Liberalism: A fact free zone – Tea Party Nation

Liberalism: A fact free zone – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

Arguing with liberals is an experience that can be frustrating at best. Unless you are more ADD than the average liberal or you have been prescribed some very powerful medications, trying to argue with their non-logic is a cruel and unusual experience.

It is hard to debate with liberals because you are debating with someone for whom facts are irrelevant and they do not require proof of any claim.

A typical liberal response is, “You take ‘x’ seriously?” Or they sometimes like to throw out one of their power words like “racist.” “Oh, ‘x’ is a racist.”

Why debate a point when you can simply dismiss the party making the point.

The Aurora Colorado massacre is a great example of arguing with liberals. Liberals immediately screamed we need more gun control. They screamed gun control laws would have stopped this massacre.

Really?

Could we have some evidence of this claim?

The left is ignoring quite a few facts here. First, the movie theater was a gun free zone. Aurora Colorado has some very restrictive gun laws and as intelligent as the criminal was, if he could not have used guns, he would have used something else, like the explosives he used to rig his own apartment.

Dana Milbank is a liberal scribbler for the Washington Post. Today he started whining about those who attacked Barack Obama. He blamed Mitt Romney for “nuttiness” directed at Obama.

He singled out John Sununu for his comment that Barack Obama should “learn how to be an American.”

Do you know what the only problem with Sununu’s statement is?

He apologized for it.

Milbank then decided to go into a hormone inspired rant about Birthers and those who dared to claim that Obama is a Marxist and he is sympathetic to radical Islam.

Milbank in full brain donor mode announced he wasn’t “dignifying the nuttiness.”

Really?

Perhaps you could produce some facts to support your idiotic rantings?

This is the problem with liberals. Their form of argument is to simply look down their noses at conservatives and simply dismiss anything conservatives say.

Summery dismissal of someone’s opinion might be acceptable at a Manhattan Wine and Cheese party, but for making policy it is down right stupid. Perhaps that is why liberals favor it.

For the rest of us who have to live with the results of liberal stupidity and live in the real world, we would like policy decisions based on facts and evidence, not hysterical ranting.

Gun control is a great case study. Liberals want to ban the private ownership of firearms. What has happened when that has been tried in the past?

The cities with the harshest gun control laws are the cities with the highest crime rates. When Britain and Australia banned the private ownership of guns. What happened? Violent crime went through the roof.

What is one of the nations with the lowest crime rates?

Switzerland.

Interestingly enough, every Swiss man has an assault rifle in his home as well as other weapons. Gun crime is rare in Switzerland.

Does anyone take liberals seriously? The only thing I take seriously about liberals is their ability to damage the nation and destroy freedom and liberty.

That is something we should all take seriously.

KNIGHT: Classless warfare fails in Wisconsin – Washington Times

KNIGHT: Classless warfare fails in Wisconsin – Washington Times.

Obama seeks consolation for Midwest beat-down with Left Coast pay-up

By Robert Knight – The Washington Times

Wouldn’t it be awful if an important election hinged on some fat cats outspending the opposition? That was the liberals’ excuse for the failure of Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to unseat Republican WisconsinGov. Scott Walker in Tuesday’s recall election.

The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen used figures from the “nonpartisan” Wisconsin Democracy Campaign to report that Mr. Walker raised $30.5 million to Mr. Barrett’s measly $3.9 million. Wow, what a spread. Too bad it’s not the whole picture, as Ben Shapiro pointed out at Breitbart.com: “As it turns out, labor unions spent an additional $21 million on the recall election.”

Instead of 7-1 or 10-1, the “spending gap” was closer to $30 million-$25 million. Also, in a recall election of several GOP Wisconsin senators in September, “Democrats outspent Republicans $23.4 million to $20.5 million.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney, who has arguably the toughest job in Washington, gamely addressed the Wisconsin debacle, saying, “I certainly wouldn’t read much into yesterday’s result beyond its effect on who’s occupying the governor’s seat in Wisconsin.” Mad magazine’s Alfred E. “What, me worry?” Neuman could not have put it better.

When a controversial Republican governor handily prevails despite a massive union campaign in a historically progressive state, why should a Democratic president in a failing economy get nervous? Also on Tuesday, California voters in San Jose and San Diego, not exactly bastions of conservatism, approved measures curbing public-employee union power. Uh-oh.

Not to worry, though. Mr. Obama still has the national media. Like an army of programmed zombies, they obediently lurched forward with the “big spending” theme in Wisconsin. CBS, NBC, ABC and MSNBC all harped on the fact that Mr. Walker’s campaign and PACs supporting it raised far more than Mr. Barrett’s supporters, the Media Research Center reported.

I don’t recall similar alarm when they reported on President Obama’s reputed goal of a $1 billion national war chest for November. But the GOP’s fundraising success in Wisconsin sure cheesed them off.

On election eve, Peter Alexander said on Monday’s “NBC Nightly News” that the state had “been flooded with a record $64 million in campaign spending.” He declared: “Many voters have had enough.”

They sure have. Mr. Walker won with 205,509 more votes than he got when beating Mr. Barrett back in 2010. Thirty-eight percent of union households voted for Mr. Walker, an increase of one point from 2010. Apparently, balancing the budget, reducing taxes and preventing state employee layoffs is enough dirty pool to ensure survival of a recall.

Sensing a train wreck, Mr. Obama skipped Wisconsin, leaving Mr. Barrett to twist in the Badger State winds. Mr. Obama at least flew near the state on the way to fundraisers in Minnesota before a two-day swing through San Francisco and Los Angeles, where dollars gaily flowed into his coffers like Napa Valley wine.

Following Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s lead and pretending two men are a real marriage plus refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act sure opens the wallets in La-La Land. A $25,000-a-plate dinner at the Los Angeles home of “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy after an LGBT Leadership Council gala at $1,250 a ticket, plus a $35,800-per-plate luncheon and other events earlier in San Francisco helped raise at least $5.3 million.

Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin, where the GOP also retained Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Senate seats, Democrats clung to the hope that a tightly contested recall of a fourth Republican state senator may swing that chamber back to Democratic control. If so, perhaps they won’t flee the state the next time a difficult vote comes up.

Democrats also took heart in exit polls that had Mr. Obama beating Mitt Romney by seven points, half the margin by which Mr. Obama beat John McCain in 2008. Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney skipped the Wisconsin contest.

Public-employee unions are trying to pick up the pieces, but Tuesday’s vote had to be sobering. It’s one thing for Mr. Walker and a GOP-led legislature to curb their power; it’s another for 54 percent of the electorate to say they agree.

Lots of lessons can be learned, not the least of which is that the recall system worked. Ideally, recall elections are a tool to remove corrupt or out-of-control politicians. They are not supposed to be partisan means to punish elected officials for policy differences. We have regular elections for that. Conversely, a failed recall can demonstrate public support for an incumbent’s policies and smear huge amounts of egg on certain deserving faces. For more information on all things recall, see recalltherogues.org.

According to exit polls, 6 in 10 Wisconsin voters said recall should be used only to punish “official misconduct.” Mr. Walker may be hated by the unions, but he’s not a crook, and voters acted accordingly.

Harsher elements of the political left vow revenge, of course. Mr. Walker is receiving death threats and other vitriolic tweets, as reported by The Washington Times’ 24/7 blog. Occupy Milwaukee was out in full force Thursday, calling police “pigs” and brandishing signs saying “Public jobs program now!” and “Stop the war on women.”

It’s doubtful any of this will intimidate a guy who didn’t blink when his opponents threw the kitchen sink at him.

Speaking of the unions, even if he thought the recall was a loser, Mr. Obama might at least have gone through the motions for a major Democratic constituency. Perhaps it’s more fun hanging around with celebrities.

In New York on Monday, after Mr. Obama’s Broadway fundraisers with Bill Clinton, the hapless Mr. Carney was asked if “glitzy” celebrity events might hurt Mr. Obama’s populist message. He responded that Mr. Obama has “vast numbers of small donors. … And I think that the fact that the president enjoys that kind of support speaks to what his policy priorities are. He’s out there fighting for the middle class.”

Unless you’re a middle-class union member in Wisconsin, that is.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.

TYRRELL: All the angry liberals – Washington Times

TYRRELL: All the angry liberals – Washington Times.

It doesn’t take a shrink to figure out they’re driven by resentment

By R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. – The Washington Times

I was innocently making my way through the weekend newspapers when I came upon a “think” piece in The Washington Post by a dreamer named Chris Mooney, a self-confessed “liberal.” Yes, he actually admitted to it.

He has conferred with psychologists to ascertain the difference between liberals and conservatives. By the way, it is always a tip-off when one writes that he has resorted to psychologists, as opposed to political philosophers, to explain what are, after all, political differences. What the writer is saying is we now have “science” on our side, as opposed to mere learning, and the scientists’ findings are unassailable – and, as it turns out, claptrap: tendentious, self-regarding claptrap.

Now comes Mr. Mooney’s claptrap: “There’s now a large body of evidence showing that those who opt for the political left and those who opt for the political right tend to process information in divergent ways and to differ on any number of psychological traits.” To come to the point, liberals “score higher on a personality measure called ‘openness to experience.’ ” And conservatives, “in contrast, tend to be less open – less exploratory, less in need of change.” We conservatives appreciate “order and structure.” You will recall how open to experience liberals have been when we have attempted to introduce vouchers, charter schools, missile defense and supply-side economics. Liberals are wildly curious about conservative positions on all manner of issues. As for openness, may I suggest you light up a fat cigar, say, in an outdoor cafe, or ride your bicycle without a helmet. See how open our liberal friends are then.

Fortunately, last weekend I also read the Wall Street Journal (that is how open “to experience” I am) and came across an interview with the distinguished British political philosopher – and, I might add, American Spectator contributor – Roger Scruton. Mr. Scruton, as luck would have it, had some arresting things to say about the differing mentality of liberals and conservatives – all without having to resort to the partisan findings of lightweights and imposters. He said of liberalism: “My own view is that left-wing positions largely come about from resentment – I agree with Nietzsche about this – a resentment about the surrounding social order. They have privileges; I don’t. Or, I have them, and I can’t live up to them. Things should be organized differently. And there’s always some sense on the left that power is in the wrong hands.”

That comports very well with my long-held thesis that there is only one political value that all liberals through the generations continue to profess. It is not personal liberty. It is not public order. It is disturbing the peace. Think about my aforementioned fat cigar. A generation ago, no self-respecting liberal denied our ability to smoke in public, and a lady with a cigar was admired widely. Today it is a capital offense, or should be. Liberals’ one unchanging political value is to disturb the peace, and let us pause to note that in almost any civilized criminal code, disturbing the peace is a misdemeanor. In Araby, it probably is a capital offense.

Mr. Scruton’s observation about the liberals and their resentments is a perfect opening for introducing a lady who this week needs no introduction, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, who said of Ann Romney that she “has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.” Mrs. Romney raised five boys, beginning when both she and her husband were undergraduates. Oh, and let us not forget the comic genius Bill Maher, who that added Ann Romney “has never gotten [expletive] out of the house to work.”

These liberals may suffer superior “openness to experience,” but their openness is limited to things their leaders approve of, and, more fundamentally, they are very angry. They are angry with anyone who presumes to seek high public office against them – even a candidate’s wife. They are angry because they are losing.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. He is author of the forthcoming “The Death of Liberalism” (Thomas Nelson).

Marion Barry and the Left’s Hatred of Asian Entrepreneurs – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative Columnists

Marion Barry and the Left’s Hatred of Asian Entrepreneurs – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

Marion Barry’s mouth set him up. The disgraced former mayor of Washington, D.C., who was caught on tape in a 1987 crack cocaine sting, made an even bigger disgrace of himself and his city on Tuesday. Celebrating a Democratic primary victory, the city councilman attacked small businesses owned by “Asians” in his district. Then the race-baiting clown doubled down.

Barry told supporters in D.C.’s Ward 8: “We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go.” Once pushed out, Barry promised, he would replace the foreign invaders with “African-American business people.” Barry then took to the social networking platform Twitter to expound on the perils of “dirty” Asian shops in his neighborhood.

As documented by my Twitter curation start-up Twitchy.com, Barry posted photos of supposedly hazardous stores — including Chinese restaurants surrounded not by trash or toxic waste, but by Plexiglas barriers and reinforced doors. Barry explained that Asian-owned businesses that had the audacity to protect themselves from crime were “lowering standards” in his constituents’ communities.

In Barry’s bizarre world, law-abiding entrepreneurs who take steps to prevent robberies are the ones who threaten Ward 8’s quality of life — not the armed thugs who threaten honest livelihoods in the first place. Vigilant wealth creators taking care of their families? Scourge of D.C. Profanity-spewing drug addicts inciting hatred against successful achievers of the American Dream? Model citizens!

Crazy Barry doesn’t just need another round of rehab. He needs a reality check.

As a commenter on DCist.com noted, 2010 Census data showed that “Asians made up 0.4 percent of the Ward 8 population (blacks made up 93.5 percent, a 1 percent increase from 2000). If anything, Asians are moving out, not in — the Asian population decreased 13.6 percent (from 301 people to 260 people) between 2000 and 2010. Meanwhile, the child poverty rate in Ward 8 sits at 48.3 percent, a 1.2 percent increase since 2000 — in contrast, the District’s overall child poverty rate decreased 3 percent since 2000. Now that’s what I call defying the odds.”

If Barry’s ignorant slurs had come out of the mouth of, say, former GOP Gov. George Allen of Virginia (pummeled for his “macaca” gaffe), there would be calls for his head from every civil rights organization in the Beltway. While the Washington Post reported that Barry “apologized,” he showed typical fake penitence for “offending” Asians and claimed he was “taken out of context.”

By “Asian,” he blubbered to a local TV reporter, he didn’t mean “Asian.” He really meant all “those persons (who) come into our community, whatever color they are; it happened to be Asian initially.” Put the prejudice pipe down, buddy.

        Instead of showing true remorse, Barry dug in deeper with even more divisive, entitled and militant us vs. them propaganda: “We’re spending our money there, and we demand respect,” he told the Washington Post. “We demand they participate in community affairs. We demand they give jobs to Ward 8 people regardless of their cultural situation. That’s as American as apple pie.”

Spoken like a true racial racketeer.

But Barry’s not alone. His incendiary rhetoric echoes other liberal black leaders who have long made a sport of scapegoating Asian immigrant entrepreneurs across the country. Just this February, Jeffery Muhammad, the veteran Nation of Islam leader in Dallas, lashed out at Asian-American business owners for being “just the latest in a long line of people who have come to this country — like Jews, Italians, Indians and now Asians — who have sucked the blood of and exploited the black community.”

Just a fringe sentiment, you say?

Rapper Ice Cube, now a mainstream actor and comedian, penned “Black Korea” to demonize Korean store owners in South Central Los Angeles:

So they watch every damn move that I make.

They hope I don’t pull out a gat and try to rob

they funky little store, but b***h, I got a job.

… So don’t follow me, up and down your market,

or your little chop suey ass’ll be a target

of the nationwide boycott.

And Al Sharpton, now a prominent MSNBC host, was caught on tape stoking hatred against Chinese-owned chicken restaurants and Korean grocers:

“We’re the black chicken friers of the universe. We gonna go buy some Col. Sanders chicken. Then the Chinamen comin’ and (inaudible) … Koreans sell us watermelons. We eat watermelons all our lives. But they gonna come cut it up, put it in a bucket with a rubber band around it, and we gonna buy it like it’s somethin’ and we didn’t know what it was.”

Few dare to call out black racism against Asians. Those who do are met with nasty racial epithets, of course. Last year, when I called attention to flash mobs of black assailants in Denver, Wisconsin, Philadelphia and New York who were explicitly targeting Asian students and elderly Asian women for brutal assaults, my e-mail box filled with vitriol:

 

“(D)oes your family still live in poverty? Not anymore, since you married into the tribe ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME GI.”

“Shut up whore.”

President Obama, commander-in-chief of post-racial America, was unavailable for comment.

Liberal Opposition to Ryan Plan Is Delusional Demagoguery – David Limbaugh – Townhall Conservative Columnists

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Liberal Opposition to Ryan Plan Is Delusional Demagoguery – David Limbaugh – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

It’s one thing for good-faith conservative Republicans to challenge the Ryan plan from the right if they believe its cuts are too small and too slow, but these liberal attacks are something else again.

How catastrophic would the nation’s fiscal condition have to be before liberals recognized its urgency? Is there any scenario under which they’d consider setting aside their partisan populism to come to the nation’s rescue? Are they capable of even temporarily setting aside their redistributionist myopia long enough meaningfully to address the main drivers of the national debt?

As we know, President Obama hasn’t addressed and won’t address our financial problems. He has never presented a budget plan that even pretends to rein in entitlement spending or comes anywhere close to reducing our annual deficits to less than shocking numbers, much less reversing the debt picture.

When Paul Ryan presented his plan in April 2011, Obama mocked, ridiculed and demonized him and Republicans as wanting to inflict pain on the elderly and autistic, among other sympathetic groups. Yet when Obama’s treasury secretary appeared before the House and the Senate, he admitted the administration’s plan wholly fails to address the long-term debt issue and said only that the administration doesn’t like the way Ryan’s plan approaches it.

We are witnessing the end results of liberal policies on a wide variety of issues — from health care to the economy to the national debt — yet liberals can’t give them up. Instead of acknowledging that their utopian dreams haven’t delivered, they are shaking their fists at Republicans and conservatives, as if it were our fault that reality doesn’t conform to their fantasies. They’d be much better off reading Mark Levin‘s “Ameritopia,” but I won’t hold my breath.

In The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn rails against “the stunning immorality of Paul Ryan’s budget.” The Washington Post’s editorial board denounces “Paul Ryan’s dangerous, and intentionally vague, budget plan.”

Cohn, obviously not given to hyperbole, suggests that no politician would ever boast about a plan that would rob health insurance from tens of millions and “effectively eliminate the federal government except for entitlements and defense spending” — “except Paul Ryan just did.”

It’s not as though “tens of millions” have anything desirable with Obamacare, and whatever they do have costs multiples of what it was advertised and will also wreck the quality of our health care and greatly diminish our freedoms. So how about instead of the cherry-picking we get a little more of the whole picture?

Cohn obviously resents any proposals that would deprive liberals of the Monopoly money they use to effectuate their social planning schemes, even though extending the status quo would guarantee national insolvency and the disastrous consequences it would bring. How do they figure government dependents would fare if that were to occur?

Instead of contributing something — anything — toward long-term solutions to the problems they largely caused, Cohn and his fellow liberal finger-pointers are scapegoating Ryan and Republicans for offering a reasonable plan to navigate us out of this mess.

The Washington Post’s editors are no better. They lead with what they pretend is a self-evident truth but what is no more accurate than their Keynesian maxim that deficit spending stimulates the economy. “There is no credible path to deficit reduction,” they write, “without a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases.”

Sorry, but after a certain point, tax rate increases yield diminishing marginal returns for the revenue ledger, which we’ve seen throughout our history at both the macro (entire economy) and micro (luxury tax) levels. No matter how high they jack up the tax rates, they’re not going to produce a significant fraction of the additional revenue needed to balance the budget, let alone begin to reduce the national debt.

Try a simple exercise: Compare the Bush budgets with the Obama budgets, and see the startling amount of difference economic growth makes on the generation of revenue. We’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars.

I don’t believe that Ryan is proposing tax cuts primarily because he believes we pay too much in taxes. I think he did so because of the practical reality that we can’t ultimately balance the budget — even with substantial spending cuts — unless we have a growing economy that yields a bigger pie to generate sufficient revenue.

The painful truth is that Ryan’s plan is modest and moderate, not grandiose and extreme. If you want to criticize it, do so on the basis that the country could use an even bigger fiscal diet, not that it is too severe.

Democrats and their liberal helpmates are stoking the flames of the fire that threatens the republic; Ryan and others are driving the firetrucks and are merely debating over how big the hoses should be.

In a saner and less polarized nation, Obama would be ousted in a historic landslide in November. He very well may be.

Americans Reject Obamacare, Mandate-Centered Approach | The Weekly Standard

Americans Reject Obamacare, Mandate-Centered Approach | The Weekly Standard.

By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON

As is becoming increasingly clear, the legislation that was the principal cause of the Democrats’ historic defeat in 2010 isn’t getting any more popular as President Obama heads toward his day of accountability to the American citizenry. Four days before the 2-year anniversary of when Obama signed Obamacare into law, an ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Americans oppose the president’s signature legislation by a much larger margin than in the immediate aftermath of its passage.   

US Supreme Court

ABC News/Washington Post polling nearly always skews Democratic, but even it showed Obamacare to be unpopular in March 2010 — by a 4-point margin (50 percent opposed, 46 percent in favor). That margin of opposition is now 11 points (52 percent opposed, 41 percent in favor). Back then, the margin among those who felt “strongly” (either way) was 8 points (40 percent opposed, 32 percent in favor). It’s now 17 points (41 percent opposed, 24 percent in favor). Perhaps most worrisome of all for the president, members of presumably the most important subset of voters — independents who feel strongly — now oppose Obamacare by a margin of 2 to 1 (44 to 22 percent).

Moreover, one week before the Supreme Court will begin to hear challenges to Obamacare’s constitutionality from 26 states, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) think the Court should void the individual mandate that would require essentially every American to buy government-approved health insurance under penalty of law. Sixty-three percent of those 67 percent (42 percent overall), think the Court should void the rest of Obamcare as well, as U.S. District Court judge Roger Vinson did. (Vinson essentially argued that Obamacare cannot realistically function (a point the White House has effectively granted) — and would not realistically have been passed — without the individual mandate; therefore, the mandate should not be surgically extracted from the center of the act, leaving the surrounding parts intact. Rather, the mandate’s invalidation must invalidate the entire act.) In sharp contrast, only about a quarter of Americans (26 percent) think the Court should uphold the act in its entirety.

Clearly, most Americans don’t “like mandates” nearly as much as Obama or the current Republican frontrunner do. During the Obamacare debate, Mitt Romney wrote a USA Today op-ed in which he seemingly encouraged Obama (who had claimed to oppose an individual mandate when running for president) to include an individual mandate in Obamacare. After Obamacare’s passage, when much of the GOP had already indicated its clear determination to settle for nothing less than full repeal, Romney described the mandate as one of “the similarities” between Romneycare and Obamacare that he “like[d],” suggesting that the mandate was one the “good” parts of Obamacare that he’d like to “keep.” 

Romney now says he opposes the individual mandate in Obamacare and thinks it’s unconstitutional. However, he continues to describe his own mandate in Massachusetts as the right policy, rather than as an affront to liberty he now wishes he could undo.

Obamacare arguments: Time to start making them – Right Turn – The Washington Post

Obamacare arguments: Time to start making them – Right Turn – The Washington Post.

Yesterday, I noted that Obamacare’s unconstitutional malady — the individual mandate — may not be its biggest policy flaw. The Independent Payment Advisory Board, the unelected tribunal of 15 appointees who will determine reimbursement rates, is one, but by no means the only, pernicious part of the legislation. If Republicans are to win the battle over Obamacare, they would be wise to make two other policy arguments: 1) It creates new taxes on everything from medical devices to medication to flexible savings accounts (which many Americans now use to pay for insurance deductibles and other noninsured items); and 2) It worsens the business environment and adversely affects the labor market, especially for small businesses.

Americans for Tax Reform compiled a helpful list of the taxes in Obamacare, which total approximately $500 billion. These include a new 3.8 percent surtax on investment income that will push up the top marginal rate on dividends and capital gains (as the administration blames Wall Street and Republicans for the anemic recovery); a hike in the Medicare payroll tax; a tax on medical device manufacturers; and a new tax on drug companies. There are 20 separate taxes. Only if you believe insurance companies provide contraception for “free” would you think that these costs wouldn’t be passed onto consumers. Obamacare is a massive redistribution scheme in which huge taxes are extracted to subsidize health-care plans for a subset of the population. To achieve that, the government has to raise a whole bunch of revenue, and it certainly aims to do that.

A related and serious drawback in the Obamacare scheme is the impact on hiring and on small businesses. Last July, Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum testified before a House subcommittee on the impact on small businesses. The testimony is worth reading in full, but this portion is especially noteworthy:

Sadly, the new health-­care law is an assault on small business, beginning with the 3.8 percent Medicare tax on net investment income – a direct tax on many business owners. Of even greater concern is the law’s most celebrated feature – the mandate to cover full-­time employees with health insurance. For businesses with more than 50 workers, this means paying a penalty if any full-­time workers receive subsidized coverage.

The mandate creates a tremendous impediment to expansion. Suppose, for example, that a firm does not provide health benefits. Hiring one more worker to raise employment to 51 will trigger a penalty of $2,000 per worker multiplied by the entire workforce, after subtracting the first 30 workers. In this case the fine would be $42,000 to hire an additional worker. How many firms will choose not to expand?

Because Republicans have done a poor job of making policy arguments (in addition to the constitutional arguments) against Obamacare, I doubt many voters, who already are opposed to Obamacare in increasing numbers, know a fraction of what is in the bill. It is incumbent on Republicans to take them through these aspects of the bill and make the connection to the dismal economic outlook that many voters face.

When the GOP presidential and congressional candidates talk about Obamacare they ignore these aspects of the legislation at their peril. Outside the conservative base, commerce clause arguments and appeals to limited government may have limited traction. But telling voters that Obamacare brings a bevy of new taxes and new burdens on small businesses, along with a 15-person uber-medical decision-making board, should get their attention.

If nothing else, voters understand that their current insurance costs are going up, not down. According to President Obama, that wasn’t suppose to happen. The pie-in-the-sky promises that Obamacare was going to save us money, limit small-business costs and cut the deficit have proved to be false. And the president and those who voted for this monstrosity should be held accountable. To do that Republicans had better start making the case to the voters and stop relying on the Supreme Court to do the heavy lifting.

Never Trust Government Numbers

Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, authored...

Image via Wikipedia

Never Trust Government Numbers.

John Stossel – Townhall.com

President Obama said in his State of the Union speech, “We’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings.”

That was reassuring.

The new budget he released this week promises $4 trillion in “deficit reduction” — about half in tax increases and half in spending cuts. But like most politicians, Obama misleads.

Cato Institute economist Dan Mitchell cut through the fog to get at the truth of the $2 trillion “cut.”

“We have a budget of, what, almost $4 trillion? So if we’re doing $2 trillion of cuts,” Mitchell said, “we’re cutting government in half. That sounds wonderful.”

But what the president was talking about is not even a cut. The politicians just agreed that over the next 10 years, instead of increasing spending by $9.48 trillion, they’d increase it by “just” $7.3 trillion. Calling that a “cut” is nonsense.

Mitchell gave an analogy: “What if I came to you and said, ‘I’ve been on a diet for the last month, and I’ve gained 10 pounds. Isn’t that great?’ You would say: ‘Wait, what are you talking about? That’s insane.’ And I said: ‘I was going to gain 15 pounds. I’ve only gained 10 pounds, therefore my diet is successful.'”

Democrats use this deceit when they want more social spending. Republicans use it for military spending.

And the press buys it. The Washington Post has been writing about “draconian cuts.”

“The politicians know this game,” Mitchell said. “The special interests know this game. Everyone gets a bigger budget every year. … And we wind up, sooner or later, being Greece.”

We are definitely on the road to bankruptcy.

“We have maybe 10, 15 years’ advanced notice. And what’s frustrating is that we’re not taking advantage of that, even as we see these other countries collapsing into social chaos and disarray.”

Mitchell points out that the politicians don’t even have to make actual cuts to save the future. If they just slowed the growth of government to about 2 percent per year, the U.S. economy could grow out of this mess. But the politicians won’t do even that.

“Being from the Cato Institute, I actually do want to cut spending. But if all we’re trying to do is balance the budget over 10 years, which is sort of the minimal thing that politicians keep saying we should do, if we simply limit the growth of spending to 2 percent a year, which is about the projected rate of inflation, we’ll have a balanced budget in 2022. … But instead, the politicians say, ‘Oh, we’ll have draconian and savage budget cuts.’ … They don’t want to put government on a diet, even if that diet allows spending to grow 2 percent a year.”

They also continually mislead us about what their schemes will cost.

President Bush said the war in Iraq would cost $50 billion to $60 billion. It cost $800 billion. When Medicare Part A was created, the government said it would cost $9 billion in 1990. It cost $67 billion. They said the hiring of TSA airport security screeners would cost $100 million. Then they spent $700 million. Yet the media report the estimates as if they are realistic. Again and again, politicians get away with underestimating the cost of their programs.

Often the cost goes up because people change their behavior to get free stuff. A program meant to help the needy costs a certain amount. The next year, it costs more, because now more of the needy know about the program and more social workers know how to tap it. The next year, the non-needy feel like suckers if they don’t get the handout, and they figure out a way to game the system.

Then, Mitchell point out, “what do politicians do the next year? They expand the program to buy more votes. And the year after that, they add a new benefit. That’s what’s happened with Medicare. It’s not just that they got the fundamental estimates wrong. They did. But every new generation of politicians figures out some new expansion, some new benefit.”

And so we’re on the road to Greece.

Bottom line: Don’t trust the politicians’ numbers.

Senator Schumer’s Dishonest Grasp of Fiscal History – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance

 

Senator Charles Schumer

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Senator Schumer’s Dishonest Grasp of Fiscal History – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance.

I’m not a big fan of Senator Schumer of New York. As I’ve noted before, he’s a doctrinaire statist who wants the government to have control over just about every aspect of our lives.

But that describes a lot of people in Washington. I guess what also bothers me is his willingness to say anything, regardless of how divorced it is from reality, to advance his short-run political agenda (sort of a Democrat version of Karl Rove).

For example, here’s part of what the clownish Empire State  Senator recently had to say about fiscal policy, as reported by a Washington Post columnist.

Schumer said, “…Republicans came in and said, `We can solve your problem by shrinking government’…We tried their theory…The American people resent government paralysis, but most of them would say that government is doing too little to help them, not too much.”

What’s remarkable about this statement is that it’s so inaccurate that we can’t even decipher what he means. I’ve come up with three possible interpretations of what he might have been trying to say, and they’re all wrong.

1. He’s referring to GOP actions this year. This interpretation might make partial sense because the House Republicans have made a few semi-serious efforts to shrink government, but how can Schumer say “we tried their theory” when every Republican initiative was blocked by the Senate and Obama?

The Ryan budget died of malign neglect since the Senate didn’t even bother to produce a budget, and Republican efforts on the 2011 spending levels and the debt limit also were stymied, resulting at best in kiss-your-sister deals.

2. He’s referring to GOP actions during the Bush Administration. This interpretation might make some sense because the GOP did control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, but does Schumer understand that “shrinking government” was not part of the Republican agenda during those years?

But don’t believe me. The numbers from the Historical Tables of the Budget unambiguously show that the federal budget almost doubled during the Bush years because of huge increases in domestic spending.

3. He’s referring to GOP actions during the 1990s. This interpretation actually does make sense because the burden of the public sector did shrink as a share of GDP during the Clinton years when Republicans controlled Congress, so it would be accurate to say “we tried their theory.”

But what was so bad about the era of spending restraint during the 1990s? The economy expanded and people were better off, in large part because, to quote Schumer, government was “doing too little to help them.”

Heck, the Clinton-GOP Congress years were so good that I even offered, during a debate on national TV, to go back to Clinton’s higher tax rates if it meant we also could undo all the reckless spending of the Bush-Obama years.

This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped caring about low marginal tax rates. It just means that I understand that the ultimate tax is the burden of the public sector. This video explains more, in case you’re wondering why I’d like to go back to the 1990s.

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyhow) that it would be even better to combine Clinton’s spending levels with Reagan’s tax rates.

I posted some polling data a couple of weeks ago that showed how the dependency mindset (as captured by these cartoons) is far worse in Europe than it is in the United States.

Now let’s look at some additional public opinion research from Gallup that illuminates American exceptionalism. Here is how voters responded to a question on the biggest threat to America’s future.

Though I don’t want to get too optimistic. Given what’s happening in Europe and the fact that politicians so far have failed to enact genuine entitlement reform, the 64 percent should be 94 percent

LAMBRO: Shining spotlight on solar panel bankruptcy – Washington Times

Seal of the United States Department of Energy.

LAMBRO: Shining spotlight on solar panel bankruptcy – Washington Times.

The White House’s half-billion-dollar loan to a now-bankrupt solar-energy firm is just the first act in an emerging scandal of insider political influence over a deeply flawed clean energy program.

What has come to light so far as part of a congressional investigation is the administration’s willful order to approve a bad loan, despite dire warnings from a number of federal officials that the Solyndra Corp., a California-based solar panel maker, was in deep financial trouble.

A steady stream of government emails released by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee tells a sordid tale of a company that President Obama turned into an energy showcase for his $40 billion loan program – until it went bankrupt in August, putting 1,100 employees out of work.

One of the people who promoted Solyndra’s $535 million loan, which now will be paid by federal taxpayers, was Steven J. Spinner, a senior Energy Department adviser, a major fundraiser for Mr. Obama and a Silicon Valley investor who was given the job of guiding the government’s clean-technology investments.

He not only was the one of Solyndra’s unabashedly inside defenders, his wife worked for the California law firm that represented the solar company and helped it file for the government loan her husband was promoting.

While internal concerns were raised about Solyndra’s shaky finances as early as the summer of 2009, Mr. Spinner emailed a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that Solyndra was a financially solvent company that fully deserved the administration’s support.

“I haven’t heard anything negative on my side,” he told Mr. Emanuel’s aide in an email about the warnings. “I … have no idea what they’re referring [to].”

As the loan deal stalled after internal criticism of the firm’s looming insolvency, Mr. Spinner grew more impatient. “How [expletive] hard is this?” he wrote to a career Energy Department staffer Aug. 28, 2009, about its delayed clearance from an Office of Management and Budget official. “What is he waiting for? Will we have it by the end of the day?”

But internal complaints from OMB and Treasury about Solyndra’s dubious finances as well as the favorable terms of its loan persisted. That sparked further internal debate about the legality of the loan’s revision, though to no avail.

Dismissing warnings that the government’s restructuring of the loan was illegal and should be reviewed by Justice Department attorneys, Energy officials moved ahead with changes in February that required Solyndra’s investors be repaid before taxpayers if the company defaulted on its debt.

Other emails released by the House panel last month reveal a politically pressured program that was heavily influenced by powerful special interests that had a stake in its outcome.

“In an administration that said it would curtail lobbyists’ influence, the documents show ardent lobbying by political appointees inside the agencies and significant White House access given to venture capitalists with a major stake in the $40 billion stimulus investment program for clean energy,” The Washington Post reported last month.

One of these venture investors was David Prend, whose company, Rockport Capital, was a Solyndra backer. He met with White House officials about the deal in March of 2009.

“It was great to meet you with [then-White House climate adviser] Carol Browner last week,” Mr. Prend wrote. “I look forward to working with you to get the message out and to effect real change in the Energy Industry. I will follow up shortly on 2 of the companies we discussed,” he said. One of them was Solyndra.

But emails from government officials to Energy officials, who were responsible for reviewing the deal, were growing increasingly critical of Solyndra’s rising debts and declining revenues.

“DOE … has one loan to monitor and they seem completely oblivious to this issue,” an OMB analyst wrote April 2, 2010.

“What’s terrifying is that after looking at some of the other [loan-guarantee projects] that came next, this one [Solyndra] started to look better,” a budget analyst email said.

“Bad days are coming,” another OMB analyst wrote, referring to other shaky companies the Department of Energy was prepared to invest in as part of Mr. Obama’s loan-guarantee program.

As news stories proliferated about Solyndra and the president’s job approval polls sank further last month, Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican and chairman of its investigating subcommittee, accused the White House of “stonewalling” its demands for further documents about the West Wing’s role in the scandal.

“What is the White House trying to hide from the American public?” they said in a statement last week, warning they will be forced to subpoena the requested documents if they are not forthcoming.

Last week, in an effort to blunt the GOP’s demands, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley ordered a 60-day review to evaluate the administration’s entire $35 billion loan portfolio. That may be too little, too late. Insiders say that future loans may be in trouble as well.

Meantime, other internal White House emails show there was a growing fear within the Obama administration that Solyndra’s finances were weak when it was given the green light. Indeed, one unusually blunt White House email suggests that the Energy Department was woefully “ill-equipped” to make these kinds of investment decisions.

So hang on to your wallet. Look for more failed loans in the months to come.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

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