Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Well, the president certainly acted tough on Monday. In a show of force, he released plans from his Office of People Who Are Much Smarter Than You Are. These plans insert the government into the car business in all sorts of ways. They pick winners (new C.E.O. Fritz Henderson) and losers (Rick Wagoner). They basically send Chrysler off into the sunset. Joe Biden will be doing car commercials within weeks.
But will Biden be able to top this...
I think not
What is even worse than making mistakes is having sycophants telling you that you are doing fine when you are not. In addition to all the usual hangers-on and supplicants for government favors that every president has, Barack Obama has a media that will see no evil, hear no evil, and certainly speak no evil.
They will cheer him on, no matter what he does, short of first-degree murder — and they would make excuses for that. Even Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan has gushed over President Obama, and even crusty Bill O’Reilly has been impressed by Obama’s demeanor.
There is no sign that President Obama has impressed the Russians, the Iranians, or the North Koreans, except by his rookie mistakes — and that is a dangerous way to impress dangerous people.
What did his televised overture to the Iranians accomplish, except to reassure them that he was not going to do a damn thing to stop them from getting a nuclear bomb? It is a mistake that can go ringing down the corridors of history.
Future generations who live in the shadow of that nuclear threat may wonder what we were thinking about, putting our lives — and theirs — in the hands of a rookie because we liked his style and symbolism?
In the name of “change,” Barack Obama is following policies so old that this generation has never heard of them — certainly not in most of our educational institutions, where history has been replaced by “social studies” or other politically correct courses.
Seeking deals with our adversaries, behind the backs of our allies? The French did that at Munich back in 1938. They threw Czechoslovakia to the wolves and, less than two years later, Hitler gobbled up France anyway.
This year, President Obama’s attempt to make a backdoor deal with the Russians, behind the backs of the NATO countries, was not only rejected but made public by the Russians — a sign of contempt and a warning to our allies not to put too much trust in the United States.
Barack Obama is following a long practice among those on the left of being hard on our allies and soft on our enemies. One of our few allies in the Middle East, the Shah of Iran, was a whipping boy for many in the American media, who vented their indignation at his regime — which now, in retrospect, seems almost benign compared to the hate-filled fanatics and international-terrorism sponsors who now rule that country.
However much Barack Obama has proclaimed his support for Israel, his first phone call as president of the United States was to Hamas, to which he has given hundreds of millions of dollars, which can buy a lot of rockets to fire into Israel.
Am I the only one who is not surprised by the terrible performance of my President...Nope, thank God for Tom Sowell keeping me sane.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
So have great night, Chris... and get your hand out of your pants.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Among the principles Obama laid out were:
_Challenging states to adopt world-class standards rather than a specific standard. Obama's economic stimulus plan includes a $5 billion incentive fund to reward states for, among other things, boosting the quality of standards and state tests, and the president said the Education Department would create a fund to invest in innovation.
_Improved pre-kindergarten programs, including $5 billion in the stimulus plan to grow Head Start, expand child care access and do more for children with special needs. He also said he would offer 55,000 first-time parents regular visits from trained nurses and said that states that develop cutting-edge plans to raise the quality of early learning programs would get an Early Learning Challenge Grant, if Congress approves the new program.
_Reducing student dropout rates. To students, Obama said: "Don't even think about dropping out of school." But he said that reducing the dropout rates also requires turning around the worst schools, something he asked lawmakers, parents and teachers to make "our collective responsibility as Americans."
_Repeating his call for everyone to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training, with the goal of highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the year 2020.
On charter schools, he said the caps instituted by some states on how many are allowed aren't "good for our children, our economy, or our country."
Obama also spoke at length about what he described his policy toward teachers, what he called an 'unprecedented commitment to ensure that anyone entrusted with educating our children is doing the job as well as it can be done." In up to 150 more school districts, Obama said, teachers will get mentoring, more money for improved student achievement and new responsibilities.Also, Obama said, "We need to make sure our students have the teacher they need to be successful. That means states and school districts taking steps to move bad teachers out of the classroom. Let me be clear: if a teacher is given a chance but still does not improve, there is no excuse for that person to continue teaching."
First this is an exciting development from our President, but as with all things, I tend to err on the side of caution. The language that he uses is always very specific, but the details of the programs themselves leave to much to the imagination. Obama is a big-government liberal in that he always wants to allocate the money for his ideas before we are given any specificity of detail.
The first point, to create through the DOE, a fund to invest in innovation. He wants us to move from a "specific standard" to a "world class" standard. What type of standard Mr. President? This is a straw man that Obama is setting up using rhetorical flourish. No, longer will we hold anyone to a specific standard. How can anyone of us oppose more massive federal intervention in the states education establishment if the point is to make it world class. This fund is supposed to incentivize states to bring themselves to a world class standard. This isn't the point of the fund. NCLB at its core was a way to spook the teachers unions to shape up or lose federal funding. Obama is rolling this back. Bet on it.
The second piece of this new Obama plan seems to be a way to cut off at the knees home-schooling parents before they start there own curriculum. Being in a business where I deal daily with parents home-schooling their children, this must be a frightening proposition. Most homeschool parents will tell you that they start homeschooling long before the state mandates that there children be graded and tracked by a municipality. I believe that the idea is to take the choice of curriculum for pre-K kids out of the hands of the parents, making the possibility that they will be home-schooled when they enter kindergarten less likely. We need more freedom in education. If the state wants to help parents with special needs children, we should create a home-schooling tax deduction. This can be done at the state level as property taxes tend to go towards education. More freedom and liberty for the parents, less FED involvement. Reward them at the state level, not from a $5 billion slush fund.
The third part, reducing drop-out rates, should be addressed with expanded voucher programs. Kids who want to drop out of school should have a meeting with the parents, yeah they are important, and the school administrators. The children who are dropping out should be given the opportunity to continue their education in a school which may be more conducive to their learning needs. Give the parents the power to make the decisions for their children. This will be best addressed by expanding choice for the parents.
President Obama also wants to have the largest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. This is possible. What we don't need is the largest proportion of underwater basket weaving post-colonial feminist program graduates. We need to incentivize the areas of our economy that we need. Engineers, nurses, teachers are all going to be in high demand. Offer free in-state tuition to any individual who wants to pursue one of these careers. To back up their end of the bargain these individuals would have to volunteer 25 hours a week in the fields which they want to go into. This is a more free-market solution than saying "oh, I Hope and Change on a Rainbow" that we will have more sub-continental African studies majors.
With charter schools and the teachers unions, we know that the President is just blowing smoke. The number of charter schools should be expanded, but the President is postulating that when card check passes that the charter schools will be forced into unionization, just making them another arm of the EDUCATION ESTABLISHMENT. This is comical if it weren't so frustrating.
In all, everything that President Obama spoke about sounds all well and good but will be shaped not by the vision he lays out now, but how the field will look in several years. This is disingenuous. He knows that the establishment in education will never go for the more market oriented parts of his agenda and that squishy conservatives (Brooks, Buckley, Noonan etc.) will champion the more market oriented parts of the policies as they believe in magic. They are not looking at the Grand Picture of what this country will look like in several years when these plans come to fruition. We need to fight for the market oriented parts of his proposals and see, if card check gets defeated, if he will still champion market solutions in education. My guess is no.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
2.Is our President more concerned with "fundamentally transforming the country" than being a proper steward of a limited government?
3. Are our elected political heroes not able to understand that you don't need to re-invent the wheel every time there is a market correction?
4. Should I continue to vote for the major political parties when they don't listen to me anyway?
1. Obviously, to me at least, we no longer value leaving a world richer in resources to our children than the one that we inherited. The entitlement mentality of my generation and every generation since WWII doesn't seem to understand that life in a free enterprise system is a series of trade-offs. Liberals only value deficit spending when it is to buy a new cool Prius, not when it is to finance two wars and protect the American People.
2. President Obama sees himself as the individual who can finally sell the country on European Statism and thus far has done so. Nothing in his agenda will be denied as long as he has the political capital to sell it. The established capital he does have is tripled by the media and backed in full by agitators on the left who will do everything possible to make sure that his agenda is passed with minimal debate. The case in point is the concerted effort on the part of the WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF to rope-a-dope the American public with talk of Rush to deflect attention off of his plans. Thank God El Rushbo is the man they are targeting as he will inform and entertain the people who want to watch the fight. The President has picked the wrong dog to fight with. Limbaugh will create a new generation of conservatives to fight back at the statism in 2010.
3. If not for Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Mike Pence I might have to move to Hong Kong. Solid conservatives who want to keep the free in free enterprise. They know you don't need government to fix the problem.
4. Once again we see trade-offs. Government will continue to grow, the secret is to keep the size of it relative to GDP down. Smart supply-siders are needed to explain how lower tax rates contribute to higher economic growth.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The White House Press corps had several in depth and challenging questions for Gibbs. "Do you plan on having any experts at this Summiting Summit?" The Daily Kos's Pinko McCommie queried.
"The President plans on having several experts attending the summit, luminaries of the speech and summit series such as Bill Clinton, former President George H.W. Bush as well as the President's favorite motivational speaker, Richard Simmons." Press Secretary Gibbs responded.
Major Garrett of Fox News posed the next question. " Does the President believe that Richard Simmons, of the Sweating to the Oldies series of motivational tapes, can really help motivate the populace into understanding how to summit there misunderstanding of the Summit on Summits."
"The President believes that if Richard Simmons can sell older suburbanite, bourgeois middle Americans to dance and lose weight to "Lightening striking again" by Lou Reed he is the perfect man to show him how to climb the insurmountable summit of the White House Summit on Summits." Secretary Gibbs said.
Further details will be released by undersecretary of White House Summit's Summit, Summit Sumnter.
Sir Edward Kennedy Knight Errant of the Glenlivet Region, Protector of the Ancient Scotch er... Scotts.
Much is riding on the initiative, known as TALF for Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility. At the height of the credit boom, Wall Street issued more than $1 trillion a year of securities that were backed by consumer credit, and trillions more backed by mortgages. These markets -- sometimes called "the shadow banking system" because they operate outside traditional bank activity -- accounted for roughly 40% of all consumer lending before the financial crisis erupted last year. But the market dried up last year. Issuance of securities tied to consumer loans dropped to less than $8 billion in the final three months of last year.
"There has been somewhat of a collapse of the banking system, but an almost total collapse of the shadow banking system," said Princeton University economist Alan Blinder. "Given our reliance on the latter, we need to get that shadow banking system revived."
At the heart of the collapse of our credit markets was the securitization and packaging of debt into more palatable risk for banks and other providers of credit to the public at large. The government demanded that providers of credit extend more credit to individuals who didn't fit into their risk schemes. As with everything that the government does when attempting by edict to make outcomes equal the risk is spread out to consumers who were, or are, credit worthy. Instead of the issuers of credit passing on the risk to their "prime" customers, the loose monetary policy and low interest rates provided by the FED led to the risk being spread amongst institutions. Washington is at fault in this crisis and don't seem to realize that they are the cause of the continued rot of these securities at the heart of our problem. The market found a way around the government intervention to continue to lend to people who couldn't afford to pay.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and making free markets more equitable in their distribution of outcomes, the government needs to be the overseer of the market system in a way that doesn't resemble Hobbes Leviathan. What the feds will never understand is that the market will do more to reward the producers and punish the frauds and cheats than any government czar will be able to do.
Scary times ahead... stay tuned