Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Advice From Someone Smarter than our Representatives

I love this short, two minute clip! What is greed?


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Peggy Noonan is Fantastic!

I will be posting an article on Wealth Redistribution tomorrow but I thought I would leave you today with one of my favorite Peggy Noonan videos!


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama Economic Recovery House Meetings: It's Funny Because It's True

Permit me to ask you a question, what are your plans the week of February 6th? If you are an avid supporter of President Obama and you said, “Hosting a house party to advocate the passing of the Federal Government’s Economic Stimulus Package,” you answered correctly. In a savvy attempt to reactivate his list of over 13 million supporters, President Barack Obama’s grassroots movement, ‘Organizing for America’, has begun recruiting activists to arrange and host local parties to coordinate efforts that will aide in the passing of Washington’s $825 billion dollar economic stimulus program. After all, nothing is more intellectually thought provoking than trial lawyers, bureaucrats, students studying environmental justice, and community college sociology professors getting together for a Socratic seminar on the economy.

Granted, the purpose of Mr. Obama’s efforts is not to develop apt improvements to a frustratingly inept bill, nor is it to entice intelligent discourse from those who are the change that they seek. The purpose, is widespread advocacy; but no matter how shrewd a move this grassroots initiative is, it still is what it is, which is, the potential mobilization of millions of Americans who know nothing about the economy to advocate a horrendously flawed bill that addresses the economy. President Obama deserves all the credit in the world for immediately using his political capital and grassroots muscle to pass a bill that will, in essence, forever grow the federal government and create record financial burdens for future generations.


If only out of pure curiosity, I highly recommend visiting http://www.barackobama.com/ which, by the way, is a fantastic website, and see how many of these home meetings are currently being organized in your area. For those of you thinking about attending and interrupting a meeting please don’t, you will only come across as a jerk; besides, I can essentially lay out what you will be missing:


1:00 p.m.
The meeting will begin with a 15-20 minute reflection session on the platonic nature of President Obama’s inauguration coupled with testimonials on all of the hard work every attending member put in which will lead one or two of the less than stellar go-getters to stay obscurely silent.


1:10 p.m.
The smokers outside will trickle in causing one of the uptight, middle-aged women to mutter under her breath about being allergic to smoke and how cigarettes should be outlawed.


1:15 p.m
Three hung over college students who have never worked more than a summer job will trickle in wearing Abercrombie & Fitch gear.


1:15 p.m.
Someone will begin serving overpriced free-trade coffee.


1:20 p.m.
The leader of the group will preface his/her presentation with an overused, snide comment regarding President Bush and transition into how important it will be to continue to bring about change for President Obama. (cheers will follow)


1:21
In the midst of the cheers, the awkward, self-proclaimed socialist in the corner everyone is afraid to make eye contact with will make an oafish comment followed by nervous laughter.


1:30 p.m.
The group gets down to business by discussing how they can ensure that President Obama’s Economic Stimulus bill will pass. Unfortunately, this conversation will digress when a person who has never owned his own business comments on how Republicans just don’t get the economy. This will be followed by a number of nasty (what’s the word the left is using now?) divisive comments from other attendees who have never owned their own businesses leading to a 3-5 minute tirade against conservatives.


1:34 p.m.
The meeting will resume but not before someone, most likely the trial lawyer who blindly invested in the stock market without doing his research, will make a comment on how this entire problem was brought about by greed; everyone will agree.


1:40 p.m.
The inevitable tie in to the war in Iraq will rear its ugly head.


1:47
One of the college students will try to use one of their big boy words and talk about Keynesian economics – he took one beginner economics course freshman year taught by a 26 year-old liberal teaching assistant. This statement will be defended by everyone who will justify all aspects of the stimulus bill with the assumption that they will create jobs.


1:51
After distributing his bundle of general, watered down talking points that in no way address where all of the stimulus money will be spent, the leader will hand out assignments and end the meeting - no one will throw away their trash.


1:55
A number of rash and primitive conversations will break out questioning the benefits of free markets followed by a wave of criticism towards Rush Limbaugh from people who have never listened to more than five minutes of his show.
I know that not everyone attending these meetings is going to be like the people above and hopefully my liberal friends can take a joke; however, how much would you be willing to wager that at least half of the scenarios listed above happen in your local Obama Stimulus Bill Gathering?
More to come!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rod Blagojevich: Where Shameless Happens

My new video on Rod Blagojevich. Dedicated to Hans Poschman.

Book Report: Economics in One Lesson


Periodically, I’ll try to provide insight into some of the books I’ve gone through. Unfortunately, I’ve been slacking on my reading as of late but I did just finish Henry Hazlett’s Economics in One Lesson: Henry Hazlitt was a self-educated political and economic columnist who developed a strong liking for Austrian economics. A friend of Friedrich Hayek and Ayn Rand, Hazlett is actually credited with providing Ludwig von Mises with his first position at NYU.


As a writer for the Wall Street Journal in the 1940’s, Hazlitt was known for his ability to clearly communicate current events and economic theory, his best-selling book Economics in One Lesson, is strong starting point for those unfamiliar with the economic beliefs of Milton Friedman, von Mises and many other free market economists. Hazlitt does a great job of effectively using real-life examples to clearly articulate the basic principles and benefits of free markets and the effects that government controls have on the flow of money and production. The central theme of Economics is to teach the reader to focus on the overall effects that many economic barriers provide rather than zero in on specific market alterations.


Throughout the book, Hazlitt cites minimum wage laws, tariffs, price fixing, rent control, overly aggressive union measures, and many other issues as policies that, in the long run, do more harm than good to the economy.Like any science, the economic devil is in the details; however, Hazlitt articulately lays out the classic, free market outlook on economic growth (tariffs are bad, free trade is good, competition drives innovation, government intervention harms private enterprise etc.) that every American should be familiar with. In a time when most Presidential candidates from BOTH parties are advocating THE SAME backwards economic policies that accompanied the stagflation, gas lines, and high unemployment rates of the 1970’s; Economics in One Lesson is worth picking up. You can get a copy of Economics in One Lesson used for under six bucks at Amazon.com or you can read it for free at this website

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dance with the One That Brung Ya!

In other news:
Certainly excesses in the private sector helped drive us to the situation that we are in BUT I’m sick and tired of the left placing full blame on free markets. Let’s remember the reason we got here:

Here



and here



Furthermore, take a look at Speaker Pelosi's speech to Congress just before they voted on the bipartisan Bailout Bill that ended up failing....What was she thinking?

Let's All Take a Deep Breath

CNN's Suze Orman Don't let this woman scare the wits out of you

Today, after reports that a Federal Wall Street Bailout Deal would pass proved to be false, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 6.98% (778 points). In total, the losses suffered totaled approximately $1.2 trillion dollars; nearly double what the federal bailout plan would have cost taxpayers. While the losses we saw today were substantial lets all take a deep breath and look at this objectively. This evening’s edition of Anderson Cooper 360 literally ran a 20-30 minute economic segment based on the assumption that the money lost today would be gone forever rather than focusing on the long term performance of a fluctuating market. Investors are extremely anxious about the steps the federal government will take to clear these bad loans so banks can begin lending again. Such apprehension is natural and there is no doubt that markets will continue to drop. However, investors are looking for stability; the federal bailout, with all its flaws provides that. Let’s understand that while we suffered a huge hit today it was just one day. Congress will ultimately pass something along the lines of what was voted on; that should provide some stabilization. Remember, we ARE lending out $700 billion dollars – I know that we don’t have an infinite amount of time to pass this bill but this may or may not be one of the most important provisions signed in our lifetime. If Congress wants to mull over it an extra day I’m sure we will all be here tomorrow.

Bailout Fails!!! Bailout Links for your Fancy

******GOVERNMENT SINKS BAILOUT PLAN*********

***How They Voted***

DOW Down 778 Points

Wachovia Bought by Citigroup Stocks Plummet 80%

Still confused about the financial crisis? Here is a GREAT link explaining what happened and how the crisis spread into the insurance field (hence AIG)

A Good, Quick Economist Article on the Financial Bailout


Mark Sanford (The Person Who SHOULD Have been the VP Candidate) on The Economy

Thomas Sowell on the Financial Bailout

Welcome Back!

Welcome back everyone! Sorry I dropped off the face of the planet for a few months but Wit and Reason will be back up with daily updates. Links worth reading will be changed daily and I'll try to post some original stuff every few days.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Schwarzenegger? The Foundation of a McCain Administration


In November 17, 2003 a rising star political star promising an administration of reform stood up and was sworn in as the governor of one of the largest states in the union. He promised to ‘change the rancor culture of politics’, ‘reach across the aisle to get things done’, and make his state ‘business friendly again.’ He appealed to independents, republicans, and a large number of democrats. Conservatives, however, were split.

It was a situation humorists will refer to as ‘sweet, sweet irony.’ In November of 2002 the fate of California rested in the hands of a small group of conservatives who, for years, were willing to tell anyone who would listen that they didn’t matter. Racked with an energy crisis, economic woes, and a bitterly partisan legislature, California decided to recall Grey Davis and hold an open election for the Governors seat in Sacramento.

Essentially conservatives had a choice between two candidates: State Senator Tom McClintock, a strict conservative in the essence of the word with principled – not political or ‘pragmatic’ – principled views on a host of issues from taxes to transportation; or, a rookie Politian named Arnold Schwarzenegger, a ‘pragmatist’ actor with few principled beliefs running on a platform of reform, common sense business practices, and the ability to reach across the aisle to instigate change. To be honest, nobody knew much about Mr. Schwarzenegger; we only knew what we were told we should know. What did he stand for? Reform? Great, but in what sense? Job creation? Wonderful, but there are lots of theories on how to create jobs; which would he entertain? Bipartisanship? Ah, now that was something we could use especially with so many Democrats in Sacramento; plus, wouldn’t it be great to finally have a Governor with an ‘R’ by his name again?

There was no question that Mr. Schwarzenegger could attract votes and votes were what we needed to finally have a voice. But were we sure that voice would listen? What did this charismatic man with a great speech writing staff stand for? To be honest, we didn’t know but the prospect of a Republican in the Governor’s mansion again was a risk that we were willing to take – and we did.

The rest of the story is history. Arnold Schwarzenegger ended up standing for Arnold Schwarzenegger; which, is to say, he stood for whatever he darn well wanted to stand for. He was all over the map - he tried to slash the budget; that didn’t work so he did the exact opposite and sold bonds on our economy that this generation will have to pay for when our kids start going to college. He held out on using his political capital to instigate swift change only to hastily throw together a number of intelligent reforms; all of which were rejected. From there Mr. Schwarzenegger spent some time saving the world from global warming by signing shortsighted regulations and making sure that everybody knew that he drove a Hybrid Hummer. After a brief stint in the universal health care ranks Governor Schwarzenegger has come full circle and faces more budget woes and in a state that has the 4th highest unemployment rate in the country.

Moving forward to 2008 we face an eerily similar candidate in Senator John McCain. Ask yourself this – besides national defense, earmarks (only 1% - 2% of the budget), and reaching across the aisle what does John McCain stand for? What will he do about the current financial crisis? Social Security? Medicare? Furthermore, will conservatives have a voice in a McCain Administration? The Arizona Senator has billed himself as a leader who will stubbornly stick to what he thinks is right which, in most cases, is at odds with what most principled conservatives stand for. Is that something worth standing for? In John McCain’s mind placing ‘Country First’ is essentially an appeal to apply his miscellany beliefs above a focused set of ideas. Like Governor Schwarzenegger, Senator McCain’s foundation flounders early and often. Conservatives will have a hard time holding his ‘feet to the fire’ if he has no reference in which to listen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Republican Debate Analysis



New and improved version! Sometimes it is hard to write coherently at 2 a.m..

Despite the collective efforts of Andersen Cooper and the Cable News Network, the latest Republican debate was still a feisty and entertaining program. With nearly a month left before the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses, voters are starting to see an edgier, more hostile group of GOP candidates which, no doubt, has provided a larger number of squabbles than the collective conservative love fest that has encompassed prior debates.

Clearly the individual with the most to lose entering Florida was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The strategy of the Romney camp has been to place a heavy focus on Iowa and New Hampshire in order to garner enough momentum to hurdle over a number of elephant-size hurdles waiting patiently in the back of the campaign bus. For good or for worse, Mitt Romney has essentially purchased the state of Iowa, but his grip is slipping and he is quickly seeing a lot of his support slip into the Huckabee camp. With weak polling elsewhere in the nation, Romney’s only shot at the Republican nomination is to secure the first two primary states and make a victory seem inevitable; in addition to his much publicized speech on faith, look for the Governor to take more aggressive steps in the next few weeks.

Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson also needed a strong showing in this last debate as he has seen little or no growth in his polling numbers. Senator Thompson’s hyped splash into the Republican field has been dissapointing at best; faced with lukewarm fundraising totals and a dwindling number of “Fredheads”, Thompson desperately needs some sort of spark to kick start his floundering campaign.

Other than Arizona Senator John McCain, who also needs a strong push to start his campaign back up, the rest of the candidates could afford to enter Florida on cruise control; here is how they faired:

The Good:

Governor Mike Huckabee: A

Mike Huckabee was the clear winner of the night; the former Arkansas Governor had all the momentum in the world and was able to capitalize. Huckabee has found his niche in the Republican Primaries with an evangelical Christian bloc that has long held reservations about Mitt Romney. Playing the sunny preacher with an increasing support base, Mr. Huckabee could afford to stay positive and he did. The Governor hit the ball out of the park with his defense of Arkansas’s controversial policy of giving scholarships to illegal immigrants and he was easily able to brush aside Mitt Romney’s criticisms of his use of government funds to support non-citizens. Huckabee also gave strong explanations for his support of the death penalty, belief in the bible, and was able to articulate his answers to tough questions by appealing to the emotions of his audience. On a side note, it seems that the Huckabee camp has recognized the growing animosity towards his compassionate conservative message as he toned down the sob stories.


Mayor Rudy Giuliani: B

While leading in the national polls, Mayor Giuliani has not received the same amount of popularity in Iowa and New Hampshire and had some ground to gain coming into the debate. Right away, the Mayor got himself tangled in a spar with Mitt Romney on immigration and ended up on the winner’s side by pointing out the Governor’s personal history of hiring illegal immigrants. Giuliani did a great job of defending New York’s sanctuary city status and was able to link New York’s immigration policies to crime prevention, one of his strong points. The former Mayor gave an equally good defense of his gun record; there has been a lot of talk about Giuliani’s liberal gun policies and he aggressively responded to the allegations that he is weak on 2nd amendment rights. For the most part, Giuliani was able to further his standing as an electable candidate who really isn’t all that bad. He seemed to stay on cruise control for most of the night and didn’t say anything that got him into trouble.


Senator John McCain: B

You can really see the frustration and fatigue in the face of John McCain, especially when it comes to immigration. Surprisingly, the Arizona Senator has been slowly rising in the polls, mostly because of his aggressive stance on the war in Iraq. Mr. McCain started out flat on his illegal immigration answer but made a great point about joining the Senate to “do the hard things, not the easy things” this should be the direction he will take on the issue for the rest of the election cycle. As usual, McCain provided very strong answers on foreign policy and took Mitt Romney to school on the issue of torture and water boarding. His smartest move of the night was to go after Ron Paul’s anti-war stance which can bring him some much needed attention and place the focus on his strong foreign policy experience. Currently, the problem with McCain is that he appears aged and tired; he is going to need some more energy to make it past the primaries.

On the Fence


Congressman Ron Paul: C+

While Mr. Paul will not receive the Republican nomination, his message has resonated among the libertarian wing of the GOP. Currently, the problem with Mr. Paul is he isn’t ready for primetime. You can tell that the Texas Representative is not the greatest natural speaker and that tends to trip him up. Additionally, Mr. Paul has a nasty habit of actually answering the questions that he is being asked. During the debate, the Congressman received a bizarre question about the transcontinental highway; to his credit, Paul gave a fairly detailed report on the development of trade relations and national sovereignty; while educational, such answers are not what people want to hear. Paul has a great message and is the lone voice for a lot of displaced economic conservatives but he needs to get better at tailoring his talking points and using his speaking time to focus on issues that resonate. Overall, Paul did fairly well and, for the most part, held his own against John McCain on the war in Iraq but he could make even more headway if he spent some time with a speech coach.

On a side note: It seems that the only Paul supporters I run into are stoned, confused hippies and college professors. Are there any normal people supporting Ron Paul?


The Ugly

Senator Fred Thompson: C-

Someone needs to tell Fred Thompson’s campaign manager to give him a few Red Bull’s before he attends the next debate. It must be so frustrating to be a ‘Fredhead” as the Senator has the right philosophy but lacks the charisma and fire to communicate his message. Right out of the gate, Thompson fell flat and aside from a quick jab at Giuliani’s hiring practices, he was a complete non-factor in Florida. Each year, candidates will tell you that we are facing the most important election of our lifetime – while that may not apply in 2008, we are in a time when Republican frustration is higher than it has been in years and conservatives are looking for someone to step up and reclaim the Grand Old Party. If Fred Thompson does not shake his campaign up soon there would be no reason for him to continue past South Carolina.


Governor Mitt Romney: D

The Governor had the most to lose in this debate and he most certainly lost it. Romney really needed a strong performance in Florida to keep his declining support from bolting to Mike Huckabee. To his credit, the former Massachusetts Governor aggressively went after the records of his opponents; however, I don’t know if you knew this, but Mitt Romney isn’t the smoothest of characters and it showed. One of the risks of locking horns with your opponent is that he might win. In Romney’s case both Giuliani and Huckabee out played him and left the Governor looking overaggressive and ill-prepared. At times, Romney looked flustered and frustrated and even offered some Hillary type non answers to simple questions. I really think that this is the end for Mitt Romney, it says a lot about a candidate who spends over 50 million dollars in a primary and can only garner about 10% of the vote. There is a lesson to be learned here: in politics, money doesn’t always ensure victory and knowledge is half the battle!

For the record I am boycotting Tom Tancredo out of general principle. I have also made an executive decision: Duncan Hunter is no longer running for President.