The news events of the last few months have certainly put the Obama Administration in a peculiar position. The Gulf crisis notwithstanding, most of these events have been created by this president and his staff.
Team Obama went the the G20 Summit in Toronto this weekend to chide the other 19 nations to continue to stimulate their economy through Keynsian economic principles. "Not so fast", said the other countries. "We have to make choices, and right now, we choose fiscal solvency and prudence". What a concept!
Passage of the Financial Institutions Reform package was always tenuous, at best, but the death of Senator Robert Byrd over the weekend makes passage more difficult. One less Democratic vote means that it's more likely that Republicans can filibuster this package, and this is a good thing. Here's why: Any bill that increases regulation, drives up costs to the consumer, and squeezes financial services companies' margins will negatively affect the economy. The costs of increased regulation always get passed along to the consumer in some way, shape or form. Limiting profits also limit tax revenues [...]
When Senator Levin says â€œGoldman made a lot of money by betting against the mortgage marketâ€ what do we think he might have meant? Knowing some of the political philosophy of the esteemed senator from Michigan, it is obvious that his inference was that Goldman was acting in a fashion that was either illegal or immoral. How could any American institution bet against motherhood, apple pie or the American dream of universal home ownership? And certainly the notion of â€making a lot of moneyâ€ is of dubious quality on its face. The Senator is literally screaming â€œThese people are the enemy of the state, and they need to be leashed, or chained, or imprisoned, or torturedâ€¦all for the good of the system of the people.â€
It is always amusing when a single statement contains such a large number of fallacies. Let us count the ways.
First, Goldman was acting in their role as an investment broker. Everything they do is essentially either a bet for or against somethingâ€¦or the facilitating of someone else doing the same thing. More technically, they are simply acting as brokers, and not as agents. Agents represent a buyer or seller. Brokers facilitate the transaction. This is the â€œmarket mechanismâ€ and it is what guides the whole system of the effective allocation of resources. It is fundamental to our material progress. As significantly, if people [...]
The Civil Rights Movement that culminated in the 1960â€™s was an important movement towards the advancement of equality for all Americans. While artificial and fundamental hatreds will likely always exist between disparate people groups, the relative harmony that has been experienced in this country over the last forty years is likely unprecedented in the history of the world. To create equality of opportunity for all of a societyâ€™s individuals and to simultaneously provide an environment free of the expression of abusive power of one group of people over another is a seldom seen accomplishment. America has been a place where these goals are thought by many to actually be within reach.
Last week, the former President, Bill Clinton, made comments linking the Tea Party Movement to the worst act of domestic terror that has ever been experienced in our countryâ€™s history. The Oklahoma City bombing was a tragedy of massive proportion. Apparently, Mr. Clinton believes that the same ideological forces that motivated the bombers of the Federal Building are those that now motivate those that gather under the Tea Party banner. To consider this comment reckless and irresponsible is to understate its vitriolic intent. It is almost impossible to adequately underscore the complete [...]
In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, his comment was something like, â€œThose people on the far left must be from a different solar system.â€ Another friend said, â€œWe are living in Alternative Reality Bâ€ (referencing the line from the movie Back to the Future) where we momentarily leave the time-space continuum. My personal take is that the far left is simply the result of a nasty turn taken on the path of evolutionary biology. While we may still appear to be part of the same human species, liberals and conservatives will ultimately be seen as fundamentally different members of the mammilia branch. And while I jest (but just a little), the question of what separates the â€œthinkingâ€ of liberals and the principles of conservatives is befuddling for many of us.
Most adults in America today (other than the most senior amongst us) have never had to directly face the ideology of the N. Pelosiâ€™s, C. Schumerâ€™s, J. Wrightâ€™s and E. Holderâ€™s of the world. Even the 1960â€™s form of â€œprogressivismâ€ was set against the backdrop of the known evil of an outwardly racist system, and an equally controversial war in Vietnam. Today is different. What we face today is an unforced and radical progressivism without any of the supporting historical props. The problem with the interpretive thinking of conservatives today is that we are attempting to see the logic in the ideology of the left (or at least some form of semi-coherent palliative) that will allow us to understand the apparent vacuity. But herein we are seeking to see that which simply does not exist.
When we look at the notion [...]
Question #1 during much of the Health Care Debate was: "Why the rush?".
I should have seen it at the time, but now, it is clear to me just how important it was for Democrats to pass Health Care Reform, in any condition. Even torn to shreds. Getting it done early in 2010 was absolutely essential.
Because that was the one chance that Democrats had of holding seats in November.
It's a gambit that tries our souls and puts folks on both the left and right on edge. By completing the effort early in the year, Democrats have essentially taken ownership of the election, or at least taken a position that gives them a stronger political advantage. That is, stronger than they would have had if they had tried and failed to complete the work, or completed it in late summer or early fall.
The manner in which Republicans play this out over the next several months will have a greater impact than anything. Even though a majority of Americans opposed the Democrats plan, ultimately the tide will shift on the perceived benefit of those in the middle. Already, some Republicans are seeing the challenge of continuing to fight this head on.
Now, instead of fighting against a bad idea, instead of promoting a smarter model for Americans to address the real Health Care issues at hand, Republicans who go all in with [...]
In the February 16th, 2010 Wall Street Journal, Gerald F. Seib wrote an article called Senate Woes Flag Wider Disease. The premise of the article is that the center of the political continuum has been eroded and that the bridge historically connecting the left and the right is being dismantled. He goes on to indicate that the result is a Senate without an ability to accomplish anything. The Framers, along with many who have followed, have long-since understood the power of the majority in a democracy. Accordingly, they have inserted safeguards against the potential â€œtyranny of the majorityâ€ that are now coming into clear view. Mr. Seib also points to the rapidly expanding use, over the last twenty years, of filibusters and cloture votes used to end those filibusters. In the end, the article concludes, â€œThe broader political system, more than the filibuster, is the problem.â€
The notion of the â€œbroader political systemâ€ is an interesting focal point for the current situation. And while I am not certain what Mr. Seib intended by his use of the words, I am certain that the problem we have is much greater than a purely political problem. To cast blame on the system is to address a second-order cause, as opposed to any level of fundamental or first-order cause. The issues we face today are simply a proxy for the broader existential and self-identification issues we face as a nation. We face an array of ontological problems that have been emerging over several decades, but are now, for the first time, exhibited for everyone to see. The fundamental issue we face today is one of determining whether we as a nation are going to be governed by the use of power, or whether we will continue to be governed via â€œauthority.â€ The distinction is becoming essentially clearer with every passing day. And the distinction could not be more significant.
Our nation was built on [...]
Today we introduce our newest writer at The Conservative Reader, Brian Nygaard. Brian and his wife Mary live in San Rafael, California. - Ed.
As the Healthcare debate in Congress was drawing to a close, Americans were asking themselves â€œWhy canâ€™t we seem to make any progress on the healthcare issue?â€ We watch in disbelieving awe as we observe nothing getting done over seemingly very long periods of time. We covet answers, but our perception is that what we are receiving from Washington is just gridlock and petty partisan politics. We cannot even agree on such a simple notion as the need for the portability of individual insurance coverage. Amazing, isnâ€™t it? It looks like a mess, and it is. But it is a mess for reasons completely separated from the issue of healthcare. The problem with the healthcare issue is that the issue has never been about healthcare, or insurance companies, or patientâ€™s rights, or universal coverage.
Over the course of our American history, a small number of windows of opportunity have presented themselves to the radical leftists amongst us. Andrew Jackson, FDR, Lyndon [...]
Today the headlines read something like: Government Stands to Reap $7.5 Billion Profit from Sale of Citi Stock. This was reported in both the Wall Street Journal and our local rag, the Des Moines Register, and while estimates vary as to the extent of this...
The problem still hasn’t been solved. Some time a go, I wrote a piece about President Obama’s biggest concern. At least, it should be his biggest concern, because if this particular issue is not addressed, it will go well for Republicans in November, and...
In my years as a youngster I never thought that we would be seriously discussing whether Marijuana should be considered either for medicinal or recreational usage. And as a conservative, I would have never thought that we would need to spend the time debating the pros and cons without a lot of easy standard lines: "It's a Gateway Drug", "Kills Brain Cells", "Highly Addictive".
But here we are, and frankly, I'm not prepared to just discard the discussion as unimportant or too obvious to spend time on. That would be both a disservice and inconsistent with my belief that positions on policy should be reviewed and when challenged, they should be openly and honestly discussed.
I'm not a doctor, nor have I had the time to study this at such a level of depth as to call myself an "expert" on the topic. But I have discussed this with doctors I know, and I've looked at some of the information currently available (here, here, here and here). I've also been around friends that were regular users of Marijuana, and I even took one deep breath of the stuff (from a pipe) when I was younger. Yes, I inhaled. Didn't like it. And I was a tobacco smoker at the time.
Most of us here in the Midwest tend to just laugh at California for legalizing Marijuana for medicinal use. We could have more or less predicted that dispensaries would become dealers for all who wanted, not just those that actually needed it. And as the debate is building here in Iowa [...]