(Centennial Fellow) 2012 was filled with many surprises. The re-election of Barack Obama surprised so many because of the poor economic environment that historically escorts presiding Presidents out of office. The US Supreme Court, using twisted logic, decided in favor of Obamacare. Superstorm Sandy claimed 125 lives and exacted a toll over $62 billion. Horrific slaughters in Colorado and Connecticut reminded us that our elementary schools and movie theaters are not safe from evil. A US ambassador was brutally killed for the first time in over 30 years by Islamic terrorists on 9-11-12. Congressional Republicans voted to raise taxes in a last minute collapse to avert a "fiscal cliff." 2012 was characterized by natural, emotional, and political disasters. Will 2013 bring more of the same or will it bring exciting new surprises that restore stability and opportunity to the world's greatest nation?
Herewith is a modest, and altogether dangerous, attempt to predict key trends for 2013. This forecast emphasizes three themes; ongoing economic hardship, continued moral decline, and an array of international crises.
I. Economic Hardship
Slow GDP growth. The consensus forecast for 2013 GDP growth hovers around 2%. The growth in the deficit is growing faster resulting in a higher debt burden on the economy. Higher debt burdens impede growth, increase unemployment, and produce a lower standard of living. Increased regulatory action, e.g., the ongoing march of the EPA, etc. will further suppress economic growth.
Higher public debt. Increasing public debt obligations represented by unfunded liabilities from entitlements to bloated public employee pensions assures that more taxpayer bailouts (or broken promises) is one step closer to reality. The USPS, state of California, and city of Detroit are but a few examples of increasing 2013 distressed economic problems.
Higher unemployment. Unemployment will begin ticking upward as businesses close or cutback due to increased regulations, taxes, and government involvement. The Obamacare implementation accelerates in the second half of 2013, producing uncertainty and frustration as the reality is worse than the expectation.
Lower labor participation rate. The labor participation rate will drop to below 60%, a historic low in the modern era, as millions more leave the workforce due to coercive departure or "early" retirement.
Increased government dependence. Food stamp recipients will exceed 50 million for the first time in US history. Obamaworld is characterized by increased dependence on the state for the declining middle class and increased tax burden on the "rich", a term that will be defined downward in years to come.
Trickle down taxation. Most people have heard of trickle-down economics, usually a pejorative term that characterizes Republicans as wanting to help the rich so as to benefit those who are downstream in income. The reality is that "trickle-down" taxation means that all those who vote to tax the rich will see increased taxation on themselves, both from the government sector as well as reduced growth that attends increased government participation in the economy. In 1911, the total government percentage of US GDP was 8%, fifty years later it was 25% and in 2013 it will exceed 40%. The Lorenz curve, a measure of income distribution will show the gap widening between rich and poor in 2013, in contradistinction to the demagoguery promulgated by the Obama administration. The increase in the payroll tax will also represent a drag on consumer expenditures.
Municipal and state financial challenges particularly in "blue" states. The states that are reforming their labor laws, rejecting the development of insurance exchanges required of Obamacare, and are focused on controlling spending, will emerge as healthier economies. The "blue" states will continue to focus on increased taxation and devotion to government largess, resulting in slow growth and debt burdened economies. In the end, free market economies always outperform government controlled economies.
The arrogance of government will produce further cracks in the nation's foundation. We see some of those cracks regarding slower growth and increased unemployment. We will see additional cracks imposed by economic judgment. This judgment will take the form of an additional credit downgrade, bond wariness attending debt monetization (pressuring interest rates) and may stimulate a renewed interest within the Obama administration to use some parts of private 401(k) and IRA accounts for supporting bond market purchases. Argentina has used this tool in the past. Herb Stein's law states, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." Obamworld is a place where politicians believe reckless spending and increased taxation never hurts and never ends. Stein's law will threaten Obamaworld in 2013.
More storms, earthquakes, and drought conditions leading to increased distressed responses. There is not enough public money available to compensate those who live in high risk areas, whether due to fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, or earthquakes. Citizens of Obamaworld will discover what moral hazard means from "privatizing the gain and socializing the loss." Moral hazards yield unintended consequences that invoke insurance risk, often taking the form of higher costs than anticipated and lower ability to honor those requests.
II. Increased Moral Decay
2013 will see an increased focus on social justice issues with an emphasis on income redistribution, the hallmark of socialism. This gets reflected in less freedom, fewer property protections, increased taxation, declining opportunities, and elevates the moral problems of envy, discord, and theft.
Emphasis on same sex marriage/ civil unions/ gay rights. The attack on traditional marriage will increase by the media (symbolized by the efforts of multibillionaire and media mogul David Geffen) education, the judiciary, and the government.
Emphasis on gun control. The horrific tragedies seen in our schools, workplace, and private lives will increase the advocacy for gun control despite the irony exemplified in Chicago (where rigorous gun control laws are operative) yet violent crime is exploding. The deceptions will increase regarding what the founding fathers intended in the Second Amendment.
Increased neglect of public financial responsibilities. Debt is, at its root, a moral issue. The federal government is leading the march into debtors hell, with many states and municipalities following. The end of the road is either oppressive taxation or broken promises. Both result in reduced freedoms.
Increased hostility toward affluent Americans. 2013 will not be a time to celebrate wealth. The wealthy have rapidly become the targets of scorn, derision, envy, and contempt. These are attributes of a declining society no longer desirous of freedom, opportunity, rewarding risk takers, and courage.
Privacy issues favor the state. Look forward to elevated domestic surveillance controversies (drones, renewed effort at the next generation REAL ID, and increased preference for security over liberty.) L-1 Identity Solutions, the provider of almost every drivers license, passport, and passport card in the US (now called MorphoTrust USA) is in the process of completing the sale of itself to Safran, a French company that is 30% owned by the French government. L-1 had agreed last year (with the World Bank) to provide biometric identification cards to meet international standards. The international sale of a US company providing critical US citizen information that is 30% controlled by a government (now led by an avowed socialist) has escaped the attention of an increasingly dull American population.
III. International crisis
We are likely to see an increasingly destabilized Syria present foreign policy challenges, accompanied by increased Russian meddling from a leader who is anticipating greater "flexibility" from the American president. 2012 brought some notable international miscues on the part of the Obama administration, most notably the inability to see trouble in the Islamic world., e.g., Egypt Syria, and Libya. We will continue to see foreign policy amateurs struggling to understand reality.
There will be ongoing Middle East unrest with Iran possibly crossing the "red line" (expressed by PM Netanyahu) in 2H13. Iran is a wild card scenario whose dangerous leadership exploits America's leadership weakness. This administration does not understand radical Islam. This blind spot bodes poorly for successfully dealing with the world as it is, not what they want it to be. Benghazi is the hallmark of administration incompetence. This incompetence will certainly appear throughout 2013.
2013 will bring increased pressure on Jordanian stability, a key ally.
2013 will bring increased cyber war including "country on country." Economic cyber war is an "iceberg" issue that more people may come to appreciate as an imminent danger.
Financial instability in Eurozone markets (Spain, Portugal, etc.) will increase, bringing additional unrest and may result in food riots and more demonstrations. The Eurozone still has Germany to stabilize their volatility. America is philosophically following Europe but has no backstop as the Eurozone does. It is hard to believe that America is pursuing a path of self-destruction on purpose.
These predictions do not inspire optimism. Economic hardship, moral decay, and international crises do not make for pleasant outcomes. Any additional shift in power, e.g., a new Supreme Court appointee, could be equally disastrous for freedom in America. The last two attorneys who became President (who were also elected to a second term) were impeached in their second term. Let us hope that President Obama does not follow this trend as this could be highly destabilizing to an already fragile nation.
Despite the foregoing somber reflections, there are several counterweights to this downbeat forecast. American ingenuity historically beats the odds. Despite obstacles, America is still the strongest country in the world. Continued good news regarding energy production and healthy corporate balance sheets can mitigate some of the foregoing challenges. However, a Republican party strategically adrift with no real leader and not much courage needs circumstantial change to re-energize itself before the 2014 elections. America needs a second national voice. This will likely come from Republican governors who know how to run their states effectively without federal intervention. These governors will likely cause an increased rift with the federal government in 2013 while delivering superior results in their individual economies. 2013 will likely produce "redder" red states and "bluer" blue states thereby creating deeper divisions in the American landscape. Although the Obama administration continues its relentless assault on the Judeo-Christian worldview, free market capitalism, and the constitutional republic, it is these same three forces that has produced American exceptionalism. No one can ever count America out when these three make their presence known. Let us hope that these three forces, battered and bruised as they have been over the past four years, return with a vengeance to claim victory come 2014.
('76 Contributor) Believing a free press to be a vital safeguard of liberty, Thomas Jefferson said, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Many believe the inverse of Jefferson's maxim — the people are uninformed, and therefore the government can't be trusted. After all, what well-informed American would knowingly allow politicians to lead us to the monumental economic and budgetary “cliffs” we face? Despite a proliferation of new media, it's increasingly difficult to separate fact from narrative. Combined with rancorous political discourse in which opponents are demonized in order to delegitimize competing arguments and render unnecessary the defense of one's own, it makes demoralized Americans struggle to discern the truth.When invited by The Aspen Times to help diversify its opinion page, I proposed my “Think Again” column as a fact-based, issue-oriented commentary that would challenge conventional wisdom and remind readers of the values that made America the freest and most prosperous nation in world history. Like “Ripley's Believe It or Not!” I attempt to expose readers to easily certifiable facts and perspectives they might not otherwise consider (see columns at www.thinkagainusa.com). The goal of “Think Again” is not to change minds but to open them, for civil discourse requires being informed and thoughtful, which is the essence of citizenship.Last month, a community member targeted me in the letters-to-the-editor section with an unusual level of hostility and mean-spiritedness — he accused me of being an egregious, bald-faced liar and an embarrassment to Americans. Declaring me guilty without any possibility of innocence (or trial), my accuser and those who defended him from criticism believe their claims are objectively true and mine are lies. Calling someone a liar is the ultimate character assassination. It means truth doesn't matter to that person and that lying is not only habitual — it's an indelible mark of a deceitful and immoral character. According to Jewish ethicist Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of “Words That Hurt, Words That Heal,” the most grievous violation of ethical speech is “giving another a bad name,” for words are like bullets whose damage is mortal. To fight fairly, he writes, “you have the right to state your case, express your opinion, explain why you think the other party is wrong, even make clear how passionately you feel. … You do not have a moral right to undercut your adversary's position by invalidating him personally.”In my columns, I've made the case that our undisciplined, indebted and special-interest-oriented government is a bipartisan problem that subverts everybody's interests. I've quoted Sen. Tom Coburn, member of the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission, who said, “Our economy is on the brink of collapse not because politicians can't agree but because they have agreed for decades … to borrow and spend far beyond our means … to create or expand nearly 40 entitlement programs, carve out tax advantages for special interests, build bridges to nowhere and earmark tens of thousands of other pork projects.”I believe it is a moral travesty that we've mortgaged our children's futures because we're unable to live within our means and are more indebted than any other nation in world history. Mandatory spending on “entitlements” (such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) is the single biggest financial problem we face, consuming 60 percent of our annual budget — up from 21 percent in 1955. As baby boomers retire and live longer, the current spending trajectory is unsustainable. Without reforms, it's unlikely that these vital programs will be available for people who need them in the future. One fact in particular irritated my accusers: We've spent less cumulatively on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars plus the 2008 TARP bailouts than we spend annually on mandatory programs. In contending that I'm a liar, and without citing sources, they claim the wars' total costs will exceed $5.8 trillion and that TARP exposure exceeds $15 trillion. It's not my goal to disprove their claims, only certify mine. According to the Congressional Budget Office — created by Congress in 1974 to “provide objective, impartial information about budgetary and economic issues” — federal spending (excluding interest expense) totaled $3.3 trillion in fiscal year 2012, of which $2.1 trillion were mandatory expenditures for entitlements. Meanwhile, the Budget Office reports that through October, a total of $1.4 trillion was spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, while TARP has cost a net of $24 billion, after repayments. My accusers argue that “true” costs must project a decade's worth of related and longer-term expenses. Therefore, we'll have spent $29 trillion on mandatory expenditures through 2022, according to the president's fiscal year 2013 budget, while unfunded liabilities exceed $60 trillion, according to the trustees of Social Security and Medicare. To put these numbers in perspective, consider that 1 trillion hours ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth.No doubt, fighting fairly is difficult, especially given the personal narratives that inform how we see the world. But as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Unfortunately, the one thing on which die-hard partisans seem to agree is that only one party is at fault — and it isn't theirs. Unable to hold competing facts simultaneously in mind, it's not surprising that they consider inconvenient truths to be lies. But embedded within our First Amendment right to free speech is a responsibility not merely to tolerate others' perspectives but to listen. Imagine if my accusers and I were to summon the mutual respect necessary to listen to each other's concerns. I'm confident we'd discover that despite our differences, we're equally committed to a “more perfect union.” Think Again — instead of playing the “liar” card, we might each learn something new, informing us enough to elect leaders who can be “trusted with our government.”Melanie Sturm lives in Aspen. Her column runs every other Thursday. She reminds readers to Think Again. You might change your mind.
(Denver Post, Nov. 25) Show me a sore loser, and I’ll show you a loser. This has rung in my ears since the election, as I listened to some fellow Republicans and conservatives weeping, whining, and caterwauling. Not to mention griping, blaming, and sulking. Enough already.
Good losers being similarly scorned, who does that leave? Political party animals who rebound from a loss with humility, humor, and honesty. Happy warriors who take a setback in stride, undaunted yet undefensive. Those are the comrades I’ll share a shell-shocked foxhole with. The authors of anguished obituaries for America and the GOP need not apply.
For a couple of days after Nov. 6, it’s true, I was bluer than the MSNBC presidential map. Then I stumbled on one of those websites, PoliticalDefeatTherapy.com, with a guaranteed offer to dispel the darkness and put you back on daylight time after voters clean your clock. Click, pay, and my Republican Rehab Kit was on the way.
When it came, I was initially disappointed. No Kryptonite to reduce Reid and Pelosi to jello. Not a word about Obama’s real birthplace. The envelope contained nothing but three toys – a magnifying glass, a telescope, and a small mirror – plus a pocket edition of the Declaration of Independence and U. S. Constitution. My $19.95 for this?
The instruction sheet - which I read last; typical man – quickly clarified things, however. To get past the superficial “optics” of the Democrats’ big victory, it advised, we Republicans can regain clear vision by putting the 2012 results under a magnifier, then scanning history and the future with a spyglass, and then, above all, looking hard at ourselves in the mirror.
But at no point in this perspective-recovering process, the instructions warned, should a shaken GOP entertain the temptation of abandoning its 150-year fidelity to individual liberty and personal responsibility, limited government and rule of law, free enterprise and private property, human rights and moral truth as gifts from God – the principles in America’s founding documents – first voiced by my party in behalf of the African slave.
This country doesn’t need, in other words, two liberal parties. Nor does it need a quixotic third party, a neo-Confederate secession craze, or a John Galt dropout movement. It needs the Republican party to continue our historically indispensable – and resiliently effective – role as the conservative party for these United States.
The magnifying glass that came in my rehab kit showed the Dems’ retention of the White House and Senate, as well as their Colorado legislative gains, to have been a tactical victory won on intensity and execution, not a repudiation of conservatism. The telescope, looking back, revealed many a political pendulum swing after all seemed lost – think 1964 for my side, 2004 for their side – and likely the same when looking ahead.
Then there was the mirror. Gazing into it was painful, but what a reality bath. Had the GOP, me included, often forgotten that politics is about people no less than principles? Was the other side’s edge in intensity and execution, securing reelection for Obama, baggage and all, partly our fault? Who could be to blame for the tarnished Republican brand but us? Ouch and ouch again.
Inviting a number of conservative audiences to try the mirror exercise has been interesting. There was pushback. “Nobody in this room bears any of the blame,” insisted a friend in Denver. “That’s moderate talk, RINO talk,” said another friend in Grand Junction.
“Death of a Nation,” went an online whine from Colorado Springs. “GOP, DOA, RIP,” moaned an email from Evergreen. Oh really? Time will tell. I’m betting that 2014 and 2016 will prove the reports of conservatism’s demise, like that of Mark Twain, to have been greatly exaggerated.
('76 Contributor) Our house, like millions of others, had a very sleepless night on election night. Once the sky started to crack a little light we found ourselves in mourning as we contemplated the gravity of the election results.It is now perfectly clear that America has made it past the tipping point. Just two short years ago, candidates that espoused and supported the historical American principles of self-reliance, free-markets, Constitutional adherence and limited government were elected in droves.Not so this time.In just the last two years, the national mood has made it past the tipping point where those who depend on government have outnumbered those who government depends upon. Since 2009 our nation has added 75 times more folks to the food stamp rolls than we have added jobs. It used to be said that Americans voted with their pocket books and that really hasn’t changed. What has changed is that private business no longer fills the majority of Americans’ pocketbooks – government does. Those who vote for a living now outnumber those who work for a living.Like a re-showing of a bad movie, those of us who have studied history know where this is all headed and that’s what makes us mourn for the loss of the America that lit the stage of humankind for these past two centuries.We know that the forces that desire us to be serfs to an all powerful government will grind America down until it is a mere shadow of it’s former self for there are millions who have fallen for the lie of socialism. Dictators and tyrants the world over are rejoicing today as they eagerly pursue their twisted designs without interference from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.Our debt will crush us. Our accepted dependence on someone else to pay for our food, our housing, our babies, our childcare, our college, our healthcare, our business profits and all manner of things we rightly should pay for ourselves is what got us into this mess. In a very short matter of time, the financial zombie we know as the American monetary system will fall over dead. It will have died a death of a thousand cuts. There will be lies spun as to what happened but many of us will know the truth and we will be madder than heck.Our tyrant in chief will now be unrestrained in his selective enforcement of law, his penchant for class warfare, his love of Islam, his distain for our Judeo-Christian foundation and his outright contempt for our Constitution. Karl Marx and Mao Tse-tung would be proud.But before he and the ilk that lurk in his shadows fully extinguish America’s light, there is hope. Real hope. Hope that comes from above. For there is always hope so long as there are willing patriots left on the battlefield with breath left in them. The forces of tyranny are not assured of their success, as the forces of freedom are not yet done with the fight. There are yet millions of patriots who, like our original Founders, are willing to pledge “our lives, fortunes and sacred honor” to restore this Nation to it’s rightful and God-given role as the light of all mankind.Therein lies our task. Do NOT take counsel from your fears. Do NOT despair. Strengthen your resolve to stand for freedom and righteousness. Sacrifice what you have to leave something for generations yet unborn.On Nov. 6, this humble author succeeded in being elected to his first official position. I take this small step as a simple man with very little spare time or finances and with children in college and some yet at home. I, like hundreds of others throughout this great Nation, have understood the gravity of our National situation and have put what I have on the line and have stepped up to fight.Take heart. There are yet soldiers on the battlefield and there are reinforcements on the way. Not all need serve on the field in plain sight but all are needed to serve. Patriots, hear the voice of our God calling! Put on your white shirt and face the new America of today with courage. Work with all that you have to restore America to greatness. Be forceful in thought and sure in action and we, like our Founders of yore, will one day be remembered as the generation that, with God’s strong arm, gave something to mankind of incalculable value.May God yet Bless America!
Ken Klemm of Goodland, Kansas, will soon take office as one of three county commissioners in his home community of Sherman County, KS.
(Centennial Fellow) OK, enough already. The battle is over, and, yes, the good guys lost. Since then, everyone with a word processor or access to a microphone has joined in the autopsy.
On the right, many are looking for a smoking gun, the one thing that spelled final defeat for Mitt Romney — it was changing demographics, the loss of momentum owing to hurricane Sandy, the candidate’s failure to attack the president on Benghazi, the Democrats’ successful “war on women” fraud, America’s evolvement towards an entitlement society or the GOP recalcitrance on some issues.
The fact is, there was no single factor to blame. It was a combination of determinants and circumstances that, added up, meant one thing: the Republican message was not adequately relayed to enough people.
Granted, liberals have an inherent advantage on this front. Their message is easier to convey. It’s easier to promise someone you’ll use the resources of the government to solve their problems than to point out the harmful consequences of doing so. Liberalism’s argument has always been more emotional and myopic, conservatism’s more empirical and judicious. Tugging at one’s heartstrings while promising immediate relief is always a simpler proposition than showing with charts and graphs why that relief will only result in further pain down the road.
But we knew this going into the fray. We also knew that certain demographic groups are more inclined to the liberal viewpoint. The task remains, as it always has, to structure the message of conservative truths in a manner that overcomes the advantages enjoyed by more sophistic liberal claims.
While we squabble amongst ourselves over how to do this, the nation faces some critical dilemmas.
Lest anyone forget, the “fiscal cliff” looms ever larger in the nation’s windshield. And we just re-elected a president whose intractable policy is to take a running leap at it.
President Barack Obama is unwavering in his insistence on raising tax rates to try and deal with the debt crisis. The fact that those rate hikes will make no appreciable impact on the debt, regardless of the economic harm they do, seems beside the point. Without the sort of tax system overhaul promulgated by the likes of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (and guys like the irreplaceable Jack Kemp before him), raising rates on the “richest” will only drive more money into the various tax shelters engineered into the tax code over the decades and, in any event, would only generate an insignificant amount of revenue.
Of greater consequence will be the economic effects of raising taxes during a recession. Revenue will not increase as long as large numbers of people remain out of work and the economy doesn’t grow. Tax rate increases will exacerbate both those issues.
Of course. spending will be harder to control as long as vast numbers rely on government largess, rather than paychecks, for their income.
Shifting our lens, there’s a world beyond our borders growing ever more turbulent and one over which the United States seems able to exert less and less influence. As this is written, Israel seems closer to full war than it has been in decades with a newly unpredictable Egypt. Syria is embroiled in a vicious civil war, and it’s anybody’s guess as to how it will turn out. China and Russia seem poised to try and fill the vacuum left by a persistently confused United States. Meanwhile, Washington seems more preoccupied with the unfortunate indiscretions of some top national security officials, the type of thing that activates the salivary glands of the tabloid set.
Even if these crises run their course and the United States somehow emerges more or less unscathed, serious concerns remain: rising health care costs that Obamacare, probably to no one’s surprise, will at best fail to control and more likely inflate; the debt that will continue to escalate despite or because of symbolic tax revenge and an entrenched unwillingness to accept the necessity of entitlement reform; Tehran’s by now probably unstoppable march towards nuclear armament, adding yet another catalyst to the Middle Eastern brew; and the list goes on.
There will be plenty of time for conservatives to engage in “self-examination” over the course of the coming months and years. For now, we can’t lose sight of the fact the country still needs conservative ideas to be prepared and on the table, if for no other reason than to provide an available remedy for the failures that are sure to come. It might not be the easiest way to get our message out there, but it might be the only way.
(San Francisco) In America in general and this Magical City in particular some things haven’t changed at all since November 6th. The porterhouse down at John’s Grille on Ellis, and the salmon at the Tadich Grille over on California is as good as ever. Biking from Fishermans’s Wharf through the Presidio up onto and across the Golden Gate Bridge still offers one of the world’s most spectacular panoramas of land and sea. A solitary Kayak excursion out on the Bay watched by the occasional curious seal still confers a special serenity. An early morning walk through the cool ground fog enshrouded Muir Woods amidst towering thousand year old Giant Redwoods remains an almost spiritual perspective on the meaning of Time. A reunion with children long absent in faraway places is a reminder that the fundamental things in life still apply.
And yet, because of the recent election many things will change in the days ahead. The problem is that we have only a very incomplete picture of the nature and extent of those changes.
This, of course, has not deterred pundits and partisans alike from making the most sweeping judgments and prognostications. It’s what they have always done.
After the tumultuous election of 1968, Kevin Phillips wrote a book entitled The Emerging Republican Majority. It didn’t happen.
Subsequent to the 1992 election James Carville similarly predicted an Emerging Democratic Majority. It didn’t happen.
In the giddy triumphalist aftermath of the 2008 contest it was suggested that Republicans might never win another election, but they did- a huge victory just two years later.
There are things that we know are happening, and will continue for the foreseeable future.
We know that Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services will continue adding to the thousands of regulations already issued instructing the country how to fully implement the deeply unpopular Obamacare. Nowhere in those regulations, however will one find any reference to the escalating taxes and other costs associated with same.
We also know that other federal agencies-albeit at a glacial pace- are grinding out similar regulations describing the constraints and contortions required of the free enterprise system in order to implement the bureaucratic nightmare known as Dodd-Frank.
We also know that the most ideological of federal entities- The Environmental Protection Agency- is absolutely horrified at the rapid advance of hydraulic fracturing(“Fracking”) that is currently tow-roping the entire American economy toward recovery, creating thousands of new jobs, and will make the USA the world’s leading energy producer by 2020. In the view of the EPA these baleful developments which have turned the wind and solar industries into absolute “road kill” must be stopped regardless of the massive damage to the economy this would entail.
We also know –sadly- that the Obama campaign of 2012 with its combination of tsunami level negative advertising and powerful ground game will become a model for the future, all the more impressive because it prevailed despite objective conditions that should have made victory nearly impossible.
Yet while a political campaign can defy the odds for a brief window in time the overhanging weight of runaway entitlements, deficits, debt, and decline bespeak a reality that cannot be kept at bay indefinitely. Sooner or later History will present its bill, and our country will have to pay it.
Now, we must concede that “The Way We Were” is not “The Way We Are”. If nothing else demographic/ actuarial shifts and the long parallel growth of government and dependency demonstrate this truth.
Something I wrote in this space four years ago (“Parade’s End: Final Days of a Historic Election”) may also retain some relevance:
“The game changing ‘Panic of 08’ could have happened in ’07 or 09, but it didn’t.
The old N.Y. Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez famously said ‘I’d rather be lucky than good’. John McCain-embodying the best values and traditions of our history- is a good man. Barack Obama – shallow in experience, suspect in associations, dissembling in both promises and explanations- is a lucky man.
Only when the effects of the October Economic Revolution and the concomitant November election ripple through the months and years ahead will we know whether America the Good can be America the Lucky as well.”
American history is filled with stories of ordinary people facing seemingly insuperable odds who didn’t quit but somehow through courage and determination persevered and prevailed. Let us never doubt that countless such people still live among us.
Let us go forward together with a strong and active faith.
William Moloney’s columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, U.S.A. Today., Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun. Denver Post, and Human Events.
(CCU Faculty) Election 2012 is over and in the books. I am pretty passionate person when it comes to politics (cf my FB and Twitter posts during the national debates). Last night I sat with some of my CCU students and family as the results came in. The news folks announced a "call" for Ohio going to President Obama and the air went out of the room.My reaction? Disappointed? Yes. Forlorn? No. There are two foundations upon which I believe that make last night less "doomsday" as some are commenting this morning. First, as a believer in Jesus Christ and His reality in my life, there is something far more eternal than an election. Second, as someone who has studied and played the "election game" for years, I see this as a loss, and much like a sports team, you reflect on the loss, learn from it and move onto the next part of the game - namely mid-term elections in two years and an even bigger presidential election in four years.My bigger concern had to do with my "worldview" perspective on what I saw happening last night. I think some of the comments I am hearing from conservatives correctly point to what the consequences of the election can be. Clearly there are challenges ahead for those of us who oppose "Obama-care" and its infringements on religious liberties. There are challenges to the potential selection of Supreme Court Justices who will legislate from the bench for the next 25 or so years. There are challenges to those of us to who believe that fundamentally it is people who should guide their own lives and not the federal government. There are challenges to the ideas of which ideas we want to impact the US conversation and action in the rest of the world.Much larger than those challenges are the challenges at an ideological level. Decisions were made last night that elected a President who believes government knows better; marriage is no longer between just a man and a woman; that pot should be legal and enjoyed by all; and that government money should be spent on things like abortion.Now follow me here because in each of those cases the deeper ideas are the ones that begin to lead down a path that is not "slouching" (to use Bork book title) toward cultural demise but taking a flying leap. Let's look at these pathologies through the argument used to make these decisions.President: One of the comments made in jest immediately after the announcement that President Obama had won was "Great President Obama is going to buy me a cell-phone!" Whether this is true or not, I believe the greatest single ideology that fed this election was the remnants of post-modern thought - which is namely that the world revolves around "self" (my own interpretation of reality, and the shift from the ideas of the "other' to "me"). This is where the roots of entitlement come from. President Obama won re-election because his community activist background taught him well that you deliver the message that people want to hear. In this case it was the idea that he will do what is best for me - not the whole or others, but me.Marriage: 32 times marriage initiatives have have been introduced and last night two states passed laws that protect same sex marriage on par with traditional marriage. One might argue that it just took that long to overcome the bias against same sex marriages. Perhaps but I believe the larger issue is that of "utra-tolerance" in world where to be against something is looked down upon, especially when it involves other people. I have no problems with same sex couples having the same rights in health care, etc. but change those laws not the re-definition of marriage. For over 50 years academic research has shown that in communities where traditional marriage is the norm, the community benefits in over a dozen ways. We don't have comparable data that says if same-sex marriage is the norm that we end up with disadvantages, but we just don't garner the advantages. Why is that true? Maybe, just maybe, it is because God designed it that way those are the natural consequences of going against the natural order (note I said natural order, not tradition). We take a further step (small in some people's eyes but a step) toward opening up public policy rights to all and we will cross a line at some point. The problem with Slippery Slope Land is that the line gets moved so subtly that we don't realize it most times.Legal Marijuana: Two states also passed laws to legalize recreational use of pot. Not a shock that one of those states was my home of Colorado. Here is the rationale that threw me for a loop and is so very typical of the road to Slippery Slope Land; since drug enforcement hasn't worked then we should make it legal. Together with that is the positive spin put on it that it will increase tax revenue and save our schools. Even some very well known conservative Republicans in the state advocated for it and voted in favor. I disagree with both Mike Rosen (Denver based radio host) and Tom Tancredo (former Colorado legislative leader) vehemently. If their rationale is valid, then anything we have difficulty enforcing should be legalized. And anything that is additionally a potential for increased revenue is valid. With that thinking would it be too much of a reach to legalize prostitution? It could make it safer and raise vast revenue. If marijuana can do this why not legalize cocaine? Then there was the overuse of the "prohibition of alcohol" analogy that was invoked. Fallacious logic at best. Analogies should be truly comparable and the cultural context of both is vastly different. That is primarily because of where we are on this trip down the road to Slippery Slope Land.Don't be concerned that our guy didn't win the election. Do be concerned that some of the ideas we stand for are threatened and in this great country guess what we have the freedom to do? Stand up, pull up our boot-straps and get to work. Tomorrow is here and its time to get to work making our worldview a way of life.
Dr. Christopher Leland is professor of political communication at Colorado Christian University.
He blogs at http://docleland.blogspot.com
('76 Contributor) After the bitter disappointment of election night, I had to leave Aspen next morning for a journey to NYC where I had meetings this week. After no sleep on Tuesday night, I set out early on Wednesday for a day of travel hell. I finally made it to NYC on Thursday, and I found it surreal being amidst so many people who are so happy with the election result, while I've been despairing. It's a by-product, I believe, of the Democrats' divisiveness -- the fissures in our polity are so deep.
I am a fighter, but in my little part of the fight, I've often felt like the tree in the woods — if it falls and no one is there to hear it, did it make a noise? So we need to figure out ways to speak beyond the choir and to persuade and inform people beyond our insular networks. That means better candidates for office, but it also means strategizing about ways to reach the voters in the ways the Democrats have done more recently to energize and get out the vote for their candidates. We have the arguments on our side and when well articulated, they can be persuasive.
I saw that first hand in Aspen. I swayed several people toward the end who came to me to understand the issues better. I'm not talking about wealthy types but the middle class moms of kids in my son's third grade class at the public school who were concerned about Obama and the direction of the country and didn't understand why Republicans would put forward a candidate that wanted to raise taxes on them to give tax breaks to the wealthy or who wanted to take us back to the policies that caused the 2008 economic crisis.
They helped me figure out what to write in my last few Aspen Times columns, actually. Honestly, I'm not so excited about getting back to work on the column, but I know I have to, especially as the opportunities in the midterms are likely significant, as they usually are in president's second terms, and because the challenge is to inform the voters.
Jefferson said "when the the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their government." That quote is top of mind for me, and the motto on my website. Alas, this election confirms that the people are ill-informed and hence, the government can't be trusted. The key will be to inform the people. Centennial Institute is clearly involved in doing that, I hope to do the same. We who think alike need to huddle and strategize. It's important to feel the support of allies. Standing together, we can fulfill Churchill's admonition to "never, never, never surrender."
Melanie Sturm is active in Republican politics and writes the "Think Again" column for the Aspen Times
Someone please tell me what is accomplished when Libertarian Party candidates divert enough votes to elect the Democrat and defeat the Republican.
Are we better governed as a result? Do grateful patriots flock to the banner of Rothbard and Rand?
On Tuesday here in Colorado, the LP candidate cost CU Regent GOP nominee Brian Davidson 115,000 votes as he lost by 55,000. Republican Lang Sias trails for a state Senate seat by 322 votes, with his LP wingman (hitman?) having taken 4,800.
Brian Watson would have been an excellent state House member, and if the the LP line had not drawn 1,588 votes, Watson would trail the Dem incumbent by only 235, close enough for a recount.
Rick Enstrom, another GOP House candidate, lost by 2,347 as the LP line cost him 2,387.
And all of this, I repeat, for what purpose in the cause of liberty and limited government? Granted we can't know for sure that every single vote for the Libertarian is one subtracted from the Republican. Some LP voters might have otherwise gone for the Democrat or stayed home.
Additionally, Colorado's marijuana ballot issue may have changed the dynamic this year, increasing the falloff from R and D candidates to LP, though I am not quite sure why or how this may have played out. But add it as one more variable, to be fair.
Regardless, my broad assumption is likely valid, and this should certainly be an action point for the Colorado GOP as far as seeking some kind of accord with our libertarian friends (and friends they are in most cases, honorable, earnest, well-intended) in the aftermath of 2012 and the runup to 2014.
Source: Colorado Secretary of State election results website
('76 Contributor) What does that mean? What does that have to do with the election or the price of fish in France for that matter? I'll lay all of this out and illustrate one of the reasons why black-Americans are supporting Barack Obama and why we need to reassess that.
Jackie Robinson of course was the first black-American to play professionally in Major League Baseball. He played in the Negro leagues then was drafted to MLB farm teams in Montreal & Florida until April 15, 1947 when he played his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger. He wound up being named "Rookie of the Year", "National League MVP" and leading the National League in stolen bases all within his first couple seasons as a major leaguer. He also became the highest paid player in Brooklyn Dodger history & had many fans both black and white throughout his career.
The above is just a brief synopsis of Jackie Robinson's storied career in the MLB. He was also a decent man who exercised enormous restraint and courage in the face of truly ugly and vicious racial discrimination, prejudice and adversity. He carried himself like a man & a professional at all times. He left the MLB and became an executive and fought in the civil rights movement. Jackie Robinson gave Black Americans a role model and an example of what can happen when you work hard. In the face of overwhelming malice and prejudice - a true example of grace under pressure.
Now, what if Jackie Robinson had gotten into the MLB as a result of good intentions by Branch Rickey and the MLB but wound up whiffing 8 out of 10 times at bat, dropping balls and over throwing bases? What would that have done to the future opportunities of other black ballplayers in the Negro Leagues looking to follow in Jackie's footsteps?
There certainly would have been plenty of whites in the league and in the stands who would have crowed loudly and proudly "See, they just can't cut it, they really are inferior to whites." Would it have also had a similar effect on the psyche of some in the Negro Leagues. What if, 5 days before Jackie played his first MLB game he said "We are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming Major League Baseball"? What if, after 1 year of poor performance in the MLB Jackie said, "I inherited a horrible situation and that is why I need more time"? What if, after 4 years of poor performance & on the verge of being released from the team, Jackie had said, "If you're successful in the major leagues, you didn't hit those balls, someone else did that"?
Of course none of this happened and Jackie Robinson had a stellar career as a major league ballplayer. Jackie was fully aware of how historic his situation was and he met the challenge as a man. He blamed no one else for his mistakes and he was gracious and honest in his successes. We as black-Americans had a lot invested in Jackie Robinson and cheered with pride at his exploits on the field. He overcame so much and achieved even more.
Let's contrast this now with the election of our first black (technically "mixed race" but let's not quibble) President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama. I contend that 80-85% of the 95% of Black Americans who voted for him in 2008 are only voting for him again out of "Jackie Robinson Syndrome". That is the fear that if Obama loses the election after such a horrible first term, we will be hard pressed to have another black-American ascend to the White House again. This is a false assumption.
Barack Obama is not our Jackie Robinson. Yes, he is the first non-white to be elected President but he has not conducted himself with the honor or dignity that Jackie had. Jackie , through his tenacity, dignity, athletic ability & grace, elevated the Major Leagues in the face of enormous obstacles. Obama has not done the same in his role as President. Forget his race for a moment and pretend he was a blond haired, blue eyed democrat. Perhaps, named Barry O'Brien from Schaumberg, IL (an upper-middle class Chicago suburb). Would you still support him? If Obama was truly who we were told he was, (a uniter who was "post-racial") as opposed to the class warrior he has shown himself to be - he would be truly historic. Even with the difficult economic circumstances he "inherited" and has not yet improved, Obama would likely be seen with more charity and grace by those who didn't vote for him.
Barack Obama's historic election to Presidency could have been the shining example of America's immense progress toward realizing Dr King's dream. It wasn't because he was elected more for historic hype than content of character. Cult of personality over substance of accomplishment. Racism is a human condition and therefore since human's are imperfect we can never have a perfect country or world. We can however live by our founding principles of "All men are created equal". But, all men cannot have equal outcomes and be free. Recognize the good we have in common and celebrate it while remembering we are a nation of laws and not men. The bad in common will have blind and not social justice rendered.
Barack Obama is in many ways a tragic figure in American history. He had a confusing and unorthodox upbringing. But in spite of that he ascended to become the leader of the greatest country in the world. His tragedy is not really his but ours. He will be just fine. His children will continue to live a wealthy and privileged life. Even if he is not re-elected, he won't be working the drive-thru window at KFC anytime soon. The tragedy is that after so many of us, black, white, brown, etc., pinned so much of our dreams to him in our noble and overwhelming desire to shake off the shackles of our complicated racial history - we bet on the wrong horse. Even those of us who did not vote for him still held a flicker of hope in our hearts. We internally hoped he was the real deal, the political version of Jackie Robinson.
Strike 1: Obamacare, instead of jobs and fixing the economy
Strike 2: Fast and Furious cover up with a dead US Border patrol
Strike 3: Benghazi cover up, with a dead US Ambassador and 3 dead American heroes.
Barack Obama is a designated campaigner, not a President.
America swung. He struck out. Vote wisely.
Mike Jones wrote this article for Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, on whose leadership team he serves.