The Republican Debate Review And Another Gem From MoveOn.org About Economics

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The recent Republican debate in New Hampshire is over and I have to say that I think overall it was the right message and everyone did fairly well. One thing I liked most about it was the fact that there wasn't much time wasted with the candidates attacking one another. Such attacks will no doubt be used by Obama, (or Hillary if she runs and beats him for the nomination), against whoever the nominee eventually is from the Republicans.

I find it funny how so many people from both sides, as well as the media, seem to think that Mitt Romney stands out as the best candidate with the most support. We seem to forget that Mitt Romney had the worst spending/vote ratio out of all the Republican candidates in '08, Mike Huckabee had the best. There are also 2 lessons to be learned about the polls, one from the '04 election cycle and another from the '08 election cycle.

Back in 2004 when the Democrats were trying to decide who would take on Bush in his re-election bid John Kerry was pretty much dead in the polls for the nomination. Despite that, he came out on top in the end.

"Kerry had entered the primary raced as the favorite, but his early performance on the campaign trail was uninspiring, especially in contrast to the high-energy Dean."

Then we come to 2008 and the nomination of the Republican who would step in to try and replace George Bush after his second term. As well as who would try and capitalize on the unpopularity of Republicans due to the ongoing recession in '08, and run for president with the Democrats. Did many people actually think that Obama would be able to compete with Hillary Clinton for the nomination? Of course not but look what happened.

In 2004, the Democrats went with a Vietnam veteran thinking it was the best chance they had to oust Bush, they were wrong. In 2008, Republicans essentially went with the same plan. Nominating a Vietnam veteran and trying to use that to offset the dissatisfaction with the Republicans at the time. A moderate "maverick" seemed like the best chance for Republicans to maintain the White House, Sarah Palin was then chosen by McCain to help with his lack of support from Conservatives and women. Just like in 2004, the plan was a disaster. The loss wasn't all bad though as it led to a Conservative revival within America that has given rise to the Tea Party movement.

The point here is that the polls early on really mean little to nothing. It doesn't concern me that Mitt Romney is seen as the front runner. It's not surprising given the dismal failure of the Obama economic agenda that a businessman, instead of a veteran, seems like a strong candidate this time around. There are areas where I as a conservative don't trust Mitt Romney and it's part of the reason I hope he doesn't win the nomination. I'd vote for Romney if he did end up the candidate, unlike McCain who I didn't vote for, but I think we can do better.

One problem I had with the recent debate is the structure of the questions and lack of time for the candidates. The 30 second answer rule isn't bad but each candidate needs to be able to address each question. It makes no sense that a question will be asked of say, Herman Cain, then only 2 others or so are able to also reply to the question before they move on to another question. It should be streamlined and simpler as we would all get more out of the debates if they worked like this:

The 30 seconds for a reply can stay but the structure of the questions should simply start at one end and work toward another. Ask the question of the first candidate in line, then go down the line allowing each candidate to give an uninterrupted answer. Also, make sure that all of the questions remain on topic relating to specific issues the country cares about. This would allow all candidate to focus on the same issues. Maybe I'd like to know more about the debt ceiling thoughts of the candidates. Unfortunately, only Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann are really given time for that specific question so the rest miss out. See what I mean?

For now I'll ignore the polls about who the front runner is until it actually starts to play out in the primary votes and we begin to really see where a majority of voters stand on the candidates.

I have one other issue I'd like to bring to your attention. MoveOn.org has released a video from Robert Reich trying to explain the economy in about 2 minutes and of course it does the typical bash the rich and raise taxes pitch that the left-wing liberals always use. Watch the video for yourself first.

Let's start with point 1. Since 1980 the economy has doubled but adjusting for inflation wages have barely increased.

He of course wants to start in 1980 to make it more of a Reagan and Republican problem because of the vast amount of economic growth since that time period but I'd like to go back just a touch farther if I may, to 1976, (Carter). Scroll down on this chart and look at the inflation rates from 1976 - 1987.

For Carter let's start with 1977 since that's the first year he was actually in office:

Inflation %

1977 - 6.5%
1978 - 7.62%
1979 - 11.22%
1980 - 13.58%

As you can see Jimmy Carter was an abysmal failure at fighting inflation. The longer he remained in office and the more his policies were in effect the worse it got, hence Reagan's massive landslide victory over Carter in 1980. Inflation is just as important, if not more so, as wages when talking about income. Now let's look at wages. Scroll down to the chart on this page.

Average wages:

1977 - $9,779.44
1978 - $10,556.03
1979 - $11,479.46
1980 - $12,513.46

Total wage increase during Carter = $2,734.02

Now let's look at Reagan.

Term 1:

1981 - 10.35%
1982 - 6.16%
1983 - 3.22%
1984 - 4.3%

Term 2:

1985 - 3.55%
1986 - 1.91%
1987 - 3.66%
1988 - 4.08%

Now let's compare the inflation to the wages.

Average wages:
Reagan term 1:

1981 - $13,773.10
1982 - $14,531.34
1983 - $15,239.24
1984 - $16,135.07

Total wage increase after Reagan term 1 = $2361.97

Pause here for a moment. Carter's wage increase was actually $372.05 more than Reagan's term 1 wage growth yet Jimmy Carter lost in a landslide while Reagan was re-elected in 1984 with an amazing 49 states landslide. Why?

The answer was inflation and employment. Under Reagan millions of jobs were created and inflation was kept in check, the result come re-election was an easy victory. Under Carter inflation was spiraling out of control and unemployment was high, the result come re-election was a landslide defeat.

Average wages:
Reagan term 2:

1985 - $16,822.51
1986 - $17,321.82
1987 - $18,426.51
1988 - $19,334.04

Total wage increase after Reagan term 2 = $2,511.53

Total wage increase after 2 terms of Reagan = $4,873.50

One last comparison to make here. When Reagan was elected in 1980 the average wage, (see above), was $12,513.46. His last year in office the average had increased to $19,334.04. This means that average pay increased by more than 50% under Ronald Reagan while inflation over 8 years averaged only 4.65%. The claim that wages remained flat when adjusted for inflation under Ronald Reagan is now proven blatantly false, Robert Reich is wrong.

This information also proves that Robert Reich is wrong to say that all of the gains in the economy since 1980 have gone only to the super rich. Keep in mind that he states in this MoveOn.org propaganda video that he prefers the Carter tax rates to the Reagan ones and the wage and inflation statistics I've shown above prove that the economy, as well as wages and inflation were far worse under Carter than Reagan. Of course he doesn't expect you to show research the way I have here and he expects that you'll just take his word for it. His belief that we need to return to the Carter era tax rates shows either true economic ignorance or blatant lies about what's best economically for the country, I'll let you decide which is the better description of him.

He then goes on to mention the money that the rich have buys political power. That much is true. That's what the whole fight about lobbyist is about. Yet moveon.org doesn't go after the unions that get special treatment from the Obama administration. The answer is simple. Get rid of lobbyists and make lobbying illegal. It would have broad support from most Americans but politicians from both sides will never push for that since so many from all sides are part of the problem with lobbyists.

Robert Reich then mentions the capital gains taxes, (which Bill Clinton also reduced). Essentially that means a business profit tax. That profit is used to pay you your paycheck and also to expand business leading to more jobs but the soak the rich crowd on the left ignore that point. He claims that the lower taxes are leading to the budget deficits. This is not true.

Massive government spending and few jobs are what's leading to the budget deficits. If you aren't working then you aren't paying taxes. The high unemployment which President Obama has completely failed at relieving decreases revenue and increases deficits because you are now paying people to not work, (through unemployment benefits, food stamps, etc.), and you aren't making any money back from them since they aren't working and therefore paying payroll taxes. Lower taxes increase employment, just look at Texas, and increased employment leads to increased payroll tax wages collected by the government. Combine high unemployment with massive government spending and it's a double negative on revenue, if you aren't making money and you won't stop spending money you end up with a deficit. It's simple really, just apparently too simple for Robert Reich and Moveon.org.

He claims that our inability to borrow as easily as we could before is leading to higher unemployment. However, easy borrowing led to the housing bubble which in turn led to the housing crisis we now face. TARP was passed to ensure that banks could keep lending yet the economy has only gotten worse. The country got so carried away with borrowing and spending money that we forgot how to make and save money. It's that belief in borrowing more and more as well as spending more and more that leads to programs such as stimulus and subsidized housing. It's also that belief that leads to attacks on anyone who talks about cutting budgets in government. It's false economic propaganda championed by groups like moveon.org as well as failed government social programs that are the real cause of this weak, "anemic recovery".

One last point, there's no such thing as an anemic recovery, you either have a recovery or a recession. Which do you think best describes our country's current economic situation? Nice try Robert and moveon.org but I rest my case.


The Ironic Truth Of Progressive Liberalism

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I hope a lot of liberals, especially the more progressive liberals, read and consider the points I'm going to make here. I was born and have spent most of my life living in Barney Frank's district. He has, unfortunately, been the congressman representing this district longer than I've been alive, (elected in 1980, first term began in '81, I was born in '82). Conservatives who read that might think it's somewhat of an unfortunate curse. I in fact think it's been more of a blessing.

One thing I have here is no shortage of liberals to challenge my conservatism to it's core. I've learned much from my conversations, (more like debates), with those who consider themselves liberals. The constant challenge I get here has meant that I've had to be very sure about where I stand and why. Being in such a liberal district in such a liberal state has actually made me into a sharper, more knowledgeable conservative. That in itself is rather ironic and that type of irony is what I'd like to discuss here.

Like I said I've learned much about liberals and I'm going to show you some things that I'd like you to consider regarding where liberals stand on various issues. I hope a lot of liberals read this because I'd love them to try and say where I have this wrong. Everyone who reads this should really think about the points I make here and ask themselves how any of this makes sense.

Regardless of which side of the aisle you are on these are arguments that you should think about. If you don't agree with me that's fine. This is still America and differing opinions speaking out without fear is one of the greatest, (and too often forgotten rarest), freedoms that we have here. Let's get to the issues, I'll start with something nice and controversial; abortion and the death penalty.

It's no big secret that I oppose abortion. The typical pro-choice argument against those like me who are pro-life is that we don't respect women's rights. Cases of rape are the standard line of attack from the pro-choice crowd against the pro-life crowd. I've always found it fascinating that this is the same group that is often softest on crime when it comes to rapists. I fall into the lock them up for 20 years to life and throw away the key crowd, while it's the more liberal among us who fight for rehabilitation and softer punishment.

Case after case deals with a repeat offender and each time they are shown leniency and let back out onto the streets they in many cases repeat the crimes and finally get a tough sentence when they cross the line and end up murdering someone. The same crowd that fights to be lenient on these criminals are the ones trying to convince you that it's those who want to be stricter on the criminals that don't care about women's rights.

As it relates to the abortion argument and capital punishment I find it fascinating that the pro-choice crowd often fights so hard to save the lives of convicted violent criminals whom we know are guilty, yet they don't lift a finger and even go after those of us who try and make a stand for those whom we know are innocent, unborn babies. Remember the fight to save Tookie Williams. The pro-choice crowd couldn't wait to defend Tookie against the evil death penalty but if you make a stand for a baby who has clearly done no wrong regardless of the means of conception then you're the one who doesn't care.

We often hear the argument about what if we execute someone who is actually innocent. Fair enough point but not really relevant in today's context. Have you seen any of the TV shows detailing modern forensics? TruTV's forensic files being among the best. If you commit a crime worthy of the death penalty, and few crimes are, the things that are done to make sure we have the right criminal are downright amazing. This gives far less of a chance that a person who is in fact innocent ends up on death row. It'd be nice to see those who claim to stand for mercy and rehabilitation fight as hard for those whom nobody can deny are innocent, babies.

The next issue I'd like to discuss is the poor. The key to progressive liberals arguments relate to making everyone a special interest group and then try to paint yourself as a hero for that group. Here are a few of the groups that liberals claim to be the heroes of, minorities, elderly, poor, homosexual, the planet, the children, and on and on and on.

This is key to Liberals but before we really get into it I'd like to say something I've learned from local liberals that I've talked to. The average liberal, not the political exploiter but the average run into you at the supermarket liberal, does honestly believe that they care about the special interest groups listed above. The average everyday liberal honestly thinks that liberals are the best fit for helping those various groups. The problem is that the intentions, and most average everyday liberals do in fact have good intentions, are often the only thing that matters and the results, which are the only thing that should matter, aren't acknowledged.

The welfare state was intended to use the government to help the poor, that's the feel good initial intention. The reality is it created what is now generations of government dependency, not help....dependency, and it has actually increased rather than decreased poverty. Folks like Barney Frank, whose district is literally falling apart, (I know because I live here), love to claim they are fighting for the poor.

The problem is that they fail to acknowledge that the policies they promote are often the reason you ended up in poverty in the first place. As long as they can convince you they care then they will be rewarded by the very people they are letting down with their misguided policies all because rather than looking at the actual results of the actions taken by these do-gooders their supporters simply believe that they care about them. That's all it takes in some places to secure the votes.

Perhaps it's just a guilty conscience. Politicians caused the housing bubble by pushing subsidized housing and helping people who couldn't afford a house buy one. Once again, good intentions, get poor people houses. Fannie Mae had one such program called an interest only or interest first loan. It worked like this, for the first 15 years you paid only interest taxes and insurance, thus building no equity in the home for half the life of the 30 year mortgage.

After 15 years the mortgage doubled in order to get the full loan paid in the 30 year time frame. The logic for this is that over 15 years you're expected to make more money through pay increases etc. over time. But what happens if in that 15 year time frame you end up losing your job, seeing a decrease in pay due to a recession etc? I'll tell you what happens, you end up unable to afford your mortgage doubling, you have no equity in the home, and you lose the house. See how this works? Good intentions, bad results, typical case of progressive liberalism.

The best part is that once it all falls apart all of the politicians, regardless of party just line up to point the finger at the other guy. While there's plenty of blame to go around on average that's not what elections are about. Obama's getting hammered at the moment because the economy still sucks despite all of the promises that massively increasing our government spending and debt would solve the problem.

We often hear about how those who oppose gay marriage but support civil unions, like myself, are oppressive against homosexuals. Did you know that minorities, blacks in particular are the reason gay marriage failed when brought to the voters back in '08 in the extremely liberal California?

"That said, African-American opposition to gay marriage and gay civil unions is not new. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll in late 2007, blacks opposed gay civil unions by 58-36 percent. (Whites were in favor, 55-41.) In earlier polling we've done on gay marriage, blacks have been even more broadly opposed, 66-31 percent."

How come we don't see the liberals complaining about African-Americans being oppressive against the civil rights of homosexuals? The answer is simple, African-Americans are also one of the groups that liberals depend on and exploit for votes. It makes more political sense to blame the failure of gay marriage whenever it's brought to the voters on some vast "right-wing conspiracy" leg by a bunch of evil homophobe conservatives than to face reality and risk alienating a special interest group they are so dependant on for votes.

The more immediate target for the liberals at the moment are the elderly. With the baby boomer senior citizens this is a massive group of voters that no politician can win without. Enter the current mediscare tactics being used to scare senior citizens about the Paul Ryan plan. Even though the one true scary fact is that we know various social welfare programs, (social security, medicare, medicaid, etc.), are in fact headed for bankruptcy. That's not a scare tactic it's a scary fact period.

Liberals are attacking Paul Ryan's plan and even using Newt Gingrich's criticism against it. That would be fine if they had an alternative but the truth is that they don't. They accuse Republican supporters of the Ryan Plan of wanting to destroy Medicare, remember that the elderly poor are another special interest group the left want to exploit through scare tactics for votes, meanwhile Obamacare actually did cut Medicare by $500 billion dollars and the left couldn't wait to defend it.

Let me play devil's advocate with Paul Ryan's plan for just a moment by asking you something. Have you read the bill? In truth I haven't. I did in fact read hundreds of pages of Obamacare before they pulled the bill offline out of fear of overexposure. The mistake I see Republicans and Conservatives making with the Ryan plan is that we are blindly following and trusting it simply because it's a Republican plan.

How does that make many of us any better than those who blindly followed Obamacare simply because it was a left wing plan written by Democrats? In truth it doesn't make us any better and I can't blindly trust the Ryan plan I haven't read if I myself criticized Obamacare supporters for the very same thing. Perhaps those on the right who are criticizing folks like Newt Gingrich for not getting in line behind the Ryan plan should remember that. Try reading the bill yourself. After all, if you support the Ryan plan simply because he says you should then you really can't criticize those on the left who supported Obamacare.

In truth I don't know if the Ryan plan is great or not but I can at least give him credit for addressing the very real issue at stake. While the liberals play the typical shoot the messenger without offering an alternative game that they've played countless times before.

Want an example? Fine, remember when President Bush tried to address the Social Security issue in his second term?

"Democrats say that Bush is misleading the nation on the nature of the problems Social Security faces"

This is the same thing isn't it? What have the Democrats proposed as a fix to the Social Security problem. The answer...nothing, in fact in many cases they continue to refuse there's even a problem at all. Remember this?

It's ironic that President Obama gave the country such a belief in hope. He was the guy who was going to heal America's image and repair our friendships with ally nations. Yet on his watch the middle east is only becoming more anti-American and dangerous than ever.

He was the guy who was going to save us from President Bush's bad economy and crushing debt. Yet on his watch the economy has only gotten, and continues to get, worse. At the same time he has quadrupled Bush's evil debt and expects you to give him a pass.

He was going to realize Martin Luther King Jr's, (whose father was a life long Republican), vision of true equality for all. Yet, the social divide from rich and poor, as well as minority groups have only gotten worse.

President Obama was going to heal the environment, yet the worst oil spill in history, as well as uncommon tornadoes etc. have been happening on his watch. It seems the more arrogant your promises, the more god will humble you.

President Obama seemed like a blessing to the Liberal Democrats yet his agenda led to the biggest political ass kicking in an election cycle, (2010), since the 1930's. That is the ironic truth of Progressive Liberalism.

Perhaps you think I've gotten something wrong in this post. Feel free to explain where I have it wrong with a comment. I enjoy the debate, I get plenty of practice living where I do. I think most who read this will instead see that it makes a lot of sense. At least it does to me. If you see things differently, that's fine, that's what it means to live in the land of the free. I've made my case as clear as I can. If you think I'm just part of some "right wing conspiracy" it's ok with me. I heard worse and I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I think most who read this will instead think that I'm onto something here and the real conspiracy lies with those who will attack me for it.


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