Conservative Archives

(This is part of the script for the latest episode of my podcast, “Consider This!”. You can listen to it on the website, or subscribe to it in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Blubrry, Player.fm, or the podcast app of your choice.)

Sometimes people ask what the real difference is between the Republicans and Democrats, and sometimes, for certain issues, I’m inclined to agree; not much. However, when it comes to promoting economic growth, there’s certainly a trend that favors one over the other.

It’s been said that the states are the laboratories of American democracy. Though more and more autonomy has been taken from them by the federal government, there is still enough that one can look across the country from sea to shining sea and see what works and what doesn’t. So what has the government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis told us about the year 2013?

Here were the top 10 states in GDP growth:

  • North Dakota — 9.7 percent
  • Wyoming — 7.6 percent
  • West Virginia — 5.1 percent
  • Oklahoma — 4.2 percent
  • Idaho — 4.1 percent
  • Colorado — 3.8 percent
  • Utah — 3.8 percent
  • Texas — 3.7 percent
  • South Dakota — 3.1 percent
  • Nebraska — 3.0 percent

This was all while the nation’s GDP growth was just 1.8 percent. Tom Blumer writing at the NewsBusters website noted that only Colorado and West Virginia could be considered something other than deep-red states — and despite having several prominent Democrats in statewide and national office, they both arguably lean red.

And let’s not forget, as I covered back in February, that Wisconsin, under Republican Governor Scott Walker, went from running a deficit to a $1 billion surplus by cutting taxes.

In all of this, you’d think that someone would have predicted such an economic outcome from these policies. Oh wait, they did, and those people are called “conservatives”. So if you indeed see what works and what doesn’t, and still ignore it, you might be a Democrat.

    Piecemeal vs. Overhaul

    Part of ObamaCare was the PCIP, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. John Lott notes that, at its height, at the beginning of 2013, there were 115,000 enrolled in it. So one big selling point seems to be working.

    Except that dealing with something like this on its own would have been cheaper and less disruptive of the entire health insurance industry. Clayton Cramer did the math, and if you gave those people $20,000 per year to subsidize their insurance premiums, it would cost $2.3 billion. Now, that’s a lot of money anyway, but doing it that way would also allow millions of people to keep their plan if they liked their plan; just one example of the disruption that was caused instead.

    Again I note that Republicans did have their own solutions to the health care problems, but Democrats insisted that the whole industry had to be upended in order to fix it. We’re finding out just how wrong that was. We are. Seems they aren’t.

      How Did Wisconsin Run a $1 Billion Surplus?

      Scott Walker, the governor of the state of Wisconsin, survived a recall effort by unions in his state. I’d hope, though I wouldn’t bet, that they are glad that effort failed.

      Because since then, he and the Republicans in his state legislature, have been busy cutting taxes and balancing their budget. The result has been that, over 3 years, they’ve cut taxes by about a billion and a half dollars, and the economy is chugging along a good clip, such that just this year they have almost a billion dollar surplus.

      We ought to be asking our federal government to look at this. How did they do it? Let’s listen to Governor Walker describe it.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuzZRgEAw1k

      Tough decisions, predicted by his detractors to destroy the economy, instead turned the economy around, gave them a surplus, more in their rainy-day fund, and which will be returned to the people instead of turned into a slush fund.

      Now, you might not have heard about this from your typical media sources. A Republican governor, hated by the unions, putting conservative policies into place, with the result being a booming economy, just doesn’t fit the narrative. And when it comes time to vote again in Wisconsin, I hope the people there remember who fixed their economy, and who opposed those very policies.

      Heck, I hope the rest of the country remembers that, if they get to hear about it. A state that generated a billion dollar surplus without mortgaging their future is a model that Washington, DC should be following. If they really cared about the economy.

        Tea Party "Terrorists"

        [This is part of the script from the latest episode of my podcast, "Consider This!"]

        A Rasmussen poll release on June 27th found that 26% of Obama voters think Tea Partiers are a bigger terror threat than radical Muslims. Fred Thompson asked in a tweet, “So… how many people were killed by exploding Constitutions?”

          Back with more topics than I’ve ever squeezed into 10 minutes or less, “Consider This!” is back with a new episode.

          A friend of mine posted a graphic of Sen. Bernie Sanders with a  quote from him extolling the results of Social Security, with the tag, “Social Security has done exactly what it was designed to do.” Well sure, in the short term, big government social programs always look good. Think of how Social Security looked in the first 5 or 10 years. People who had paid little or nothing into it got monthly checks from the government. Wonderful.

          John Hawkins at the blog Right Wing News polled conservative bloggers on who the GOP should choose at their 2016 nominee. The short answer? Marco Rubio was the clear winner. He was followed by Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Paul Ryan. The two who topped the list of those they least wanted to see on the ticket were Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. Then John asked, want to see something scary?

          The government recently modified its determination of which states have the worst poverty rates. The new measure incorporates a controversial calculation of relative equality that demotes states that have wide gaps between wealthy people and people with less than one-third of state residents’ average income. This income gap is something that liberals have spoken out against, and believe they have an answer to. But with this new measure included, it’s interesting to see what state dropped to the rock bottom of the survey; California.

          A government report released Monday warned that a sudden increase in taxes would result in lower consumer spending next year, and some analysts wondered if the concerns about what could happen might crimp spending throughout the rest of the holiday season. Um, yeah. The Obama administration is just now figuring out what conservatives have been saying, well, pretty much for a generation. In other news, the sky is indeed blue, and math still works.

          Click here for show notes, feedback options, ways to subscribe to the podcast, or just listen to it on the web page itself.

            An "Occupier" Gets a Wake-up Call

            The Occupy Wall Street crowd, upset that government power was being overly wielded by bankers, suggested, as the solution, we give government more power. The funny thing was, they took up other causes themselves (feeding people, protesting bank fees by not doing business with those banks) that were successful because it was individuals meeting a need rather than government imposing a one-size-fits-all solution. The market worked, and people were helped. Churches and conservatives have been doing it for a long time; it was nice to see these kids get a feel for individual charity and individual choices.

            Another Occupier has been given a grim remind that government can’t be everywhere, but individuals can be.

            The situation in public housing projects in Coney Island, Brooklyn remains a "humanitarian crisis" in which the government and the Red Cross have been nearly completely absent, according to Eric Moed, a volunteer aid worker with Occupy Sandy.

            Friday is Moed’s fifth day volunteering with Occupy Sandy, an ad hoc hurricane relief group formed by former Occupy Wall Street activists. Moed, an architect from Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood, goes door to door in the 30-40 public housing buildings in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn to distribute food, water and supplies, and help address sanitation and medical needs. The projects in Coney Island remain without power, and often without water and necessities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Accounts of these conditions have been corroborated in the New York Daily News.

            Moed says all of the supermarkets on Coney Island have been flooded or looted.

            The result is what Moed describes as a "humanitarian crisis." Sick or older people may be vulnerable to death without heat, or food and water.

            He’s there. He’s helping. As I’ve noted before, people who do not believe it’s the government’s job to help people generally are more willing to help people themselves.  Moed’s comments suggest he’s not one of those types, but good on him for helping out anyway.

            Whatever response there has been from the government — city, state, or federal — or the Red Cross, Moed says their presence in and around the Coney Island projects is non-existent, inadequate, or counterproductive. FEMA has set up a solitary aid trailer on what Moed calls the "sexy area" of Coney Island — near the famous amusement park and Nathan’s — which was not hit very hard. It awaits people seeking help, when those who most need it are stranded in high-rise buildings a few blocks away.

            Moed insists that he does not assume anything about the government and Red Cross’s lack of a response, but says their absence is indisputable. "They’re literally not there. It’s not a criticism, it’s literally a fact," he said. "I’ve been on the ground here for four days. I’ve seen zero FEMA people. Occasionally a Red Cross truck will come through with hot meals. But there’ll be one truck for 15-20 buildings."

            Moed reserves perhaps his greatest scorn for NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) the city government body in charge of the projects where Moed does his rounds. Moed says NYCHA has been focused exclusively on restoring power and after ten days, they have failed even to complete that task. "People have claimed that they are still being asked to pay rent, despite the lack of power and water," Moed Says.

            This is one kid learning that, when things are worst, our best bet is to rely on each other, not the government. Some may suggest that "each other" includes the government, but a bureaucracy hundreds of miles away will not be as reliable as the guy down the street. Or you. The federal government ceased being a good representative of "each other" a long time ago. Some are being helped, to be sure, but if you rely first on government, you are likely to be disappointed.

            And even though Moed said that his acknowledging of a lack of government response was not a criticism, as time dragged on, it became that.

            Moed has also used social media to express frustration with the inadequate response of the government. On Thursday Moed tweeted:

            WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU @barackobama? Citizen here, been in Coney Island Projects FEEDING ppl ALONE no FEMA or Red Cross. People are dying.

            — Eric J Moed (@rickersteen) November 8, 2012

            He tweeted the same thing to NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

            In the near future, however, Moed does not plan to go beyond his remarks on social media to campaign the government for help. "I’ve decided to devote my energies to actually helping people who are in life or death situations, as opposed to demanding things," Moed said. "I see the need to demand that Mayor Bloomberg and NYCHA and Red Cross and FEMA get out there and really start canvassing and doing things from the ground up, but the needs are so dire and so desperate at this point that we’ve just been down there trying to get that stuff documented and taken care of."

            Don’t wait on government. Don’t rely on government. It is not omnipotent nor omnipresent. Devote your energies "to actually helping people who are in life or death situations, as opposed to demanding things".

            Democrats would try to portray Moed’s attitude as one of some sort of social Darwinism, the way they portray Republicans. But it’s not political. It’s literally a fact.

              Follow Up: Smashing the Charity Stereotypes

              Way back in 2006, I blogged about how cheap Hollywood liberals thought we were as a country, and then noted a study by Arthur Brooks that showed that, the more conservative and/or religious you were, you gave more than the liberals complaining about how stingy we were.

              Six years later, the trend has continued.

              Red states give more money to charity than blue states, according to a new study on Monday.

              The eight states with residents who gave the highest share of their income to charity supported Sen. John McCain in 2008, while the seven states with the least generous residents went for President Barack Obama, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found in its new survey of tax data from the IRS for 2008.

              The eight states whose residents gave the highest share of their income — Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas and Georgia — all backed McCain in 2008. Utah leads charitable giving, with 10.6 percent of income given.

              And the least generous states — Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire — were Obama supporters in the last presidential race. New Hampshire residents gave the least share of their income, the Chronicle stated, with 2.5 percent.

              “The reasons for the discrepancies among states, cities, neighborhoods are rooted in part in each area’s political philosophy about the role of government versus charity,” the study’s authors noted.

              But it’s not just about politics — “religion has a big influence on giving patterns.”

              This particular study only included taxpayers with incomes of $50,000 or more, so it didn’t factor in the poor, as the Brooks study did. Still, the results pretty much line up with his findings; the more conservative and/or religious you are — that is, the more you believe that charity is a personal issue — the more you put that belief into action. I would add that the more you think it’s the government’s issue, well then, the more you put that belief into action.

                "Consider This!" Episode 2: A Cautionary Tale

                The main topic in today’s podcast is a column by Michael Fumento about why he broke from “the extreme Right”. His experience is a cautionary tale for any hyper-partisan, on either side of the aisle.

                I also look at New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposals for micromanaging residents’ food intake, and wonder, if this isn’t a slippery slope, then where would the end of the line be? If you can’t draw it, it doesn’t exist.

                Click here to play the (again, 10-minute) episode, and to find show notes, how to contact me, and how to subscribe to the podcast.

                  Smackdown: California vs. New Jersey

                  Rarely do you get a pair of situations so similar at the same point in time that allows you to compare and contrast the policies used to deal with it. But we have one with California and New Jersey.

                  In his January 2011 inaugural address, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared it a "time to honestly assess our financial condition and make the tough choices." Plainly the choices weren’t tough enough: Mr. Brown has just announced that he faces a state budget deficit of $16 billion—nearly twice the $9.2 billion he predicted in January. In Sacramento Monday, he coupled a new round of spending cuts with a call for some hefty new tax hikes.

                  In his own inaugural address back in January 2010, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also spoke of making tough choices for the people of his state. For his first full budget, Mr. Christie faced a deficit of $10.7 billion—one-third of projected revenues. Not only did Mr. Christie close that deficit without raising taxes, he is now plumping for a 10% across-the-board tax cut.

                  It’s not just looks that make Mr. Brown Laurel to Mr. Christie’s Hardy. It’s also their political choices.

                  Each had a huge deficit going in, but New Jersey is coming out of this looking far, far better than California.

                  Hard economic times bring their own lessons. Though few have been spared the ravages of the last recession and the sluggish recovery, those in states where taxes are light, government lives within its means, and the climate is friendly to investment have learned the value of the arrangement they have. They are not likely to give it up.

                  Meanwhile, leaders in some struggling states have taken notice. They know the road to fiscal hell is paved with progressive intentions. The question regarding the sensible ones is whether they have the will and wherewithal to impose the reforms they know their states need on the interest groups whose political and economic clout is so closely tied with the public purse.

                  The same goes for the next presidential election.

                    Friday Link Wrap-up

                    The Southern Poverty Law Center, who (supposedly) goes after hate groups, admit, “We’re not really set up to cover the extreme Left.” Once again, it’s all political with the Left. Hate is only hate if it’s right-wing hate.

                    Life is wasted without Jesus. That’s a pretty benign Christian aphorism. You can agree or disagree, but is it hate speech? It is in Canada.

                    The Post Office, supposedly, allegedly privatized, is going to cost the taxpayers $34 billion dollars. It could cut costs, but Congress won’t let it.

                    A 20+ year study proves conclusively that outlawing abortion does not lead to "coat hanger deaths". Bonus: NARAL co-founder admits they made up numbers to garner sympathy for their cause.

                    Foiled bomb plots: Occupy Wall Street – 1, Tea Party – 0. The same goes for dozens of incidents (enumerated at the link) that, had they happened at a Tea Party rally, would have headlined national news for day. (I know this because charges of racial epithets with no actual proof did just that.)

                    VP Joe Biden lauds NBC for moving American towards same-sex marriage. How? “I think ‘Will & Grace’ probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.” The next time someone tells you "It’s just a TV show" or "Just change the channel" for complaining about TV show content, ask them to get a new writer. The old script is a lie.

                    And speaking of same-sex marriage, Nancy Pelosi seems to think that her religion provides the reason why she must act against her religion on the matter.

                    For what it’s worth, "An official from Iran has refuted claims of plans to execute imprisoned pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been imprisoned for almost three years on accusations of apostasy, a crime where one disaffiliates themselves from a religion." This from a country not even holding to its own laws regarding the case.

                    Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for Julia.

                    Extremists? I don’t think that word means what you think it means. And here’s an article I wrote in 1996 regarding another right-wing extremist you’re sure to know.

                    Looks like Mitt Romney’s school days will be vetted by the media more than Obama’s ever was. Too bad their first attempt failed so badly.

                    And finally, the recent European elections in perspective. (Click for a larger image.)

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