One Small Step for the GOP

I have a suggestion for the Republican Party. I am not sure if we can get the various big-government hypocrites, reach-accros-the-aisle centrists, and other wishy-washy RINOs to agree, but how about issuing a statement like this:

We, the elected representatives who call ourselves Republicans do hereby promise to tell the whole truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth. We promise to stop claiming we are “cutting spending” when all we are doing is lowering, in rare instances, the rate of spending increases.

We promise to stop using the term “Social Security Trust Fund” because there is no such thing. Every penny ever collected for that program has been spent and we are dependent on current and future tax payers to fund the program. This is unsustainable.

We will request the same honesty from our Democratic counterparts but we will hold to this pledge with or without them. It is long past time that someone in this great nation did the right thing and we will proudly execute our sworn duties to uphold the Constitution.

We promise you, the American tax payers that balance their budgets at home, that we will do the same here in Washington.

We begin today. In November we will ask for your vote. With your help we can get America back on the road to fiscal responsibility. Join us on the only true path to prosperity before it is too late.

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm  Comments (4)  
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This Is What Democrats Do

Obama’s latest budget is a joke and an insult to the American people. If Harry Reid allows it to reach the floor it will be voted down like last year: 97-0.

Republicans in the House are passing budgets and bills.

Obama is passing the buck.

He’d raise tax rates and cut defense spending while expanding spending in every other area. This is a broken record.

The recent flap involving the Catholic Church and contraception etc. shows exactly what Obamacare is all about. We all lose our freedom when we hand over the health care and insurance business to bureaucrats. Now we are being told that pregnancy is a preventable illness. Do they read their own press releases? The Democrats simply run around declaring that one thing or another will be free of cost. There is no such thing. This is childish and ignorant.

The free market isn’t a bunch of “greedy capitalists” ripping us off without repercussions. The free market is about OUR freedom to choose. In that system businesses compete for our money — just like Apple and Microsoft compete for our computer and technology business. Things get better and cheaper for us while the corporations make money. There are profits and jobs — not subsidies and scandals like Solyndra.

The GOP needs a coordinated message that explains that to the voters and shows how Republicans will be distinctly different than the incompetents in charge now.

Obama and the Democrats are attempting the same controlled-economy nonsense that has failed every single time it has been forced on a population. The Soviet Union is only the most infamous example.

We are at a point where we need strong leadership to push bold policies that repeal and reverse most of this. We’ve been sliding toward socialism since FDR and the main difference now is that quicker pace. We’re at multiple tipping points. We’re broke and facing a real economic catastrophe.

If Mitt Romney wants to win the election he needs to understand that the President is not the CEO of America. You cannot micro-manage the economy–you can only set it free.

Pat Duggan

The State of the GOP

I hear a lot of complaining about the Republican Party these days. I share their frustration. How could it come to this? As the fourth year of the Obama era begins the state of the union is shaky at best. In 2008 an inexperienced leftist who donned a centrist disguise beat a weak opponent partly because the electorate was in such a state of shock that they were willing to ignore myriad red flags. I refer to his ultra-liberal voting record, murky background, radical friends and shady political pals. A lapdog media wasn’t interested in doing any vetting — opting instead to just cheer-lead.

The recent State of the Union was full of the same old stuff: congratulating himself for perceived accomplishments and complaining about Republican obstructionism. It’s pure trash and he knows it – but he’s betting that the American electorate will swallow it once again.
Anyone curious enough to look beyond the pliant press would have found that Obama’s speech was in many instances a word-for-word rehash of his previous “SOTU’s” here:

LINK

Further analysis shows his tax claims to be demonstrably false, here:
LINK

With evidence like that this election should be easy right? Obama is a now known quantity and the mask has been ripped off the entire Democrat Party. They marched in lockstep to shove Obamacare down our throats, bypassing an honest legislative process and ignoring the will of the people, including those in uber-liberal Massachusetts who voted for Scott Brown on that issue alone. They have reclaimed the crown as the biggest spenders – quickly eclipsing the Republicans of the previous era. Annual deficits are now running $1.5 TRILLION and we have nothing to show for it.

We should be planning our election night parties – and yet…

It is a mess. Many are fearful that we’re paving the way for Obama to be re-elected. From a very large field full of flawed candidates we’re left with a clueless Mitt Romney fending off desperate attacks from a flailing Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party seems to be doing the Democrats’ dirty work for them. We’re told by self-proclaimed experts that Romney is the only “electable” candidate and yet the guy has no track record of winning. The one time he did he passed a government-run health care bill that paved the way for the mess we’re trying to get repealed.

While Newt’s failures as Speaker of the House have been misrepresented – and his major victories diminished – Mitt is mostly given a free pass. Santorum is the non-Romney of the month but he is a lightweight punching out of his weight class. Ron Paul is given exactly the attention he deserves: credit for his criticism of our dangerous fiscal / monetary policy and scorn for his dangerously naïve foreign policy. Has anyone noticed that he is attracting the youth vote?

But how did the Republican Party let this happen? Well, let’s think about it for a minute. Who is the Republican Party? It’s the candidates who run as Republicans and the people who vote for them. It’s the current crop of elected officials who still self-identify with the party and caucus with them. Let’s not forget the Murkowskis of the world who are only Republican when it’s convenient, or the traders like Jeffords and Specter who changed teams. It is also the RNC – but they really only get involved AFTER the primaries, funneling money where it is most needed in closely fought general elections.

The candidates are a reflection of what we as voters demand. For too long we settled for mushy compromising centrists like Bush and McCain who did nothing to curtail spending or the rampant encroachments on our freedoms. I am not letting the Republicans in Congress off the hook. Spending bills start there. We have a President – not a king. Obama is clearly irritated by that. But the Republicans have not stood united as a party and held their ground. They should have been there all along saying. “We simply cannot afford this level of spending. We can’t defend our country and fund out-of-control entitlement programs. We cannot suspend the laws of economics to give houses to those who cannot afford mortgage payments. We will destroy our economy if we do.”

Nope. They reached across the aisle and danced around the third rails of politics and took the easy way out. McCain was one of them and Newt Gingrich was too. Romney pretends to “Mr. Private Sector” but he didn’t trust it to deal with the health care industry. It is no wonder attacks on him have stuck.

So the Tea Party was born. They are more loosely organized than the GOP. They do not have the big money yet. They only have a few true believers in office now; young leaders like Marco Rubio. Old phonies like Newt are merely pretenders trying to harness their energy. But the Tea Party activists at least have clear principles: smaller, efficient government; low, flat taxes; balanced budgets: strong foreign policy; free markets.

The debates are a disgrace. Who agreed to this? The RNC? This was a blown opportunity to clarify what the GOP platform is to be. We should be discerning not just where the candidates are different but where they agree. Liberal TV commentators should not be involved. Their slanted, “gotcha” questions waste precious time and give the Democrats advantages they should not be granted. Who lets the other team into the huddle?

Who are the party “leaders” who convinced Chris Christie and Paul Ryan not to run? Why didn’t those candidates seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? If Romney wins and does well, he is odds-on to run again and make it an 8 year wait for GOP contenders. Then maybe the pendulum swings left again. If Romney wins and lacks the will to make the bold moves we won’t get the recovery we need. Voters will tire and be susceptible to more “hope and change”. There are lots of ways that it adds up to a 12 year wait for these rising stars. This is their best chance and our best chance.

Now we are in a primary cycle where the voters are unanimous in their support for “none of the above” Not Romney and not the non-Romneys either. I think a brokered election would be thrilling and historic — but wait – the GOP wants to screw that up too. Their idea of a “White Knight” late-entry candidate?

Jeb Bush. (Crickets)

Are they tone deaf? Sure, I know all about Jeb. He’s the smartest Bush. That is beyond irrelevant. This country is not in the mood for another Bush while still suffering from a great deal of the fallout from the financial crisis that began during his brother’s term. Sorry Jeb.

I am still optimistic. True change does not happen quickly in a world still suffering from an epidemic of incumbency. Only we can impose the term limits that are so desperately needed.

They say we get the government we deserve. I am sure I am not the only one who feels I deserve better than this. I work, pay taxes, get informed, get involved and then vote.

There is a battle for the soul of the GOP. There is a call for return to core principles as opposed to watered-down liberalism or “compassionate conservatism”. The Democrats are in a state of denial about theirs. Obama is being attacked from the left for not doing enough. Incredible. “Moderate” Democrats don’t seem bothered that their party has been taken over by de facto socialists.

The silver lining in this mess is that at least Republican voters are showing that they care about character as this search for the non-Romney goes on. Democrats were too eager to embrace scripted charisma in an empty suit. We can do better. We will. Hopefully soon.

Pat Duggan

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 MoveOn.org 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

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.

Newt vs. Mitt

GOP voters are being told that Mitt Romney is our only chance. Rubbish. This comes from otherwise intelligent types like Michael Medved who committed to pathetic loser McCain early in the 2008 campaign.

The latest anti-Romney is Newt Gingrich. I don’t have to list the complaints here; they are well known — Mitt’s mistakes are also.

What’s maddening is it seems “they” have decided that Mitt’s mistakes are forgivable and Newt’s are not.

Now, sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi for a TV commercial is stupid — and doing it to promote the global warming agenda is worse — but many fell into the climate trap and are now reversing themselves. That is the right thing to do if you couldn’t see then that it never passed the smell test.

Yet Romney is forgiven for spearheading Massacare, the precursor to Obamacare. Mitt wants to pretend there are major differences. Nonsense.

If you don’t understand that government control at any level can only make health care and insurance worse then you’re too dumb to be dog catcher, let alone President.

Published in: on November 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm  Comments (6)  
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The Debt Ceiling Charade

The so-called debate over the debt ceiling is going nowhere because the elected officials involved have zero experience in problem solving at any level. The only reason this debt ceiling increase hasn’t been rubber stamped like the last 100 times is that the Republican House is attempting to use it as a bargaining chip. With the Democrats in control of the Senate and Obama in the White House they have very little leverage and seemingly no clue as to how to use what they have.

Part of the problem is that Washington politicians know virtually nothing about negotiating. The result of almost every impasse is a “Washington Compromise”, just one more oxymoron from our capital. As every married man knows, a real compromise requires a tradeoff, some sort of sacrifice. You want to play golf this Saturday? Fine, but you’ll be spending Sunday working on that “honey do” list. You gotta give a little to get a little.

In the Washington alternative universe both sides get everything they want. But the laws of mathematics are not so easily suspended. Who does the giving? The tax payer of course. It is because of this habitual way of doing things that the debt keeps mounting.

It is all made worse due to the static scoring that assumes higher tax rates produce higher revenue. History shows us otherwise. The lowering of tax rates under Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush II all were followed by increased revenue. Revenues fall during recessions-so let’s stop having them.

The GOP is trying to appear tough right now because they know this is why they won so big in the 2010 mid-terms. They have a mandate to cut spending without raising tax rates. Obama and the Democrats received the same message. Their solution? Stop passing budgets and try to stall until after the 2012 elections.

What should the Republican Party do?

First, get its act together. They are rudderless. There should be a clear plan with a chosen leader to promote it. Plan it before you publicize it. Instead, on the night we pass the “Cut, Cap and Balance” the “Gang of Six” announces a conflicting plan. I am a fan of Tom Coburn. He is one of the few decent people in politics-but he should have his head examined. Why would anyone join a “gang” that included Dick Durbin?

They need to make this a 2012 issue. It goes like this:

We have presented a plan for moving forward. In acknowledgement that the economy is still showing signs of weakness, particularly in the employment sector, we refuse to consider a tax hike. Since government spending requires diverting money from the private sector and prevents growth we are proposing serious spending cuts-not just lower levels of increase. By necessity this includes serious entitlement reform.

If the Democrats in the Senate refuse to work with us-or if the President vetoes this common sense plan-we will have no choice but to pass a series of small bumps in the debt ceiling to prevent a shutdown of government. The American people have made it clear that the growth of government must stop. We agree and we’re willing to take that fight to the polls in 2012.

Pat Duggan

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

U.S. is Certain to Default

-Not on the debt that has been issued in U.S. Treasury bonds-but on the promises they made to you dear tax payer, when they deducted from your paycheck for Social Security and Medicare.

It wasn’t so much a promise as a lie-and we eagerly believed it. Now that we know it’s lie we need to snap out of our collective trance and deal with it.

This requires leadership; a quality sadly lacking in Washington (and Illinois and Chicago for local readers).

Paul Ryan comes closest right now in terms of delivering the bad news. There’s a lot of “shoot the messenger” and way too little support from his team.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on June 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm  Comments (2)  
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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

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm  Comments (3)  
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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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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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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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Obama Pivots Back

Well that didn’t take long. Obama presented his budget proposal today. It is an insult to the intelligence of the American people. Government spending, taxes, deficits and their impact on the economy are of concern to all tax paying Americans-but apparently not to the President. There was no pivot to the center-just pandering to the voters and a compliant media.

I am not going to go into detail on the numbers or post one link. Any reader can simply go to his favorite news page or turn on the TV. The specific numbers simply provide a laugh track.

The government is currently running ANNUAL deficits of 1.5 TRILLION DOLLARS. Obama is proposing overall spending increases on top of an already inflated base to set a new spending record. He is also proposing myriad tax increases, including a hike in rates in two years when he just admitted that would be harmful for the economy. He combines the tax hikes with  puny spending cuts in targeted programs and voila! He claims he will reduce the deficit by 1 trillion over 10 years.

This is Orwellian double-speak. The deficits and debt are increasing. Period.

The GOP should denounce this for the stinking pile of crap that it is. Every serious Democrat should renounce this. The 2012 campaign starts now. Obama just gave the challengers are huge head start.

Pat Duggan

One Term Obama?

Here in Illinois we just elected long-time Democrat hack Pat Quinn who finished the term of the disgraced and convicted Rod Blagojevich. He is working hand in hand with the very people who created our fiscal mess to raise taxes instead of making the tough (but obvious) choices to cut spending.

How / why did he win? Because in the middle of a wave election that boosted Republicans across the country, the Illinois GOP nominated Bill Brady.

Jack Kerwick at American Thinker (see link below) fears that Obama will be reelected if the GOP can’t do better than the current group of front runners. I couldn’t agree more. It is for this very reason that our best hope is a drafting of a reluctant candidate such as Chris Christie.

LINK

Published in: on January 5, 2011 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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They Are NOT Tax Cuts

I’ve been screaming this for years. Glad to see someone else on board.

I’m also tired of the GOP not fighting back and insisting on accuracy from the media. They are not obstructionists or the party of no. The Democrats had bullet proof majorities and passed whatever they wanted. They need to take ownership for the sad state of the economy  2 years hence.

Republicans need to choose their words carefully and not play into the Democrats’ hands. They need to start with the housing mess.

LINK

Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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