Recession

Go See Atlas Shrugged!

April 18, 2011

In Theaters, April 15, 2011
In Our Hands, November 6, 2012
– FreedomWorks Video on Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 based on Ayn Rand’s famous novel about freedom and the people who make the world work was released in a limited number of theaters on April 15. Most mainstream media reviews about the movie were negative. No surprise there. One can hardly expect a critic with a leftist outlook to embrace the ideas in this movie.

For a more informative article about the movie read Mark Skousen in Human Events:

The message of the film (and the novel) is clear: If the government intervenes too much in the economy, things can only get worse. As Ludwig von Mises stated, “Middle of the road policy leads to socialism.” In the movie, the action takes place in 2016, when the Dow has fallen below 4,000, gas prices exceed $37 a gallon, and the infrastructure is collapsing. Naturally, government officials and statist economists (Paul Krugman types) blame the troubles on greedy selfish capitalists.

Parallels to America under Obama’s reign are unmistakable. FreedomWorks created a mash-up of the movie and the Obama & Co. speeches that shows the connection between the movie and our predicament today:

I saw the movie last weekend and I found it a worthy effort. Whether the second and third parts of the movie will be made will depend largely on the success of the first part. So go to the movie’s website and find a theater near you to go see Atlas Shrugged!

{ 0 comments }

Florida Pundit took a little break from blogging over the past month. I kept expecting that our politicians would start getting serious about cutting the size of government, but progress is slow and consist of tiny baby steps. House Republicans have proposed to cut $60 billion in discretionary spending. The Democrat-controlled Senate and our Spectator-in-Chief Barak Obama have not proposed any cuts. I guess that makes the House Republicans the better alternative, but when you cut $60 billion from a $3.7 trillion budget and a $1.6 trillion deficit, this looks less than impressive.

What happens if we don’t act? Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) asked just this question of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about a month ago. Watch this. It is scary:

Crisis could come quickly and precise timing is impossible to predict. On Tuesday everything could be ok and on Wednesday collapse could be upon us. So what do we do to demonstrate that we are serious about the problem?

Republicans now have shown with several two or three week extension that they are not the evil monsters who want to spoil your vacation by shutting down Yellowstone and other national parks. It is time to stop temporary extension and insist on Democrats to stop acting like spoiled brats.

We should insist on a few condition to any budget that is passed for the rest of the year: stop funding of the implementation of Obamacare, prohibit the EPA from regulating CO2, stop all funding of NPR and Planned Parenthood. Yes, the last two are relatively small amounts, i.e. just a few hundred million dollars – not even a rounding error in federal spending, but they are indicators if any government program can ever be stopped. If these conditions mean that Democrats will shut down the government, we need to be prepared to let them and make clear who the party to blame is.

Then Republicans need to get beyond working on remedies for the Pelosi-Reid Congress’s failure to pass a budget for 2011 last year. The next opportunity to put in place processes and conditions to shrink the government is when raising the debt ceiling comes up next month. Starting in April Republicans also need to focus on rolling a budget for 2012 that will cut spending all areas including entitlement spending.

I believe Americans are ready to support changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security especially if Republican explain that if we don’t change these programs there won’t be anything left and the collapse of these programs will quickly become inevitable. Yes, there is the risk that not enough Americans will listen and voters will re-elect Obama and the Democrats in 2012. If that were to happen, at least we will know we have tried to save the United States from permanent long-term decline. If we do nothing, the end of the United States as we have known it is inevitable.

{ 0 comments }

I have had a busy week and not much time to post updates. All this time I have had mixed views about the Obama-Republican tax deal, but one piece of news has finally pushed me over the edge to oppose the deal: the Senate is adding ethanol subsidies into the bill.

Senators and Congressmen Slobbering Over the Tax Deal

If anyone still has any doubts that the tax deal has become Obama’s vehicle to pass another pork-laden stimulus, this should remove all doubt. Ethanol is a fuel derived from corn that pollutes more than conventional oil, raises food prices, creates food shortages in poorer countries and benefits absolutely no one other than the ethanol industry which has been busy collecting tax subsidies. Even Al Gore has admitted that he was wrong to support ethanol subsidies.

If Republican support a bill that contains ethanol subsidies, then they have surrendered much of the credibility as the small government, less spending party that the voters have supported in the recent election. And this even before the new Congress takes office!

What’s good about the tax deal? Not much. It only extends current tax rates by two years rather than making them permanent. It raises the death tax from zero to thirty-five percent on estates over five million. That may seem a high threshold, but the fact is that it will cause the liquidation of farms and small businesses. And, in any case, what right does the government have to expropriate a major portion of someone’s estate who has already paid taxes on his earnings?

The deal also further extends unemployment benefits, thereby contributing to higher unemployment in years to come. It keeps tax credits for specific causes deemed worthy by the Obama administration. Obama has tried to move away from the type of tax cuts that create economic growth, i.e. permanent reductions in marginal tax rates and substituted central-command-style tax credits and cuts for causes supported by the central government. If you do things the central committee approves you get a bone thrown to you, but, if you don’t, the government punishes you by taxing you more heavily. This is nothing more than central planning socialism.

Finally there are no spending cuts, making this in effect Obama’s new stimulus that he could never pass if it were presented as such.

Why are Republicans caving so quickly in a lame duck session that, while legal, lakes legitimacy since a large number of members of the current Congress have been fired by the people in November? Where happened to the Pledge Republicans took during the election? Did they not mean it? In an interview with Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, who opposes the deal, radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt asks about specific promises in the pledge that this deal breaks:

… the Republicans during the campaign issued a Pledge To America, and I want to read to you five specifics from that pledge. From Page 16, permanently stop all job-killing tax hikes, Page 21, act immediately to reduce spending, Page 21, cut government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, Page 33, read the bill, Page 33, advance legislative issues one at a time. Does the deal that we’re talking about comport with those five guarantees?

Flake argues that Republican are not in charge yet. True, but then why not wait until January 4, when Republicans control the House and have increased influence in the Senate? The House could then pass a bill to retroactively extend all current tax rates permanently and dare Harry Reid and the President to filibuster or veto a bill that prevents a huge tax hike that could well put us back into a recession.

We hope that Republicans will have more spine in the Congress. It is hard to believe that the over eighty newly elected Republican members and six new Republican senators, who were elected with support from the Tea Party movement, will agree to deals with Obama made in secret such as this tax deal.

It is amusing how opposed the Democrat Left is to the tax deal. Talking heads on MSNBC and the Democrats they interview spew hatred of successful Americans and outrage at Obama over the temporary extension of current rates. Obama has been angry and petty in his speeches and press conference and is losing his Left base which is already angry at him over the war in Afghanistan, the continued operation of the Guantanamo Bay terrorist prison and the failure to repeal the military’s “Dont Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

It is good to see the left fighting with the President, but that is not a good enough reason to support a bill that has yet to be written. If this were the best deal we could get, it would be defensible to support it to prevent a tax increase. But this is not the best deal and Republicans in Congress should kill the bill and pass something better in January.

The Tea Party movement should pressure Republicans to keep the promises they made during the election to reduce the power and size of the federal government and return America to fiscal sanity.

{ 1 comment }

After terrible low job growth in November and the official unemployment rate again approaching 10 percent, it is time for Democrats to man up and stop playing their little propaganda games. Are Democrats going to increase taxes on the American people and send us back into recession or are they going to keep American tax rates where they have been for the past decade?

{ 1 comment }

Republican leader and future House Speaker John Boehner expressed his anger today about the “chicken crap” games that the lame duck Democrats are playing with our tax rates and the fragile economic recovery:

Democrats continue to play political games with the largest tax increase in American history which will take effect in less than a month if Congress doesn’t act. They lie that they want to give “tax cuts” to the middle class when in fact no one is going to receive a tax cut. What is at stake is whether we keep tax rates where they have been for the past decade or whether we shock our weak economy back into recession with a tax increase.

They say that keeping the current rates “costs too much.” That is a fundamentally wrong premise. People’s incomes are not a cost to the government. It is not the government’s money. What people and small businesses earn by creating economic value is the engine that will bring our economy back from the brink of a depression.

For the past decade, Democrats have told us that George Bush’ tax cuts were only for “the rich.” Now they admit that the vast majority of the tax cuts enacted almost ten years ago benefited lower and middle income Americans. They want to continue the current tax rates for lower and middle income Americans and impose a tax increase on small business and Americans that will invest in economic growth that will create jobs.

Democrats will say anythings that suits them at a particular moment and aren’t troubled by the contradictions in their statements.

The American people are tired of politicians that consider their hard earned incomes property of the government. We are glad that John Boehner who is usually a calm guy, is showing his anger at the Democrats’ hypocrisy. We hope he will continue to be outraged by political lies and abuse of power when he become House Speaker in January.

{ 1 comment }