Monday, October 4, 2010

Brief for Monday

The articles that I post is because I think they are of interest to someone else. By posting these articles doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.


Monday, October 4, 2010

The Foundation

"The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife." --Thomas Jefferson

For the Record

Hey, big spenders
"A strong case can be made that the people most responsible for the gigantic deficits we face today are neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama. The real culprits are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Congress controls the purse strings. When Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid rose to their present jobs in January 2007, the deficit was $161 billion. It had been on a downward trajectory from $413 billion in 2004. Three years later, the Pelosi-Reid Congress had added $1.2 trillion to the deficit. Of course, Mr. Bush sponsored or signed into law many of these deficit-raising bills, such as the bank bailouts and effective tax rebates of 2008. But the Democratic Congress passed them. Long forgotten is the promise Mrs. Pelosi made on the day she became speaker: 'Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.' I think future generations would like a do-over. ... For the sake of comparison, let's look at the Pelosi-Reid fiscal record over 10 years. In January 2007, the CBO projected a $379 billion surplus over the next decade. Now, after four years under Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, and two years of Mr. Obama in the White House, the 2007-2016 projection is a deficit of $7.16 trillion. This deterioration of the nation's fiscal situation is arguably the worst in United States history, and it was brought to us courtesy of a congressional leadership that pledged 'pay as you go' budgeting to bring the budget into balance. It is no wonder that Americans are not eager to retain the services of these two spendthrifts as leaders of Congress." --Wall Street Journal economics writer Steve Moore

The Gipper

"These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. ... It distorts our economic decisions, penalizes thrift, and crushes the struggling young and the fixed-income elderly alike. It threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people. Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, causing human misery and personal indignity. Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity. But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals. You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?" --Ronald Reagan


"The Obama administration and congressional Democrats have adopted a view of virtually unlimited government power that is clearly contrary to the Founders] vision of a constitutionally limited government. In their vision, government roams the countryside fixing problems -- any problems. Having trouble paying your mortgage? Don't worry, the federal government will help you. Your local school not doing a good job? The federal government will be there to help. Don't have health insurance? The federal government will make you buy it. ... The Constitution, with all its messy checks and balances and its attempt to limit government to only certain 'enumerated powers,' is little more than a nuisance. ... It makes one wonder why members of Congress take that silly oath to 'support and defend the Constitution' when they are sworn into office. 'Are you serious?' responded a stunned and baffled Nancy Pelosi when asked about the constitutionality of the health-care bill. ... Perhaps the American public is waking up to the dangers of government power and the need for true constitutional restraint." --Cato Institute's Michael Tanner


"I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can re-establish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty." --President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)


"If the GOP's record of fiscal fecklessness were not enough reason to doubt its newfound commitment to curbing 'Washington's irresponsible spending habits,' the [Pledge to America's] failure to address entitlement and defense programs would be. The Republicans say they want to 'have a responsible, fact-based conversation with the American people about the scale of the fiscal challenges we face and the urgent action that is required to deal with them.' That's hard to do when only a small share of the $3.8 trillion budget is open for discussion, and then only in the vaguest terms. The Pledge to America, which seems to be based on the assumption that America has a short memory, castigates Democrats for 'their out-of-control spending spree.' Republicans, you may recall, had a spending spree of their own during George W. Bush's recently concluded administration, when both discretionary and total spending doubled -- nearly 10 times the growth seen during Bill Clinton's two terms. ... As of last week, however, the Republicans pledge to 'make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for today's seniors and future generations.' Such as? Sorry, that's all you're getting before the elections. ... Even if you trust the Republicans when they say 'we have a plan' to cut $100 billion from the budget, that amounts to just 8 percent of the current $1.3 trillion deficit. And why trust them? As the Pledge to America warns, 'It's not enough' to 'swap out one set of leaders for another.'" --columnist Jacob Sullum

Re: The Left

"[T]he Democratic left's unreason is a matter of substance as well as tone. ObamaCare, for example, was described as a fiscal perpetual-motion machine: By vastly expanding government control over medicine, it would reduce costs and provide care to everyone. The only way to reconcile these goals is through government rationing of expensive treatment -- via death panels, in Sarah Palin's piercing term. The reason they attacked Palin as a 'wingnut' for this statement is not that she was unreasonable but precisely that her logic was irrefutable. Or consider the so-called stimulus law. Obama's economic advisers claimed it was necessary to spend nearly a trillion dollars of our money to prevent unemployment from going as high as 8%. They got their trillion, and we got unemployment of close to 10%. The Obama team now claims that things would have been even worse without the spending spree. Even this dubious assertion -- the most favorable possible interpretation from their standpoint -- reveals their utter incompetence as economic forecasters. How can the Democrats act reasonable if reason is not on their side?" --Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto

Political Futures

"Obama is talking to voters as though he is their boss, or their principal, or their father. He is not any of those things. He is their employee. And employers don't like it when their employees yell at them ... Here's the problem. Facts are facts. Things are bad. Voters, even Democratic voters, have scant confidence in the future, even the near future. Those who believe Obama and his party bear a large share of the responsibility for the national condition have profound reasons to go to the polls come hell or high water on Nov. 2. For those who believe in the progressive agenda, these are dispiriting times. They can learn from the continuing doldrums that the Keynesian policies they have long sought don't work as they thought they would. Or they can blame Obama for not having implemented them properly. That's a depressing choice. And it can't help to be threatened with the questionable judgment of the politician whose job is to work for you, not to scold you for your irresponsible, inexcusable, unserious lethargy." --columnist John Podhoretz

Opinion in Brief

"Christine O'Donnell, U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware, has faced considerable criticism and news media attention about her youthful association with witchcraft. Have we seen similar news media attention given to other politicians who have made bizarre remarks that border on gross stupidity -- possibly lunacy? During a congressional Armed Services hearing in March, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., expressed concern that stationing 8,000 Marines and their equipment on Guam, our Pacific territory, could cause the island 'to become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.' Such a remark is grossly stupid but the liberal press didn't give it anywhere near the amount of attention and derision that they gave Christine O'Donnell. On the campaign trail in March 2008, then-presidential candidate Obama told his Beaverton, Ore., audience, 'Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.' Whether Obama misspoke or not, that's a grossly stupid remark, but white liberals among the intellectual elite and the liberal news media all but ignored it. Of course, when former Vice President Dan Quayle misspelled 'potatoe,' they pounced upon it and had a field day. So what might explain the liberals giving Hank Johnson and Obama a pass whilst playing up the perceived shortcomings of Christine O'Donnell and Dan Quayle? The answer might be as simple as just looking at the colors involved. O'Donnell and Quayle are white and Johnson and Obama are black." --economist Walter E. Williams

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