Wednesday, June 29, 2011

While Al Gore and the global warming activists are failing in their misguided efforts to enact a global treaty to deal with the problem (if it exists), a more immediate problem continues to loom on the horizon...the fiscal collapse of the United States of America.

Laurence Kotlikoff calls it a war against our children, and has the frightening figures.

Lawrence B. Lindsey also has the numbers that show our deficit problem is worse than we think.

Can anything save us?

As a person whose expertise falls within the political realm (having studied and covered American politics for decades), I can tell you it doesn't look good. I simply see no way either party can embrace the kinds of tax increases or entitlement cuts necessary to solve the problem without committing political suicide. I expect that as each side tentatively pushes forward with their preferred solutions (leaning on more tax hikes for the Democrats and more spending cuts for the Republicans) they will find their election coalitions dissolving before their eyes. We are already seeing it happen. The Democrats rode the wave in 2006 and 2008. The GOP rode the wave in 2010 and that wave will continue, in my opinion, into 2012. The Democrats will come roaring back in 2014. As this see-saw political battle continues, real solutions will continue to be put off while the crisis worsens.

So, I say again, can anything save us?

Only a new, unexpected burst of enormous economic growth (as we saw in the 1990s). Barring such a burst of growth, expect a lost decade and decline or significant social and political upheaval leading to a radical transformation (I think the latter more likely, as Americans are much more prone to tearing up the book and throwing it away to start fresh than simply let things slide, especially if they are prompted by some dramatic event).

In other news...Mona Charen continue her crusade to alert people to the importance of traditional marriage. She believes too much time is being spent talking about gay marriage while ignoring the decline of heterosexual marriage, especially amongst people without a college education.

Amir Taheri writes about the recent missile tests in Iran as the Iranian generals talk about hitting Israel and American bases in the region. Apparently, they think we are in retreat (an impression easy to understand by watching and listening to President Obama).

Sean Trende writes about why redistricting makes it harder for the Democrats to win back the House.

Jay Cost reminds us that presidential polls, whether in Iowa, New Hampshire or nationally, are absolutely useless at this stage.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ross Douthat writes about a new HBO show that I have come to enjoy, even though I have not read the books that the show is based on, called Game of Thrones.

Charlie Gasparino writes about how a number of Obama supporters on Wall Street have finally realized that the President is not on their side.

America's 2011 recovery is in two speeds, a fast one for the financial industry and big business, and a slow one for small businesses and the average worker. If this continues for too long it will lead to social and political upheaval.

Jay Cost writes about comparisons between Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

Today is the 70th anniversary of the start of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union by the German Wehrmacht. June 22, 1941 and December 7, 1941 are the two most important dates in the history of the 20th century, in my opinion. By invading the Soviet Union, Hitler sealed his fate and the fate of Europe for the next 50 years. By attacking the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor the Japanese did the same. World War II is really the story of two wars, fought on an immense scale on opposite sides of the globe. The land war in Eurasia between the Germans and Soviets killed millions and resulted in the destruction of Nazi Germany and the enslavement of Eastern Europe to Stalin. The war in the Pacific killed fewer people, but resulted in the destruction of a militaristic Japan and the creation of the United States as a true global superpower. One cannot understand the geopolitical history of the world in the second half of the 20th century without understanding the significance of these events.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Wisconsin, a bastion of progressivism since the early 20th century, conservatism is on the rise.

Benny Avni says our enemies continue to form their own 'coalitions of the willing'.

Angela Merkel is in trouble as Germans begin to realize that they will be left holding the bag for the European Project. Meanwhile, the streets of Athens could explode into rioting at any moment as the government faces a crucial vote this evening.

David Warren writes about Vancouver's shame.

Want to understand the 2012 election? Then understand that it will be decided by white, working class voters.

Is Texas Governor Rick Perry the answer for the GOP in 2012?

Robert J. Samuelson says that there are jobs available out there, but it seems the right people are having a hard time getting matched to the right jobs in the right places.

Mort Zuckerman writes that the job situation here in the U.S. is worse than we think. The picture he paints is one of an America in a modern depression.

Eugene Robinson slams President Obama for his novel definition of hostilities regarding our operations in Libya.

Richard Cohen says it is time we left Afghanistan.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Now that New York congressman Anthony Weiner has bowed to the inevitable by resigning his seat in the wake of his creepy sex scandal (the one where he apparently did not have sex with anyone in the process), it is time to reflect on what it all means. Michael Goodwin says it means Weiner is a pathological liar unfit to hold public office. Of course, if being a liar were a bar to holding elective office we might find it difficult to fill the positions. As for me, I think the impact of the scandal is limited to Weiner, his wife, and his constituents. For the rest of America it is a story not worth the time or the effort, except for the entertainment value...which is why the media spent so much time and effort covering the story. Ratings and revenue, my friends, ratings and revenue.

Charles Krauthammer says President Obama is hurting efforts to revive the economy because he, and the rest of the Democratic party, is owned lock, stock and barrel by the unions.

The Greek government is tottering under pressure from the EU, the IMF and protesters in the streets. Does this matter to us here in America? Yes, it does. The world economy is more integrated than ever before. If Greece defaults on its debts, which could happen if the current government falls, international financial markets will be hit by an earthquake that will be felt everywhere and may be the straw that breaks the camel's back as far as our own tepid recovery is concerned.

Here in New Hampshire the House-Senate conference committee has reached an agreement on a budget that cuts spending and does not raise taxes (it even lowers the cigarette tax).

According to this story from The Union Leader, Ovide Lamontagne is reaching out to some potential GOP candidates for governor. While such a meeting may not prevent a bruising primary, it will give Lamontagne some food for thought and continue to promote the very positive image he has crafted for himself within the conservative movement here in New Hampshire.

Jay Cost compares President Obama to President Carter and concludes that Obama is much stronger within his own party, but that would not be enough if the economy continues to drive independents toward the GOP.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Toby Harnden says the Obama spin brigade may try to sell the Republican presidential contenders as a weak field, but they won't succeed.

Michael Barone says Romney remains the front runner while Bachmann gained the most from the St. Anselm's debate.

The stock market continues to drop as investors fear a default in Greece.

But, of course, the really important news (and the reason I overslept this morning) is that the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup. This truly is the Golden Age for Boston sports fans (including me).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Walter Russell Mead explains why President Obama is looking more and more like President Hoover.

Jay Cost explains why President Obama is resorting to "blue smoke and mirrors" in the manner of Jimmy Carter in 1980. Cost believes, and I agree completely, that no amount of political acumen, fundraising skill, or rhetoric will protect him from a bleak economic picture. If the economy looks as bad, or worse, on election day as it does today, then Obama's political goose is cooked.

Michael Tanner makes the case for balancing the budget without tax increases.

Gary Shapiro says there are some simple things that can be done to improve the job picture immediately. Almost all of them are non-starters for the Democrats in Washington.

Dominic Carter says Daniel Patrick Moynihan was right when he warned about the disintegration of the Black family.

Pakistani authorities arrest some of the people who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden. It seems more and more that the Pakistanis are deliberately trying to hinder our operations in their region. That is the behavior of an enemy, not a friend.

Drew Cline says Romney won the recent presidential debate.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's the economy, stupid. The Obama economy is, in some respects, as bad as the Great Depression.

But, since the economy is not the only news out there, a few thoughts on the race for President.

You can go to any one of a number of sites to read commentary about last night's GOP presidential debate here in New Hampshire. I caught bits and pieces of it as I spent most of my television viewing time (like most folks around here) watching the Bruins beat the Canucks to force a game seven of the Stanley Cup finals. But, here are my two cents. These early debates, like most of the early activity in the presidential primary/caucus process, is all about activists and contributors. There are still some grassroots types out there to be had (although many have already made their choice). The left-wing press seems to think Michelle Bachmann was the winner, and maybe she did win over some folks with her performance. But these early debates act, like the early primaries and caucuses themselves, as a winnowing out process. Weak candidates are exposed and, eventually, are forced to withdraw. Newt Gingrich is already headed down that path, and Herman Cain may be sputtering after his lackluster performance last night. In the end, the libertarian conservatives and the social conservatives must choose their champion against that candidate who would seem to appeal most to less ideological voters (usually the safest, most mainstream, best known McCain in '08 or Bush in '00 or Dole in '96). Right now, that guy is Romney and, despite everything, he is still the man most likely to take the prize in the end, if Republican voters continue a long trend in picking presidential nominees.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Revealing Paul Krugman's mistakes, lies, distortions, and his true agenda.

Tonight at 8 PM seven GOP presidential contenders will debate here in New Hampshire. Of course, the Bruins take on the Canucks at the same time. Wasn't there something about a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it?

Robert J. Samuelson writes about how a lack of confidence is keeping the economy in the doldrums.

The media frenzy over Sarah Palin's e-mails does more damage to the media than to Palin.

E.J. Dionne reveals that Washington Democrats recognize they are in a bind when it comes to jobs and the economy.

John Podhoretz explains that Mitt Romney is in the same position now that Giuliani was in at this same point in the 2008 cycle. He leads in the polls because of his name recognition, but he has a fatal flaw. For Giuliani it was that he is pro-choice, and no pro-choice candidate can win the Republican nomination. For Romney it is his Massachusetts health care plan. That kind of statism will kill his candidacy in the end.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's the economy, stupid.

A new UNH Survey Center poll of New Hampshire residents finds that the economy is the number one issue, followed by concerns about the deficit. It also shows Romney the favorite for the GOP presidential nomination (at this early stage, though, most voters have not really started to pay attention and know little or nothing about the other candidates).

Tom Friedman has also hit on the thing that is holding the economy down...uncertainty. Until investors and business leaders have a clearer picture on what budgetary and regulatory decisions are coming down the pike from Washington they are not going to make any big decisions about investing their money.

Andrew C. McCarthy responds to those who argue against his call for an end to the Medicare program. McCarthy is right when he says that Medicare is unsustainable, but his critics are right to say that a politician who calls for the end of the program is one who will likely not get elected. Alas, too many Americans believe it is OK to use government coercion to take other people's money for their own uses.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's the economy, stupid.

Irwin Stelzer asks why the economic numbers all seem headed in the wrong direction. He talks to some investment bankers and business people and comes up with the right answer...uncertainty. The people holding onto enormous amounts of cash and hesitating to invest it are spooked by the uncertainty surrounding the Dodd-Frank finance reform law and the Obamacare medical insurance reform law. They just don't know how the new rules and regulations will impact the cost of doing business. Not knowing means not investing. There is, of course, a simple solution. Elect a Republican President with a Republican Congress to repeal these laws, cut taxes and cut spending. Then the wealthy, who are the only people with the wherewithal to create new jobs, will start investing that cash.

Mark Steyn writes about Obama's road to nowhere.

Daniel Henninger writes about Obama's worst week and Pawlenty's best.

Rich Lowry writes about the cancer of long-term unemployment.

Ron Paul tells a crowd in Manchester, NH that inflation will hit 50 percent within a few years.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Newt Gingrich says his campaign for President will continue despite the resignations of much of his staff, including New Hampshire's own Dave Carney.

Fred Barnes says the staff was compelled to resign because Gingrich's wife did not want her husband to campaign full-time. Perhaps she does not want to be First Lady.

Paul Krugman says our current economic policies are being driven by the interests of the wealthy stock and bond holders, not those of ordinary workers.

Joe Liberman has a proposal to save Medicare.

Benny Avni says the U.S. and the U.N. are failing the people of Syria.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

It's the economy, stupid.

Jobless claims numbers on the rise, possibly indicating a slowing economy.

Romney can win. No, he can't. If the economy is the number one issue facing Republican primary voters, then Romney has the advantage. But primary voters do not always reflect the general public in terms of their issue priorities.

Victor Davis Hanson says the plight of Europe, after decades of Socialism, is a warning that we ought to heed.

Of course, not everything is about the economy. Arthur Herman writes about the looming possibility that Iran will successfully test a nuclear weapon before the year is out.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

It's the economy, stupid.

Responding to a Paul Krugman column, Amity Shlaes recounts some historical facts about why the economic recovery that looked like it might be on the way in 1937 collapsed into three more years of Great Depression. had to do with new taxes, new regulations and a President who seemed to be looking for an even larger expansion of government. One interesting political consequence of all of the above was the smashing return of the GOP in the midterm elections of 1938. Alas, for those seeking historical parallels, President Roosevelt went on to win re-election in 1940. Of course, Barack Obama doesn't strike me as a politician or a leader anywhere near the skill level of FDR.

Thomas Friedman says our global economic growth model is in crisis and is unsustainable. Of course, we have heard this line of reasoning many times over the last few decades.

Martin Feldstein says the state of the U.S. economy right now is worse than you think, and he has the numbers to prove it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

While much of the American news media is concentrating on the escapades of a New York congressman, there is some stuff happening out there that really has an impact on our lives.

First, and most importantly, it's the economy, stupid. Democratic political strategist James Carville, who coined the iconic political phrase for the 1992 presidential campaign, says that if we continue on a path of anemic job growth then "it's going to be a very, very rough 2012 for President Obama."

John Crudele says there is a very scary truth behind the new job numbers.

Michael Barone says the reason the job numbers look so bad is because business owners and managers have gone on a hiring strike. The reason? They see higher taxes and more regulations if the Obama Administration continues along the same path.

The reality of an economy that is growing so slowly as to make the word "recovery" seem laughable is what is behind new ABC News/Washington Post poll numbers that show President Obama losing what little bounce he received from the killing of Osama bin Laden. A whopping 57% think the economy is not recovering from the Great Recession, 59% disapprove of his handling of the economy, and 66% say the country is on the wrong track. If these are the numbers Obama faces in November, 2012, he can start planning his post-presidential life.

The second really important issue facing us in the real world is the unrest that continues in the Middle East. Benny Avni says the Syrians who are rushing the Israeli border fortifications along the Golan Heights are being paid by the Assad regime, essentially to distract attention away from the brutal crackdown on Assad's internal opponents.

Daniel Pipes writes about the disturbing possibility that Yemen could see a massive outflow of refugees in the wake of the attack on that country's longtime dictator who subsequently left the country for Saudi Arabia. Pipes says Yemen faces not only civil breakdown due to political instability but societal breakdown resulting from lack of natural resources, especially potable water.

Meanwhile, Bill Kristol points to a piece by the Kagans on the possibility that our forces could leave Afghanistan without securing the victory they have fought so hard for over the last decade.

What do both of these story categories have in common? Both are vital to our security. Economic security and political/military security. Both are also example of the failure in leadership in Washington, and if things continue along the downward path in both areas, we will certainly need some more hope and some more change in our nation's capitol.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Paul Krugman says Ryan's Medicare voucher plan would 'end Medicare'. Robert J. Samuelson says unless we 'end Medicare as we know it' we are in deep fiscal trouble. I think everyone understands that the current system is unsustainable without changes. Krugman believes the changes that would work would involve the entire health care system by much more stringent government regulation of how health care providers do their jobs. Samuelson says we need to end the incentive system that exists in our fee-for-service environment. Both men see the problem, and both see a way out, but one is for more government involvement by laws, regulations and regulators while the other sees a market mechanism. I'm with the market-oriented folks on this one.

The Socialists lose in Portugal. Could Socialism be on the way out, or is this just a knee-jerk response to bad times?

A new movie chronicles Sarah Palin's life. She is running for President, I am sure of it. Like all the others, I will withhold any snap judgements.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Nile Gardiner says we are heading toward an economic abyss under the policies of the most left-wing President in U.S. history.

The new numbers are not good, as the economy is creating a paltry number of jobs and the number of jobless people continues to grow.

The most recent economic data has many economists wondering whether we have just "hit a speed bump" on the road to economic recovery or we are now entering the second dip in the "double-dip recession".

The political consequences of continued slow growth, high joblessness and, potentially, another economic downturn, are sobering for the President. Fred Barnes believes there is no way the President can convince voters that we are not living in the "Obama economy".

On the other hand, Dorothy Rabinowitz does not believe the Republicans can just get away with harping on the bad economy and warning of the perils of huge budget deficits. She believes the winning Republican presidential candidate must speak to voters about the things that concern them the, jobs, jobs.

Speaking of jobs, here is a chart that shows the extent of the problem.

Still, if entitlement spending is the rock upon which our economic ship will eventually founder, then we should heed Andrew C. McCarthy's column on Medicare. Alas, very few politicians can take McCarthy's position, which is to end the Medicare system entirely, and survive an election with job intact. I happen to believe that the American people will only understand that what Walter Russell Mead calls "the blue model" is obsolete when the ship hits the rocks. Americans tend to learn only when disaster strikes. Churchill was right when he said Americans always do the right thing...after they have tried everything else.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Former New Hampshire Governor Walter Peterson has died. I always enjoyed speaking with him. He was a very classy guy.

Why the Obama economy is all about exporting, rather than creating, jobs.

On the other hand, Paul Krugman continues to believe that the mistake Obama (aided and abetted by the GOP) is making is not spending more federal money on stimulus programs to create jobs, deficits be damned.