THE SAPIENT SPARROW: conservatism for commoners

"What has always made the State a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."–Holderlin

FAVORITE QUOTES OF THE DAY AFTER LABOR DAY

After spending the past several weeks in “cancerland”, I was able to peruse various sites today to see what I’ve been missing.  My favorite quotes are below, along with links to the entire article in which each appeared.  Enjoy!

[T]hey’ve [Big Labor] instituted schemes where teachers receive raises for not dying over the summer.

Keynesian politicians don’t realize (or pretend not to realize) that economic growth occurs when there is an increase in national income. Redistribution plans, by contrast, simply change who is spending an existing amount of income.

If we are going to talk about “the policies that created this [economic] mess in the first place,” let’s at least get the facts straight and the names right.

Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool [on 8/28] were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them.

The only path back to robust growth and prosperity is to stop this [Obama’s] agenda dead in its tracks, and then by stages to reverse it. These are the economic stakes in November.

…the administration remains clueless, hinting that it may seek another “stimulus” costing billions. This bunch is either willfully doing damage to the U.S. economy, or completely incompetent.

[Allen] West: I would absolutely support repealing all of Obama-passed legislation.
For those interested, his website is http://www.allenwestforcongress.com.

If Keith Fimian wins the [Virginia] 11th, the GOP will far exceed their electoral success of 1994. You can follow the Fimian campaign itself at KeithFimian.com.

The Labor Day sprint to November has begun. The game is afoot.

(Note to Harry [Reid]: Repeating oneself is bad enough, repeating vague platitudes about “failed-policies-of-the-past-and-the-need-for-a-new-strategy”– like someone else we know — is downright pathetic.)

Filed under: November 2010 midterm elections, , , , ,

What’s the Problem? Debt or Jobs? – Exchequer – National Review Online

via What’s the Problem? Debt or Jobs? – Exchequer – National Review Online.

Filed under: big government, ,

THE RAHN CURVE

The “Laffer Curve” is a well-known economic model of tax rates and tax revenues.  Now, on Big Government Dan Mitchell from the Cato Institute’s Center for Freedom and Prosperity explains and analyzes The “Rahn Curve” which is a newer economic measure of spending on Government related to economic prosperity.  Read the analysis of Dan Mitchel.  Then watch the video.  Conclusion?  Another reason to make a radical course correction in our economic policies.

Filed under: big government,

POLITICAL FOOTBALL: DEFICITS, SPENDING, TAXES

Cartoon by Charles M. Schulz

At less than 100 days before the 2010 midterm elections, representatives of both parties are playing political football with deficits, spending and taxes.  Between focus groups and polling they have obviously been alerted to the fact that the electorate really does care about these issues.  How deficits, spending and taxes will be addressed, however, differs wildly depending on whom is speaking.

Republicans are supporting the extension of the Bush tax cuts for everyone, but they have not been very articulate in explaining why.  They often seem flummoxed by the contention that extending these have added and will continue to add to the deficit.  In fact, the Republicans are not responding to those, like Timothy Geithner, who are saying that letting the Bush tax cuts expire, at least for the top earners, is the “responsible thing to do”.  Many Democrats seem to be equating the decrease of the deficit with, ostensibly, increasing revenue to the Government through higher taxes on “the rich”.  (Of course, these are the same brilliant Democrats that touted Obamacare as a deficit-reducer.)  What we do not hear Republicans shout with a unified voice is that without reduced spending any tax revenue increase will be more than offset by continued Government spending.

Enter four Democrats who are proposing spending cuts to decrease deficits.  These say that Republicans have offered “only rhetoric” about spending cuts but no real action.  These four Democrats plan to proffer “real” spending cuts on the House floor.  Now, these four clearly know what will resonate with voters, but they are being disingenuous in stating that Republicans have offered “only rhetoric” about spending cuts.  Over eight weeks ago, Eric Cantor, (R-Virginia), began the “You Cut” site which is located at  http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/.  In each of those weeks, Americans have voted for a program or expense that they would like to see cut.  The Republicans have then brought up the winning item for vote on the House floor.  In every case the Democrats have defeated the spending cut proposal.  (By the way, since the four Democrats, mentioned previously, have so recently joined together to cut spending, they do not have a web-site in operation.)  Again, the Republicans would do well to vigorously emphasize that they initiated not only speaking about spending cuts, but also have attempted legislative action on them despite being in the minority in Congress.

Our Republican representatives would do well to educate the public about: 1) why the Keynesian policies of this Administration have failed to initiate and sustain a robust economic recovery, and 2) how policies based on classical economic theory would remedy the economic malaise in which we find ourselves.  November is quickly approaching and with it comes what will be one of the most important elections of our lifetimes.  Let us pray that the Conservatives will craft a simple, unified and articulate message and then loudly proclaim it.

Filed under: November 2010 midterm elections, , , , , ,

GOT SCISSORS? Let’s start cutting

This link will take you to Rep. Eric Cantor’s site “You Cut” where you can vote for which government spending program needs to be cut, in your opinion.  After the week long voting, Rep. Cantor will take the “winner” to the floor of the House for an up or down vote to cut that spending measure.  Each week a new list of big government spending programs will be listed here to vote on.  It would be surprising if the Democrat-controlled House would actually vote to cut any of these programs, however, this site can help your voice to be heard in Washington.  Additionally, it is a good educative tool as it publicizes the waste and idiotic spending that is ruining our economy, not only for us, but also for future generations.

Take a moment to visit the site and cast your vote!

P.S.  The site is very busy, so if your vote does not initially register, please try again later.

Filed under: big government, , , ,

BEWARE THE IDES OF APRIL: PERSONAL INCOME DROPPING LIKE A STONE

Certainly, all of us remember that during the 2008 Presidential Campaign, Mr. Obama said the following in a September 2008 speech on the economy in Green Bay, Wisconsin:

“American families, since George Bush has been in office, have seen average family incomes go down $2,000.”

Since then, he has made similar remarks, especially when his economic policies are called into question.  We in the “real world” have felt that this statistic could not possibly be true.  For example, after the election of Barak Obama, my husband’s salary was cut by 5%.  A year into the Obama Administration, he is unemployed.  Our story mirrors many others.  Now, however, there is more than anecdotal information that refutes Mr. Obama’s claim.  Read what the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis has concluded.  It really is more than a feeling that we were being lied to.

Unfortunately, this year, 2010, may be as good as it gets for a while in terms of holding onto whatever personal income we are able to earn.  Economist Art Laffer opined on “Fox and Friends” this morning that the economic up-tick in terms of the stock market, corporate profits and a stronger dollar may simply be a phenomenon of an economy that knows that higher taxes and more regulations are coming in 2011.  Therefore, wealth is being generated and accumulated now in anticipation of what 2011 may hold.  It makes me shudder to think, as we and others barely hold on now, what all this will mean if Mr. Laffer is correct, (he usually is), and the economy once again nose-dives next year into a “double-dip” recession.

“Pay me now, or pay me later”, the saying goes.  Everyone has figured out that paying now is going to be less expensive than later.  But unless something dramatically changes one thing is definite—we will all eventually pay dearly.

REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Filed under: big government, , , , , , , , ,

Obama’s New ‘Poverty’ Measurement Setting a new national goal: class warfare-by Robert Rector

Below I have reprinted the excellent article by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation.

Although defeating The Healthcare Reform Bill in the House is of paramount importance, we cannot lose sight of the other measures that the Obama Administration is trying to enact in the interests of “hope and change”.  Lest we awake one day in the near future and find that the America that we love has been “hoped and changed” out of existence, we must continue to stay informed and fight against these leftist policies.

Here is Robert Rector’s article:

This week, the Obama administration announced it will create a new poverty-measurement system that will eventually displace the current poverty measure. This new measure, which has little or nothing to do with actual poverty, will serve as the propaganda tool in Obama’s endless quest to “spread the wealth.”

Under the new measure, a family will be judged “poor” if its income falls below a certain specified income threshold. Nothing new there, but, unlike the current poverty standards, the new income thresholds will have a built-in escalator clause: They will rise automatically in direct proportion to any rise in the living standards of the average American.

The current poverty measure counts absolute purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy. The new measure will count comparative purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy relative to other people. As the nation becomes wealthier, the poverty standards will increase in proportion. In other words, Obama will employ a statistical trick to ensure that “the poor will always be with you,” no matter how much better off they get in absolute terms.

The Left has promoted this idea of an ever-rising poverty measure for a long time. It was floated at the beginning of the War on Poverty and flatly rejected by Pres. Lyndon Johnson. Not so President Obama, who consistently seeks to expand the far-left horizons of U.S. politics.

The weird new poverty measure will produce very odd results. For example, if the real income of every single American were to magically triple over night, the new poverty measure would show there had been no drop in “poverty,” because the poverty income threshold would also triple. Under the Obama system, poverty can be reduced only if the incomes of the “poor” are rising faster than the incomes of everyone else.

Another paradox of the new poverty measure is that countries such as Bangladesh and Albania will have lower poverty rates than the United States, even though the actual living conditions in those countries are extremely bad. Haiti would probably have a very low poverty rate when measured by the Obama system because the earthquake reduced much of the population to a uniform penniless squalor.

According to Obama’s measure, economic growth per se has no impact on poverty. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the incomes of nearly all Americans have increased sevenfold, after adjusting for inflation. However, from Obama’s perspective, this increase in real incomes had no impact on poverty, because the wages of those at the bottom of the income distribution did not rise faster than the incomes of those in the middle.

What has the Obama measure to do with actual poverty? Not much. For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. But only a small number of the 40 million per­sons classified as poor under the government’s current poverty definition fit that description. Most of America’s poor live in material conditions that would have been judged comfortable, or even well-off, two generations ago.

The government’s own data show that the typical American defined as poor (according to the traditional, pre-Obama poverty measure) has two color televisions, cable or satellite service, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He also has a car, air conditioning, a refrig­erator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had suf­ficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs. While this individual’s life is not opulent, it is far from the stark images conveyed by the mainstream media and liberal politicians.

Clearly, “poverty” as currently defined by the government has little connection with “poverty” as the average American understands it. The new Obama poverty measure will stretch this semantic gap, artificially swelling the number of “poor” Americans, and severing any link between the government’s concept of poverty and even modest deprivation.

In honest English, the new system will measure income inequality, not poverty. Why not just call it an “inequality” index? Answer: because the American voter is unwilling to support massive welfare increases, soaring deficits, and tax increases to equalize incomes. However, if the goal of income leveling is camouflaged as a desperate struggle against poverty, hunger, and dire deprivation, then the political prospects improve. The new measure is a public-relations Trojan horse, smuggling in a “spread the wealth” agenda under the ruse of fighting real material privation — a condition that is rare in our society.

True, the new Obama measure will not, at present, alter benefits or expand eligibility for welfare programs. But the new measure does establish a new philosophy of poverty. For the first time, the government is planning to define poverty as a problem that can never be solved by the American dream: a general rise of incomes of all Americans across society over time. By definition, poverty can now be solved only by the dream of the Left: massive taxes on the upper and middle classes and redistribution to the less affluent. In effect, the Obama poverty measure sets a new national goal of class warfare and income redistribution. [Emphasis added.]

Of course, massive “wealth spreading” is already under way. This year, government will spend some $900 billion on means-tested aid for the poor and low-income persons, around $9,000 for each American in the low-income third of the population. According to the Left, that’s not nearly enough. The new poverty measure will use deception to promote a much larger welfare state. Taxpayers, beware.

MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON RECTOR’S ARTICLE: A rising tide will never lift all boats in an effective way with this philosophy, because some boats originally started at a higher level. The goal of this sort of measure is to urge me to focus on how much higher those original boats are instead of how much higher my boat is.  This philosophy fairly stinks of endless “class warfare”, endless “unfairness”, endless “victimization”, an endless sense of failure and an utter surrender to that sense of failure. There is no room for individual achievement in this philosophy.  It truly lays the foundation for change, and hopelessness.


Filed under: U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , , ,

WAITING FOR GODOT: THE OBAMA AGENDA


In the play, “Waiting for Godot”, a couple of characters perpetually await the appearance of a “God-like” figure who never arrives.  Is life presently imitating art?  We should be so fortunate.

Tomorrow, the much-advertised “Healthcare Summit” will occur, weather permitting.  (Aside: Have you noticed how many recent meetings and announcements have been either canceled or postponed due to unusual winter snows in Washington, D. C. lately?  It’s enough to make one wonder if God is judging these goings-on and finding them wanting).  So what will result from this latest “summit”?  What will the Republicans do?  The Democrats?  The President?  We are waiting…

In climate change news, the Senate had a hearing on the budget for the EPA today.  During the hearing, Bernie Sanders, Independent Socialist from Vermont, compared climate change skeptics to Nazi appeasers.   Shouldn’t all this climate change nonsense be dead by now?  Is a Cap and Trade bill and/or extensive regulation by the EPA still possible?  We are waiting…

Meanwhile, Ben Bernanke testified in Congress today on the economy.  On the one hand, after being pushed by Barney Frank, he stated that the stimulus worked—sort of.  On the other hand, he opined that it is necessary to address the ballooning deficit, sooner rather than later.  Monty Pelerin at American Thinker believes that Mr. Bernanke will need to decide quickly whether to allow spending to continue, or to shut off the spigot.  James Srodes at the American Spectator simply thinks we should all be ready to begin the “Great Recession of  2011-2012”.  We are waiting…

The waiting  for jobs is increasingly trying the patience of all. But the $35 billion “Jobs Bill” (read son-of-stimulus) that passed the Senate this week does no more to create private-sector jobs than did its useless “mother of all stimuli”.  After all, if $862 billion of spending had little affect on job creation, how could spending 4% of that amount help now?  And, why is it that we need this extra spending bill at all, when the balance of the first stimulus has not been spent yet?

The curtain has indeed risen on a play that seems to have too many acts to count.  We keep waiting… but not for much longer.

Filed under: POTUS, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , ,

GOING NUCLEAR! So, what’s the catch?

President Barack Obama announced $8.3 billion US in loan guarantees on Tuesday to help build the first U.S. nuclear power plants in nearly three decades, a move he says “is only the beginning.”  So reports Canadian CBC News.  This sounds like (suspiciously) good news.  So, what’s the catch?

First of all, public funds will be used to guarantee 80%, or more, of industry loans in the case of default.  In an industry that has had both loan repayment and cost overrun problems in the past, a loan guarantee of this type puts the taxpayer at risk.  (I thought Obama wanted to avoid risk, hence all of the regulation of the financial sector!?!)  Furthermore, the nuclear energy industry has other demands it wants the Government to meet.

The industry also continues to press for regulatory changes to speed the time it takes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to approve a nuclear application. Industry officials say the long process of winning regulatory approval discourages potential investors. Utilities like Constellation and Exelon, which operate nuclear plants, also continue to press for a cap-and-trade bill that would give the plants a competitive advantage over coal and natural gas plants that emit carbon dioxide. And Connaughton said the industry would press for an even higher level of loan guarantees. “

Second, Obama pointed out in his announcement that constructing nuclear power plants will create crucially necessary jobs… in about two years.  Ummm, guess we hope people can hang on for that long?

Then there is the problem of storing the waste generated by nuclear energy production.  Since Mr. Obama closed the Yucca Mountain long-term waste storage facility, what are we to do about the ‘waste’ problem?  Carol Browner, Energy Czar has the answer.  Yesterday, she explained about “on site” storage and that it was a “very safe” way to store nuclear waste.  Yet, in January 2006, she was far from definite about the safety of using the Yucca Mountain facility.

Carol Browner expressed reservations about using nuclear power because of the so-called ‘waste’ problem at the C-Span-televised 35th anniversary meeting of former EPA administrators in January, 2006. On January 19, 2001, Clinton EPA Administrator Carol Browner moved to finalize stringent water radiation exposure standards for Yucca Mountain to the White House for signoff.”

Finally, Mr. Obama intimated that now that he has agreed to constructing new nuclear energy plants, he  expects the Republicans to work with him in a “bi-partisan manner” to pass a Climate/Clean Energy Bill.
Can we say “quid pro quo”?  At this point, Republicans have nothing to lose by supporting Mr. Obama’s nuclear power initiative while at the same time opposing any Cap and Trade Bill.  After all, we will have no energy benefit for a number of years from nuclear plants, but we will all immediately, and negatively, be impacted by a Cap and Trade Bill.

NOTE TO SELF:  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Filed under: congress, LEGISLATION, , , , , , , ,

RIP VAN WINKLE & SOAP OPERAS

Rip Van Winkle is a great story, isn’t it?  Guy lies down, falls asleep and when he awakes everything has—changed!  If only that happened in real life.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been out of commission, first with the stomach flu, followed by dealing with snow, snow, snow.  In that time I have really not been following the news.  Yesterday, I began listening to it again and realized that nothing has really changed at all.  In fact, I think that catching up with the news is very like catching up with a soap opera; no matter how many “episodes” are missed, the story line is always a variation on the same old themes.

Here is what I mean:
-Healthcare reform legislation has not really died.  It is simply tied up in Nancy Pelosi’s office awaiting re-introduction into the story in a piecemeal sort of way.

-The Iranian people are again protesting in the streets against their oppressive, and now allegedly nuclear, regime and are once more receiving no support from the “leader” of the free world.  When will they learn that they will never be more than bit players in this plot?

-The banks and Wall Street are still evil, except when they are friends of our “leader”, and will pay the price for following the orders mandated by Congress.  Everyone likes a good villain, but I’m just not feelin’ this one.  (Note to “leader” villain part needs to be recast.)

-Stimulus is back, although thinly disguised as a “Jobs Bill”.  I think they could have camouflaged this character better.  It was easily recognizable from its unemployment extensions, payoffs and money for “infrastructure”.  Wonder how long it will take for it to be unmasked?

-Our old friend global warming/climate change has returned in the guise of three feet of snow.  I have to admit that I didn’t see that one coming!

-Bush bashing is still the favorite sport, but with a twist.  (I just love twists, they keep things interesting).  Everything that is bad is still Bush’s fault. Anything that has worked out well is not due to him, but to our “Dear Leader”.  Got it?

I did notice the development of a plot hole.  “Dear Leader” stated that he is “agnostic” concerning taxes that will affect the middle class.  It may be entertaining to see how he weaves that one into the narrative.  Stay tuned, Sparrows.

Filed under: POTUS, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , , , , , ,

"His eye is on the sparrow, and He surely watches me." --Mrs. Doolittle, 1905

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