Anybody But Obama Strategy is Working

There’s very little difference in the media coverage about the wide-open field of contenders for the GOP nomination. Sure the liberal media is more condescending in their attitude and quick to calculate it as an edge to Obama-but even the Fox News crew seems unable to view it optimistically.

I see a very obvious advantage for the GOP in all this. As soon as a clear front runner emerges the Democrat’s attack machine will focus all their talents (and yes they’re good at it) on isolating and smearing that candidate’s record. Until that point the focus remains on the still-weak economy and Obama’s increasingly implausible excuses for it. The anybody-but-Obama polls should be a concern for the White House and the Chicago reelection office.

So let’s keep playing the game. Mitch Daniels drops out and Rick Perry of Texas seemed more interested. Sarah Palin is on a bus tour? Nobody seems to know how to handicap that. I’d say she’s not running but doesn’t want to leave the spotlight. Eventually, the spotlight is going to shine elsewhere.

Tim Pawlenty is a solid #2 in the online betting markets at 18.9% today, behind Romney’s 30.4%. That’s way ahead of declared candidates like Paul, Gingrich, Cain and Santorum. Is he getting the kind of attention from the press that warrants? Hardly.

Intrade Link

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Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm  Comments (3)  
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Republican Primary Update

In a recent 24 hour span we eliminated 3 potential GOP primary candidates.

First Mike Huckabee announced he was not running (as predicted here).

Next Donald Trump not only announced he was not running, (predicted by everyone paying attention), he was deprived of the chance to boost ratings for the finale of the unwatchable train-wreck: Celebrity Apprentice.

Lastly Newt Gingrich imploded on Meet the Press in a fashion that exceeded the expectations of even those of us who knew he’d blow it eventually. I just thought he’d liven things up for more than a day. Charles Krauthammer and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have already declared his candidacy dead, strangled in the crib.

These are all welcome developments. It has been nauseating to watch the left gloat as they charge that the Republican party is in disarray and leaderless. Lost on them is the irony that they are stuck with their own deeply-flawed candidate in Barack Obama. David Axelrod was able to fool the majority of swing voters last time around that Obama was a brilliant, pragmatic centrist. He didn’t fool us and now the gullible ones are angry at having been bamboozled. Those that ignored his spotty record of voting “present”, and his long-running relationships with Rev. Wright, unrepentant terrorist William Ayers and countless others on the radical left will now be confronted with his failed presidency.

The Republican campaign is already established. We are hosting tryouts for the leading role. The mission is agreed upon: Repeal Obamacare, cut spending and reverse the trajectory of an increasingly intrusive government.

Next up? Mitch Daniels-or as some are calling him: Myth Daniels. He has baggage like most of the others. His wife is not supportive of his candidacy and in the past has been unsupportive of Mitch as well. She divorced him for another man leaving behind four young daughters. Oops. He was Bush’s budget director for “No Child Left Behind”, the prescription drug entitlement and an increase in spending and deficits. He has voiced support for a VAT tax and is a global warming Kool-Aid drinker. That’s all I need to know. Find more here: LINK

So where does that leave us? I don’t know if Michele Bachmann will run. It’s all about money and as much as I like her I don’t know if I’d consider her a good investment. Herman Cain will officially announce this Saturday, May 21st, and I’m assuming he’s in. That’s great. Herman is a breath of fresh air, scoring high marks in the first debate. He debunked the myth of Washington “experience” with the punch line, “How’s that working out for you”?

I don’t need to rehash the long-shot status of Ron Paul or Gary Johnson. I’ll simply say that their controversial views on some issues, lead voters to dismiss their very sensible solutions on other issues, as radical.

The hoped for candidacies of Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio remain unlikely. A late entry by a white knight is fun to consider but for now we need to focus on the reality.

Sarah Palin is not running. She is merely dragging out that announcement for as long as she can. I disagree that she will play a role as “kingmaker”. She is irrelevant.  Her time in the spotlight is soon to end. We’ll have an exciting race to watch and she won’t be a part of it. Even Fox news will be faced with diminishing returns for the money they pay her.

Romney is mortally wounded. He is not taking the necessary steps to save his candidacy. It will be a slow, painful and expensive death.

That leaves us again with Tim Pawlenty. The liberal media is literally ignoring him. What does that tell us? When they conduct polls they still throw in Palin and others who are not running. They are trying to obfuscate the situation. But take a look at “Intrade”, the online betting site. Pawlenty is number two right behind Romney. LINK

Now that the clowns are dropping out Pawlenty is going to get a serious look. He has fewer problems than the rest. That just might be enough. For the last minute potential heroes the question they should be asking themselves now is: Can Pawlenty win and will I feel confident supporting him-or do I need to jump in?

Pat Duggan

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 11:37 am  Comments (4)  

Our Narcissist in Chief

I’ll give Obama due credit-but no more. He did authorize the raid but I am sure he solicited LOTS of advice. Good. That’s better than shooting from the lip-and missing, like he did with the Iran revolution, Libya and when he stated that “the Cambridge Police acted stupidly”. He took a risk. This could’ve gone badly like Jimmy Carter’s infamous crash in the desert.

All that said Obama has squandered much of the good will he could have garnered from this. Right from the start his speech was arrogant. Bush was constantly harangued by the left with that term so I’ll be specific when I use it. Some examples from the speech:

“And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta…”

“I met repeatedly with my national security team…”

“I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action…””

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation …”

“Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was…”

I think I’ve made myself clear.  😉

Yes, he did give credit to the Special Forces. He gave no credit to George W. Bush and made no mention of the interrogation methods employed that Bush authorized and that Obama and the left en masse decried.

Something needs to be acknowledged here. Our Constitutional Republic functions with continuity despite elections every two years. Yes, those elections have consequences and they bring change. But not everything wraps up neatly in such time frames-especially wars. Getting Bin Laden has been a priority for 9 years. As this news broke we knew that the details would be revised and that some time would pass before a clear picture emerged but it looks like Bin Laden may have been in this compound for as long as six years. Much of this was a function of timing and good luck and persistent work by intelligence organizations. Obama got to finish a job Bush started. More than a little credit is due. Obama could look presidential in all this. Instead he looks petty.

Once again the left is gloating and projecting endless election victories as a result of this exciting yet singular event. The 2010 midterm elections were a quick interruption of that day dream. They are slipping back into it. They may wake up soon in a cold sweat to discover $5 or $6 gasoline and a Middle East still in flames.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on May 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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Reality Check For The Left

If we don’t force our elected representatives to cut spending they will be forced to tax YOU, regardless of your income, at a painfully high rate. The liberals have been lying about taxes ever since they first passed the initial income tax on “only the very wealthy” and only at small levels. They said they would never tax YOU-but they are now, aren’t they? They feed the beast of government and then when we try to cut some programs they scream bloody murder. Never forget that in the recent budget “negotiations” their proposal was to cut zero from our bloated federal budget. Nothing was on the table.

At some point tax revenue and spending levels must match. Borrowing only delays the inevitable but that is the preferred method for our gutless politicians. As anyone who has ever financed anything knows, it just costs more in the long run. Imagine a world in which everything that Congress authorized had to be paid for immediately. Imagine what it would be necessary if they were not allowed to create an unfunded liability. What if there really was a Social Security trust fund? A “lock box”? Washington pols would be faced with some serious decisions. They would have to raise taxes on everyone to levels that would end their political careers, or they would immediately have to trim the fat from the budget. Suddenly there would be no funds available for the Rock and Roll Museum or the “Bridge to Nowhere”. We wouldn’t have hundreds of federal agencies doing virtually the same thing. The Department of Redundancy Department would finally be shut down.

Today’s Wall Street Journal has the hard numbers here. It is eye opening.

LINK

Pat Duggan

Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 8:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Left’s New Math

In their attempts to demonize Republican efforts to restore fiscal sanity the left will try anything, from basic smears to grand hyperbole and outright lies. The Tea Party is “extreme”. Budget cuts will starve seniors and even “kill women” according to Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. Now the class warriors are trying a new tactic, one that requires inventing a totally new concept: reverse wealth redistribution.

The theme is appearing more frequently. I hear it in conversations with liberal friends and echoed in the media. E.J. Dionne floated it in a recent column, where left-wing fantasies run free. More evidence that this is an orchestrated left-wing talking point came from Donna Brazile on ABC’s Sunday morning show.

What is their claim? Ms. Brazile claims that Republican policy, as evidenced in Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity”, is “taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich…in a redistribution of wealth.” Huh?

E.J. Dionne wrote that we “are about to learn how radical the new conservatives in Washington are, and the extent to which some politicians would transfer even more resources from the have-nots and have-a-littles to the have-a-lots.” I see.

So this is what goes for logic on the left.

All this is based on the left-wing fallacy that the government has any money that isn’t first seized from the private-sector economy. Under this straw man presumption, money is then doled out, with the rich getting more than they need at the expense of the poor. Only using this deeply-flawed starting point can the wealthy, really just this year’s hard-working top earners, actually be “taking” anything from a group that has nothing to begin with-or they wouldn’t be poor now would they?

They’ll say anything that fits their view, regardless of fact. From this foundation they build their “argument”. According to the left, so-called “income distribution” has been severely skewed in recent decades, going back to the Reagan era of course. This is ground zero for tax zealots. But facts are stubborn things. While top tax rates were cut from 91% to 28%, before moving back up to the 35/39% area, revenues continued to increase and the top income brackets saw their share of total tax revenue increase as well. Rather than concede the obvious-that they have lost the debate-they opt to change the subject. It’s not about revenue anymore; it is about “fairness”. Obama said just that in his famous chat with Charlie Gibson when it was pointed out that lower capital gains rates had produced higher revenues.

Bill Gates became a billionaire, and thousands of employees became millionaires, while developing the software that propelled us into the age of personal computers. Billions upon billions in taxes were paid, both by the corporation and the employees through corporate, income and FICA taxes. Microsoft stock has generated billions more in capital gains. Thousands of companies were launched in related industries, creating yet more jobs. Thousand of separate industries became more efficient and our cost of living was lowered while our standard of living increased. We have thousands of years of information at our fingertips and up-to-the-minute news. Yet all this must be wrong because Bill Gates makes X-times more money than the average Joe.

This is the tantrum of the left. When confronted with evidence that destroys their theories they cover their eyes and ears. They won’t look and they won’t listen. Why not embrace the basic truths of the “Laffer Curve” and enjoy the optimized revenue stream? Because that would begin to unravel their carefully constructed world view. If they’re wrong about economics-and they are-what is next? Could it be that their welfare programs actually hurt the poor? Is global warming a hoax? Could the U.S. drill for enough oil here to be truly energy independent?

In the left’s imagination, America is a pie that magically appears and they think the government should slice it up more “fairly”. In reality, those who bake the pie, after paying for all the ingredients, should have a bigger say in how many slices the government seizes. Under current projections, in a few years they will take it all. The bakers will be on strike before that happens.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on April 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm  Comments (1)  
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Yup, I’m Extreme

Chuck Schumer and the Democrats have their marching orders and they are following them.

They’ve boosted spending to record levels and now that the Republicans are demanding some really small steps in the other direction they’re having yet another tantrum. In order to once again deflect blame in the wake of their fiscal malfeasance they have decided to blame the Tea Party and label them as “extreme”.

OK, I guess I am extreme.

I’m extremely worried about the fiscal mess our country is in.

I’m extremely frustrated that with a $1.5 TRILLION dollar deficit Republicans are suggesting $60 billion in cuts and the Democrat response is “how about zero?”

I’m extremely troubled by the inflation I see. Gas is $4, gold is $1,400 and the price of just about everything except my house is rising fast. The question is not will we have inflation-the question is: how much worse than the 70’s will it get?

I’m extremely insulted by the hundreds of waivers granted to companies friendly to the Obama administration, excusing them from the health care mandates that have already increased my health insurance premiums.

And I’m extremely sick of Chuck Schumer and his pals playing political games and holding the economy hostage while America goes deeper into debt at a rate of about $4 billion a day and rising.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on March 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Standing Up to Nanny State Creeps

Rand Paul received a lot of attention in his Senate campaign. The media was eager to play “gotcha” games with him because they consider Capitalism to be controversial. Never mind that it is the basis for the economic system which propelled the United States from nothing to the most powerful nation on earth.

Over the years regulations have piled up by the thousands. The left continues to blame “deregulation” for just about everything, especially the ongoing financial mess. There is zero proof this is so-yet the media reports it as fact.

What is a fact is that regulators have been amassing power unchecked by Congress. Rand Paul is a breath of fresh air as we can see in this video: LINK

Thanks to John Stossel for a great show.

Like Sen. Paul I have waited years to tell one of these government bullies that their intrusions are not welcome. I thank the Senator. He speaks for me and surely millions of other freedom-loving Americans.

It is no surprise that the bureaucrat here is unfazed by this criticism. Indeed she projects the smug arrogance of a liberal who is certain they know better than you.

While Democrats fought for zero spending cuts and Republican “leaders” countered with piddly $60 billion counter offers, Sen. Paul proposed a serious $500 billion alternative package of cuts.

Who should we take seriously?

Pat Duggan

 

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm  Comments (2)  
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Unhappy Anniversary

So here we are a year after they “passed” the Obamacare bill; a giant leap toward a socialist health care system in the US. Now that we “know what’s in it”, 55% favor repeal. A year ago the same Rasmussen poll had 53% favoring repeal-so we haven’t significantly moved the needle. This is unacceptable; an utter failure of Republican leadership.

Where should we be? The past year should have been used to educate the electorate. It is not too late. How should we shape the debate? Here’s some key points that need to be hammered home. It’s worth noting that Mitt Romney is NOT the right messenger to deliver this message.

Health care is not a right. If a politician doesn’t understand this they need to study their Constitution. Health care is a combination of goods and services produced by hard working people in a market. No one has a right to someone else’s labor-or the fruits thereof. Only with that clarification can we move on to an intelligent discussion on how to put incentives in place to increase the supply of these goods and services, thereby meeting demand and driving down price. Eliminating the FDA would be a good place to start.

Insurance is a risk management tool for managing unplanned events. It works well for insuring against car accidents, home fires, burglaries and floods etc. The government, through the tax code and myriad mandates, began distorting the health insurance market decades ago to the point that it is no longer functioning. A few simple steps backwards and we can restore sanity. People will come to understand that just like food and housing, health care-especially maintenance-is a basic necessity, and one they need to budget for. There is no free lunch.

The GOP needs to be the party that admits that government does not make things cheaper. There is a very obvious reason that everyone has a cell phone in their pocket, when just a few years ago they were big and expensive-but not everyone has health insurance. If we unleash the same free-market forces that drive innovation in technology markets we can fix this mess.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm  Comments (3)  
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Animal House of Representatives

It is essential that the Republican Party attract the youth vote that was so instrumental in electing Barack Obama. They need to shed their image as old and stodgy. ” Conservative” is not how young people see themselves.

The younger generation has a huge stake in all this. They are being victimized by the entitlement structures from social security to Obamacare and the out-of-control debt situation. To get, and hold, their attention a “New GOP” will need to make politics fun. A tough task perhaps-and yet Jonah Goldberg compares Nancy Pelosi to Bluto from “Animal House” in his latest column, here:

LINK

 

Pat Duggan

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 12:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Victory in Wisconsin

Polls regarding the recent Republican victory in Wisconsin are close, with some indicating public disapproval of the union busting maneuvers. Take them with a large dose of salt.

Polls can be worded in ways that promote a desired outcome. Emotions are running high and misinformation is being spread.

The public doesn’t officially weigh in until the next election. Between now and then the Republicans will have time to more fully explain the budget numbers. As more tax payers come to understand that public sector unions expect us to pay ever-higher taxes to perpetuate their gold-plated compensation packages, sentiment will shift and solidify on the side of Governor Walker and the elected majority.

The hypocrisy of the “flee-baggers” stands in glaring contrast to the honorable Republicans who cast their losing votes on Obamacare and then looked for constitutional methods to fight back while preparing for the next election-which they won handily. That process continues with efforts to de-fund that Obamanation led by Rep. Michele Bachmann who has helped to expose $105 billion in costs buried in the bill.

The Tea Party energizes new Republicans by demonstrating rock-solid support for this brand of tough, no-nonsense politics.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm  Comments (3)  
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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:

LINK

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 9:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Language Police Are Here

Until Barack Obama demonstrates a basic understanding of the mathematics involved in the Social Security system, I think he should be banned from using the words “sustainable” or “unsustainable”.

Published in: on March 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm  Comments (1)  
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2012 Election Part I: The Candidates

The current outlook for the GOP presidential nomination is unclear, with a large number of possible candidates that seem to divide into distinct groups. First there are the reruns and establishment candidates that include Palin, Romney, Gingrich and Huckabee,. They poll well due to name recognition but all have serious flaws that make them poor choices to challenge Obama and his billion dollar juggernaut. The left wing is enjoying the polls dominated by these sure losers, just as they cheered McCain’s campaign-before they attacked him.

The Tea Party phenomenon tells us that the old school ties will be detrimental to those who ran and lost in 2008. Palin will never be able to overcome the big negatives. McCain ruined her political career. Even Michele Bachmann may be impacted by the anti-Palin venom. Romney does not appear willing to turn his Massachusetts health care blunder into a positive by declaring it a failed experiment-even Obama attacked him for it this week. Gingrich is considered to be a daunting intellect but just recently voiced support of ethanol subsidies. His appearance on a couch with Nancy Pelosi is a perfect TV ad against him. Huckabee is not a serious candidate as long as he is under contract with Fox News. Now he’s taken the “Murphy Brown” approach and attacked Natalie Portman and unwed celebrity pregnancies. I agree with Huck on this one; teenage single mothers in particular are a huge problem. That said, this is not something you want to make a signature issue while the economy continues to struggle.

For many of these political celebrities the rumor of a campaign is something they want to keep alive as they sell books and make their TV appearances. When they officially announce they’re not running they are suddenly not so interesting anymore.

There are the governors like Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty that are testing the waters to see if their states’ successes can propel them onto the national stage. Barbour projects the wrong image against Obama. To deny this is to deny that the Democrats will stoop to any level and the race card is just too easily played here. Daniels has a serious charisma deficit, voiced support for the VAT, and his state’s health care solutions are troublesome when analyzed. Pawlenty is a candidate who must craft a dynamic message to draw attention and separate from the pack. He will focus on his fiscal record. Charles Krauthammer thinks this could be the year that charisma takes a back seat. Sadly too many American voters are just too shallow.

Lastly we have the not-ready for prime time players, deemed too young or too recently elected to the national level post that gave them recognition. Chris Christie leads here with Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal right behind. All but Christie will surely wait. Christie is adamant that he is not running. Perhaps he can be drafted. Ann Coulter has articulated this by saying he will run “because his country needs him.” It is not too early for Christie but the media will not give him a pass they way they did Obama after just 2 years as Senator.

I expect most of these pretenders to drop out sooner rather than later. The campaign requires early commitment and lots of money-money that will want to back an eventual winner. Polling will force Palin out and I believe Huckabee as well. GOP primary voters should reject Romney in favor of an opponent with free market credentials who is willing to confront the stark realities facing the nation.  It is too late for Romney to become that person-and flip flopping won’t fly.

When the pretenders are removed I think we’ll see Pawlenty give Romney a run for his money.

Obama is vulnerable to say the least. The Presidency is there for the taking. Even disillusioned Democrats will jump over for the right candidate. With the current front runners so riddled with flaws this nomination can be seized by a surprise candidate-if the message is right.

Here is a policy outline to work from: LINK

Published in: on March 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm  Comments (3)  
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2012 Election Part II: Policies

Key Issues and Solutions for the 2012 candidate:

High taxes=fewer jobs. With higher state and local taxes a certainty, $4 gas, and food inflation a current problem, voters know that higher income taxes-or a VAT or other gimmicks-are dangerous for the economy. Our current tax “system” is a drain on the economy. A simplified code with a flat tax or a consumption tax like the “FairTax” should be explored and debated-instead of demagogued by those protecting special interests benefiting from the myriad loopholes in the current 70,000+ page monstrosity.

This key issue will require a conversation on the role of government and the reason for taxes. The role of government at its simplest is to deliver shared services to the constituency and protect our individual rights. We decide what those necessities are and the constitution sets limits on the government that delivers them. Taxes should be collected in the most efficient and broad-based manner possible. Taxes should not be used as a tool of punishment or reward. They are not for social engineering or fuel for class warfare. The GOP needs to take the lead here. Policies that unleash the entrepreneurial energy of Americans work. Don’t let them call it “trickle-down economics”. That has always been a left-wing pejorative. This is free market capitalism plain and simple. The GOP must be the party of economic growth through smaller government.

Spending is clearly the problem and tough talk is welcome. Revenue has been rising except in recessions. This is the time to eliminate entire departments like energy and education. There is a growing understanding that the Social Security system is an unsustainable pyramid scheme. Medicare is even worse. The pension problems experienced by the states are the canary in the coal mine. Unfunded liabilities are a fact that more voters are coming to understand. The party with the courage to say that this emperor has no clothes will get the credit for solving the problem.

Voters are coming to grips with the fact that all the promised benefits simply won’t be delivered, so offer the compromise: real tax breaks in exchange for means testing. Seniors care about more than their benefits checks. They have wealth, income, portfolios, businesses, estates, children and grandchildren. They are patriots. They balance their budgets and expect Washington to do the same. They will accept means testing if it is paired with lower capital gains and elimination once and for all of the death tax.

The Democrats can’t even get Keynes right. He theorized that deficits should be tolerated only during recessions and that they should be eliminated when the economy returned to health. This has been distorted into ever-larger deficits during all cycles. The GOP congress deserves a large measure of credit for the so-called surpluses of the Clinton era but lacks a clear record of fiscal restraint with all three houses under their control. 2012 should offer that chance and the GOP must seize upon it.

Politicians who don’t get it, like John McCain, call it “inter-generational theft” or utter platitudes like, “we are passing this debt onto our children and grandchildren”. Nonsense. The way this ends badly is not with future Americans writing big checks-it is with the collapse of our economy through inflation, debt default, civil unrest and potentially war. Every generation is going to pay the price for decades of fiscal malfeasance and the tipping point is fast approaching. We need to balance the budget now and get on a growth path that allows us to shrink outstanding debt. The unfunded liabilities need to be restructured.

Entitlement reform starts and ends with the admission that the math has been clear all along: Social Security is a government-mandated pyramid scheme. Even if there was a trust fund it would eventually run dry. But it’s worse than that. There is no trust fund. Every penny ever collected is gone, intermingled with the other tax revenues and spent long ago on stupid pork projects.

All the hysteria about privatization and the risks in the markets are exposed as straw men when you realize you could’ve buried those funds in your back yard and generated a superior return in comparison to the government squandering every red cent with the intention of taxing yet another working stiff to pay for your eventual benefits. To understand this scam and still vote for Democrats requires a degree of cognitive dissonance that is simply mind boggling. That Republicans have gone along with this for generations reveals them as spineless co-conspirators. The Tea Party was inevitable.

Health care can only be dealt with by first defining the two very separate issues. Health care is a necessity just like food and shelter. It is a combination of goods and services manufactured or delivered by other humans who have a right to be reimbursed. Profits are a necessary byproduct of this free market exchange. Nobody has a right to someone else’s labor or the fruits thereof. The best way to keep the costs down is to ensure that regulation is limited and reasonable, and competition encouraged. We have been going in the wrong direction for decades. Obamacare just presses the accelerator as we head for the cliff.

Health Insurance is a risk tool that has been distorted into a magical deep pocket to be accessed for every health related incident. Americans need to understand that there is no free lunch here. Insurance only exists if a group of people voluntarily pool their money to protect against an unforeseen event that will only strike a small percentage. Most of us will gladly chip in a few bucks and hope we never need to make the claim because that means we didn’t have the heart attack, cancer, stroke or crippling accident. When we drag scheduled maintenance into the insurance routine we needlessly add a layer of bureaucracy and the accompanying costs onto the bill. That’s why we pay for our own oil changes-not our car insurance company. The arguments about requiring car insurance are straw men-it is only liability that is required. That is injury to others-not ourselves, or our car.

Everyone needs to understand that health care is going to take a certain amount of your budget. If you have 5 kids it’s going to take a BIG chunk. Plan accordingly. If your employer is “giving” you a gold-plated insurance plan that means they are going to need to offset that somewhere else-usually your salary. The public-sector unions are trying to obscure the true cost of these benefits.

As usual, markets work best when allowed to function properly. All we need to do is look at how the health industry functioned before all the massive government intervention. Level the tax playing field. Promote portability and longer contracts. Eliminate the mandates and open the markets. Allow consumers to select catastrophic only plans and the premiums will drop substantially. They can reallocate those dollars to health savings accounts. The result is that incentives are returned to stay healthy and let those accounts grow. This is the “replace” that so many have said a repeal movement needs. But redefining the debate-a debate that we were deprived of by Democrats- is the starting point.

Housing policies are at the core of the Financial Crisis. While Wall Street played a role in the market gyrations there never would have been toxic CDO’s without the subprime mortgages that resulted from left wing housing policies. Investigate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and shut them down. This is an area where the GOP can shine-but they’ve not taken it on in earnest yet. Barney Frank and others are perfect villains. Every single home buyer from the mid 90’s to 2005 paid more for their house due to this. Proper explanation and the Democrats will be dealing with 40 years in the wilderness. Free markets work when we let them. Expose the root causes and its easy to see how letting the government interfere in the health industry would be disastrous too.

A REALISTIC energy policy is paramount. Green / renewable / alternative energy is a warm and fuzzy idea-but decades from reality. Green jobs will not materialize-just ask Spain. With the Middle East in turmoil it is essential for national security that we tap our domestic sources of energy. This will provide real jobs, tax revenue, and help offset the inflationary forces already in evidence. Proper handling of this is a winner in all categories: national security, inflation, jobs and tax revenue. It helps balance the budget. Global warming hysteria is dying down as much of it has been exposed as hype-if not outright myth. The left is admitting that ethanol is a boondoggle. Take the lead. $4 gas is going to hurt. Don’t let the Democrats escape the blame for it. Drill here, drill now, pay less.

Education is a mess despite decades of spending hundreds of billions of dollars. Government programs have not produced positive results. A move toward localized structures and school choice is the obvious remedy and the transformation is already underway. Let’s make it official and shut down the Education Department. Why send our money to Washington so that they can just send it back to the states, diluted by bureaucracy? There are enough successful voucher programs to insist on widespread use. The Chris Christie, no-nonsense approach to unions is the template here. This new paradigm should also end the domination of the curriculum by the likes of Bill Ayers and the radical left.

Illegal immigration is best dealt with through more and better legal immigration. The border must be secured. The Mexico situation makes this crystal clear. Immigrants understand this. The assumption by Democrats that immigrants are pre-disposed to embracing their party and their policies is presumptuous and insulting. Take charge and win voters at the same time.

Foreign Policy under Barack Obama is a failure. He is finding out it is a complicated world out there. This has made for some odd alliances over the years but The United States is clearly one of the good guys on the world stage. Tolerance of, and cooperation with, dictators and other unelected rulers, while frequently necessary does not equate with an endorsement. Repeated apologies for perceived mistakes are inappropriate. Bowing is unacceptable. Mistreatment of allies will require repair. Missed opportunities may not return. These will always be fluid situations that require sound judgment and the ability to quickly analyze a situation and react. Obama lacks this quality. He did not neutralize his own shortcomings by assembling a talented team. Our next President will need solid administrative skills. Obama’s inexperience was given a pass by the Democrats and the compliant media. The GOP needs to present a proven leader who can make the tough decisions. I know there are many that are up to the task.

(Note that jobs are not an item here. When pro-growth economic policies are in place, jobs are a natural result.)

The new GOP needs to adopt these policies and then shape the message for the many demographic groups needed to score big election victories and then hold the majorities through several more election cycles so that these policies have time to take hold and deliver results.

You can see how here: LINK

Or just read on.

Published in: on March 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm  Comments (3)  
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2012 Election Part III: Demographics

Demographic groups and how to reach them:

The youth of America will support the party that doesn’t mortgage their future. The GOP needs to formulate that message in ways that speak directly to younger generation. It is simple math. The GOP should avoid awkward attempts to be cool but terms like “conservative” don’t help either. The youth needs to embrace concepts like new, modern, hi-tech, job-friendly, business friendly, best hope for the future. Educate but don’t patronize. If done right these young Americans will be asking more from their teachers and demanding the other side of the story. We need to counter balance the left wing rhetoric they are exposed to on campus. Business leaders need to step up. GOP: your very future depends on it.

The seniors of America are more than just recipients of Social Security and Medicare benefits. They are investors and business owners and the wealthiest demographic group. And they vote. Many work well into their 70’s and 80’s. They are also parents and grandparents who do not want to leave their families with a bankrupt country. While they are justified in wanting the benefits they paid for they understand that the politicians already squandered them. Compromises are possible here. Means testing in exchange for cuts in capital gains for instance. Mass resignations by those who created the mess would be a nice touch.

The middle class have everything to lose if we stay on this path and everything to gain by getting the economy back on track and the budget under control. They need to feel that their voice is heard. This is what the tea party brings them. The lower income brackets aspire to rise up the ladder. The top brackets know they already pay more than their “fair share” and are sick of seeing it squandered.

Minorities and Immigrants want the very things the GOP can bring: a better economy, protection of individual rights, sane immigration policy and pragmatic policy for energy and education. Many have fled tyrannical regimes and they support a strong national defense and pride in the USA.

Published in: on March 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm  Comments (3)  
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Where is Common Sense?

The CBO projects that the 2011 budget deficit will be 1.5 TRILLION dollars.

LINK

The Democrat and Republican “leadership” is fighting over spending cuts of between zero and 60 billion.

Is it any wonder the Tea Party remains so popular?

This is sick and sad. Rand Paul suggested a $500 Billion package of cuts. I suggest we simply roll everything back to 2008 levels and then resume cutting form there.

Published in: on March 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm  Comments (1)  

Brain of Newt

Newt Gingrich is brilliant-just ask him.

He is impressive as he dissects the intricacies of various policies. He delivers precise, sound-bite worthy comments. He shreds Obama and his administration’s countless blunders. An Obama / Gingrich debate would be “must see TV”.

I’d buy a ticket to see it.

But he does really stupid things too. Recently he sucked up to the ethanol crowd while in Iowa. Pathetic.

But nothing can top his TV commercial, sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi, agreeing that we just had to do something about climate change. As Jay Leno might say, “What were you thinking?”

Watch it here:

LINK

Newt might run for the GOP nomination for President. I think he’d make the debates lively and bring some needed focus on serious issues. But he’s an egomaniac and blew it when he was Speaker. We have to do better.

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cheese Head Temper Tantrum

Egypt has been replaced on the front page by the angry mob that gathered in Madison, Wisconsin yesterday to protest the new Governor’s budget plan. The source of outrage? The radical notion that public-sector workers should contribute a portion of their own health insurance and pension expenses.

Once again we see that liberal policy is barely distinguishable from a child’s tantrum. It’s the equivalent of asking for a raise in your allowance right after your dad announces he’s been laid off.  The government of Wisconsin is faced with a simple math problem shared by a frightening number of states: they don’t have the money to make good on the promises to public sector unions, forged in deals brokered by mostly Democrat-party politicians over decades. The union members traded their votes for these doomed plans. The politicians they voted for are nearing retirement and many are rushing for the exits early. It is not going to be much fun to be a politician in coming years. Instead of trading favors, paid for by tax payers, they will be forced to be the bearers of bad news.

Some, like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have embraced the challenge. Peggy Noonan recounts in her WSJ column that in September he faced a crowd of 7,500 firefighters at a convention days after announcing a proposal to raise their retirement age, eliminate the cost-of-living adjustment, increase employee pension contributions and roll back a pay raise.

As Noonan reports: He crumpled up his prepared remarks and threw them on the floor. He told them, “Here’s the deal: I understand you’re angry, and I understand you’re frustrated, and I understand you feel deceived and betrayed.” And, he said, they were right: “For 20 years, governors have come into this room and lied to you, promised you benefits that they had no way of paying for, making promises they knew they couldn’t keep, and just hoping that they wouldn’t be the man or women left holding the bag. I understand why you feel angry and betrayed and deceived by those people. Here’s what I don’t understand. Why are you booing the first guy who came in here and told you the truth?”

There are some simple truths that these public-sector union employees are going to have to come to terms with:

1.    You are not going to get far demanding money that doesn’t exist.

2.    We can do the math. Salary + Bonus + HealthCare + Retirement = Total Compensation. Add it all up and your compensation packages are out of whack with the private sector-otherwise know as the real world.

3.    Politicians have proved that they cannot be trusted with retirement funds at any level of government. Privatized, defined contribution plans and 401K’s are going to be the only viable option going forward. This is the future for Social Security as well. Unfunded liabilities are the #1 fiscal problem at every level of government and the only solution is to eliminate them.

A friend emailed this set of suggestions recently. You want to retire at 50? Fine. But you can’t start collecting that pension until you are 65-and you only get one. No more double-or triple-dipping. Your pension will be a fraction of your average lifetime pay-excluding overtime, unused vacation days and other pension-padding scams. Your benefits package, including health care, will be counted in your total compensation score and that score will be tied to the average of the private sector tax payers who fund it all. You can choose from a selection of health care plans but you must ante up the difference if you choose the gold-plated plan. Incentives will be put in place to assure that all are watching every penny.

These austerity measure are coming to Illinois soon-whether the Democrats running the show pull their heads out of the sand or not.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Obama Screws Another Ally: Israel

With all the turmoil in the Middle East this seems like the worst possible time to throw our key / only ally in the region under the UN bus.

We should be withdrawing from the UN and aligning with an organization of free countries. Instead we host this reprehensible club that provides a stage for the world’s worst oppressors to deliver anti-U.S. and anti-Israel / anti-Semitic rants.

I thought we won World War II? I thought we were committed to honoring the victims of the Holocaust by assuring that it would never happen again?

Even if we disagree with Israel we should deliver that message in private.

We should never send such a message via the forum that plays host to  tyrannical dictators hellbent on the destruction of the free nation of Israel.

Obama and his gang are doing irreparable harm to this great nation. It is getting harder to decide if the foreign policy or economic blunders are worse.

LINK

Pat Duggan

Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Serious Comments on an Unserious Budget

Our friend Mike Ashton at E-piphany blog makes a comment on the Obama budget that is seemingly obvious-except to the political class.  He links to a color-coded chart in The New York Times that shows where the budget is increasing.

Mike’s comment:

What is amazing to me (and I don’t want this to become a political comment, but large deficits have a market effect and an economic effect and so it’s worth discussing) is how many parts of the budget are increasing at the very time when we’re running pan-trillion-dollar deficits. This is true even among discretionary items, but let’s be frank here: if the alternative is that the nation is unable to fund this budget and unable to borrow it, these are all discretionary items.

It reminds me of times of budgetary crisis when “non-essential” workers are furloughed. If they’re not essential-then why do we have them?

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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