We must vote for those candidates of any party that reflect these values: hard work, self-determination, smaller government, fiscal responsibility and honesty. Look to the character of anyone you chose to support. Their past does matter if they haven't learned from it. Their personal life is as relevant as their public one. We must be able to trust those who will be advising and leading us on what our country must do next. -Glenn Beck

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The State of Obama

FORD vs. Government Motors

The Ford Motor Company just posted a $2.7 Billion profit for 2009. Just one year earlier, Ford was posting a $14.6 Billion loss. Thank goodness for the government bailout! Oh, wait... That's right -- Ford did all this without one cent from the government. They turned down government funds when it meant loss of control, despite being a company categorized as "too big to fail." How are GM and Chrysler doing?

A person watching the State of the Union last night would never believe that such a turnaround could be pulled off without the help of the government. I watched in awe that liberals' ideas could honestly be so different from my own.

U.S.A! U.S.A!

In just over 200 years, the United States of America has grown to be one of the most prosperous nations in the world. The standard of living is among the best in the world. The health care is the best in the world. The technology is the most advanced in the world. The U.S. military is feared around the world. The freedoms we enjoy are among the greatest of any nation.

As someone who spent two years living in the third world conditions of Northern Brazil, I can speak from personal experience. I saw families living in one-room houses with dirt floors smaller than most of our bedrooms. I drank bottled or boiled water every day for two years to avoid getting sick from the water. I ran to catch crowded buses. I sat for hours in the "free" hospitals waiting to get a shot for a fever. One night, as I was walking along, I saw a man get hit by a car. Some men gathered around, threw him in the backseat of the car which had just hit him, and told them man driving to take him to the hospital (because there were no ambulances.)

I was so grateful to step foot back on U.S. soil. I felt safe again. I took a drink from the drinking fountain at the airport, and thought about the many blessings we enjoy as U.S. citizens. I got back home, got a good-paying job, bought a car, got a great education, and continued on with life. During the birth of our first little baby, my wife had complications, and they needed to do an emergency c-section. In that desperate moment, there wasn't another country in the world I would have wanted to have her lying on a surgery table in.

INSANITY

How was it that the U.S. got to the place it's at? If it ain't broken, why fix it? In the State of the Union last night, Pres. Obama said:

"Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. From the first railroads to the interstate highway system, our nation has always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products..."

"... You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China’s not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany’s not waiting. India’s not waiting. These nations aren’t standing still. These nations aren’t playing for second place. They’re putting more emphasis on math and science. They’re rebuilding their infrastructure. They are making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs."

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results. How is it that Obama wants to socialize health care and business and regulate and tax business and be like all of these other countries, and expects to get a different result than these countries? Did he really cite China as a country whose example we want to follow?

The U.S. is what it is because of the American Dream. The freedoms that allow any person to become whatever they'll work to become. The U.S. is what it is because of Capitalism. It has been proven again and again throughout history. Capitalism leads to prosperity, and Socialism leads to poverty.

THE BLAME GAME

Obama was quick to note (with a smirk on his face at his cleverness):

So let me start the discussion of government spending by setting the record straight. At the beginning of the last decade, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. That was before I walked in the door.

What Obama failed to note is what happened after he walked in the door. He immediately doubled the $1 trillion deficit that had taken a decade of unforeseen events to create. The projected deficit is now at around $16 trillion over the next decade. The unemployment rate has increased by 3%, which equates to about 3.5 million jobs lost since he walked in the door. And there is no end in sight.

But that doesn't matter, because all Obama has to do is compare it to what it would have been like otherwise:

"And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today. More businesses would certainly have closed. More homes would have surely been lost."

LET'S HEAR FROM THE FRONT ROW

After listening to the State of the Union, it occurred to me that the biggest difference between the liberals and the conservatives is personal accountability and responsibility.

It reminds me of driving on a road when there is a merge because of construction. Some people always drive up past all of us who have merged over beforehand up to the very last possible spot before they hit a cone and then try to get over, forcing everybody who has played by the rules to slow or stop to let them in.

Pres. Obama said last night:

So I supported the last administration’s efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took the program over, we made it more transparent and accountable. As a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we have recovered most of the money we spent on the banks.
To recover the rest, I have proposed a fee on the biggest banks. I know Wall Street isn’t keen on this idea, but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.


How is taxing the biggest banks fair? What did they do to deserve an extra tax? What did the people who earned the bonuses for their good work do to deserve to lose it? How many jobs will be lost now at the biggest banks due to the tax because they now have to scale back?

He also said:

Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95% of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time home buyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food, and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven’t raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime.

It's true that I saw my tax withholding go down by about $80/month, which equals about $720. But the government spent $10,000 per taxpayer on the stimulus. I don't know about you, but I would have rather had the $10,000.

More importantly, he's raised the taxes on businesses that make more than $250,000/year. How many of the businesses you work for fall into that category? If taxes are raised on these businesses, they need to scale back to keep their bottom-line even, and the easiest place to do that is eliminating jobs.

Obama said:

We cannot afford another so-called economic “expansion” like the one from last decade – what some call the “lost decade” – where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.

I watched the finale reunion show of a Survivor season a few years ago, and one of the more outspoken, proud Survivors who had finished somewhere around 7th place was giving advice to the finalists about what they could have done differently to win. Jeff Probst finally cut him off and said, "With all due respect, maybe we should hear from the front row."

If this first year of Obama's presidency is any indication, I'll take the economic expansion of the last decade any day. Obama criticized economic growth (in spite of the worst attack on U.S. soil and the economic repercussions that followed) when his economy is failing. The man has a lot of nerve.

But the statement that shocked me the most was this one:

"And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service. Because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college."

RESPONSIBILITY

This was the moment where I realized that personal responsibility is the major difference between liberals and conservatives.

I would never, in a million years, expect somebody else to pay for a loan that I had taken on myself. I would work to pay every penny back of any obligation I had. If I can't afford Harvard, then I go where I can afford.

If the debt is forgiven, somebody still pays for it! Just because you can't identify that person doesn't mean they don't exist!

Whether it's forgiving student loans or placing another burden on the heavy-laden 5% who already pay 70% of all of the taxes, there is simply a lack of personal responsibility in the liberal mindset. They reward businesses who made bad decisions and punish the businesses that make good decisions. They punish the people who have worked hard to make themselves and reward those who do nothing to contribute to society. They place the blame on anyone but themselves. They drive past all the cars who have followed the rules and merged early to make traffic run smoothly because they can.

Obama can say what he wants, but what counts is action. And according to what happened last week in Massachusetts, voters aren't fooled.

Kudos to CEO Alan Mulally and the executives and workers at Ford for buckling down and turning the company around in such a short period of time. Guess it just goes to show what hard work and ingenuity can do... in spite of the government.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Two Wrongs DO Make a Right??

EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW, I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN

I was driving home the other day listening to Sean Hannity interview Bob Beckel (a Democratic Strategist.) Hannity asked Beckel about the fact that Obama has broken his promises to not raise taxes one cent on anyone making less than $250,000 and to broadcast the health care debates on C-SPAN among various other promises.

My ears perked up as I was really curious to know how a Democrat might respond to that question. Pres. Obama has blatantly broken major promises, and I would tend to think that even loyal Democrats would have a hard time defending that behavior.

In responding to Hannity's question, Bob Beckel blew it off, saying, "Oh, come on, Sean! Every President breaks their campaign promises."

I was shocked by the response (even knowing it was coming out of the mouth of Bob Beckel.) I couldn't believe that he would blow off this blatant dishonesty from our nation's President as just something politicians do to get elected, as if nobody expects a President to keep their word. I've got news for you, Bob -- I DO expect my elected officials to keep their word.

Since that time, I've heard multiple Democrats use the same defense. If you'll notice, they always cite Reagan and a campaign promise that he broke, and that somehow is supposed to make Pres. Obama's lies right. (Beckel must not have made it through kindergarten.)

Pres. George Bush Sr. infamously said in his campaign, "Read my lips. No new taxes.", and then ended up raising taxes in his presidency. Try to find a conservative who will defend Pres. Bush on that point. To a conservative, wrong is wrong. And Pres. Bush Sr. was wrong to break his promise, and that was likely the main reason that so many Republican votes went to Ross Perot, leading Bush Sr. to become a one-term president (and Bill Clinton to win the election with only 43% of the vote.)

The Democrats are going to have to find a stronger position -- The "everybody does it" argument and the "two wrongs DO make a right" mentality won't work with voters.

SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R - Massachusetts)

That fact is evident as Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts senate seat, running on a conservative platform in one of the most liberal states in the U.S.. And, as crazy as it seems, Democrat congressmen couldn't be more relieved.

At first I was confused Wednesday as I listened to various Democrats talking about how they really need to wait to vote until Brown is seated. This was in complete contradiction to their actions in the past few months, ramming the bills through without any bipartisan discussions, not allowing anybody enough time to read the bill, and physically hiding the bill from the public so it wouldn't have to face any scrutiny. Democrats have desperately done everything in their power to get the bill passed over the past few months. Why wouldn't they delay the seating of Sen. Brown and try to smash the bill through now?

And then I heard Pres. Obama say there was no need to rush to get this vote on the bill passed. I really knew something must be up, because a month ago, they had to have an unprecedented emergency vote on Christmas Eve to pass the health care bill.

Then it occurred to me that the truth is that the White House and Democrats never knew what they were getting themselves into with the health care bill. They thought they could ride Pres. Obama's popularity and pass this bill that so many others had attempted in the past and failed. Pres. Obama wanted to show off his political muscles and secure his place in the first year of his presidency as the Greatest President of All-Time.

Obama and the Democrats could never have imagined the storm that would follow. I'm sure they immediately wished they had never brought it up. They thought they would be lauded by the masses as "free" health care was handed out, but they never expected the public uproar from every state in the union, red or blue.

But the problem is that the Democratic leadership make decisions based on political implications rather than core beliefs. If they were to drop the health care issue, the problem would be that the public would perceive it as a failure for Pres. Obama, and it would show weakness. What would that mean for 2012?? So no matter how bad the idea, they had to move forward, full speed ahead.

At first they tried to blame the Republicans for not being able to pass the bill, trying to draw pressure so that at least a few Republican would vote for the bill so the blame of the health bill's eventual failure wouldn't be placed squarely on Democrats. But, unfortunately for the Democrats, the public were smart enough to realize that the Democrats could pass the bill by themselves without a single Republican vote (which they eventually did.)

The Democrats surely wanted to quit because of the political backlash, but the issue was too public and the stakes were too high to do anything but move forward. They were trapped. Even in spite of the public outcry and the threat of losing their majority in 2010, they pushed forward. My only guess is that they somehow thought that if they could just ram the health care bill through, enough people would be happy about the "free" health care coverage, that it would in essence "buy" them votes, and 9 months would have passed by the November elections.

Had Martha Coakley won the open senate seat, they would have been forced to continue to push the bill through. But Scott Brown's victory gave the Democrats an out, and they are taking it gladly, with a sigh of relief.

Now the Democrats believe they can have it both ways. They think they don't have to face the political ramifications of passing the health care bill, and they can blame it all on Sen. Brown saying, "We did everything we could -- The Republicans screwed it all up!" They get the votes of the people who wanted the bill, and they keep the votes of the people that didn't want the bill -- The perfect situation. (Just ask Sen. Kerry.)

But they can't let the election be perceived as the result of backlash at the Democrats. If you listen to the coverage, they've already started to try to spin the election results. They will talk about how Scott Brown ran one of the greatest campaigns ever. They will focus on how Martha Coakley ran one of the worst campaigns ever. They won't mention that Obama tried to use his political muscle to get Coakley elected. They will talk about how handsome Scott Brown is. They'll even say that the voters are angry with "Washington". Basically, they will say anything to keep the public's minds off of the fact that the last time a Republican senator was elected in Massachusetts was 1972.

Make no mistake about it, Pres. Obama and Democrats, this is backlash. Don't be fooled. I can't wait until November 2nd, as we see just how powerful the backlash is. (And I really can't wait until November of 2012!)

The Democrats are scared. As I mentioned earlier, Democratic leadership make their decisions based on political implications. Rather than beliefs and morals, they cast their votes based on polls and political future. After seeing what happened in Massachusetts, it will be really interesting to see what strategy the Democrats pursue over the next 9 months as they get desperate about keeping their individual jobs. My guess is that we will see Democratic senators and representatives turn on Pres. Obama to save their seats. Unfortunately for them, it's probably too late.

OH, JUST ONE MORE THING...

I just have to say: Thank you, thank you, thank you, people of Massachusetts! Only a week ago, it looked like we were doomed to this horrible monstrosity of a health care bill, inflated taxes, and the destruction of our quality of health care. You have brought hope back to the conservatives of this nation! Today was a good day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What Do the Democrats Have to Hide?

As once again the Democrats meet behind closed doors to discuss the health care bill, I watch this video, and I wonder what liberals are thinking about all this.

It's interesting to me that the first (and, presumably then, the most important) right guaranteed by our Founding Fathers in the Bill of Rights is:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

When I was young, I used to wonder why the Founding Fathers would be so concerned as to include the Freedom of the Press as the first right of citizens. But I understand now that the press plays a critical role in society. The press has traditionally been referred to as the "watchdog" of the government. The truth is that, without the press, average citizens like us wouldn't know what was happening in Washington. Knowledge gives us the power to protect ourselves from the government, should they try to supersede their power, just as the Founding Fathers intended.

As I've mentioned before, I spent a little time in the world of journalism. The traditional role of the press is to be at odds with the government, watching every tiny move and suspecting the worst. Investigative journalism turned up stories like Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky story. The first things that corrupt governments such as Cuba or China or Iran do is take control the media. Look at what is happening in Venezuela with Hugo Chavez.

(Sadly, as has been mentioned in numerous posts on this blog, much of the media, unsatisfied with simply objectively reporting the news, has taken up sides and moved to attempting to influence the news, brazenly acting as guard dogs for the Obama administration. Thank goodness for the Internet and media outlets like BreitBart that still act as watchdogs.)

It is scary to me that members of Congress are meeting about a bill that will dramatically impact every citizen of this country, and this administration that campaigned on "transparency in the government" is allowing (and promoting) the Democrats to vote on a bill that nobody (including those that are voting) had been given sufficient time to read, to literally hide the Health Care bill from Republicans, and to meet once again behind closed doors to discuss the final draft of the bill that is going to go into law. Of all the things I've seen the government do throughout my life, the behavior of the Democrats in trying to get this bill passed is the scariest.

It has to even make liberals wonder... What do the Democrats have to hide?