FT195: “Democrats ridicule Sarah Palin because we elected a far less qualified Sarah Palin—Barack Obama—twice.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 8th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Democrats don’t want to face Conservatives in General Elections because when they do they Lose

Democrats want to win elections.  They spend enormous amounts of money to make that happen in tight races.  Which limits the amount of money they can spend elsewhere.  So they don’t want to spend any more money than they absolutely have to.  Which tells us one thing.  Whoever they say should be the Republican candidate and is the one that will take the Republican Party in the right direction is actually the candidate they want.  Because he or she is the candidate they think they can defeat easiest.

The Democrats loved John McCain.  They loved how he reached across the aisle.  How he could work with Democrats.  Always willing to compromise to give them what they wanted.  Without demanding hardly anything in return.  In fact, he valued his ability to compromise with Democrats more than any conservative principle.  Democrats like that.  And told Republicans that McCain was their candidate.  Nay, should be their candidate.  For this is the direction the people want the Republican Party to move in.  The Democrat direction.

So with John McCain in the general election the voters had a Democrat candidate (Barack Obama) and a Democrat-lite Candidate (John McCain).  Which is what the Democrats want.  Because it helps Democrats.  They don’t want a conservative that can get Democrats to cross over and vote Republican.  Like the Reagan Democrats.  While at the same time invigorating the conservative base.  That’s the last thing they want.  For when they have that in a general election (like with Ronald Reagan) they lose in landslides.

Whenever Republicans nominate a Candidate the left approves of they NEVER win General Elections

When the Republican candidate is a Democrat-lite candidate it will discourage the conservative base.  Which is what the Democrats want.  Fewer Republicans voted in 2012 than they did in 2008.  This decline in Republican turnout helped win the election for Obama.  So that’s what a Democrat-lite candidate does for Republicans.  And when it comes to Democrat voters they will never vote for Democrat-lite when they a full-blown Democrat to vote for.

This is why the Democrats praised John McCain during the 2008 Republican primary.  And why they praised Mitt Romney during the 2012 Republican primary.  Both moderate Republicans.  More importantly, neither was a conservative.  One (Mitt Romney) even gave Massachusetts universal health care.  Making it difficult for him to attack Obamacare without sounding like a hypocrite.  So the left loved both of these moderate non-conservatives.  Right up until the general election.  When they tore each of them a new you-know-what.

Watching Republicans campaign is like watching Gilligan’s Island.  Where each week we tuned in to see if this was the week they would finally get rescued from that deserted island.  And just when rescue seemed imminent Gilligan would do something to ruin everything.  While viewers never noticed the recurring theme.  They NEVER get rescued.  Just as it is with elections.  Every election the Republicans listen to the Democrats.  As if they are really interested in helping Republicans win elections.  Instead of doing everything within their power to win themselves.  And whenever Republicans nominate a candidate the left approves of they NEVER win general elections.

Being Likeable was Enough to get one of the most Unqualified Candidates elected President of the United States

The Democrats got John McCain for the Republican candidate.  Which they went on to defeat in the general election.  Just as they had planned.  But they got something else they hadn’t planned on.  Sarah Palin.  No one saw that coming.  No one even knew who she was when McCain announced her as his running mate.  But she was someone.  She served on the Wasilla City Council in 1992.  Became mayor of Wasilla in 1996.  She was chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conversation Commission.  And governor of Alaska in 2006.  Then, of course, Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008. 

She was dangerous.  A young and accomplished woman.  With real governing experience.  And a folksy charm.  She was likeable.  And she was conservative.  This to the left was a greater threat than al Qaeda.  They had to destroy this woman.  Lest she become more influential in Republican politics.  So they ridiculed her night and day.  From politicians to policy wonks to the mainstream media to late night television.  It was open season on Sara Palin.  And they had good reason to fear her.  For when the 2010 midterm elections came around she was part of a new political movement.  The Tea Party.  The movement was so strong that the Republicans took the House of Representatives back in 2010.  And the left did not want that to happen again.  So they attacked her.  And the Tea Party.

The Tea Party and Sarah Palin are the worst enemies the left can have.  Conservatives.  A recent Gallup Poll showed that only 21% of the electorate call themselves liberal while 40% call themselves conservative.  And 35% call themselves moderate.  Which means the majority of the electorate agree with the Tea Party.  And Sarah Palin.  Which is why Sarah Palin is so dangerous.  She has governing experience.  The majority of the electorate agrees with her.  And she’s likeable.  They just don’t want anyone like that on the ticket if they can help it.  Especially if they’re likeable.  So the Democrats ridicule Sarah Palin.  Because they saw how easy it is to get a far less qualified ‘Sarah Palin’ elected.  Barack Obama.  Who had no governing experience.  And shared an ideology with only 21% of the electorate.  But he was likeable.   And being likeable was enough to get one of the most unqualified candidates elected president of the United States.  Twice. 



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FT193: “Democrats are more unified than Republicans because they put their hatred of Republicans ahead of their policy differences.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 25th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Democrats believe Republicans should be like a 1950s Housewife and be Pretty but Express no Thoughts of their Own

What did we learn from the government shutdown?  Well, if you listened to the left you learned that there is a civil war going on in the Republican Party.  And perhaps there is.  For there are two factions in the Republican Party.  Those the Democrats like and can push around.  And those who refuse to be their bitch.

The Tea Party would be in that latter category.  And the Democrats really hate them.  Because they won’t play ball.  Like the establishment Republicans.  Who argue with and debate the Democrats.  Put on a little kabuki theater to shut the constituents up back at home.  Then vote with the Democrats.  And thank the Democrats for the occasional spoils hand-me-down.

You see, the Democrats know how to be a good Republican.  You act like a 1950 housewife.  With Democrats, of course, being the 1950s husband.  Republicans are to look pretty and agree with the Democrats.  They’re not supposed to express a thought of their own.  The Democrats promise them all sorts of things.  To honor their agreements.  To be faithful.  Then go out and break their promises and whore around.  Because in their world Republicans are second-class citizens.  Just like the 1950s housewife.  At least as liberal Democrats see the 1950s housewife.

Extorting Everyone via Obamacare has more Political Dividends than Extorting only Seniors

Washington changes people.  Well, it changes Republicans.  Where power corrupts them.  While absolute power seduces Democrats.  Which is their ultimate goal.  Even when they campaigned for their first election.  They want power.  All the power they can get.  So they can become a ruling class.  An aristocracy.  Where they can do whatever they want.  And live the good life.  At the expense of the masses.  Like it used to be in feudal Europe.  Where who you knew was all that matter.  And a good last name set you up for life.

Power.  It’s all that counts.  And with power comes privilege.  The Democrats see themselves as a privileged elite.  Or at least they think they should be.  Which explains why working Americans have to pay high premiums and pay high deductibles for a basic Obamacare health insurance policy with no subsidies while members of Congress get a generous subsidy for their gold-plated policies even though they earn more than $100 grand a year.

In fact the Affordable Care Act is all about power.  Not health care.  Forcing people to turn to government for their health care makes all people dependent on government.  And much more willing to vote for Democrats who want to raise taxes and expand benefits rather than Republicans who want to ‘throw Grandma off the cliff’.  As the left accuses Republicans of wanting to do.  For it’s one thing extorting seniors.  But it’s another extorting everyone.  Which has far more political dividends than extorting only seniors.

Empowering the Ruling Class is the One Priority Democrats put above all Others

So you have the Democrats trying to make all Americans dependent on government so they can extort them whenever they want more.  If they want more money they threatened whatever the people are dependent on.  Saying if we don’t raise taxes the Republicans will prevent the Democrats from giving them these benefits.  With establishment Republicans onboard for the occasional spoils hand-me-down.  While the Tea Party Republicans are trying honor the promises they made to their constituents.

Was the attempt to defund Obamacare a wise move?  When the Republicans only controlled the House of Representatives?  Especially with the Republicans fighting among themselves?  Time will tell.  But what was clear is that the Democrats are more unified than the Republicans.  Why?  Is it because there is no dissension in the Democrats’ ranks?  Like there is with Republicans between establishment (i.e., Democrats in Republican clothes) and the Tea Party?  No.  It’s not that.  For there is dissension in the Democrat ranks.  But unlike the Republicans, they don’t let this interfere with their ultimate aim.  Power.

The Democrats never lose sight of the big picture.  The acquisition of power.  Democrat primary elections can be brutal.  In 2008 when Bill Clinton was trying to get Senator Ted Kennedy to endorse Hillary Clinton instead of Barack Obama he said, “A few years ago, this guy would have been carrying our bags.”  A racial slur.  But that was all forgotten after the election.  With Hillary Clinton even taking a post in the Obama administration.  Because empowering the ruling class is the one priority they put above all others.  And you do that by destroying the opposition.  The Republicans.  In particular the Tea Party Republicans.  Whatever the cost.  However it hurts the American people.  This is what unifies the Democrats.  Their love of power and their hatred of Republicans.  Which lets Democrats forget things like racial slurs.  While those Republicans who fight for the people get attacked by members of their own party.



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FT176: “The left instigates and exacerbates discrimination to increase their power.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 28th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Institution of Slavery was Dying Out in the U.S. before Eli Whitney and his Cotton Gin

Discrimination is wrong.  And it doesn’t belong in a meritocracy.  Which is what the United States is.  Here it doesn’t matter who your father is.  There is no nobility.  No aristocracy.  Here everyone is equal.  It’s why people came here with pennies in their pocket.  So they could work hard and live the American dream.  Having the liberty to do whatever they wanted to do.  Which many did.  Starting out sweeping floors for a boss.  And going on to be boss in their own business.

The Founding Fathers weren’t perfect.  But they were as close to perfect as you can get.  Selfless.  Disinterested.  Principled.  And, yes, some were slave owners.  But they didn’t invent slavery.  Or bring it to the New World.  It was part of the times they lived in.  And already well entrenched in the colonies before they entered into the history books.  The southern economy was already dependent on slave-labor during the writing of the Declaration of Independence.  And the U.S. Constitution.  Some of the Founding Fathers wanted to get rid of the institution.  But to form a new nation they needed the southern states.  And they wouldn’t join without their slaves.  So they tabled the subject for 20 years.  Trusting that it would resolve itself by then.  But then Eli Whitney gave us the cotton gin.  And, well, the rest is history.

The institution of slavery was slowly dying out before the cotton gin.  George Washington wanted to replace his slaves with paid-laborers.  For he wanted to change up his crops.  Grow many different crops instead of one large cash crop.  Something paid-labor was ideally suited for.  As he could hire people with a particular crops’ skill-set and they could hit the ground running.  But when you had slaves working the same large cash crop year after year such as tobacco change didn’t come easy.  For you had to retrain your slaves.  And with training there is a learning curve.  It was just so much easier to hire well-skilled paid-laborers.  And the fact that they wanted to work for you helped, too.  For when forcing people to work for you against their will all you’ll get from them is the bare minimum that lets them escape brutal punishment.  Which does not bring out a person’s latent talents.  It just prevents these talents from ever seeing the light of day.  No.  Slave-labor as an economic model was a horrible one.  As well as being immoral.

Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican Party ended Slavery in the United States

Slavery in the United States was concentrated in the South.  On the plantations.  Where they had a single, large cash crop.  And thanks to Eli Whitney that crop was cotton.  Because the cotton gin could so quickly comb the cotton fiber to remove the seeds and stems the sky was the limit.  The only thing holding back your profits was the amount of land you put in production.  And the only limit on that was the number of slaves you had to make land productive.  Which is why the institution of slavery didn’t die out in 20 years time.  Which really wasn’t overly optimistic.  Because in the grand scheme of things there weren’t that many slaves in the United States to begin with.

Of all the slaves brought to the New World only about 6.5% ended up in British North America (according to Wikipedia).  Another 18% went to other British colonies.  Another 18% went to Spanish colonies.  About 14% went to French colonies.  While the vast majority of those slaves went to Portuguese colonies in the Americas.  Approximately 39% of all African slaves.  Most landing in Brazil.  Which is why the Portuguese language is one of the top ten most spoken languages in the world today.  Because Brazil is a very large country.  Thanks to all of those slaves the Portuguese brought there.

Slavery was wrong.  And it is America’s original sin.  But it wasn’t what made America great.  Or rich.  Contrary to what our public schools are teaching our kids.  If it was the South would have won the American Civil War.  But they didn’t.  The industrial North did.  With her factories filled with paid-laborers.  This was the New World.  The South that lost the Civil War was the last remnants of the Old World in the New World.  Where it mattered who your father was.  Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican Party ended slavery in the United States.  And the Republican Party would eventually put an end to Jim Crowe laws in the south.  And passed the Civil Rights act (a larger percentage of Republicans voted for it than Democrats).

The Racial Divide has never been Greater despite electing a Black President Twice

So the Republicans have done more to end discrimination in the United States than the Democrats have.  Who have actually spent more time opposing civil rights.  But you wouldn’t know that.  Not with all the disinformation the left puts out.  Today the left claims they are the party that fights discrimination.  When in actuality they instigate and exacerbate discrimination.  Because it gives them power.  For trying to end discriminations is very lucrative.  Some have made careers and have grown quite wealthy trying to end discrimination.  You know who they are so there’s no point in naming them here.  But these people never end discrimination.  For while there’s money in fighting discrimination there’s no money in ending it.

If there are always examples of discrimination in our society then there is always a need for those who fight it.  There’s always a reason for new legislation.  To right past wrongs.  And make things fair.  So the Democrats increased the size of the welfare state.  To make the discriminated dependent on the state.  To keep them on the plantation.  Concentrating them in housing projects.  In the inner city.  Away from the Democrats’ nice neighborhoods.  They broke up their families with AFDC.  Replacing fathers with the state.  Who failed these kids miserably.  They implemented affirmative action.  Where some game the system and get a free pass.  Because of lower standards.  Getting entrance to a college or a job over someone more qualified.  Fomenting new racial unrest.  As some complain about being passed over despite being more qualified.  Which the left jumps on as proof of overt racism.  And the need for them to do something more to end it.

But they never end anything.  Because ending it would take away their power.  Which is why despite everything they’ve done since the Sixties things have never been worse.  And more policies and legislation to end discrimination have never been needed more.  Because the racial divide has never been greater.  Despite this country electing a black president.  Twice.



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FT160: “Why would Democrats want to help Republicans appeal to more voters when they want to beat them in elections?” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 8th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Power Brokers in Washington dismiss the Rand Paul Filibuster as another Kook Libertarian/Tea Party Thing

The Rand Paul filibuster caused quite the stir.  For it’s been a while since we had an old-school talking filibuster on the Senate floor.  Senator Paul was delaying a vote on confirming John Brennan as CIA director.  Over the drone policy of the Obama administration.  He talked for about 13 hours.  All to get an answer from the Obama administration.  He wanted the administration to answer definitively that the U.S. would not kill American citizens on U.S. soil with a drone strike without due process if that American citizen posed no imminent threat.  But getting that admission was akin to pulling teeth.

Rand Paul is the son of Ron Paul.  Who is a libertarian.  And a bit of a kook to the Washington establishment.  Both on the Left and the Right.  Because he goes on and on about the gold standard.  The Constitution.  And America fighting wars we shouldn’t be fighting.  If it were up to him he would bring all American forces home.  And he would stop those drone strikes.  Both Ron Paul and Rand Paul are/were members of the Republican Party.  Constitutional conservatives.  And libertarians.  Who the Washington establishment looks at as kooks.  Rand Paul is even worse.  For he is a member of the Tea Party movement.  A group of people the Washington establishment also looks upon as a bunch of kooks.

So the power brokers in Washington look at Rand Paul as just another kook.  And were quick to dismiss this filibuster as another example of how crazy these libertarian/Tea Party kooks were.  But there was only one problem.  Was someone who was trying to get an evasive government to admit that they wouldn’t kill Americans on U.S. soil without due process even if that American posed no imminent threat a kook?  This was something the Left was supposed to do.  Speak truth to power.  To protect American citizens from an out of control federal government.  And here was Rand Paul fighting that fight.  A Tea Party Constitutional conservative libertarian.

The Republican Old Guard is trying to Distance Themselves from the Tea Party and the Constitutional Conservatives

The Left attacked the Bush administration over the Patriot Act.  Which included those warrantless wiretaps on Americans who were speaking to known terrorist threats in a foreign country.  They assailed George W. Bush and Dick Cheney over the water-boarding of three terrorists.  Including one who gave up information that led us to Osama bin Laden.  Now it was their president whose administration appeared out of control.  Whose attorney general would not come out and say that they would not kill Americans on U.S. soil with a drone strike without due process even if they posed no imminent threat.  Something was very wrong with this picture.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart owes its success to the Republican Party.  For the show’s one purpose in life is to attack and belittle Republicans.  Which their liberal audience enjoys.  Responding with enthusiastic applause and laughter whenever Stewart skewers any Republican.  Or any institution or cause that is important to them.  However, Jon Stewart, even though he disagrees with pretty much everything Rand Paul stands for, did not ridicule Senator Paul for his filibuster.  For the Obama administration’s unwillingness to state for the record that they would not kill Americans on U.S. soil with a drone strike without due process even if they posed no imminent threat clearly bothered him.  Even if it didn’t bother the Washington establishment.  Including the Old Guard of the Republican Party.  Who did ridicule Senator Paul.

The Republican Old Guard is trying to distance themselves from the Tea Party.  And the Constitutional conservatives.  Instead they endlessly bend over backwards to try to get the opposition to like them.  Always unwilling to rock the political boat.  They won’t criticize the president.  Or do anything that may upset the Independents and moderates.  Such as saying the president is going to kill Americans on American soil with drone attacks.  Which really wasn’t the issue of the filibuster.  It was the administration’s apparent desire to have the legal right to do so.  This is what upset Senator Paul.  As well as Jon Stewart.  The ACLU.  Code Pink.  And Amnesty International.  Who found the Obama administration’s evasive answer on the subject disturbing.  Putting the Republican Old Guard on the wrong side of this issue.

The Democrats are Playing the Republican Old Guard to Advance their Agenda

So why is the Republican Old Guard on the wrong side of this issue?  Because they listen too much to their friends in the Democrat Party.  Who are always giving them advice on how to appeal to more voters.  To attract more women.  Blacks.  Hispanics.  People who typically vote Democrat.  And how can the Republicans get these Democrat-voting people to vote Republican?  Easy.  Just act more like Democrats.  Hence their not criticizing the president.  And why they are distancing themselves from the conservative Republican base.  The Tea Party.  And the Constitutional conservatives.  Because that’s what Democrats do.  And Democrats are getting more women, blacks and Hispanics to vote for them.  Ergo, if the Republicans just act like them they will get more women, blacks and Hispanics to vote for them.

Anyone see the flaw in this plan?  If these people typically vote for Democrats why would they vote for Republicans acting like Democrats when they can just as well vote for the people they typically vote for?  Democrats?  For a Democrat is unlikely to stop behaving like a Democrat.  But is a Republican as unlikely to stop acting like a Democrat?  When there are Tea Party and Constitutional conservatives out there that may be vying for their seat in the next primary election?  If we’ve learned anything from the 2012 Republican primary election it’s this.  Republicans try to move farther to the right than their primary opponents.  To appeal to the Tea Party and Constitutional conservatives in their base.  And the more they act like Democrats while in office the harder that will be to do.  Something no doubt Democrat voters keep in mind when they consider these Democrat-light Republican candidates.

Does anyone see another flaw in this plan?  Of Democrats helping Republicans to get more women, black and Hispanic voters?  Granted the Democrat Party is the party of altruism and welfare.  They’re the ones who want to offer a hand-up.  To feed the hungry.  To house the homeless.  To be the father/husband for single mothers.  To provide free preschool.  Free school lunches.  And breakfasts.  Free health care.  Etc.  They just want to give and help as many people as possible.  But do they really want to help Republicans?  Their political rivals?  Those people who vote against handouts (what others call a hand-up), food for the hungry, houses for the homeless, fathering/husbanding single mothers, free preschool, free school lunches, breakfasts, free health care, etc.  Of course they don’t.  The Democrats are just playing the Republican Old Guard.  Getting some of them to vote their way to attract the voters that will never vote for them.  To advance their agenda.  While using them to marginalize their greatest threat.  The Tea Party.  And Constitutional conservatives.  Anyone who doubts this just needs to ask themselves one question.  Why would Democrats want to help Republicans appeal to more voters when they want to beat them in elections?  They wouldn’t.  Something everyone can see.  Except the Republican Old Guard.  Who are so blind that they choose the wrong side of the ‘killing Americans on American soil without due process’ issue.



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Baseline Budgeting, Sequestration and Lies

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 21st, 2013

Politics 101

The Sequester Automatic Spending Cuts equal about 2% of Current Federal Spending

If you heard the president speak recently we’re all doomed.  The automatic spending cuts in the sequestration he proposed and signed into law will take food away from children.  And lead to the collapse of society as we know it.  Ushering in the end of the world.  For he warned…

Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country. Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.

President Obama gave this speech in front of some first responders.  Police officers.  And firefighters.  Always the first they threaten with layoffs when the government can’t raise taxes.

Amazing what $85 billion can buy today.  And if it can buy all that you’d think we wouldn’t have to spend $3.8 trillion at the federal level.  For if we can get all of that for a little over 2% of all federal spending it makes you wonder what else that 98% is buying.  What’s even more remarkable is that the federal government doesn’t even pay police officers, fire fighters or teachers.  We pay for these with property taxes.  At the city and county level.  Which the federal government cannot cut.  Because they don’t pay for these.  Yet the president says the sequester will even cut these.  Remarkable.

The Important Thing to understand about Baseline Budgeting is that Spending Cuts don’t Cut Spending

To understand sequestration you have to first understand baseline budgeting.  Which goes back to the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.  When we stopped being responsible.  And set government outlays to forever increase.  The baseline is the starting point for the following year’s budget.  And the baseline is last year’s outlays.  This year’s spending will be last year’s spending plus an additional amount based on inflation and population growth.

So spending always increases from year to year.  Automatically.  No one has to request an increase in appropriations.  And no one has to cut spending elsewhere for new spending someplace else.  Because all of last year’s spending is approved.  No matter how wasteful and pointless it may have been.  And on top of that spending there is new spending.  Always.  Guaranteeing that federal spending will always grow greater.  There will always be deficits.  And always a growing federal debt.

Now the important thing to understand about baseline budgeting is the meaning of ‘spending cuts’.  In a household if a family decides to cancel the family vacation because things are a little tight that is a spending cut in the real world.  Because it results in less spending.  But a cut in baseline budgeting doesn’t result in less spending.  For the only thing they cut is the amount they will increase future spending by.  For example, if spending for ‘X’ is scheduled to increase by $100 million but will only increase by $75 million that is a $25 million spending cut.  Even though spending will still increase by $75 million.

The President’s Sole Objective now is to destroy the Republican Party

President Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold in 1971.  Taking American off the gold standard.  Unleashing the inflation monster.  Allowing government to spend more.  As they paid for that additional spending by printing money.  And with the addition of baseline budgeting added in 1974 they spent more.  A lot more.  Total federal outlays from 1974 to 2008 increased on average 7.5% each year.  Total federal outlays in 2012 were approximately $3.8 trillion.  So the scheduled increase in spending (thanks to baseline budgeting) for 2013 is approximately $284.7 billion.

The spending cuts of the sequester are $85 billion.  Which President Obama says will usher in the end of the world as we know it.  But these ‘cuts’ are not cuts per se.  They are not like the cuts a household makes when they cancel the family vacation.  These are cuts that reduce the increase in future spending.  So instead of increasing future spending by $284.7 billion they will only increase by $199.7 billion.  Which is 2.3 times greater than the amount of the sequester.  Now President Obama said the sequester cuts would be the end of the world as we know it.  Even though total federal outlays will actually increase by an amount 2.3 times the sequester.  So one cannot but ask the question how will this sequester usher in the end of the world as we know it when we are actually increasing spending?

Because it is not the end of the world.  The president is lying.  Everything that we can pay for today we can still have after the sequester.  Because there are no real spending cuts.  We’re just increasing spending less than the original baseline projection.  Which means all the jobs we will lose will be future jobs.  But talking about losing future jobs doesn’t put the fear of God into people like telling them they won’t have any police or fire protection anymore.  Or telling them that their children’s teachers will lose their jobs.  You see, the president’s sole objective now is to destroy the Republican Party.  The only thing standing between the country and the liberal agenda he wants to impose on the country is the Republican opposition.  Which is why the sequester that he proposed and signed into law is now the fault of the Republicans.  This is the reason for all of this theater.  To get people to hate Republicans.  For why else would the president call a spending increase a spending cut?  If it wasn’t to demonize the people who keep demanding spending cuts?



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State of the Union, Benghazi, Sequestration and the Politics of Spending

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 14th, 2013

Politics 101

President Obama’s Idea of Compromise and Bipartisanship is Unconditional Surrender

President Obama’s State of the Union Address was a little light on details.  But the general gist is no spending cuts.  And more taxes.  Which makes the sequestration about to hit a crisis in the making for the president.  For it was sort of his idea.  And he did sign it into law.  But to him it was more like playing a game of chicken.  Confident that the Republicans would cave and roll over.  Giving him whatever additional tax increases he wanted to prevent cuts in defense spending.  But the Republicans aren’t blinking.  Because this is the only way they’re going to get any spending cuts.  Even if it means gutting defense spending.  Something the president didn’t consider.

Despite being an architect of the sequestration he called it a stupid idea during the State of the Union.  He doesn’t care about the cuts in defense spending.  He is, after all, a leftist liberal.  And they hate defense spending.  He even denied Ambassador Stevens’ request to beef up security in Benghazi.  Which led to Ambassador Stevens’ death.  Along with three other Americans.  But it’s the equal cuts in things he does care about that has him worried.  That social spending.  The kinds of things that buy votes.  And makes people dependent on government.  Helping to endear the Democrat Party to the American people.  While making them hate the Republican Party.  Who want to take away the great things the Democrats so generously give them.  Even if the government can’t afford to give these things to the American people.

President Obama may talk about compromise and bipartisanship but he doesn’t mean it.  His idea of bipartisanship is unconditional surrender.  He has no interest in meeting Republicans halfway.  He wants to destroy the Republican Party.  And undo the Reagan Revolution.  And bring back the Big Government of the Sixties and Seventies.  When the Democrats ruled supreme.  And you do that with spending money.  Not cutting spending.  Which is why the sequestration bothers him so much.

Running Deficits is OK if it provides for Senior Citizens, Our Children and Clean Stuff

Leading Democrats are saying we don’t have a spending problem.  We’re just not paying enough for the stuff we want.  Which also happens to be the stuff that buys votes.  So the excess spending to buy votes is not the problem.  The problem is that we’re not raising taxes enough to pay for this orgy of spending that is the problem.  We’re not taxing rich people enough.  Or corporations.  And once we do then we won’t be taxing the middle class enough.  And once we do that it probably won’t matter what we do as the country will be so deep in debt that no amount of new taxes will help.  Unless they figure out a way to tax away more than 100% of a person’s earnings.

So low tax revenue is the problem.  Well, that, and spending money on the wrong things.  On things that don’t buy votes.  Things that weren’t on the laundry list President Obama rattled off during the State of the Union that we need to spend more on.  Defense spending.  And…, well, defense spending.  Which is the only thing the Obama administration is willing to consider cutting.  Because we can get a lot of free things by gutting defense.  New programs that won’t add a single dime to the deficit.  Something he said more than once during the state of the union.  Obamacare, for example, will be deficit neutral.  Because the money we were going to spend on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will pay for it.  So even though the spending will still add to the deficit it’s now Obamacare spending.  Not defense spending.  Which is OK.

You see, running deficits is OK if it provides for senior citizens.  Our children.  If it gives us clean water.  And air.  Invests in clean energy.  And in those jobs of the future.  If it builds roads and bridges.  For less face it, we would be nothing without our government-provided roads and bridges.  Which we simply could not have it if it weren’t for government.  (Then again railroads build and maintain their own roads and bridges.  With funds they earn operating their railroads.  But I digress.)   In fact, any deficit reduction that comes from cutting this spending is just about the worst thing in the world we could do.  According to those on the left.  So we should tax rich people and corporations more.  And cut defense spending more.  Because we spend way too much on defense spending anyway.  And for what?  It’s not like we’re going to use it for anything.  Such as protecting our ambassadors in hostile lands.

Defense Spending is the only Spending growing at a Rate less than Total Federal Outlays

If you listened to the State of the Union (and didn’t fall asleep during it) you’ve learned that we don’t spend enough on our social spending.  And too much on defense spending.  That’s what the president said.  But what do the numbers say?  To find out let’s look at federal outlays (see Table 3.1—OUTLAYS BY SUPERFUNCTION AND FUNCTION: 1940–2017).  The following chart graphs the historical data from 1958 to 2011 and the projection for 2012.  We look at 4 areas of spending: defense; education, training, employment and social services; Medicare; and Social Security.  We calculate the spending as a percentage of total spending and graph the results.

Percent of Total Federal Outlays

The one area we spend too much on that the Obama administration is willing to cut is the one area that has seen the greatest decline in spending.  Defense spending.  Which as a percentage of total outlays has fallen while non-defense has trended up or held steady.  This tells us the government has pulled money from defense to pay for these other things.  But this chart doesn’t tell the whole story.  For although Medicare and Social Security have trended up they haven’t taken as big a piece of total spending as defense gave up.  And education spending has been pretty flat.  Perhaps giving credence to President Obama’s claim that we’re not spending enough on education.  But if you look at the year-to-year growth in spending you see a different picture.

Federal Outlays as a Percentage of 1958 Outlays

Here we divide each year’s spending by the spending in 1958 (or 1966 for Medicare).  Showing the increase in spending over time.  This chart also includes total federal outlays.  Which tells a startling story.  Not only is defense spending being gutted to pay for other spending it is the only spending growing less than the growth rate of total federal spending.  While the other three areas are growing at greater rates.  In 2011 Social Security spending was 8,892% of the spending in 1958.  Medicare, which came into existence in 1965, grew at an even greater rate.  In 2011 it was 17,673% of the spending in 1966.  More than twice the growth in less time.  And education spending tracked pretty close to Medicare spending.  In 2011 it was 15,744% of the spending in 1958.  While defense spending in 2011 was only 1,509% of the spending in 1958.

Note that the general trend of increased spending holds regardless of who is in power.  That’s because of baseline budgeting.  Which provides for automatic increases in spending.  When government talks about spending cuts it not really spending cuts.  It a cut in the rate spending increases.  You can see some dips in the graphs and where they may have cut the rate of growth.  But nowhere is there really a cut that results in reducing net spending.  Except for defense.

Increases in spending on education (and training, employment and social services) has grown at a rate greater than most other spending.  And what can we learn by throwing money at education?  Well, based on the president’s remarks, it doesn’t work.  It doesn’t increase the quality of education.  At least based on the great increases year after year that only give us the need to spend more money.  And this spending doesn’t even include the bulk of education spending.  That generated from property taxes.  Which can mean only one thing.  If we’re paying more and need to spend even more the quality of education is not as good as it should be.  Or all that money is going to teachers’ salaries, pensions and health care benefits.

Of all this spending the only sustainable spending is defense spending. For it is the only one growing at a rate less than total federal outlays.  While increases in the other spending is going off the chart.  With the slopes of these graphs getting ever steeper.  And the closer they get to vertical the more impossible it will be able to pay for these programs.  That’s why Medicare is near crisis mode.  With the cost of our aging population pushing that graph closer and closer to vertical.  Where our spending obligations will approach infinity.  Which is, of course, impossible to sustain.

Of all this spending the only sustainable spending is defense spending. For it is the only one growing at a rate less than total federal outlays.  While increases in the other spending is going off the chart.  Contrary to what the president said we are increasing spending in these areas so much that we won’t be able to sustain it.  For there just won’t be enough money to tax away from the people.  Unless we figure out a way to tax away more than 100% of their earnings.



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2012 Endorsements: Abraham Lincoln

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 25th, 2012

2012 Election

The Slave Owners were the Social Elite and Holders of Political Power Similar to the Aristocracy in European Feudalism

General Motors (GM) required a government bailout and bankruptcy protection because of rising labor costs that prevented them from selling enough cars at a price to cover their costs while being profitable.  Their problem goes back to FDR.  During the Great Depression his government placed a ceiling on wages.  To encourage companies to hire more people.  By paying more people less money instead of fewer people more money.  So businesses had to do something else to attract the best employees.  And the employee benefit was born.  Pensions and health care benefits.  That were very generous when there was no competition and car companies could sell cars at whatever price they chose.  But that wasn’t the case in the 21st century.  Competition put great cost pressures on those companies with rising health care and pension costs.  And the job bank paying for workers who didn’t work.  Until they could be put back to work.  Adding a lot of costs to each car.  And sending GM into bankruptcy.

Slavery as an economic model had a similar problem.  High costs.  Which goes contrary to the public perception that slave labor was free labor.  George Washington wanted to sell his slaves and hire paid-laborers.  Because his slave families had grown so large.  So he had a growing slave population.  But they all weren’t working.  The young children could not do the work of a young man in his working prime.  Nor could the elderly.  Or the sick or infirmed.  (Who he couldn’t sell along with the healthier and stronger ones in their families.  So he kept his slaves, keeping those families together.  Freeing them upon the death of his wife.  And including provisions in his will to help them integrate into free society.  Giving them some job skills to help them find gainful employment so they could care for their young, elderly, sick and infirmed.)  Yet Washington was feeding them all.  While the growing amount of food they ate couldn’t go to market.  As the years passed his costs went up and his revenue fell.  Just like at GM.  For both had long-term labor commitments that became more inefficient over time.  Which is why slavery was a dying institution in the United States.  The industrial North was slave-free.  As they used more efficient paid-laborers.  Drawing a lot of immigrants to those northern factories.  And slavery was dying out in the South.  Until the cotton gin came along.  Allowing workers to comb (separating the seeds from the fiber) huge amounts of cotton at a time.  Greatly opening the market for that labor-intensive cotton crop.

The typical image of the South in 1860 is endless plantations each with hundreds of slaves working the fields.  Which is wrong.  Most people worked a small family farm.  In fact, most of the Confederate soldiers who fought in the American Civil War came from those small family farms and never owned a slave in their life.  The actual numbers of large slaveholders will probably surprise you.  Approximately 0.84% of the southern population owned at least 20 slaves.  Only 0.05% of the southern population owned at least 100 slaves.  And the number of big plantations owning at least 500 slaves?  Twelve.  So it was a very small population that had a vested interest in the institution of slavery.  Yet the South seceded from the union over the issue of slavery.  Why?  Because of who those slave owners were.  The social elite and holders of political power.  The Planter Elite.  People similar to the aristocracy in European feudalism.  An Old World nobility.  The very wealthy few who ruled the South.  And for awhile they ruled the United States thanks to an unfair advantage they had in the House of Representatives.  Where they determined their representation by not only counting the free population but by counting every slave as 3/5 a free person as well.  And this southern nobility was determined to maintain their aristocracy.

Popular Sovereignty created a Bloodbath in Kansas as ‘Free’ and ‘Slave’ People raced there to Settle the State

Which was easier said than done.  Because of that industrial growth in the north attracting so many immigrants that they swelled the northern population.  Transferring control of the House from the South to the North.  Which left only the Senate (and the presidency) for the South.  As each state got two senators the race was on to admit free and slave states to the union.  Which didn’t really solve anything.  It only made the differences between the North and the South greater.  And intensified the bad feelings between the North and the South.  The North was full of abolitionist busybodies trying to tell southerners how to live.  While the southerners were a bunch of immoral slaveholders.  Bringing shame to the nation that was supposedly a place where all men were created equal.   Words enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.  Words written incidentally by a southern slaveholder.  It was finally time to address the nation’s original sin.

Congress passed the Missouri Compromise (1820) after Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from the French.  Adding a lot of new land to form states from.  The compromise prohibited slavery north of the border between Arkansas and Missouri (except in the state of Missouri).  They added new states in pairs.  A free state.  And a slave state.  Maintaining the balance of power in Congress.  Then came Kansas and Nebraska.  Both above the Missouri Compromise line.  Well, that meant two new free states.  And a change in the balance of power.  Which the South couldn’t have.  So Senator Stephen Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  And the idea of popular sovereignty.  The idea of letting the people in these new states decide for themselves if they should be a free state or a slave state.  Creating a bloodbath in Kansas as ‘free’ and ‘slave’ people raced there to settle the state.  Fighting and intimidating each other so they would be the ones to vote on making Kansas free or slave.  It was anarchy.

Abraham Lincoln had reentered politics in 1854 to campaign for fellow Whig Richard Yates.  Who opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  Democrat Stephen Douglas was making a series of speeches in Illinois.  In response to one of Stephens’ speeches Lincoln gave his Peoria speech.  In commenting on letting slavery into Nebraska and Kansas Lincoln said, “I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself.  I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty—criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”

If Lincoln were Alive Today he would Likely Endorse the Republican Candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan

The fallout from the Kansas-Nebraska Act splintered existing political parties apart.  Created new ones that disappeared later.  And gave birth to the new Republican Party.  The party of George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln.  Who became the leading spokesman of the party.  The Republicans lost the 1856 presidential election but won majorities in most of the northern states.  Tipping the balance of power further away from the South.  When Lincoln won his party’s nomination to run for senator in 1858 he gave his ‘House Divided Speech’ saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

When slave Dred Scott traveled to a free state with his owner his owner died.  Scott said he was then a free man.  The Supreme Court thought otherwise.  Saying that Scott was still a slave because neither Congress nor any territory legislature had the authority to change that.  Which meant no one could restrict the movement of slaves because no one had the right to restrict the movement of private property.  Thus opening all the new territories to slavery.  Making the South very happy.  While infuriating the North.  Who refused to enforce slave laws on the books like the Fugitive Slave Law.  A provision included in the Compromise of 1850 for the states’ rights South.  That called for the federal government to force northerners to return slaves or face arrest and penalties.  States’ legislatures in the North passed laws saying a slave living in a free state was a free man.  The Supreme Court struck down these laws.  Favoring southern states’ rights over northern states’ rights.  So the states just refused to help the federal government in any prosecution of a violation of the Fugitive Slave Law.  Then abolitionist John Brown’s failed slave revolt at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, further angered the South.

Then came the 1860 presidential election.  That Abraham Lincoln won.  Which was the last straw.  The South lost both Congress and the presidency.  Worse, the new president, though not an outright abolitionist, opposed the expansion of slavery.  Leaving the South with one last option.  Secession.  Which they did.  Leading to the American Civil War.  Which the South lost because of everything they believed in.  For an Old World nobility just could not defeat a modern industrial power.  Lincoln won because he had modern factories building whatever he needed.  The northern economy was large and diverse providing war financing.  Railroads crisscrossed the North.  A large navy controlled the interior rivers and blockaded the southern ports.  Cutting off the South from the outside world and starving it.  When the South desperately pursued the British for recognition Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  Making it impossible for Britain to ally itself with a nation fighting for the institution of slavery.

No president entered office with a heavier burden than President Lincoln.  Standing on principle he made the hard decisions.  Becoming the most hated sitting president of all time.  He did not look for an easy solution like every other politician had up to his time.  Only making the inevitable solution more costly.  And more painful.  He would do what had to be done.  Regardless the price he would pay.  Politically.  Or personally.  A cost so high that it made him a one term president thanks to an assassin’s bullet.  He didn’t base his decisions on the polls.  Or populist movements.  But on principles.  Drawn from the Constitution.  And the Declaration of Independence.  As well as the Bible.  So if he were alive today who would he endorse in the current election?  He would, of course, support his party.  Out of party loyalty.  And because it tends to stand on principle more than the Democrat Party.  Which often used an activist Supreme Court to get what they couldn’t get in the legislature.  Which tends to use populist movements and character assassination to advance their agenda.  Such as the so-called war on women to scare women into voting Democrat because they can’t persuade them to based on a successful track record in office.  Also, the Republicans are more pro-business and more pro-military.  Which gives you the ability to win civil wars.  And other wars.  As well as protecting US security interests around the world.  Maintaining peace through strength.  For anything was preferable to the hell he went through during the four long years of the Civil War.  And to have so much blood on his hands.  The war being so horrific because of a policy of continued failed diplomacy when there was simply no common ground.  He said that there was only one of two possible outcomes.  All free.  Or all slave.  And he was right.  But it took someone willing to be the most hated sitting president to have the courage to act to bring about the inevitable.  So if Lincoln were alive today he would likely endorse the Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Not the party that wants to delay the inevitable by refusing to address the systemic problems of Medicare and Social Security.  And a growing welfare state.  Systems a declining population growth rate can no longer fund.  Because aging populations bankrupt nations with expanding welfare programs.  Just like an aging workforce can bankrupt a car company like GM.



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Once again the Political Advice for Republicans is to Stop Being Conservative even though Conservatism wins Elections

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 27th, 2011

Week in Review

Once again someone is advising the Republican Party how to pick their candidate.  And apparently the ideal Republican candidate would be a Democrat (see Jon Huntsman’s Vision for the US Military by E.D. Kain posted 11/24/2011 on Forbes).

It’s become increasingly clear to me what a shame it is that the Republican Party is so in thrall to its far-right fringe. If they weren’t, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman might stand a chance at the GOP nomination. That would be a good thing for the Republican Party and for the United States.

It would be good for the Republican Party because Huntsman has broad appeal outside of the conservative base. He also has presidential good looks, has command of the issues, and manages to be at once reasonable and articulate in a debate that has teetered too often between the ludicrous and the absurd.

So, the Republican Party, the party of conservatism, would be best served by nominating a candidate that isn’t a conservative?  Didn’t we try this already?  Didn’t we nominate John McCain because he was everything this guy says Huntsman is?  Well, everything perhaps except being handsome.  And how did that work for us?  Not good.  Because the moderate voters chose the other moderate in the general election.  Barack Obama.  And he was only lying about being a moderate to boot.

The last great Republican president was Ronald Reagan.  And why did we elect him with such overwhelming majorities?  Could it be because he ran as an unabashed conservative?  You bet.  Because the voters in a center-right nation didn’t want someone who could reach across the aisle and cave on issues conservatives hold dear.  Like John McCain campaigned that he was only more than willing to do.

When they compare Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan during election times you know running as a conservative wins elections.  Republicans should try that.  Running conservative candidates.  And forget about reaching across the aisle.  For the Democrats don’t.  The only time they feign interest in bipartisan cooperation is when they’ve lost Congressional majorities.  And can’t dictate policy anymore to the minority party.



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Republican (rĭ-pŭb’lĭ-kən), n., One who belongs to the Republican Party, the more conservative of the two major political parties in the United States.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 10th, 2011

Politics 101

Republicans can Trace their Lineage back to Abraham Lincoln, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith and John Locke

The Republican Party was born in the 19th century.  As the anti-slavery party.  Their motto was “free labor, free land, free men.”  They opposed concentrated wealth (i.e., land) in the hands of an aristocracy such as the planter elite in the South.  And the slavery that made that system work.  They were the party of the middle class.  Independent artisans.  Small farmers.  Entrepreneurs.  And businessmen.  In other words, free market capitalists.  To a point, at least.  They wanted to industrialize America.  But they wanted to protect these emerging industries with import tariffs.  And they wanted to pay for this industrialization with public money.  Neither of which is very capitalistic.

Republicans can trace their lineage back to the Whig Party.  Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president, was a former Whig.  Whig political philosophy goes back to Great Britain.  Which built on the philosophy of some of the greats.  Edmund Burke.  Adam Smith.  And John Locke.  To name a few.  The Whigs formed the opposition to absolute monarchial rule.  Supporting constitutional monarchy.  With ultimate power lying in Parliament.  Not the Crown.  Or with the landed aristocracy allied to the Crown.  Which greatly influenced the American Founding Fathers.  Putting them on the path to independence from the Crown.

The Whigs supported the manufacturers and the merchants.  The thriving and prosperous middle class.  And the wealthy.  Which all threatened the power of the Crown.  Because it made the Crown less important.  The privileged class owed their privilege to the king.  The industrialists and merchants did not.  Their wealth was self-made.  And they further threatened the Crown by supporting free trade, the abolition of slavery and expanding the vote to more people.  Which gave people more individual liberty.  A say in their government.  And allowed them to be whatever they wanted to be.  Even wealthy.  If they worked hard to become wealthy.

The Republican Party is the Party of Conservatism in the U.S. but not all Republicans are Conservatives

The modern Republican Party shares much of the same philosophy.  They abolished slavery in the U.S.  Even deployed the Union Army to the South to protect the freed slaves during Reconstruction.  And went on later to fight Jim Crowe laws and the segregationist policies of the Southern Democrats.  Being instrumental in passing much civil rights legislation over Democrat opposition.

They believe in limited government.  And capitalism.  But they’re opposed to tariffs these days.  And favor true free trade.  As well as lower taxes.  Fewer regulations.  Less government spending.  And sound money.  They disapprove of loose monetary policy.  Playing with interest rates and/or printing money.  For an activist, tax and spend government.  Where the government picks winners and losers.  Instead they prefer that government stays out of things economic.  And let the private sector pick winners and losers.    Because the private sector has a record of success.  And government does not.

But some in the party have drifted from their philosophical roots.  Corrupted by power.  Enjoying the privilege of being part of the ruling elite.  They have earned the moniker RINO (Republican In Name Only).  And even though the Republican Party is the party of conservatism in the U.S., not all Republicans are conservatives.  There are a lot of moderates.  And a few downright liberals.  The heretofore mentioned RINOs.

Ronald Reagan got Social Moderates and Even Democrats to vote Republican

There is a schism in the modern Republican Party.  Between God and economics.  You probably have heard someone say that they are a fiscal conservative.  But they’re a social moderate.  This is someone turned off by the God stuff.

Christians tend to be conservative and vote Republican.  Those who aren’t so devout religiously and/or want to keep abortion legal have difficulty voting Republican.  Because of the God stuff.  Which explains why liberals often win elections over conservatives even though they’re outnumbered nearly 2 to 1.  Because the social issues win out over the fiscal issues and these fiscal conservatives vote Democrat.

At least during good economic times.  But when the economy is not doing well their fiscal side wins out.  Especially when you have a great presidential candidate.  Like Ronald Reagan.  Who not only got social moderates to vote Republican.  He even got Democrats to vote Republican.  So remarkable a phenomenon that we call them Reagan Democrats.



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The Battle to Raise the Debt Limit Begins

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 11th, 2011

Like Sumter, the Budget Compromise is only the Beginning

The next big congressional battle will be over the debt ceiling.  Which will set the stage for entitlement reform.  And being that this is the sesquicentennial of the opening shot of the Civil War, how about a little Civil War analogy?  About 150 years ago today General Beauregard ordered his canon to open fire on Fort Sumter.  The Union surrendered the fort.  There were about 10 casualties.

The first major land battle of the Civil War was the First Battle of Bull Run (aka, the First Battle of Manassas).  The military then still used Napoleonic tactics.  Armies formed in line, fired and advanced with bayonets amidst cannon fire, drums and regimental colors.  It was quite the spectacle.  The good people of Washington DC planned to make a picnic of it.  They would watch a couple of musket volleys and charges, see one army retire from the field of battle and then go home.  The battle did not progress quite that way.

Though we were still using Napoleonic tactics, we were not using Napoleonic smooth bore muskets any longer.  The effective range of the new rifled muskets was almost three times that of the smooth bores.  So as these men marched to close ranks with the enemy with their bayonets at the ready, the enemy fired accurate volleys into their lines.  The picnickers were shocked by the carnage.   When the Union Army was driven from the field of battle, the roads back to Washington were jammed with picnickers and soldiers alike fleeing for their lives.  There were just under 5,000 total casualties.  A pall hung over the nation.  No one expected the war to be this bad.  Then, about 9 months later, the Battle of Shiloh (aka, the Battle of Pittsburg Landing) saw just over 23,000 total casualties in two days of fighting.  Three months later, the Battle of Antietam (aka, the Battle of Sharpsburg) saw just over 22,000 casualties in a single day of fighting.  About a year later the Battle of Gettysburg saw close to 50,000 in total casualties over three days.

Now comparing political debates with Civil War battles dishonors those who fought those battles.  But because it’s the sesquicentennial, I will do so just for history’s sake.  Besides, politicians like to use war metaphors all of the time.  Even those opposed to the military.  The budget deal recently passed is like the Battle of Fort Sumter.  The battle over the debt ceiling will be like the Battle of Shiloh.  And entitlement reform will be like the three days of Gettysburg.  In other words, though they act like they just went to hell and back over this budget compromise, they ain’t seen nothing yet.

You Fix a Spending Problem by Spending Less, not More

House Speaker John Boehner pulled off a miracle of compromise.  Or some are saying.  While others are saying he caved (see John Boehner’s real tea party test by Chris Cillizza posted 4/11/2011 on The Washington Post).

House Speaker John Boehner is being widely credited as having emerged victorious from last week’s budget showdown — receiving kudos for extracting nearly $40 billion in budget cuts and uniting a fractious tea party behind the compromise bill.

But, the real test of Boehner’s abilities as a party leader will come next month when Congress begins debate on raising the federal debt ceiling.

Because of a fractious Republican Party.  The Tea Party wants serious cuts.  Because that’s why they got elected.  Meanwhile, the old guard doesn’t.  They may disagree with the liberals in theory but they want to be part of the same Washington establishment.  The liberals have the best parties.  With the best celebrities.  And the old guard wants to enjoy that life.

On this issue, at least, the American people side with the Tea Party.

In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week, just 16 percent of people said the government should raise the ceiling while 46 percent opposed the idea and 38 percent said they didn’t know enough about it to offer an opinion.

Probing deeper, just 32 percent agreed with the statement that the debt limit increase was necessary to avoid the country being “unable to pay the nation’s bills” while 62 percent said that [they] agreed with the statement that such a vote would “make it harder to get the government’s financiaol [sic] house in order”.

Some may not understand the intricacies of the federal budget.  But they do seem to know that when you have a spending problem, you don’t solve it by asking the credit card companies to raise your credit limit.  People know that you fix a spending problem by spending less.  Not more.

But, judging from the concessions people like Rubio have laid out for a deal to be done — tax reform, regulatory reform, a balanced-budget amendment and entitlement reform — it’s hard to imagine the White House being able to give enough to make that sort of compromise possible.

And, all of that means that the burden will presumably be on Boehner to cut a deal that can garner 218 votes in the House while also avoiding a potential filibuster in the Senate from the likes of Rubio or South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.

President Obama is a tax and spend liberal.  He’s not going to cede any ground on big cuts.  So Boehner will have to see how little in cuts the Tea Party will accept to vote to increase the debt ceiling.  And that will be a tough sell.  Because they want meaningful cuts.  But that’s something a tax and spend liberal just can’t do.

So as the nation is jubilant over the budget compromise that kept the federal government open, a longer, more bitter and far more partisan battle awaits them.  Which means the sides will entrench.  They will refuse to give ground.  And the compromise we’ll probably get will be similar to the many ones reached over slavery.  Which made the ultimate day of reckoning on that issue far more costly than anyone had ever imagined.

A History of Kicking the can down the Road

With sesquicentennial fever in the air, a 4th grade teacher tries to bring to life the issue that caused the nation to go to war (see Va. teacher holds mock slave auction by Kevin Sieff posted 4/33/2011 on The Washington Post).

Trying to bring a Civil War history lesson to life, [a] teacher…turned her fourth grade Norfolk classroom into a slave auction: She ordered black and mixed race students to one side of the classroom. Then, the white students took turns buying them…

Sewells Point’s fourth grade class is about 40 percent black and 40 percent white.

Though an interesting experiment, she unfortunately made it purely a racial issue.  Which is historically wrong.  There were a lot of whites in the south.  But only a few of them owned the big plantations where the majority of slavery existed.  She should have had only a few of the white children buying slaves.  And she should have identified them as the rich planter elite.  Who was also the driving force behind southern politics.  The other whites should have been identified as poor southerners working on small family farms without any slaves.

Then she could have pointed to the planter elite and said their wealth and political power depended on slavery.  Because all that cotton wasn’t going to pick itself.  Which is why they cited the North’s hostile attitude toward the institution of slavery in their secession documents.  They told everyone else it was about states’ rights.  But it wasn’t.  For the planter elite didn’t respect states’ rights in the North.  The North didn’t want to return fugitive slaves.  So the planter elite demanded the federal government pass the Fugitive Slave Act to override states’ rights in the North.  And force them to return their slaves. 

The debate over slavery was always controversial.  The Southern economy was entrenched in it.  The only way they’d join the Union was with their slaves.  So the issue was tabled for 20 years.  The Founding Fathers hoped the institution would just go away.  And it might have.  If it hadn’t been for Eli Whitney‘s cotton gin.  Because of the amount of cotton it could process, the southern plantations grew.  As did the number of slaves.  And the problem just continued to grow.  The cost to reimburse the plantation owners for the slaves they purchased legally grew too great to even consider.  The North didn’t want to pay that cost.  Slavery was a Southern problem.  And the slave population grew so large that no one wanted to address a post-slavery biracial society.  Because there were none then.  But there were slave uprisings.  And the South feared that a freed slave may try to exact a little revenge on their former master.  So the problem was kicked down the road for someone else to solve.  Until it couldn’t be kicked anymore.

This is where we are in our budget debate.  We’ve kicked that can down the road so many times that federal spending has grown out of control.  Now we’re entering European sovereign debt crisis territory.  And we’ve seen what has happened over there.  It’s a little different over here, though.  Germany and the other financially strong members of the European Union can bail out a Greece, an Ireland, a Portugal, etc.  But who is going to bail out the world’s largest economy?  Don’t spend too much time on that question.  Because there isn’t anyone big enough to bail us out.

Unfortunately, you win Elections with Spending, not with Spending Cuts

History often shows us that the longer we wait to address a problem, the harder and more costly it is to fix that problem.  And yet here we are.  With far too many people in Washington willing to just keep kicking that can down the road.

Interestingly, two who support raising the debt ceiling now were dead set against it at an earlier time.  When George W. Bush was in the White House.  Of course, then Senator Barack Obama was playing pure partisan politics and attacked George W. Bush on everything.  He regrets that vote now.  Because his hypocrisy makes him look partisan and naïve.  Harry Reid also had a hypocritical partisan position on this issue.  Bush spent irresponsibly and it was wrong to raise the debt ceiling.  Obama has spent even more in less time.  But now raising the debt ceiling is the right thing to do.  Go figure.

That recent budget compromise?  It was but a minor skirmish in a long war to come.  And though there was a lot of nasty political rhetoric, the battles to come won’t be as nice.  The Republicans will try to make meaningful cuts.  And Democrats will say that they just want to kill women, children and the elderly.  Knowing full well that the cuts being requested by the Republicans are necessary.  But you don’t win elections with cuts.  You win them by spending money.  So they will resist those cuts.  And try their damnedest to kick this can down the road.



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