Romney needs to call Obama’s Bluffet….

 

We know that the Bluffet, sorry Buffet, rule is a motif for President’s class warfare, and more warning shots will be fired when Congress returns today from a two-week recess to a test vote on the rule, which would impose a minimum 30 percent tax rate on income over $1 million. The Bluffett tax targets wealthier Americans’ investments rather than salaries.

Today is the day when this issue of class warfare kicks off for November in earnest, now that we know it will be Romney for the GOP and Congress gets to have a say on the matter.

President Obama, who pays less tax than HIS secretary (he filed tax returns showing he paid an effective tax rate of 20.5 percent on income of about $800,000 in 2011) says the government needs the revenue from the Bluffett rule, estimated at $47 billion over 10 years, to cover “a broad range of goals.” He also says “This is not just about fairness.” Well, he got that right, it is very unfair, but not in the simplistic moralistic way he is peddling.

He says “This is also about growth. It’s about being able to make the investments we need to strengthen our economy and create jobs. And it’s about whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments.” In other words, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Fact is, do we really need government to do the investing, and where does the investment go? Into government black holes and deep pockets, rather than into businesses which create wealth. The Bluffet tax would not create wealth, it would merely enhance dependency. We would see a better rate of return on the $47 billion in business investment by the wealthy than we would from government. That is an awful lot of liquidity to take out of the markets, and I don’t see too many secretaries taking up the slack.

Of course, keeper of the Treasury keys Tim Geithner was out pushing the rule on Sunday, “Just because Republicans oppose this does not mean it’s not the right thing to do and not the right thing to push for,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Double negatives aside, we can say that just because Democrats think it is the right thing to do doesn’t mean it even begins to make sense.

If we look at the paying side of this, we see the rich targeted for this end up paying more. Simple. But for what are they paying? Increased revenue means increased expenditure, and so the things for government to spend on expands to meet the expanded revenue. More programs, more dependency and less reward for effort. What does the payer get in return? They get little benefit, and the wealthier they are the less they need what they are paying for.

Which means the sole purpose of the Bluffet rule is twofold, increased state powers and redistribution of wealth. Conservatives who attack Romney or the rich for their wealth are playing with the same deck as Obama.

Obama says, “If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do… Most Americans support this idea. We just need some Republican politicians to get on board with where the country is.” Of course, Obama doesn’t have to worry too much about his investments, because after leaving office, which cannot come soon enough, he will make a ton of cash for the remainder of his days. He doesn’t have too much to worry about…The rest of us do.

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Just What on Earth is a Conservative?

A New Conservatism is needed to stop America going down the road of Welfarism

Iowa is upon us. 2012 is upon us. How will it all end? It may just all end in tears. Tears because Obama wins, or tears because the GOP did    not offer a viable alternative. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: this is a time to stand up for conservative principles.

But, just what on earth is a conservative, and can one win the White House this year?

To answer this means agreement on just what a conservative is, and your answer to the second part of my question depends on the answer to the first part.

Simply put, Conservatism is a set of instincts and principles guiding decisions, which are applied according to historical context. Today’s conservative may discuss different situations and policy options then an 18th Century conservative, but then they will adhere to some broad principles as if there had been no intervening centuries. The conservative whom is central to American modern conservatism is Edmund Burke, and he spelled out some core conservative elements of thought:

  1. People are basically religious, and religion is the foundation of civil society. A divine sanction infuses the legitimate, existing, social order.
  2. Society is the natural, organic product of slow historical growth, with institutions drawing on the wisdom of previous generations.
  3. People are creatures of instinct and emotion as well as reason. Prudence, prejudice, experience, and habit are better guides than reason, logic, abstractions, and metaphysics. Truth exists not in universal propositions but in concrete experiences.
  4. The community is superior to the individual. Rights derive from duties. Evil is rooted in human nature, not in any particular social institutions.
  5. Apart from an ultimate moral sense, people are unequal. Social organization is a complex of classes, orders, and groups. Hence, differentiation, hierarchy and leadership are the inevitable characteristics of any civil society.
  6. A presumption exists “in favor of any settled scheme of government against any untried project.  “Man’s hopes are high, but his vision is short.”  Thus, efforts to remedy existing evils usually result in even greater ones.

We find echoes of these elements in the influential 1953 essay “The Conservative Mind”, where Russell Kirk offered what he called “six canons of conservative thought”. Like Burke, the divine plays a foundational role:

  1. Belief that a divine intent rules society as well as conscience
  2. Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional life
  3. Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes
  4. Persuasion that property and freedom are inseparably connected and that economic leveling is not economic progress
  5. Faith in prescription and distrust of “sophisters and calculators”
  6. Recognition that change and reform are not identical

In 2012, how many of these foundational canons of thought are taught in our educational system? Again the answer is simple: none. What does happen is that these foundational principles are undermined and dismantled at every level of education and public life. To be a conservative is to swim against the cultural tide, against the consensus which is taught in schools and parlayed by the chattering media.

Winning a political election means appealing to the consensus, and today’s consensus is not tolerant of principles, or even thought for that matter. In today’s climate, a conservative cannot win the election. You can only look at the GOP field and vote for the consensus candidate, in other words the nearest thing to an electable conservative. This is not a ringing endorsement of Mitt Romney, but he is the only candidate who can compete with Obama.

But then in the grand scheme of things the presidential election is a mere sideshow, because the real battles lie ahead in establishing a new conservative agenda for an America systemically in doubt and unsure. The enlightenment trajectory of Europe down the road to Welfarism, with its self-destructive repudiation of civilized principles, is the trajectory America is now following.

The answer is not to be found in this election, a new conservatism that tackles the causes of decline in enlightenment civilization is needed. A new Burke or Kirk is needed, because conservatives cannot simply look at Obama as the cause of America’s identity crisis, he is a symptom of the decay of the principles these thinkers set out so clearly.

President Obama: a liberal Wolf in conservative Sheep’s clothing

Bookmark and Share     The metaphor works well, and many liberals see it as the perfect strategy, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, there are many concerned liberals who think President Obama is making a conservative-leaning deficit deal, and they are frustrated by what they believe is his conservative-leaning deficit strategy.

The examples they cite are that the White House did not try to tie a debt ceiling vote to the extension of the Bush tax cuts last December, conceded linking any increase in the ceiling to spending cuts, and whenever Republicans dug in their heels President Obama gave ground.

Some liberals are not so worried about this, they think President Obama has a cunning plan, and is giving ground as part of his grand strategy. While Republicans are using the debt ceiling to force bigger spending cuts, President Obama is getting Democrats used to the idea of bigger spending cuts than they would like.

“Cunning, yes?” They say.

They also say, with a more conservative looking deal at the end, President Obama will come out looking good to voters and this will boost his chances of  re-election.

This is Obama, the conservative in sheep’s clothing.

However, inside lurks a Wolf.

On the other side of the 2012 election are the Tax increases much loved by liberals.

The strategy is that President Obama is making concessions because he knows taxes are scheduled to increase when the Bush-era tax rates expire… just after the election.  Whatever deal the Republicans strike by August 2nd will have a sting in the tail.

Are you ready for this?

The New York Times accuses the Republicans of being ideologues, and, of course, President Obama is determined. Why is it that whenever conservatives dig their heels in they are being ideological, but when a liberal does it is a determined effort?

The Republicans need to stand strong on the economy, and it provides a moment for one of the 2012 candidates to come out to champion the economy. Whoever does will have a shot of winning in 2012. However, if the winning candidate has not taken the main chance then in November 2012 they will be conceding to a second term President Obama on the eve of tax hikes they have no control over.

Then we will see who the ideologue is, because President Obama can finally stop campaigning and seek to do what his ideals dictate.

Are you ready for that?

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GOP Candidates: With Friends Like These…..

Bookmark and Share   So, who needs enemies? I said I will look at all the candidates, so today, before I get back to some of the serious contenders let’s look at some of the no-hopers with their hat in the ring. These are candidates who will at best be invisible and at worse do some damage to the credibility of the conservative challenge to Barack Obama.

Listed in alphabetical order, this is the Class List of Fails, so they all get an F.

First to Fred Karger, there is so little to say here. Karger is touted as the first openly gay candidate for the presidency, suggesting in the delusional reinvention of history by the gay community that there have been so many closet candidates up to now. That his orientation means he stands no chance with the vast majority of conservative voters is hardly worth stating, but neither are his economic ideas. He trots out recent orthodoxy, opposing outsourcing and the shift of manufacturing centers out of the country, and says incentives are needed to convince American companies to stay put and invest locally. His slogan on the economy is “Jobs First: We need to keep jobs in America.” He says, “I am a fiscal conservative; I come from a finance background.   I want to work to strengthen our economy.  I believe in the private sector.”  Final soundbite-me, he told Fox News Radio, “Ronald Reagan was the ultimate optimist.  He basically talked us out of the last Recession, and I want to bring that kind of optimism back.”

Teacher’s Report: I’m sorry, but saying you got business experience and paying homage to Ronald Reagan is not going to get you anywhere. It is ideas that are needed, and needed fast!

Next up is Andy Martin, who you may know better as the source of the chain mail and online reports questioning the citizenship of President Obama and the claim that he is a Muslim. He says “Obama plays for keeps. He plays rough, and that’s the only way to beat him, and I’m the only one that is tough enough to do that.” He says he represents “genuine conservative values and a practical, creative approach to solving America’s economic problems.  “Jobs come first; working families are his priority,” he says and he will “stand up FOR Main Street and stand up TO Wall Street.”

Teacher’s Report: Very cute. Sit down Andy, it isn’t going to happen.

Then we have Jimmy McMillan, who is the former mayoral, gubernatorial and senatorial candidate for the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, and formerly a registered Democrat. A Karate expert and Vietnam vet, he tells President Obama, “If you don’t do your job right, I am coming at you!” He also says the rent that is “too damn high” is about to become a national issue.

Teacher’s Report: You can chop him off your list.
Next on the cakewalk is Tom Miller, who advocates a very specific list of economic actions, including not authorizing an increase to the U.S. debt limit, amortizing the estimated $16 trillion deficit over 30 years, and ordering a full audit of the Federal government. He will immediately terminate all bailout and tarp programs and recover the money. Miller believes the National debt is a threat to National security and the status of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency. He believes he will “re-empower, once again, the American people with the freedoms that they need to rebuild our economy back into being a producing Nation.” Miller will terminate the Federal minimum wage and support the free market to determine private sector wages. There are lots of specifics on his website, and actually looks the best of this class, however….

Teacher’s Report: Sorry, but it isn’t Miller time.

With a lot less economic detail on offer, Roy Moore’s major claim to fame is to have gone against a ruling of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals when he refused to take down a display of the Ten Commandments and a monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building. This cost him the state’s chief justice job.

Teacher’s Report: So little information on the economy, he is hardly worth thinking about.

Running on low fuel, Buddy Roemer is the former Louisiana Governor and former Democrat campaigning for finance reforms. He wants to impose a $100 limit on disclosed contributions per individual. At a Tea Party rally, he said the current system is “disastrous, it’s dysfunctional.” Most recently, he served as the founder, CEO, and President of Business First Bank, a small business community bank with approximately $650 million in assets that took no bailout money from the federal government. Two days ago he tweeted “Saturday challenge – Jobs: Stop sending jobs overseas, Small Business Deregulation, energy independence, $100 limit on giving – free to lead.”

Teacher’s Report: Too much former and too little leader, time to bail out Buddy.

Vern Wuensche took tenth place in the 2008 Iowa and New Hampshire primaries by spending only $36,000. In 100 days, he visited over 6,000 local businesses and churches in 242 towns in both states. He believes that business thrive on character. He wants to eliminate the right of public workers to unionize, allow the right to work without being a union member, and, repeal the minimum wage allowing wages to be determined by the free market. He also demands that a cost benefit analysis of any environmental regulation be required.

Teacher’s Report: Vern, you have some sound economic principles, but stop wasting your money.

Somewhat theatrically, Rick Santorum launched his campaign at the Somerset County Courthouse, near the coal mine where his grandfather first worked after arriving in the country from Italy. He contends he embraced Tea Party values before there was a Tea Party. Having sponsored two bills early in his senate career – “Balanced Budget Amendment” and the “Line Item Veto” – to curb the spending of the Federal Government, he says makes him a defender of the tax payer because of his record on the issues. He believes that entitlements are the root of America’s fiscal demise. Santorum says he spearheaded the passage of President Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, believing that reducing the tax burden on businesses and individuals is the key to spurring economic growth.  Santorum is a vocal opponent of the Wall Street bailouts and stimulus programs instituted by both President Bush and President Obama.

Teacher’s Report: Santorum believes a lot of things, but few believe he is anything but a big government Republican beating out a tune he doesn’t know the words to.

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All the World’s a Stage: Debt will not exit Left or Right

President Obama: Upstage or Upstaged?

Bookmark and Share    You know you’re in trouble when Warren Buffet comes out of the woodwork to offer a plan. And, you know you’re in bigger trouble when you kind of agree with him. Buffet’s plan is this: “I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that any time there’s a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.” Buffet says he was only half joking, but it may be recorded as one of his more sensible observations.

The reality is that the debt talks are theater pure and simple.

Look at the backdrop: We are in a new presidential election cycle, which complicates matters. Then look at President Obama taking center stage. Maybe a reason why the Leftists are going so negative on Obama here is that even they recognize a guy wanting to keep the lead role, sorry running for election, when they see one.

Entering Stage Left is his most trenchant critic Paul Krugman, writing reviews that he hopes will close this show, but he has difficulty closing a toilet seat at the best of times. He says, “let’s be frank. It’s getting harder and harder to trust Mr. Obama’s motives in the budget fight, given the way his economic rhetoric has veered to the right. In fact, if all you did was listen to his speeches, you might conclude that he basically shares the GOP’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it. And maybe that’s not a false impression; maybe it’s the simple truth.” Yes, Mr. Krugman it is the simple truth.

However, theater is about fantasy so let’s move to the next Scene.

President Obama says “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.” Krugman says this is conservative ideology, since government should not budget like families, and argues businesses aren’t holding back because they lack confidence in government policies; they’re holding back because they don’t have enough customers. There’s a reason for that Mr. Krugman at a time when the economy is actually growing, it’s called confidence and politicians are knocking the stuffing out of the economy in a staged fight.

So let’s go to the next Act, and the dramatic scene featuring the President addressing the audience directly.

Obama says the debt ceiling should not “be used as a gun against the heads” of Americans to retain breaks for corporate jet owners or oil and gas companies, using some of his most direct dialog to date. He wants to reduce the deficit, in part, through new tax revenue raised by closing loopholes and tax subsidies. Beneath the rhetoric to the audience, however, is a soliloquy to the Democrats of good old fashioned class warfare.

So, entering stage Right, the Republicans oppose measures that raise taxes, demanding steep reductions in the US budget deficit as the price of a debt increase. Leftist rag The Nation (I refer you to the earlier point of Krugman closing the toilet seat), says, “Republicans have been negotiating in bad faith, unwilling to compromise even an inch on their extremist and absolutist positions. Some are no longer willing to come to the table at all.” Leftists sing a chorus that the Republican Party is threatening to default on the nation’s debt and this will sabotage the global economy on the basis of narrow ideological goals. A new verse is being added as you read this, namely that the President should invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which says that “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.”

Democrats and Republicans remain “far apart on a wide range of issues,” Obama, said wringing his hands as he adjusted his teleprompter prop. “Everyone acknowledged that we have to get this done before the hard deadline of Aug. 2 to make sure America does not default for the first time on its obligations. And everybody acknowledged that there’s going to be pain involved politically on all sides.”

Meanwhile, the Opening Night of this show, August 2, is fast approaching and the cast are still fluffing their lines over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

At Thursday’s rehearsal, all the lead cast turned up and “All the leaders came here in a spirit of compromise and of wanting to solve problems on behalf of the American people.” So, it will be alright on the night! President Obama hopes Sunday’s dress rehearsal will pave the way for the “hard bargaining” necessary for a deal, because “Everybody acknowledges that there’s going to be pain involved politically on all sides,” he said. And, the chorus joined in with a handful of officials on both sides of the aisle indicating they are ready to give ground.

With all this improvisation, let’s just remind ourselves of the script: •Public debt was $14.3 trillion on 31 May, up from $10.6 trillion when Obama took office in January 2009 •Congress has voted to raise the US debt limit 10 times since 2001 •The largest expenditures of the projected $135 Billion deficit include: $80.9 Billion on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, $72.9 Billion on government agency expenses, $31.7 Billion on Defense, and $29.0 Billion on Interest on Treasury securities.

In the show Chorus Line, the opening song ends with the lines:

Who am I anyway?

 Am I my resume?

 That is a picture of a person I don’t know.

 What does he want from me?

What should I try to be?

So many faces all around, and here we go.

 I need this job, oh God, I need this show.

Yeah, the show must go on Mr. President…it’s time for your close up.

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