Last week, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama was adamant about freezing U.S. government domestic spending over the next five years. But why not do the same for U.S. spending abroad?
The president said: "So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. Now, this would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade."
Forget for a moment that I believe we need to cut government spending by at least 10 percent across the board (including in foreign support) and not just freeze it. Can you imagine American homes in which the primary breadwinners lost their jobs freezing their household spending but not doing the same in their financial support of almost every household in their neighborhoods?
Is the party of Lincoln the party of civil rights? Are Republican conservatives the new civil-rights leaders?
These are far from the most frequently asked questions in American politics, but they're worth raising.
The most underreported story regarding the recent State of the Union address was who was sitting in the Speaker of the House's box -- students, parents, teachers and the Catholic cardinal of the archdiocese of Washington. Some of the students are attending Catholic schools on a special scholarship, which freed them from the capital's failing public schools.
President Obama's storytellers recently launched a White House blog series called "Voices of Health Reform," where "readers can meet average Americans already benefiting from the health reform law."
I propose a new White House series: "Voices of Health Reform Waivers," where taxpayers can meet all the politically connected unions benefiting from exclusive get-out-of-Obamacare passes — after squandering millions of their workers' dues to lobby for the job-killing, private insurance-sabotaging law from which they are now exempt.
Obama's latest watchword, "investments," is not, as I originally assumed, simply a euphemism for government spending. It captures his entire economic philosophy — a philosophy that is permanently engrained in the core of his being and disastrous for America's "future."
President Bill Clinton shrewdly used the word as a more palatable substitute for income tax rate increases, saying taxpayers needed to "invest" more of their hard-earned dollars in America. But Obama's use of the term was different in two important ways. First, for him, "investments" would apply to the spending side of the fiscal equation. He would ask our support in his plan to "invest" more government money in infrastructure and education.
Secondly, and more significantly, Obama used the term to candy-coat his fundamental lack of confidence in the private sector and free market, as well as his commitment to faith in government as the primary engine for economic growth.
If anyone doubts that our entertainment industry and our entertainment media are evangelists for a revolution of sexual immorality (or in their lingo, “progress”), he needs only to read the latest cover story in Entertainment Weekly magazine, a “special report” on gay teen characters on TV, and “How a bold new class of young gay characters on shows like 'Glee' is changing hearts, minds, and Hollywood.”
Gay “Glee” actor Chris Colfer and his boyfriend on the show, Darren Criss, lovingly put their heads together on the cover. Colfer just won a Golden Globe for his part, which is another way the Hollywood press rewards propagandizing the youth of America. In his acceptance speech, he lamented anyone who would say a discouraging word about teen homosexuality, somehow putting all of those words in mouths of bullies: “Screw that, kids!”
In this cover story, Colfer likens the gay couple he and Criss play to beloved and iconic teen-romance “Happy Days” characters from the 1970s: “They're kind of like the Joanie and Chachi of our generation,” he suggests. That line was played up in large promotional type over a full-page photograph of the couple.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama at times sounded like he was channeling Ronald Reagan: cutting the deficit, hailing private enterprise and individual initiative, talking about the future. But for all his eloquence, the president wrapped his liberal ideology in conservative sheep's clothing.
On the surface, the president said many things with which conservatives might agree, but words can mean something, or they can mask true intentions.
There was no indication the president plans to retreat on his far-left agenda of the last two years. Why should he? That would require denying who he is.
Absent the glamorous rhetoric, let's examine the major subjects on which the president touched.
Last week, the president wrote in the Wall Street Journal an article titled "Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System" in which he announced that he had issued an executive order to review all government regulations on a cost-benefit ratio basis. In itself, this is a good idea, although the president makes it explicit that the cost-benefit analysis must take account of — as benefits — intangible factors such as "equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts." Plenty of leeway there for career regulators and liberal political appointees to justify almost any oppressive regulation they may stumble over.
But what startles one is the that such a proposal could come from the same administration that has for the last two years been saddling the American economy and our personal lives with more new legislatively mandated regulations than we have ever experienced in such a short time.
Ah so, every day, in every way, it becomes ever clearer that Rahm Emanuel's campaign for mayor of Chicago and mine have striking similarities. Rahm went off to Washington two years ago to pursue politics on the national stage. I left Chicago about 40 years ago to pursue politicians on the national stage, particularly huckster politicians. Two of my targets were Rahm's old boss Bill Clinton and the president's boss, Hillary.
This fall, we returned rather recklessly, both to run for mayor. I immediately had major newspapers supporting me and at least one national figure, Sean Hannity, on his estimable TV show. Rahm flummoxed around in the city. His ill-considered campaign was attacked as that of a "carpetbagger" after it became clear that he had not lived in his home for the past two years. His house was in possession of one Rob Halpin, who refused to leave. It was the gesture of a patriot. Critics have hardly questioned my Chicago residency. His friendship with Rod Blagojevich, the disgraced former governor, has been raised. Anyone who has looked into the matter knows I am clean as a hound's tooth. Yet Rahm and I do have the nagging question of our residency. Two judicial panels have taken it up, and this week the second, an appeals court, rejected him. Now his fate is with the Illinois Supreme Court. The courts have not dealt with me yet.
"We're going to have to out-educate other countries," President Obama urged this week. How? By out-spending them, of course! It's the same old quack cure for America's fat and failing government-run schools monopoly. The one-trick ponies at the White House call their academic improvement agenda "targeted investing" for "winning the future." Truth in advertising: Get ready to fork over more Cash for Education Clunkers.
Our government already spends more per capita on education than any other of the 34 wealthiest countries in the world except for Switzerland, according to recent analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Overall inflation-adjusted K-12 spending has tripled over the past 40 years, the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy points out. Yet American test scores and graduation rates are stagnant. One in 10 high schools is a dropout factory. And our students' performance in one of the most prestigious global math competitions has been so abysmal that the U.S. simply withdrew altogether.
National debt is over $14 trillion, the federal budget deficit is $1.4 trillion and, depending on whose estimates are used, the unfunded liability or indebtedness of the federal government (mostly in the form of obligations for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and prescription drugs) is estimated to be between $60 and $100 trillion.
Those entitlements along with others account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. They are what Congress calls mandatory or non-discretionary spending. Then there's discretionary spending, half of which is for national defense. Each year, non-discretionary spending consumes a higher and higher percent of the federal budget.
Once again the “news” media yawned as tens of thousands of Americans clogged the streets of Washington on January 24 for the annual “March for Life.” This year’s protests should have gained more attention since it came in the wake of absolutely vomit-inducing news from Philadelphia that an abortionist named Kermit Gosnell was charged by the District Attorney with a series of murders.
In a horrific 261-page report, Gosnell is accused of delivering seven babies alive and then killing them with scissors. He also allowed a woman who had survived 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal to be incompetently overmedicated on Demerol and die at his clinic.
So much for abortion being “safe, legal, and rare.”
By now those holiday bills have arrived. Those who have charged too much have cut back on spending until the bills are paid. Some have gone on the spending wagon, cutting their plastic into tiny pieces.
Not the U.S. government. Unlike mere mortals, the government can print and borrow seemingly limitless amounts of money and so has little incentive to stop spending. Some blame China for our predicament, but that's like blaming American Express for your monthly bill. China is merely the banker. Our spending habits are the problem.
Under the radar this past week was President Barack Obama's executive order for a review of government regulations in hope of showing that bigger government isn't bad news for economic growth and business.
Of course, the president didn't word it that way. In his op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Obama wrote that he just wants to "make sure we avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation."
For those who argue that Obama deserves a second chance at proving he's not at war with American business and the free market, I ask what he has done to indicate he's changed his philosophy that drives that war.
It's admirable to give people the benefit of the doubt in personal relationships, but we are talking about more than a personal relationship here and have a responsibility not to ignore the evidence. That evidence tells us that he is still an intractable left-wing ideologue committed to destructive progressive policy prescriptions.
Has our financial mess brought us to the brink of getting beyond the culture wars?
It's a question that we might just see play out on Capitol Hill in the coming months, as the new political majority seeks to make the late pro-life congressman Henry Hyde proud, by prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion and de-funding Planned Parenthood.
"Hell no," now-Speaker John Boehner said, when he was in the minority, to the comprehensive, conscience-offending health-care legislation that Congress and the White House insisted upon last year. So now that he's Speaker, the first big vote under his watch was to repeal the president's signature piece of legislation.
Let's give the "climate of hate" rhetoric a rest for a moment. It's time to talk about the climate of death, in which the abortion industry thrives unchecked. Dehumanizing rhetoric, rationalizing language and a callous disregard for life have numbed America to its monstrous consequences. Consider the Philadelphia Horror.
In the City of Brotherly Love, hundreds of babies were murdered by a scissors-wielding monster over four decades. Whistleblowers informed public officials at all levels of the wanton killings of innocent life. But a parade of government health bureaucrats and advocates protecting the abortion racket looked the other way — until, that is, a Philadelphia grand jury finally exposed the infanticide factory run by abortionist Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D., and a crew of unlicensed, untrained butchers masquerading as noble providers of women's "choice." Prosecutors charged Gosnell and his death squad with multiple counts of murder, infanticide, conspiracy, abuse of corpse, theft and other offenses.
Time will tell, but I reject the somewhat cynical view that the House Republicans' vote to repeal Obamacare is purely symbolic. I think it's quite significant.
We are engaged in a war to save our nation from crippling debt and systematic assaults on our Constitution and our liberties and to preserve our prosperity. No setback has to become a permanent defeat. But neither will any victory remain secure, for the forces working against us are tireless and relentless.
No matter how many times history has proved socialism disastrous, there will always be those promoting it, as if the past never occurred or its lessons are unlearnable.
The other day, I received a call from a very agreeable lady at C-SPAN, asking me to do a show with them called "In Depth." It will take a lot of time, as they want to interview me on all the books I have written. Also, it will last three hours! That is a marathon. I can hardly listen for three hours, much less talk. Yet I have been a fan of C-SPAN for years, so I could hardly say no. Also, I am an advocate of the printed word. I want it to survive. It seems to me the printed word has been under assault for decades. The Internet is the latest threat against it. First there was the camera. Then came TV. Now there is the Internet, on which everyone writes and no one reads. In a world where everyone is a writer and no one a reader, how long can the printed word last? We live in a blizzard of words, but no one is reading seriously.
The first question I have been asked before appearing on C-SPAN's "Book TV" Feb. 6 is what my favorite books might be. They have changed over the years, but I think today there are at least a score of books that I return to every few years. Let me share them with you.
What should the congressional GOP's policy objectives be for the next two years regarding federal deficits and prosperity?
Two very different strategies are being considered by authentic conservatives: 1) attempt to govern from their majority in the House and actually try to start the process of reducing the costs of entitlements (most conspicuously Social Security and Medicare) as a path back to prosperity and good jobs; or 2) recognize that the GOP cannot govern without holding the White House, and that, therefore, they should not touch entitlements but merely tinker with discretionary spending and frame the issues for 2012 when they may win the presidency and Senate, as well as hold the majority in the House.
There isn't a shred of evidence that deranged Tucson massacre suspect Jared Loughner ever listened to talk radio or cared about illegal immigration. Indeed, after 300 exhaustive interviews, the feds "remain stumped" about his motives, according to Tuesday's Washington Post. But that hasn't stopped a coalition of power-grabbing politicians, progressive activists and open-borders lobbyists from plying their quack cure for the American body politic: government-sponsored speech suppression.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting rampage, Democratic leaders mused openly about reintroducing the Orwellian "Fairness Doctrine" — a legislative sledgehammer targeting conservative viewpoints on public airwaves. New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter assailed the Federal Communications Commission for failing to police broadcast content and vowed to "look into" more aggressive language monitoring. Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey blamed "incendiary rhetoric" for triggering "unstable individuals to take violent action." In his own manifesto calling for resurrection of the Fairness Doctrine, Democratic Rep. James Clyburn pressed public officials to "rethink parameters on free speech."