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If, God forbid, Rand Paul is elected president, the United States foreign policy will have gone from terrible to utterly incoherent and feckless. After reading this article, it’s clear that the American people know what they want. It’s clear, too, that the American people don’t have a clue what they want. Here’s what I’m talking about:

A majority of the American people is telling pollsters it wants the U.S. government to keep out of other nations’ business, that it does not want America to be at war indefinitely, and that it fears the U.S. government’s growing “homeland Security” powers—including the power to declare any American to be a terrorist and to kill him—more than it fears terrorism. Because Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has explained better than anyone why he shares these majority sentiments, he is halfway home to claiming foreign policy credibility for his 2016 presidential candidacy.

But only halfway, because the very same popular majorities also say they want the U.S. government to be much tougher against America’s enemies. Neither Paul nor any other candidate seems to have thought about what it would mean for the U.S. government to pull back from involvement in other peoples’ business, to make foreign commitments and conduct internal security according to the Constitution, while at the same time being tougher against our enemies.

It’s impossible to make sense of this gobbledygook. That’s why I won’t attempt it. There’s no doubt that Americans are tired of war. Still, they like the fact that we haven’t gotten hit with another 9/11 attack, though that will change if we don’t confront ISIL.

It’s impossible to look out for our self interests and not “meddle in other countries’ affairs.” If the United States wants to protect its interests, it’ll have to meddle in other countries’ affairs. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’d argue, in fact, that applying America’s founding principles is a force for good.

America’s worst days have happened when we’ve gone isolationist. Still, there’s a substantial portion of our population that’s always had an isolationist streak. Sen. Paul will insist that he isn’t an isolationist. He might even believe it. That doesn’t mean he isn’t an isolationist.

The United States goes isolationist when it doesn’t project military force. That doesn’t mean reflexively going to war. Ronald Reagan was a militarist but he didn’t get involved in wars. He jumped in in Grenada early in his administration and he bombed Kaddaffi’s home late in his administration.

Simply put, Reagan showed that a) he meant what he said and b) he wasn’t bashful about protecting US interests. Reagan’s projection of strength impacted the United States before he was even sworn in. In 1979, Iranian terrorists took the US Embassy in Teheran. The jet returning our diplomats didn’t clear Iranian air space until Reagan had completed his oath of office.

Sen. Paul’s live and let live foreign policy doesn’t project strength. I don’t doubt that he’d take foreign policy more seriously than President Obama but that’s a pretty low hurdle.

Simply put, our foreign policy shouldn’t be based on what polls show. It should be based on clear principles. It should be based on protecting US interests. If that ruffles feather in other countries’ capitols, that’s fine. It should start with the promise that we’ll send military aid to our allies. That includes arming the Peshmerga and the Ukrainian military.

It doesn’t mean reflexively going to war. It simply means standing up for ourselves.

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Most of the doves who’ve spoken out in favor of the Obama administration’s appeasement policy towards the Russian-Ukrainian war frequently cite the fact that there’s no appetite for the United States to get involved in another war. This isn’t surprising since strawman arguments are President Obama’s specialty.

In this instance, though, it’s a non sequitur argument.

The US can and should use its military to change the equation in eastern Ukraine. It’s just that that shouldn’t mean deploying US troops to Ukraine. It should take the form of putting the military’s most lethal weaponry in the hands of Ukrainian troops.

The Ukrainian military has been asking the US for military support for months now. President Obama has rejected their requests. With there now being no doubt that the Russians are firing on airplanes, it’s time for President Obama to stop being the wimpiest president in my lifetime. It’s time he stopped dithering.

President Reagan took down the Soviet empire. President Obama isn’t doing anything to stand in President Putin’s way to reconstitute the former Soviet empire. What’s most disturbing is that President Obama apparently doesn’t recognize the peril he’s putting our allies in.

Why doesn’t President Obama understand that Russia’s slicing up of Ukraine just emboldens President Putin to attempt to threaten other nations? Doesn’t President Obama care about foreign policy?

President Reagan brought down the Soviet empire by confronting the Soviets whenever they tried meddling in other countries’ affairs. He showed them that he was committed to arming anyone who opposed the Soviets. He forced the Soviets to spend more money on their expansionist goals than they’d anticipated.

Because the Soviet economy was pretty much worthless at the time, he forced them to spend themselves into the dust bin of history. By comparison, President Obama is essentially giving President Putin a free pass with Ukraine, which enables them to spend more money on destabilizing other neighboring countries.

There’s no reason to think that the Russian economy is any stronger today than the Soviet economy was in the 1980s. Similarly, there’s no reason to think that forcing Russia to devote most of its spending on military ventures will endear itself to the Russian people.

While President Reagan was forcing the Soviets to spend tons of money on foreign military interventions, he also undercut the Soviet government in the eyes of its people. President Obama is totally missing that opportunity.

Instead, he’s playing the 98-lb. weakling who gets sand kicked in his face while President Putin plays the part of the menacing bully. That’s why the latest Fox News poll shows people thinking that 75% of people think President Putin is getting the better of things while a pathetic 14% think President Obama is getting the better of Putin.

We need a real president. We don’t need a fundraiser-in-chief. We need a president who rethinks his strategy after it’s shown it’s a disaster.

Unfortunately, instead of having a real president that knows what to do on the world stage, we’ve got President Obama.

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Whether he realizes it or not, Sen. Rand Paul sounds frighteningly like President Obama. Sen. Paul’s op-ed sounds exceptionally dovish, starting with this:

President Obama has said he might use airstrikes in the future. I have also been open to the same option if it makes sense.

Notice the qualifier-filled statements from President Obama and Sen. Paul. It’d be surprising if President Obama did anything more than token air strikes. With Sen. Paul, we just don’t know, though his record is fairly isolationist and dovish. That isn’t the worst part, though. Sen. Paul’s intellectual dishonesty is frightening:

Said Perry forthrightly during a Republican presidential primary debate in 2012, “I would send troops back into Iraq.” Obviously, this is something he advocated long before the rise of ISIS. At the time, Perry urged the United States to return troops to Iraq to act as a balance against Iran, a country my colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham says we must work with to help beat back the extremists.

Does Perry now believe that we should send U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight the Iranians—or to help Iran fight ISIS?

Why would Sen. Paul ask that question? First, he notes that Gov. Perry made that statement in 2012, when the situation in Iraq was dramatically different. Why does Sen. Paul automatically assume that Gov. Perry’s policy would be the same today as it was in 2012? As intellectually dishonest as Sen. Paul’s assumption is, that isn’t the part that frightens me most. This question is:

How many Americans should send their sons or daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won’t defend for themselves?

First, it assumes that Gov. Perry would send in troops, which isn’t a safe assumption. Second, it’s the wrong question. Why doesn’t Sen. Paul understand that troops deployed to Iraq wouldn’t be there to “die for a foreign country”? Why doesn’t he understand that they’d only be deployed to obliterate a terrorist training ground in the heart of Iraq?

Isn’t Sen. Paul bright enough to understand that a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East is a huge threat to the United States, not just to our allies?

This statement is frighteningly fictional:

Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union—the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history—through strong diplomacy and moral leadership.

Sen. Paul, it’s time you talked with people in the Reagan national security team. They’d tell you that he didn’t miss an opportunity to talk with dissidents jailed in the Soviet Union’s gulags. They’d tell you that he beefed up Radio Free Europe to tell dissidents that he was fighting for them. They’d tell you that diplomacy didn’t work until Reagan made it clear that he’d counter anything the Soviets would attempt to do.

The negotiations didn’t start until Reagan had frightened the bejesus out of President Gorbachev. Once he’d shown President Gorbachev who was the real superpower, then the negotiations started.

Reagan had no easy options either. But he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.

If Sen. Paul meant that Jimmy Carter left President Reagan with a crappy hand, that’s right. If Sen. Paul means that there was any doubt in President Reagan’s mind that his plan would work and work fairly quickly, the answer to that question is an emphatic no. Reagan knew that the Soviet Union’s economy was on the verge of collapse. He knew that putting pressure on the Soviets would put them on the defensive.

Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn’t really understand the genius of President Reagan’s foreign policy genius. There’s no question whether Reagan was a hawk. It’s just that his foreign policy strategy was multi-faceted.

Sen. Paul’s op-ed is based on supposition, not fact. It’s based on something Gov. Perry said in 2012, not this summer. It’s apparent that Sen. Paul is as accomplished as President Obama in using strawman arguments. I expect that from this president. From now on, I guess I should expect it from Sen. Paul, too.

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It’s sounding more and more like Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), is planning on running for president again in 2016. This op-ed sounds like the first shot against Sen. Paul:

This represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind — because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa. It’s particularly chilling when you consider that one American has already carried out a suicide bombing and a terrorist-trained European allegedly killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Yet Paul still advocates inaction, going so far as to claim in an op-ed last month in the Wall Street Journal that President Ronald Reagan’s own doctrines would lead him to same conclusion.

The thing Sen. Paul’s supporters haven’t paid attention to is the fact that President Reagan was a confrontationalist. Though he didn’t fire a shot at the Soviet Union, he constantly confronted them strategically. He put in Pershing II missiles into western Europe. Doves like Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry howled at the move, saying that this would just provoke the Soviets to become more expansionist.

Gov. Perry understands what President Reagan understood then. Gov. Perry understands that a vibrant, growing economy, coupled with the right strategic vigilance and interventionism, will thwart Putin’s expansionism and ISIS’ attempt to build a caliphate where terrorists can train for their next terrorist attack.

Here’s another shot frm Gov. Perry across Sen. Paul’s bow:

Reagan identified Soviet communism as an existential threat to our national security and Western values, and he confronted this threat in every theater. Today, we count his many actions as critical to the ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union and the freeing of hundreds of millions from tyranny.

At the time, though, there were those who said that Reagan’s policies would push the Soviets to war. These voices instead promoted accommodation and timidity in the face of Soviet advancement as the surest path to peace. This, sadly, is the same policy of inaction that Paul advocates today.

It isn’t that Gov. Perry is pushing war. It’s that he isn’t pushing for America to stick its head in the sand. Like I said earlier, Reagan brought the Soviet empire to its knees without firing a shot.

The Soviet Union had a terrible economy. Today, Russia’s economy isn’t much better. Putin is flexing his country’s muscles because he thinks he can get away with it. That’ll end the minute the US economy starts hitting on all cylinders and the right president starts inserting itself in the world.

Again, this doesn’t require going to war, though it’ll require beefed up intel operations in the world’s nastiest corners. That won’t matter to Paul’s most paranoid supporters. Paul’s most paranoid supporters will still hear the drumbeats of war.

Sane people, however, will hear things clearly. Far more people will agree with Gov. Perry than will agree with Sen. Paul. Let the jockeying begin.

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When it comes to energy issues, Rolf Westgard is worth listening to. Apparently, though, he’s developed a habit of hearing what wasn’t said:

More than 90 percent of Crimeans vote to rejoin Russia, and Russia gets ready to annex Crimea. The West protests the referendum with threats of sanctions.

We have short memories, having forgotten how Texas, New Mexico, and California were “annexed” from Mexico. Then, we didn’t even wait for a vote.

Republican war drums are rolling, accusing Obama of not getting tough. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, has blown his trumpet in stating, regarding Ukraine, that we have a “weak and indecisive president” who “invites aggression.”

He must know there is nothing militarily that any American president could or would have done to deter Putin in this situation.

That’s shameful. “Republican war drums” aren’t rolling, as Westgard accuses. The sharpest Republican foreign policy/national security minds have said that arming Ukraine while reaching missile defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic would tell Putin that his expansionist ambitions have consequences without going to war.

That President Obama has refused taking that step, instead opting for sending Ukrainians MREs instead of actual weapons proves President Obama is “a weak and indecisive president.” I never thought I’d live to see the say that I’d see a wimpier president than Jimmy Carter. Suffice it to say that I’ve lived to see that day.

That’s only part of how to make Putin rethink his expansionist ambitions. Last week, I heard a pundit say that Putin’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room. That’s BS. Putin’s acting like the 800-pound gorilla, which isn’t the same as being the 800-pound gorilla.

Dramatically increasing American oil and natural gas production would dramatically hurt the Russian economy, which is heavily reliant on oil revenues. Those of us who lived through the 1980s remember that President Reagan used a multi-pronged approach in bringing the then-Soviet Union to its knees. First, Reagan built up the military, which Jimmy Carter had decimated. Next, Reagan made the U.S. economy the envy of the world, ushering in 6 straight quarters of economic growth that exceeded 5% annual growth. Finally, he deregulated the oil industry, which devastated the Soviet economy.

That’s how President Reagan acted forcefully while demolishing the Soviet Union without firing a shot. That’s what mainstream Republicans are pushing for today. That’s the opposite of Dr. Westgard’s accusations. The difference is that I can verify my statements. Dr. Westgard can’t verify his accusations.

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After reading Rand Paul’s op-ed about Ronald Reagan, it’s clear he doesn’t understand President Reagan. This part is particularly upsetting:

Many forget today that Reagan’s decision to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev was harshly criticized by the Republican hawks of his time, some of whom would even call Reagan an appeaser. In the Middle East, Reagan strategically pulled back our forces after the tragedy in Lebanon in 1983 that killed 241 Marines, realizing the cost of American lives was too great for the mission.

There were Reagan supporters who would’ve done anything for him who didn’t have a clue about President Reagan’s strategy. Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn’t either:

There is a time for military action, such as after 9/11. There is a time for diplomacy and the strategic use of soft power, such as now with Russia. Diplomacy requires resolve but also thoughtfulness and intelligence.

What President Reagan did wasn’t “soft power.” What he did was show the world, especially the Soviet presidents of the time, that he was committed to simultaneously waging war by rebuilding the U.S. military and through showing the Soviets that their economy couldn’t keep pace with a U.S. economy that was growing like gangbusters.

In short, President Reagan’s idea of “soft power” was to scare the bejesus out of Soviets militarily while burying them economically.

As for President Reagan’s conservative critics, they literally littered the landscape. It was 10 times worse with Democrats. As a newly elected senator, John Kerry said that President Reagan’s installing Pershing II missiles in western Europe would destabilize the U.S.-Russian relationship. Six years later, the Berlin Wall was smashed by liberty-loving East Berliners.

Apparently, Sen. Paul didn’t notice that President Reagan didn’t start serious negotiations with the Soviets until his 2nd term. Once, when a reporter asked President Reagan why he hadn’t held a summit with his Russian counterpart, President Reagan replied “Because they keep dying on me.”

Old school ‘experts’ thought it was unthinkable for a U.S. president not to have a yearly summit with the Soviet leader. President Reagan was a master negotiator. He wasn’t worried about doing things for appearances sake. President Reagan didn’t start negotiating with the Soviets until he’d laid the foundation for intimidating Gorbachev.

Another thing President Reagan should be praised for is his fierce insistence on winning and losing. When asked what his strategy was towards the Soviets, President Reagan simply said “We win, they lose.” The world was stunned when they heard that. They didn’t like it, either, when President Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” He was right in calling them evil.

What else would you call an expansionist-minded, murderous empire that throws dissidents into harsh gulags? That’s where Putin got his worldview.

I’ve talked frequently about the Reagan Doctrine, which I describe as President Reagan utilizing the threat of military force and economic superiority to negotiate the USSR into history’s dust-bin of failed ideologies.

It worked in toppling the Soviet Union. It’ll certainly work now in toppling Putin. At this point, we have proof that Sen. Paul and President Obama haven’t grasped that concept, much less unleashed its power.

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Just when President Obama, Vice President Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. This article provides the salt for these clowns’ open wounds:

First, Sarah Palin. In 2008, the Alaskan conservative warned that Putin was on the prowl. Quote: “After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of moral indecision and equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

Wow. Mrs Palin not only got the country that Putin would threaten right, she also predicted the reason behind it. Obama’s “indecision and equivalence” over Iran, Egypt and, most importantly, Syria, has probably encouraged Putin to believe that there would be next-to-no Western response to an attack on Ukraine.

This was highly predictable. It’s only surprising to the children at Foggy Bottom and in the West Wing. They either didn’t see this coming or they didn’t care. History won’t award a gold star to any of these fools for their decisions prior to Russia’s invading Crimea. (A dunce’s cap for each is the better fit.)

Unfortunately for the Feckless Foursome, the humiliation doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop there:

Second, Mitt Romney. Romney’s foreign policy approach was broadly mocked in 2012. The country was keen to withdraw from overseas conflict in the wake of Iraq and Afghanistan and Mitt’s vague neo-conservatism seemed out of step with the public mood. Sometimes, said the critics, it came off as something that his advisers were coaching him to say; a nod and a hint to AIPAC rather than a strongly held belief. Rachel Maddow concluded, “It’s not just that Romney is uninformed; it’s that he hasn’t figured out how to fake it.”

Romney confirmed the sceptics’ worst fears when he described Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Barack Obama lashed out with some adolescent sass: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because. The Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Actually, people who lived through the 80′s are praying that we’d that type of leadership back. That was when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John-Paul II brought down the Soviet Empire. That was when Jeane Kirkpatrick and Lech Walesa contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Feckless Foursome didn’t notice or didn’t care that Putin still thinks that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the collapse of the century“:

Mr Putin therefore went out of his way to extol the virtues of democracy and talk up Russia’s potential for foreign investment. He lamented, however, the collapse of the USSR in 1991, calling it “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe”.

That’s quite the contrast in sobriety. The Feckless Foursome insisted that Russia was a friend that didn’t have expansionist goals, despite Putin’s expansionist rhetoric. While Rachel Maddow was making herself look stupid, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin said unpopular things that turned out to be 100% right.

Finally, I’d love asking Mrs. Clinton how that reset button thingy is working out lately.

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This Peggy Noonan article dovetails nicely with Glenn Reynolds’ excellent column about “Irish Democracy”, which I wrote about in this post. First, here’s Dr. Reynolds’ explanation of the foundation of Irish Democracy:

In his excellent book, Two Cheers For Anarchism, Professor James Scott writes:

One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.

Simply put, people refusing to buy insurance through the Anything But Affordable Care Act’s exchanges are putting the ABACA in impossible financial straights. This was made necessary when Senate Democrats and this administration wouldn’t listen to the American people. In Ms. Noonan’s opinion, they still aren’t listening:

As the president made his jaunty claims and the senators and congressmen responded semirapturously I kept thinking of four words: Meanwhile, back in America…

Meanwhile, back in America, the Little Sisters of the Poor were preparing their legal briefs. The Roman Catholic order of nuns first came to America in 1868 and were welcomed in every city they entered. They now run about 30 homes for the needy across the country. They have, quite cruelly, been told they must comply with the ObamaCare mandate that all insurance coverage include contraceptives, sterilization procedures, morning-after pills. If they don’t—and of course they can’t, being Catholic, and nuns—they will face ruinous fines.

In this instance, it isn’t just that the Obama administration isn’t listening to the American people. It’s that they’re ignoring the Constitution, too. That’s before considering the fact that this administration made exceptions to the ABACA for its well-connected friends.

The message sent to the nation is exceptionally straightforward: Well-connected friends of Barack Obama get special privileges. People whom this President despises get the shaft. (That’s right. I didn’t forget about the bitter clingers.) President Obama’s disdain for blue collar people isn’t news. It’s just disgusting. That’s why people have turned their back on him.

Meanwhile, back in America…

Meanwhile, back in America, conservatives targeted and harassed by the Internal Revenue Service still await answers on their years-long requests for tax exempt status. When news of the IRS targeting broke last spring, agency officials lied about it, and one took the Fifth. The president said he was outraged, had no idea, read about it in the papers, boy was he going to get to the bottom of it. An investigation was announced but somehow never quite materialized.

If ever there was something that got the masses fuming, it should be the thought of a politically ruthless administration using the IRS as a weapon to eliminate its political enemies. And yes, this administration has used the IRS as a weapon against TEA Party activists and other conservative organizations.

In less than 3 years, we’ll have the opportunity to wipe the memories of this administration from our memory. It’s imperative that we accomplish that. It’s imperative that we elect someone that will listen to the American people. That means electing a pro-reform governor that respects the Constitution, preferably Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich or Mike Pence.

I didn’t include Jeb Bush or Christie in that bunch. They don’t respect the Constitution. People want politicians that don’t think of themselves as being above the Constitution or the rule of law. Bush supports Common Core, which wants to strip away local control of education. That’s certainly anti-constitutional. Christie supports gun control, something totally at odds with the Constitution.

It’s time we elected a president that’s run things and accomplished things that’ve helped families. Bobby Jindal fits that description. While campaigning, he listened to parents who hated the education options their children had. That’s why he pushed for school choice. Thanks to his listening, school choice legislation was signed into law in Louisiana.

John Kasich fits that description. He fought for the same union reforms that Scott Walker did. He also cut taxes while eliminating Ohio’s deficit. Thanks to Gov. Kasich’s popular pro-growth agenda, Ohio is headed in the right direction.

Scott Walker listened to Wisconsinites’ cries for lower property taxes. He pushed union reforms that stripped them of the right to hold school districts hostage by saying that they had to buy health insurance through the teachers union’s insurance company. As a direct result, health insurance costs to school districts dropped dramatically…until the ABACA was semi-implemented.

Whether you call it the TEA Party movement, Irish Democracy or whether it’s just doing what President Reagan believed in, it’s time for conservatives to elect someone that actually wants the people to decide what’s best for them. We don’t need another administration that thinks it’s supremely qualified to tell families what’s best for them.

Only in Washington, DC would people praise Sen. Schumer as being a top strategist. This morning, Schumer will deliver a speech that essentially disparages the TEA Party:

“There is a glaring weakness, one very weak link in the Tea Party’s armor, which is an inherent contradiction within the Tea Party that I believe can be exposed to greatly weaken their hold on the policy debate,” Schumer will say, according to excerpts of his remarks.

“The fundamental weakness in the Tea Party machine is the stark difference between what the leaders of the Tea Party elite, plutocrats like the Koch Brothers want and what the average grassroots Tea Party follower wants,” he will say.

First, it’s interesting that Sen. Schumer doesn’t have the foggiest clue about the TEA Party and why people agree with their principles. TEA Party activists are foreign to him because he’s a wealth redistributionist and they’re capitalists. Let’s have Sen. Schumer debate someone who actually knew what he was doing. Sen. Schumer, the wealth redistributionist, thinks that it’s essential that we tax “the rich.” Here’s the counter to that:

Sen. Schumer thinks that government is the solution to our problems. The Anything But Affordable Care Act is proof of Sen. Schumer’s belief in that philosophy. Our ‘guest philosopher’, like most TEA Party activists, thinks otherwise:

Our ‘guest philosopher’, like the TEA Party activists, thinks tax reform is essential:

Thanks to our guest philosopher’s policies, the US economy experienced the longest economic recovery in our history. Thanks to the policies championed by President Obama and Sen. Schumer, we’ve had the longest economic stagnation since the Great Depression.

We’re at a crossroads. We can tolerate President Obama’s failed redistributionist economic policies and see our economic standing in the world disappear or we can embrace President Reagan’s pro-growth economic policies that led to the greatest economic expansion in US history.

At this point, that isn’t a difficult choice.

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Each time that the jobs report is released, the White House posts its spin about what it means. This is from the most recent post about the jobs report:

As our economy continues to make progress, there’s a lot more work to do. Though December’s job growth was less than expected, we continue to focus on the longer-term trend in the economy – 2.2 million private sector jobs added and a 1.2 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate over the course of 2013. Today’s numbers are also a reminder of the work that remains, especially on one of our nation’s most immediate and pressing challenges: long-term unemployment.

What’s interesting is that chronic unemployment doesn’t happen during robust economic recoveries. This chart will cut through the Obama administration’s spin:

According to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve’s statistics, the increase in GDP for the 17 quarters after the 1981 recession was 23.1%. For the 17 quarters since the end of the recession in Q2 of 2009, the gain in GDP has been 10.3%. You can’t see the 17-quarter gain for the Reagan recovery because the growth literally went off the chart.

This isn’t a nostalgia post. Quite the contrary. It’s a comparison between President Reagan’s pro-growth, low taxation, low regulation policies and President Obama’s policies of crippling regulations and major tax increases. The statistics speak for themselves. This chart speaks for itself, too:

According to that graphic, the annualized GDP growth under Reagan topped 7% for 5 straight quarters, with a high of 9.3% for Q3 of 1983.

At the same time during the Great Stagnation under President Obama, annualized growth rates were 3.9%, 3.8%, 2.5% and 2.4%. In short, the Great Stagnation’s statistics indicate that economic growth has been pathetic. President Obama won’t face the voters again but the people who voted for his economic policies will face the voters next November. Every person who voted for the Obama budget is a Democrat. They can talk all they want about preventing another Great Depression with the stimulus but that’s speculation at best.

The recession Reagan inherited was deeper and had more perils to be fixed. America’s industrial infrastructure was crumbling. People were speculating whether the Big 3 automakers would forever trail the Japanese. Those same people wondered if Japan and Germany would be the new economic superpowers.

The Kemp-Roth tax cuts included capital gains tax cuts, which helped Detroit rebuild their assembly lines. In less than 3 years, Detroit was humming with activity.

That was only part of America’s problems. They faced high unemployment and even higher inflation. Thanks to President Reagan’s pro-growth tax and regulatory policies, millions of jobs were created. The unemployment rate dropped dramatically because people got great jobs, not because people quit looking for work. Inflation dropped, too.

Five years after the banking crisis, the economy is still struggling. The jobs being created are mostly part-time jobs. Median household income has dropped. Regulatory burdens are adding crippling compliance costs. Instead of using their profits to create jobs, small businesses are spending that money complying with Washington’s insane regulations.

Reaganomics worked because it gave businesses an incentive to take chances. That’s the only time-tested method for lifting people out of poverty and for turning the middle class into entrepreneurs. President Reagan understood that. President Obama doesn’t.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these graphs and charts are worth a few chapters in a book because they show which policies worked and which policies are failing.

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