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Archive for February, 2009

This morning, President Obama used his radio address to tell people that he has no intention of slowing down in his war against prosperity, this time telling us that he’s planning on shoving universal health care down our throats:

President Barack Obama challenged the nation’s vested interests to a legislative duel Saturday, saying he will fight to change health care, energy and education in dramatic ways that will upset the status quo.

“The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long,” Obama said in his weekly radio and video address. “But I don’t. I work for the American people.”

Yet again, President Obama is using intellectually inaccurate arguments to pass his agenda. Fighting to shove rationed health care down our throats won’t be opposed only by big money people. It will be opposed by Main Street just as much as it’s opposed by Wall Street.

President Obama casting himself as crusading populist fighting for the American people is a farce. President Obama ignored the people if they opposed the bailouts and the Generational Theft Act. That isn’t what people who fight for the people do. President Obama was too busy shoving a radical ideological doctrine down our throats to care what Americans thought.

SIDENOTE: Doesn’t President Obama’s postpartisan politics sound like old-fashioned Democratic class warfare?

Remember that the Generational Theft Act isn’t an economic document. It’s a political decree that tells capitalists that he’d rather pay his political allies off with a ton of taxpayer-subsidized pork rather than put in place policies that help us prosper.

Based on this column, Larry Kudlow thinks that President Obama is conducting a war against prosperity, too:

Let me be very clear on the economics of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and his budget.

He is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds. That is the meaning of his anti-growth tax-hike proposals, which make absolutely no sense at all, either for this recession or from the standpoint of expanding our economy’s long-run potential to grow.

Raising the marginal tax rate on successful earners, capital, dividends, and all the private funds is a function of Obama’s left-wing social vision, and a repudiation of his economic-recovery statements. Ditto for his sweeping government-planning-and-spending program, which will wind up raising federal outlays as a share of GDP to at least 30 percent, if not more, over the next 10 years.

The philosophical difference between President Clinton and President Obama is that President Clinton valued a healthy private sector that created wealth and prosperity. President Obama is more ideologically driven. Creating prosperity isn’t his top priority. Installing policies that fit into his radical vision is President Obama’s top priority.

Mr. Kudlow highlights statistics that President Obama doens’t want people to hear:

Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

President Obama’s policies don’t make economic sense. There’s no other way of saying it. This stops President Obama dead in his tracks:

And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge across-the-board tax increase on blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, but new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less.

Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade policies penalize manufacturing companies because manufacturers are big energy consumers. Cap-and-trade policies increase these companies’ tax burden. Carbon taxes have the same effect.

What the Obama administration won’t talk about is that these policies drive companies to Mexico, South Korea and other countries. This isn’t outsourcing. It’s the outright driving of manufacturers out of the United States.

President Obama has clearly identified which side of the issues he’ll be on. With him listening to environmental extremists about cap-and-trade, with him raising taxes on small businesses and other entrepreneurs, it’s difficult to characterize President Obama as a capitalist. It’s easier to make the case that he’s an anti-prosperity radical.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This morning, Rep. Mike Pence, one of the brightest new stars in the GOP, took time to do an interview with FNC’s Jon Scott. Here’s a transcript of that interview:

Jon Scott: Democrats call it a blueprint; Republicans say it’s a target. Some of them are labeling the $3.6 billion [sic] plan a higher tax, weaker economy job killer. Indiana Congressman, Mike Pence, one of the critics of the plan, he joins us now.

Rep. Mike Pence: Hi, Jon.

Scott: You say that Republicans lost the legislative battle here but actually won the argument. Congressman Pence, can you explain that?

Rep. Pence: Well, I think we won the argument on the stimulus bill and on the massive omnibus bill. I think the American people know we can’t borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy, and that is the fundamental flaw behind the President’s budget proposal. A President’s federal budget proposal ought to put fiscal restraint and jobs first, and this proposal, which involves massive increases in federal spending and tax increases on virtually every American, does exactly the opposite. I think it’s a prescription for economic decline.

Scott: You’ll have to excuse me if I’m a little bit slow on this; I’m having trouble hearing you. But I wanted to ask you this question: You know, President Bush was in power, was in office, when we finished out 2008. We just got those budget numbers that suggest the economy was worse than expected, down 6.2% in the final quarter of 2008. Do you think that voters are going to hold that against Republicans?

Rep. Pence: Well, I think voters are going to hold it against Washington, D.C.; I think they’re going to hold it against leadership in both parties if we don’t do the right thing from this point forward. And most Americans know that increasing federal spending, as we did in the stimulus bill, as we did this week in the omnibus bill and as the President is calling for in this massive new budget, which includes all kinds of new government spending. And adding to that, Jon, massive tax increases that touch almost every American, that’s no prescription for getting this economy growing again; it’s no prescription for creating jobs or ultimately achieving the goal of a balanced budget. I really believe the American people want to see Congress put jobs and fiscal restraint first.

Scott: Well, right there is a huge disagreement with the President; he says there will be not a dime’s tax increase for 95% of Americans.

Rep. Pence: Yeah, I heard that. I was in the Well the other night. But people deserve to know a couple of things. Number one, the President’s call for raising taxes on Americans that make more that $250,000 a year, Jon, according to a liberal tax policy group here in Washington, more than half of the Americans who file at that level are actually small business owners filing as individuals. So if you think raising taxes on small businesses in this country will help create jobs, I think you’ve got another thing coming. The other thing that the President neglects to mention…Democrats and this Administration just raised taxes on smokers and in the President’s plan he wants to raise taxes on capital gains and dividends. That’s going to hit retirees. That’s going to hit every American’s pension fund. Look, virtually every American is going to be touched by the tax increases. It’s just wrong, in a recession, to raise taxes on virtually every American. Herbert Hoover raised taxes during a recession and it drove us into a depression. That’s why many of us here in Washington believe that the President’s budget is a blueprint for economic decline.

Scott: Well, if in fact that is what Republicans, in general believe, given the fact you have smaller numbers in the House and the Senate and you don’t have the White House anymore, what kind of power do you have to change things?

Rep. Pence: Well, I always tell my colleagues in the House, Jon, that a minority in Congress plus the American people equals a majority. I think when the American people take a look at this pattern, which is more spending and more debt, and now on top of it more taxes on virtually every American, I think the American people are going to rise up, they’re going to say, ‘look, we want Washington D.C. doing what every one of us are doing,’ and that is practicing fiscal restraint, finding places to save dollars, and ultimately pursuing policies that don’t put a higher tax burden on working families and small businesses.

It’s important that we harp on the fact that President Obama just finished signing the stimulus bill but now he’s submitting a budget blueprint that calls for a trillion dollar tax increase that lands mostly on small businesses. That’s stupid considering the fact that small businesses are the job creation engine for the economy.

The question we’ve got to ask every Democrat is whether they’ll pass this monstrous tax increaase on small businesses. If they say they will pass it, then they should be asked what they’ve got against job creation.

President Obama had better tread lightly. Tea parties are are drawing visceral reactions from anti-tax increase protesters. The Fort Worth Telegram wrote this about the Fort Worth protest:

Chanting “No more pork!” and “No more bailouts!” a few hundred “tea party” protesters stood outside a west Fort Worth sports bar for hours Friday, cheering and waving signs at passing drivers to protest the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program.

“I bet there’s not a single person here today who wants to pay their neighbor’s mortgage,” Tarrant County Republican Chairwoman Stephanie Klick said to yells and applause.

Tampa Bay held a protest, too:

“We wanted to let the people in Washington know how angry we are about the stimulus bill,” said John Hendricks, a Tampa-based consultant who organized the gathering. Hendricks said he and many others think government spending is out of control.

“We’ve got to do something about it before it’s too late,” he said.

It’s obvious that people don’t trust President Obama’s radical agenda. That’s what’s driving their visceral reaction to his policies.

They held a waterfront Tea Party event in St. Louis Friday:

Dana Loesch, a radio host on 97.1 FM, had talked up Friday’s rally and served as emcee. Signs waved around her included, “Pork, the new ‘Red’ meat,” and “King Barack III and the House of Lards.”

Jackie Smith, former tight end for the old St. Louis football Cardinals, said, “We are mad as hell and we need to stay mad as hell. Don’t let up.”

Megan Dunham of Maplewood brought her four daughters with some painted signs “because it’s important that the kids take part.” She said it was her first protest. “All I’d ever done before is yell at the TV. This is exciting.”

Ms. Dunham’s reaction is telling. It doesn’t sound like she’s a political activist. Nonetheless, she showed up because President Obama’s policies have animated her in ways that cookie cutter politicians couldn’t have.

Oklahomans are upset with the stimulus bill and President Obama’s policies:

There was no tea, and Boston Harbor is about 1,500 miles away. But more than 300 people gathered Friday outside the state Capitol for a “taxpayer tea party” to protest the $787 billion federal economic stimulus package.

“We want to send one message to Congress: We don’t want a bailout,” said Stuart Jolly, Oklahoma director of Americans for Prosperity. The group has helped sponsor similar events across the country, including in Chicago, Los Angeles and Tulsa. “There’s other ways to stimulate the economy, and this isn’t it.”

Jolly said tax cuts would be better to create jobs and get people back to work.

The event was held to let people voice frustration over Congress voting to approve the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.

One of the things that’s driving the anti-pork protests is the fact that people are upset that Congress didn’t even bother reading the bill before voting on it. They’re also upset with the mortgage bailout because (a) it’s expensive and (b) they don’t think it’s fair that the 92 percent of mortgage holders who pay on time don’t think their taxes should be increased to pay for those that made bad decisions.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Salena Zito just posted this news on her Forty Fourth Estate blog:

Several Republican conservative fundraisers have approached Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey to ask her to consider a primary run against Sen. Arlen Specter.

Sources confirm they have offered to help her raise money.

One strategist said of the close-door meeting the conservative group was particularly impressed that when Irey went up against Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Johnstown, in the 2006 midterm primaries, she was able to raise between $300 to $400K online.

Diana Irey’s biggest problems in 2006 were fundraising in general and PA-12′s willingness to be bought off by John Murtha’s corruption machine. It wasn’t that she didn’t inspire loyalty and it definitely wasn’t that she wasn’t a great campaigner.

She’d be the type of fresh face and conservative voice that private donors, the RNC and the NRSC could rally around. It’s also worth noting that she’s the type of conservative that would play well in Pennsylvania’s T, which is where Republicans have to do well to win.

I haven’t heard that Ms. Irey has agreed to jump into the race but I’ll definitely monitor the situation.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Rep. is carving out a significant place in the Republican Party that extends beyond the House GOP leadership. His speech to CPAC tells us why he’s a rising national conservative leader. This portion of Rep. Pence’s speech is the quintessential roadmap to success:

On Election Day, only 22 percent of Americans described themselves as “liberal,” yet voters sent to Washington the most liberal, one-party government in our nation’s history.

So what happened?

The truth is, Republicans didn’t just lose a few elections, we lost our way. We walked away from the principles that minted our national majority and the American people walked away from us.

So we’re in the wilderness. The only question now is, what are we going to do about it? There sure is a lot of advice out there, some of it even from Republicans.

We keep hearing that Republicans have to come up with new ideas and that we have to use new technology to take those ideas to voters who haven’t been coming our way lately.

Yes, we need to offer positive alternatives. Yes, we need to take our message to every community in America. But more than anything else, we need to be willing to fight, for freedom and free markets and traditional moral values.

I said that we needed to start picking policy fights all the way back in November, 2006. I’m more convinced of it now than I was then. And I was convinced then. We need to be the polar opposite of the Democrats in several important aspects. Here’s what I’m referring to:

1. We need to be identified as the party that thinks things through, not the party of ‘Surely we must do something’. The ‘Surely we must do something’ approach is fraught with wasteful spending and sloppy policymaking. We can’t afford that ever but we especially can’t afford that approach now when President Obama is proposing one foolish or irresponsible policy after another.

Another reason why we should aspire to being the party that thinks things through is because that’s how we become more articulate in explaining why conservatism is the better alternative.

2. We need to be the party that listens to every demographic group in every region of the country. That’s part of becoming the party that thinks things through. True listening is about telling people that their opinions matter. That’s the best way of telling people that we’ll listen before setting policies. The silent benefit of that practice is that people will still trust us even when they don’t agree with the policy.

3. We must be the party that follows through on its promises. President Obama promised to be a post-partisan politician. Thus far, he’s been polarizing partisan politician. That’s causing people to think that politicians don’t keep their word. We should do everything possible to keep our promises because that’s how we offer a positive alternative to President Obama, both in terms of trust and in superior policies.

Here’s another great part of Rep. Pence’s speech:

Margaret Thatcher used to say: “First you win the argument, then you win the vote.”

Although we lost the legislative battle, we won the argument because we proposed a better solution: tax relief for working families and small businesses. Twice the jobs, at half the cost. Republicans won the argument because we got back to basics: fighting for the principles and ideals that make this nation great. We got back to fighting for basic economic freedom: free enterprise and fiscal responsibility.

This is the way back for our movement and our party.

It isn’t enough to win the news cycle. It’s important, though, to own the issue, to be the experts on whatever issue is being discussed. Being articulate experts on issues is a great way to increase the GOP’s credibility. The more we improve our credibility, the more viable we become electorally. To borrow an old cliche, good policies make for great politics.

Finally, this portion of Rep. Pence’s speech is must reading:

After writing a stimulus bill that was nothing more than a wish list of liberal spending priorities and power grabs, Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to the House floor and said, “every American is asking, ‘what’s in it for me?’” She thinks the American people are a bunch of congressmen!!

No, Madame Speaker, they wanted to know what’s in it, period. Which is more than you can say for the 246 Democrats who cast their votes for it. The American people weren’t asking, “what’s in it for me?” They were asking, “what’s in it for America?” What’s in it that will strengthen the foundations upon which our prosperity rests?

The contrast couldn’t be more stark. Rep. Pence thinks like a real person from America’s heartland; Speaker Pelosi thinks like a typical Beltway politician. Right now, typical Beltway doesn’t seem like a particularly wise path to follow.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I got a hearty chuckle from King’s post about the Obama administration’s deficit projections. According King’s chart, the Obama administration, the Obama administration is projecting a $1,500,000,000,000 deficit for FY2010. Eventually, the deficit drops to $522,000,000,000 in FY2013.

A report I heard on TV last night said that the Obama administration is using the rosiest of rosy scenarios for FY2011-13. They’re projecting GDP growth in 2011 at 5.5 percent and 6 percent annual growth in FY2012 and FY 2013. Those numbers aren’t just optimistic. They’re delirious. The highest growth rate for a quarter in the last 20 years came in 2003 when it hit 8.1 percent. The best years of the Clinton administration didn’t average 5 percent.

Dick Morris offered a great insight into the difference between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Morris said that Clinton always knew that treating the private sector with respect was the way to grow the economy. Morris then said that Obama thinks of the private sector as the enemy. (I don’t know that I’d go that far but I certainly won’t rule it out either.)

I told a friend that there’s great potential that President Obama’s economic plan will either hurt older people living on fixed income through high inflation spikes or it’ll hurt younger people by lowering GDP growth because Democrats will have pulled so much money out of the private sector to pay for their irresponsible, and unsustainable spending blitz.

We literally can’t afford to let the Obama administration write blank check after blank check to their political allies.

The other thing that’s disturbing about President Obama’s budget is that it’s got reserves built into it that set $750,000,000,000 for TARP funding and $634,000,000,000 for universal health care. TARP’s been a miserable failure and the Obama administration’s universal health care policies will the rationing of health care.

That isn’t the America I want to live in.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Dr. Julian Marshall stepped in it yesterday when he testified on behalf of a bill that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This video of Dr. Marshall’s testimony illustrates where he lost his credibility:

Here’s what the Strib reported about this incident:

During a presentation Tuesday related to a bill to reduce carbon emissions and the number of miles vehicles in Minnesota are driven, Dr. Julian Marshall of the University of Minnesota displayed a digital slide containing two versions of the historic ad.

The original ad is an illustration of a man driving a convertible and bears the slogan “When you ride ALONE, you ride with Hitler! Join a car-sharing club TODAY!” — the idea being that a failure to conserve resources was aiding the German dictator, who was shown riding in the passenger seat.

To her credit, Sen. Julianne Ortmann took exception with this foolish, over-the-top stunt. Dr. Marshall’s presentation was amateurish. It apparently was offensive, too.

I don’t doubt but that Dr. Marshall feels strongly about saving the planet. I’m equally confident that he’s perfectly willing to use whatever amateurish stunts or gimmicks at his avail to win the arguments.

Unfortunately for him, Dr. Marshall didn’t make more effective use of science in his presentation. Then again, it’s difficult putting together a scientific argument for manmade global warming.

Let’s hope he’s more polished and less offensive if he’s called to testify about anything ever again.

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Here’s the text of an email proving the DFL’s manipulation of the listening sessions:

Dear Reps. Benson, Ruud, Winkler, Peterson and Simon and Sens. Bonoff, Rest and Pappas,

Thank you for participating in the Plymouth town hall meeting this Thursday. I anticipate there will be additional members participating but have so far not yet been notified. Meeting details are listed below and directions from the Capitol are attached.

Plymouth Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, Feb. 26 7:00 pm
Plymouth City Hall
3400 Plymouth Blvd.

I have also attached the list of people who have signed up to testify as of 9 a.m. this morning. Because we will be meeting for approximately 2 hrs., we will not be able to hear from everyone. (140 have submitted their names.) We will be limiting testimony to 2 minutes and encouraging individuals to submit their comments in writing or online. If there are any individuals listed who you think would provide particularly compelling testimony, please let me know. We will be working to hear from a variety of individuals covering a wide range of topics.

Please contact me with any additional questions or suggestions.

Last week, I posted a copy of Gene Pelowski’s email with essentially the same message. That message is, simply put, “Let’s stack the witness pool.” It’s obvious that the legislator chairing the hearing cherrypicks the pro-DFL ‘messagebearers’ in an attempt to make it look like a great grassroots groundswell to raise taxes instead of cutting funding. As a reminder, here’s the text of Pelowski’s email:

From: Gene Pelowski [mailto:Rep.Gene.Pelowski@house.mn]
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 10:13 AM
This Friday, February 20, there will be a bicameral hearing held in our region. Senators and Representatives from both political parties will be in Winona from 3:30 to 5:30 PM, Winona City Hall, 207 Lafayette St. The purpose of this hearing is to get testimony from affected programs in every level of government, education, health care or service impacted by the cuts suggested by the Governor’s state budget.

I am writing you to ask that you or a designee get scheduled to testify. You may do this by going to the House website at www.house.mn and clicking on ‘Town Meetings’.

We would ask you to focus your comments on the impact of the Governor’s budget including what is the harm to your area of government or program. Please be as precise as possible using facts such as number of lay offs, increases in property taxes, cuts in services, increases in tuition, elimination of programs. To be respectful of the time necessary to hear from a large number of constituents it would be advised to use no more than 3-5 minutes to convey your message. If you choose to provide handouts or printed materials, please plan to bring approximately 25 copies, enough for committee members and media.

Sincerely,
Representative Gene Pelowski
District 31A

The DFL is playing a manipulative game. What’s worst is that they’re cherrypicking people in an effort to justify their tax-increasing, anti-reform agenda. It’s absurd to think that the DFL is interested in finding more cost-effective ways of delivering constitutionally mandated services. I don’t think that that thought is part of their thinking or mindset.

This is all just a well-orchestrated PR dance. This doesn’t have a thing to do with randomly picking people to testify. Doing that represents too great a risk to the DFL’s puppeteers and orchestrators.

The last thing the DFL wants is to let these hearings deviate from their intended script.

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According to this FinancialTimes.com article, President Obama’s jumbo-sized budget includes the biggest budget deficit in our nation’s history. No longer should people willingly accept President Obama’s scolds of the Bush administration.

Here’s the ugly truth about FY2010′s budget:

Thursday’s 10-year budget will project a fiscal deficit this year of $1,750bn – a number that shatters all records and which is significantly higher than the near $1,200bn forecast by the Congressional Budget Office in January. The sharp jump largely reflects the cost of this year’s portion of the two-year $787bn emergency fiscal stimulus that was signed into law by Mr Obama last week.

The FT’s language is pretty provocative. Saying that this year’s deficit “shatters all records” highlights the fiscal irresponsibility that the Obama administration has shown thus far. Never has an administration been this fiscally irresponsible as this administration.

That’s why hearing President Obama say that he’ll reduce the deficit by 50 percent is laughable. Forget about him not liking a spending bill he didn’t like. This budget is President Obama’s way of saying that he’s never met a RECORD spending bill he didn’t love.

The AP’s Martin Crutsinger wrote this article that briefly outlines where the money’s going:

President Barack Obama is sending Congress a budget that would boost taxes on the wealthy and curtail Medicare payments to insurance companies and hospitals to make way for a $634 billion down payment on universal health care.

Obama’s first budget predicts the deficit for this year will soar to a whopping $1.75 trillion, according to administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity before the public unveiling of the budget Thursday.

As part of the effort to end the nation’s financial crisis, the administration will propose boosting the budget deficit by an additional $250 billion this year – to the record $1.75 trillion – enough to support as much as $750 billion more in spending under the government’s rescue program for financial institutions. That would more than double the $700 billion bailout effort passed by Congress last October.

TRANSLATION: President Obama is cutting payments to insurance companies and hospitals, creating even more money that will be cost-shifted onto people who’ve worked hard and played by the rules.

Politicians that grandstand by saying they’re cutting government payments to hospitals should be called on the carpet because what they’re really saying is that they’re forcing hospitals to shift those costs onto others.

The reality is that the government’s intrusion into these payments is a silent tax increase on working people. Each time the government says it’ll cut payments to the private sector, that entrepreneur is forced to eat that cut or to shift that cost to someone else. Most often, it’s shifted onto someone else.

Yes, strutting politicians have told their constituents that they’ve saved them a fistful of money. Unfortunately, these strutting politicians have intentionally lied to their constituents because they know that these costs have simply been shifted onto someone else.

John McCain was the first politician who called the stimulus bill the Generational Theft Act. I’ll be the first to admit that he’s right. I’m also the first person who’ll call President Obama’s first budget the Generational Theft Act, Part II.

President Obama says that he’ll cut the deficit in half, the deficit he “inherited from the last administration.” That deficit is expected to finish at $1,200,000,000,000. By his own admission, the deficit from his first budget is 50 percent higher than the FY2009 budget’s deficit. Is President Obama expecting a miracle to help reduce the deficit? If so, he’s wishing on the wrong thing.

The thing to remember about President Obama’s economic plan is that it’s a lose-lose situation. If his plan succeeds, we’ll get hit with high inflation. If it doesn’t succeed, we’ll be hit with low GDP growth for a decade.

Forgive me if I don’t think that passing this budget is a win for the long-term well-being of our economy. In fact, it’s my opinion that this budget establishes few worthwhile priorities. It’s also my opinion that it doesn’t get out of the private sector’s way so they can create sustainable prosperity.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Karl Rove’s WSJ article starts with a gentlemanly-worded opening paragraph:

President Barack Obama reveres Abraham Lincoln. But among the glaring differences between the two men is that Lincoln offered careful, rigorous, sustained arguments to advance his aims and, when disagreeing with political opponents, rarely relied on the lazy rhetorical device of “straw men.” Mr. Obama, on the other hand, routinely ascribes to others views they don’t espouse and says opposition to his policies is grounded in views no one really advocates.

That’s a polite way of saying that President Obama is intentionally mischaracterizing other people’s views. It’s also a way of saying he’s being artfully deceptive. Here’s what Mr. Rove is referring to:

On Tuesday night, Mr. Obama told Congress and the nation, “I reject the view that…says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity.” Who exactly has that view? Certainly not congressional Republicans, who believe that through reasonable tax cuts, fiscal restraint, and prudent monetary policies government contributes to prosperity.

There’s no disputing the fact that President Obama is a gifted orator. Each time he speaks, though, more doubt is created as to whether he’s in over his head. I’ve always agreed that he’s a gifted politician. I can’t agree that he’s a brilliant thinker. He’s nothing of the sort.

More and more, people are starting to question his policies. Some people are tuning him out. What’s indisputable is that the DJI drops anytime he gives a major economic address. Fidelity’s “Ned” Johnson is one of those who are questioning President Obama’s policies:

“We can only hope that the government’s cure doesn’t further sicken the patient,” Johnson wrote in his annual update on Fidelity’s performance over the past year.

“During the ’30s, Congress, with guidance from the president and the same kind of good intentions, shifted the country’s cash flow away from productive businesses to government make-work projects, which most likely prolonged the Great Depression,” wrote Johnson, arguably Boston’s most powerful business executive.

As for the financial-system crisis, Johnson also took a somewhat anti-government conservative view toward its causes, saying “this climate was caused by many well-intentioned policies, stimulated by individuals at high levels in government and sanctioned by regulatory structures.”

TRANSLATION: Please don’t make the same mistakes that FDR made in the 1930′s.

Johnson is right on the money when he cautions against too much government intervention in markets and institutions. He’s definitely right in saying that the private sector is the only place where real prosperity is created, the only job growth engine in a capitalist economy.

Thus far, President Obama has talked like a capitalist and governed like an FDR-like interventionist. He’s justified his policies by creating strawman arguments. That’ll work for now. That won’t work when the economy doesn’t pick up soon. People voted for then-Sen. Obama because they thought he’d right America’s economy. The minute they realize that he’s got the wrong perscription for what ails us, they’ll abandon his policies.

Rove demolishes this strawman argument like Justin Morneau crushes belt-high hanging sliders:

Mr. Obama also said that America’s economic difficulties resulted when “regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.” Who gutted which regulations?

Perhaps it was President Bill Clinton who, along with then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, removed restrictions on banks owning insurance companies in 1999. If so, were Mr. Clinton and Mr. Summers (now an Obama adviser) motivated by quick profit, or by the belief that the reform was necessary to modernize our financial industry?

Thus far, President Obama and chief adviser David Axelrod have blamed things on Karl Rove and President Bush. I think that they’re doing that primarily because they thinks it’s playing well. I’m getting the feeling that Mr. Rove is getting ready to throw some haymakers. His questioning President Obama’s cheap line about gutting regulations is lighting a fire in conservatives’ bellies.

Now that he’s got a healthy sized bully pulpit to work from, I’d advise the Obama administration to tread lightly. Mr. Rove is still a potent political force.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’m prone to listening to Dick Morris’ opinions about President Obama’s economic policies because he’s paying attention to how Wall Street and small businesses are responding to President Obama’s plans on taxing them into near-oblivion. To say that Morris isn’t kind in his assessment of President Obama’s speech in his latest column is understatement. Here’s one of many criticisms Morris has about President Obama’s plan:

How he plans to restore the nerve and confidence of our bankers as he castigates them is unclear. But, then, so is his program for financial rescue. One suspects that he knows full well that he will nationalize the banks. But even that step assumes that politicians can do what bankers can’t: Act quickly, ruthlessly and honestly, never a notable attribute of elected officials.

I’ve written numerous times that I don’t have any confidence in President Obama’s economic team, especially the men at the top. President Obama was inaugurated 36 days ago and he still hasn’t explained his economic philosophy. He’s talked about what he wants to spend money on but he hasn’t explained the rationale behind it.

Treasury Secretary Geithner still hasn’t put together a coherent plan for dealing with failing banks, leading Wall Street to wonder if this economic team knows what it’s doing.

And then Obama affirmed that he’ll support big tax increases on the richest 2 percent of American families. Disregarding the fact that these households already pay upward of half of all income taxes, while earning only a quarter of the national income, he has singled out the entrepreneurs, professionals, innovators and businesspeople of America for taxation.

Oh, but he won’t raise taxes until he’s had a few years to stimulate the economy. How many in that 2 percent feel like one of those huge hogs in the Chicago stockyards, being fattened up to slaughter the next year?

It’s time that businesses stopped this taxaholic’s binge. It’s time that they told their employees that supporting irresponsible Democrats will lead to economic ruin. President Obama’s scattergun economic approach is exactly the wrong approach. When Ronald Reagan started spending money on building up the military, he did it because he knew the importance of national security AND because he knew that this buildup would fire up the factories. He knew it was a win-win situation.

When President Obama signed the bill into law in Denver, a portion of the money spent was actually worthwhile. The majority of it was overspending while a healthy portion of it was simply political payoff.

Can all this work? Can Obama get banks to lend even as he terrorizes them? Can he get the engines of our economy back to work even as he announces that he’ll be taking away more of their earnings? Can he persuade the American people to accept bureaucrats deciding their health-care choices? And can his economic stimulus survive a huge increase in the payroll tax on the most productive citizens?

Probably not;Obama likely won’t succeed. This speech will be viewed as his high-water mark, the time before we came to realize how flawed is his understanding of economics and how supreme is his commitment to expanded spending. It will be seen as a sort of age of innocence before we realized what he had in mind.

But it sure was a great speech…while it lasted.

The choices that President Obama is giving people are unappealing at best. They lead to a shrinking of individual liberty and personal prosperity. President Obama’s policies will put immense burdens on people, burdens that won’t likely shrink with time.

Ask yourself this simple question: Do I trust myself to make the decisions that will make me prosperous or do I need President Obama to make those decisions for me? Before you make that decision, remind yourself that having President Obama make those decisions for you means that he’ll charge a fee for making those decisions.

One last thing: If you choose the Obama option, just remember one thing: that liberty and prosperity were great…while they existed.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative