Browsing the blog archives for December, 2009.

The New Year…

Uncategorized

I hope you enjoyed the Christmas season, but let’s face it—2009 has been a tough year. The economy is in the tank, unemployment hovers around 10%, the national debt has spiraled out of control, and we are one big step closer to socialized medicine. What will 2010 bring? Here are a few things I anticipate:

1. IMMIGRATION REFORM (aka, amnesty) is a key objective of the Obama administration and the Democrats. Converting illegals into citizens is a voting boon for those on the left. We didn’t hear much about immigration in 2009 because the Democrats did not want the public to realize that the healthcare “reform” package would apply to tens of millions of NEW CITIZENS if an amnesty bill passes. I wonder if McCain and Graham will see things differently this time around. Democrats want to get immigration done before the 2010 elections. This is a battle we must win.

2. TAXES WILL RISE, as is already apparent in the healthcare legislation. There is talk of a bipartisan deficit-cutting commission. While not a bad idea in theory, such a commission infers that the current debt problem is bipartisan and that some sort of compromise is needed to resolve it. Such a commission would likely recommend tax hikes, a few token spending cuts, and means testing for programs like Social Security. Useful measures such as a rollback of the stimulus program would probably not be part of the deal. A bipartisan commission would allow Democrats to spread the blame associated with the 2009 spending spree and get Republicans to sign on to more wealth redistribution as part of the solution.

3. OBAMA WILL MOVE TO THE CENTER. With the midterm elections little more than 10 months away, we can expect more talk from the Democrats about fiscal responsibility and national security, lest the voters hold them accountable for the current malaise. Don’t be fooled. Obama’s record speaks for itself, and the Democrats in the House and Senate are his enablers.

4. THE DENIGRATION OF CONSERVATIVES IN THE MEDIA WILL INTENSIFY. The Democrats and the mainstream media will paint those who argue for fiscal responsibility, limited government, and border control as right wing extremists, especially as the midterm elections draw near. A few RINOs will become media darlings by calling for less extremism and more compromise with the left. This has been part of the Democrat playbook for years. Get on the offensive early, and don’t be surprised.

There’s a lot of work ahead. Maybe real conservatives will take back the House and 2010 will be a year of real change. Let’s keep fighting the good fight!

3 Comments

Amnesty Returns

Uncategorized

Amnesty is back. Rep. Luis Gutierrez has introduced a bill in the House that would ultimately provide citizenship for illegals who pay a $500 fine, learn English, and pass a background check, referring to such a plan as a “moral obligation.” Some of the unanswered questions are obvious:

  1. Will illegals who cannot pay the $500 “fine” really be deported?
  2. What level of English proficiency will be required, who will judge, who will provide the training, and how long will illegals have to pass the test?
  3. If we have a moral responsibility to those in need who enter our country illegally, then don’t we have the same obligation to the rest of the developing world?

Asking these questions is worthwhile, but we should focus on the core issue. No illegal immigrant should be able to pass a background check anyway. Each committed a serious offense when he or she entered the US illegally. Of course, amnesty would create millions of new voters, most of whom would support the party of big government that facilitated their citizenship. This is why Democrats fight so hard for amnesty, and why many Republicans (Graham, McCain, etc.) are afraid to oppose it.

Illegal immigration costs Americans a fortune each year. While we might benefit from cheap farm, manufacturing, and construction labor, the hidden costs of public education, criminal justice, and healthcare alone are devastating. Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector has already done the math, so I won’t go over it again here. Suffice to say that the long term economic burden is huge. Unfortunately, many in corporate America favor various work schemes for illegals because they benefit from cheap labor while society at large pays the cost.

Predictably, the subtle and sometimes overt media bias is back as well. USA Today reported on December 15: “There are 12 million illegal immigrants in the USA. Activists call for an overhaul of immigration law that would offer them a way to earn legal status. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., introduced a bill Tuesday that would give illegal immigrants who pay fines, pass background checks and meet other requirements a path toward legal residency.” Note that illegals would only get a “way to earn legal status” or “a path toward legal residency.” Gutierrez clearly wants CITIZENSHIP, which means AMNESTY FOR ILLEGALS. USA Today avoids these terms because of its editors know where most Americans stand on the issue. The story also includes the obligatory heart-tugger, a reference to Rigoberto Padilla, a non-American whose dreams could be shattered by a cruel system called border enforcement. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-12-15-deport_N.htm)

For the record, I understand why a citizen another country would enter the US illegally. Many come to the US to work and help feed their families. Most are nice people and see the lack of immigration enforcement as the game it is. If I lived in poverty elsewhere and the US borders were open, I’d come also. We shouldn’t blame the illegals. We should blame ourselves. Amnesty, however, doesn’t fix the problem, it only exacerbates it.

Many of the arguments from the previous debate will remain unchanged when “immigration reform” takes center stage again, but there are two key differences. First, we will be told that most illegals are young workers who will help pay the taxes needed to finance near-bankrupt programs for older Americans like Social Security and healthcare. This argument is a simply an admission that programs like Social Security are merely vote-buying Ponzi schemes. How many more workers must be imported to pay the Social Security claims of these young workers several decades from now?

The second difference is political. Democrats largely favor amnesty, and there are more of them now than when Bush mistakenly supported the effort. Fortunately the 2010 elections are getting closer, and some Democrats might fear the wrath of voters if they support such a measure. Regardless, the key for stopping amnesty—sooner or later—is retaking the House in 2010 with REAL conservatives and passing real immigration reform that limits legal immigration at a reasonable level and controls the border. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball.

2 Comments

Economic Ignorance

Uncategorized

Economic ignorance is commonplace. Here are 3 examples from the past few days:

1. I don’t know if a second stimulus will work, but I’m glad Obama is doing something.

2. We’ll never get our economy back on track if the rich don’t pay more taxes.

3. [The economics of] healthcare is too complicated for me to figure out. I’m just glad the government is stepping in to make sure I get it.

For many of you, the logical flaws in these statements is obvious. As for comment #1, why is “doing something” better than doing nothing if what is being proposed has already been tried and failed? Why must the government “do something” whenever a problem exists? Shouldn’t it act only when it can solve the problem.

As for #2, the “rich” do most of the hiring in a free market economy, and they hire fewer people when they pay more taxes. You could argue that the rich should pay LESS in taxes before the economy will recover.

#3 suffers from the same problem as #1, the idea that government needs to control our lives when things get complicated.  In both instances, I responded by asking the person what he or she was doing to learn more about the issue (stimulus spending or healthcare). Following the blank stares, I had my opening and countered with 2-minute presentations of some basic facts.

I rarely win free market converts in a few minutes, but I do try to make people think. Perhaps they’ll start listening more critically to the news, or maybe they’ll come back to discuss the issue again later. Perhaps someone else will pick up where I left off. If we are going to change Washington next November, I’m convinced we need to stay informed ourselves, and educate our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. It won’t happen overnight.

By the way, the runner-up for “top 3″ this week was “I’m not sure what’s going on in Copenhagen, but we need to do something about the environment.” I’ll save my thoughts on this gem for another day.

4 Comments

Bernanke & the Fed

Uncategorized

Ben Bernanke is currently fighting for Senate reconfirmation as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke has presided over a more expansionary and intrusive Fed than our country has ever seen. His agency’s rabid expansion of the money supply will trigger price inflation over the long term, and the Fed’s current near-zero interest rate is sending capital out of the country and setting the stage for another round of bad loans. Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning provided a brilliant and pithy assessment of Bernanke’s performance. I can’t improve on it, so I’ll link to it below and encourage you to read it: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/12/03/bunning-statement-on-bernanke-you-are-the-definition-of-a-moral-hazard/

It’s worthwhile to take a step back from Bunning’s acumen and consider the role of the Fed in the first place. The Federal Reserve was established in 1913 for a number of reasons, most notably to lend stability to the U.S. banking system and control inflation. The central bank has failed in both respects. U.S. banking is experienced considerable instability under the Fed’s guidance, and we are all aware of what the current banking crisis is costing us. The dollar increased in value by 13% in all of the years prior to 1913, but has decreased by 92% since the establishment of the central bank. Simply stated, the Fed is the cause of much of the inflation and instability we experience. Any serious assessment of the Fed would consider it to be a failure, yet Bernanke and others continue to insist that it will do a better job if it gets more power and control. It’s time we end this facade.

Unfortunately, few Americans understand the damage that the Fed routinely inflicts on everyday Americans. The Fed taxes us indirectly when it expands the money supply, thereby lowering the purchasing power of the dollars we earn and save. Artificially low interest rates encourage risky borrowing, and create an environment where average people must put their money at risk to just to keep up with inflation. Today, many have turned to gold, leading Bernanke and others to suggest that the Fed should play a role in bursting what he sees as “bubbles” in gold, silver, and other commodities. This is central planning at the core, and it does not work.

Much of what the Fed does is undisclosed, but the momentum for a complete audit of the central bank is growing. HR1207, co-sponsored by Republican (libertarian) Ron Paul and Democrat Alan Grayson has passed the House and the Senate version (S604) is currently under consideration, where Jim DeMint and others are fighting for passage. Bernanke and other Keynesian economists have referred to the bill as dangerous and irresponsible. It’s high time the American people understand how an unbridled Fed is destroying prospects for long term economic growth. Ending the Fed is the ideal situation, but restricting its power is a good move in the short run. HR1207 is a definite step in the right direction.

I urge you to keep an eye on Bernanke’s confirmation hearings and the fate of S604. It’s easy to get preoccupied with the healthcare debate, but Bernanke and S604 are too important to ignore.

3 Comments