Here's a question: If there's a disaster, a war, a severe drought or some other calamity that restricts future supplies of a commodity — such as oil, coffee or corn — what is the intelligent thing for people to do right away? If you said "use less now and try to produce more," you'd be absolutely correct. That's not rocket science, but understanding the machinery involved in getting people to do so is a bit more challenging.
The best way to get people to use less and produce more is to allow prices to rise. For example, say a Middle East conflict restricts oil supplies and causes prices to rise. The effect of higher prices for oil is that it gives individuals incentive to eliminate or reduce the low-valued uses of oil. For example, a low-valued use of oil is for homeowners to allow the heat that it generates to seep through walls and leaky windows. Higher oil prices create incentives to homeowners to install insulation. Higher gasoline prices force motorists to economize by taking measures such as carpooling and taking fewer low-valued trips.
On Friday, March 30, 2012, Hisham Y. Altalib visited the White House. According to visitor logs, Altalib was received by Joshua DuBois, the director of President Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Four days later, White House officials welcomed a foreign delegation of the radical Sharia-enforcing Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt.
The White House meeting with overseas Muslim Brotherhood leaders was reported in April by a few mainstream journalists and questioned loudly by conservative media. But the White House confab in March with U.S.-based Altalib — which appears to be a prep session with the global Muslim Brotherhood's American advance team — has received no attention until now.
Call me Pollyannaish, but I believe Mitt Romney will defeat Barack Obama in November. Let me give you some of my reasons:
1) Romney's campaign message is essentially positive; Obama's is overwhelmingly negative. People always prefer promises of something better, but Americans are especially hungry now because times are very tough. Romney is offering concrete and realistic plans to help America grow again and create millions of new jobs. Romney's message and agenda appeal to all Americans, not just certain groups, and tell them they are not imprisoned in their current economic "station" as Obama would have them believe. Though Obama's promises of "hope and change" in 2008 were vague, at least he presented them as something positive. Today he tells us we must accept an America in decline both internationally and domestically. He insists that 8 percent unemployment is the new normal and that we must adjust to the malaise because it is going to take a long time to make a dent in it.
So what about the Democrats' would-be tempest about Mitt Romney's alleged 47 percent gaffe? Is there any "there" there?
Mitt's statement was made at a private fundraiser, where he was trying to explain that his message of reducing taxes would obviously not resonate with the 47 percent of Americans who are not paying income taxes. It's purely logical; you aren't going to entice those who aren't paying taxes with promises of lower taxes.
Last time I checked, Americans were responsible for making our own laws. We do not invite foreign nations to have a say in how we govern ourselves within our own borders. Yet if you follow what's been going on with the United Nations this year, you know that the USA came perilously close to having other countries dictate our gun laws. And the fight isn't over yet.
The United Nations has been debating an arms trade treaty for nearly a decade now. Though the treaty is ostensibly focused on military arms, it has long been clear that the majority of U.N. delegates consider our personal firearms to be crying out for international regulation, as well. The focus of the treaty would be a demand that governments regulate the sale and possession of firearms worldwide — all of them, including yours and mine.
The health care debate is a great example of why Americans hate politics.
Both Republicans and Democrats pursue their plans with ideological zeal and reckless disregard for the truth in hopes of winning 51 percent of the vote. Voters hold their nose and choose but would rather have their leaders search for consensus. That would require taking a little bit from the president's plan, a little bit from the Republicans and a lot from what voters think should be done.
Within the past decade, I've written columns titled "Deception 101," "Stubborn Ignorance" and "Exploiting Public Ignorance," all explaining which branch of the federal government has taxing and spending authority. So here it is again: The first clause of Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, generally known as the "origination clause," reads: "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills." Constitutionally and by precedent, the House of Representatives has the exclusive prerogative to originate bills to appropriate money, as well as to raise revenues. The president is constitutionally permitted to propose tax and spending measures or veto them. Congress has the authority to ignore the president's proposals and override his vetoes.
There is little intellectually challenging about the fact that the Constitution gave Congress ultimate taxing and spending authority. My question is this: How can academics, politicians, news media people and ordinary citizens continually make and get away with statements such as "Reagan's budget deficits," "Clinton's budget surplus," "Bush's tax cuts" and "Obama's spending binge"? I know that the nation's law schools teach little about Framer intent, but I wonder whether they tell students that it's the executive branch of government that holds taxing and spending authority. Maybe it's simply incurable ignorance, willful deception, sloppy thinking or just plain stupidity. If there's an explanation that I've missed, I'd surely like to hear it.
When President Obama intervened in Libya last year, he claimed that "it's in our national interest to act" to remove a tyrant who -- in response to Bush's invasion of Iraq -- had just given up his weapons of mass destruction and pledged to be America's BFF.
Apparently Gadhafi neglected to also tell Obama, "I've got your back."
The November elections are a Republican landslide begging to materialize, but will the GOP make it happen? I believe so. I'm not buying these negative polls, but to increase our chances, let's sharpen the message, not dilute it.
A recent Fox News story reports that Romney and Ryan are both beginning to emphasize a bipartisan message rather than sharpen the contrasts between Obama's manifest failures and their plan for America. They must not follow this suicidal path.
I believe freedom is worth fighting for. I am committed to protecting the freedoms our forefathers guaranteed to us in our Constitution. There are many politicians who disagree with me, although they are loath to admit it, but their true colors show in voting records on critical legislation. And part of what makes America great is that every two years, we, too, cast our votes, rendering judgment on whether lawmakers have fulfilled their promises. And every four years, as in 2012, our opportunity extends to the highest office in the land.
Less than 60 days remains before Election Day. I don't need to tell you how important this election is to the future of our country. The stakes are high, and that's why I proudly serve as honorary chairman of Trigger The Vote, the National Rifle Association's nonpartisan campaign to register voters who support the Second Amendment. As a proud gun owner and defender of our Constitution, I am working within the system to make sure my voice is heard in Washington.
Originally syndicated September 6 | At this Democratic National Convention, I am going to be particularly interested in the crowds on the floor. Who cares about what Bill Clinton says? He does not mean it anyway. In the 1990s, he governed like a Republican after saying that "the age of Big Government is over." Incidentally, he governed pretty well. He would have made a good moderate Republican, so long as he had good conservative majorities in the House and the Senate to keep him — you will excuse the word — honest. Now, of course, he has committed another of his episodic tergiversations, writing a book in praise of behemoth government, as though the 1990s never happened.
The same can be said for Senator Jean-Francois Kerry. In 2004 he accepted his party's presidential nomination and continued his fiction that he was a war hero, ludicrously saluting the throng at the convention with "I'm John Kerry, and I am reporting for duty." As though the rest of the nation had forgotten that he came home from the Vietnam War, protesting it, and appeared before a taped congressional inquiry to incriminate his fellow servicemen with lies. Then he flew off to France to be used as a pawn by the Communist Vietnamese — war hero indeed. Possibly Senator Harry Reid could be interesting if he would only tell us what he knows about that cow he has been rumored to canoodle with, and, to be sure, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi is always good for a few laughs.
The political press will keep buzzing over whether Clint Eastwood's unconventional speech helped or hurt Mitt Romney and whether the snafu over Israel and God in the Democratic platform will do any lasting damage to President Obama. Republican reporters will think former President Clinton talked too long, and Democrats will note that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talked more about himself than about Romney.
Let's pretend that we have the political guts to expand economic opportunities for people at the lower end of the economic spectrum. What vested interests should be attacked, and what economic regulations should be targeted for elimination?
It doesn't take a lot of money to become a taxi owner-operator and earn more than $40,000 a year. One needs a car, an insurance policy and ancillary interior equipment to make a car a taxi. In New York City, to be a taxi owner you'd have to purchase a license -- called a medallion -- that in June 2012 cost $704,000. New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission restrictions that generate such a license price outlaw taxi ownership by people who don't have access to a $704,000 loan. By contrast, in Washington, D.C., the annual fee for a license to own a taxi is $125. I'll let you guess which city has more taxis per capita, cheaper fares and more black taxi ownership.
How little we know about holy Islam! When those poor wretches who were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib were pictured for all the world to see naked with underpants on their heads, we were told that the naked male Islamic body must never be seen in public. Yet we have been seeing naked male Islamic bodies for years — often with their hands tied behind their backs and their heads chopped off. Their assailants were devotees of Islam, often very zealous. Few Westerners committed these atrocities, and if they were caught, they were punished. Then too we were told that mosques were revered places of worship by Islam, and they must not be subject to attack or used in acts of violence. Alas, for years, mosques have been blown up. Their inhabitants have been gunned down, even impaled on sharp blades. These were not the acts of unbelievers or of warriors from the Godless West. Rather, they were the acts of the faithful, often members of the same sect or tribe.
Just this weekend in Libya — now freshly liberated from Moammar Gadhafi, his body perforce treated roughly — ancient and venerated shrines of the majority Sufi persuasion were destroyed. In Tripoli at the crack of dawn on Saturday, the centuries-old Sidi Al-Sha'ab shrine was flattened by bulldozers. Two separate government security forces idly stood by. The day before in the city of Zlitan, Libya's most revered Sufi mosque was vandalized, and an adjoining library had its priceless collection of theological treatises torched. The attackers were fellow Libyans. No Westerner was in sight.
Political junkies get excited about the Republican and Democratic national conventions, but for many Americans they provide a stark reminder of how out of touch our political system has become. The strange rituals and bad jokes seem oddly out of place in the 21st century, almost as strange as seeing an engineer use a slide rule rather than an iPad to perform some complex calculation.
While partisan activists tune in when their team's big show is on the air, most unaffiliated voters view the conventions as a waste of time and money. For the past week or so, everyone I know in the political world has been talking about the latest convention buzz. But I live far from Washington, and most people I talk to aren't wrapped up in politics. Among that group, the most common response to mentioning the convention was something along the lines of, "Oh, yeah, I forgot that was going on now."
Poor Mickey Kaus. He's the liberal intellectual (not an oxymoron -- he's the last known living "liberal intellectual") lefties on TV are usually stealing from, but now that this welfare reform maven has concluded that Romney's welfare ad is basically correct, liberals refuse to acknowledge his existence.
The non-Fox media have formed a solid front in denouncing Romney's welfare ad for daring to point out that Obama has gutted the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform bill.
If you listen to America's political hacks, mainstream media talking heads and their socialist allies, you can't help but reach the conclusion that the nation's tax burden is borne by the poor and middleclass while the rich get off scot-free.
Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal, and I'm proud to say former GMU economics student, wrote "The U.S. Tax System: Who Really Pays?" in the Manhattan Institute's Issue 2012 (8/12). Let's see whether the rich are paying their "fair" share.
While all eyes were on the Republican National Convention in Tampa and Hurricane Isaac on the Gulf Coast, the White House was quietly jacking up the price of automobiles and putting future drivers at risk.
Yes, the same cast of fable-tellers who falsely accused GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney of murdering a steelworker's cancer-stricken wife is now directly imposing a draconian environmental regulation that will cost untold American lives.
TAMPA, Fla. -- This week when Mitt Romney strides to center stage to deliver his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he might draw inspiration from an unlikely source: the song "I Am What I Am" from the musical "La Cage Aux Folles."
One of the chief complaints from voters about politicians is that they too often package themselves disingenuously to get elected, only to reveal their real agenda after they've won. That is what President Obama did in the 2008 campaign when he styled himself as a unifier who wanted to bridge the partisan divide by saying, "...we are not a collection of red states and blue states. We are the United States of America." He then governed more like he was in Soviet America with redistribution of income and more centralized power in Washington.
President Obama's casting of Mitt Romney as extreme is one of the most glaring incidents of political projection in the modern era. Romney doesn't approach extremism in substance, style or disposition. Obama swims in it.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Obama said Romney has locked himself into "extreme positions" on economic and social issues and would implement them if in office.
In 2010, President Barack Obama confessed to ABC News' Diane Sawyer, "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." But what if Obama's one term was not good but bad for the country?
The past two weeks, I've given the first eight reasons not to re-elect President Obama. Though I would encourage readers to read the details in each of those points, here they are in summary:
It has been a very rough patch for Our President, and I do believe it is going to get rougher still. Do not be surprised, as the month goes on and August runs into September, that his campaign budget becomes tighter. President Barack Obama is spending more money than he is raising. It will get worse. A president who mismanages the federal budget the way Obama does cannot be expected to manage his campaign budget much better. Lavish spending, it turns out, is a way of life for the community organizer who became our 44th president. Lavish spending on Campaign 2012 will be looked back on and seen as one of the campaign's greatest weaknesses. He can spend the money, but my guess is he will not be able to raise it.
Yet this week he had other headaches too. This week, "Politico" finally reported the dissension and backbiting that have been rumored for weeks within the campaign. You will be hearing a lot about this in the weeks ahead. The magical team that David Axelrod and David Plouffe put together in 2008 is falling apart.
The New York Times reported, "With waning approval ratings and a stagnant economy, the possibility that Mr. Obama will not be re-elected has entered the political bloodstream." It's more than entered; it's flowing strong.
Last week in Part 1, I began to list my Top 10 reasons not to re-elect President Obama. Though I would encourage readers to read the details of each of those points, here they are in summary:
Relying on Todd Akin's sense of decency has not worked. Within hours of his idiotic comments about "legitimate rape," Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS pulled out millions of dollars in funding for the Missouri Senate race. Akin didn't get the hint.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, withdrew all funding from the Missouri race. Akin still refused to quit.
Can we stop calling the hosts of the presidential debates "moderators"? They're left-erators. It's time for the old media godfathers to end the pretense that they're fair and neutral observers of the American political scene. And it's time for the GOP to stop perpetuating these rigged exercises in futility.
Last week, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the names of 2012's chosen referees: CNN's Candy Crowley, PBS's Jim Lehrer and CBS's Bob Schieffer will preside over the three presidential debates; ABC's Martha Raddatz will host the sole vice presidential debate. While the debate panel trumpeted the gender diversity of its picks, the chromosomal diversity is far outweighed by the political uniformity, class conformity and geographical homogeneity of the group.
When women complain about men who can't commit, they can thank -- or blame -- two people: Playboy magazine publisher Hugh Hefner and the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown, who died this week at age 90.
Brown was the flip side of Hefner, offering women permission, even encouragement, to embrace a female version of Hefner's freewheeling "Playboy philosophy" of unrestrained sexual pleasure. Brown and Hefner offered one-way tickets to fantasyland, a journey supposedly without cost to a destination seemingly without consequences.
Analysts may be correct that the presidential election won't primarily turn on entitlements reform, but by choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney can, contrary to conventional wisdom, make it a winning issue and lay the foundation for a reform mandate when he wins.
Besides, the economy and entitlements are wholly integrated issues: We cannot ultimately fix the economy long term without entitlement reform, and we can't balance the budget or retire the debt without a growing economy.
One of the things Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate ensures is a series of polling questions over the coming months asking voters what's more important: creating jobs or cutting government spending; helping the economy or cutting deficits; repealing the president's health care law or focusing on the economy.
These questions reflect the way official Washington views the world, but they don't make sense in Mainstream America. In Washington, it's a given that more government spending is needed to help the economy. Most Americans hold the opposite view. So when you ask whether cutting spending or helping the economy is more important, the question doesn't make sense. For most Mainstream voters, one leads to the other.