September 18, 2010

Democrat. Hypocrite. Congressman Jim Himes.

Do all politicians suffer from the belief that American voters are complete idiots? Or are they just so accustomed to their own unabashed hypocrisy that they no longer even notice?

By way of example here is an ad from CT Representative Jim Himes. It's part of his current reelection campaign.

Himes starts by reminding voters that he supported and voted for the pork bloated spending festival stimulus plan. He voted to borrow and spend $837 billion on an almost endless list of pork and payoffs. He brags about it in the start of the ad.

Then he tries to claim that he is "working to cut wasteful spending because we can't afford higher taxes."

Well gee whiz, Jim. It sure would have been nice if you had thought of that before voting to triple the deficit.


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:52 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

September 14, 2010

The Delaware Question

A lot of pixels have been spent debating who conservatives and/or Republicans should support in the Delaware GOP primary. It comes down a question of party vs principle.

Do you support the Republican with the best chance of winning, even if the Republican in question is the poster boy for the Save The RHINO movement? Or do you vote for the candidate who best represents your principles, even if they are less likely to win the general election?

My answer to that question is, "Yes."

In Connecticut we had a somewhat similar situation as they have in Delaware. With the exception that no one believed that any Republican candidate had a remote chance of winning.

There were a couple of RHINOs and one real conservative limited government candidate, Peter Schiff. Not only did I think Schiff had absolutely no chance to win the general election, I didn't think he had a realistic chance to win the primary.

I supported Schiff. I gave Schiff money. I suggested to friends and family that they vote for Schiff. My thinking was that the ideas and principles were more important to me than a political party. Even if those ideas didn't carry the day, if they could garner enough support to have an even a small influence, it would be a win. Even a minute step in the right direction is better than nothing.

The outcome was pretty much what I expected. Linda McMahon spent enough of her WWE fortune to win the nomination. The astonishing thing is that recent polls show that McMahon is closing the gap on the anointed Democrat, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. The man who repeatedly lied about his service in Vietnam now only has a 6 point lead over the former Queen of Professional Wrestling.

The problem is, that even though she is the "conservative" candidate. I really rather not have Linda McManon as my Senator. To illustrate why, lets take look at the mailer I received today highlighting her three step plan to create jobs. There are numerous bullet points under each step so this could take a while.

Step 1: Prevent Tax Increases
  • Stop the income tax increases slated for the end of this year as well as the hikes on capital gains and death taxes.
This is completely meaningless. It's as empty and fake as the wrestling with which she made her fortune. Even if by some miracle she manages to win the election, she will not take office until late January 2011. By the time she takes her oath the tax hikes will have been stopped or they will have already happened. Linda will have nothing to do with it one way or the other.
  • Stop the dividend tax increase
See above.
  • Allow greater deductions for educational expenses.
Why? Why not just cut taxes and let people spend their money where and how they want to spend it? It was our money before the government took it, why should they be telling us how to spend it when they deign to give a little of it back?
  • Restore and make permanent the Research and Development tax credit to develop innovation.
Why? Why not just cut the corporate tax rate and let companies invest their money as feel best fits their business and economic needs?
  • Allow Businesses to immediately deduct 100% of any capital expenses
I suppose this would be good. It would make the calculation of business taxes simpler to not have to deduct expenses over time. And it would probably generate some immediate investment for as long as it took the government to change it back.
  • Eliminate the employer portion of the payroll tax on small businesses for one year to encourage new hires.
What? I've been "involuntarily self-employed" for a little over a year. Even though it has been a stress filled 13 months of trying to find a job, the last thing I want is to be part of some human Cash for Clunkers program. I may be getting older, but I'm not a clunker - yet.
  • Stop the "Cap & Trade" national energy tax that would raise electricity prices $925 per Connecticut household
There are a lot of reasons to oppose Cap & Tax and the cost per Connecticut household would be pretty far down my list even though I am a Connecticut household. But any reason that motivates someone to vote against the bill is good enough.

Step 2: Restore Balance in Government
  • Pass a balanced budget amendment
She may be willing to propose and vote for legislation for a balanced budget amendment, but she can't "pass" it without a lot of help from a lot of people in a lot of states. I consider this to be another wrestling move. Fake and meaningless.
  • Roll back federal non-defense spending to fiscal year 2008 levels until the debt is paid off.
Why 2008? Why not roll it back to 1960 then adjust for inflation? While we're at, it the left loves to believe that FDR ended the Great Depression and saved the country, roll spending back to FDR's largest non-defense budget adjusted for inflation. That would be good start.
  • Place a moratorium on earmarks
Moratorium? That sounds a lot more temporary than it should. I like the sound of "ban" much better.
  • End off-budget expenditures so we know what our government owes relative to what we are spending, thereby not burdening future generation with more massive debt
Not good enough. Why not make the government operate under the same accounting principles and rules the corporations face? Apply Sarbanes/Oxley to the federal Reserve and the Treasury. I'd be willing to pay the extra taxes necessary to build the new federal prison.

Step 3: Invest in Future Growth

(I'm going to break the pattern and address this as separate item.)

Government should not be investing in future growth. If government has the money to invest in future growth, then they have taken too much of our money. It's ours. Let us keep it and invest it in our future as we see fit.
  • Stop "Card Check" legislation in Congress that will kill jobs
I agree - Score one for Linda. But why is this under invest? This should under step two. The need to hire a new designer.
  • Increase the use of clean-burning nuclear power
WTF? Is she this dumb or does she think Connecticut voters are? I'm all for increased use of nuclear power done by eliminating needless government/environmental nonsense that gets in the way. But the last time there was burning a nuclear power plant it was called Chernobyl and it was anything but clean.
  • Responsibly increase domestic energy exploration
This really means increase exploration enough to kind of annoy the green lobby but not enough to matter. Drill. Baby. Drill.
  • Make credit more available to small business
Shouldn't credit availability be determined by the people giving the credit? Maybe a better idea would be to let any business, small or large, keep more of the money they earn. Then they can invest in their own future without the need for government stimulated credit.

That's her Jobs Plan. Not really very inspiring. Certainly not in alignment with my principles. Certainly not what I want and expect from my government.

However, as awful a senator as I think Linda McMahon would be, she has one thing going for her that will get her sign posted in my yard, and my vote in November. If she wins, Blumenthal loses.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:20 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

September 12, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have been involved in a number of discussions lately, both online and off, about economics and liberty and I have frequently struggled as to how to best put my ideas into words. Books have been written to explain such ideas and I'm trying to do it in a brief conversation or comment.

I think I have arrived at a metaphor that will help to do this, and I ask you to bear with me as I use this space to refine the idea. Of course, the rules of the blogosphere, such as they are, demand that I give credit where credit is due; so I offer a tip of the hat to Chance The Gardner.


What does it mean when you hear something like this?

"The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there," Obama said Friday at a White House news conference. He stressed his commitment to helping the poor achieve middle-class status and said, "If we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous cycle."

When a politician, any politician from any party, says that the government needs to "grow the economy," what they are saying is that they have a specific vision of what they want the economy to be. The economy is their garden and the want it to grow according to their design.

The only difference between the two major parties is what they want the garden to look like.

The left likes a neatly ordered garden in which no plant is allowed to stand out too much more than any other. When any plant becomes too successful, it must be pruned back and some of it's fertile soil taken away and given to less successful plants.  If there is not enough of that rich soil to spread around, borrow billions to buy fertilizer and stimulate growth. If that first batch of manure doesn't give you the growth you want, borrow more and try again.

In the left's garden, if you disagree with the plan, you will not be tolerated. You will be demonized as a weed.

If simply being allowed to exist within the carefully constructed garden of the left satisfies your expectation of freedom and liberty, then you have no idea of what those concepts mean.

Politicians on the right have their own plan for a neatly ordered garden and how they want it to grow. Like those on the left they craft their policies to guide the garden according to their plan. They may have a slightly higher tolerance than the left for some plants doing better than others, as long as they are plants that they approve of.

The manure the right fertilizes their garden with is loose credit to artificially inflate spending - particularly on housing. 

Like the left they have little tolerance for any plant that tries to grow outside of the plan. And little tolerance for for weeds that don't like their plan.

If simply being allowed to exist within the carefully constructed garden of the right satisfies your expectation of freedom and liberty, then you have no idea of what those concepts mean.

What we need to do, is get rid of all the damned economic gardeners who think it is the government's job to "grow the economy." We need an economic back to nature movement that sees the economy not as a garden to be designed and tended but as a field of wildflowers.

There should be tall grass and weeds and beautiful blossoms allowed to sprout and grow. There will be plants that will try and fail which will be absorbed back into the soil. There will be plants that will grow much larger than others. There is no design to a field of wildflowers and no gardener, it is free to grow as it can and as it wishes.


Ok. So I tortured the hell out of that metaphor to the point where I'm not sure it works anymore. I've read through it a number of times and sometimes it makes some sense, others, not so much.

What I was trying to say, is that we need a government that doesn't try to grow the economy. We need a government that will just let it grow.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

The Art Of Self Contradiction

What do you call it when a politician speaks and manages to contradict himself in the span of just a few sentences?

You can call it politics as usual.

You call it outright stupidity.

You can call it The One at his rhetorical best. It sounds good, but means absolutely nothing.

I've also said that there are going to be circumstances where a military tribunal may be appropriate. And the reason for that is--and I'll just give a specific example. There may be situations in which somebody was captured in theater, is now in Guantanamo. It's very hard to piece together a chain of evidence that would meet some of the evidentiary standards that would be required in an Article III [civilian] court. But we know that this person is guilty. There is sufficient evidence to bring about a conviction.

So what I have said is, you know, the military commission system that we set up, where appropriate for certain individuals, that would make it--it would be difficult to try in Article III courts, for a range of reasons, we can reform that system so that it meets the highest standards of due process and prosecute them there.

Can you spot the contradiction?

He starts by saying that there are circumstances in which the evidentiary and due process standards of an Article III court cannot be met. In those cases he wants to use a court system with a lesser standard - because we know the guy is guilty anyway.

Then he says he wants to reform this lesser system so that it meets the "highest standards of due process."


Didn't he just say that in these cases we can't meet the highest standards of due process?

For the record, I think The Ones suggestion of trying any terrorists in civilian courts is pure political theatre. It scores him a lot of points with the anti-Bush crowd but it's never going to happen.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:42 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

September 01, 2010

Please. Anything but that.

The One gave his speech taking credit for the outcome of the Iraq war and the surge he once described as a failure before it even begun. It was the kind of using the military for politics I expect from slimy politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Buried in the middle of the speech was this little gem:

Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.

When I look back over the brief span of The One's reign and survey the economic carnage he has caused when the economy was not his central mission I shudder to think what will happen when he's really trying.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:06 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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