My father was a product of the Great Depression and World War II. Like so many others of his generation, he, like his parents before him, knew how to "do without."
When he told us, "we can't afford it," that did not mean our family was deprived of material things we deserved, instead it marked a boundary not to be crossed because on the other side, waiting to greet us, were the twin demons of bad credit and financial ruin. "Always pay the bank," was my father's sound advice. And so I have, which is why my credit score remains high.
Before moving on, I'd like to take one more stab at explaining the differing viewpoints of the opposing sides in the contentious internecine conservative debate over the debt ceiling and also assess the deal's winners and losers.
I honestly believe there were reasonable grounds for disagreement among conservatives concerning the best strategy and tactics to tackle what they agree — if all Democrats don't — to be a national debt crisis. By failing to cut one another slack, we'll only serve to divide our coalition and impede our shared agenda.
This was going to be a column insisting that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida run for president of the United States. Now. Even though he has ruled out the possibility; even though he is but a baby senator. (Neither of these considerations has invariably stopped people in the past.)
But no: That's not this column. Not because I don't think it might be an excellent idea, but because I take a man at his word. He has a young family that has already endured a long and brutal campaign. And I'm actually not a fan of leaping from two minutes in the Senate to a potential presidency. As one seasoned political pro puts it: "We don't do ourselves or our future leaders any favors by rushing the wine before its time. Reagan would not have been nearly as good a president had he won in '68 or '76 as he was in '80, having been tempered by failure and steeled by defeat and adversity."
Actor Matt Damon is a walking, talking public service reminder to immunize your children early and often against La-La-Land disease.
In Damon's world, all public school teachers are selfless angels. Government workers and Hollywood entertainers are impervious to economic incentives. And anyone who disagrees is a know-nothing, "corporate reformer" ingrate who hates education.
We are engaged in a long war — actually two long wars. The first and most commonly accepted of our wars is the long war against Islamofascists. It is not a war against vast armies. Comparatively speaking, it is just a war against a handful of thugs, but they want to strike at our heart, wherever we are ill-prepared, and if they can they will cause incalculable destruction. This we discovered on September 11, 2001. We are on the hem of wiping al-Qaeda out, but there are other thugs waiting. We must be vigilant against them. It will be a long war.
The second long war is at home on budgetary matters. That both the left and the right are in a fury about an early battle in that war, the debt-ceiling battle, suggests just how long that war will be. We have little consensus on this war. Yet a war it is, and a very long war I fear it will be. It is a war to balance the budget, putting the economy on a sustainable course, ensuring growth and jobs. It is a war to get the country back to a federal budget that accounts for 20 percent of GDP rather than the 25 percent of GDP that President Obama has snatched from us while we were not looking.
According to the website Politico, Vice President Joe Biden agreed "with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting" that congressional tea party members "acted like terrorists" in the way they stood against attempts to raise taxes and force spending reductions as part of the debt-ceiling deal.
Biden denied making the comparison. Given the heated rhetoric behind and in front of the scenes, the use of such a phrase, particularly in light of Biden's known salty language, has credibility.
The debt deal, if it sticks, is a triumph for the bipartisan, status quo-clinging Washington establishment. Here is a prediction: Between now and January 2013, total actual spending cuts will be minimal. That will result from the following: (1) The $900 billion deficit reduction is almost all back-loaded to the years beyond 2012. (2) The select committee created by the budget deal will fail to pass a "second tranche" deficit-cut package of an additional $1.5 trillion. (3) The "trigger" will be pulled that will identify an additional $1.2 trillion. (4) The pulled trigger won't require any more deficit reductions to go into effect until 2013, when a new Congress and either a new president or a re-elected President Obama will be able to re-decide (or repeal) all these decisions. That president will also have to decide what to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts, which if extended would be scored to increase deficit by $3.5 trillion over ten years. (5) The debt ceiling will not need to be raised until 2013.
What does it take to be able to own and operate a taxi and earn $30,000, $40,000 or more a year? You need to purchase a used car and liability insurance. Compared with other businesses, the startup cost to become a taxi owner/operator is modest; that's until you have to come up with money for a license. In May 2010, the price of a license, called a medallion, to own one taxi in New York City sold for $603,000. As referenced in my recent book, "Race and Economics," New York City is not alone. In Chicago, a taxi license costs $56,000, Boston $285,000 and Philadelphia $75,000. It's not rocket science to understand the effect of laws that produce these prices: They discriminate against anyone getting into the taxi business who lacks tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars or bank credit to be able to get a loan.
One of the most striking facts about the course of the Obama presidency so far is that Obama has no constructive solutions for anything, which is one reason he campaigned on vague promises. It's why he established bogus metrics, such as "saved or created jobs."
It's also why he's always pointing the finger of blame on others for his policy failures. Everyone knows by now that Obama's reckless and corrupt stimulus package failed to restrain unemployment as he had promised and that instead of accepting responsibility for it, he blamed Bush.
Last week, when President Barack Obama spoke to the National Council of La Raza, he said something that should alarm every American. He confessed that he'd like to "bypass Congress and change the laws" on his own. He added, "Believe me; the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you."
He doesn't need to promise us. We believe him, because we've been watching his rogue behavior since the moment he entered office.
Sometimes, the yelling stops long enough to remember that there are real people involved in abortions.
And not just the youngest one, who doesn't get a say in the decision.
I read the other day a piece about the "safe and successful" telemedicine abortions, getting "high grades" in Iowa. That's an abortion where a doctor doesn't even have to be present. The clinical efficiency with which the story was written was jarringly chilling.
They say the movie theatres make more money on popcorn, candy, and soft drinks than they do on the movie tickets. If that’s true, theatre owners really ought to reconsider the previews they’re airing. They can make you sick to your stomach.
I don’t know why Hollywood moviemakers are so fascinated by with flatulence and excrement. It’s become almost an obsession, a formality of sorts in the “humor” oeuvre.
"Millionaires and billionaires," President Obama says derisively, must make more "sacrifices" and live by the same rules the rest of America lives by. But there are seven little words that will never appear on the White House teleprompter: "And that means you, too, George Soros."
For all his (and his wife's) bashing of greedy Wall Street hedge-fund managers, Obama has shown nothing but love to the world's most famous hedge-fund mogul. The feeling is mutual and deep(-pocketed).
Think of Anders Behring Breivik, the man who bombed a government building in Norway before proceeding to coldbloodedly massacre scores of defenseless young people on a secluded island several miles away, as an Adolf Hitler of one. The first Adolf Hitler was a Hitler to millions. He captured an entire nation and terrified the world for years.
One imagines that the two, if ever they could have a quiet talk together, would have much to agree on. Both were meticulous planners, though I dare say Breivik was Hitler's superior. He would not delay an invasion of Russia. Both harbored grudges against threats to their culture from the foreign-born and what Breivik called the "cultural Marxists." I can well imagine the Führer admiring Breivik's taste in uniforms, his Aryan features and his longing for his viking past. Both were mama's boys.
The latest polls show the people are not happy with President Obama's handling of budget matters, but Republicans look even worse. And yet, while the GOP delivers one idea after another, Obama has offered nothing, instead just attacking, attacking, attacking, blaming everyone but himself in utter denial of the reality that no man on the face of this Earth is more responsible for our debt catastrophe than he.
Why then is the public blaming Republicans more? It is because of the ceaseless, shameless and oftentimes utterly dishonest attacks on them coming from Obama's media hit men. A day doesn't go by without a leftist "news" media outrage. They come in all shapes, too.
How have we arrived at this place where the fate of our federal budget — our economy, indeed our capacity to have a functioning federal government — seems to depend on what two men (the speaker of the House and the president) may or may not be secretly talking about in an interior room in the White House?
Meanwhile, elected representatives and senators, kept ignorant of those life-and-death discussions, are forced to wait. When the two men are finished — doubtlessly mere hours before "the world will end" — our elected representatives and senators will be stampeded to vote yes for a deal about which no one knows the details. Cattle may need to be stampeded; elected representatives of the American people never should be so compelled.
Here's what President Barack Obama said about our high rate of unemployment in an interview with NBC's Ann Curry: "The other thing that happened, though — and this goes to the point you were just making — is there are some structural issues with our economy, where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," adding that "you see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate." The president's statements suggest that he sees labor-saving technological innovation as a contributor to today's high rate of unemployment. That's unmitigated nonsense. Let's see whether technological innovation causes unemployment.
In 1790, farmers were 90 percent, out of a population of nearly 3 million, of the U.S. labor force. By 1900, only about 41 percent of our labor force was employed in agriculture. By 2008, fewer than 3 percent of Americans were employed in agriculture. Through labor-saving technological advances and machinery, our farmers are the world's most productive. As a result, Americans are better off.
Wu-hoo! Welcome to another freaky ethics fiasco brought to you by the D.C. den of dysfunctional Democrats. This one comes clothed in a Tigger costume, wrapped in blinders and bathed in the fetid Beltway odor of eau de Pass le Buck.
Liberal David Wu is a seven-term Democratic congressman from Oregon who announced Tuesday that he'll resign amid a festering sex scandal involving the teenage daughter of a longtime campaign donor. He won't, however, be vacating public office until "the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." Translation: Call off the U-Haul trucks. Wu's staying awhile.