Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Reagan’
The Headlines say it all “Boehner offers debt-ceiling increase in cliff compromise” or “Boehner Reported to Offer Millionaire Tax Rate Increase.” Yet behind the headlines the meat of the stories shows House Speaker Boehner once again folding like a house of cards before President Obama and the Progressive juggernaut.
Concerning the debt ceiling, while Mr. Obama wants a blank check Mr. Boehner offers to push any debate over the federal debt limit off until 2014. This is a concession effectively depriving Republicans of any leverage in the current budget battle over the looming fiscal cliff. However it is said to be breathing new life into stalled talks with the triumphant Obama Outfit that has taken control of America. Nothing like surrendering your best cards before the game is over unless it’s accepting the opponent’s major demand before serious negotiations really begin as in the case of the tax rate increase.
According to news reports Speaker Boehner has offered to let tax rates rise on higher incomes. However, the trusty Republican negotiator isn’t offering that without demanding something in return. He is demanding unspecified changes in the entitlement spending that is sinking the government in red ink. Increasing tax rates now for promises of spending cuts later; how could that ever go wrong? Except for every time it has ever been tried, besides being exactly what the Obama Organization offered, this same bait-and-switch scam tripped up President Reagan in 1982 and Bush the Elder in 1990.
Like Charley Brown trying to kick the football over and over again only to have Lucy pull it away; each time the Democrats keep running the same play and the Republicans keep falling for it. This brings us to the question of the day, “Are Democrats smarter than Republicans?”
I was a fourth generation Republican who cut my teeth in Barry Goldwater’s failed Presidential bid and then in Nixon’s first presidential campaign back in 1960. I worked for Goldwater, Reagan, and all the following Conservative flag wavers who tried to rally the country to a return to limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom. That is I did until Trent Lott’s Republican Senate Majority gave us the impeachment debacle and the explosion of government growth and spending under Hastert, Lott, and Bush. When the Republican Senate refused to impeach President Clinton for crimes he later admitted and when they and their House brethren became Democrat Lite as the party of power, I mailed my membership card to the party that was no longer the Grand Old Party of my great grandfather and became an Independent.
For most of my life I was a party man: accepting some things I didn’t agree with for the greater good of electing a party with a platform I could agree with. However, once it became apparent that as far as the budget went we had elected the foxes to watch the hen house, that the conservative social agenda received a tip-of-the-hat during elections followed by no action, and that the only victims of the impeachment were those brave enough to bring the charges the scales fell from my eyes. Once I saw that the Republicans had lost their moorings and were swilling at the public trough, I realized the platform we conservatives battle so hard for and hold so dear is merely a mirage held in front of social and fiscal conservatives to keep them loyal to a Party captured by the Progressives.
Back in the Dream Time, when my mind was still locked in the glow of Ronald Reagan and all his example and message meant to America, even then I wondered, “What’s wrong with these leaders of ours? Why do the Democrats always seem to outsmart them at every turn?”
Even Reagan, the best of the best, was hoodwinked by Tip O’Neal in the amnesty bargain: we would grant amnesty and then seal the border. The problem is the illegal immigrants got the amnesty; however, America’s border was never sealed. He also signed several tax deals with the Democratic majority. We the People lost many deductions in exchange for lower rates. The deductions never came back even though the rates started rising again as soon as the Gipper said good night and George the First forgot to read his own lips.
George Bush the Elder was out maneuvered by the Progressives so many times that 20% of his base ran to Perot opening the door for Clinton and the first attempt to ram national health care down America’s throat. That time they overplayed their hand and the last great strategist among the Republicans, Newt Gingrich, was able to sell a Contract with America and bring the first Republican majority in Congress in 40 years.
Newt kept the promises and brought some fiscal sanity back to Washington. Within a few short years the Republican led Congress ended welfare as we had known it for generations and balanced the budget. Unfortunately the Party of Lincoln then nominated someone who campaigned as if he had voted for Lincoln. The 1996 Republican campaign would have had to improve several thousand percent to make it to dull. Suddenly, with an assist from the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media it was Clinton, who had been dragged kicking and screaming to the benefit and spending cutting table, who was the author of everything positive Congress had accomplished. The Republicans had been outmaneuvered and outsmarted again.
According to every one of the serial re-counts Bush the younger won Florida and legitimately the presidential race of 2000. Yet, to this day people talk of him being selected not elected. After the dastardly deeds of 9-11 the rhetorically-challenged George captured the hearts of America and the admiration of the Western world by taking a bullhorn and talking to a crowd at ground zero. Yet by fighting and winning America’s first preemptive war and then losing the peace through the lack of planning he soon lost the PR campaign which led to the Pelosi-Reid Congress in 2006 and eventually to the absolute triumph of Progressivism in 2008.
Once their secular messiah was enthroned at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the Progressives with their filibuster proof majority took the reins of single-party rule and imposed their radical agenda to transform America into a Nanny-state based upon the re-distribution of wealth. This wanton destruction of the traditional American society based on limited government and free enterprise sparked a vast rebellion of the silent majority resulting in the teanami of 2010 which brought a Republican majority back to the People’s House and an expanded minority to the Senate.
And what is the first thing these political savants do? They reaffirm the same tired leadership and strike a deal that anyone who was paying attention could see was tailor made to save the discredited Obama presidency and set the stage for him to follow in Mr. Clinton’s footsteps taking credit for anything good the historic election might have made possible. What were these so-called leaders thinking? They turned the victory of the grassroots into capitulation. Not only did they sign a deal that extended uncertainty and raised estate taxes, they gave the Administration cover for a stealth stimulus filled with pork designed to help re-elect the President.
Along comes 2012 and the Republican establishment and their friends in the Progressive Media engineer the nomination of the one man who couldn’t beat the worst president in American History with the worst economy since 1932. They surrender the issue of a massively unpopular Obamacare by nominating the author of its prototype. Mr. Romney spends the last debate agreeing with the President’s handling of foreign policy and ignoring the raging controversy over the debacle in Benghazi. If he didn’t throw the election he tossed it away.
So, “Are Democrats smarter than Republicans?” The answer is they aren’t. It isn’t a matter of intelligence it’s a matter of people with dedication to something larger than themselves, as opposed to people with dedication to seeing themselves as something larger than they are.
The leadership of the Democrats is committed radical Progressives. They have a long term agenda to transform America into a socialist welfare state with an unlimited government, and they never lose sight of that goal. They’re willing to commit political suicide, or more accurately they’re willing to encourage their follow travelers who do not occupy safe seats to commit political suicide. They never take their eyes off the ball. They’re constantly pushing to move closer to the goal line even if it’s one inch at a time.
By comparison, the leadership of the Republicans is composed of professional politicians. They’re pragmatists who do whatever they have to do and say whatever they have to say to retain their seats, their power, and their perks. They believe the inside the beltway press who tell them how visionary they are to compromise, losing sight of those back home in fly-over country who instead believed the campaign promises and expect their representatives to stand up for principles.
The Party of Lincoln over-and-over chooses to be on the receiving end of Pickett’s Charge instead of behind the spit-rail fence firing point blank as their enemy wastes itself in a senseless charge against an immovable barrier. The Republicans still control the House. They could be that immovable barrier holding back the advancing forces of bankruptcy and collapse. Instead the Progressives of the right have once again embraced the Progressives of left in a bi-partisan campaign to continue the spending, increase the debt, and fool the public.
Paraphrasing the first Republican President, Historian Will Durant once wisely observed, “It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens
Back in the Dream Time, when my mind was still locked in the glow of Ronald Reagan and all his example and message meant to America even then I wondered, “What’s wrong with these leaders of ours? Why do the Democrats always seem to outsmart them at every turn?”
If President Obama really wants to get the U.S. economy going again, he could do worse than to study the results of my Dad’s 1981 Economic Recovery Act, which boosted the economy by leaps and bounds.
Take the matter of jobs, for example. Thanks to the 1981 act, an astounding 20 million new jobs were created. Moreover, inflation dropped from 13.5 percent in 1980 to a mere 4.1 percent by 1988, and unemployment fell from 7.6 percent to 5.5 percent.
Moreover, the net worth of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 annually grew by 27 percent. At the same time, the real gross national product jumped by 26 percent and the prime interest rate was slashed by half — from 21.5 percent in January 1981 to 10 percent in August 1988.
The amount of individual tax revenues rose from $244 billion in 1980 to $446 billion in 1989. Moreover, total tax revenues jumped grew by almost 100 percent, rising by 99.4 percent during the 1980s. The act produced 92 months of healthy economic growth — the longest period of peacetime in the post WWII period.
Under my Dad, marginal tax rates were cut from a top rate of 70 percent to a mere 28 percent, while revenues to the U.S. government from all taxes nearly doubled – increasing from roughly $500 billion to an astronomical $1.1 TRILLION in 1990.
Such stellar economic growth was the result of my Dad’s economic policies, which were rooted in his belief in the ability of the American people to make the right decisions concerning their nation’s economic activity. Contrast that with the Obama administration’s quasi-Marxist policies, which seek to make Washington the center of the nation’s economic activity.
This results in aberrations, such as non-elected government boards seeking to dictate to corporations and business where they can and cannot locate their various operations, as we’ve seen in the case of Seattle-based Boeing’s decision to open a plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. Incredibly, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is trying to block that move, claiming that it is based solely on the status of that state as a right-to-work state, putting the government in league with Big Labor, which hates giving workers their rights to work as they see fit and wants to prevent the move.
Ronald Reagan would have been appalled by that outrage. When faced with a similar attempt by a labor union to twist the rules governing the behavior of air traffic controllers, my Dad simply fired them all and replaced them. He would have defied any attempt to prevent a company from moving some of their operations to a new location because .a labor union opposed the move on the grounds that it freed employees from the grip of Big Labor bosses.
The Obama administration has displayed outright hostility toward Boeing, using the NLRB to harass the company as it attempts to operate free of government interference. Too bad my Dad isn’t around to curb the power of an out-of-control government agency slavishly bowing to the dictates of a powerful labor union, and not the workers it pretends to represent.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press, 2011). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com, or e-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.
©2011 Mike Reagan. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate. For info contact Cari Dawson Bartley. E-mail Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.
Reagan inherited economic problems and fixed them. Obama’s strategy is to blame Bush and Standard & Poor’s.
The Wall Street Journal August 8, 2011
By ROBERT BARRO
Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama have at least one similarity. They both were confronted by great economic challenges when they became president.
Mr. Reagan’s immediate challenge was that inflation and interest rates were out of control. He met this great test by allying with the Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, in accomplishing a return to price stability, even through the 1982 recession when the unemployment rate hit 10.8%.
Reagan’s success is not in doubt. Inflation and interest rates were reduced dramatically, and the recovery from the end of 1982 to the end of 1988 was strong and long with an average growth rate of real GDP of 4.6% per year. Moreover, Reagan focused on implementing good economic policies, not on blaming his incompetent predecessor for the terrible economy he had inherited.
Mr. Obama was equally in position to get credit for turning around a perilous economic situation that had been left by a weak predecessor. But he has pursued an array of poor economic policies, featuring the grand Keynesian experiment of sharply raising federal spending and the public debt. The results have been terrible and now, two and a half years into his administration, Mr. Obama is still blaming George W. Bush for all the problems.
Friday’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s should have been a wake-up call to the administration. S&P is saying, accurately, that there is no coherent long-term plan in place to deal with the U.S. government’s fiscal deficits.
The way for the U.S. government to earn back a AAA rating is to enact a meaningful medium- and long-term plan for addressing the nation’s fiscal problems. I have sketched a five-point plan that builds on ideas from the excellent 2010 report of the president’s deficit commission.
First, make structural reforms to the main entitlement programs, starting with increases in ages of eligibility and a shift to an economically appropriate indexing formula. Second, lower the structure of marginal tax rates in the individual income tax. Third, in the spirit of Reagan’s 1986 tax reform, pay for the rate cuts by gradually phasing out the main tax-expenditure items, including preferences for home-mortgage interest, state and local income taxes, and employee fringe benefits—not to mention eliminating ethanol subsidies. Fourth, permanently eliminate corporate and estate taxes, levies that are inefficient and raise little money.
Fifth, introduce a broad-based expenditure tax, such as a value-added tax (VAT), with a rate around 10%. The VAT’s appeal to liberals can be enhanced, with some loss of economic efficiency, by exempting items such as food and housing.
I recognize that a VAT is anathema to many conservatives because it gives the government an added claim on revenues. My defense is that a VAT makes sense as part of a larger package that includes the other four points.
The loss of the U.S. government’s AAA rating is a great symbolic blow, one that would cause great anguish to our first Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton. Frankly, the only respectable reaction by our current Treasury secretary is to fall on his sword. Then again, “the buck stops here” suggests that an even more appropriate resignation would come from our chief executive, who, by the way, is no Ronald Reagan.
Mr. Barro is a professor of economics at Harvard University and a senior fellow of Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
The Wall Street Journal JULY 12, 2011
Obama will have to answer the question Reagan asked in 1980.
By WILLIAM MCGURN
White House adviser David Plouffe was hammered this week when he offered that “the average American” isn’t going to “vote based on the unemployment rate.” His remark gained instant notoriety after Friday’s dismal jobs report showing an unemployment rate up to 9.2%.
In fact, Mr. Plouffe was right.
In and of itself, an unemployment figure will not drive voters one way or the other. As others were quick to point out, however, that should be of little consolation to the Obama White House. For the question that Mr. Plouffe should be worried about is how people think the unemployment figure affects themselves and their hopes for the future. Ronald Reagan understood this well, which is why his question at the end of his only debate with Jimmy Carter was so devastating:
“When you make [your decision to vote next Tuesday],” he said to the American people, “it might be well if you would ask yourself: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?”
These days parts of America feel like a rerun of the 1970s, with Washington emanating malaise and Americans told to ratchet down their dreams and expectations for the future. Yes, the White House is correct that we shouldn’t draw too many broad conclusions from any one or two jobs reports. But the challenge facing the president is that the jobs numbers reflect a larger unease about where things are headed.
Moms and dads, for example, know that they are paying more to put food on the table. They are also paying nearly $4 per gallon when they fill up their cars. Even those who have jobs are scared—some because they might lose them, others because the lack of strong economic growth means that they have fewer opportunities to move up the ladder.
Associated PressMoms and dads know that they are paying more to put food on the table. Will the official response from the White House dispel their concerns?
The official response from all the president’s men is not likely to dispel these fears. When asked about the latest numbers, Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, stated that the best-case scenario for 2012 will be an unemployment rate of 8.2%. If so, lots of people will remember that 8.2% is still higher than the rate was when Mr. Obama entered office, notwithstanding all his spending and all those promises of jobs “created or saved.”
So what’s a president going to do, given a present situation that seems stagnant and a future prosperity that even his own people are now saying is ever more distant?
In a recent post on his Washington Post blog, Chris Cillizza provided the likeliest answer Mr. Obama would give to the “Are you better off?” question. According to Mr. Cillizza, President Obama’s argument on the economy will boil down to 10 words: “You should have seen how bad it would have been.”
How different that is from 2008. In 2008, Mr. Obama was the man of the future, the candidate of change who declared that his nomination would mark the moment “when the rise of oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Alas, instead of assuring us that a brighter future is just ahead, these days the president seems focused on painting the past in ever darker colors.
From his first days in office, of course, President Obama has made “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression” a standard talking point. More recently, however, he added that he “did not realize the magnitude, because most economists didn’t realize the magnitude, until fairly far into it.”
Ditto for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. When David Gregory asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether the Treasury secretary was denying responsibility for the economy, Mr. Geithner also invoked the past—”how difficult it was going to be to fix,” how we were “falling off the cliff” when Team Obama arrived, how the specter of a “second Great Depression” loomed, etc.
The problem, says the Obama administration, isn’t its own performance but the public’s unrealistic expectations. In other words, George W. Bush was even worse than we thought.
Maybe that’s a winning message. Maybe Americans who believed Mr. Obama when he said unemployment wouldn’t go past 8% if we passed his stimulus will now be persuaded by his explanation that his job was tougher than he or his economists expected. Maybe that’s the only way to get around the “Are you better off?” question.
Whatever you call it, it’s a long way from “hope” and “change.” And the more the president tries to justify the nagging unemployment and sluggish economic growth by rewriting the past, the more he leaves the argument over the future to his GOP rival.
Europeans pay tribute to a great American—and long for another
The Wall Street Journal JULY 9, 2011
By Peggy Noonan
What brilliant good it can do a country when the world respects, and will not forget, one of its leaders. What was vividly true 30 years ago is true today: The world looks to America. It doesn’t want to be patronized or dominated by America, it wants to see America as a beacon, an example, a dream of what could be. And the world wants something else: American goodness. It wants to have faith in the knowledge that America is the great nation that tries to think about and act upon right and wrong, and that it is a beacon also of things practical—how to have a sturdy, good, unsoiled economy, how to create jobs that provide livelihoods that allow families to be formed, how to maintain a system in which inventors and innovators can flourish. A world without America in this sense—the beacon, the inspiration, the speaker of truth—would be a world deprived of hopefulness. And so we must be our best selves again not only for us but for the world.
These are the thoughts that follow eight days of celebration, in Eastern Europe and London, of the leadership of Ronald Reagan. History is rarely sweet, but it was last week when they raised statues of him in his centenary year. People old and young stopped for a moment to think and speak of him, and to define what his leadership meant to them and their countries. The celebrations in Krakow, Budapest, Prague and London were a reminder that we are all traveling through history together, that you are living not only your own life but the life of your times, as Laurens van der Post once said. And your era can actually be affected, made better, by what you do.
The subject matter was the fall of the wall, the end of communism, the reunification of Europe—those epochal events the world is still absorbing and that in retrospect seem even more amazing. Good people picked good leaders—the Big Three of the Cold War, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, Reagan—and together they pushed until walls fell. Man is not used to such kind outcomes. A feeling of awe and gratitude colored the ceremonies: “My God, look what was done, I still can’t believe it. Let’s talk about how it happened and take those lessons into the future.” Now of all times we could use the inspiration.
In Krakow, the city from which Karol Wojtyla was called to Rome to become John Paul II, there was a thanksgiving mass celebrated by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who said in his homily: “President Reagan . . . took great pains to bring about the demise of that which he so aptly named ‘the evil empire.’ This empire of evil denied many people and nations their freedom. It did so by way of a pernicious ideology . . . the result of this experiment was the death and sufferings of millions.” “There can be no doubt,” he said, that Reagan and John Paul brought about “the collapse of communism.”
In Budapest, in a special session of the Hungarian Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen spoke of the end of Hungary as a captive nation and its beginnings as a democracy. Reagan, he said, “helped Hungary find itself.” Member of Parliament Janos Horvath spoke of Reagan’s style of peaceful liberation. What America did by being strong, by being serious in its focus, by speaking plain and true, not only inspired the victims of communism but weakened their oppressors. Reagan had “the imagination” to understand that the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a historic event: “He kept quoting Harry Truman’s commitment to the liberation of the captive nations. That, for Reagan, was a more important thing than for other presidents.” Hungary knew Truman had been “infuriated” by what the Soviets did, “arresting people, including myself.” Reagan made clear he “felt the indignation.” And so, “Hungary took seriously what America meant—human rights, democracy.” It left Horvath an optimist. “I have faith that the right thing prevails. This is the Ronald Reagan mentality.”I asked a member of Parliament whether the people of Hungary had felt any bitterness over the fact that President Eisenhower did not commit U.S. military forces to help the Hungarians in 1956. At first he was puzzled. Bitterness? Any residual disappointment, I said. No, he said. “We understood your position.” Meaning, he explained, our position as a superpower in the nuclear age, and our position on freedom. They knew whose side we were on.
A veteran diplomat in the area, an American, said later that everything he’d heard in the speeches left him thinking how the great progress of the past quarter-century had been made not through warfare but through diplomacy, tough decisions, aid, encouragement and rhetorical clarity and candor.
Rather stunningly, the leader of Hungary’s government bluntly ended his speech with a sentiment often heard in Omaha, Tucson, Morristown and Tallahassee: “We need a Ronald Reagan. Is he there, somewhere, already?” The world misses him as much as we do. It misses grand leadership as much as we do.
In Prague they named a street for him. In London, on the Fourth of July, 235th birthday of the United States, they unveiled a statue in front of the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square. Two other presidents grace that square: a heroic FDR in flowing cape, and a steely-eyed Eisenhower in army uniform. The day was nonpartisan, non-narrow. A great American was being justly honored by his British friends who, as Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “will never forget” him. A statue, he said, is not just a remembrance. With statues we come “face to face” with the great men and women of the past, and ponder their greatness.
That night, members of Parliament gathered for a formal dinner in London’s magnificent Guildhall. There were speeches, some beautiful. Among the packed tables there was a former member of Mrs. Thatcher’s cabinet, who in his day had taken heavy blows for his unrepentant conservatism. Now, white-haired, he listened to the speeches, as across the room a woman watching him remembered the greatest speech in English history: “Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot/ But he’ll remember with advantages/ What feats he did that day.”
And so Mr. Reagan’s centennial nears its close. We remember him—and Thatcher, and John Paul—for many reasons. To reinforce and reinspire. To keep fresh our knowledge that history can be made better. To be loyal to the truth.
And another reason. That night in conversation, former Prime Minister John Major asked how our teaching of history was in America. Not good, I said. He said in Britain it was the same, and it concerned him. We were across from a huge, heroic sculpture of the Duke of Wellington. If we don’t teach who he was and what he did, we will not make any more Wellingtons. Glory lives only when you pass it on.