Romney Wins But Still a Liberal

The only positive development in the wake of the early primaries is that fewer bad candidates are now running.

The GOP is to blame for this. They lack leadership at virtually all levels. The recent negotiations over the Keystone pipeline were completely bungled with Republicans battling Republicans and seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

They do not have a cohesive message. If they did it would be clear to all that Mitt’s message doesn’t match. McCain would’ve flunked the same test. Now McCain has endorsed Romney. Is that supposed to soothe our collective anxiety about this deeply flawed candidate?

Romney says his experience in the private sector is what qualifies him for the top office. Then why did he think private industry couldn’t handle health care and insurance?

Romney says his plan was appropriate for states – but not OK at the national level.

Please. Here in Illinois we’ll soon have two consecutive Governors in Jail, with 4 of the last 8 convicted. Our state is broke with unfunded pensions that rank us last in terms of fiscal stability. Yup, just let our corrupt politicians run our health care and insurance systems.

This is area of greatest vulnerability and yet his debate opponents haven’t made the point. Instead, they attack him from the left with talking points that sound like they were lifted from a rant.

His work at Bain Capital is worth noting. Dysfunctional companies were restructured to make them profitable. Profitable companies create long-lasting jobs. Unprofitable ones come begging for bailouts.

Obama “invested” OUR money in Solyndra. That is a stark contrast that should help any eventual GOP nominee. Shame on the other Republican candidates for attacking free-market capitalism.

I’d like to know if Mitt would work some of that magic on the energy and education departments. Would he fire thousands of bureaucrats and make our government more efficient?

Does Mitt understand that while companies benefit from a hands-on management, government serves best when it interferes least?

Why is Romney considered to be the only one who can win when his election record is abysmal? He has won exactly one election. He then promptly “reached across the aisle” to pass a disastrous health care plan that is driving up health care and insurance costs just as predicted.

The GOP can’t afford this. Romney will only further harm the GOP brand. They need a candidate who believes in small government, the constitution and free markets. A true supply sider would set the economy on the road to recovery. Romney is a big government hack who would engage in more Keynesian nonsense. He has pledged a currency war with China and would further devalue the dollar throwing gas on the inflation fire already burning.

We will likely be stuck with Romney. Our principled criticism should not be toned down. What we want transcends party lines: a balanced budget, smaller, more efficient government, fewer encroachments on our personal freedoms, and government completely out of the housing business. I want to hear it in the debates against Obama. It is the only time both sides pay attention.

The various tea party groups have a lot of work to do. They did not have a candidate in this race –despite claims to the contrary. Bachmann and others may have tried to harness their energy but it is the new leaders, like Marco Rubio, who were elected due to their influence. The time will come for someone like him to grab the brass ring. For Now Rubio and Paul Ryan need to work hard to exert the powers of Congress; first to battle Obama, and later to bring reform with a Republican President. Our economy would benefit greatly from a sense that stability was returning. Tax policy that lasts for two months is unsettling for business and markets. Shame on the GOP for going along with such an asinine plan.

In the meantime we should take solace in the understanding that if it’s Romney, he will merely be our President – not king as Obama seems to think.

Pat Duggan


Leon Cooperman

If you haven’t already, take a moment to read Leon Cooperman’s open letter to President Obama here : LINK

One sentence really stood out for me:
“As a result of my good fortune, I have been able to give away to those less blessed far more than I have spent on myself and my family over a lifetime.”

Now, I wish he’d said “as a result of my hard work” — instead of “good fortune” — but the point is made. He gave away far more than he spent on himself and his family. This is typical. Whether we are talking Bill gates or Andrew Carnegie the U.S. has a long history of giving more to charity, at a higher rate, than any other country on earth. Studies also show that conservatives give more that liberals. LINK

It is clear that a big part of the problem, and the core of class envy protests like OWS, is a total misunderstanding of economics and what successful people do with their money. More important than what they give away is what they do with what they keep. They don’t bury it in the back yard — they invest it! Even if all they do is buy stocks that capital is what companies use to grow and expand AND HIRE MORE WORKERS.

“Tax the rich more” ensures that they’ll have less to invest — and that means fewer jobs and a stagnant economy. It really is that simple. The problem is that politicians can’t claim credit and buy votes ensuring their cushy lifestyles this way, so they keep offering us “jobs bills” and other useless crap. It’s really worse than useless though. It ensures that we’ll keep adding to our debt problems and keep choking the economy.

I wish Newt or Mitt were articulating this key issue.

They’re not.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on December 2, 2011 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Congress Defaults

The so-called “Super Committee” failed to yield one iota of progress in resolving our debt crisis and credit-rating downgrade. We knew this would be the result the day it was announced. The leadership of both parties and President Obama should be ashamed for supporting this stunt that merely wasted precious time. The notion that 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans could agree on anything was and is ludicrous. That Congress would abdicate it’s duty in this way is shameful. This will be Boehner’s legacy.

I don’t know what is more frustrating: the ridiculous straw man arguments that the Democrats keep recycling — or the Republicans inability to debunk them.

The left has assailed sensible economic policy for decades via this tactic. Reagan’s policies that focused on cutting top tax rates, a strong dollar and selective deregulation were smeared with the moniker “trickle down” — as if that is what the conservatives were hoping would result. In a grand compromise, tax rates were cut with the promise that spending would be cut later. The Democrat-controlled Congress reneged on that pledge and the resulting deficits were blamed on Reagan’s tax reductions. The fact that revenues doubled in 8 years as top rates were cut from 70% to 28% was and is intentionally ignored. It is worth noting that it was Newt Gingrich and the GOP-led Congress that did get things under control resulting in the alleged surpluses of the Clinton era. (This was mostly smoke and mirrors that involved the raiding of the mythical Social Security “trust fund”; an accounting ruse that would land a CEO in jail.)

Now the Democrats are trying to pretend that the GOP has only one solution to every economic ill. They’ve consistently referred to unchanging tax rates as “tax cuts”. Democrats ramped up spending by 25 % in their 2 years of control and we have a jobless, weak recovery with record debt to show for it. Their stimulus failed as every sensible economist said it would. Keynesian economics can now be relegated to the “ash heap of history”.

The truth is that it is the Democrats who are offering a single solution to all our problems: hike tax rates on the top-earning bracket. A quick analysis shows that this doesn’t result in a substantial increase in revenue or a reduction in debt. Why? As always, there just aren’t enough rich people around. When this is acknowledged the next logical question must be: if taxing the top bracket is insufficient and we refuse to cut spending what must happen? And the only possible answer is: tax rates must then be raised across the board or our exploding debt will lead to excessive money printing, hyperinflation and ultimately, default and economic collapse. The middle class would be wise to take notice and vote accordingly.

Polls consistently show that we hold Congress as a whole in utter contempt – yet tend to give our own representative a passing grade. News flash: If your Senator or Representative has been around for more than 2 terms they are the problem.

I suggest Newt or Mitt or whoever make this their campaign theme:

It’s the spending stupid.

At some point spending and taxes must equate. Deficits at any point ensure higher taxes later. Politicians always prefer later. Later is here. We are at a point on the Laffer Curve where higher rates will produce diminishing returns. Comparisons to rates of earlier eras become faulty as local governments raise their taxes ever higher.

The tax demagogues should be confronted with this simple graph:

The lower rates accompany a period of tremendous growth, falling inflation rates and low unemployment. When I see this graph my impulse is to ask: what gives us the right to seize 90% of anybody’s anything? How did this happen? Isn’t our Constitution designed to prevent exactly this type of tyranny?

As for the spending, our next GOP nominee would be wise to choose Oklahoma Sen. (and Dr.) Tom Coburn as VP. He has outlined hundreds of billions in wasted spending – and yes, much of it is earmarked for Republican projects. This is the time for leadership. The GOP must take the first steps and specify where they will make cuts dear to their own constituency for the good of the country.

We have all the ammunition we need to support a conservative plan for real spending cuts – not just smaller increases – and tax reform that would eliminate the loopholes and streamline the filing process. When properly presented this common sense approach reveals the Democrats singular alternative for what it is: a simplistic and naïve approach that has been used before with disastrous results. Their insistence that it be tried once more is not policy it is a tantrum.

If the current President and Congress can’t take the obvious steps we need to fire them and elect a group who will.

Debate the Bigger Issue

Instead of playing a game of political chicken with Obama, the Republican leadership should grab the high ground and focus everyone’s attention on the big picture. Everyone knows the debt ceiling must be raised. The question is not whether it will peak at 15 or 16 trillion dollars-the cold reality is that it will be a much higher number. The GOP should not get trapped into negotiating around such a puny issue. They need to move the focus on the bigger, more important concerns. The health of the economy and the debt rating hinge on Washington’s ability to change the trajectory of government spending and the debt it generates. Under Obama, spending as a share of GDP has jumped 25% while revenues have dropped, as they always do, due to the deep recession. Current debt is virtually irrelevant when compared to the unfunded entitlement liabilities that exceed $100 TRILLION.

The only way to solve this problem, which was decades in the making, is with a long-term plan that will transcend the 2 year election cycle. The GOP needs to reject the static scoring that puts a price tag on lower tax rates. The Laffer curve demonstrates that the presumed correlations do not exist. Alan Reynolds recently authored a piece in the Wall Street Journal accompanied by a chart showing income tax revenue as a share of GDP as the top marginal rate was lowered from 91% to 28%. Revenues rose as a raw number and a percentage. (More on that here: LINK)

The silver lining in the current economic cloud is that the Democrats with their super majorities were able to give their economic theories a thorough test. The failure is also thorough and evident. The so-called “stimulus” was neither targeted nor temporary. The Democrats are trying to use it as a new baseline for budgeting. The crown for the party of big spending is properly placed once again. The GOP needs to claim victory and move on. The 2010 mid-term elections are their mandate.

This is our moment. We must seize it. Promises have been made for decades that can never be kept. The age of unfunded liabilities is over. True entitlement reform must include a transition to private accounts so that congress can never again spend what should have been in the mythical trust fund. Our health care is our responsibility. It is not a right-it is a basic necessity, just like food and housing-other areas where government meddling wreaks havoc. Insurance is a risk management tool that adds a layer of bureaucracy and the associated costs. It should be used sparingly, and will be, once it is untangled from the insane tax code.

A vibrant, growing economy can eventually dwarf the debt figures and then we can pay it off entirely. A rational energy policy focused on domestic drilling and proven technologies must replace the “green” fantasy. Real jobs will produce real revenue and help slay the inflation dragon that has already brought us $4 gas. Gains in national security are achieved as well. This message, this vision, can clarify the ongoing debate and serve as a national platform for the 2012 elections.

Pat Duggan

Tsunami Stimulus Fallacy

Some of you are surely familiar with the economic theory known as the “broken windows fallacy”. Democrats have already distorted Keynesian theory into something it never was. Now they are spouting more nonsense in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disasters.

It all comes down to their disdain for free markets and the wealth they generate. How else could you spin the massive loss of property and human life into a positive?

I’ll let Ryan Young at The Daily Caller do the heavy lifting here:


Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 9:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Tribune’s Chapman Blows it Again

For a brief minute I thought Steve Chapman, faux conservative of the Chicago Tribune and member of their editorial board (which helps explain endorsements of Obama and Emanuel) had read my blog-or at least come to his senses. But after reading his commentary “Why Obama wants to cut corporate taxes” it is clear that he doesn’t fully comprehend the issue.

Yes, we are at a competitive disadvantage with our highest-in-the-world corporate tax rate-but he doesn’t mention who really pays that tax: all of us.


Pat Duggan

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 11:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Rand Paul’s $500 Billion Budget Cut

This is exactly what the Tea Party brings to the table. Rand Paul is a doctor. He did not spend a career accumulating favors owed to special interests. This gets us 1/3rd of the way to a balanced budget. This makes it a good starting point. Many will say it is too much. Obama would be one of them. It is not possible to take these people seriously. They would sink this country and all the way down insist that spending more money was still the only solution.

See Dr. Senator Paul’s specific plan here:


Pat Duggan

Stop Calling Them “Tax Cuts”

The GOP has bungled this situation for 10 years and running. This is about tax RATES and how high is too high. It appears that the GOP is not much better informed on economics than the Democrats. They got suckered into lowering tax rates back in the early Bush years with sunset provisions and now we have to vote for passage again with a hostile congress and a stubborn president without an economic clue.

This is one of the top reasons Michael Steele should be forced out. The GOP has a golden opportunity here to frame the debate in it’s proper terms: Optimal rates and the Laffer curve. The Democrats would have you believe that “tax cuts” are no different than welfare checks and are simply handed to wealthy folks that don’t need them. This is not about how the government spends money this is about where the government gets the money in the first place. Taxing top earners at punitive rates sucks the life blood out of the economy. The GOP has a chance to prove once and for all that the Laffer curve is not a “supply-side” theory, it is an economic truth.

They need to prepare now. Take the house in 2010 and the senate with a new President in 2012. Then gradually lower rates while holding the line on spending and watch the deficits turn to surpluses and showcase the results. The revenue gains from the Reagan and Bush tax reductions were obscured by spending increases. This is the time to take control and regain the title of fiscal responsibility.

Robert Tracinski of the Intellectual Activist reminds us of the toxic policies of the FDR era  in his latest missive, “And let me add that the Republicans of today are (with a few notable exceptions) more radical than the Republicans of 1946, back in the era when “me-too” was the official policy of the right. And that’s not to underestimate the achievement of the post-war Republicans, who did a lot to dismantle FDR’s sweeping wartime economic controls—which is what actually ended the Great Depression and ushered in the prosperity of the 1950s.

You can sign up for a free trial here: LINK

This is a battle of ideas. The GOP needs to prove they have a better idea and this is the way to do it.

Pat Duggan

Racism, the Red Herring

The news has been dominated by race based stories. It started with various liberal media hacks accusing the TEA party activists of racism and then ramped up with the NAACP demanding that the TEA party expel these racists from their midst. This transparent version of the old “have you stopped beating your wife” gotcha was followed by the Shirley Sherrod incident. The White House had her fired before Fox News even covered the story and then proceeded to blame Fox News. Right. The spin was that Sherrod had been taken out of context and that the end of the speech was about her awakening and realizing that helping that white farmer was the right thing to do-because he was poor. Message: it’s OK to be prejudiced against the wealthy. The first part of that speech delivered a message unchanged by the over-hyped “context” at the end. The NAACP audience gave vocal approval to her pre-transformation racist attitude. The NAACP is the organization fanning racist flames-not the mostly disorganized TEA party factions.

So the liberal tantrum continues. Can’t bring unemployment down by spending a trillion dollars of someone else’s money? Cry racism. They are attacking the TEA party movement people who are calling for the very simplest of solutions: Stop running up big debts and adhere to the constitution that provided a frame work for 200+ years of phenomenal prosperity. They have no response to common sense so they tried to ignore it. It grew bigger. Then liberal columnists like Eric Zorn and Clarence Page pretended they couldn’t understand the very simple message. Just like they have painted the GOP resistance to bigger spending, socialized health care and higher taxes as saying “no” without an alternative. I found the Zorn / Page approach hilarious as they portrayed themselves as clueless as to the biggest grass roots political movement in decades. They tried infiltrating the rallies with fake bigots. It didn’t work but they are now attempting to cash that phony check with false accusations of racism. This is really brazenly stupid. Obama, along with corrupt attorney General Eric Holder are playing the race card repeatedly from Holders speech calling us race cowards to the attack on the white beer summit cop to the dismissal of the black panther voter intimidation case.

Why is the left shouting racism? Because their policies are failing and Obama is flailing. The legislation that did get passed-Obamacare and Financial “reform”-are 2,000+ page monstrosities that do more harm than good and were passed against the will of the majority of Americans without bipartisan support. Scott Brown has quickly revealed himself as an Olympia Snowe / Susan Collins clone. These are useful idiots that give cover to Democrats at their worst times. This motivates the right and angers the center. The far left is angry because more idiotic harm has not been done yet, so the Democrats ponder using the lame duck session sure to materialize this fall as their chance to shove through a few last obscenities like “cap and trade” and the “card check” bill. Obama seems to be counting on us to just come to accept all this like a frog on the stove with the heat turned up.

Meanwhile the Democrats burnish their image as out-of-control spenders and shameless, corrupt hypocrites. They are trying to bury the Charlie Rangel case while John Kerry dodges taxes on his yacht. One of Obama’s first acts was to deprive poor kids in Washington D.C of the vouchers that allowed them to escape the broken public school system-while sending his kids to private schools. There is dissention in the ranks. Several Democrats now favor extending the “Bush Tax Cuts”. I curse the way that legislation was passed with sunset provisions. The debate should always be about tax RATES! The Democrats act like these are fat checks handed to rich folk when the truth is the big earners are paying the bulk of all income taxes and top rates combined with local taxes push many over the 50% level. If you think a government has a right to seize more than half your earnings then please read no further.

There are many silver linings in this extended financial crisis, none more important than the further discrediting of Keynesian economic theory. Rich Lowry of National Review puts it this way, “For much of the president’s party, though, Keynesianism is merely a justification for what they want to do anyway: spend as much money as possible, raise taxes, increase regulation, grow entitlements, and subsidize favored industries.”  LINK

Keynes would be objecting to the hijacking of his theory. He argued that during a downturn it would be harmful to drastically cut government spending. But he also made it clear that during the next boom the deficit should be dealt with and the budget returned to balance. This is not what Democrats do. It is bigger deficits always and spending is never cut. When Paul Krugman argues that the so called “stimulus” just wasn’t big enough he exposes himself as a buffoon and the Nobel Prize as a left wing propaganda tool.

Read about myths of the Great Depression here: LINK

Keynes theories were put to the test during the FDR era and are now assumed to have deepened a typical recession into a depression. High spending and big tax increases kept unemployment in double digits for an unnecessary decade as FDR broke tradition going back to George Washington and ran for office, and won, four times. Thankfully we do have one term limit, for President. Obama looks to be a one-termer anyway.

The funny thing to me is that Obama’s election signaled that America was ready to embrace their first Black President. Many voted strictly for that reason. Now that they have assuaged their racial guilt they are looking deeper to see that they have elected a radical leftist with a racial chip on his shoulder. I look forward to the day when we elect our first black President with some common sense and economic understanding. The Democrat party is deeply wounded, exposed as more socialist than many traditional Democrats are comfortable with. The GOP has a golden opportunity-but only if they heed the message of the TEA parties and return to the basics of our Constitution and free market capitalism. It seems that only Chris Christie of New Jersey gets it and his poll numbers are super strong. The Republican party needs to adopt his model. Toss out Michael Steele and get someone to raise money with that message.

Bill Kristol sums it up eloquently here, “Now we are entering a period of consequences. To restore the idea and practices of limited, energetic self-government will require more than half-measures.” LIN

Pat Duggan

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 10:15 am  Comments (2)  
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