I just can’t see it – Americans (you, I, our mother-in-laws, our kids) buying in to the tough medicine it’s going to take to save our country. That’s like Christie-Ryan 2012 – are you kidding me? Courage wrapped up in tough-love messages.
Rep. Ryan’s “A Time for Choosing” from CNBC July 12 has been bouncing around the blogosphere. It’s good. Jim Hoft posts the video and the transcript on Gateway Pundit.
…. The country must answer the question: do we want an entrepreneurial society that gets the prosperity turned back on in the 21st century, where individual merit and entrepreneurial activity defines the American economy – or – are we going to have more and more people dependent on the government for their livelihoods? That is the fork in the road – and the urgency of the time for choosing is being precipitated by the current direction of our government and the looming debt crisis, driven by the explosion in entitlement spending. We must decide what kind of a country we are going to be in the 21st century.
Steve Schwerbel (a Neenah guy) at Letters in Bottles says the Republicans must have ideas – and must campaign on their principles.
If the GOP is to have any chance of becoming an intellectually honest, principled opposition -- as opposed to a crass, anti-intellectual pack of knee-jerk nay-sayers -- the party must win this election on the merits of Republican policy ideas alone.
Great concept, but…. When Republicans tell America that we must get used to less government, that we must rely on ourselves, our families, our communities and our churches… you know exactly what’s going to happen. So why is it Republicans are so fearful of coming out with specifics? They’ll get gored and eviscerated, then denounced as mean, empty, compassionless greedy rich people.
Anne Applebaum has it exactly right – Americans of all stripes have an addiction to government and government spending programs – they “demand more from their government than just about anybody else in the world.” So Republican leaders are single-handedly supposed to wean Americans from mother’s milk?
Wisco shames Republican leaders Rep. Pete Sessions and Senator John Cornyn – who on Sunday’s Meet the Press came “to be talking point machines, spitting out focus group-tested slogans that sound good, but say nothing….. [they] would only talk about vague goals, not the methods they would use to reach those goals.”
Again I say – just why is that?
Because you and I can’t handle the truth.
Here’s more – Reason scholar and great libertarian Peter Suderman hollering at these guys because they won’t get serious about how they’re going to cut the deficit.
… if this sort of pandering and evasion is what the GOP has to offer, it’s probably worth asking: How long can you gripe about deficits without being willing to even talk about possible specific ways to reduce them?
National Review editors pile on, continuing the anti-GOP rant.
The great sage (well, I think so anyway) Victor Davis Hanson tells Republicans this week that just railing against Obama will not be enough.
There are risks involved, but if Republicans are to be taken seriously, they must be willing to detail specific alternatives to the Obama agenda.
He’s darn right. Risks indeed.
The absurdity of $1.5 trillion annual deficits is easy to run on; but where in the budget should we freeze or cut spending? To restore fiscal sanity, we need details rather than vague promises to reduce red ink to a particular percentage of GDP.
…. And yet the last time Republicans offered the solution of quasi-private retirement and health-care accounts, in 2005, they were massacred politically. Have they got better ideas now — or a better notion of how to present these largely good ideas?
The opposition is spoiling for a fight. Honest, courageous politicians are going to get hammered. Paul Ryan and his Road Map have. So has big Chris Christie. On November 2, Americans will have the chance to choose real change, to actually vote for politicians telling them they will have less and perhaps even have to work harder. It will most certainly be a time for choosing.
Jo Egelhoff, FoxPolitics.net
Right on. Our constitution and polarization encourage the behavior the blog refers to. Look at Europe. Those supposedly bloated socialists are making huge cuts. Why can they do it and we cannot? In part because they have political systems that do not institutionalize paralysis. There are exceptions of course. Also remember that the Europeans by and large do not have a huge military industrial complex so the cuts are from civil service , early retirement programs and generous social programs. They also have higher direct taxation and are able to raise taxes. Remember that most retirees get more out of social security than they put in. Yet, raising SS taxes is shouted down as a "tax increase" so it goes nowhere. But if we all get too carried away with cutting budgets remember that the reason why the depression in 1929 turned into the Great Depression was because spending was cut. Yes, the deficits are high but every economist I have read said the current deficits by and large prevented a total meltdown. Kudos Bush 2 for saving us and the world from absolute catastrophe. One final point, the quasi privatization in social security accounts proposed by Bush 2. Do you really believe it would have been a good thing in light of a 40% drop in the Dow Jones?
dave allen (Thu Jul 22 06:59:50 2010)
So you believe in austerity...but why?
What evidence do you have that it will help?
I read lots that this is the opposite of what is needed.
Kudos to Ezra Klein for interviewing University of Texas economist Jamie Galbraith on the deficit hawks’ incoherence in warning of the supposed dangers of current US budget deficits. Galbraith, along with Dean Baker and friends, are to the deficit hawks and their cynical scare mongering what the skeptical and ultimately correct McClatchy reporters were to Dick Cheney’s fabrications about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda. The scaremongering was all a cynical lie that led to a Three Trillion Dollar War.
EK: You think the danger posed by the long-term deficit is overstated by most economists and economic commentators.
JG: No, I think the danger is zero. It’s not overstated. It’s completely misstated.
JG: What is the nature of the danger? The only possible answer is that this larger deficit would cause a rise in the interest rate. Well, if the markets thought that was a serious risk, the rate on 20-year treasury bonds wouldn’t be 4 percent and change now. If the markets thought that the interest rate would be forced up by funding difficulties 10 year from now, it would show up in the 20-year rate. That rate has actually been coming down in the wake of the European crisis.
So there are two possibilities here. One is the theory is wrong. The other is that the market isn’t rational. And if the market isn’t rational, there’s no point in designing policy to accommodate the markets because you can’t accommodate an irrational entity
Dean Weichmann (Thu Jul 22 17:26:22 2010)
One final point, the quasi privatization in social security accounts proposed by Bush 2. Do you really believe it would have been a good thing in light of a 40% drop in the Dow Jones?
In a word, yes. All my other retirement options (yes, more than only one), including the WTF retirement took a hit. Why should SS be a guaranteed investment?
The Republicans are sticking to their talking points because if they don't they'll get dumped on by liberal lies:
- they want to drill for oil in Lake Michigan
- they engage in racial discrimination in Arizona
I'd like to spend an hour or so expanding the liberal's lie list, but I have to get some work done. The weekend's coming up fast.
Duke (Thu Jul 22 08:22:56 2010)
Dave, apparently you are reading all the wrong economists. Dead wrong. The same professional mainstream idiots who've convinced so many that economic cycles are bad. Every time they stave off a complete meltdown, they set us up for a bigger one down the road. But it can't go on forever, Dave. And thanks to those idiot economists and the idiot politicians who follow them, when it finally does come crashing down, it's gonna be FAR uglier than if they had let it take its course. At which point, we can all surrender to the State as our supreme benefactor, or revolt.
Won't come down to that? The history of humanity begs to differ.
Step away from the mainstream for a few days and indulge in the economic wisdom of Mises.
Andrew Ellis (Thu Jul 22 08:49:57 2010)
JO, a pop culture reference – right in the middle of your column! A bold stroke. Bueno! N’zdrovya! If you can get folks to do 10 pushups and 25 ab crunches a day, you’d be on your way to prepping a populace to embrace the smaller government that MUST come.
timbeaux (Thu Jul 22 09:04:51 2010)
Chris Christies' ideas are coming to Wisconsin, in the form of a constituional amendment limiting taxes and spending to 2% growth. This will be accomplished by two sucessive legislature vote and then forwarding it to the voters in a state wide referendum.
Are we sick of politicians claiming they are for "low taxes, pro business,
limited government" and nothing happens. I think so!
jay schroeder (Thu Jul 22 09:09:59 2010)
While you (and millions other) took big hits in your non-SS accounts you need to realize that many people (at least 23%) believe that social security will be their ONLY source of retirement savings. So, while you may be willing and able to deal with the wide swings in the market many others cannot.
dave allen (Thu Jul 22 09:35:36 2010)
Don't worry Dave. What we don't pay the elderly in SS and Medicare we will pay them in welfare and food stamps and other taxpayer-funded aid. That we are allowng our taxpayer-paid politicians to play these stupid political games is at best negligence, but worse, even more stupid.
Jack Lohman (Thu Jul 22 11:17:42 2010)
The hard road, as in Republicans saying what they mean, and actually meaning something other than, "I am the lesser of 2 evils," or the hard road as in, do nothing and watch the economy and our liberty continue to wither. If we do not address our problems in a serious way, the result will surely be the hardest road of all-POVERTY in a POLICE State.
and you bet, too many Republicans led us down this path.
Ken Van Doren (Thu Jul 22 11:28:08 2010)
Dave, do you advocate just sitting on our overstuffed behinds and wait for manna to drop into our outstretched hands?
It makes no difference that 23% of people "believe" that social security will be their ONLY source of retirement earnings. Anybody who does this is a huge part of the problem and should be disabused of that notion. Even FDR didn't mean that SS should be used as a sole means of support, it was to help bolster savings. To say these people's attitude should be taken into account is sophistry.
C.R. Stevenson (Thu Jul 22 12:07:47 2010)
The fact remains that a large portion of our population will rely on SS as the sole source of retirement savings. many of these people worked their whole lives and tried to live the American dream. You may (mistakenly) think that all these people are lazy or spendthrifts or stupid. But the fact remains that despite your personal hatred of them, they and millions of others who receive or will receive SS benefits do not want their benefits at risk from the sharks in Wall Street. I am confused as to why you are so bent out of shape over this. You are ranting about how people should get out there and save more. I agree, but the question at hand is whether their benefits should be placed into a privatization mode or not. Then you say that these people should have no say about their benefits because they are relying on the benefit? Who died and made you dictator? God willing, you will receive more in benefits than you put in, just like the rest of us. I suppose I should make the decision about cutting your social security because you can afford to live without it. That would contribute to making the system solvent.
dave allen (Thu Jul 22 12:20:17 2010)
All those people who worked hard all their lives and tried to live the American dream and were smart with their money and did absolutely everything right: how does that entitle them to retirement benefits? Who owes it to them? If merely TRYING entitles us to retire comfortably on the backs of our fellow man, what happens to our self-determination? The fact is, some people will succeed, and some people won't. And those who won't haven't any more claim on the wealth of those that do than those that never tried. I tried winning the lottery. SO WHAT?! I tried to close a big sale. SO WHAT?! I tried to concieve a child. SO WHAT?! Trying doesn't entitle me to ANYTHING.
As to whether SS benefits should be placed into privatization or not - simple answer:
Give people back the money that was extorted from them through SS. Just give it back, and let them decide what to do with it. The government has NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER taking MY earnings and "managing" it for my future. It's MINE. Let me be as frugal or as wasteful as I choose with it, and let me reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of MY OWN actions.
They can't pay out everything that's owed? Now, why does that come as no surprise to anyone?
If I have no choice but to select between letting SS manage my money or handing it over to a private institution, I'll take the gamble with the private firm. At least they're interested in GROWING wealth rather than spending it into oblivion.
Andrew Ellis (Thu Jul 22 13:26:53 2010)
Put another way, a man shows up at your door:
"Mr. Smith, I'm here to inform you that it's a tough world and you're probably inept at saving or investing for your retirement. So I'm going to help you, Mr. Smith, to prepare for the future by taking your money and saving and investing it for you. I'm here to help you, Mr. Smith. Now if you don't mind, please provide me with access to your bank accounts so we can get started."
"Uh.. I don't think so."
"I'm not here to ask you, Mr. Smith. I'm here to take your money and invest it for you. It's for your own good."
"Like hell it is. No thanks. I worked hard for my money, and I'd prefer to manage it myself. It is, after all, my personal property."
"Mr. Smith, it's in your own best interests to cooperate. If you're not confident in our ability to manage your finances for you, that's fine. We may in fact fail. We probably will. But it is still in your best interest, Mr. Smith. You can either cooperate, or we will penalize you with fines, a criminal record, and possible incarceration. Please cooperate, Mr. Smith. It's for your own good."
"I don't know who you are, but you had better get off my property or I'll defend it with my 2nd Amendment rights."
"I am the government, Mr. Smith. Resistance is futile. You WILL cooperate."
"Just a minute. I'm going to have read in the full the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I need you to help me understand how what you're doing is within the law."
"Mr. Smith, you are a greedy, racist pig. And we don't give a damn about the Constitution. We are the United States Government. We are the legislature. We are the executors. And we are the judges. And we don't give a rat's behind what the Constitution says. Your only protection, Mr. Smith, is in cooperating with us."
Andrew Ellis (Thu Jul 22 14:09:24 2010)
It is amazing that so many people are willing to say. "hey, you didn't make it, so screw you'. Millions and millions of people buy into the American Dream. Work hard, pay your taxes, be a good citizen and you will have a good life. Not everyone makes it and many times (health crisis for example) they aren't to blame. But even if they are? Aren't we all made in God's image? why would you condemn your fellow Man to abject poverty because they screwed up? Where is the compassion?
dave allen (Thu Jul 22 19:16:57 2010)
Wow, Andrew. I sure hope they don't assign you to deciding when to pull the plug on me! I know you are one of those compassionate conservative thingys, but wow!
Jack Lohman (Thu Jul 22 19:26:08 2010)
Jack, I guess the truth just hurts too much, doesn't it?
emily matthews (Fri Jul 23 10:43:14 2010)
It isn't the government's job to be compassionate. Charity ceases to be charity when it is compulsory. Our moral obligations are individual moral obligations. Should we help the less fortunate? ABSOLUTELY. WE should, of our own volition. Not the government.