Monday, November 5, 2012

Why YOU and YOUR VOTE Matters This Time, No Matter Where You Live

On paper, the election is looking very close and much like a tie in most battleground states.

We all understand the importance of voting if you live in a battleground state, but what if you live in a mostly liberal or conservative state? And what if you live in a western state and hear on the radio that the election has been called, even though you haven’t had a chance to vote yet?

This election unlike any other, requires a huge and vast amount of popular votes for Romney in ALL states – no matter where you live.

If you’re in Texas and know that your state is going to Romney we still need your vote. If you live in California and feel that Obama will win your state and therefore your vote doesn’t matter, your wrong -- we need your vote. And if the news calls the election before western states are done, it still matters that you and everyone you know votes for Romney.

Why? Because there are a few projected scenarios that cause concern, and having a huge popular vote win for Romney is key, regardless of Electoral Votes.
  1. It’s possible that Romney can win enough Electoral votes, but because of heavily populated states like New York and California, Obama could win the popular vote. The Constitution specifies that the Electoral votes are what matter, but Obama is likely to sue and challenge the Constitution saying that “America clearly wants him.” More Romney votes from all states will help against this happening.
  2. Obama could win more Electoral votes and Romney get more popular votes. Again, Romney would humbly concede and not challenge the Constitution as Obama surely would, but more Romney votes from all states will help him gain unseen Electoral votes.
  3. Romney wins by a landslide made possible by all of the extra people voting no matter where they live.
  4. Romney wins with both Electoral and popular votes, in which case having more popular votes helps helps make the win even more decisive. This will help those on the left to move on and not want to challenge the election.
  5. There is a perfect Electoral vote tie which Mark wrote about in an earlier post (linked here). This can be avoided with more popular votes for Romney.
  6. Nobody is predicting a scenario in which Obama wins by a landslide, which is encouraging. So this scenario is another big reason for everyone in every area of the country to vote for Romney. 
It is important that you spread the word to everyone you can who can and will vote for Romney. In this election particularly, numbers really will matter, no matter where you live.

Until next time, America.

What if the Economy Were a Garden? How Would You Help it Grow?

It’s a myth that we have been in the “Biggest Recession Since the Great Depression,” however, we have been in the “Worst Recovery Since the Great Depression,” and have supposedly been in recovery for years now. But does it feel like a recovery to you?

Imagine if our economy were a garden, with plants of all sizes, big and small representing people rich to poor. These are people and business that work in the private sector who create wealth, or our garden’s fruit. The entire bounty from the garden is our GDP, and taxes are a portion of that bounty which are used to fund the government.

Right now our economy has shrunk, which is like having a smaller garden. Plus we have a lot of dead spots and plants that are not producing, that’s our unemployment.

The question is, how do you grow the garden and help it produce more fruit?

Obama and people on the left want to stunt the growth of the bigger plants on one side of the garden in the name of fairness to the smaller plants. They keep telling us that this will, against all logic, produce more total fruit.

Romney on the other hand wants to nourish every plant in the entire garden, and enlarge the size as well. He also wants to reduce the demands on every plant so that the entire garden is healthier. A bigger and healthier garden produces more fruit.

Interestingly, after World War I, Democrats and Republicans and even the king of liberal economics John Maynard Keynes, all agreed that if tax rates were too high, it forced rich people to put their money into tax shelters, instead of investing in businesses that employ people. This was not at all politically divisive. Everyone agreed.

In fact, they all understood that when tax rates were reduced, money was taken out of tax shelters and invested in businesses that hire workers. This money does not trickle down, but goes directly to the workers in hopes that the business will succeed. If and only when the business succeeded, the money would Trickle Up to the investors.

It’s a myth that any economist or politician ever endorsed the idea of “trickle-down-economics” because it doesn’t exist. The phrase was started as a left-wing attack by FDR towards his opponents.

Ever since, tax rates have became a political issue and a way of dividing Americans. Democrats with the exception of JFK have since pushed for higher tax rates and Republicans for lower, with Republicans being accused of only wanting to help the rich.

After FDR, liberals began to believe that recoveries come from the government going deeply into debt and spending money it didn’t have, while raising taxes on the rich. But truthfully, if we taxed the rich at 100%, it wouldn’t begin to solve the problem of the current administration’s need to spend money it doesn’t have and go more and more into debt. Plus higher debt and higher taxes put more strain on a smaller and stagnant garden.

Remember that government does not create wealth and it cannot create any jobs. All it can do is take wealth from people who create it (the private sector), and give it to people who don’t (the public sector). And though we need a certain level of the public sector, most people agree that the system can’t be sustained when the US Government is already gobbling up over 40% of our nation’s GDP and growing.

Growing the government doesn’t create jobs and doesn’t create wealth it only puts more and more strain on the entire garden.

Something has to change and Mitt Romney is the only vote that will remove Obama and his strangling policies. A vote for anyone else is a vote for Obama. Staying home is a vote for Obama. And unless you vote for Romney, you’re voting for bigger government, more debt on us all, and a slower, stagnant “recovery.”

Obama's Worst Economic Mistake

This hasn’t been what you would call a gentle election. Neither candidate has flinched from hitting the other where it hurts the most. Where President Obama is most vulnerable is his track record on the economy, which leads me to the question: why doesn’t Romney talk about the worst thing Barack Obama has done to keep our economy sluggish and the recovery slow? No, it’s not the federal government’s credit downgrade, it’s not trillion-dollar deficits; it’s not even Obamacare. Obama’s biggest blunder has been creating the same thing that, eighty years ago, transformed a stock-market slump and would-be correction into the Great Depression itself: uncertainty.

Hardly a word to frighten children or old ladies. In a knock-down race like this one, it sounds like a very mild accusation for a candidate to focus onalmost like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Maybe that’s why we hear so little about it. Its effects, however, are as sure as the wind-driven tide that last week rolled into New York and New Jersey, burying everything under a deep layer of cold and slowly rising water. Uncertainty carries an influence that stifles the self-correcting nature of the economy and quells recovery before it can start.

To understand why, put yourself in the place of a job creator. You might be the head of a huge company deciding whether (or where) to expand, or you might be a one-person operation contemplating your first hire. You’re about to make decisions that will affect others’ lives for years to comewhere they’ll live, how satisfied they’ll be, whether their kids have insurance, etc. You want to know that you won’t have to turn around and fire them. The main question you’ll be trying to answer is “are these people going to make me more money than it costs me to employ them?” If you can’t answer that question to your satisfaction, you won’t create the jobs, or you’ll do it in a more certain environmentperhaps another country.

The same principle works in investment. When people send their money into the market, they don’t expect the government to give them guarantees, they just want to know the rules will be fair and that no one’s fiddling with the value of the money itself. If you suspect that the field is slanted against you, you’re going to sit on your money or seek greener pastures. You’d be a fool to do otherwise. Perhaps Jesus said it best: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Without dependable measures of what might happen, nothing can be built.

No one disputes Obama inherited an economy in crisis, and everyone, if they think about it, has to admit that it’s not government that will get us out. Government employment and salaries have risen frightfully during this recession, but it can’t employ everyone, and government jobs don't create wealth. It can force people to invest (by spending tax money on businesses), but it can’t force investors to enter the market. Employment and investment are the engines that drive the economy, and government can exert only very limited control to speed up either one. Far more often, it slows them down.

So we agree uncertainty is bad, and the economy was in crisis. How did Obama make it worse?

First, his economic message showed no understanding of the real cause of the crisis. In an economy first brought to its knees by a housing crisis, then knocked out by criminal banking mismanagement, he announced his three top priorities for his first term: dealing with health care, education, and energy. Really?

Health care reform wouldn’t have been a bad idea for a secondary focus. It represents roughly 15% of the economy and is the cause of a disproportionate number of personal bankruptcies. As a minor part of an overall plan, fixing health care could truly have helped. Obama’s “solution,” however, wasn’t what any of the experts recommended. He did nothing to take health insurance out of the workplace, which would have protected workers’ coverage from the whims of their bosses. There was no initiative to remove barriers to competition across state lines which would let market forces lower prices (Obamacare creates 50 in-state exchanges), and he didn’t breathe a word about what could have been the real game-changertort reform. Instead, he engineered a program represented by a 2,000-page bill which has since expanded to sixty thousand pages of new regulations, which, instead of lowering the economic burden of health care, vastly expands it. Hospitals have no idea whether they’ll be able to obey the provisions of Obamacare, even if they want to, because there’s just too much to understand. Doctors are leaving the industry in droves, driven away by the prospect of being forced to do business Obama’s way. Health care: uncertainty number one.

Obama’s energy policy is even worse. Prevented from enacting industry-killing cap-and-trade legislation by Congress, he instead authorized his EPA to bring about similar regulations by its will alone. There has been no coal power plant built since Obama took officehe didn’t make it illegal for power companies to build them, he just said (proudly) that doing so “will bankrupt them.” In the world of oil, Obama opposed the construction of the Keystone pipeline, which would have created 10,000 jobs and increased domestic supply. Election pressures forced him to partially change his tune, but who knows how long his “evolving” stance will last? He imposed a moratorium on drilling permits, then consistently lied about when it would end. He bragged about keeping his “foot on the throat” of BP as punishment for their oil spill (I looked in vain for the “foot on the throat” section in Article II). In natural gas, He has opposed new production, favoring the repeatedly discredited narrative that fracking leads to contaminated water supply. In every case, the uncertainty faced by energy companies has increased to the point where electricity and natural gas prices have sharply increased, and gasoline prices have more than doubled in four years. There is one sector of the energy industry that is far more secure than four years ago: green energy companies with high levels of donation to Obama’s campaigns. Solyndra, Tesla, Fisker, A123the list goes on and oncollectively representing billions of dollars of grants and loan guarantees. Unfortunately for the President, these companies lacked the common courtesy to wait until their benefactor was out of office before looting the till and going belly up. Obama said, under his plan, that energy prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” He has been as good as his word. Energy: uncertainty number two.

The final boondoggle of Obama’s first term plan was education. In spite of overwhelming evidence showing that dollars spent per child has had little correlation with performance, Obama fought to raise bloated federal spending even more, expanding the size and scope of the Department of Education. This new money largely goes to teachers’ unions, which people are increasingly coming to recognize as the real problem. By feeding this beast, Obama is guaranteeing himself the support of millions of deluded Americans, while denying them the choices they deserve and that their children so desperately need. Education: uncertainty number three.

So, Obama’s first term priorities were poorly chosen and poorly handled, but this alone wouldn’t have prolonged the recession. Education, health care, and energy weren’t the most urgent economic issues, and their economic effects, while real, are felt in the long term. Even if well handled, they wouldn’t have been the pathway to a quick recovery. What did Obama do about the breakdowns at the root of the crisishousing and finance? Not much. He did pass the Dodd-Frank bill, which has been a mixed bag at best. It’s not that everything in it is destructive, but it does more to reward big banks than to protect consumers. For proof of this, just look at the list of Wall Street investment banks endorsing (and even contributing to) the legislation. As for housing, Obama’s solution is to reinflate the bubble. That’s right: after complaining that banking interests, in bed with government, destroyed our economy, Obama has doubled down on more of the same. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is buying mortgage-backed securities with printed money. Home loan rates are even lower now than they were in the record-breaking troughs of the last decade. The difference is, this time, everyone recognizes the danger of too much government intervention, and home prices have failed to recover. Housing bubble reinflation: uncertainty number four.

Speaking of the Fed, it’s worth noting that we are now in our third round of what has been euphemistically dubbed “quantitative easing,” a monicker which helps the Obama-friendly media avoid uttering the hurtful phrase “printing money.” The money is loaned directly to the Treasury at a faster and faster rate. This is all in service of the stated goal of the Fedto keep rates around zero percent for the foreseeable future. Sure, low rates can help arrest the freefall of housing prices (they can also be great if we want record deficits). But, when you’re picking investments, are you tempted by rates of less than half of 1%? Where does all this printed money go? Where it always goesinto the pockets of those with the best lobbyists, who were able to help draft the 2009 stimulus bill or other pork projects. When will all of this inflation catch up with us? Impossible to say. Currency manipulation: uncertainty number five.

Obama, and the Democratic Congress over which he has presided, have never once passed a budget, certainly a government’s first financial responsibility. The budgets the White House has proposed are so unrealistic, no onenot even a single Democratvotes for them. Without a budget, no one can attack his economic priorities, because he literally has none. At the same time, no one who deals with government can reliably plan for the future. No federal budget: uncertainty number six.

The final insult of Obama has been on the institution that has historically been the greatest safeguard against uncertainty: the rule of law. Obama has flouted laws on several occasions, showing that they could be ignored when it suited him, and always in service of his donors. He brags about “saving” the auto companies, but what did he do except rewrite bankruptcy law on the fly? In a normal bankruptcy (such as that advocated by Mitt Romney) bondholders would have been first in line for satisfaction, and other creditors, like unions, would be forced to renegotiate certain liabilities. Instead, Obama substituted workers’ pensions as the first priority (as long as they were part of the Democrat-supporting United Auto Workers union). This sounds charitable on the surface. However, as Romney said at the time, a bankruptcy would have allowed the car companies to move forward without the business-shattering burden of generations of unrealistic concessions to the unions. Instead, it was the bondholders that took a bath, forced to accept a distasteful deal by the President himself. Now, GM and Chrysler have to work much harder to borrow moneywho would trust them?and when they finally do succumb to the liabilities that they no longer have the chance to shed, what will then become of the union pensions he broke the law to save? Obama can rest easywhen the auto-bailout piper finally has to be paid, it won’t be his problem anymore.

Also against the law: the “settlement fund” obtained by holding BP’s feet to the fire after their oil spill. Rather than let the normal legal processes take their course, he personally oversaw the transfer of 20 billion dollars into the supervision of his administration, to avoid troubling a judge or jury to determine damages or awards. This isn’t the act of someone who sees himself as the President of America. It’s the act of a king, dispensing justice and favors with equal alacrity, according to his personal wisdom and unquestioned power. The same thing happened with his own signature law: the Obama administration has granted hundreds of Obamacare waivers to business—a tacit admission that the law’s onerous provisions are killing jobs, but also that knowing the right people in Washington is a principle higher than law. There are many other examples, but these should suffice to show the vanity and hubris of this administration. Undermining the rule of law: uncertainty number seven.

Mitt Romney has a simple plan to fix the economy: simplify the tax code, removing deductions and lowering rates, so that people pay the same amount while doing less guesswork and complex math. Repeal Obamacare, end energy subsidies and simplify regulations, replace Ben Bernanke as soon as possible, and turn educational priorities away from teachers’ unions and towards children. Enact reasonable and timely budgets. Above all, renew the profound and necessary respect that our chief law enforcement official has for the rule of law.

Obama says Romney’s ideas will create greater deficits, but Obama’s figures are carefully crafted to ignore both economic and human reality. President Romney will cut the uncertainty caused by overreaching government. If Romney wins on Nov. 7th, the economy will breathe a collective sigh of relief, which, after his inauguration, will lead to rapidly increasing growth. Of course it willthe American economy has always rewarded certainty with prosperity. This will result in our government collecting more revenue even as it charges lower tax rates, an outcome well supported by history, mathematics, and common sense.

We’ve borne the costs of uncertainty long enough. It’s the most dispensable government policy there is. Let’s bring back an environment where the engines of our economy, employment and investment, can reliably “count the cost,” and get America back to work.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Big Deal About Benghazi

There seem to be two common reactions to the September 11, 2012 attack on our Libyan consulate in Benghazi: outrage and yawns. If you’re one of the yawners, wondering why this story keeps getting brought up after several weeks have gone by, you’re not alone. It isn't strange not to know what there is to be upset about. Actually, it might not even be your fault.

The first problem in all this is the confusion over the President’s main job. I’ll give you a hint: the President’s main job isn’t redistributing wealth, taking care of the poor, bringing energy independence, stopping global warming, or even saving car companies, improving health care, or stimulating the economy. It isn’t sponsoring legislation, reaching across the aisle, creating jobs, or fixing education. Presidents try to do many of these things, and you may or may not think they’re good ideas. But all of it is beside the point if he doesn’t do the thing that should be first and foremost on every President’s agenda every day: keep Americans safe. That one tops the list and always will.

That’s why the story won’t die: the President failed in his number one job, and the failure was not just incidental, it was a spectacular failure with disastrous consequences. Then, almost immediately, he lied about it, and when confronted on his lies, told different lies. Let’s examine each of these claims.

First: that the President failed. It’s entirely self-evident (or was before the media began covering Obama’s tracks by shifting the blame for Benghazi) that protecting our diplomats is essential to any kind of credibility in our foreign policy. So why didn't they act when the attack began? We now know that the State Department received repeated requests for armed assistance from the consulate--in fact, we have learned that there was a live internet feed directly to the White House during the attack. Though Benghazi is not extremely close to a military base, we had air power that could have been above Benghazi in twenty minutes, and men that could have touched ground from Italy within two hours. Instead, the ambassador’s security requests were denied, and he was killed. (This is not even considering the requests leading up to the 11th, only those sent during the actual attack.) The administration abandoned the ambassador and left him to die. Two retired Navy Seals nearby had to disobey direct orders to attempt a rescue, and they paid the ultimate price. There were other retired Seals with them, who we can presume would have helped, if only they had been allowed to.

Now, the people around the President would have brought him this situation and asked him what to do. One of two things is true about the decision to cut off Ambassador Stevens. Either the President made the decision, or he didn’t. We deserve to know which it is and why. If it wasn’t the President, it means there is a critical breakdown of trust and responsibility within his chain of command, the kind that should have already resulted in careers cut short if not courts martial, and the ultimate responsibility would still rest squarely with the Commander-in-Chief. If he did order the inaction, it’s even worse. We can only guess at what the reasons for that might be. I personally suspect that Obama took a lot of pride in the way he handled the Libyan coup without committing troops to the conflict, and also in the idea that Al Qaeda (and hence, Islamic terrorism in general) was "on the run." He didn’t want to spoil that narrative so close to election day. If I'm right, this is truly a craven and disgusting motivation. I obviously don't know what's in the President's head, but it's definitely true that if the President were proud of his motives, he would have disclosed them to us. He hasn’t.

Whatever his reasons, the decision turned out to be the wrong one, and the consulate fell. The Administration next moved into full-on CYA mode, desperate to spin the American deaths in any way they could. Circumstances seemed to help out the President--there was a demonstration in Egypt that coincided with the Benghazi attack. If he could just conflate the two angry mobs in the minds of Americans, people might never know of his colossal blunder. So, he put out the story that the mob in Benghazi was just like the one in Egypt--chaotic, spontaneous, and angry about an anti-Islam film. The problem is, he knew that wasn’t the case, and we have proof that he knew: shortly before the attack in Libya, the ambassador accompanied a visiting dignitary to the gate, and reported no mob action. There was no angry demonstration slowly gaining momentum. Every intelligence report that is released only serves to confirm it was a sudden attack, by a small group of well-armed individuals, planned to coincide with September 11th for symbolic reasons. The White House, the CIA, and the State Department all knew from day one. The President himself, along with others in his administration lied about it, also from day one.

Then, in the second debate against his Republican opponent, President Obama changed his tune. Now he fully admitted that it was a deliberate attack, but acted like his reaction to that attack had been totally appropriate. Then he lied about the first story he had told, saying he had always maintained it was a planned attack. The problem with that is, there’s no need to even research the question to know that he was lying--if you watched the news after September 11th, you saw him lie. He lied, during the debate, about his earlier lie, something that was right out there in the public record.

To me, this is an admission on the part of the President that he is not only incapable, but unwilling to do his number one job. He’s too busy with jobs 414 through 92,748 to care about keeping Americans safe. If I hadn’t already made up my mind on how to cast my vote, there is no question that this issue would have decided it for me.

Which brings us to why it’s not your fault. You don't know what a big deal this was, because the media is happy to endorse the President's lie. This information is so damaging to the President that, if the whole story were told in the way it should be, it would make it impossible for him to retain his office! What’s a Democratic journalist to do?

The thing they haven’t done is demand answers, or even give the story decent coverage. If President Bush, (or a hypothetical President McCain or Romney) had made this mistake, it would have front page coverage until he resigned. At the very least it would be the end of his political power. But with this President, they’d rather talk about the fact that Romney “politicized” the riots with a premature statement.

Think about that. The media, rather than being justifiably outraged at the utter mismanagement (you might even say creation) of a crisis in the Middle East, is criticizing Romney for...what? Drawing the public’s attention to it? Making a swift and decisive statement in a time of uncertainty? Pointing out Obama’s flaws?

The kind of treatment Obama gets from the press, in turn, changes the way he governs. If he's not held accountable for his mistakes, why should he worry about making more?

Last time, Obama was elected on a campaign of change. During this campaign, Mitt Romney has shown repeatedly what his kind of “change” looks like: under President Obama, we’re paying more for much of what we buy every day, we’re less able to get health care, we’re making less money, and we’re less sure of our government’s financial outlook. But it was Barack Obama himself that showed us the worst change of all. We’re less safe.

Do you really need to hear more?