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Jan 4

The Pillars of Liberal Ideology Have Been Abject Failures For Far Too Long

For more than 50 years, liberals have aggressively supported major government programs, legislation and ideologies that have unsurprisingly failed to produce the results they expected or wanted though they vehemently deny such outcomes. More accurately, they have been abject failures with far reaching and long lasting impacts.

Still they persist, staunchly supported by their media lapdogs, and attack those armed with data and better alternatives. They can’t seem to acknowledge the disaster their policies have caused.

In the following editorial, Larry Elder succinctly and lucidly reviews these domestic policies which have been unequivocally disastrous. These include taxes, welfare, education, affirmative action, minimum wage hikes and Obamacare.

What Do Liberals Have To Show For 50 Years Of Horrible Policies?
Larry Elder    12/23/2010

For the past 50 years, the Democrats — and many Republicans who should know better — have been wrong about virtually every major domestic policy issue. Let's review some of them:

• Taxes. The bipartisan extension of the Bush tax cuts represents the latest triumph over the "soak the rich because trickledown doesn't work" leftists.

President Ronald Reagan sharply reduced the top marginal tax rates from 70% to 28%, doubling the Treasury's tax revenue.
President George H.W. Bush raised the income tax rate, as did his successor. But President George W. Bush lowered them to the current 35%.

President Barack Obama repeatedly called the current rate unfair, harmful to the country and a reward to those who "didn't need" the cuts and "didn't ask for" them.

If true, he and his party ditched their moral obligation to oppose the extension. But they didn't, because none of it is true.

Democratic icon John F. Kennedy, who reduced the top marginal rate from more than 90% to 70%, said, "A rising tide lifts all the boats." He was right — and most of the Democratic Party knows it.

• Welfare for the "underclass." When President Lyndon Johnson launched his "War on Poverty," the poverty rate was trending down. When he offered money and benefits to unmarried women, the rate started flat-lining. Women married the government, allowing men to abandon their moral and financial responsibilities.

The percentage of children born outside of marriage — to young, disproportionately uneducated and disproportionately brown and black women — exploded. In 1996, over the objections of many on the left, welfare was reformed. Time limits were imposed, and women no longer received additional benefits if they had more children. The welfare rolls declined. Ten years later, the New York Times wrote: "When the 1996 law was passed ... liberal advocacy groups ... predicted that it would increase child poverty, hunger and homelessness. The predictions were not fulfilled."

• Education. The federal government's increasing involvement with education — what is properly a state and local function — has been costly and ineffective at best, and counterproductive at worst. Title I, a program begun 45 years ago to close the performance gap between urban and suburban schools, burns through more than $15 billion a year, and the performance gap has widened. The feds spend $80 billion a year on K-12 education, as if money is the answer. States like Utah and Iowa spend much less money per student compared with districts like those in New York City and Washington, D.C., with much better results.

Where parents have choices — where the money follows the student rather than the other way around — the students perform better, with higher parental satisfaction. But the teachers' unions and the Democratic Party continue to resist true competition among public, private and parochial schools.

• Gun control. Violent crime occurs disproportionately in urban areas — where Democrats in charge impose the most draconian gun control laws.

Over the objection of those who warn of a "return to the Wild West," 34 states passed laws allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons. Not one state has repealed its law. Professor John Lott, author of "More Guns, Less Crime," says: "There is a strong negative relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens with permits and the crime rate: As more people obtain permits, there is a greater decline in violent crime rates. For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect, the murder rate declines by 3%, rape by 2% and robberies by over 2%."

• "Affirmative action." Race-based preferences have been a disaster for college admissions. Students admitted with lesser credentials are more likely to drop out. Had their credentials matched their schools, they would have been far more likely to graduate and thus enter the job market at a more productive level.

Preferences in government hiring and contracting have led to widespread, costly and morale-draining "reverse discrimination" lawsuits. Where preferences have been put to the ballot, voters — even in liberal states like California — have voted against them.

• Minimum wage hikes. Almost all economists agree that minimum wage laws contribute to unemployment among the low-skilled — the very group the "compassionate party" claims to care about.

Economist Walter Williams, 74, in his new autobiography, "Up From the Projects," describes the many low-skilled jobs he took as a teenager. "By today's standards," he wrote, "my youthful employment opportunities might be seen as extraordinary.

That was not the case in the 1940s and 1950s. In fact, as I've reported in some of my research, teenage unemployment among blacks was slightly lower than among whites, and black teens were more active in the labor force as well. All of my classmates, friends and acquaintances who wanted to work found jobs of one sort or another."

• ObamaCare. This ghastly government-directed scheme will inevitably lead to rationing and lower-quality care — all without "bending the cost curve" down as Obama promised.

Any party can have a bad half-century. Merry Christmas.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/557701/201012231806/What-Do-Liberals-Have-To-Show-For-50-Years-Of-Horrible-Policies-.aspx



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Dec 7

Realistic Considerations for a Substantial Reduction in Federal Government Spending and Deficit Reduction

Government spending is recklessly out of control and untenable with expenditures far exceeding revenues. Concomitantly, the size of the federal government increases unrelentingly.

The areas of consuming the largest fraction of the federal dollar and ever increasing – Medicare and Social Security – can’t be reduced drastically for those presently receiving benefits or approaching the age of eligibility. This further affects flexibility and spending cut options.

So, what might be some outside the box but effective options that should be considered to rein in government spending and eliminate the budget deficit?  Conservative columnist Larry Elder has a list of constructive and realistic suggestions that just might fit the “bill” (of course, no pun intended!).

How To Treat Main Problem Of Gov't Bloat
Larry Elder   12/01/2010

President Obama's fiscal commission supposedly offers an "aggressive prescription" to reduce the federal deficit. It's not just the debt and deficit, stupid. It's the size, scope and bloat of the federal government. Here's my plan:

1. Accept the political reality that (a) taxes cannot be raised, and (b) entitlement spending (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) cannot be cut for current or near-future beneficiaries. Voters will not vote to raise their taxes. Voters will not vote to cut off their money. And politicians want votes.

2. To solve this, we need to raise money. How? Fund current and near-term liabilities by selling federally owned land. The government owns more than one-fourth of the land in America. The land use could then be taxed, raising still more revenue.

3. Sell or contract out government enterprises, including but not limited to Amtrak, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Hoover and Bonneville dams, operation of the post office, and government-run nuclear and other power plants.

4. Shut several federal departments and agencies, including Energy, Education, Labor, HUD, HHS (including the Surgeon General), Interior (no need after government land is sold), Commerce and the EPA.

5. "Grandfather" workers 55 and older into existing Medicare and Social Security plans. Offer those under 55 the option of setting up private savings accounts in lieu of Social Security. To replace Medicare, offer those under 55 the option of putting tax-free money into health savings accounts.

One can buy, as with car insurance, a policy with a high deductible for catastrophic care. Other medical needs would be paid for out of the HSA. Such insurance would be cheap, and when people pay directly (not via a third party) for other medical needs, they're better shoppers, and providers would compete to provide quality affordable care.

6. Grandfather everyone now on Medicaid, and then admit no more people and end the program at the federal level. Charity is not allowed by the Constitution, and it should be left to the states or to the private and nonprofit sectors. Once voters — of whom many are on Social Security or will be within 10 years — realize that they will not be "hurt," they'll be more likely to support this plan and to vote in politicians who do.

7. Change the law giving businesses write-offs for offering health insurance to their employees. People don't get car insurance or homeowners insurance through their employers. Why health insurance? Give individuals that same deductible (assuming the IRS remains), thus encouraging individuals to purchase their own policies. This would end the "portability" problem that occurs when people lose or change jobs.

8. To ensure that the federal government does not re-bloat, pass a constitutional amendment that limits the federal government to a small fixed percentage of GDP.

9. Abolish the IRS. With a dramatically reduced government, the essential federal duties — set forth in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution — could be paid for, as envisioned by the Founders, by duties and tariffs on imports and exports.

10. Amend the Constitution to deny citizenship to children of illegal aliens. America — unlike most industrial nations — grants citizenship to children of illegal aliens simply because they were born on its soil. The 14th Amendment was meant only to confer citizenship on newly freed slaves, not on illegal aliens. But since the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise, the Constitution must be changed. Illegal immigration is unfair to those lawfully trying to gain entry, costs taxpayers money and affects the country's culture. Citizens ought to have a say about this.

11. Increase the number of, and ease the process for, legal immigrants — tailored to high-end, well-educated foreigners who would add to the industrial capital of the nation. Establish a truly temporary guest-worker program, the size and duration of which would be determined by the country's needs. Hold back a portion of the alien's salary in a government account, to be given back only when the alien leaves.

12. Close the borders. Put the appropriate mix of border guards, fencing and other methods of policing the border and stopping aliens from entering, whether from the south or the north. Establish a means of monitoring those here legally so they do not overstay. Check the immigration status of everyone arrested, and turn illegals over to ICE. Mandate E-Verify for all workers. Require all illegal aliens to register with the feds, and deport those convicted of serious crimes beyond illegal entry and using fraudulent documents to obtain work, granting legal status, but not citizenship, for the rest.

13. Amend the Constitution to overturn Supreme Court decisions that prohibit states from denying free public education and medical benefits, including emergency benefits, to illegal aliens.

14. Our military exists for our own national security. Europe and Japan can and should defend themselves. End all nondefense foreign aid, including contributions to the International Monetary Fund and to the World Bank.

Any questions?

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/555388/201012011830/How-To-Treat-Main-Problem-Of-Govt-Bloat.aspx

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Apr 2

In Support Of Constitutional Amendments Proscribing Federal Government Power and Perks

Obama is “changing” the Constitution by both by ignoring it and with insidious maneuvering. Activist judicial verdicts further pervert the original intent, reducing citizens’ rights and expanding government power and intrusion. What we need now are explicit Amendments to further delineate and proscribe federal government overreach.

Why should Congress regularly pass legislation that all Americans are mandated to follow but it is exempt from, most notably but not limited to Obamacare? What about the generous perks that they vote for themselves such as regular raises in salary and munificent retirement packages? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the average American could also say” I deserve a pay increase this year so I am going to give it to myself”- and they then do.

This corruption, greed and lack of accountability must be extinguished. Elections alone are not the answer.

Now may just may be the perfect storm for these monumentally important changes to be made.

Will Gov't Health Takeover Bring Constitutional 'Hope And Change'?
By Larry Elder    03/25/2010

We live in a fundamentally different country from that which existed only days ago. The government now requires every American to buy health insurance. The Constitution has been attacked, interpreted in a way beyond its original intent.
Therefore, we must change it.

Ignoring the will of the majority of Americans, the discouraging experiences of countries with socialized medicine, and the already staggering amount of entitlement debt, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats "reformed" health care.

Once a nation under a Constitution that restricted government intrusion, we now want government to provide for our "needs" by calling them "rights."

We now ask government to prop up failing businesses, make student loans, guarantee mortgages, build and maintain public housing, financially support state education from preschool though graduate school, fund private research, provide disaster relief and aid, pay "volunteers" and on and on.

Many in our nation happily submit to this bargain. They consider the Big Three entitlements — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — "rights," their absence unimaginable in a modern "caring" society. It is out of the question to expect people, families and communities to plan for retirement.

It's beyond reason to expect medical care, like any other commodity, to follow the laws of supply and demand — for prices and choices to allocate resources and competition to drive down prices and improve quality. It's too much to expect the compassion, morality and spirituality of humankind to aid those unable to care for themselves.

We ignore history's examples of how good intentions produce bad results. Almost 50 years ago, another "transformative" president launched a War on Poverty. But for many welfare recipients and their families, poverty became "structural."
People became dependent on government.

After the government finally placed some restrictions on welfare, dependency declined. Much to the surprise of those who denounced welfare reform as cruel, people changed their behavior.

We ignore the experience of price controls. Government can dictate prices, but cannot dictate costs. Price controls result in rationing, drive producers out of business and cause lower quality and less innovation. America, because its citizens enjoyed greater economic freedom, built a superior health care system — which ObamaCare now threatens to dismantle.

Communism collapsed under the romantic but bankrupt notion of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive does damage to the incentive of both parties.

European countries — "social justice" democracies — produce comparatively few private-sector jobs. Europe suffers from high taxes, choking union deals that make it virtually impossible to fire workers, and government policies that mandate paid vacations and other job-killing benefits.

Into this statist abyss we willingly jump.

Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern left the Senate after 18 years and bought a small business. It went under. He wrote: "(I) wish I had known more firsthand about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople while I was a U.S. senator and later a presidential nominee. ... Legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. businesses. ... Many businesses ... simply can't pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable."

President Obama, like many in Congress, has little experience in or understanding of the private free-market economy.

Obama never started a business, ran one or struggled to meet a payroll. He shows little respect for the hard, long hours people put in to build successful businesses that hire people. He believes unequal outcomes are unjust and government exists to right this wrong by "spreading the wealth."

If this means telling doctors how to practice, so what? If this means people will be less likely to improve themselves through education and training to get "good" jobs with benefits, so what? If this means we make employers less likely to hire for fear of fines should they fail to offer health insurance, so what? And if the "wealthy" invest less and create fewer jobs because of higher taxes and expensive regulations, so what?

Now what? As many as 39 state legislatures have taken or will take action to block the mandate. Thirteen state attorneys general immediately filed suit, arguing, among other things, that ObamaCare's insurance mandate violates the Constitution's commerce clause. Expect more states to sue.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court broadly interprets the commerce clause — wildly beyond the intent of the Founders — to allow just about anything.

So, the Constitution must be changed. It must be amended to make what was once clear absolutely, positively, unavoidably clear.

Two-thirds of the states can call for a constitutional convention, where an amendment can be proposed to prohibit the forced purchase of health insurance. Three-fourths of the states could then ratify it.

Implausible? So was ObamaCare.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=528448

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