A more libertarian Republican Party? 2

This report, by Ross Tilchin, comes from the left-leaning Brookings Institution. It is titled On the libertarian challenge within the GOP.

Would a stronger appeal to libertarian values help the Republican Party win elections? This was one of the central questions raised during a discussion of the Public Religion Research Institute’s (PRRI’s) American Values Survey, “In Search of Libertarians in America,” launched at the Brookings Institution on October 29th, 2013.

Libertarianism has become a major part of the political conversation in the United States, thanks in large part to the high profile presidential candidacy of Ron Paul, the visibility of his son Rand in the United States Senate, and Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s well-known admiration of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. And the tenets of libertarianism square with the attitudes of an American public dissatisfied with government performance, apprehensive about government’s intrusiveness into private life, and disillusioned with U.S. involvement overseas. Libertarianism is also distinct from the social conservatism that has handicapped the Republican Party in many recent elections among women and young people.

Within this context, libertarians seem likely to exercise greater sway on the Republican Party than at any other point in the recent past. But a closer look at public attitudes points to many factors that will limit the ability of libertarians to command greater influence within the GOP caucus.

First, according to the PRRI poll, libertarians represent only 12% of the Republican Party. This number is consistent with the findings of other studies by the Pew Research Center and the American National Election Study. This libertarian constituency is dwarfed by other key Republican groups, including white evangelicals (37%) and those who identify with the Tea Party (20%). Tea Party members are much more likely to identify with the religious right than they are with libertarianism. More than half of Tea Partiers (52%) say they are a part of the religious right or the conservative Christian movement, and more than one-third (35%) specifically identify as white evangelical Protestants. In contrast, only 26% of Tea Partiers were classified as libertarians on PRRI’s Libertarian Orientation Scale.

While these groups are similarly conservative on economic matters (indeed, libertarians are further to the right than white evangelicals or Tea Partiers on some economic issues, such as raising the minimum wage), they are extremely divided by their views on religion.

Only 53% of libertarians describe religion as the most important thing or one among many important things in their lives.

Only? We’re surprised there are so many. More than half!

By comparison, 77% of Tea Party members say that religion is either the most important thing or one among many important things in their lives, and – not surprisingly – 94% of white evangelicals say that religion is either the most important thing or one among many important things in their lives. A full 44% of libertarians say that religion is not important in their lives or that religion is not as important as other things in their lives. Only 11% of Tea Party members and 1% of white evangelicals say that religion is not important in their lives.

There are evangelicals who say that? Evangelicals in name only, then? EINOs.

Additionally, libertarians are among the most likely to agree that religion causes more problems in society than it solves (37% total: 17% completely agreeing, 20% mostly agreeing); the least likely to agree that it is important for children to be brought up in a religion so they can learn good values (35% total: 13% completely disagree, 22% disagree); and the least likely to think it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values (63% total: 30% completely disagree, 33% mostly disagree).

About a third of the surveyed libertarians find it necessary to believe in a heavenly Lord? Astonishing.

These stark differences in attitudes toward religion help explain the large difference in view between libertarians and other conservatives on social issues such as abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and marijuana legalization. Given their positions on these contentious social matters, it is very difficult to envision Libertarians gaining the support of socially conservative voters in the Republican Party.

Libertarians’ influence on the Republican Party is also limited by geography. Libertarians are broadly dispersed across the country – and even where they are most regionally concentrated, they are outnumbered by Tea Partiers and White Evangelicals. …

Of the 10 states that Sorens identifies as having the most libertarians, only New Hampshire, Nevada, and Georgia had spreads of 8 points or less in the 2012 presidential election. The other seven were either solidly red (Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Wyoming, and Utah) or solidly blue (Washington and Oregon).

As such, there seems little impetus for any ideological change of course in these states—not to mention the South writ large, the region with the greatest level of libertarian support — since they are already so stoutly Republican. Perhaps in individual districts with a particular libertarian bent, libertarian candidates could have some electoral success. But any candidate running as a libertarian would, by the nature of libertarianism, have to emphasize their laissez-faire values on social issues. If running for higher office, this would surely alienate more socially conservative voters, so strongly represented in the Republican Party in these areas.

The business establishment of the Republican Party would seem a natural libertarian ally, given its moderate views on social issues, opposition to government regulation, and natural sympathy for classical economics. But this view is contested by Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. At the recent Brookings discussion, Olsen argued that the business community consists of “people who are generally but not intensely opposed to government expansion, people who are generally but not intensely supportive of personal social liberties, people who are generally but not intensely suspicious of intervention abroad. That is the center of the Republican Party, not the libertarian alliance.” The very intensity of the libertarian movement is, as Olsen observed, “a bit off-putting to the person in the middle.” …

Though the states with the most libertarians are primarily rural, libertarians are also wealthier than average, better educated than average, and young (indeed, 62% of libertarians are under the age of 50) — three demographic sets that tend to live in densely populated areas. Heavily populated areas are overwhelmingly Democratic. It is not clear how many of voters in these areas would support a more libertarian Republican [candidate]. Regardless, it is even less likely that libertarianism would tilt the balance in urban counties towards the GOP’s way. …

For a variety of reasons, the burden falls on libertarians to demonstrate how they will change these dynamics. While there may be real appeal for some for Republicans to embrace a more libertarian approach, the undercurrents of the party do not paint an encouraging picture for this as a successful electoral strategy. …

The cornerstone of libertarianism — a fervent belief in the pre-eminence of personal liberty — leads libertarians to hold views on social issues that fall far outside of the mainstream of large portions of the Republican Party. In addition, libertarians’ greatest concentrations in numbers tend to fall either in small, sparsely populated states with less national political power, or among younger individuals who live predominantly in densely populated, Democratic areas. This culminates in an environment where political and demographic forces across the United States and within the Republican Party itself severely limit the power and growth of libertarians as a force within the GOP.

Scott Shackford, writing at Reason, comments on the report:

I take slight issue with the analysis, though perhaps not the conclusion. What’s left out is the very libertarian idea that just because libertarians don’t see religion as an important component to their own lives, that doesn’t mean we would object to others who decide otherwise. And believing that “religion causes more problems in society than it solves” should not be taken to mean that a libertarian believes the government should implement policies in a pursuit to “fix” these problems.

Obviously there is disagreement, but it’s not actually, literally about faith. The disagreement is about the extent of and justifications for the use of government force. To say that religious beliefs should not be used to determine whether it should be legal to get an abortion or get married is not to say that people shouldn’t use religion to make these decisions for themselves in their own lives.

Given the libertarian rejection of government coercion, who else is better suited to even approach these issues with social conservatives? Who outside of libertarians is arguing in favor of same-sex marriages getting the same legal recognition as heterosexual marriages, while at the same time arguing that no church should be obligated to recognize them, nor should any business be dragooned into providing goods and services for them?

Rather than seeing libertarians in opposition to social conservatives, it’s more helpful to see libertarians as allies in protecting the civil liberties of the religious even as they lose cultural influence. Libertarians may not be able to “take over” the Republican Party (not that they should stop trying), but the party itself may be in deep trouble if these factions cannot find points of agreement.

One point that emerges from the data and the discussion as a whole is that the issue of personal liberty is assumed to be of no concern at all to the Democratic Party.

If the Republican Party – for all its faults – is so clearly the party of liberty, then all the straining by these earnest scholars of the Left to prove it is mostly the party of religious nuts and southern fuddy-duddies, is wasted effort. Those who want to be free need to vote Republican. Those who want Big Brother (or Daddy or Nanny) Government to run their lives, and keep them dependent on the whims of bureaucrats and collectivist ideologues, will vote Democratic.

If only the Republican Party could learn how to get voters to understand that that is the choice.

Obama a disaster for America and the world 1

Ed Driscoll interviewed Monica Crowley, whose book What the (Bleep) Just Happened Again was recently published. You can find the whole interview on video and in transcript here at PJ Media.

Monica Crowley’s opinions of Obama and his policies are very close to our own. So we are posting some extracts from the transcript, letting her speak for us, while we nod in the background – only  interjecting a few words.

On transforming America:

I really believe that Obama’s objective from the beginning — and it’s not just him, it has been the objective of the far left for a very long time — … is to change the very nature of America. America, the gift that the Founding Fathers gave to us  … a nation that was exceptional because it was based on an idea. And the idea, instead of being based on the ambitions of men …  was centered on the concept of limited government and individual freedom.

And those two things are deeply interrelated. You can’t really have tremendous individual freedom when you have a big government. The idea of the last few decades has been to try to transform that fundamental Americanness, that great American idea that has given us tremendous prosperity and tremendous power, [and made] America into a great nation [and] a good nation. … The far left has been on this mission to strip away both … the limited government part and the individual liberty part.

And for many years they had success in putting up these big, huge entitlement pillars, dependency pillars, pillars that would change the way the government related to the individual; big redistributionist pillars like Social Security and like Medicare, like Medicaid. But they were never able to sort of put the whole thing together and do a dramatic socialist overhaul of the country until they found their perfect marriage of man and mission in Barack Obama.

And so from the beginning, and from day one of his first term, Obama and the far left set out to change the very nature of America, to change our character. And by that I mean strip away the self-reliance that underpins limited government and individual freedom. Strip that away and replace it with massive dependency; dependency on government.

So over the last four years, what they have done, and they have largely succeeded, is change the balance between the government sector and the private sector, change the relationship between the government and the individual, and created and expanded this massive dependency society. …

Obama and the far left have had enormous success in changing the character of this country. …

On the state of the GOP today:

I think over the next four years, certainly, we are going to see — we’re going to see federalism come to the fore. We’re going to see that Tenth Amendment rise.

And the reason is … Republicans now control thirty out of fifty governorships. We control the vast majority of state houses across the country. And it’s been a very interesting phenomenon to watch, because those offices are closer to the people than the presidency and then Washington, Congress, the Senate, and so on.

So when people have a choice, when they think that their vote will actually matter to their direct lives, meaning governor, state houses, they’re going more conservative. They’re going toward conservative governors, not even just Republican governors, but conservative governors, in most states. …

And so what I think you’re going to see is a real tension — and we already see this tension now, but I think it’s going to increase — between Washington, the federal government, and the states. And we’re going to see the states, as they’re starting to do now, on gun control, on immigration, … on a whole range of issues, you’re going to see the states pushing back and asserting their rights on behalf of the people that put them into office.

Taking on the federal government is a really tough thing, especially now, because it’s so big and it’s so powerful under Obama. But I think you’re going to see an increase in states going forward with their own agendas and pushing back on Washington. …

On foreign policy:

I actually believe [Obama] wants Iran to get a nuclear weapon. He has done nothing to stop Iran. Those sanctions that his administration put into place are toothless. The Iranians have found every way to get around them.

He has done nothing but stall. And the Iranians have used that time to go ahead and a) slaughter their own people in the streets when they revolted in 2009; and b) try to acquire a nuclear weapon. And they are getting there with every passing hour This president has done nothing to stop them, on purpose.

I would also say on the Arab Spring, this is a man who wants to see the rise of the Islamists. He wants to see the rise of the Islamists across the board, and that is why he threw over a long time ally of the United States, Husni Mubarak in Egypt. That is why he paved the way for Muammar Gaddafi, who yes, was a longstanding terrorist, but over recent years Gaddafi was trying to reach out to the United States and providing us with crucial intelligence on the movements of Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood across Northern Africa. And now we see what a problem that is. This president then went to facilitate his overthrow as well.

Why hasn’t he moved in Syria, where you have, what, upwards of maybe 40,000 people slaughtered under the Assad regime? Well, it’s because he’s been waiting for the Muslim Brotherhood to be poised and ready to take control there as well.

This is a man who knows exactly what he is doing. It is incredibly dangerous. It is completely antithetical to American interests. And now here we are. And we see it with China. He hasn’t taken on China. China continues to be a currency manipulator, getting very aggressive along the Pacific Rim, with very close allies of ours, like Japan and South Korea. Obama hasn’t lifted a finger. North Koreans just tested another nuclear weapon. No consequences from the United States. …

Yes. Obama wants victory for Islam in the world as much as he wants victory for socialism in America. A big step towards Islamic victory would be the defeat, and so the destruction, of Israel. He has to seem to be somewhat supportive of Israel, somewhat even-handed in the – totally defunct – “peace process” ostensibly still taking place between Israel and the Palestinians. But meanwhile he lets Iran build a nuclear arsenal because the quick and reliable way to destroy Israel would be by nuclear attack.

This president came into office with a far left ideology of wanting to take down America a notch or two or ten abroad, because we are not worthy. America’s full of sin from the past, and we have had our way around the world, and now it’s time we pay the price.

So I would argue, and I argue in this book, that his whole philosophy is all being carried out and it’s all deliberate and it’s all on purpose. There is no incompetence. There’s no naivete. It’s being carried out exactly as he’d like to see it.

On the collusion of the media:

The philosophy of the Obama administration is we will do what we want, Constitution be damned. And we know that nobody’s really going to cover the bad stuff, because they’re all out to protect us. They’re with us ideologically. They’re never going to allow the first black president to get into any real trouble. They will protect us. So therefore, we will get away with everything.

And they have. And like I said, with a few exceptions of certain news outlets that have covered Fast and Furious, it really hasn’t gotten covered. And they believe that when the bad stuff happens, whether it’s Fast and Furious or Benghazi or any of the range of unconstitutional maneuvers this president has done, that they can just wait it out, because it doesn’t get covered. So they wait it out, they stonewall, they don’t give any explanations. They continue to smile, and the story blows over. …

These scandals [the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, and the scandal of the Benghazi murders] under Barack Obama actually have an American body count. Watergate, nobody died. So you tell me which one is the more serious. They have covered up these scandals. They go as high as Eric Holder, possibly the President of the United States, and still, no sense of curiosity from the mainstream media. It’s astonishing. And they ought to be ashamed. …

On how badly Obama is wrecking America:

Assuming he does leave in 2017… I think the extent of the damage we don’t even know yet. I think we have a sense of the extent of the damage, but we really have no idea [of]the destruction that he has wrought and is wreaking on this country.

This is a man who spoke in 2008 about his dream of the fundamental transformation of the nation — his words, not mine — the fundamental transformation. He also talked about remaking America — again, his words, not mine.

And he would invoke the phrase “a more perfect union.” And you know, part of his genius [or Alinskyite training – ed] four years ago was, in allowing those statements to kind of float out there on their own, and allowing the American people to hear those statements and assign to them their own meaning, what they thought he meant by those phrases.

What I argue in the book is, don’t pay attention to what you think he meant. Pay attention to what he meant by it. Now we have four years of evidence as to what he meant by the fundamental transformation of the nation. And that is he intends to change us and is changing us, very quickly, into a European-style socialist state.

The result of that is, as we see in Western Europe, after decades of socialism, we see stubbornly and permanently high unemployment. We see sovereign debt crises that are imploding nations, if not the entire continent of Europe. We see immigration policies out of control, where these nations have lost their very identities, because they have been overrun by all kinds of different ethnicities, including radical Muslims that have taken over a lot of these countries, or at least exerting a lot of influence there.

So you see the results that are absolutely devastating in Western Europe. No economic growth. We see that now here. We have seen it. All of those results of decades of socialism building up in Western Europe, that is imploding all of those once-great nations. We see it happening here on a much more accelerated scale, because this economy is so much bigger, this country is so much bigger than any country in Western Europe.

So it’s happening a lot faster here. And when he leaves office, I do think that this country — the tentacles of redistributionism that he has wrapped around every major pillar of this economy, from the industrial base, to the financial sector, to the energy sector to the healthcare sector, those tentacles will be wrapped so tightly after eight years, that it will be almost impossible to unwind without great, enormous economic pain and dislocation. I think that’s where we’re heading. …

The laws of economics will kick in, and everything will come to a screeching halt.

Inflation, interest rates going up, higher taxes, no jobs. You’re seeing it happening across Western Europe. The debt crisis will kick in and it will be brutal, and it will affect every single person.

You can’t spend the last four or five years — actually longer than that, with the easy money policy from the Fed — you can’t spend all this time pumping trillions of dollars down into the system and not expect inflation to kick in big time. That is actually — massive inflation is actually a tax that affects the middle and lower classes more than anybody else. That is coming.

We have had brave Republicans like Paul Ryan put out budget after budget and plan after plan saying, guys, this is foreseen. We can see this coming. And here’s how we fix it before the crisis hits. But people don’t want to hear it. People vote them out. People — people take the courageous folks and throw them out on their ears. And they don’t listen until they have to. And by that point, the pain so intense that it is going to be an absolute nightmare.

Can it be repaired? Yeah. But I fear, I really worry, that we’re going to have to hit rock bottom before we even get to that point. I hope that’s not the case. But I fear that it may be.

Joey the clown 5

These pictures illustrating the fatuous, rude, jeering behavior of Vice-President Joe Biden during the October 11, 2012, vice-presidential debate between him and Paul Ryan, come from PowerLine:

Not only did Biden lie about the administration’s attempted cover-up of the 9/11/12 murders at the US legation in Libya, but he put on a clown’s performance with grinning, grimacing, and shouting his opponent down, while smugly defending the indefensible, apparently impervious to the fact that a national tragedy has recently occurred.

It wasn’t a debate – only one side arguing his points – but a bullying session. And as Joe Biden, the bully, was under the orders of his Party, he personified the Democrats in all their collective nastiness – the bullying Party.

As Paul Ryan said … 5

From RedState, by Jeff Emanuel:

Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s speech to the RNC Wednesday night was addressed in no small part to the segment of the population that supported President Obama in 2008, but who were turned off enough by the last four years to consider an alternative in the upcoming election.

Quotation:

“We are four years into this presidency. The issue is not the economy that Barack Obama inherited, not the economy as he envisions, but this economy that we are living. College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

That was an excellent extended hand to those young voters who entered the political world on a wave of belief in the Hope and Change that one man could provide, and it has spawned an excellent – and equally vivid – ad from Crossroads Generation.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 31, 2012

Tagged with ,

This post has 5 comments.

Permalink

Swinging to the right 0

The extreme importance of the 2012 presidential election is recognized by (among millions of others, we hope) Diana West, who warns at Townhall that “Election 2012 is anything but politics as usual. It is an existential crisis.”

She writes:

This election is for keeps. If Barack Obama doesn’t lose his bid for a second term, he and his vast, left-wing support network of Marx-inspired think tanks, strategists and elected officials will fulfill Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to “fundamentally” transform this nation, thus bringing the American experiment in liberty to what could be the final curtain…

Americans are about to decide whether to empower the increasingly dictatorial executive branch of Barack Hussein Obama, whose future plans to distort “checks and balances” promises to transform the U.S. government out of all recognition, or to break the momentum of government centralization by electing Romney-Ryan.

Yes. And we find signs that are good; signs that there is a swing to the right in public opinion, considerably boosted since Paul Ryan was selected as candidate Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential choice.

This is by Scott Johnson at PowerLine:

GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan appeared at a rally this morning at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, Virginia. … An audience of more than 2,000 turned up for the rally. More impressive than the size of the crowd is the fact that supporters started lining up for the event around 2:00 a.m. Recent alumni of Deep Run High School, where Ryan spoke … joined the line around 7:00 a.m. with [Chick-fil-A] breakfast in hand.

In these faces we can see what optimism looks like:

Ryan is a star. Romney’s pick of him for his vice-president has energized the Republican Party and brought excitement to the electorate. Even the heavily left-biased British newspaper the Guardian has to concede that:

Democrats’ nerves start to show as Ryan fires up conservative voters …

And:

The Democrats have been sending out panic-laden appeals for donations, one of them expressing concern over the size of the crowd. One of the appeals, for $3 or more, said of Romney-Ryan attacks: “This could cost us the election.”

And quoting American pundits with a message the left canot be happy with, the Guardian raises the prospect of Republican government for the next 16 years:

 If Romney wins, then Ryan, as vice-president, will be well placed as a Republican presidential candidate for the future. …

Roger L. Klavan writes at PJ Media that the Democrats are scared of Ryan:

Obama’s main man David Axelrod looks depressed. Why wouldn’t he be? Forced to run a campaign based on lying about or distorting what the other side says, fanning the flames of non-existent racism, etc., is a sure loser, even if you win — perhaps especially if you win. Winning ugly in this instance will not be a triumph of any sort. Obama, at his worst, may succeed in destroying America as we know it, but he would destroy himself and everyone around him in the process. At this moment, I’m betting none of this will happen. Romney’s choice of Ryan, for me, saved the day.

But the black vote – that’s remaining pretty solid for Obama, isn’t it?

Or is it? A formerly prominent black Democrat has gone over to the Republicans. Former Democratic Representative Artur Davis, who was also a candidate for the governorship of Alabama in 2010, and was one of Barack Obama’s campaign managers in 2008 – making one of the nominating speeches for him at the 2008 Democratic National Convention – is to speak this year at the Republican National Convention in support of the Romney-Ryan ticket. (Read more about this in the Washington Post here.)

And there’s this (also from the Washington Post).  The story of a black community organizer’s disillusionment with Obama. He is “disillusioned” for the wrong reasons, and he probably will not be coming over to the right, but if he decides to cast his vote for Obama, it won’t be with any enthusiasm. The point is, redistributive economics and collectivist politics don’t work, and the Obama episode in American history has proved it. Once Obama has gone – and go he absolutely must with the coming election – his bad four years in the White House can be seen as a lesson millions of Americans needed to learn.

He still walks the same streets here as his old acquaintance Barack Obama once did. That is about all they have in common anymore. At 50, Chicago activist Mark Allen … [is] the head of a small, community-assistance organization called Black Wall Street Chicago. Allen regards his personal survival alone as a small victory, grateful he can pay the rent on his modest office space, aware he is doing better than many on this city’s restive South Side.

“Things haven’t gone the way we’d hoped after Barack got elected,” he says. Surveys place unemployment rates above 25 percent here, and indications are that South Side residents such as Allen aren’t nearly as passionate about the 2012 election as they were during Obama’s trailblazing 2008 campaign.

Historically, community organizers such as Allen have wielded outsize influence in the black-majority neighborhoods of the South Side, with none better known than Obama, who directed a group called the Developing Communities Project for three years during the 1980s. But old bonds between the two have frayed. Allen, who as a member of another group worked on community issues with Obama during their organizing days, has grown frustrated with his former ally in the Oval Office.

Obama’s much ballyhooed 2009 stimulus package has failed to touch ordinary South Side residents, says Allen, who has reached out to Obama administration officials, including fellow Chicagoan and prominent White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, to express his dismay. …

Allen, who views the South Side’s pain as common to U.S. inner cities, also offers a political warning for Obama’s campaign strategists. The disillusionment of once fierce Obama admirers, he suggests, may hamper the president’s reelection chances by subtly dampening black voter turnout.

Best of all there’s this:

 

Doing the right thing 0

Ryan remembers something Churchill said …

 

Video clip from PowerLine

Posted under Economics, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tagged with , ,

This post has 0 comments.

Permalink

The two Rs 0

Good choice for economic literacy

Posted under United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tagged with , ,

This post has 0 comments.

Permalink

America – the greatest ever force for freedom 5

“We must renew our commitment to the idea that America is the greatest force for human freedom the world has ever seen; a country whose devotion to free enterprise has lifted more people out of poverty than any economic system ever designed.”

Who said that? Whoever it was should have got a standing ovation.

It was Paul Ryan. We took the quotation from Investors’ Business Daily:

Ryan introduced important elements to the U.S. political debate: about U.S. leadership — and its critical economic, military and moral components.

Power takes resources, Ryan suggested, and if the U.S. means to retain its global leadership, it better get its finances in order.

“If there’s one thing I could say with complete confidence about American foreign policy, it is this: “Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy are on a collision course; and if we fail to put our budget on a sustainable path, then we are choosing decline as a world power.”

Ryan warned that defense spending has shrunk as entitlements — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — swallow 40% of all federal spending. By contrast, defense has shrunk to 16%.

“If we continue on our current path, the rapid rise of health care costs will crowd out all areas of the budget, including defense,” said the one Republican who has a plan to reverse that. …

With the rise of China today, the economic muscle is moving to the enemy’s side … And once economic and military matters decline, America’s moral authority will fade too.

“A world without U.S. leadership will be a more chaotic place, a place where we have less influence and a place where our citizens face more dangers and fewer opportunities. … Take a moment and imagine a world led by China and Russia. …

“An expanding community of nations that shares our economic values as well as our political values would ensure a more prosperous world … a world with more opportunity for mutually beneficial trade … and a world with fewer economic disruptions caused by violent conflict.”

That means more free-trade agreements, including legislative action on three finished free-trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which are awaiting votes after five years of inaction.

The ultimate purpose, Ryan stressed, is to prevent a retreat of America in the world.

“Instead of heeding these calls to surrender, we must renew our commitment to the idea that America is the greatest force for human freedom the world has ever seen; a country whose devotion to free enterprise has lifted more people out of poverty than any economic system ever designed; and a nation whose best days still lie ahead of us, if we make the necessary choices today.”

We don’t know if he’ll run for president, but the more Ryan speaks, the more presidential he sounds.

If he doesn’t run, whoever does would do well to become as much like him as possible.

To cure dependency 4

Socialism has failed in America as it has failed everywhere it has been tried, and always must. It’s a bad idea.

Now the harm the socialists have done must be undone.

We agree for the most part with these comments from an article at RedState on Paul Ryan’s budget.

This budget proposal, which would cut $5.8 trillion from the CBO baseline over the next decade, is a mature and well balanced plan emanating from a city full of fatuous demagoguery. …

It is a laudable first step that has come to fruition through the assiduous work of Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues on the Budget Committee. It is a fresh breath of moderation and seriousness amidst the extremism that is so endemic in Washington among the Democrats. Here is a cursory breakdown of some of the major provisions of the Ryan plan, categorized by the excellent, the good, and the need for improvement.

The Excellent

Medicaid: The budget proposes a transformational change to Medicaid by converting it to a block grant program which would give states more flexibility in how to spend their Medicaid dollars. There would also be an overall cap placed on the block grants. This would encourage states to innovate and formulate the best ideas for reducing dependency, instead of exacerbating it through an open ended entitlement program. The plan would trim the cost of Medicaid by $771 billion from the CBO baseline over the next decade.

Corporate Welfare/Ethanol/Farm Subsidies: Ryan’s proposal repeals the odious ethanol subsidies lock, stock and barrel. It also reforms farm subsidies by trimming farm/corporate welfare from its current level of $25 billion. This is especially prescient given the record high food prices that have been spurred in part by these market-distorting subsidies. To address the record high energy prices, the proposal calls for an end to tax cuts for the rich – no more green subsidies!

Obamacare: It defunds Obamacare lock, stock and barrel. While much of the budget is driven by choices between several evils in order to reform existing Democrat entitlement programs, this proposal prevents ObamaCare from becoming another Medicare/Medicaid disaster.

Taxes: The proposal reduces the highest corporate and personal income tax rates to 25%.

Earmarks: The ban on earmarks is made permanent.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae: The budget plan cancels these economic destructive government entities and calls for their privatization. …

The Good

Medicare: Ryan proposes a premium-support program to replace the current market-distorting, bankrupting, and open-ended subsidization of all health care for seniors. Under such a plan, the government would pay the premiums of Medicare enrollees’ so they can purchase an insurance plan of their choice in the free market. As with the Medicaid proposal, this plan would mandate an overall spending cap on the amount of the premium payments.

While this plan is a prudential first step to infusing the free market into an otherwise socialized sector of the economy, the changes will not take effect for another 10 years. Also, a more conservative approach would have called for the issuance of vouchers, thereby directly empowering the individual, as opposed to perpetuating the role of government through their payments to insurance companies. …

Welfare Reform: Ryan proposes converting the Food Stamp program into a block grant to states that would be indexed to inflation and tailor made to each state’s own unique circumstances. He also wants to apply the 1996 welfare reform accountability mechanisms to other housing assistance programs. There are currently a staggering 44 million Americans on food stamps and the program is projected to cost $700 billion over the next 10 years. Ryan’s reforms offer a very good first step. On the other hand, there are still over 70 other welfare programs that cost another trillion dollars, but are untouched in this proposal. …

Need for Improvement

Social Security: The most glaring omission of Ryan’s budget plan is a fix to Social Security. It is understandable why Ryan would shy away from touching the most sacrosanct program in the federal arsenal, especially as he is bravely striking out at virtually all of the other major programs. However it must be reformed.

Abolished, we would say. We are deskchair politicians, and as such do not have to be strictly realistic. We know that politics is “the art of the possible”. We know that it is not possible to legislate too far ahead of public opinion. But as we are not legislators, only opinion pedlars, we airily declare that we would like to see absolutely no government interference in the market. There shouldn’t be the least whiff of a stub of socialism left in the ash-tray of American history, but Social Security goes smouldering on, a huge reeking stogie.

Many good conservatives are so concerned about solvency that they are calling for a raise in the retirement age and means-testing of benefits. While those proposals might succeed in making SS more solvent, they are an anathema to the ideals of free market capitalism and individual liberty. It is inconceivable that a hard working 30 year-old should be forced to work until 70 (maybe longer) and then awarded his retirement at the whims of a means-tested regime, all the while having no property rights over his retirement security.

The objective of entitlement reform is not to make a Democrat-run program solvent. Our objective vis-à-vis entitlement reform should be focused on returning the wealth to the American worker and taxpayer by promoting more liberty and prosperity. It is fair to propose much needed innovative changes such as benefit cuts and retirement age adjustments for those who optionally enroll in such a program. However, there can be no discussion of raising the retirement age without offering young workers private accounts or an option to opt out.

Taxes: Repeal Death Tax- One of the more egregious components of the grand tax deal last year was the reinstating of the immoral Death Tax at 35%. The Death Tax needs to be abolished. Period.

Non-defense discretionary spending: The proposal only cuts $1.7 trillion from domestic discretionary programs over 10 years. That adds up to roughly $170 billion in discretionary spending cuts per year. This is accomplished by bringing non-security discretionary spending back below 2008 levels and then freezing it for five years. Spending levels for most agencies should be reduced to 2006 levels. Furthermore, Republicans should take a closer look at Rand Paul’s proposal to cut up to $500 billion a year by eliminating such impotent departments as HUD [Housing and Urban Development], Education, and Energy. His plan would also seriously reduce the funding, size, and scope of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, HHS [Health and Human Services], Interior, and Labor.

Keep in mind that when we fund these agencies, we are not merely losing the billions or tens of billions of dollars in wasted expenditures. These superfluous agencies use that funding to impose onerous market-distorting regulations and mandates on job creation, income growth, energy productivity, and consumer purchasing power. Such a cost to our economy is incalculable.

Debt and Deficit: Due in part to the previous point, the proposal would take too long to balance the budget. For FY 2012, the government would spend $3.529 trillion and collect $2.533 trillion, still resulting in a gargantuan deficit of $995 billion. It would take another 26 years to fully balance the budget.

Conclusion

The Democrats have worked indefatigably for a century to destroy the fabric of our free market, liberty seeking society. We will not restore our republic overnight. … Paul Ryan’s proposal provides us with the building blocks from which to bring about the restoration of our constitutional government.

Will it, or something close to it, be passed?

Not easily. Socialism is an addiction, very hard to cure.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tagged with , , , ,

This post has 4 comments.

Permalink

Winston Churchill and the men in buckets 0

While we’re delighted that the tax deal Obama has had to reach with the congressional Republicans infuriates his leftist base, we don’t like much else about it.

True, it would extend the present rates (what the left calls “the Bush tax cuts”), but only for two years. And – very bad – it would revive the wholly unjustifiable and positively iniquitous inheritance tax, at 35 percent on estates worth more than $5 million. It would also pay the unemployed to stay unemployed for an extra year. A further $700 billion would be added to the ever-rising national debt. Obama and the Democrats still believe that high taxes and high government spending will repair the economy. But as Winston Churchill said: “For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

What particularly irks the mean, envious left is, of course, that Obama has broken his vow to end “the Bush-era tax cuts” that benefit “the rich”. The Democrats were reluctantly willing to let the present rates be extended for “the middle class”, but not for “millionaires and billionaires”. But on that point the Republicans stood firm: no tax increases for anybody. Obama gave in, apparently because he feared a stalemate.

We regret that the Republicans did not play more on Obama’s fear of stalemate to negotiate all that they wanted, including and especially no inheritance tax.

If only they had the feisty fighting spirit of this article by two optimists, Ernest S. Christian and Gary A Robbins, in Investor’s Business Daily:

The new-style, newly empowered Republicans in Congress should follow the advice given by Winston Churchill in 1941 to the graduating class of the Harrow School:

Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Superb legislators like soon-to-be Speaker of the House John Boehner have no reason to make Faustian bargains with Barack Obama and the menagerie of union-made pols whose destructive policies so thoroughly still dominate the Democratic Party. Neither do Republican wise men in the Senate like Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch.

Republicans do not need the approval of gauzy-minded pundits at the Washington Post and the New York Times who are stuck in a 1932-65 time warp. The left-wing think tanks that once dominated thought in Washington are now intellectually bankrupt. Why listen to the architects of a failed federal government now so large, dumb and clumsy that it does more harm than good?

Ultra-bright young Republicans in the House and Senate — such as Mike Pence, Marco Rubio, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryanmust not sacrifice the clarity of their new ideas on the phony altar of “bipartisan” compromise. They and their pro-individual, pro-prosperity, small-government policies are what the voters want and America needs. Why not have the best, instead of some diluted version?

These young Republican leaders are by intellect and character far better equipped to be president of the United States than the present incumbent. They are at the cutting edge of a reawakening in America that demands intellectual competence and moral integrity in public affairs. …

Congressman Dave Camp, soon-to-be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, understands taxes. He and Ryan know that the present tax code — largely designed and built by Democrats — does at least $2 of damage to the private economy for every $1 of tax revenue collected. And they know that raising job-killing taxes, stifling business capital investment and running up the debt are not the ways to restore prosperity to America.

In our daydreams some conservative leader in power one day makes the revolutionary proposal that people who reach the point of earning – say – over $2 million a year start paying a lower rate of income tax than anybody else. It would a terrific incentive to grow rich!

We also dream of the abolition of income tax. And sales taxes too. As Winston Churchill also said: ‘There’s no such thing as a good tax.”

But dreams aside, we’d be glad enough of a low flat rate for everybody.

« Newer Posts