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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mitt Romney & The Auto Bailouts

Our economy is constantly flirting with disaster.  We now talk in "trillions" instead of "billions" when we talk about deficits and debt.  The budget deficit is higher than it has ever been.  We will once again hit our debt limit after the election.  The Democrat party's solution is to just increase the limit.

(That is the right thing to do, right?  If I have a couple cars I can't afford and a house payment I can't afford and $50,000 in credit card debt I can't pay back... The obvious solution is to increase my credit card limit, right?  That way I can make some of my payments on my credit card.  That will fix the problem!)

By nearly every economic measure, we are worse off today than we were when President Obama took office.  And the Obama administration defense is always, "Well... it's not as bad as it could have been!"

Pres. Obama himself said, "You don't raise taxes in a recession."  And yet, that is his entire platform.  He obviously understands the principle, but his only path to re-election is by creating division.  Rich people = Bad.  Poor people = Good.  He pushes this platform despite the fact that if you took 100% of the income of all of the richest people in the world, it would not even make a dent.

DETROIT, OHIO?

But the strategy is to divert and distract from Obama's record and even his platform.

Question:  When you think of the auto industry, which city and state do you think of?  Bet you didn't say Ohio.

The heart of the auto industry in the U.S. is Detroit, which is located in Michigan.  But if you were getting your information from the Democratic convention, you would think the headquarters were in Ohio.  Almost every speaker talked about the auto bailouts, and every speaker that spoke about the bailouts talked first about saving jobs in Ohio.

Yes, there are auto industry jobs in Ohio, but the number of auto industry jobs in Ohio is minimal when compared with the number in Michigan.  So why did they keep talking about all the auto industry jobs in Ohio?  Because Ohio is one of the most critical swing states in this election.  The Democrats were pandering to Ohio voters and assuming they would just buy what they were saying.

"LET DETROIT GO BANKRUPT"

If there had been a pool on which phrase would be used the most in the Democratic National Convention, with all the issues facing our country, who knew it would be "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt"?

Speaker after speaker after speaker spoke about how Mitt Romney wanted to "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."  This has been something that Obama has really been hammering on as he has traveled around the swing states.

What those speakers were referring to was a well thought-out and well-written op-ed article by Mitt Romney prior to the bailouts entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt"

The Democrats have pushed this to mean that Mitt Romney was saying that "Let Detroit Go Out of Business".  Those who believe that have not taken the time to read the article.  Mitt Romney, who has made a career as a turnaround artist, was laying out a plan for the auto industry to succeed!  Read the article!

BANKRUPTCY

The reason that Detroit was in financial trouble in the first place is that they were not running a good business!  Simple as that.  How is giving them more money going to continue to do business the same way as they have always done it (and then forcing them to build cars that nobody wants to buy on top of that) going to fix anything?  Please, somebody, explain that logic to me!

Mitt Romney was making the argument that the best way to SAVE the auto industry was through bankruptcy.  For the Obama administration to equate "bankruptcy" with "shutting the doors and firing all the workers" demonstrates their complete lack of understanding of how business works.

Delta Airlines filed bankruptcy in 2005.  So how did I take a flight with them in April 2012?  Who were all those employees in the Delta uniforms?  Here is a snapshot:

Delta Airlines, Inc.

Before Bankruptcy (2004):

# Employees:  70,000
Net Loss:  -$5 billion

After Bankruptcy (2011):

# Employees:  75,000
Net Income:  $854 million

Delta employs MORE people now than before they declared bankruptcy, and they are obviously having more financial success than before.  Despite what the Obama administration would have voters believe, "bankruptcy" does not necessarily equal "out of business".

FORD

Perhaps the greatest evidence of Obama being dead wrong on this issue is Ford Motor Co.  The government wanted Ford to take a bailout along with GM & Chrysler.  But when Ford found out that the government wanted control in the company in exchange for the loan, they told the government to take a hike.  Thanks, but no thanks.

In 2008, the year of the bailouts, Ford reported a loss of $14.7 billion dollars.  GM lost $16.8 billion.  And Chrysler lost $16.8 billion.  GM and Chrysler took bailouts.  Ford, on the other hand, fired their CEO and hired Alan Mullaly from Boeing, and started to work to fix the problems.

Then, in the irony of ironies, the government (run by the Obama administration -- the same ones who are railing on Romney for saying "let Detroit go bankrupt") forced GM and Chrysler into Chapter 11 structured bankruptcy as part of its conditions of the government loan.  Romney said "let Detroit go bankrupt"... and Obama actually forced them to go bankrupt.

Then Obama mandated that Chevrolet start manufacturing and selling energy-efficient cars like Volts.  And Ford went to work producing what the consumers wanted.  So how did the story end up?

2011 Net Incomes/Losses

Chrysler:  $183 million
GM:  $7.6 billion
Ford:  $20.2 billion

Now let me ask the question -- Which of these three companies would you want to work for if you had to choose?

And now we see these reports:

General Motors is Headed for Bankruptcy -- Again (Aug 15, 2012)
GM Complains U.S. Government Won't Let Company Pay CEO More (Apr 27, 2012)
U.S. Treasury Rejects Sale of GM Stake (Sep 17, 2012)

On the last article, GM wants to buy the government out of their shares to gain back control, but the government won't allow them to (before the election in November), because the U.S. will have lost $15 billion on the bailout.  The shares are at about $24/share and would need to get to $53/share for the government to break even.

CONCLUSION

Ford and Delta have proved that Romney was dead on by saying the best thing for Detroit was to "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."  Not suprising, considering his success over the years.  GM & Chrysler would have been forced to fix their problems just like Ford did, and employees would be more secure today instead of looking at bankruptcy again.

Obama can talk about how Romney would have had hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs by letting the auto industry go bankrupt while he actually oversees hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs each month through his policies.

Here is a little tip, Mr. Obama.  You know how we raise a tax on cigarettes to discourage the use of cigarettes?  And how we give tax breaks (credits) for hybrids to encourage people to buy hybrids?  Lowering taxes on something means there will be more of that something.  Raising taxes on something means there will be less of that something.  Simple economic principles.

Raising taxes on business has never, can never, and will never create a single job.  It defies logic.  And raising taxes is the entire Obama platform.

It won't just be Detroit that goes bankrupt if Obama gets re-elected.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Polling Numbers in the Presidential Election

Great article with insights on polling numbers:

Why the Polls Under State the Romney Vote

It's amazing how even polling can be used strategically to sway voters.

It ain't over until it's over.  Keep fighting for conservatism!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Are We Better Off Than We Were 4 Years Ago?

This debate about whether we are better off four years ago than we are today is silly.  We either are or we aren't.  Bill Clinton spent a lot of times last night explaining why he thinks we are better off, and there are people on the other side of the aisle explaining why they think we are not better off.  Everybody has an opinion, but opinions are not what count.  What are the facts?

Are we better off than we were four years ago or not?  Let's look at the numbers.

GDP Growth

2009:  -5.3%
2010:  2.3%
2011:  1.7%
2012, Q2 (The latest data we have):  1.5%

Unemployment Rate

January 2009:  7.8%
July 2012:  8.3%

Real Unemployment Rate

February 2009: 14.8%
July 2012:  15.0%

U.S. Debt

January 2009:  $10.6 trillion
September 2012:  $16 trillion

U.S. Budget Deficit

October 2008:  -$413 billion
October 2012:  -$1.1 trillion

It's simple math, right, Bill?  7.8% - 8.3% = -0.5%.  So unemployment is 0.5% higher than it was when Obama took office.  We are not better off.  The debt has increased by $6 trillion, and the annual budget deficit has almost tripled in size since Obama took office.

Injecting $1 trillion into the economy gave a short-term bump to GDP as expected, but the stimulus was squandered and wasted on companies like Solyndra, and that flash in the pan is done, and the economy continues to drop, quarter after quarter.  Growth has been anemic since the housing market crash.

By every other measure, we are worse off today than we were four years ago.  The Democrats can claim that "it's not as bad as it could have been" all they want, but they cannot honestly say we are better off as a nation than we were when Pres. Obama took office in January 2009.

The numbers don't lie.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Out of Touch

This focus on who had the most humble upbringing is strange to me.  Let me get this straight:  Are the Democrats saying that if Barack Obama had been born into the George Romney family, he would somehow be less qualified to be President?  And if Mitt Romney had been born to Barack Obama Sr., he would be a much better choice for President?

Isn't it instead a matter of what you do with the life you are given?

But when I hear people say that Mitt Romney is out of touch, I have to laugh.  According to CelebrityNetWorth.com:

Mitt Romney, Estimated Net Worth:  $250 million
Barack Obama, Estimated Net Worth:  $12 million

Poor Barack.  He knows what it's like to only be able to buy one Ferrari per month, unlike Mitt who can buy a Ferrari every week.  Poor Barack has to charter a private jet instead of buying his own personal private jet.  Poor Barack can only order the caviar, while Mitt can order the caviar and the lobster tails.

The truth is that the way the our political system is set up, it is very difficult to make a successful run at President of the United States without being wealthy.  That's just the way it is.  And not surprisingly... the Democrats had no problem with John Kerry, who was worth an estimated $240 million when he was running for President.

Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama (and Michelle) attended private charter schools for high school.  Both graduated from Harvard University... You know, where the "common folk" graduate.  Is whoever came out with the most student loans somehow the measure of who will be the better leader?

The Democrats have worked hard to make everybody believe that Mitt Romney was given everything he has.  I don't know what help his parents offered him over the years.  Did they buy groceries?  Did they buy his textbooks?  I don't know.  What I do know is that Romney took the $1 million inheritance that his father left him and donated it.  That tells me that Mitt did not want help -- He wanted to be a self-made man.

In 1993, after he graduated from Harvard, Barack and Michelle bought a simple $278,000 condo.  They later moved into a $1.65 million house in Hyde Park.  In 2005, when Obama began serving in the U.S. Senate, their combined salary was $479,062.  How could he not understand the "middle class folks", making 10 times the average household income?  Last year, they made $844,355.  They were definitely "down for the struggle"!

To me, "out of touch" has less to do with the bank account balance and more to do with one's actions.

Michelle Obama Spain Trip Cost Taxpayers $467,000
Obama Family Taking Separate Planes to $4 Milion Taxpayer Funded Hawaiian Vacation
Obamas Take Two Planes to Martha's Vineyard (A Few Hours Apart)
Michelle Obama's Hawaii Outfits Include $2,000 Sundress
Michelle Obama Sparks Fury After Splashing Out on $6,800 Designer Jacket

Now don't get me wrong -- I have no problem with someone buying a $2,000 sundress or a $6,800 designer jacket or a $1.65 million house.  I even understand that Presidents need to take vacations too (although vacationing in Spain and taking separate planes to the destination is obviously extravagant and wasteful), and I understand that it is expensive to protect our President and his family, and that there will be significant costs.  If Mitt Romney wants to build a $55k underground parking garage at his house so his whole family can park there, that is cool.  I wish I had one!  That is more money injected into the economy that creates and sustains jobs.  If they have the money, more power to them.

But for the Democrats to make the case that Barack Obama somehow knows better than Mitt Romney what it is like to live in poverty is absolutely ridiculous.

You have to focus on the actions:

Grant Bennett Details Mitt Romney's Devotion to Service, Faith
Romney Tax Returns Show $7 Million in Donations Over 2 Years
An Inside Look at the Millions Mitt Romney Has Given Away
Romney Worked Mostly Without Salary
Romney Paid 42 Percent of 2011 Income in Taxes and Charity

There are individuals like Bono from U2 ($900 million) or Paul Newman or Bill & Melinda Gates ($62 billion) who make Mitt Romney's $250 million look like chump change, yet it is obvious by what they do with what they have been given that they are not "out of touch".

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Heartless

I just listened to Nancy Keenan speak at the DNC Convention.  Ms. Keenan is the President of NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action.)

She spoke about abortion and mentioned how every woman out to have the right to safe abortions.  The audience clapped and cheered just like they did when the previous speaker was talking about everybody getting a good education.

I was shocked.  The idea of abortion has always been a horrible thought in my mind.  But as I sat and watched thousands of people whooping and hollering and standing and clapping their hands at their right to terminate life, it made me sick inside.

I guess I can see how some individuals would make the argument that the government should not be able to tell them what to do.  But I guess I kind of thought the subject would be treated with respect and reverence and with a bit of sadness.  The Democrats are supposed to be the kind-hearted party who want to help everyone -- Especially those who cannot help themselves.  That element is something I have always respected about the Democratic party.

And yet, the same party who is against the death penalty for convicted killers is for the taking of innocent life by unborn children who did nothing.  It really is mind-boggling.

From pamf.org:

"Vacuum aspiration (the suction method) is the most common type of abortion. It is a surgical procedure that involves anesthesia (mild sedation) and can be performed within the first trimester of pregnancy. During vacuum aspiration, the cervix (opening of the uterus) is gently dilated (widened) about a quarter-inch, a narrow tube is inserted through the vagina and cervix to the uterus, and then pregnancy and contents of the uterine internal lining are vacuumed out. The procedure takes only a couple minutes and the woman can usually return home later in the day."

Having gone in to the doctor and heard the heartbeat of my children and seen the ultrasounds at 8 weeks, the fact that we as a nation openly support abortion is unfathomable to me.  Just go in, simple procedure, vacuum it all out, return home, and go about your day.  Maybe hit the grocery store or see a movie.

If I agreed with every other issue of the Democratic party, I could not support them because of this one issue.  The liberals always want to talk about the woman's right to choose.  They use words like "terminate" and "fetus" to remove emotion.  They always focus on the exceptions like rape and incest and abortion instead of the rule.  The vast majority of abortions that are performed have nothing to do with rape, incest, or abortion -- The vast majority have to do with convenience.

The right of a woman to choose... to choose to stop a heartbeat, when her actions are the reason that heartbeat started in the vast majority of cases.

Amazing.

"... the same policies that got us into this mess..."

The Democratic Convention opens today.  The #1 line we will hear at the convention (based on the #1 talking point that every Democrat has been using over the past few weeks) is "Are we going to go back to the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place?"

Unfortunately for the Democrats, they are just condemning themselves every time they make that statement.

The line is obviously meant to implicate Pres. Bush for enacting policies to get us into the financial crisis.  So the question has to be, Which policies exactly did Pres. Bush or the Republicans enact to get us into this mess?  For any liberals out there, I challenge you to name one.

"THE BUSH TAX CUTS"

The Democrats will often point to the Bush Tax Cuts as a major factor for getting us into the mess we're in today.

When Pres. Bush took office, the first quarter GDP was -1.3%.  Decide carefully here, Democrats:  If the GDP was negative the first quarter Bush was in office, who is to blame?  If Bush was to blame for what happened in his first quarter, then Obama was to blame for what happened in his.  But if Obama is not to blame, then that means that Bush did not inherit a booming economy from Clinton.

The Dot Com bubble, where small businesses in the late 1990s opened in droves to try to capitalize on the new Internet craze, had been responsible for the major portion of growth in the economy during that period.  In the year 2000, the last year of the Pres. Clinton administration, that bubble burst, and many of those companies failed.

A recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.  A depression is more than two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.  Bush took office in January 2001.  There was a recession from March 2001 to November 2001.  Who is to blame, Democrats?

So Bush inherited an economy with a GDP of -1.3% (and didn't go around blaming Clinton.)  Then nine months after Bush took office, 9/11 rocked our country and the world.  The strike on the World Trade Centers was a strike at the financial heart of the country.  Uncertainty is like kryptonite to economic growth as both individuals and companies freeze spending and start saving.  Those were the most uncertain times I've seen in my lifetime.  By all measures, we should have moved into an economic tailspin.

In order to fight uncertainty and encourage spending, Pres. Bush and Congress almost immediately passed the Bush tax cuts.  The vote was 230-197 in the House, and 62-38 in the Senate.  24% of the Democrats in the Senate voted for the tax cuts.  Another 14% chose not to vote, likely out of political expediency.

The numbers show that a recession never happened after 9/11.  The economy was steadied.  The Bush tax cuts were passed in 2001 and expanded in 2003.  How was economic growth during those years?:

2001:  1.1%  (Bush Tax Cuts Passed)
2002:  1.8%
2003:  2.5%  (Bush Tax Cuts Expanded)
2004:  3.5%
2005:  3.1%
2006:  2.7%
2007:  1.9%

All positive growth numbers leading up to 2008, with an average of 2.37% growth, and no recessions.  So how exactly did the policy of the Bush Tax Cuts negatively impact the economy?

Even the Democrats agree.  In 2010, with Pres. Obama in office and Democratic Majorities in the House and Senate--In other words, Democrats had control to do anything they wanted--Congress passed extensions of the Bush Tax Cuts!  So that obviously must not be a policy that got us into this mess.

"TWO UNFUNDED WARS"

The other major thing I hear the Democrats point to is that Bush got us into two unfunded wars.  They always emphasize the "unfunded" part to describe how Bush moved us from a surplus under Clinton to a deficit by going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

First of all, Democrats cannot claim that unfunded spending is a problem or leads to economic problems, because Pres. Obama's nearly $1 trillion stimulus was unfunded!  How do you fix an economic problem through unfunded stimulus spending if unfunded spending causes economic problems?  It's a flawed argument.

Furthermore, Democrats use unfunded military spending to excuse the growth the took place under Reagan.  If we look at the numbers after Reagan took over, it was obvious that Reaganomics (a.k.a. Supply-Side Economics, a.k.a. "Voodoo Economics") worked just like it was supposed to.

In 1981, when Pres. Reagan took office, the economy was a mess (as it is now.)  Reagan slashed taxes and focused on deregulation.  Here are the results from 1980 when Carter left office to 1988 when Regan left office:

Unemployment
1980:  7.0%
1988:  5.4%

Inflation Rate
1980:  10.0%
1988:  4.0%

Growth
1980:  -0.3%
1988:  4.1%

And most interestingly, by lowering tax rates, tax receipts nearly doubled!  From $517 billion in 1980 to $1.03 trillion in 1990.  Yes, lower taxes led to significantly higher tax revenues.  Amazing, huh?

So how can Democrats claim that "supply-side economics have never worked whenever they have been tried" when they obviously did work under Reagan.  They claim that the economic growth during the Reagan administration was actually caused by an increase in government spending as the U.S. was in an arms race with the Soviet Union, which would be in harmony with Keynesian economics.

So, Democrats, how can an unfunded war be part of the policies that got us into this mess when an unfunded war is the Democratic rationalization for why we experienced such tremendous growth in the 1980s?  Otherwise, how do you justify the turnaround in the economy under Reagan?

SO WHAT POLICIES DID GET US INTO THIS MESS?

If we examine what policies did get us into this mess, we know it all began with AIG back in the summer of 2008.  AIG is an insurance group that is one of the largest companies in the world, who have holdings throughout the world.  They had made risky investments in debt securities that were backed by sub-prime mortgages.

A sub-prime mortgage is a high-risk loan.  Many sub-prime mortgages were given to borrowers throughout the 2000s in the form of ARMs, where the interest rate begins at a set lower rate for a specific term, usually 3- or 5- years.  These loans are given specifically to individuals who can't the fixed rate payment.  It is a way to get individuals into houses they cannot afford.

Leading up to 2008, there was a boom in the housing market.  New construction was going through the roof throughout the country.  The prices of homes skyrocketed because of demand.

Any economist will tell you that the economy runs in natural cycles, and many economists speculated that the housing bubble would not and could not last.  In early 2008, the housing bubble burst.  Too many houses, not enough buyers, and people began to unload houses at discounts to get their houses sold.  That meant that all the other sellers had to drop their prices to be competitive, and housing prices on the whole dropped through the floor.

Suddenly all these individuals who were in sub-prime mortgages who were hitting the end of their terms had to make hundreds of dollars more in payments each month that they couldn't afford.  So they started trying to unload their houses, but couldn't because they were upside down on them.

Then the waves of foreclosures started to hit as individuals couldn't make the payments and couldn't sell the homes.  I've seen this firsthand with relatives down in the Las Vegas area.  There were tons of individuals who had seen their friends doubling their money on property investments, so they decided to jump on the train and invest in real estate, only to see their investments lose half their value almost overnight.

Suddenly, AIG was holding a ton of bad debt.  Their credit rating was downgraded, they couldn't meet their obligations, and it looked as if they were set to fail.

That is when the federal government stepped in and deemed AIG "too big to fail" rather than letting them suffer the natural consequences of making risky investments.  Congress, which included the vast majority of House and Senate Democrats, passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail AIG out.  Later votes came to bail out other industries like the auto industry that were deemed "too big to fail."

I don't agree with Bush and Congress on the bailouts, but all of their experts were warning them of the consequences of letting those businesses fail, so I can see why they voted the way they did, and I respect their actions.

(SIDE NOTE:  It drives me nuts when people like Pres. Obama talk about saving the auto industry.  If GM had gone bankrupt, that does not mean GM would have gone out of business.  Somebody simply would have bought them.  The name, the plants, the infrastructure are all too valuable.  Somebody would have bought them and worked to fix the problems that got them into financial trouble.  All the GM workers would still be working.  And the workers would likely be more secure than they are now, because the business process would have been improved.  **See Ford Motor Co., who said no to a government bailout.)

FANNIE & FREDDIE

So any Democrat who claims that Romney is going to go back to "the same policies that got us in this mess in the first place" has to be able to point to where Bush enacted some policy that affected AIG and the sub-prime mortgages, because that is what caused this mess.

The real problem stems from government intervention into natural markets.  For years, the federal government has established programs to get people who cannot afford to buy houses to be able to buy houses.  Some of these programs are the FHA (Federal Housing Administration), HUD (Housing and Urban Development), and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

As an example, HUD has a program where the borrower may put $100 down to purchase a house.  The problem is, If someone buying a house cannot scrimp and save and scrape together 5% for a down payment on a house, that may not be a good sign about their ability to pay back the loan.

FHA loans are government loans that require a reduced amount, and the down payment can come from various sources other than the individual. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises that were established to increase the supply of money for loans.  They government has created these programs to get more individuals into homes, because they deem it as another "right" for individuals.

As with most Democratic programs, artificially manipulating the market only leads to problems down the road.  If we create departments and pass legislation that allows people who can't afford homes to buy homes, we shouldn't be surprised later down the road when they can't afford their homes.

Those Democratic policies and departments and regulations are what got us into this mess in the first place.  Now let me ask the Democrats:  Is it caring and charitable to get someone into a house they will not be able to afford and that will eventually be their biggest stress and has the potential to lead to their financial destruction?

CONCLUSION

Democrats will do their best to try to tie Romney to Bush, which is silly because Bush was largely successful.  He worked with Congress to pass legislation with bipartisan support much better than Obama has, he protected America with programs and policies that led us to finding Bin Laden, gas prices plummeted under his policies, the economy was stable and grew steadily, much better than it has under Obama.  In fact, if the housing boom had continued for another year or two, the Democrats would have no mess to point to at all.

It seems that no matter the issue, Democratic politicians and commentators are hypocrites.  They rail on the Bush Tax Cuts, but then choose to extend them.  They rail on Bush about interrogation tactics and Guantanamo Bay; Pres. Obama chooses to keep Guantanamo Bay.  They talk about the record deficit that Bush created with his spending on two unfunded wars, but then blow that record out of the water by spending twice that much on unfunded stimulus money and then add unfunded universal health care of top of that.

The Democrats say "Are we going to go back to the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place?", and I say, "No -- That's why I'm voting for Mitt Romney."