Search This Blog

Friday, June 28, 2013

It's Not the Scandals!

The scandals in the Obama Administration are mounting up. By my count there are now four distinct scandals...

  1. Fast & Furious.  F & F was a screwball scheme to advance gun control legislation in the US by creating mayhem along the border caused by guns sold in the US.  When exposed by Fox News, the Administration claimed that it was hatched by rogue officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Arizona.  However, all clues point directly to the White House as the originator of this Abbott and Costello operation.  The bungled affair includes the US Attorney General Eric Holder lying to Congress, and the news media (except Fox) doing their best to ignore it.  Had he been a Republican President, Barack Obama (who basically admitted to being in on it from the beginning via an offhand remark made to Sarah Brady) would be out on his ear.
  2. Benghazi.  This tragedy has the fingerprints of the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all over it.  Both knowingly told a bald face lie to the American people, stating for several weeks that the attack on our embassy was caused by a video.  Actually, they knew within just a few hours that it was a terrorist attack, but that revelation would have been bad for President Obama’s re-election campaign, so they chose to lie.  Worse yet, they decided not to send in a rescue team (even though they had no way of knowing how long the attack would last).  All this was done for strictly political reasons.  Four Americans, including our Ambassador, died.  And, what was Secretary Clinton’s response when she was called to explain to Congress?  “What difference…does it make?” the lady of Rose Law Firm fame literally screamed back at them.
  3. IRS.  It turns out that beginning in 2010 the IRS began harassing and delaying approval of legitimate applications for 501(c)(4) nonprofit status for groups whose name included Tea Party, Patriot or some other conservative term.  At first it was claimed that it was caused by some rogue IRS agents in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Later, it was discovered that Sarah Hall, the IRS official in charge of the tax exempt division during this period, visited the White House 165 times.  She met with President Obama on six occasions.  The only possible explanation is that Ms. Hall was busy coordinating with or getting directions from the White House political team on her efforts to suppress the effectiveness of Tea Party groups in this critical election year.  Later yet, we learn that this law breaking activity originated not in Cincinnati, but in the headquarters of the IRS in Washington, DC. 
  4. James Rosen and the Associate Press.  In another case of lying to Congress, Attorney General Holder appeared before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee to provide testimony regarding the Justice Department’s improper confiscation of the phone records of 20 Associated Press reporters and editors.  When asked if he had any involvement in that or in the tracking of Fox reporter James Rosen, Holder said he “had no involvement.”  Later Holder admitted that he personally signed off on the secret monitoring of Fox reporter, James Rosen.  What was Obama’s response to this scandal?  He ordered Eric Holder to conduct a complete investigation of the matter.  In other words, Eric Holder was instructed to investigate Eric Holder!

The White House has strenuously resisted all calls for the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate these scandals.  Of course they have.  If you are guilty, why would you want to appoint your own hangman?

However, these scandals, as bad as they are, are not the root problem.  Even Obama, as bad as he is and as much damage as he has done, is not really the root problem. 

These scandals did not occur because of Obama.  These scandals are systemic to any powerful government.  They did not happen solely because there is a liberal in the White House.  It did not happen because Obama is a Democrat.  The problem is far deeper than that.

It’s a problem that the Founders worried about from the very beginning.  It is the problem they tried their best to avoid and keep from happening.  It is a problem of human nature.  This is not a theological discussion, but the fact is that from the first moment a person rises in the morning to the moment he falls asleep at night, his human frailty takes charge.  He, and you and I, and everyone else who was ever born, is cursed by having feet of clay.  We lust, we envy, we gossip, we curse, we shade the truth, we get angry, we hate, and we dishonor God.  It was this understanding of human nature that gave the Founders the wisdom to understand that if they created an all-powerful government, with all-powerful elected officials, those officials would succumb to the temptation to rule, rather than serve.

Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  He was correct.  You don’t have to be a religious person to understand human nature.  Just look around you.  Who do you know that lives a perfect life?  Who is without flaws and faults?  I know it isn’t me and you know it isn’t you. 

Just look at the people who succumb to corruption when they gain wealth or power.  It doesn’t matter whether it is personal power and wealth gained honestly or the vast power of a politician, especially the President, who came about wealth and power via the political process.  Why wouldn’t it go to your head?  The President goes globetrotting in his personal 747, living like a king.  He is pampered, deferred to, and his every wish is catered to.  No wonder he begins to think of himself as a demigod.  No wonder he begins to think of himself as above the law.

Corruption will always exist in government and the bigger the government the bigger and more vast the corruption will be.  There is nothing unique or accidental about the corruption of the Obama Administration.  It’s what we should expect.  It’s what is always going to happen.  It is true that a President who seeks to be humble and who seeks virtue will have a better chance of avoiding the extensive corruption of this White House.  It is also true that when the political appointees of a President are men and women who reject traditional moral values, based on Judeo/Christian principles, corruption will be greater and more widespread.  Nevertheless, the bigger and more powerful government is, the more corruption will exist and flourish.

America is a great nation not because it has great institutions, a big government, great military strength, great academicians, or great intellectuals.  It has been said, quite accurately, that the genius of America is the American people themselves, who cherish and value individual freedom.  The future of freedom in America rests upon the principle that the American people are sufficiently wise to govern themselves without undo interference from the government.  That’s what it means to say the greatness of America rests with the American people.

The Founders were well-educated men, they were intelligent men, but most important of all, they were wise men.  Their wisdom rested entirely on their understanding of human nature and their trust in God.  They understood their frailty and their weakness and their impotence compared to the goodness and power of their Creator.  They understood the contrast of their corruptibility in comparison to the perfection of God.  They lived generations prior to Lord Acton, but they shared his understanding of the inability of man to resist being corrupted by power.

Scandals do not exist in government because of one man or one administration, they exist because the more powerful government becomes, the more corrupt it becomes.  Socialist states are logically and understandably riddled with corruption.  Bribery is a way of life. 

All powerful, centralized governments are built to serve the masters of government, not to serve the people.  These non-producers of society live in luxury off the backs of those who pay the taxes they spend wantonly.  Because no government of any kind has a fair, legitimate, or accurate means of gauging the value of any services provided by its elected politicians or by public employees, they will always be overcompensated.  Government employment becomes attractive to the security minded, not to the risk takers.  As government grows, elective office becomes ever more attractive to the power seeking.  And, as government expands, individual freedom contracts.  That’s why, as the late Milton Friedman observed, “We are lucky we don’t get as much government as we pay for.” 

All socialist schemes are financially unsustainable and subject to corruption.  Why, because politicians see government services as a means of controlling and bribing the masses to re-elect them.  And, to expand government power and to give politicians more control, services will be continually expanded to encompass more and more people who did not pay for those services.  Accordingly, all socialist services deteriorate, providing worse and worse health care, worse and worse retirement income, and higher and higher taxes.  Shoddy products, shoddy services, and ever present corruption characterize socialism.  It can’t be any other way.  In fact, socialism has been tried and re-tried and in each and every case inefficiency, corruption, and a diminution of individual freedom occur.

The scandals of the Obama White House are the natural outgrowth of an all-powerful government.  And, since power attracts and brings out the worst in humankind, the quality of those in ruling positions will continue to decline.  If serving in Congress was truly public service, there would be no high salaries, no big benefits and thus, no career politicians.  There would only be citizen statesmen who see public service as a sacrifice, not a career opportunity.  This was the vision of the Founders. 

There is only one solution to restoring our economy and expanding individual freedom—shrinking the size of government and the importance of the people who populate it.  The less powerful our government is, the less important it is, the less desirable it will be to those who seek power over others.

The corruption that exists today in our government is simply a symptom of our failure to stay faithful to the vision of our Founders.  Since man is corrupt, corruption will always exist, but the less power government has, the less corruption there will be and the less damage it can do to our nation and, accordingly, to our individual freedom.

But, a return to the limited government created by the Founders will remain elusive as long as there is not a consensus of virtue in America.  That is what George Washington meant when he said, “Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people.  The general government…can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any despotic or oppressive form so long as there is any virtue in the body of the people."

Why did Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and other Founders put so much emphasis on the importance of virtue to maintaining individual freedom?  What did they mean by virtue?

My American Heritage College Dictionary provides this definition of virtue:  ”Moral excellence and righteousness; goodness.”  Note that this definition does not define virtue as “Moral perfection” but simply excellence, i.e. the seeking of a moral life and righteousness, and goodness.  The Founders were not suggesting that the citizens of America had to be or could be perfect or that they would achieve moral perfection or righteousness.  They were simply stating that individual freedom can only exist when people humble themselves before God and seek His righteousness.  The outcome, when citizens seek virtue, is men and women who…

  1. Exercise self-restraint
  2. Exhibit compassion
  3. Strive to be honest
  4. Are industrious
  5. Trust in God, and
  6. Fear and love God

It is only through self-restraint that freedom can exist.  If every individual gives full throttle to his passions and confuses freedom with license, the police power of the government will necessarily increase.  If individuals do not impose moral restraints upon themselves, then crime increases, public civility declines, and general chaos ensues.

If hearts grow cold and citizens, churches, and the society in general ceases to exhibit compassion for those in need, government must, of necessity, step in to fill the void.  This causes government to grow and individual freedom to shrink.

If honesty and integrity decline, the free market ceases to become the engine of prosperity, and government corruption expands.  Without individual integrity, the fabric of society rips apart, and unity of purpose disappears.

Without personal industry, general and individual prosperity and character decline.  Laziness breeds envy, corruption, and moral complacency.

And, if a consensus of Americans don’t trust in the God of our fathers, and both fear and love him as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, society goes off the rails.  We begin to put our faith in our own abilities, and we reject traditional moral values such as the sanctity of life, and the importance of marriage and the family as the bedrock that holds society together.  Integrity, honesty, manners and morality disintegrate when there is no trust in God and respect for His power and love.

Patrick Henry spoke for the Founders when he outlined the course that was necessary to follow in order to preserve the American republic…

No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”

We have ventured afar from the mores and values of the Founders.  We have strayed from the fundamental principles upon which the Founders created this nation.  Not until we return to our roots of freedom and morality will we have a chance of preserving freedom in the United States of America for our children and grandchildren.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Now the Microwaves!

The disaster of ignoring sound science and setting policy based on political science has brought the American people one disaster after another.  The majority of engineers and scientists have concluded that there is no such thing as man caused global warming or climate change.  Yes, there is climate change and it goes on continuously.  Roughly 500 years ago, Greenland (and the rest of the world) experienced rather dramatic climate change.  The little ice age began in the late 1500s or early 1600s.  The earth became significantly cooler.  An example of the seriousness of this cooling can be seen from what happened in Greenland.  Prior to the little ice age, much more of Greenland was used for agriculture than after the climate change that occurred.  We know from records and observation that entire communities were destroyed and the people in them because they could not escape.  Temperatures dropped radically and the people froze to death.  There were no helicopters or Red Cross to rescue them.

What was the cause of the little ice age and of climate change in general?  Most non-compromised scientists believe that it is the sun that causes climate change.  A new study by the European Organization for Nuclear Research has again pointed to the conclusion that the sun’s cosmic rays, and their role in cloud formation, rather than man-made emissions, are responsible for the Earth’s changing temperatures.  This study by real scientists is just one of many around the globe that have come to a similar conclusion, it’s not man that has caused the climate to change, it is the sun.

Real scientists and engineers reject theoretical climate change based on computer models that do not meet the standard of the Scientific Method.  They are theories and just that.  We now know from the Climategate scandal that the so-called “hockey stick” graph of temperature change was based on falsified data.  The only “scientists” still clinging to catastrophic climate change are those whose integrity has been compromised by their receipt of government funds for the purpose of promoting this hoax.

Nevertheless, this has not stopped governments and bureaucrats the world over from imposing truly catastrophic regulations and restrictions on their citizens in the hope of averting man caused climate change.  The cost has been enormous and it continues to grow.  Billions and even trillions of dollars have been and are being wasted in pursuit of a carbon free planet.  No thought whatsoever is given to the heavy burden that these regulations, treaties, and policies are having on people around the globe.  When governments take the hard earned dollars of taxpayers, and flush them down the global warming rat hole, they are diminishing the standard of living of each and every citizen. 

As in all liberal schemes, those at the bottom of the economic ladder get hurt the worst.  And, in this case, treaties that ban or limit the use of carbon based energy permanently condemn third world nations to poverty.  According to the left, the poor be damned, we have to stop climate change.  Access to cheap and abundant energy is the key to ending poverty, yet the left seeks to keep third world nations from building oil, gas and coal fired electric generating plants.  Thankfully, China and India have refused to sign onto this madness because they know it would kill off their economic growth.

Here in the United States the poor are punished the most by these misguided policies.  If you are a poor person living in the US, a higher proportion of your income goes for energy than it does for someone in the middle income category.  Thus, when huge taxes are levied on gasoline and the price of heating fuel is artificially high due to government regulations and restrictions on the production of oil, the spendable income of a poor person is dramatically reduced.  The fact is that poor people statistically drive father to work than do those who live in the suburbs.  Thus, such misguided policies that artificially raise the price of gasoline hurt the poor disproportionately.  They make it much more difficult for a poor person to extricate himself from poverty and climb the ladder of economic success. 

But, everyone suffers from foolish policies based on the unscientific myth of man caused global warming, well, almost everyone.  It is true that Al Gore and integrity compromised “scientists” who either promote or go along with this false concept have gotten rich.  In fact, Al Gore is now worth approximately $250 million thanks to his Elmer Gantry promotion of man caused climate change.  It all began many years ago.

On February 6, 1992, then Senator Albert Gore (D-TN) delivered an alarming message about ozone depletion.  He asked his colleagues to add an amendment to a Senate bill addressing the need to reduce energy dependence. He wanted to urge the President to advance the date for phasing out CFC production to the end of 1995, instead of the end of the year 2000 as originally planned.

Using scare tactics, Senator Gore warned of "the ozone hole over Antarctica," and that our nation faces "not only a long-term, critical threat to the global environment, but also an immediate, acute emergency threat."  In typical, over-the-top, Gore rhetoric, he fulminated about "blind rabbits and blind salmon in the areas under the edge of the ozone hole in the Southern hemisphere," and claimed that there would be "an additional 300,000 deaths from skin cancer in the United States as a result of ozone depletion over the next few decades."  He also linked ozone depletion to "extra cases of cataracts and blindness due to cataracts," and to "damage to the human immune system...."  It was bizarre, but he triumphed.

The full Senate passed the Gore-Chafee amendment by a vote of 96-0.  No senator, Republican or Democrat, took the floor to question or oppose this nonsense peddled by Gore and his allies.  And nonsense is exactly what it turned out to be.  Subsequently, but too late, all of Gore’s claims were proven false, but no matter, it still became law and that is why the most efficient means of cooling a refrigerator or a home, Freon™, was banned in the US.  Air conditioning was a miracle that vastly improved the economic condition of millions of Americans.  It literally transformed the South in the 1960s.  Without AC, the South would not be the economic powerhouse that it is today, and millions of Americans would continue to suffer from extreme heat.  But, no matter to Senator Gore and his misguided and unscientific minions, Freon was banned.

This was just the beginning of government lowering the standard of living of all Americans.  Freon was replaced by something called Refrigerant 410A.  Because Refrigerant 410A is only about 60% as efficient as Freon, it takes more than one and one half times the electrical power to cool the same amount of space.  This is a continuing cost that all Americans must bear due to the elimination of the more efficient Freon.

Nothing was beyond the eye of government preparing for nonexistent global warming.  Cars were downsized and altered to meet arbitrary fuel economy standards, but these mandated changes raised the price of automobiles dramatically.  Once again, the standard of living of all Americans suffered.

Washing machines were changed by government to make them more environmentally friendly.  Of course, there were two predictable side effects.  They were more expensive and the clothes did not get as clean.  The result is a continuing economic burden on each and every American who now lives with a reduced their standard of living.

Dish washing machines did not escape the watchful eye government meddlers.  They too were altered, to become less efficient, less effective and more costly. 

And, who can ignore the dangerous, weak, and expensive curly light bulbs that require you to call a hazmat unit if you break one?

Let’s not forget the toilets that no longer flush what needs to be flushed.  The world is not running out of water, but it is running out of common sense.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has just announced new microwave oven standards.  DOE claims that the new standards will reduce carbon emissions and save consumers $3 billion on their energy bills through 2030.  What the news release did not say is that all this savings will be accomplished by reducing the power of your microwave.  Nor did it mention that the cost of this new microwave oven will undoubtedly be much higher than current microwaves.  Great, you and I are going to be forced to use a Rube Goldberg microwave that will satisfy bureaucrats, but will not pop your popcorn.  Once again, you will find that your standard of living has been lowered in pursuit of solving an imaginary climate change crisis.

Where will it end?  Nanny government seeks to tell us what we should eat, what kind of car we should drive, where we should live, what kind of light we can read by, what kind of washing machine we can purchase, what kind of commode we use, what kind of health care we will receive, what kind of dish washer we can use, how powerful our microwave will be, and then sends us the bill for all this nonsense.

Al Gore, and the mind numbed robots that follow him, have wreaked havoc on our nation and on our freedom.  The idea of freedom is that you decide what kind of car to drive, what kind of house to live in, how you will light your home, where you will live, how powerful your microwave will be, how efficient your AC will be, what kind of dishwasher or washing machine you will purchase, who your doctor will be, how much you will spend on your health care, and how well your commode will flush. 

If you want a car that only gets 10 miles to the gallon, then buy it!  That should be your prerogative.  If you want a car with a big V8 engine that will go 150 MPH, then that should be your choice.  If you want to raise a family with 10 children, you should not be chastised by government.  If you want to leave all the lights on in your home 24/7 and you can pay for it, that’s your right, and if you want a powerful microwave that really works, you should have the right to buy it. 

Greed, envy and the lust for power is the driving force behind the bureaucrats and politicians in Washington.  And, sadly, crony capitalists like my favorite whipping boy, Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, are only too willing to go along to make a buck.  Such men are as corrupt as the bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, DC.

The fact is that there is no end in sight unless you and I take back the government and shrink it down to a very limited scope that cannot interfere in the lives of American citizens.  That was the far-sighted dream of the Founders.  They would not be surprised at all by what has transpired in our nation.  This is exactly what they feared and tried their best to avoid.  The Founders understood the corrupt nature of man and his tendency to seek power over others.  They knew that power brings out the very worst in men and women.  It makes no difference as to their Party or their place of origin or their good intentions.  Power corrupts and the more power someone has the more corrupt they become.

In the very near future, you and I will decide what kind of a nation our children and our grandchildren will live in.  Some believe that we have already passed the point of no return, but I do not believe that.  The current occupant of the White House has little or no commitment to freedom and certainly no understanding of the foundational principles established by the Founders to preserve freedom.  Barack Obama may have good intentions, but he is a clear example of someone with authoritarian instincts.  He wants government to do things for people, but when government attempts to do things for people, it always makes things worse for everyone, except, of course, the rulers.

Right now our nation is teetering on the brink of tyranny.  It’s not a galloping tyranny, it’s a creeping tyranny.  The appetite of the politicians and the bureaucrats for your freedom and for your money is limitless.  The end result is always the same—permanent misery for all people.  Socialism, and all other forms of tyranny, steal the soul of a nation, and bring out the worst in people.  On the other hand, freedom, combined with faith, brings out the best in people.  It is through freedom that people prosper and become self-reliant.  It is through faith that men exercise self-restraint and show compassion to those in need.  And, it is through faith that harmony and unity exists and is sustained.

We must not be the generation that lets our nation slide into tyranny.  We must return to Constitutional government and traditional moral values if our children and grandchildren are to enjoy the freedom and opportunity that we experienced.  Let’s begin on our knees and then stand on our feet to repel and defeat those who would enslave us. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Election that Changed Everything

A dictionary definition of watershed is:  “A critical point that marks a division or a change of course; a turning point.”  The last three national elections—2008, 2010, and 2012—have been important, and in at least one case historic, but only one of these elections fits the definition of a watershed event.

The 2008 election was certainly historic.  It was the first time that US voters ever elected an African American president.  That also made the election important, because it showed, at minimum, just how far the United States has progressed in terms of race relations.  After all, it took millions and millions of white voters to elect Barack Obama.  And although his ancestry is technically only half African American (his mother, Stanley, was white), it was still an amazing testimony to the good will and positive outlook of all Americans that his election was possible.  And, to be totally precise, Barack Obama is not a typical African American.  He is not the descendent of slaves, he was not involved in the civil rights movement (too young), but he is still a man with African ancestry.

But, does the election of Barack Obama in 2008 qualify as a watershed election in American history?  There is one election in the modern era that serves as the standard for watershed presidential elections and that is the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932.  What was the breadth and the depth of that election?  Roosevelt won by a landslide in both the electoral and popular vote, receiving the highest percentage of the popular vote for a Democratic nominee since Andrew Jackson 100 years earlier.  Specifically, Roosevelt won 57.4% of the popular vote, and he won 472 electoral votes to Herbert Hoover’s 59 votes.  Roosevelt carried 42 states, to Hoover’s 6.  It was a wipeout.

But more than a personal victory, the Roosevelt election was broad and deep.  His landslide carried into office Democrat candidates running for city council seats, county offices, state legislatures, and those running for Congress.  It was a sweeping election that transformed the political landscape of the United States.  Democrats won 310 seats in the House while Republicans won only 117.  The Democrats also took control of the Senate, where they outnumbered the Republicans 60-35, picking up 12 seats from Republican incumbents. 

In the 1930 Congressional elections the Democrats picked up eight Republican seats in the Senate, but the GOP still maintained its majority.  On the House side, the Republicans maintained a razor thin majority after losing 52 house seats.  However, that majority was short lived as the Republicans lost more than 100 seats in the House of Representatives in 1932.

Wikipedia describes the breadth and depth of the Roosevelt victory this way…

“1932 was a realigning election, as Roosevelt and the Democratic ticket won a sweeping victory over Hoover and the Republicans, extending their control over the U.S. House and gaining control of the U.S. Senate.  Twelve years of Republican leadership came to an end, and 20 consecutive years of Democratic control of the White House would ensue.  Until 1932, the Republicans had controlled the Presidency for 56 of the previous 72 years, dating to Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860.  After 1932, the Democrats would control the Presidency for 28 of the next 36 years…

Roosevelt's victory with 472 electoral votes stood until the 1964 victory of Lyndon B. Johnson, who won 486 electoral votes in 1964...  He also bettered the national record 444 electoral votes for any American presidential candidate, set by Hoover only four years earlier (and would shatter his own record when he was re-elected in 1936 with 523 votes).”

Roosevelt’s 1932 election was truly a watershed election.  Governorships were won on his coattails, state legislatures turned from Republican to Democrat, city councils and county councils did the same thing.  It was a top to bottom, coast-to-coast electoral sweep.

After Roosevelt’s death in April of 1945, Harry Truman became President.  Truman ran for President in 1948 against a lackluster moderate Republican candidate, Tom Dewey.  Although the polls showed Dewey winning easily, Truman squeaked through with a very narrow victory.

After Truman, Dwight Eisenhower won two consecutive elections that were a personal triumph for a war hero.  And, although the Republicans enjoyed control of the US House of Representatives and the Senate, it had little to do with Eisenhower coattails.  It was merely a reaction against the presidency of Harry Truman.  The Republican congressional success was short lived and unexceptional, although there were some outstanding conservative leaders like Robert Taft, John Bricker and Bill Knowland.  And, of course, Richard Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1948, and to the US Senate in 1950, defeating the “pink lady,” Helen Gahagen Douglas.

The 1960 election outcome was incredibly close.  Some say it was won by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, whose machine generated enough living and dead voters to give John F. Kennedy a razor thin victory over Richard Nixon.

After Kennedy’s tragic death in 1963, Lyndon Johnson coasted to an easy and predictable victory over Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.  But the Goldwater nomination changed forever the face of the Republican Party and set the stage for the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.  But before that happened, Richard Nixon won the 1968 and 1972 elections.  In 1972, Nixon won in a landslide over the radical George McGovern, but political arrogance, combined with dark and dumb decisions, resulted in his resignation in August of 1974.  Like Eisenhower before him, Nixon had no coattails.  His election was shallow, without depth or breadth.

After the accidental presidency of Gerald Ford and the election of the hapless Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan emerged onto the American political stage with a triumphant victory in 1980.  The political landscape was shaken up by Reagan not only winning handily, but also carrying a Republican majority into the US Senate.  Nevertheless, the Reagan victory did not have the depth or the breadth to be classified as a watershed election victory.  Although Reagan received 489 electoral votes to a puny 49 for the incumbent, Carter, he only received 50.8% of the popular vote.  This was due in part to the “rule or ruin” candidacy of RINO John Anderson who received 6.6% of the popular vote.

The outcome of the 1984 election was quite different.  This time Ronald Reagan won a smashing victory, receiving a record setting 58.8% of the popular vote and 525 electoral votes, an unprecedented endorsement of his successful domestic and foreign policies.  However, the House of Representatives stayed in the hands of the Democrats.  It was not an historic election of the scope of FDR in 1932.

After Reagan came George Bush ’41, Bill Clinton, George Bush ’43 and, of course, Barack Obama in 2008.  George Bush ’41 won the first time on the coattails of Ronald Reagan’s successful presidency, then lost to Bill Clinton in a three way race reminiscent of the Woodrow Wilson victory in 1912 that was split by the pugnacious, big government Progressive candidate, Teddy Roosevelt.  Neither Bill Clinton nor Woodrow Wilson would have had a chance of victory had it not been for disgruntled third party candidates in the race.

The reaction to Bill Clinton’s liberal policies (especially to Hillarycare) was so severe that the GOP regained control of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives in the 1994 elections, picking up 54 seats.  This was the first time the Republicans controlled the House since 1954.  At the same time the GOP gained eight seats in the US Senate, giving them a majority in that body.  However, there was no depth to the Republican victory—no great turnover in Governorships or in state legislatures, in city councils, or in county races.

In 2008, based on an economic crash caused by government intervention in the housing market that pressured lenders to make loans to people financially unqualified to purchase homes, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.  What was the depth of his election victory?  Although Obama beat McCain in the electoral college vote 365 to 173, his popular vote margin was substantially less.  Obama received just 52.9% of the popular vote to McCain’s 45.7%, an amazingly close race when you consider that McCain was a very weak candidate running after a stock market collapse.  In 2012 Obama did even worse, receiving 3.6 million fewer votes than he did in 2008, for a total of just 51.1% of the popular vote. 

Clearly, neither the 2008 election victory of Barack Obama, nor his 2012 victory can be considered watershed elections.  There was no depth and no breadth to these election victories.  In fact, in 2009 Obama put his political stock on the line, campaigning for Democrat candidates for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, only to see them both lose dramatically. 

But what about the outcome of the 2010 election?  This is the most under reported election of my lifetime.  It was a transformational election of the depth and breadth of FDR’s 1932 election.  Republicans picked up a net total of 63 seats in the House of Representatives and more than 700 seats in state legislatures.  Although the sitting U.S. President's party usually loses seats in a midterm election, the 2010 election resulted in the highest loss of a party in a US House midterm election since 1938.  And while Obama was winning re-election in 2012, the Republicans increased their total of Governors to 30, their highest number since 1928.  And like the Democrats in 1932, they swept political races in cities and towns across the US.  They also flipped hundreds of counties from Democrat to Republican.  It was a breathtaking victory of monumental scope.  And, while the Democrats tried hard to make inroads into this victory in 2012, their gains were nearly inconsequential, if at all.

The idea that the 2008 and 2012 election was transformational is almost laughable.  Yes, the Democrats held a tremendous majority in both the House and the Senate when Obama came to office, but even with that super majority the Democrats barely passed Obamacare, using chicanery and extra parliamentary procedures.  Like Hillarycare, the backlash to Obamacare was intense.  It gave rise to the Tea Party movement and a rejuvenation of America’s commitment to Constitutional principles.

The truth is that in both 2008 and 2012 the GOP ran weak establishment Republican candidates.  Millions of conservatives stayed home because neither McCain, nor Romney offered a bold vision of limited government, low taxes, and prosperity that was the hallmark of Ronald Reagan’s political triumphs. The Obama victories are built on a foundation of sand that can be swiftly swept away if the Republican Party turns to its historic conservative roots of Constitutional government and traditional values. 

No one has noticed, but the tide turned in 2010.  While I am a poor political prognosticator, I see nothing in the political wind to indicate anything but Republican gains in 2013 and 2014 that will further strengthen and expand the impact of the 2010 watershed election. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Damage Caused by Intervention in the Marketplace

You have heard the expression, “The government shouldn’t be picking losers and winners,” but why not?  Why shouldn’t the government intervene in the marketplace and subsidize businesses they like, and raise taxes on business they don’t like?  Isn’t that smart?  Don’t we all benefit?

Perhaps government intervention would be a good idea if perfect people populated government and they really did know what is best for everyone else.  If the people in government were omnipotent, all wise, all knowing, and as pure as the driven snow, government intervention into the marketplace might be a good idea.  It might actually work to the benefit of everyone, but alas, neither men (nor women) in government are angels.  They are just as imperfect, greedy, ambitious, ego-centric, and corrupt as you and I.  They are no wiser, no better, no smarter, no kinder, no more generous, and certainly no more perfect than any responsible citizen of this land.

The Founders understood that.  In fact, that was their genius that enabled them to create a republican form of government that would have very limited and specifically enumerated power over the lives of American citizens.  Because they read the Bible, they fully understood the fallen state of man.  It was this knowledge that gave them the determination to create a government of very limited power.  Their appraisal of the state of man has proven true.  Even though the Founders provided ample direction and instruction as to how the federal government should have limited power, corrupt man has devised ways around the restraints that the Founders imposed. 

Presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin D. Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson to Bill Clinton to Barack Obama have chaffed at the restrictions on power that the United States Constitution imposes on them.  They see it as an impediment to them doing good for the American people.  They reject the idea that all men are fallen and corrupt.  They reject the chains on power of government that the Constitution imposes.  And, in their appetite for expanding government, they have usurped the precious freedom bequeathed to us by our Founders. 

The double-talk language devised by corrupt men would be laughable, were it not for the danger they pose to our republic and the freedom you and I enjoy.  As far back as the beginning of the 20th century, those seeking a powerful, centralized government started talking about “a living Constitution” that could be interpreted just about any way you want it to be interpreted to advance your agenda.  This silly concept has been  taught with a straight face from grade school to graduate school for more than 60 years.  It was Orwellian before Orwell.

Today a political leader can say that he is totally committed to free speech and then vote for or propose restrictions on free speech in the name of political correctness.  He or she can assert that they fully support the right to keep and bear arms, and then vote for legislation that infringes on your personal right to keep and bear arms.  They can say that they are for freedom of the press, and then subpoena telephone records of journalists.  They can say that they support freedom of religion and then back legislation that essentially promotes freedom from religion.  They can say they are totally committed to the United States Constitution and the rule of law and then ignore the intent of those who drafted the Constitution.  They wage war without calling it war and without a Constitutionally mandated declaration of war by the United States Congress.

They try to fool the people by calling government spending “investments” and taxes “contributions.”  They convince themselves that they are compassionate when they vote to forcibly take money from others to give to someone they deem worthy of that person’s funds. 

They are not for freedom, nor do they have compassion.  They don’t believe in freedom of the press, or free speech, or the right to bear arms.  They believe in one thing and one thing only, power.  They seek power over the lives of others in the false belief that they are better, and smarter, and wiser than others and should decide how they live.  That is not freedom, it is political arrogance that leads to slavery.

One of the ways that these self-styled, all-wise men (and women) gain power over your life and mine is through policies that intervene directly into the business marketplace.  Using regulations, taxes and other vehicles of power, they tell us what kind of light bulbs we can use, how the cars we buy are to be constructed, how much water our commode can hold, how many windows we can have in our homes, and where we can and cannot pray.  They decide what individuals or companies will be taxed more heavily, or what companies will receive a subsidy.  They compel us to comply with laws that run counter to traditional morals and our personal religious beliefs.

The system is broken and it can’t be blamed just on the Democrats.  The Republicans, too, have been willing participants in this corruption.  Both parties have ignored the spirit and the intent of the Founders in order to give themselves more power, more benefits, and more personal recognition.  There are very few members of Congress, and even fewer individuals in the current Administration, that would receive the approbation of the Founders.  No, except for a very limited few like Senators Lee, Paul, Scott and Cruz, and a handful of tea party Republicans in the House, the Founders would have nothing but disgust for and disapproval of their actions.

The Founders saw our system of government as one that would be populated by citizen statesmen—men who would temporarily interrupt their productive lives to serve for a short period in public office.  The very last thing they would have wanted is a permanent and powerful legislature and a President who acts more like a king or potentate than a servant of the people.  They would decry the fact that many Congressmen and Senators, and even the President, has never held a productive job in the free market.   The Founders would be offended to see Senators and Congressmen who view their elected positions as a career, not as a temporary calling.  They would be greatly disappointed to learn that today’s Congressmen and Senators do not understand their role is to serve others and to protect the Constitution.  The Founders would be shocked by the ignorance of judges, and elected officials, as to the meaning and intent of the Constitution itself.  With special perks like chauffeurs, special parking (on Capitol Hill and at every DC airport), private elevators, special dining rooms, scores of aides, big salaries, and benefits that a king would desire, today’s Congressmen and Senators are the Princes and Dukes and royalty that the Founders feared. 

And what does nearly unlimited power in the hands of imperfect, sinful people always result in?  The answer is corruption.  Or as Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  The men and women in Congress did not create our government of laws or our republic.  When they vote to go beyond the intent of the law, and needlessly intervene in your life and mine, and in the marketplace, they betray their oath of office to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”

And, oh what damage they do.

Let’s go back to my original question.  Why shouldn’t the government pick winners and losers in the marketplace?  The answer to that question is that each and every time the government intervenes in the marketplace and provides subsidies to an individual company or an industry, it…

  1. Benefits a select few companies at the expense of…
  2. Other companies who are either barred from entry into the marketplace, or severely disadvantaged, and ultimately results in…
  3. Lowering the standard of living for all citizens

The exact same thing happens when government targets a particular industry for excessive taxes, or intervenes into the marketplace in such a way as to distort the free market so that either labor or business has an unfair advantage over the other.  When government provides special benefits to a business, it delays and hurts innovation because it makes it much more difficult for competition to enter the marketplace. 

All monopolies or cartels, business or labor, are the direct result of government intervention into the marketplace.  Monopolies cannot long exist in a free market because competition will always find a way to break a monopoly.  Monopolies, like government mail delivery, only exist because competition is directly barred by the so-called express statutes.  There is little doubt that, in the absence of a government created monopoly, service would improve and the price of mail delivery would decline sharply. 

Cartels, like the airline industry cartel, are created by government picking winners and losers.  Once the airline cartel was broken, prices declined sharply, the number of passengers increased, and the number of flights increased sharply.  The rich may complain that the luxuries of the past under the cartel are greatly missed, but millions of American citizens laud the access they have to high quality, convenient, low cost, and safe airline travel.  The market place has once again triumphed, providing better service at lower prices.

Ultimately, the consumer always suffers when government, specifically politicians, barge into the marketplace, whether their intentions are benign or self-serving.  Like a house fire, the end result is always the same, whether the fire was set by an arsonist, or occurred due to the ignorance of a fool with matches. 

To be sure, politicians promote subsidies of farmers, sugar growers, tobacco, automobiles, etc. for venal reasons, as well as for well-intentioned ones.  While some may honestly believe that it is only fair and right to vote for such subsidies, far too often they vote for subsidies, and for laws that restrict entry into the marketplace, as a means of currying favor, and ultimately to receive campaign contributions.  It is a corrupt practice, and one the Founders would scorn.  But today’s politicians, Democrats and Republicans, have this money laundering scheme down to an art form.  It provides a way to give incumbents of both parties a clear advantage over challengers, so that they can continue in their political careers.

But all this political wheeling and dealing hurts.  American citizens suffer.  When one industry is subsidized, or given special favors, or protected through legislation, the outcome is always higher than marketplace prices for those goods and services.  Why?  Because when Congress provides protection, or subsidizes a special group of companies, other companies who may well provide better goods and better services are not able to compete on a level playing field.  Moreover, in reality, the marketplace is far better than a few bureaucrats and politicians deciding which businesses and industries should prosper and which should fail.  Government intervention kills jobs, restrains the advance of technology, increases the cost of consumer goods and services, and generally has a negative impact on the entire economy.

Each and every time government provides subsidies for goods or services that could not otherwise be produced in the marketplace, American citizens pay higher taxes and higher taxes mean a lower stander of living.  The standard of living you enjoy is not based on your gross income, it is based on your purchasing power.  If a car artificially costs more due to excessive government regulations, or due to laws that enable labor to unfairly charge higher wages and benefits, your standard of living goes down.  When the cost of anything you buy at the grocery store is higher due to government regulations, your standard of living declines.

For instance, today the price of gasoline is artificially inflated by government taxes.  These taxes have little to do with paying for highway maintenance.  They are designed to make driving more costly so that you will buy a smaller car, use less fuel, use mass transit, etc.  It all sounds good, but the net effect is that your standard of living just went down, and your freedom was limited.  You and only you should decide what kind of car you should drive, based on the options available in a free market, unencumbered by social engineering regulations dreamed up by politicians and bureaucrats.

When the government intervenes and builds non-marketplace services like mass transit, it imposes a permanent burden on every citizen and lowers the standard of living of all Americans.  The annual financial shortfall incurred for building and operating a non-marketplace service hurts every American, because that shortfall must be made up every year in tax revenues.  The more taxes you pay, the lower your standard of living.

It all boils down to this.  Government should not pick winners and losers because government is inherently incompetent and corrupt.  Government intervention will always benefit a few at the expense of many.  Crony capitalists, such as Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, are always too willing to accommodate the corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle.  Such crony capitalists eagerly accept and lobby for subsidies of foolish things like windmills to make a buck.  At the bottom line, businessmen, laborers, politicians, and every citizen is cursed with the problem of sin that corrupts their values, their morals, and promotes greed and a lust for power. 

The marketplace itself is not moral, but it does fiercely constrain bad ideas and bad men from succeeding.  Yes, it is true, for a while a dishonest businessman can succeed, but ultimately he will fail because the marketplace exposes dishonest practices through competition.  Not all regulations are bad, but the cost of the regulation must never be more than the cost of the perceived problem.  Far too often, rules, regulations, licenses, certifications, and the like are put into place at the behest of crony capitalists who endeavor to use government to protect them from competition.  Low cost and high quality are the hallmarks of the free market, while high costs and shoddy products are the symbol of socialism.  This is not speculation.  Just think about the quality of goods and services provided under the old Soviet Union.  The Soviet Union is not a bad example of socialism in practice, as its advocates claim, it is reality.

Politicians, who are susceptible to believing that they are experts on everything, are easily conned into believing in such fantasies as global warming.  They are willing to ignore science, if it advances their goals.  They understand that by creating another real or imagined crisis they can gain more power over the lives of American citizens.  Therefore, the truth or fiction of the crisis is not very important to them.   Providing they see an opportunity to expand their rule over the American people, they are content.  They never take their eye off the goal, which is more power over your life and mine.

Until and unless both parties quit electing men and women who have no true allegiance to the United States Constitution, our freedom and our republic will continue to decline.  Some on the left, like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, clearly understand their goal—an all-powerful government that doesn’t look a whole lot different than the Cuban government of Fidel Castro.  Others, like John McCain, simply combine self-service with ignorance of the Constitution.  While their intent may be good, like the fool with matches, they undermine our republic, and stand in the way of patriots like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Tim Scott and others. 

My goal and yours must be to accept no counterfeit Republican candidates in 2014 and beyond.  We don’t need candidates with deep party loyalty, we need men and women with a deep commitment to the United States of America and to the principles and ideals of the Founders.  Anything less will lead to disaster.