns. I would be especially interested in attracting new young voters; the median age of 2008 caucusgoers was nudging up toward 60. 
Yet despite polls showing that Republicans are enthusiastic about the coming campaign and determined to defeat Barack Obama, Iowa Republican insiders are predicting that turnout will not exceed and may not even reach the 119,000 of 2008, when Republicans were dispirited about their party's chances. Puzzling.

One thing I take away, I don't think most people would want their candidate to win in Iowa. Probably better to do well in South Carolina and New Hampshire, both of which have a better record of actually choosing the Republican nominee.

Tuesday, December 20

We Need More Lights

I saw this tweet a few days ago, and I thought it was worthy posting here. Think about this over the holidays.

“Why does a guy down the street from us put 135,000 Christmas lights up? This sign explains it.”

Friday, December 16

Crazy Ron Paul ENDORSED Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney in 2008

Ron Paul, the guy who endorsed Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney in 2008, is now possibly the Republican nominee in 2012?

See the Wall Street Journal, 9/10/2008: Ron Paul Endorses the Third-Party Field
“Presidential elections turn out to be a charade more than anything else,” Paul said, and so he urged his supporters to vote for candidates who would expand the debate beyond the major party’s platforms.

Ron Paul (far left) at a news conference with third-party candidates at the National Press Club. From left: former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney from the Green Party, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, and Ralph Nader. (AP)

A phone call from McCain backer Phil Gramm yesterday was not enough to garner Paul’s endorsement and didn’t stop the Texas congressman from gathering the welterweights of the presidential race for an announcement of their common principles.

Thursday, December 15

Solutions Ad

The Newt Gingrich campaign is out with a new ad today, which I think is very strong. Take 30 seconds to watch We Need Solutions:

I think Newt Gingrich may be the only candidate in this 2012 Republican primary field capable of understanding and leading us toward an American renaissance.

Saturday, December 10

Overestimating Romney

Aside from getting votes, he’s a great candidate.

An interesting column from The Weekly Standard about Romney's so-called electability.  The column, well worth reading in its entirety, closes with this:
More evidence of voters’ coolness toward Romney came in a recent Public Policy study, which took snapshots from 13 states both early and late in 2011. In all 13 states, he became less popular as the year progressed. Even more telling were Romney’s negatives—which increased in tandem with his name recognition. As Romney began campaigning more actively, voters became less favorably disposed toward him. 
None of this is meant as a judgment on Romney’s worthiness as a candidate or accomplishments as a governor. But it is worth understanding that if elections are markets and candidates products, then Mitt Romney’s problems this time around aren’t some great mystery. 
It’s just that no matter where he’s run, whether in primaries or statewide elections, he’s never sold particularly well.

Thursday, December 8

Article: Newt the Supply-Side Sizzler

I thought this column by Larry Kudlow was so good that I decided to reprint it here (yellow highlights are my own). Newt's tone comes across as a little bizarre, but the deeper point in my mind is that Newt is looking at a different American future than most of the rest of us. This is a great thing. I think Newt can pick up where Jack Kemp left off in leading us toward an American renaissance:

Say what you will about former Speaker Newt Gingrich. His philosophy, his policy proposals, his track record, his campaign, and all the rest. But the one thing you have to acknowledge about Gingrich is that he’s a sizzler. He has a way with words. And he’s as good a communicator as anyone in modern politics.

In my CNBC interview with Gingrich this week, he slammed President Obama’s tax-the-rich, class-warfare attack on bank’s and businesspeople. He hammered Obama, calling him a hard-left radical who is opposed to free enterprise, capitalism, and “virtually everything which made America great.”

It was a brutal, frontal, hard-hitting attack on the president. He called Obama “the candidate of food stamps, the finest food-stamp president in American history.” He said, “I want to get equality by bringing people up. [Obama] wants to get equality by bringing people down.” He said, “I want to be the guy who says, ‘I want to help every American have a better future.’ [Obama] wants to make sure that he levels Americans down so we all have an equally mediocre future.

Now, I haven’t heard any of the other GOP candidates offer that kind of response to Obama’s recent class-warfare speech. Maybe I’m missing something. But I haven’t heard it from Mitt Romney or the others in a sizzle fashion, which is the way Gingrich operates.

Frankly, Romney ought to be beating back Obama right now. He should at least be asserting that America’s free-enterprise, capitalist system rewards success, not punishes it, and that free-market economics — including supply-side tax-cut policies, worked in the 1920s under Calvin Coolidge, in the 1960s under Democrat John F. Kennedy, and again in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan.

In fact, Bill Clinton joined with Gingrich in the 1990s to slash the capital-gains tax, cut spending, and enact welfare reform, all of which kept the Reagan boom going. Over 40 million jobs were created in the two decades that followed Reagan’s supply-side tax cut.

Gingrich made a special point during our talk to reestablish his supply-side bona fides. He said to me, “you’re a witness to this. I was part of [Jack] Kemp’s little cabal of supply-siders.” And then came Gingrich’s most sizzling point: “You can make an argument that I helped Mitt Romney get to be rich, because I helped pass the legislation.”

So I asked, “Have you ever made that argument to him?” And Gingrich said, “I am as of right this minute. Just occurred to me.” He went on to say that Romney “should be thanking me because I did the macroeconomic things necessary to make his career possible.”

This is a Gingrich putdown of Romney, is it not? The former Massachusetts governor’s primary attack on Gingrich is that he spent his whole life in professional politics, and therefore doesn’t understand how to grow the economy and create jobs. Romney, of course, had a terrific private-sector career at Bain Capital. And he rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. But Gingrich’s putdown here suggests that without supply-side economic policies, somehow Romney wouldn’t have succeeded. And that neuters Romney’s attack on Gingrich.

Seems to me that Romney needs to respond to the Gingrich putdown. And he needs to make his case in the Gingrich sizzler context.

Years ago, as a rookie running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy, Romney disavowed Ronald Reagan on a number of occasions. Later on, in 1996, Romney ran ads attacking Steve Forbes’ presidential run and flat tax. Since then, Romney has come into the Reagan camp, and that’s fine by me. He also bills himself as a tax reformer. But outside of a corporate tax cut, Romney has offered no across-the-board tax-reform plan for individuals and small-business owners.

He needs to do this if he’s to fight back against Gingrich. He needs to reassert his supply-side credentials and clarify his policy path to prosperity.

Please make no mistake. I am not endorsing here at all. I have a very high regard for Mitt Romney. What I’m looking for is strong competition for tax-reform ideas. Gingrich has a 15 percent optional flat tax. Rick Perry has a 20 percent plan. Herman Cain had 9-9-9. Jon Huntsman has a strong Bowles-Simpson-type tax reform. But where is Romney?

Romney has a good budget-reform program and has endorsed Paul Ryan’s health-care reforms. He has a sound regulatory-rollback strategy. He has moved towards sound money by saying he will not reappoint Ben Bernanke. But at the top of Reagan’s economic-growth plan was an across -the-board tax cut. And it worked.

Republican primary voters are highly supportive of supply-side tax-reform ideas. If Romney is to stop his slide in the polls, and reposition himself as the GOP campaign’s leader, he must respond to Newt Gingrich with a pro-growth tax-reform plan that sizzles.

– Larry Kudlow, NRO’s economics editor, is host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report and author of the daily web log, Kudlow’s Money Politic$.

Wednesday, December 7

Newt Gingrich Addresses The Republican Jewish Coalition

This was a particularly good speech Newt Gingrich gave Wednesday before the Republican Jewish Coalition. Toward the middle of the speech (about 18:00) is what I consider to be one of the better lines from the former Speaker, with regard to appointing Ambassador John Bolton to e Secretary of State, along with new guidelines for the future State Department to follow.

The final few minutes of the speech where Newt talks about his work with Jack Kemp and the issue of getting people out of poverty was absolutely tremendous.

Romney Is Not The One

So in the battle for the nomination in the GOP Presidential field, it has come down to Newt vs. Mitt. We have been told recently of all the bad things that Newt has supposedly done, and we have been told that Newt is a RINO or worse, a democrat in disguise.

Matt Lewis writes a piece today that highlights a couple of things for me that I think are telling about Romney, who I don't view as very conservative. It turns out that John Sonunu is doing much of Romney's bidding lately, as Romney pretends to be above the fray.

Apparently Newt was not invited by Sonunu to a re-election meeting for President George H. W. Bush in 1990. The reason Newt was not invited; because he was a thorn in the President's side and worked against the infamous "read my lips, no new taxes" budget deal. That's a plus for Newt in my column.

As Lewis also notes, Sonunu also gets credit for hoisting Justice Souter upon us. This is another stike against Romney.

So Long Colonel Potter

As a fan of M*A*S*H, this was a sad day. View the short video below:

"America Is Magic"

Take 4 minutes to watch this:

 Right on Newt! Lead us toward the American renaissance. "You ain't seen nothin' yet."

Monday, December 5

Newt Gingrich Interview With Sean Hannity

Take a listen to Newt Gingrich on Sean Hannity's radio show from Monday, December 5, 2011.

Comparing Ads

Speaker Gingrich is out with a great new 1 minute ad:

After watching the new Gingrich ad, take a look at President Reagan's 1984 ad "It's Morning In America Again":

Sunday, December 4

Worth Noting

Mitt Romney 1994 ad for Senate on Kennedy's negative ad campaign. His slogan was "The Change We Need."

Friday, December 2

Balance The Budget, If Not Now, When?

This post originally appeared at US Daily Review.

The House Republicans Thursday released a pretty interesting graphic depicting a few reasons why Congress should support a Balanced Budget Amendment.

As can be seen in the image below, even if the Balanced Budget Amendment does not become law, there are still enormous problems within the federal government that need to be fundamentally transformed.  One of the most appalling figures to me is that 40 cents of every 1 dollar this country spends in borrowed money.  How does a county dig out from that kind of debt? How would an individual do it?

You don't have to be a partisan, one way or the other, to see that we have major problems at the federal level. This starts at the local level though. The people of every community must start taking back their country. This isn't done the way the parasites of Occupy Wall Street have done it. It is done by getting down to your city hall, your county government offices and even the school boards. Start forcing all governments to justify their spending.  Run for office yourself if you have to. The federal government is doing too many things that can be handled at the local level, and when the federal government gets involved, costs go up while efficiency and effectiveness go down.

Seriously. 40 cents for every one dollar. When does it stop? Will we eventually be borrowing $1.25 for every $1.00?

Tuesday, November 29

Newt Gingrich Interview With Hugh Hewitt

Tuesday Hugh Hewitt interviewed Newt Gingrich for what turned out to be 3 segments. Below you will find all 3 parts of the interview.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Sunday, November 27

Newt Gingrich Picks Up A Big Endorsement in NH

Sunday has been a very good day thus far for Newt Gingrich. Take a look at today's New Hampshire Union Leader Endorsement. I've put together a small report on the whole situation over at US Daily Review. I suspect Fargo Bachmann is sharpening her knives yet again, trying to figure out what else she could inaccurately accuse Newt Gingrich of.  Fargo Bachmann has become a joke, she has been in freefall since her Iowa victory, but in reality, the field was not set in Iowa. Fargo Bachmann also had about 12 people show up to her Iowa book signing in Iowa on Saturday. She and Team Fargo blamed this on a publisher mixup. Oh well.

Saturday, October 29

Continuing The Tax Debate

A few days ago I blogged about the tax reform debate our country needs.

Speaker Newt Gingrich has placed within his 21st Century Contract with America what I think is probably a better version of the flat tax program Governor Perry has proposed, and I think Speaker Gingrich's explanation is concise and easily understood. Read it below, let me know what you think.


My legislation will also include an optional flat tax of 15% or less. All tax filers would be given the option to pay their income taxes subject to current income tax provisions or to pay under a lower single rate of taxation with limited deductions. A revenue neutral flat tax reform would save hundreds of billions of dollars in compliance costs each year and would eliminate the need for taxes on savings, dividends, and capital gains.

This optional flat tax system will create a new personal deduction of $12,000 for every American. This deduction is well above the current poverty level, ensuring that this new system does not unfairly target the poor. The current $1,000 tax credit for each child aged sixteen or younger would also apply, as would the current earned income tax credit (EITC).

An optional flat tax reform will be simple: tax returns can be done on one sheet of paper. Subtract from income a standard deduction and deductions for charity and home ownership, multiply the result by the fixed single rate of taxation of at most 15%, and the process is over.

Gone will be the stressful hours spent figuring out whether your military service or marital status will adversely affect your return. No more headaches trying to determine where estimated tax payments go. Tax preparation fees could be money spent on something more rewarding.

Such an optional flat tax system would create a new standard deduction, which would be above the established poverty level, meaning an optional flat tax would not unfairly target the poor.
An optional flat tax would eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. And if a person had twice as much income as another, he or she would be taxed twice as much. Furthermore, a single rate tax structure would eliminate taxes on savings, capital gains, and dividends. Saving would increase and businesses would expand to create new jobs.

This concept of an optional flat tax would give American taxpayers an opportunity to choose simplicity versus complexity and a single rate over a lot of deductions.

Because the flat tax is optional, it does not raise taxes on a single person or unfairly impact seniors, lower income workers, or the poor.

Must Read Article About The Flat Tax

Flat-Tax Fever Grips GOP

Supply-side economists, naturally, are delighted by the GOP’s newfound commitment to pushing the flat-tax, which gets rid of loopholes and offers a rate that remains consistent regardless of income for taxpayers above the poverty level.
A broader tax base helps lower rates. Supply-siders say that would reduce the incentive to manipulate the system while substantially reducing the estimated $480 billion that Americans spend each year to comply with the tax code. The result, they predict, would be an economic boom. 
“There’s not one of the candidates we have running in this primary who would not change the tax codes dramatically in this direction,” Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, widely considered the father of supply-side economics, tells Newsmax. “And that makes me very proud of the Republican candidate base, to be honest with you. 
“And I’m ashamed of the Democrats,” Laffer says, “because they used to be the party that opposed the Republican naysayers, the Barry Goldwaters and Bob Doles, who never saw a tax increase they didn’t love … Now, the Democrats have gone to the dark side, and we’ve got to bring them back!”

Tuesday, October 25

The Tax Debate Our Country Needs

With Chairman Mao, or uh, Obama in charge on the nation, we can expect little in the way of positive tax reform that would relieve the burden on the American population.

Enter the Republican Presidential candidates.  There are many good ideas on the table, and most of them reform the current system.  If we continue to just tinker with the current system, we will continue to get nowhere.  Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, even Jon Huntsman, and now Rick Perry have offered attempts to change the tax system.

The Wall Street Journal has written this piece called The Flat-Tax Sweepstakes.  The column is a good read, but here are three paragraphs that make the case:
Rick Perry joined the GOP's tax reform sweepstakes on Tuesday, proposing an optional flat income tax of 20%, among other fiscal and economic reforms. We'll get to the details, but the larger story is how the drive for a flatter, simpler, more pro-growth tax code is taking center stage in the Republican Presidential contest.
Mr. Perry joins Newt Gingrich, who has proposed a 15% optional flat tax; Jon Huntsman, whose reform proposal would cut the top individual rate to 23%; and Herman Cain and his now famous 9-9-9 plan. House Republicans included a reform with a 25% top rate in their budget earlier this year. All of this ferment shows that whatever one thinks of the candidates as potential Presidents, most of them are trying to meet the political moment with reforms to address our major economic challenges.
The good news is that Mr. Perry and most of his competitors are thinking big, with proposals that will reverse the U.S. slide to high-debt, slow-growth stagnation. President Obama wants to portray the economic debate as pro-growth government spenders vs. the austerity of budget cutting. But the real debate is over whether government or the private economy is the main engine of prosperity. The flat tax puts Republicans on the side of private growth and government reform, a potent combination. Perhaps Mr. Perry and his comrades can even coax Mitt Romney to join the party.

Thursday, October 20

Thursday, September 29

Stimulus 2.0

This column originally appeared at US Daily Review.

As I mentioned here on US Daily Review last week in my column titled "Avoiding The "S" Word", Stimulus II, the son of the first stimulus disaster was indeed presented Monday by the current President. The so-called American Jobs Act is more of the same. This is not surprising from a failed President, and a man who had never created a job or balanced a budget prior to or during his reign as President, unless it was with taxpayer dollars.

What the current President has done is created a plan that would take money from the people, and from the "big, bad evil" corporations, and put it toward government jobs. The current President has chosen to increase taxes on business and close so-called loopholes, rather that freeing up much needed capital so that American businesses can build bigger and hire more. I understand the President not wanting to go with the latter plan, that would not create enough votes for his re-election campaign. A plan where he creates government jobs and takes money from the business community, well that helps with his anti-capitalist base.

View this chart and see for yourself:

In Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had this to say about the current President's plan, "Anything that is akin to a stimulus bill is not going to be acceptable," he said. "Over half of the total dollar amount is so called stimulus spending. We have been there, done that. The country cannot afford more spending like a stimulus bill."

As I have suggested before, if the current President were serious about job creation, the first two things he would do to address the high unemployment rate would be to reduce job-killing regulations and cut job-killing tax rates. Instead, the current President opts for more job-killing regulations, more job-killing tax increases and more government spending.

When the current President gave his campaign speech during a joint session of congress last week, he kept repeating, "pass this bill right away". This was an obvious attempt to show leadership from a President who has not been able to do so in any other way after 32 leaderless months in office. His bill that he wanted passed right away, is more of the same, as Majority Leader Cantor said, it is more of the same, it is more of what has already failed.

The Wall Street Journal also pointed out today, "The White House says the tax changes would take effect in 2013 and estimates they would raise $467 billion in additional revenue over 10 years."  So if you are one of the many unemployed Americans, don't worry, Obama's so-called jobs plan will be put into effect in just 15 short months, be sure to go to the current President's website and signup for emails on progress of that "plan".

It was amazing to watch and think during the Republican presidential debate last night, that any one of the people on that stage, will do more for America and job creation as President-Elect in November and December of 2012, than the current President has actually done while in office. We just have to hope that the Hopers and Changers who find themselves unemployed this go-round will be on the side of capitalism and free markets, and not on the side of government funded, government mandated attempts at job creation.

Hopefully Stimulus II is DOA.  It is worth noting that the bill itself is not designed to gain passage. It serves two purposes: It is something the current President can say he presented to congress; and hen congress does not pass the bill as is, the current President has a campaign weapon.

Saturday, September 24

Avoiding The “S” Word

This column originally appeared at US Daily Review.

I saw this piece by The Hill a few days ago. With a headline and that would have made George Orwell giddy, "Pelosi Drops The Word "Stimulus".

The Left, clearly losing their war on jobs and their war on our nation's economy, is trying to repackage the same failed programs and legislation that did not work before.  They are not proposing their usual jobs killing tax increases, this time they are trying to pretend they are watching out for the taxpayers and actually wanting to reduce taxes.

As I witnessed the current President's campaign speech on Thursday night, and as I heard one platitude after another, I realized he was talking about more stimulus, this time without actually calling it stimulus.  The current President was also desperate, his speech came across to me as if he was begging or pleading.  It was a campaign speech afterall, I guess he was pleading for four more years of malaise.

The Wall Street Journal had a staff editorial on Friday, well worth reading in its entirety.  But there was one big takeaway worth staying focused on:

"Mr. Obama spoke last night as if he is a converted tax-cutter, asking Republicans to expand and extend the payroll tax cut that expires in December for one more year. Along with tax credits for certain businesses that hire new employees, he says this will cut unemployment, and no doubt it will lead to some more hiring.

But what happens in 2013 when those tax rates expire and Mr. Obama pledges to hit thousands of those same small businesses with higher tax rates on income, capital gains and dividends? He seems to think businesses operate only in the present and will ignore the tax burdens coming at them down the road. This is the same reasoning that assumed that postponing ObamaCare's tax and regulatory burdens until 2014 would have no effect on business hiring in the meantime."

Shovel ready jobs for infrastructure was a big feature of the current President's campaign speech.  Does the current President not understand that infrastructure jobs is money spent by the government, and where does that money come from?  Yes, the taxpayers. So once again, taxpayers get to foot this bill for infrastructure jobs.  This is a surreal cycle to look at.  The Left thinks this is real job growth.  I know the current President knows all of this, which is why this speech was really nothing; a non-starter.  If the Left really wants to create jobs, why not just have the government hire people to clean beaches, rivers and other waterways?  The government could hire people all day long, all year long to do meaningless jobs (some are called bureaucrats), and call it employment or a "jobs plan".

But what about jobs that last for many years? What about jobs that people turn into careers?  Yes, someone has to dig the ditches. Not all jobs in America will be glorious and lead to riches. Not everyone is looking for those jobs.

One final comment from the Wall Street Journal editorial:

"The larger political subtext of Mr. Obama's speech is that if Congress doesn't pass his plan, he'll then campaign against Republicans as obstructionist. Thus his speech mantra that Congress should "pass it right away." This ignores that Mr. Obama has been the least obstructed President since LBJ in 1965 or FDR in 1933, which is how we got here.

He passed $830 billion in stimulus, $3 billion for cash for clunkers, $30 billion in small business loans, $30 billion for mortgage modification, the GM-Chrysler bailouts, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, credit card price controls, Build America Bonds, jobless benefits for a record 99 weeks, and more."

It continues to interest me that after 32 months in office, the current President still doesn't have a plan and he still has not proposed something that reaches across the aisle, yet his speeches proclaim to do both.  I would have more confidence in this temporary President if he had managed a Domino's Pizza or a White Castle at some point in his "career".  I would at least imagine that he had experience hiring and firing, balancing budgets and at least looking at profit and loss statements.  For a guy that hasn't done any of this, the words on the teleprompter being read by a guy with a great education really don't establish confidence in my mind.

Stimulus by any other name is still stimulus; stimulus which doesn't stimulate. The Left can keep avoiding the big bad "S" word; the rest of us can keep pointing to it.  Only in America.

Wednesday, September 21

A Labor Day Lesson

This column originally appeared at US Daily Review.

On this Labor Day past, I was driving through a neighborhood and the road was right along side a local high school's track and soccer field.  I drove by around 1pm, and I had heard previously that the high was going to be 95 degrees.

Obviously, for Labor Day, school was not in session.  Yet, at 1pm, there were some clusters of individuals working out on the track and on the soccer field.  At a brief glance driving by, none of this looked coordinated, this looked like kids out trying to work on something specific, looking to improve their skills or their game.

As the sun beamed down on this area, and as I kept driving and left the track and field in the distance, I thought to myself what a great example those kids are to the people in our nation, and the people overseas, who expect something for nothing.  Recently, in the wake of the London riots, there have been stories about the appalling lack of accountability they see over in Great Britain. One doesn't need to look much further than this recent story that points out that 370,000 households had never had any paid work in the 16 years that the statistics have been kept.  Furthermore, nearly one in 50 kids lives in a home where a parent has never worked.  Without my being judgmental, I think we can all see a problem here.  And then we, and Londoners, wonder why the riots happened and why these kids looted and committed other crimes?

But I digress.  Our current President created a surreal, if not bizarre, atmosphere in America when he literally promised people in 2007 and 2008 that they would get something for nothing, if they put him in the White House.  I won't get into calling this form of governing one name or another.  I will get into identifying this as a problem and signifying what that problem means.

What were these kids promised by being out in the hot sun, running laps on the track by themselves, or kicking a line of soccer balls trying to hit the same upper right hand corner of the goal each time?  If the President had been there, he would have told them to stay on the couch, someone else will be running laps or scoring goals, and we'll make sure we take their laps and those goals and share them with you, so you don't need to be out here doing all this extra work.

It is easy to look like you are working hard when others are around to see, but there is also that saying about courage being what you do when no one else it watching. No one was watching these kids working, except for the passersby. These kids, whether driven by work ethic, by pride, by their peers or by their families, they were working extra to make them and their teams better.

There's a lesson in here for all of us.  Each one of us makes the whole of America better.  You don't have to go run laps in the heat, you can volunteer in a church, help an elderly neighbor with yard work or painting part of their home that might be in disrepair.  You can coach some kids in a sport and lead by example. Many kids do not live in two parent households, volunteering as a coach is a way to help kids like this who might need just one more adult in their life asking "how was school today" or "what kind of homework will you be working on tonight".  This adds up to accountability.

I was heartened to see these kids out there working. It reminds me that there is a spirit in America, a spirit that says if I work hard enough, I will choose my own path, it won't be chose for me.  Holidays can have interesting meanings and interesting takeaways. I never expected what I saw or learned on this Labor Day.

Friday, September 16

The U.S. Must Support Israel At the U.N.

This column appeared in the Wall Street Journal on September 16, 2011

By Rick Perry

The historic friendship between the United States and Israel stretches from the founding of the Jewish state in 1948 to the present day. Our nations have developed vital economic and security relationships in an alliance based on shared democratic principles, deep cultural ties, and common strategic interests. Historian T.R. Fehrenbach once observed that my home state of Texas and Israel share the experience of "civilized men and women thrown into new and harsh conditions, beset by enemies."

Surrounded by unfriendly neighbors and terror organizations that aim to destroy her, the Jewish state has never had an easy life. Today, the challenges are mounting. Israel faces growing hostility from Turkey. Its three-decades-old peace with Egypt hangs by a thread. Iran pursues nuclear weapons its leaders vow to use to annihilate Israel. Terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians from Hezbollah and Hamas continue. And now, the Palestinian leadership is intent on destroying the possibility of a negotiated settlement of the conflict with Israel in favor of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations.

The Palestinian plan to win that one-sided endorsement from the U.N. this month in New York threatens Israel and insults the United States. The U.S. and the U.N. have long supported the idea that Israel and its neighbors should make peace through direct negotiations. The Palestinian leadership has dealt directly with Israel since 1993 but has refused to do so since March 2010. They seem to prefer theatrics in New York to the hard work of negotiation and compromise that peace will require.

Errors by the Obama administration have encouraged the Palestinians to take backward steps away from peace. It was a mistake to call for an Israeli construction freeze, including in Jerusalem, as an unprecedented precondition for talks. Indeed, the Palestinian leadership had been negotiating with Israel for years, notwithstanding settlement activity. When the Obama administration demanded a settlement freeze, it led to a freeze in Palestinian negotiations. It was a mistake to agree to the Palestinians' demand for indirect negotiations conducted through the U.S., and it was an even greater mistake for President Obama to distance himself from Israel and seek engagement with the hostile regimes in Syria and Iran.

Palestinian leaders have perceived this as a weakening of relations between Israel and the U.S, and they are trying to exploit it. In taking this destabilizing action in the U.N., the Palestinians are signaling that they have no interest in a two-state solution. The Palestinian leadership's insistence on the so-called "right of return" of descendants of Palestinian refugees to Israel's sovereign territory, thereby making Jews an ethnic minority in their own state, is a disturbing sign that the ultimate Palestinian "solution" remains the destruction of the Jewish state.

The U.S.—and the U.N—should do everything possible to discourage the Palestinian leadership from pursuing its current course.

The U.S. should oppose the statehood measure by using our veto in the Security Council, as President Obama has pledged to do, and by doing everything we can to weaken support for the unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in the General Assembly. The U.S. must affirm that the precondition for any properly negotiated future settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is the formal recognition of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state behind secure borders.

Since the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, the U.S. has provided more than $4 billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority. This year alone, the Obama administration is seeking to secure $550 million in funding for Palestinians. The U.S. has an interest in the development of Palestinian civil society and institutions. We should encourage Palestinians who are more interested in building a prosperous future than in fueling the grievances of the past.

Our aid is, and must remain, predicated on the commitment of the Palestinian leadership to engage honestly and directly with the Israelis in negotiating a peace settlement. Their threatened unilateral action in the U.N. signals a failure to abide by this commitment.

We must not condone and legitimize through our assistance a regime whose actions are in direct opposition to a peace agreement and to our vital interests. The Palestinian people should understand that their leaders are now putting this much-needed support in jeopardy and act in their own best interests—which are also the interests of peace.

Mr. Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, is running for president of the United States.

Wednesday, September 7

Job promotion need not cost a lot

This column originally appeared in the The Columbus Dispatch.

By Thomas J. Donohue

It seems like every politician in Washington has a jobs plan these days — or is at least promising one. While the focus is welcome, Americans are right to question whether the ideas are sound and whether all the talk will translate into action. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we believe the time for rhetoric has come and gone. Twenty-five million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, have given up looking for work or are brand new in the workforce and can’t find jobs. They deserve to hear detailed, common-sense ideas that will at least jump-start job creation. What they aren’t interested in are empty promises or temporary, artificial government jobs that won't last but will add to the deficit.

There are some practical, private-sector ideas that can be quickly turned into action. We’ve put them together into a plan we're sending to the president and every member of Congress:

• Expand trade and global commerce. Congress has the tools to open new markets and create new American jobs by passing the pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Doing so would save 380,000 jobs and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The administration can immediately modernize export controls, allowing U.S. businesses to expand trade to the tune of 340,000 new jobs. We must also complete a Trans-Pacific Partnership and initiate trade talks with the European Union to spur U.S. exports to global economies. Congress can take immediate steps to safeguard 19 million intellectual-property-related jobs and create new ones by passing a patent-reform bill, along with legislation to shut down rogue websites.

• Produce more American energy. Let American energy workers responsibly develop all sources of domestic energy. By opening up offshore resources, we could create almost 250,000 new jobs. Expanding access to federal lands for oil and gas exploration would add 530,000 new jobs. Development of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, as well as other resource-rich shale reserves, could generate 116,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania alone by 2020. And approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, connecting Canadian oil fields to refineries in Texas, would support 250,000 energy jobs.

• Speed up infrastructure projects. Passing a multiyear highway bill with adequate funding would enable states and communities to plan projects, hire employees and prevent layoffs. Removing regulatory and permitting obstacles to 351 stalled energy projects would create 1.9 million jobs annually. Eliminating impediments to $250 billion in global private capital for infrastructure projects here at home could create 1.9 million jobs in 10 years.

• Welcome tourists and business visitors. The travel and tourism sector already accounts for $700 billion in revenues and 7.4 million American jobs. We can create 1.3 million more jobs by 2020 just by restoring the U.S. share of the travel market to its 2000 level. We can do so by removing the hassle factor of visiting the United States, expanding the visa waiver program, promoting America as a premier travel destination and reforming the visa application process to ensure consistent, fair and timely procedures without compromising security.

• Streamline permits and provide regulatory certainty and relief. America’s economy and job creators need relief from a staggering amount of new regulations and mandates. The president should issue an executive order prohibiting agencies from issuing discretionary regulations that would have a substantial economic impact — until the economy improves.

• Pass job-creating tax incentives. Congress should swiftly enact pro-growth tax measures that stimulate business expansion without adding to the deficit. A repatriation holiday — reducing taxes on profits earned overseas — could bring at least $1 trillion back to America, creating 2.9 million jobs over two years of implementation. Congress should also temporarily reduce the capital-gains tax rate to help companies restore their balance sheets and free up cash for investment and hiring.

Timely action could significantly ease uncertainty, get existing capital off the sidelines, spur business and consumer activity and create American jobs — without adding to the deficit.

Now that Congress and the president are back in Washington, they must get to work so the 25 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed can find work. Join us — and our network of three million businesses — in urging lawmakers to act now.

Thomas J. Donohue is the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, August 24

The Starbucks Presidential Primary

This column was originally published by the US Daily Review.

The Republican nomination process so far this season has been pretty intriguing to me, and it’s also been pretty comical in some respects.

This past weekend we witnessed something pretty unique in my opinion. On Saturday afternoon Governor Rick Perry officially declared his candidacy, less than 6 hours later the Iowa Straw Poll results were known, and on Sunday morning Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race. Enter stage right, exit stage left.

Now, this week we’re hearing that Congressman Paul Ryan and Governor Chris Christie are both taking steps, talking to people and focus grouping their candidacies. I am a big Paul Ryan fan. I typically refer to him as Jack Kemp Jr. I was a huge Jack Kemp fan as well. Ryan learned at the feet of the master and it shows in his policies and his approach. Governor Christie has taken it right to the unions of New Jersey. Christie has been outspoken, he’s been a soundbite machine and he’s avoided much controversy. He has also managed to rein in an out of control state during the awful conditions of the Obama Economy.

So with people here and there advocating for Ryan and Christie to get into the race, I’ve started to realize that we’re really witnessing The Starbucks Presidential Primary. So many people want so many things in a candidate, and until they find their perfect blend, I think they’re going to keep throwing names out there. I’m actually amazed that with as many candidates as we have, and had with Pawlenty’s departure, that people still can’t find what they want in a candidate.

I equate this to Starbucks in the following way: We’ve got people accustomed to walking into a Starbucks, looking at the menu for 3 minutes and then saying “I’d like a tall…no a venti, vanilla mochachino, light on the whip, non-fat, with a sprinkle of cinnamon and then two splendas added after it’s mixed, oh, and yes on the caramel syrup on top”. These same people are now choosing our nominee and even the candidates. They don’t realize you can’t order Paul Ryan’s looks, Romney’s wallet, Bachmann’s accent, Cain’s “voice of Othello” (as Jack Kemp called him once), light on the Paul, Newt’s mind and Perry’s bravado, and put together a Starbucks drink that leaves me looking at the menu wondering where that is on there, or if the customer just made it up.

Our party right now is a great example of the free market system working. Candidates enter the market place, they make a profit or they don’t, and they leave gracefully when they are no longer sustainable. And don’t misunderstand me, I’m not being critical of anyone here. Eventually, unlike the typical market place where the customer can walk away without ever making a choice, a choice will have to be made in 2012. Some will walk away without making a choice, but most will stick around and find the candidate they agree with the most, or the candidate that gets closest to their ideals.

I remember as a kid, every now and then I would go spend the weekend at my grandparents. On Sunday morning my grandfather would grab the Sunday paper and he and I would venture to a local diner where he would order coffee. The choices back then were regular or decaf, and decaf was understood to be nasty, burned, and not very desirable. We’ve come a long way in coffee choices now, thanks to Starbucks. Choice has now extended to the Republican presidential field, more so than ever before.

Maybe one day we will have a Twitter Presidential Primary, one where the candidates don’t even make personal appearances, they can either communicate to the nation via 140 characters at a time, or they can’t. Those that can not, they will be gone. Those that can, might just tweet the words:

From @PresidentElect: ”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of theUnited States, and will to the best of my…” 
From @PresidentElect: ”…ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.”

Until that time, we’re working and living in the here and now. I’m headed to Starbucks…to buy a newspaper.

Wednesday, June 15

Senator Marco Rubio's Maiden Floor Speech

On Tuesday, June 14, 2011, Senator Marco Rubio delivered his maiden speech on the floor of the United States Senate. Focusing on themes of "The New American Century," Senator Rubio celebrated the "American miracle" that allows so many to achieve their dreams and resolved that we all continue to fight for America's role as a shining city on a hill.

Saturday, May 14

GreenWala had an intriguing post recently on How To Brew The Perfect Cup Of Coffee. The entire post is insightful, but they narrow it down as follows:

It boils down to these steps:
  1. Buy top quality coffee.
  2. Use clean, odor-free, but not distilled water.
  3. Keep coffee hot after brewing in a thermal carafe.

Tuesday, May 10

Higher Education: Another Sacred Cow?

Guest Column By Holly Hansen (@hollyshansen)
(this column originally appeared at Williamson County Conservative)

One positive result of our nation's economic difficulties is the renewed impetus to hold taxpayer-funded- entities accountable, and to implement reforms where applicable. Unfortunately, when Governor Perry attempted to apply those standards to Texas Institutions of Higher Learning, we discovered a whole new herd of sacred cows.

Governor Perry has been a proponent of State Higher Education reforms for quite some time, but he renewed his push this session in light of our current economic difficulties. In his inaugural address, Perry challenged universities to establish a $10,000 four-year degree. Most university personnel ridiculed the proposal and claimed it was impossible. But is it?

According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, per-student operating costs at universities in Texas have grown dramatically; in 1991 statewide average per-student was $10,665, but by 2008 it had increased to $18,571, a 74.1% increase. This explosion in costs is largely due to administration and faculty trends. Administration costs have increased by 52% over the last decade, and nationally non-teaching staff now make up for 79% of personnel. (Sound familiar? Like our tax-payer funded public school system on steroids?)

Not only has higher ed seen an unhealthy growth in non-instructional personnel, it seems universities are not making the most of the instructional staff they have. According to a Texas Performance Review, faculty at research universities only teach 1.9 courses each semester, and nationally nearly 22% do not teach at all. Many of these tenured professors enjoy six-figure salaries, and while certainly a few are contributing valuable research, most are publishing obscure articles in obscure journals read only by an obscure few.

These factors, along with a general lack of accountability, are driving up the cost of a college degree in Texas. But instead of facing economic realities, many folks in Texas' higher education bureaucracy prefer to blame the State, blame the Governor, blame the Republicans; blame anyone rather than enact common sense reforms. They have sought not only to demonize Governor Perry, but to 'kill' messengers who dare to suggest reforms like having professors actually teach classes; hence the outcry against University of Texas advisor Rick O'Donnell. Such has been the hue and cry that Lt. Governor Dewhurst and TX House Speaker Joe Straus have been pressured to create a new Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency. It appears that the committee's purpose is not to seek efficiencies and reforms for higher ed, but to police the reformers.

As with the debate over reforms for public education, we again seem to be up against educrats who insist there is not one iota of waste anywhere in the system, and threaten that any reform attempts will destroy higher education forever and ever, amen. Never mind that Texas' higher education system is always demanding more funds from taxpayers at the same time tuition rates are skyrocketing and students are graduating with ever more debt. Unfortunately for both taxpayers and students, Higher Ed is looking like yet another sacred cow.

Monday, May 2

Remembering Jack Kemp

The mighty Jack Kemp died two years ago today. Read a little something about supply-side economics in his memory today.

Thursday, April 28

Americans Divided Over Ryan vs. Obama Deficit Plans

Gallup is out with a new poll demonstrating what most of us already know: The GOP is incapable of unifying and communicating on Paul Ryan's health care proposal.  This is all you need to know:
U.S. adults are evenly split in their reactions to the major deficit-reduction plans being debated in Washington. Forty-four percent prefer the Democratic plan proposed by President Barack Obama, while 43% say Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's plan is better.
Until we get better explaining to the people, this will continue to be the norm, and we will lose people, then we'll lose elections.

Tuesday, April 5

Paul Ryan Proposes Serious Budget; The Left Attacks, Offers Nothing

On Tuesday, Congressman Paul Ryan proposed a serious governing document for America, called The Path to Prosperity (read the plan here), it's a great place to start the national dialogue about so many issues.  The response from the Left is typical.  They have begun to attack Ryan, the GOP and the budget proposal, all of this while never offering a serious proposal of their own.

First, you should read Congressman Ryan's op-ed in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal.

Second, you should read this tweet from Leftist San Franciscan Nancy Pelosi: "The #GOP Ryan budget is a path to poverty for America's seniors & children and a road to riches for big oil #GOPvalues" When you stop laughing at poor Nancy and her standard madlib, fill in the blank template, you should contact your congressman and make sure they are on board with this budget.

Finally, in my recent posts, I have been calling for Transformational Change. This governing proposal is a small step in the right direction. Government will still play too large a role in our lives under this proposal, but this proposal is a step in the right direction.

Saturday, April 2

The Flat Tax: How it Works and Why it is Good for America

Take 7 minutes and watch this very important video from Cato Institute's Dan Mitchell as he discusses the Flat Tax.

Thursday, March 31

TX Rep Kolkhorst Moves HB5 Out of Public Health Committee

by Pondering Penguin, this column originally appeared here.

Texas State Rep Lois Kolkhorst is chairwoman of the Public Health Committee. As the Chair of the House Committee on Public Health, she helps manage the state's multi-billion dollar health care system and works to set priorities for the Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees thousands of state employees at five state agencies.

Rep Kolkhorst sponsored HB5 - Relating to the Interstate Health Care Compact and it has been voted out of committee on a vote of 5-0. By coming together with other states, Texas can manage the state's Medicaid mandates as the costs rise in the coming years.

According to Texas Public Policy Foundation, the coming budget obligations for Medicaid in Texas will be staggering.

As legislators are well aware, Article II has consumed an increasingly larger percentage of the state's budget, with Medicaid demanding the lion's share. It is also the least flexible due to the restraints placed on Medicaid by the federal government. Recent changes in federal law with the passage of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) removed most of the remaining options.

Texas general revenue Medicaid spending, after adjustments for inflation and population, will increase 866 percent between 2009 and 2040. Meaningful opportunities to stem the growth of health care spending are hard to come by because the Legislature has been hamstrung by certain provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and by the acceptance of ARRA funds that restrict lawmakers from making significant changes to Article II, particularly with regard to Medicaid.

Rep Kolkhorst believes that joining in with other states with the Interstate Compact option, it may be the only constitutional shield to be found to fight Obamacare. States can manage their needs better than the federal government. Currently there are 18 states coming together, with the potential for 12 more. After passing in the State Legislature, then the bill would be sent to Congress where it would be voted on. Every state has to work within the same perimeters. Block grants would be distributed.

With the current budget shortfalls facing every state, Interstate Compacts make sense.

I'd like to thank Pondering Penguin for writing this post and allowing me to post it here.  I encourage you to visit Pondering Penguin and engage in the conversation there as well.

Wednesday, March 30

Government vs. Philanthropy

In thinking about my recent posts about the need for Transformational Change in America, or an American renaissance. This call came in to Rush Limbaugh on 3-15-11 that really had me saying out loud "that's a great example of what I'm talking about!" Listen to the call here, and be sure to read the notes on the screen:

This call and it's content needs to be considered. Philanthropy needs to be looked at again in this country, and frankly I think philanthropic endeavors need to be reinvigorated. Philanthropy will always, no matter what, do better than anything government does. So, add this to the list of things we need to discuss.

Wednesday, March 23

Happy Birthday???

My second niece arrived this morning. She is healthy and already talking about supply-side economics and she has already asked for her uncle to send her some books about Ronald Reagan, she realizes there is no time to waste.

I always see these numbers for what part of the nation's debt a child "born today" is responsible for. A little research reveals that this new beauty just inherited her share of the national debt, which equals $29,178. That number will be $49,694 for a child born in 2020, and it could obviously increase.

Both of these monetary figures are ridiculous. And when you think that in just 9 years, not only will the population increase, but that each person share of the debt will increase 59%, I hope you agree with me that this system is unsustainable.

It's time for real change. It's time for transformational change. As each niece has been born, I look at these little ones, and I realize this is no longer about me. It's about them and one day it's about their children when they become mothers.

So, with that, the ideas I've been working on in recent weeks are still in development and there will be more soon.

In the meantime, I welcome my niece to the world, I hope her 18 month old sister will embrace a lifetime of being a big sister and I hope we get serious about reforming this ridiculous, out of control situation for the future generations.

Happy Birthday little one.

Thursday, March 10

A Trivial Question About Presidential Candidates

I was talking with a friend a few days ago about the upcoming 2012 Presidential election. As we talked about candidates, my friends list of potential candidates was interesting to me, and one thing stuck out to me: none of the names on the list were people currently serving in Washington DC. As I pointed that out to my friend, the response was, "Exactly".

We discussed this for a while. It was pointed out to me that those in Washington just serve as members of the "peanut gallery". I realized that Obama came from the Senate, and while he was able to criticize President Bush from his then (and current) role as national Commentator-In-Chief, he was never a leader before and that has hindered him from being effective as Marxist-In-Chief.

So, does it help someone like Newt Gingrich who served in Congress, then left Congress to run for President later? What about Herman Cain, a man who has actually run businesses, created jobs, achieved profits and balanced a real budget? What about Governors like Time Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie?

I'm interested in hearing what you think about this. Should our nominee be from outside of the Congress? What about names like Jim DeMint or Paul Ryan? I used the word "trivial" in the title of this post, I did that because I want a serious national discussion and dialogue about the real questions of our time. If the 2012 election turns into a non-sensical popularity contest, that gets us nowhere.

Wednesday, March 9

Remove Leftist Jesse Jackson Jr. From Congress Yesterday

Leftist Jesse Jackson Jr. has clearly presented himself as a clear and present danger to America. This uneducated moron is understandably overmatched in the US Congress. This Leftist here clearly puts a voice to the problems facing those of us looking for Transformational Change, as he sees the Constitution of the United States as an open ended opportunity to have government do everything imaginable.

One specific critical point to demonstrate Jackson's mental weakness, he asks "how many schools would such a right build from Maine to California". There is no shortage of schools in this country Jackson. There is also no shortage of money for schools. What there is is a surplus of teachers unions protecting failed teachers and a flawed system. Students in this country are benefiting in places where government is not in charge. Read my recent posts about Transformational Change in Education to understand this better.

The Examples Just Keep Coming

In my efforts to look at Transformational Change in government, this is an amazing time to be a news junkie and writer. This video below of a speech that Leftist Harry Reid actually delivered in the US Senate chamber, is an opportunity to see the largesse that needs to be cut from the things that the federal government spends money on.

Here is the text of that video so that you can actually see this stupidity:
"The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1,, eliminates National Public Broadcasting...It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist."
I do not think you can watch this video, and then read the words, and still believe that government spending is not out of control and that Transformational Change is not needed.

And before you attempt to tell me that we need PBS, NEA, NEH and NPR and all this other nonsense, realize that I don't want the federal government funding this sort of leftist propaganda in any case. The Constitution does not call for this sort of heavy-handed intervention. If PBS and NPR are so great, let the marketplace decide that and fund it. Pacifica Radio is also full of Leftists who hate America, but unlike NPR and PBS, Pacifica finds fellow travelers to pay the bills. The same should apply to NPR and PBS. It's time to stop paying for these things. Let us minimize the functions of government, keep more money in our communities, and keep more of our own earnings.

Tuesday, March 8

ObamaCare vs. the Post Office - Should Government Handle Either?

There was a great, short post over at The Weekly Standard today that is certainly worth looking at.  So much was said in so little space.
"The problem is, America’s Founders wrote the following words (penned at Independence Hall) into our Constitution: “The Congress shall have Power…To establish Post Offices and post Roads.” Meanwhile, Obamacare may contradict the Founders’ vision of limited government and liberty more completely than any legislation ever passed in our nation’s history. The only good thing about Obamacare is the backlash against it, which has reignited national debate over the proper scope of government and has generated renewed interest in fiscal responsibility, limited government, and our founding principles. But it doesn’t help to advance those principles to suggest that Obamacare is like the Post Office.

It didn’t take 2,700 pages to found the Post Office. The Post Office doesn’t try to run what will soon be one-fifth of our economy. It doesn’t cost more than $2 trillion over ten years. It doesn’t compel Americans to buy health insurance.  It doesn’t consolidate heretofore unthinkable levels of power in the hands of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other unelected officials."
As my readers know, I think the Post Office has become an unmanageable system for the federal government to handle.  The Post Office has not turned a profit in many years.  But, the larger points here are fantastic and it's good to see validation for what I've been talking about here in previous weeks.

Monday, March 7

How Many More Ways Could We Possibly Stifle Small Business?

I came across an interesting column today over at, discussing how to help small businesses across America. I recommend the entire column, but the three highlighted sections below merit particular attention.
"Paychex, Inc., a payroll service provider that works with many small businesses, recently commissioned a survey. They asked small business owners their thoughts on the economy, and what the biggest obstacles are to growing their businesses. The most common gripe? Regulation. 47 percent of small business owners say that regulations have “slowed or prevented” their business from growing."
This is where bureaucracy gets in the way of real economic growth. Damn, just get out of the way and let those with initiative and drive and capital investment put people to work.
"If Congress is genuinely interested in helping small businesses while speeding up economic recovery, it’s time for a different approach."
Can you join me in saying "Transformational Change"?
"Federal regulation alone costs $1.75 trillion to comply with. Congress should lighten the load. 47 percent of small business owners say that regulation has made their business grow more slowly. Letting that 47 percent grow more quickly would go a long way toward getting the economy growing again."
Almost $2,000,000,000,000 (yes, that's 12 0's) just to comply with regulations!

Saturday, March 5

What To Do About Rising Gas Prices

You have no doubt seen gas prices on the rise in recent weeks and months. What solutions do you have for bringing down gas prices?

You do realize that rising gas prices make consumer goods rise in price too, right? While gas is getting closer to $4 per gallon, will you like it when it gets to $8 per gallon? All the transportation costs of consumer products will increase.

Thursday, March 3

Book Review - A Chance To Make History

A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Excellent Education for Allby Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp is a current look at a positive force for education improvement in America. Education books about various educational programs are released each year, but as numbers change, the books become outdated and less accurate, or less applicable. So, A Chance to Make History, released in 2011, and with stats reported from the latter part of 2010, is a very good current snapshot of the education system in America.

Right at the outset, I wish I had the book in electronic format so I could easily count the number of times the words “transformation” or “transformational” were used. I think this word was the right choice for the needed reforms in American education. I do think those word uses were incorrectly applied in some instances, where the words were another way or saying “better”, “different” or “changing”. What American education truly needs is Transformational Change.

Calling for such change is another way of saying that the current system is beyond being fixed by piecemeal measures, or tinkering around the edges. As was pointed out in this book, more money and more funding is not always the answer. In many cases we are simply spending more for the same, mediocre results.

What A Change to Make History clearly demonstrates is that private enterprise can achieve better results than can any level of government, such as local or federal. There are several instances where not having to deal with any government bureaucracies allowed innovators and investors the chance to get in and do the work of educating children. One great quote to illustrate this:
"Post-storm, there was no bureaucracy left, and it really was an open opportunity for people to come down and get schools open quickly, schools that could be designed to close the achievement gap right from the start." (p. 96, in reference to post-Katrina New Orleans)
I understand that Teach for America does get some federal funding, but that most of its funding is philanthropic and received from donors. I object to the federal government being involved in education at all. If government has to be involved, I would prefer to see them solely fund organizations such as Teach For America. Get the bureaucrats who look at numbers and studies and decide the fate of students across the country that they have never seen and will never see, out of the way of state and local education authorities.

The federal government has proven it can not manage large, complex systems well. Look at the post office, which recently had to be bailed out to the tune of $11 billion. If the federal government had to go to a rational bank and apply for a loan to fund the Department of Education, and if they presented the current model for education as their business plan, they would be laughed out of the building, denied the loan, and shut down for good.

Specifically, A Chance to Make History is an enjoyable read, it is a narrative, with stories that the author comes back to time and again. It is a hopeful book, and a positive book when you see the positive results. I felt the book, at 218 pages, was a quick read, and frankly I could have kept reading. Fortunately, the book is loaded with some great footnotes for further research. Finally, this book might be seen very much as a sort of brag sheet for Teach For America. I’d advise readers to get over that fact and focus on the results oriented focus of the book instead. Whether it’s through Teach For America or similar efforts, let’s start transforming education in this country by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit that can be found in our 310 million citizens. Let’s start at the local, community level and build up from there.

I'll close with this quote from page 113:
"I believe part of the reason that the achievement gap has not narrowed in an aggregate sense over the past two decades, despite all the energy and resources invested in education reform, is that our policy makers and influencers have been so obsessed with finding a quick fix that we have gone lurching from one silver-bullet solution to another rather than embracing the big idea of transformative education and engaging in the very hard work of implementing it. Equally distracting, we have also spent inordinate amounts of energy blaming one group or another-"silver scapegoats," we could call them - when there are clearly larger systemic issues at play. The fact is that our system was not initially designed with an understanding of what it would take to change the path predicted by students' socioeconomic background."
The time for Transformational Change in American education, is now.