Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tea Party Vs. Republican Establishment

  Does anyone remember how when the Tea Party really took root last summer, many were theorizing that this movement would hurt the republican party? If they didn't get their way they'd possibly launch third party candidates. They'd split the conservative vote, and insure democrat victories. What a difference a year makes. Now we're seeing the establishment republicans hurting the GOP chances in November.  First we have Charlie Crist in Florida deciding because he couldn't win a republican primary against Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio, he'd run as an independent. The only problem with this strategy is that he's now splitting the liberal vote between himself and the democrat nominee, Kendrick Meeks. Rubio is pulling away and rightfully labels Crist an opportunist.

Now you have Lisa Murkowski in Alaska deciding she'll run a write in campaign to preserve her senate seat, and will do nothing but hurt Joe Miller, the Tea Party candidate's,  chance of defeating his democrat opponent. She says Alaskans are begging her to do this because they can't accept the extremist views of Joe Miller. She touted her, bringing home the bacon credentials in her primary battle against Miller. Apparently with the federal deficits ballooning to frightening excesses, republicans in Alaska decided they wanted some fiscal and constitutional limits put on the federal government. Apparently the crippling debt is not extremist, but constitutional limits are. In reality she's trying to cling to power like Charlie Crist and hurting the GOP and their chances of retaking the senate are secondary to her hold on power. 

And then of course there's the new media sensation Christine O'Donnell being vilified by establishment republicans like Carl Rove, who again Sunday continued to point out Christine's flaws on Fox News Sunday. One has to wonder if because Rove initially trashed her, he's now doubling down to preserve an, "I told you so," moment. He seems more concerned about defending his reputation as a political guru than doing what he can to help the much maligned and vilified O'Donnell. Mike Castle has yet to endorse O'Donnell, even though he was beaten easily by a six point margin. Rove seems obsessed with the fact O'Donnell has had financial problems, which says he doesn't have any real connection to everyday Americans as it is evident she does. During her speech at the Values Voters Summit over the weekend she had an excellent line. In talking about the Washington bureaucrats weaseling their way into our private lives, she said, "They'll buy your teenage daughter an abortion, but they won't let her buy a sugary soda in the school vending machine." An apt disconnect that the Washington elites have with real America.

It's evident it's the establishment republicans that are whining and threatening to take their toys and go home if their power is threatened. Seems that a gaping character flaw is being exposed in some republicans, who see their influence waning, and the very real prospect they've over stayed their welcome. The Tea Party seems to not only be a threat to democrats, but also republicans who like the status quo. Remember they said that Rand Paul couldn't win, but he's leading substantially. Marco Rubio was not ready for prime time, but look at him now. Ron Johnson is leading Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, and Joe Miller will beat back Murkowski's arrogant and selfish attempt to hold power. And then of course there's Sharron Angle, who all the establishment republicans said was the only candidate Harry Reid could beat. She's running neck and neck with him, and the undecideds always break for the challenger. And of course let's not forget, according to Maureen Dowd, the "Palin mini me," Christine O'Donnell, that was 15 points down one week before the primary and stilled pulled it out. 

Today,s news was that the Tea Party Patriots received a one million dollar check from an anonymous donor to be spent across the country. It seems the Tea Party is starting to take root, and their de-centralized leadership is having a profound impact around the country. Their enthusiasm is far superior to the union groups. Liberals are demoralized and conservative ascendancy is  a foregone conclusion for the midterms. Now let's make sure the republican poor losers, have a change of heart and support the nominees of the party. If they continue as they are they will be insignificant and bitter relics. The great thing about our form of government is that the people will eventually rule. Let's remember that 4 million more republicans voted in the primaries than democrats did. That was due to the Tea Party movement. The establishment should be welcoming that enthusiasm.  Now let's rally the troops for an enormous victory on November second.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The GOP Should Ask The Question Reagan Asked!

  The GOP should take a tip from the Gipper for a strategy for the midterm elections with just a couple tweaks. Remember Reagan during the 1980 presidential campaign asked if you were better off today than you were four years ago. The answer to that question was an easy "no," with inflation at double digits and interest rates at historic highs. There was an oil embargo and gas shortages that Carter made worse with price controls, and the economy was as irritable as a spastic colon. The GOP should ask the question, is the country better off today then it was in January 2007 when the democrats took over congress and the public purse strings. A quick look as the national debt would clearly make that answer another resounding "no." January 3rd 2007 the complete national debt was exactly $8.67 trillion.  That debt was accumulated in 231 years of our nation. Today as of the 14th of September, 2010, that debt is now $13.44 trillion. If my math is correct that is an increase of $4.77 trillion. That increase was accumulated in a little over 3 years and 8 months.Let's think about that. It took 231 years to accumulate a debt of $8.67 trillion, and in less than four years that debt has increased by $4.77 trillion. That's an increase of 55%.

These figures are incredible and frightening, and during the last nineteen months since Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th president, 2.8 trillion of that 4.7 trillion has been charged to our kids' credit cards.You'd think with that amount of spending every American would be living on easy street, but that is not the case. Government has grown into an insatiable devouring monstrosity, pigging out on our childrens' future and standard of living, while the private sector has been forced into frugality and belt tightening, with the prospect of huge tax increases. Millions of Americans are out of work or underemployed while government hiring and wages continue their upward ascent. A recent USA Today article shows that federal compensation is now more than double their private sector counterparts. Federal workers have been awarded bigger wages and benefit increases than private sector workers for nine years in a row. What is wrong with this picture?

It appears that the ruling elites have decided that they're the rightful owners of American wealth even though they've done nothing to accumulate it. They reward their allies and bureaucrats while the private sector pays the piper. They use class warfare and divisive rhetoric pitting Americans against each other, while promising entitlements that they assume will attract enough hangers on to insure their continued power. They lecture the private sector about avarice and excesses while they sip Vodka Martini's and snack on $100 a lb Japanese imported steak as appetizers at White House parties while they're serenaded by the likes of Paul McCartney, Kelly Clarkston, and Stevie Wonder. All the while patting themselves on the back for redistributing the nations wealth from the producers to the unproductive after they've skimmed excessively off the top.

Once again the question needs to be asked are you better off today then you were four years ago when the democrats regained the power of the purse strings? If you're part of the political class, the ruling elite, or a government bureaucrat the answer is an easy yes. If you're a hard working patriot, or small business owner, your answer is a resounding no. If the GOP were smart they'd win this one for the Gipper, or at least ask the same questions the Gipper did. It seems the GOP has an even greater problem than what questions to ask, now that true conservatives are once again gaining ascendancy in the party. Christine O'Donnell's primary victory over Mike Castle in the Delaware primary Tuesday shows that the conservative movement won't settle for a compromising, go along to get along, republican party any longer. Now it appears the republican senatorial committee has announced it won't get behind O'Donnell in the general election. It may take several election cycles to purge even the republican party of their ruling elites that see their rapidly eroding power slipping through their fingers.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Democrats Have Painted Themselves Into A Corner

  Demagoguery will get you only so far, and the democrats are discovering  that limit with the debate on the soon to expire Bush Tax cuts. They have railed against them for years. They have characterized them as tax cuts for the wealthy. They say Bush rewarded the top two percent of taxpayers, and this was the cause of the deficit. Obama recently said, "it took eight years to get us into this mess," therefore asking for patience for him to get us out. This has to be a reference to Bush's tax cuts, because in reality that was George W. Bush's answer to the recession that he inherited and the crux of his economic policy. He can't be referring to Bush's deficit spending, because he has quadrupled it. The democrats can't really blame him for allowing Wall Street to run a muck and the sub prime mortgage mess, because it was democrats, particularly Chris Dodd and Barney Frank that strong armed  Freddie and Fannie as well as other lenders to lend recklessly. They talk about the cost of the Iraq war, but over 7 years of combat operation in Iraq the price tag is still under what they spent in one fell swoop with the failed stimulus package. 

Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans has been their refrain. Now they're considering extending tax cuts for those that make under 250 thousand a year. Whoops, is that an admission that the Bush tax cuts were across the board, and they did benefit the middle class? Doesn't the fact that they're even entertaining the idea of extending some, validate the position that tax cuts, not government spending, stimulates the economy? They know as well as anybody that the high income earners are the ones that run small businesses and are responsible for around 80% of all new hires. But, how can they now vote to extend them all when they have non-stop demonized them, as a give away to the wealthy, and have continued to blame Bush for the current state of the economy. The color used to paint themselves into this corner is bright red, and much as been spilled on their now red faces. They are stuck living their long developed demagoguery. How can they extend them for the high income earners when their refrain has been non stop? Some democrats, such as Ben Nelson, and Evan Bayh now favor extending them across the board to stop the economy from double dipping. But, any more defections would undermine their blame Bush strategy going into the midterm.

They're trying to redefine this election from a referendum on them to a choice between the policies of the past that in Obama's words, "drove us into a ditch," and the rapidly discredited Keynesian economic policies that they have porked out on. They know that the economy and jobs is the number one issue on voters minds, with burgeoning deficits and federal spending a close second. They see raising taxes on the wealthy as a way to frame the problem of deficits, and put the GOP on the defensive, but the catch 22 is that tax increases will slow economic growth, and is a losing campaign issue. Remember Obama recently telling the GOP he was going to call their bluff on deficit reduction, and we all know that was code for tax increases. But, of course they won't touch the subject until after November 2nd, even though many democrats are nervous and are considering an about face on the Bush tax cuts.

The problem with the soak the rich strategy is that it doesn't work to increase revenue to the federal government. Arthur Laffers excellent August 2 column in the Wall Street Journal called, "The Soak-The-Rich Catch 22," shows statistically that when taxes are increased on the highest wage earner it actually reduces the percentage of taxes paid by them. Conversely he says, "during the era of ubiquitous tax cuts, income tax receipts for the top 1% of wage earners rose to 3.3% of GDP in 2007, {the last year for which we have data,} from 1.5% of GDP in 1978. Income tax receipts from the bottom 95% of income earners fell to 3.2% of GDP From 5.4% of GDP over the same time period."You can read that column by clicking here. The reason they pay less when taxes are raised is because the rich watch tax policy and have the means to move money to avoid taxes. We all remember John Kerry's yacht story, where he tried to avoid Massachusetts taxes by mooring his yacht in a lower taxed state. The rich do this because they can, and who would blame them? Of course we can point the finger at the hypocrisy of a John Kerry who supports higher taxes as long as he's not paying them. 

So where do we stand? The democrats have demonized  the Bush tax cuts for years. They can't extent them for even the middle class without an admission that they were across the board, which they were.  They can't extend them for the wealthiest Americans even though that would bring some certainty to small business owners and increase employment, because they would have to admit it is stimulative and eat crow for their class warfare rhetoric. They are going into the elections with a slowing economy and nothing they can do to change the dynamic without looking like hypocrites and demagogues, which of course they are. What a pleasure to watch them squirm in their painted in corner. Should their October surprise be an announcement to extend all the Bush tax cuts for the good of the economy and therefore admit they're returning to the failed policies of the past they've so vigorously demonized? We can only hope for the good of the country, but let's not hold our breathe. 
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