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

STOP! WAIT! COME BACK!

“The truth is, it took nearly a decade of failed economic policies to create this mess, and it will take years to fully repair the damage. But I am confident that we are finally headed in the right direction. We are moving forward. ; And what we can’t afford right now is to go back to the same ideas that created this mess in the first place.”—President Barak Obama, July 23, 2010 in weekly address

In a four page article in National Review Online, William Voegeli systematically argues that Liberalism is dangerous.

If politics is defined as “the way power is organized”, American power was conceived to be essentially organized by individual citizens in a free market who then delegated a portion of that power to duly elected representatives.  Voegeli makes the point that power thus organized is responsive to the electorate, because their positions depend on the support of the electorate.

As the result of Liberalism, we now have a system in which Congressional power is largely (mis)placed in a myriad of Government Agencies: SSA, EPA, US Department of Ed., etc., etc. who can regulate extra-legally.  These unelected bureaucrats are not responsive to citizens, because citizens have no power to fire them.  Thus, the individual is diminished and devalued by huge, faceless Government machinery.

America originated with the idea of an individual with natural, God-given, inalienable rights. This idea preceded laws, regulations and policies.  The rights of an individual citizen of the United States were not changeable, could not be abolished, nor could they be bestowed.  Humans possessed these rights by virtue of being created in the image of God.

Today housing, jobs, health care, transportation, food, childcare are identified as “rights”.  They are not. Furthermore, when we treat them as such, we are treading into an extra-Constitutional boggy swamp.  “Rights” that are invented and then distributed “fairly” after taking money from other citizens to pay for them are simply favors give to specific groups at the expense of individual citizens.

These Leftist ideas should alert us that our Country is traveling into an uninhabitable landscape.  Indeed Voegeli concludes his article with a plea to “turn around and go back”—wise words to cling to during this “Summer of Recovery” when we continue to hear that we cannot “go back”.

Voegeli’s summary is below.  Take the time to read his entire article.  It is well worth it.

“C. S. Lewis wrote that since progress means getting closer to your goal, when you’ve taken a wrong turn and are getting farther and farther from your destination, the truly “progressive” response is to turn around and go back to the right road. Most conservatives believe that America took a wrong turn in 1932, one that has led us farther away from the goal of preserving and strengthening republican self-government. Self-styled progressives talked us into that navigational error, and in the subsequent 78 years their liberal disciples have continued on the wrong road, superintending a rolling regime change that has steadily hollowed out our constitutional republic and replaced it with an administrative state, one increasingly indifferent to ordinary citizens’ concerns and insulated from their opposition.

The conservatives now reviving constitutionalism are rightly insistent on the need to retrace our steps, and to undo the mistakes that have supplanted limited with unlimited government. The point is not to go back to 1932 and stay there, compiling a list of things government cannot do and problems it cannot address. The point, rather, is to resume progress on the road not taken: toward a government that is both limited and vigorous, scrupulous about upholding the principles of republicanism but energetic and prudent about working within the framework created by those principles to respond to economic and social changes with policies that advance the people’s prosperity and security.”

— William Voegeli is a contributing editor of The Claremont Review of Books and a visiting scholar at Claremont McKenna College’s Salvatori Center.

Filed under: big government, , , , , ,

Nonproliferation? How Quaint! – Mark Steyn – National Review Online

Nonproliferation? How Quaint! – Mark Steyn – National Review Online.

Filed under: national defense, , ,

OBAMA: WE ARE NOT AMUSED

Yesterday, at a DNC fundraiser, President Obama opined that he was “amused” at the Tea Party protests.  Does this man stay up at night studying more ways to sound condescending and dismissive?  If so, he earns an A+ from me.  Mr. Obama, you have definitely mastered purposeful misunderstanding of the message of the Tea Party.  What a clever way to alienate us even further.  Kudos!

However, we are in good company.  There are many at NASA that were also alienated yesterday during Mr. Obama’s visit to Cape Canaveral where he announced changes to our space program.  Last night during his radio program, Mark Levin had a couple of calls from NASA personnel.  One was particularly interesting.  It seems, according to this NASA employee, that Mr. Obama bussed in 60% of the audience for his NASA speech.  The other 40% were union employees of the facility that he had given the day off.  No wonder there was cheering and applause when the POTUS announced that we are going to—Mars?!?  Obviously, none of the audience had any idea how ridiculous that announcement was.  Those who did were not invited to the event.  (Perhaps Mr. Obama knew that they all would be busy packing up their offices and worrying about finding other jobs).

On the bright side, if Mr. Obama continues to act in this fashion, (and I think it’s a good bet that he will—he just can’t help it), then he will become one of the best recruiters in history– for his opponents.  We are not amused right now, but in a few more months we could be downright mirthful.

REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Filed under: President Barak Obama, , , , , ,

THE ONLY WAY OUT IS FORWARD

It was just announced that the Healthcare Reconciliation Bill has passed the Senate and is being sent back to the House for its vote.  The Republicans offered 40 consecutive amendments during the reconciliation “vote-a-rama” process.  All of them were defeated by the Democrats.  In total, 13 hours of voting occurred in the Senate.

We who remain adamantly opposed to Obamacare, owe the Republican Senators our gratitude.  Far from the way it was depicted in the mainstream media, the Republican amendments were neither futile nor simple obstructionism.  The votes forced by the Senate Republicans have put the Senate Democrats on the record as not only authoring these unpopular measures, but also continuing to support them.  Following is a partial list of the Republican amendments, from “The Corner” blog at NRO, that were defeated:

—Senator Gregg: Protect Medicare Savings

—Senator McCain: Remove Sweetheart Deals

—Senator Crapo: No Tax Hikes for Families Earning Under $250,000

—Senator Enzi: Strike the Employer Mandate

—Senator Barrasso: Requires Legislation Not Increase Premiums

—Senator Grassley: Requires President, Congress Enroll in Exchange

—Senator Alexander: Reduce Student Loan Interest Rate

—Senator LeMieux: Members On Medicaid

—Senator Coburn: Bars Sex Offenders from Receiving E.D. Drugs

—Senator Hutchison: State Opt Out

—Senator Hatch: Block Medicare Advantage Cuts

—Senator Collins: Waive Employer Mandate Tax

—Senator Thune: Strike CLASS Act

—Senator Cornyn: Remove New Taxes on Investments

—Senator Hatch: Protect Wounded Soldiers from Medical Device Tax

—Senator Inhofe: Protect Pediatrics and Disabled from Medical Device Tax

—Senator Crapo: Protect Cancer Patients from Medical Device Tax

—Senators Roberts, Inhofe, Brown, Crapo: Strike Medical Device Tax

—Senator Burr: Tricare and Veterans Health Programs

—Senator Roberts: Rationing

—Senator Roberts: Critical Access Hospitals

—Senator Vitter: Repeals Democrats’ Health Care Bill

It seems to me that the Republican Senators have laid a strong foundation for building successful campaigns in November by exposing some of the most egregious parts of the new Healthcare Law.  For their part, the Democrats, by opposing each and every one of these “fixes” have also helped our cause—so kudos to them too.  Give all these folks a hand for a job well done!

As for the POTUS’ grand PR tour—he continues to preach to his choir.  The rest of us sit safely outside  the real world where there are no walls to contain our voices.

REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

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

VOILA–OBAMACARE VERSION 4.0

Obamacare Version 4.0 snuck up on us.

This morning Fox News reported that on Wednesday, Mr. Obama will announce a “smaller version” of his Healthcare plan that may include some “Republican ideas”.  He really was listening during the bi-partisan “Healthcare Summit”.  Uh-huh.

There seems to be some confusion among the Democrats about exactly how much “smaller” Version 4.0 will be.  Nancy Pelosi opined that it will be “big enough”.  So, smaller, but not that much smaller.  A price tag of around $1 trillion over the next ten years is still probable.  The prevailing opinion is that this scaled back version would still seek to cover an additional 30 million people over the next ten years.  (Note the important point that healthcare coverage does not equal actual healthcare).  This plan is expected to still include mandates for everyone to buy health insurance, and it would still include government regulations on insurance companies and employers.  Despite excluding a government-run health insurance plan that would “compete” with private companies, the mandates and regulations nevertheless smack of a government take over of the health insurance industry.

Including the Republican ideas for tort reform and buying across state lines might be a step in the right direction, depending on how they are actually implemented.  During the “Healthcare Summit”, Mr. Obama seemed to be willfully misunderstanding the difference between allowing people OUT of a state to buy elsewhere vs. allowing companies INTO a state in order to sell policies.  Melody Barnes, a White House policy advisor, parrots the President’s position:

“We’re going to be borrowing from those conversations…to come up with a bill that we hope can receive bipartisan support,” Barnes said.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs indicated Friday that the White House would work on GOP ideas for health reform over the weekend. Barnes identified two: tort reform and allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines. (My emphasis).

The Democrats seem to artlessly misstate the Republican idea of buying health insurance across state lines, pretending that they are proposing the same thing Republicans are—they are not.   This provision as the Democrats interpret it begs the question: What will be done, if anything, about state mandates?  As long as these are in place, increasing the number of companies that are allowed to compete within a state would make no appreciable difference in the cost of coverage, since they, too, will be required to only provide policies that meet the mandates of a state.  This will not create true competition, nor does it offer true freedom of choice.  And how Mr. Obama and the Democrats will define “tort reform” is anyone’s guess.

Putting lipstick on a pig does not come close to describing what Obamacare Version 4.0 will attempt to do.  It’s more like gluing feathers onto a pig in an effort to convince us that it is really a kosher turkey!  No matter how it is spun, passing this kind of bill creates the foundation for socializing American healthcare.  Will it be enough to garner the necessary Democrat votes in the House?  Maybe.  Will it convince the American people that it is a bi-partisan bill?  I don’t think so.   Bottom line—kill this turkey, because it’s still the same pig it always was, and this pig  just can’t fly .

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

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, , , , , , , ,

MAPQUEST-ARE WE THERE YET?

I have a lousy sense of direction.  When traveling, I arm myself with a map, two sets of written directions and a list of landmarks.  I still lose my way.  Exits beckon to me.  Road signs confuse me.  Assuring remarks like, “Trust me, you can’t miss it”, terrify me.  I can panic even when I am not lost.  So, maybe being “directionally challenged” has made it difficult for me to follow the maps produced by the Obama Administration.  Am I lost?  Or, as I see each landmark pass, am I simply panicked for no reason?

During the past year, Mr. Obama and his comrades have manufactured a lot of maps.  Maps for the economy, healthcare, energy, housing, jobs, education, climate change and National security.  Although attractive in presentation, they appear to lack crucial elements.  Large areas are marked, “Unknown Territory” and “There Be Dragons Here”.  Compass points are skewed—true North is always oriented leftward.  Roads meander aimlessly and often reach a dead-end at a deep gorge marked, “Bridge Out”.  Nevertheless, the urgent message is that these maps must be followed or we will be hopelessly lost.  (I think I hear, “Trust me, you can’t miss it”—excuse me while I shudder).  Where do these maps really lead?  Where are we going?

Here is the most exasperating aspect of these maps.  They include no avenue leading to factual, rational discussion of how they have been drawn.  If one points out that such-and-such a road does not correspond to reality, or that a particular feature does not exist, or that there is no bridge spanning that river the response is to criticize the critic.  The cartographers will not engage in a meaningful analysis of their efforts.  Nor do they have an attitude open to correcting their mistakes.  Instead, they defend their maps with twisted statistics, partial truths and downright lies.  In the end, they are reduced to reiterating that failure to follow their roads will lead to ruin.  Moreover, we are promised that pursuing these paths will lead to a utopia filled with human goodness.  The way will be “difficult”, it is said, but nothing really worthwhile is easy.  For my part, I fear that these map-makers are related somehow to the Pied Piper!

It seems to me that the inability to deal with facts and specific details in an honest manner should alarm us.  Not only does it signal bad charting, it indicates even worse leadership.  Those who will not clearly articulate what our destination is to be, nor explain in detail the roads that will take us there, are either ignorant, or worse, diabolical.  I mistrust these maps.  More and more I believe that they mark the way to totalitarianism and slavery.

I see an exit marked “2010”.  It is beckoning me.  It doesn’t appear on the map.  That’s why I’m taking it.

Filed under: personal, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

STATE OF DIS-UNION: THE PROPER RESPONSE TO THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS?

AP Photo

This will be short and sweet-MUCH shorter and sweeter than the State of the Union address last night!

My predictions proved to be very accurate.  Although next time I really ought to set a point total goal, so that there is actually a way to prove that I won the “Obama Speech Game”.

Allow me to digress for a moment and tell you that I used to work in the field of Domestic Violence as a counselor in a shelter for battered women.  The men in the lives of these women all had some behavioral traits in common.

1) They all blamed other situations, people etc. for their mistakes and shortcomings.
2) They all promised, over and over again, to do things that they never actually did, nor ever intended to do.
3) They all gave sweet little gifts along with sweet little words and then returned to their former behavior.
4) They all revised history, twisted facts and lied to make themselves look good, which made everyone else feel rather crazy.
5) They all needed to be right and wanted their own way in all things.
6) None would entertain any sort of disagreement with their viewpoints.  In the case that disagreement was expressed, there was swift and brutal retribution.

The object of an abuser, either consciously or unconsciously, is to create an atmosphere of dependency, debility and dread to bind his victim to him.

Obviously, I am not saying that the POTUS is a physically violent man.  However, abuse comes in many different degrees and types—and it never ends well.  Solution?  It is always the same.  If you don’t want to be hurt, stay as far away from him as you possibly can.  Perhaps that would work well in this instance as well.

Filed under: U.S. GOVERNMENT, , ,

A PIVOTAL MOMENT? OBAMA FOCUSES ON THE ECONOMY AND JOBS

All this talk about “pivoting” by our basketball loving President started me thinking about the word, “pivot”.  The basketball term, as I believe Mr. Obama uses it, is defined as:

The stationary foot around which the ball handler is allowed to pivot without dribbling.

In other words, a pivot foot remains planted, in fact it must remain planted according the rules of the game, while the player seeks to find a way to either pass or shoot the ball.  Actually, I am impressed with the choice of  “pivot” to characterize the change in Mr. Obama’s focus.  It is truly apt, since it seems as if he either plans to pass the ball to others, or simply freeze in place, attempt a long-distance shot in the direction of the basket and hope for the best.

Speaking of freezing, the White House has announced a spending “freeze” of discretionary spending that will save $250 billion over the next 10 years.  There are varying opinions about this plan.  Here is how I look at it.  Say I spend $20 per week on bubble bath, (a discretionary expense because I do not really need bubble bath).  Now, my husband comes home one day and says, “Honey, I just had my salary cut by 5%.  We’re going to have to adjust our budget or we’re going to be spending more than we take in.”  This is analogous to what is happening to the Federal Government.  Tax receipts have been declining at the same time that Government is spending more than it is taking in.  Okay, back to my example.  After my husband’s announcement, I begin to think about how to adjust our budget and come up with the following brilliant plan.  I will “freeze” my discretionary spending on bubble bath!  After much research, I find that the cost of bubble bath increases by approximately 10% per year, (a purely hypothetical amount), so in the first year alone I will be saving  $104.  In ten years I will have saved at least $1040!  And here is the best part-I don’t have to give up bubble bath altogether to realize these savings, I just have to find bubble bath that will continue to cost no more than $20 per week.  Now, who in their right mind thinks that this will solve my personal budgetary crisis?  Following this model simply puts my family further and further into debt.  Freezes do not work unless income increases.  Barring that, spending must be cut not frozen.

However, neither increasing tax receipts nor spending cuts are what Mr. Obama has in mind.  Instead, in his new-found populist incarnation, he is proposing new programs to help the “middle class” that seem to involve tax credits, i.e., less tax revenue coming to the Government from these families.

There are immediate steps we can take to reduce the strain on family budgets by helping middle class families manage their child and elder care responsibilities, save for retirement, and pay for college,” the White House said in a statement.

Will these programs be the “Hail Mary” shot that finds the basket?  I suppose it depends on whether the team playing defense is alert enough to successfully block it.  At the same time, there seems to be no shortage of those on Obama’s team waving their arms and shouting, “I’m open.  I’m open”.  Perhaps, the POTUS will pass the ball to one of them.

For example, David Plouffe, newly appointed White House political adviser, is convinced that he can win the game by continuing big Government programs and spending.  (Oh, yeah, pass the ball to him!)

Then there is Thomas Friedman, the author of Hot, Flat and Crowded.  He attended the December “Jobs Summit” at the White House and seemed to have a great time yukking it up with the POTUS.  Today, on Fox Business, Don Imus asked Mr. Friedman how Government could create jobs.  Good question, albeit rather rhetorical.  Mr. Friedman launched into a description of a program that would use tax money to fund a program to educate high school students on how to be innovators and entrepreneurs.  He went on to say that since the job creators are small businesses and entrepreneurs, this program would increase both and hence increase jobs.  Although, he admitted, not in the short term-ya think?   (NOTE: I had heard about the outcome of one of these pilot programs.  Of the two top winners of a high school innovation competition, one, after attending an H&R Block tax class, had “invented” tax software to help high school students with their taxes; the second had “invented” a t-shirt with a distinctive logo.  Ummmm, does anyone expect a job boom to sweep the country as a result of these kinds of ideas?  Perhaps “teaching” innovation is not as simple as it sounds.)

However, Mr. Friedman is in good company.  Consider T. Boone Pickens whose current advertisements are pushing for the passage of H.R. 1835.  This bill provides tax payer dollars to retrofit semi-trailer trucks and buses with natural gas engines.  On Fox Business this weekend, Mr. Pickens spent a great deal of time trying to convince John Stossel that his ideas would lead to jobs and bring us a step closer to energy independence.  Perhaps he is right, but if so, the private sector would be a much better place to support and implement such a plan.  In fact, Mr. Stossel reported that the private sector is right now sponsoring a competition with the goal of creating an automobile prototype that is production-ready, attractive, manageable, responsive, safe and uses fuel at the rate of 100 m.p.g.  Guess what?  The competitors are very close to creating one, and without a single taxpayer dollar or piece of legislation supporting them.

Tomorrow, Mr. Obama will give his first State of the Union address.  Reportedly, it will include the 3R’s of “Rescue, Rebuild, Restore”.  Hmmm, I would wager that none of those things will be cheap, and that all of them will involve spending more money than any of us have.  So, would someone from our team please steal the ball from this guy while he’s still trying to pivot-and then score with it?  This game is just too important to lose.

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

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

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