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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An Odd State of Political Affairs

It's a bit hard to understand what the American people are thinking today.  Sixty percent of the states have a Republican governor, and far more states have Republican majority legislatures than Democratic legislatures.  Republicans have strong control of the US House of Representatives, yet the Democrats have firm, but marginal control of the US Senate, and of course the White House.  Don't forget that Obama is the first President since Woodrow Wilson to run successfully for a second term and get fewer votes.  That's not what you call a ringing endorsement from the American people.  He is still in office and still a threat to freedom and to the US Constitution, to be sure.  To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

It appears that the situation will continue down the same path, getting both better and worse at the same time.  President Obama spoke out on Sunday, January 27, complaining that the news media wasn't giving him a fair break.  In an attack on both Rush Limbaugh and FOX News, he sounded like Hugo Chavez complaining that anyone who didn't agree with him should be silenced.  All pretty incredible stuff when you consider that this President has nearly universal backing and support of the main stream media (MSM).  They love him, they love him, they love him.  But, it's still not enough.  Clearly he wants a media that totally reveres him, with no dissidents.  Talk about thin-skinned and having an other worldly view of reality!  It would be weird and outlandish anywhere but in the Willy Wonka world of Washington, DC.  I'm sure the MSM all nodded their heads in agreement and will henceforth be even more biased and supportive of him.  You could almost hear them chanting, "Down with the First Amendment!  Down with the First Amendment!"

Obama may have the MSM marching in lockstep, but all is not bright and sunny in Obamaland.  In a stunning victory for commonsense and for the United States Constitution, the US Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the recess appointments of Obama to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (while the US Senate was still in session) were illegal.  Yes, it wasn't a typical session of the Senate, but every day it was called to order and therefore, following the letter and spirit of the law, the Court ruled that the appointments were illegal. 

The MSM tried to paint this as some Neanderthal move by the Court and noted that many previous Presidents had made recess appointments.  However, the MSM carefully neglected to note that no previous President had made any recess appointments when the Senate was procedurally called to order—not one.  The gutless Republican Senators didn't have the courage to file a lawsuit challenging the appointments, but one was filed by Noel Canning, a family-owned Yakima, Washington bottling company, which complained the NLRB unfairly ruled in favor of Teamsters Local 760 during contract negotiations.  What courage and what cost this family had to file this lawsuit.

As you may recall, the NLRB was stacked by Obama, through recess appointments, appointing union lawyers like Craig Becker to serve on the NLRB board.  The NLRB has not always been fair handed, and the reason for its existence is doubtful, but Obama is the first president to stack the deck with union radicals bent on punishing businesses and bypassing Congress.  How radical is Craig Becker?  Becker has argued that workers should not have any right to opt out of union representation, period.  In the past, he served as legal counsel for a local union founded as a subsidiary of the corrupt Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).  Among the outrageous rulings by the Obama NLRB is one giving unions the right to organize a company in secret and then giving just a few days for the company to respond before a vote to unionize must be held.  The Board also endeavored to eliminate secret ballots for unionization, thus allowing workers who would otherwise choose not to join a union to be intimidated.  Such intimidation is no idle threat. 

My father was forced to join a union, but when the union went on strike, he and a few others chose to continue working.  Trash was thrown in the yards of those who continued working and they were verbally abused and threatened.  The only people who oppose a secret ballot are those who want to physically and verbally intimidate workers from having free choice.

As an aside, it is worth noting that the ruling also throws into question the legality of the appointment of Richard Cordray, the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Obama used the same type of recess appointment to install Cordray.  His appointment is being challenged in a separate lawsuit.

So now that the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC has ruled unanimously you and I can assume that the President and the NLRB have ceased to issue rulings, right?  Wrong!  The White House was silent for several days, but the word is now out that they feel the Court of Appeals was wrong, so they intend to ignore the ruling!  Similarly, the NLRB, that has issued more than 200 rulings illegally, plans to continue hearings as if nothing has happened.

Of course, ignoring the law, ignoring the Constitution, and ignoring the Courts is nothing new for this Administration.  Whatever it doesn't agree with, it simply ignores or even attacks, as in the case of the State of Arizona enforcing federal laws against illegal immigration which Obama's Department of Justice (DOJ) refused to enforce.  The list instances this Administration has defied the Constitution and the law is quite extensive.  Obama didn't agree with the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress, so his DOJ argued against it at the US Supreme Court.  Never mind that the President took an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution and the laws of the land.  When Congress refused to enact the radical "Cap and Tax" legislation, the President sought to create his imaginary green utopia, bypassing Congress, and having the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issue edicts accomplishing the same end.  It's boring and repetitive to state the obvious, but President Obama has total disregard for the rule of law and for the US Constitution.  He has made it clear that he feels it is just a "negative" document that tells government what it cannot do to the people, instead of a positive document that should say what the government can do for people.  The fact is that when the leader of Government advocates and practices lawlessness, the people will follow suit. 

But the good news is that a panel of Appeals Court judges, appointed by both Democrat and Republican presidents, has unanimously ruled in favor of the Constitution.  Now the Supremes will have their say.  Unanimous rulings by the US Court of Appeals (except for the screwball Ninth Circuit Court) are rarely overruled by the US Supreme Court.  The Democrat appointees are just political ideologues who promote their liberal agenda with total disregard for the United States Constitution to which they took an oath of allegiance.  It would certainly be refreshing to see just one of these partisans show enough character and respect for the Constitution by sustaining the ruling of the Appeals Court, but don't hold your breath.  I believe we are justified in holding out hope that commonsense and sound jurisprudence will prevail.

There is more good news.  On Friday, January 18 the US Circuit Court of the Seventh District issued a ruling based on commonsense, the law, and the US Constitution, rejecting claims of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (along with six other state government unions).  The unions argued that Governor Scott Walker had violated the Equal Protection clause and the First Amendment.  A part of the plaintiffs argument was that the elimination of the requirement that the State of Wisconsin automatically deduct union dues violated the First Amendment!  The reality or the union argument is summed up clearly in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal

"Wisconsin's failure to automatically subtract union duties from paychecks endangers free speech because it requires organized labor to persuade its own members that its activities are valuable enough to contribute to voluntarily."

Wow!  How such an outrageous claim could pass muster from a lower court is breathtaking, but it did.  The Unions simply found two lower court judges who ruled on the basis of their liberal ideology, rather than on the basis of logic and the US Constitution.

Will the ruling of the Seventh District Court stand?  I think the answer is quite likely.  Even an Obama appointed judge joined in the decision in part and dissented in part.  This is going to be a very hard one to pass muster at the US Supreme Court.

All in all, it's been a pretty good start to Obama's second term.  These two legal setbacks are historic and very important.  Arrogance encourages overreaching and overreaching creates setbacks and scandals.  I'm confident there will be plenty of both in Obama's second term.  This could be fun.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hanging by a Thread

There is a political party in America that is hanging by a thread, a fiber even.  It has had recent successes and, indeed, controls one house of Congress.  However, its relevance and future success is imperiled by the fact that it exists only as long as it perpetuates a myth.  As Abraham Lincoln said, "You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time."  Sure, it helps when the media provides cover for your fabrication.  Getting the truth out is like your eyes trying to penetrate a thick cloud to see reality.  It's very hard to do.  Plus, if the other party generally cooperates in perpetuating the lie, it's even harder to get at the truth.  If that party fails to strenuously rebut the lie and becomes a patsy for the other side, the lie becomes fact in the minds of the undecided. 

In this case, the party being lied about has within its means the power and the opportunity to effectively demolish the lie.  But, through tradition, inertia, and perhaps a false sense of guilt, they allow the lie to not only survive, but to be embellished and expanded.  After a number of years, the lie becomes fact in the mind of those who have not searched for the truth.  That's where we are today.

What is the myth?  What political party is the target of the myth?  It's the stupid party, of course, the Republican Party.  The me-too, squeamish Republicans who too often rise to positions of leadership within the party are, apparently, unable to stand up for the truth.  Or maybe they actually believe the lie.

The myth, the lie, is of course that the Republican Party is the party of racism.  There is no evidence of this.  In fact, the facts show clearly that the party of racism is the Democratic Party.  More than that, it is the progressive (liberal) wing of the Democratic Party that originated and fostered racism in the form of Jim Crow policies and segregation.  It is the Democratic Party that provided a comfortable home to US Senators who openly participated in the KKK.  It is the Democratic Party that blocked civil rights laws for decades.  And it wasn't just southern Democrats who voted to block such legislation, it was Democratic Senators from the north who joined with them.

Most folks think that open housing legislation was proposed and passed by the Democrats, but, in reality, it was President Richard Nixon who proposed such legislation.  And while President Harry Truman, a Democrat, issued an order to integrate the Armed Forces, it was a Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, who actually implemented integration. 

Segregation was the brainchild of the intellectual left.  Progressive founder Richard T. Ely, along with his compatriots on the left, decided that black Americans had not sufficiently "progressed" to a point where they should be integrated with white Americans.  Ely and a blatantly racist President (who often used the "N" word) segregated the south and Washington, DC, as they gained power.  Woodrow Wilson, considered the founding father of modern liberalism, re-segregated the US government when he became president.  It's not too surprising when you consider that as a 12 year old, living at the time in Georgia, he cheered for the victory of the Confederacy.  Wilson remained throughout his life an unrepentant racist.

But the Democrats and the Progressives didn't stop with segregation.  They passed bills like the Davis-Bacon Act that is still law today.  It was passed with the express purpose of denying black Americans an opportunity to enter and compete in building construction trades.  A reading of the Congressional Record during the debate in Congress over Davis-Bacon makes one cringe.  It's a record of Democrat after Democrat, North and South, airing their racist comments and deploring the fact that newly skilled black workers are displacing white workers.  The Davis-Bacon Act was an undisguised attempt to bar black workers from competing with white workers in building and trades.  At that time, black workers were denied the opportunity to join unions, so the racist, Democrat controlled Congress passed a bill that specified that only union workers could be employed in government construction projects.

In his book, Chesapeake, James Michener, deplores the fact that skilled black tradesmen in nearby Maryland (on the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake) are denied the opportunity to work on construction of the Bay Bridge.  Michener, a proud liberal, never mentions whose fault this is (he may have been ignorant of the source), but he implies it is the fault of the Republicans.  In truth, it is simply the Davis-Bacon Act passed by a racist, Democrat controlled Congress that blocked black workers from working on the bridge.

Where did the early gun laws originate?  They were conceived and executed by white Democrat racists and were designed to keep guns out of the hands of black Americans.  Where did the racist policy of eugenics originate?  It originated with a group of progressive intellectuals, led by Margaret Sanger, who sought to curtail the births of black Americans.  Who were the first proponents of abortion?  You guessed it, a group of white, racist progressives who saw abortion as an opportunity to limit the number of children born to black Americans.

It is a matter of record that it was the Republicans who supported Civil Rights legislation over the objections of the "progressive" Democrats.  But the myth of Republican racism is so pernicious and widespread today that Republican President Abraham Lincoln is described as a Whig, not as a Republican.  Commentators and even history textbooks go to great lengths to point out that Lincoln ran as a Whig candidate for US Senate, and that he was a Whig longer than he was a Republican.  Duh!  He was assassinated by a racist, Southern Democrat, John Wilkes Booth, denying him the opportunity to live a normal life span.  And, of course, Lincoln was the second Republican nominee for President of the United States, the first being John C. Fremont, the famous trail blazer.  And it was Lincoln who issued the Emancipation Proclamation and, shortly before he died, advocated the enfranchisement of black Americans.

Today, of course, white conservatives are continuously smeared by the national news media.  Everything they do is denounced as being racist.  According to the news media, the Tea Party was and is racist, even though there is disproportionate black leadership in the Tea Party.  Using all sorts of contortions and illogical twists and turns, the progressive/liberal left identifies every policy of conservatives as racist.  Lower taxes are racist.  Smaller government is racist.  A strong national defense is racist.  Constitutional government is racist.

But, if you think it is tough to be a white conservative, think again.  The left reserves their most poisonous venom for black conservatives like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  Who can forget the famous article in USA Today by Julianne Malveaux who expressed hope that Justice Thomas would succumb to an early death?  Or even the attacks on liberal journalist Juan Williams, who had the temerity to appear on FOX News and to express his concern about turban wearing Middle Eastern men boarding an airplane he was riding on after 9/11?  And let's not forget about the attacks on comedian Bill Cosby, when he spoke out about welfare moms who did not control and discipline their children?  And we can't ignore the scathing attacks on Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell.

Why?  Why are African American conservatives subject to such wild and histrionic attacks by the left?  Why do liberals become unhinged when a conservative black American speaks out or gets elected to public office? 

The answer is simple—survival.  There is no group of Americans that threaten the survival of the Democratic Party more than black conservatives.  That's why liberals and Democrats reserve their most vicious and mean attacks for black conservatives.  Quite simply, black conservatives threaten the monolithic political grip that the Democrats have on the black community.  And while that grip is huge—more than 90% of black Americans vote for Democrat candidates—is survives by a thread.  That thread is the lie that Republicans hate black Americans and that they are at their core, racists.

I found it intriguing that even after the most outrageous and foul attacks on Clarence Thomas, his support in the black community remained near 60%.  The Democrats have a right to be terrified.  If they lose just 20% of the black vote, they are dead as a duck.  They have no hope of victory, nationally.  They are finished as a national party.

But, the Republicans, as normal, have ignored this opportunity.  They ignore the fact that on many issues the black community is with the GOP.  Black Americans care about quality education and they know that their children are getting a lousy education because they have been sold out by Democratic allegiance to teacher's unions.  When black Americans have an opportunity to experience the benefits of school choice (school vouchers in any form), they embrace it wholeheartedly.  The polls also show that black Americans support a return to prayer in schools, and they want inexpensive fuel and power—something that the Republican Party has historically supported.  Black Americans want a minimum of regulations and licenses that bar their entry into the marketplace.  Throughout the years, black Americans have started new businesses in numbers disproportionate to their population.  Democrats offer a hand out, Republicans offer opportunity.  Liberals favor abortion and gay marriage, two policies that the black community opposes by wide margins.  Democrats embrace a "new" morality, while African Americans hold on dearly to traditional moral values.  While Democrats deny black Americans the right to own firearms to protect themselves, Republicans support the 2nd Amendment.  On these and so many other issues, black Americans and conservatives have much in common, but on election day, conservative candidates typically get no more than 5% of the black vote.

Why, because the big lie that conservatives are racist keeps black Americans from even considering the idea of voting Republican.  Yet, it's only a matter of time until the dam bursts, and that is what scares the living daylights out of liberals.  White liberals know it is a lie and that's why they are so terrified.  The Democratic Party simply cannot survive if 20% or more of the black vote goes to the GOP.  That's a thread that is already frayed.

How scared are the Democrats?  They are terrified.  That's why they targeted Allen West and spent several million dollars to defeat him.  They targeted one candidate, not because he was the most conservative in the GOP, but because he was both black and conservative.  His very existence as a United States Congressman was a threat to their myth that all conservatives are racists.

So what's the answer?  Because of the far left media that aids and abets this terrible lie, the Republican Party will never penetrate the fog and get the truth to the black community.  That's a fact of life that conservatives and Republicans must accept.  This lie is guarded by the left like the crown jewels of England.  It is their kryptonite.  They die politically if the truth comes out.

But the solution is not nearly as difficult as it seems.  If the GOP will simply attack this problem by recruiting black conservatives to run for office at every level, they can demolish this myth in short order.  That's why the appointment of Tim Scott to the US Senate by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was so powerful and so threatening to the Democrats.

Just imagine what would happen if the GOP abandoned its tradition of letting candidates work their way up in the Party and instead openly recruited conservative black Republicans like Allen West to run in winnable Congressional districts.  It is either this or continued failure on election day.

And the same thing holds true for Hispanic Americans.  That's why my ticket for 2016 is Rubio-Scott.  Both Marco Rubio and Tim Scott are products of the Tea Party movement and both are rock-solid conservatives.  If you want to see the Democratic bosses squirm and pee in their pants, then this is just the ticket for 2016.  The Republicans can deny being racist until they are blue in the face, but it won't make any difference.  The only way to demonstrate that they are not racist is to nominate and elect both African Americans and Hispanics with solid conservative credentials to public office.  

There is always a tipping point in any argument.  The tipping point in this long, ugly debate is to simply nominate and elect conservative blacks and Hispanics to Congress in numbers previously unheard of.  Once the numbers are so large that they cannot be ignored, the death watch for the Democratic Party can commence.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Encouraging News for the Western Hemisphere

Just as the old year was coming to a close, I read a very interesting and encouraging article in the Wall Street Journal (the editorial section, not the disappointing news section) by Mary Anastasia O'Grady.  Ms. O'Grady writes frequently in the Journal about economic and political matters in Latin America.  Her piece, titled "A Canadian Rock Star and the Pacific Rim Fab Four" caught my eye.  Perhaps I was interested because I recently traveled to Guatemala to speak to NGO representatives in that area about fund raising for their organizations.  I spoke at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, an amazing university dedicated to academic excellence and to free market economics.

I was curious if Guatemala was one of what O'Grady called the "Pacific Rim Fab Four."  It was not, and I was not too surprised, knowing a little bit about the situation there, including the negative influence that the United States and the European socialist nations have exerted on Guatemala. 

The Canadian "Rock Star" was, of course, Canada, our neighbor to the north that has eschewed many of the illogical economic policies of the Obama administration.  Canada has neither the dangerous debt situation of the US, nor any hesitancy to exploit the natural resources with which it has been blessed.  While Canada may be a basket case when it comes to medical care and a candidate for the asylum as far as political correctness is concerned, it has pursued commonsense economic policies.  In short, the Canadian economy is booming and the people are prospering.

Of course there are some very elemental policies that are necessary for the economic success of any nation, including low tax rates, a stable currency, civil order, minimal regulations, an educated work force, and a free and open marketplace.  These elements are especially important for emerging economies that must have capital investment in order to grow and prosper.  They are, of course, very important to any nation that seeks to not only bring prosperity to its citizens, but also make that prosperity accessible to everyone in the land.

The top down socialist model works well for those in the political system and their cronies who keep them in power.  In other words, the Jeffrey Immelts of the world prosper because they are directly subsidized by the government.  I emphasize directly because, in the Orwellian world in which we live, leftists often sophomorically refer to tax breaks as a subsidy.  That is foolish on its face.  A tax break can only be a subsidy if the government owns all the money and they just let us have some.  In a free society, all money (which simply represents goods and services produced in the private sector) is owned by the people.  They earn it through hard work, ingenuity, and risk taking.

In the failed socialist model, only the politicians, the bureaucrats, the crony capitalists like Immelt and the union bosses (not the workers) benefit.  Everyone else suffers.  In socialist societies you find a rich upper crust of the aforementioned reprobates and the poor.  There is no middle class.  In stark contrast, a free society is comprised of a whole bunch of people and a whole bunch of economic ladders.  People are continuously going up and down those economic ladders as they succeed or fail, but the opportunity to ascend one of those economic ladders is open to everyone no matter where they start in life.  There is no shortage of ladders, because there is no shortage of opportunities.

So let's get back to Ms. O'Grady's good news about nations in the Western Hemisphere.  We have already identified Canada as one of the economic bright spots, but the four "Pacific Rim" nations may surprise you.  It's not the US, of course, and it's not the socialist paradise of Cuba, nor is it Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.  Ms. O'Grady rules out Ecuador and Bolivia who she says "fit the loser mold:  left-wing populist politics supporting corporatist, authoritarian states."  It's not "state managed economies" like Argentina where inflation is now close to 25%.  Surprisingly (except for the fact that it is located on the Atlantic Ocean), it's not Brazil, which Ms. O'Grady describes as "…sticking to a closed economic model that tries to preserve an industrial plan from the 1960s…"  She cites the World Bank's "Doing Business" survey that measures the ease with which an individual or corporation may do business in a nation.  In that survey Brazil ranks 130th, Argentina 124th and Venezuela 180th.

Now, let's look at the "Fab Four"—Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia!  Chile doesn't surprise me as much as the other three.  It wasn't that many years back that Chile was mired down in a socialist economy with high inflation, low capital investment, and almost nonexistent economic growth.  It looked much like the Venezuela of Hugo Chavez.  But things have changed for the better for the citizens of Chile as it has taken strides toward a free and open economy. 

Chile has an enviable retirement system that makes Social Security pale by comparison.  It is universal and it is private.  It's the type of system that makes sense for citizens of the United States.  The only reason we don't have it is because it takes political leverage away from the politicians.  The Democrats can't promise more or make threats that the Republicans will take away your Social Security if it is a private system.  That's sad, because the performance of the privatized Chilean retirement system far outperforms the returns that US citizens are forced to accept under Social Security.  Moreover, the US Congress and the President can't spend the money you set aside for retirement, as they do with Social Security funds. 

Today, thanks to steps toward an open and free economy, only 11% of the population of Chile is living in poverty.  This compares to numbers double and triple that amount just a few decades ago when it labored under a socialist top down economy.  Moreover, the poverty rate of Chile (according to the US Bureau of Census) is lower than that in the United States, which is 15.1%.  To be sure, the definition of poverty is a subjective number and one to be taken with a grain of salt.  Nevertheless, the low rate of poverty in Chile is a sign of its widespread economic prosperity.  In 2011, Chile was ranked 6th in the world for attracting capital relative to the size of that nation.  That's what free markets do for a nation.  Chile has come a long way and, as long as they stay on the free market path, the best is still yet to come for Chile.

I am more astounded by Mexico being included as a "Fab Four" by Ms. O'Grady than I am by any other nation.  When I think of Mexico I think of a nation wracked by narcoterrorism.  I think of Juarez where people are shot on the streets and members of opposing gangs are beheaded.  There's no doubt that Mexico has a serious gang problem related to illegal drugs.  The incoming President, Enrique Pena Nieto, has made noises about ending the nationalization of oil, gas and telecommunications.  If he is successful in doing that, and with the North American Trade Agreement in place, some believe that the economy of Mexico can be transformed into a powerhouse that passes that of Brazil in the next decade.  If that happens, it will be an astounding turnaround for a nation that has for too long been shackled in a moribund socialist economy.  Mexico has vast, untapped natural resources, but has been, thus far, unable to attract substantial outside capital investments that are key to a growing economy.  The more free market reforms that Mexico enacts, the faster and further its economy will grow.

The other two members of the "Pacific Fab Four" are going down the same free market route as Chile and Mexico.  They are not as far down that path as Mexico and not nearly as far as Chile.  However, both Peru and Columbia are taking the right steps toward an open market economy that is the key to economic growth.  Just 20 years ago, in 1993, 60% of the population of Peru was living in poverty.  In 2010, 31.3% of the Peruvian population was living in poverty, and today that number has dropped even further to 27.8%.  That's still an awfully high number, but the progress is significant and consistent.  Providing Peru stays on a free market course, that number will continue to fall.

The situation in Columbia is much like that of Peru.  It is a stable civil society that has been very successful in attracting capital investment.  A free market approach has been gaining steam in this nation for a number of years.  According to UCLA economist, Sebastian Edwards (as cited by Ms. O'Grady), it deserves to be included in what he calls "the resurgence of the Pacific of the Americas."  Of course, there is always the danger that there will be a political sea change in any of these nations that could drive them off track and back toward a failed socialist system.

While Ms. O'Grady did not mention it in her Wall Street Journal article, I'd encourage investors and Latin America watchers to keep an eye on tiny Guatemala (population 14 million).  Led by graduates of the Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM), this nation has the potential to become another economic growth powerhouse.  The university was founded by the late Manuel Ayau with the encouragement of Nobel Laureate, Milton Friedman.  Dr. Ayau's goal in founding the University was to spread free market principles across his nation, then across Latin America, and ultimately across the world.  The current President of Guatemala and many members of its Congress and courts are graduates of UFM.  Through their leadership, Guatemala has been blessed with extensive free market reforms, in some cases in spite of the United States. 

Sadly, US Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, who served under President George W. Bush, endeavored to roll back many of the market reforms enacted by the Guatemalan Congress.  In the high handed manor of arrogant bureaucrats, Ambassador Bushnell openly threatened the Guatemalan Congress and President with damaging economic actions by the US if it refused to enact 28 laws that she provided to them.  Nearly all of these measures were detrimental to a free and growing economy. 

If this wasn't bad enough, Guatemala, which is blessed with mountains and many opportunities to produce hydroelectric power, is being blocked from doing so by outside interference from greens in Europe and the US, using similar economic threats.  The result is extremely expensive and limited access to electric power.  This alone stymies economic growth and perpetuates a high level of poverty in the nation.  Without such interference and sans the very real problem of narcoterrorism, Guatemala could join the small group of Latin American nations experiencing strong economic growth.

The situation here in the US is unfortunate.  The President is a captive of economic inanities that he gained in the academy.  To paraphrase the late Bill Buckley, it's not that he isn't a smart man, it's just that so much of what he believes to be true, isn't true.  In short, he doesn't understand economics 101.  He thinks bigger and more powerful government is the answer, when it is really the problem.  He believes government needs to be more involved in the economy with more regulations, more restrictions and a heavier hand, when just the opposite leads to prosperity and opportunity for all Americans.  Without any rationale whatsoever, he believes that you can create a green economy, even though it has to be subsidized by the government.  Such subsidies, of course, mean that such activity is not marketplace sustainable.  In fact, each and every subsidy lowers the standard of living of all Americans.

Oh well.  Every day that goes by takes us one day closer to his last day in office.  He is a lame duck whose clock is running.  And as each day passes his power diminishes ever so slightly.  While he will continue to do much damage to the Constitution, to the rule of law, to the economy, and to economic opportunity (especially for the poor), his days in office are numbered. 

Let's not let the bad news of President Obama in the White House dampen our enthusiasm for the five nations in the Western Hemisphere who are on the right economic path.  We can only hope and pray that they will continue down that road, providing an example of what course a nation should follow if it seeks prosperity for its citizens.