Welcome to my new website. As time goes on, I will be adding content.
Welcome to my new website. As time goes on, I will be adding content.
This article was widely reprinted on blogs and cited in other sources. It is likely to be a definitive article on the issue, and is certainly the most accurate. The only opinion, obviously shared by Republicans, was concerning the validity of the charges not the core information about the political process.
When the Republicans agreed to cut defense 50% of the budget super committee failed they walked into a trap – that’s what the Democrats wanted for years. For Fort Wayne, the risks are extraordinary with our concentration of defense electronics companies.
Since 9/11, defense spending has boomed in our area. Federal defense spending and incredible job expansion at the Fort Wayne General Motors Assembly Plant have offset other recessionary job losses. They provided the core for health care, education and other service sector growth.
The federal government has obviously been digging our deficit spending hole for many years, but why this immediate crisis?
Federal debt limit debate: No member of Congress likes to raise the debt limit. To compare it to your personal credit card, this would be like the company allowing you to spend beyond your limit, but when it was time to pay you refused to do so. A debt limit increase is to cover what is already obligated by spending.
Last year’s final appropriations “deal” passed by voice vote, so those who vote against debt limits are rather hypocritical when refusing to pay for what they voted to spend. Neither side liked the agreement, but since Democrats control the presidency and the Senate, and the Republicans the House, there are no good options. Issuing press releases doesn’t change past election results.
Budget super committee: This nightmare of a creature was created to give “cover” for those who responsibly voted for the debt limit. However, Republicans should have known that Democrats would not slow down “mandatory” spending and thus “trigger” massive defense budget cuts. This has always been the liberal agenda.
Fort Wayne region’s defense spending: Basic military salaries, core equipment in each service, major bases and replacement parts will survive if this budget is implemented and Republicans don’t support more spending. In our area we do some replacement parts (e.g., BAE is the best example). However, most of our defense electronics are either developmental or are systems that required earmarking such as ITT’s SINCGARS radios and sonobuoys.
If any of our major companies shut down in this region, getting them to return would be very hard. Cuts will also impact our air base.
Controlling the budget cannot be done without controlling mandatory spending: Here is the ugly truth — federal revenue in fiscal 2011 was $2.3 trillion. Mandatory spending plus mandatory interest totaled $2.25 trillion. Furthermore, mandatory spending is going to rise rapidly unless changes are made now. Discretionary spending — everything Congress actually appropriates ($1.35 trillion) — is entirely debt. Defense, education, national parks, highways and all flexible spending is 100 percent debt. Any member who votes for a single bill is adding to the debt limit requirement.
For our area to survive, we need legislators who realize this will be a long battle and will require major changes in mandatory programs. You can’t do it overnight. Responsible governing also requires that they actually study the numbers and not just say what people want to hear.
My quote is at the end, summarizing many of the points. Worked with Jonathan Allen on background for the story.
Jeff Bell, a leading economic conservative, argues that it is actually the cultural issues that win elections for Republicans.
This was my first book review for the News-Sentinel.
“It contains some of the most beloved lies in American history” as Lengel phrases it, including George’s not telling a lie that it was he who chopped down the cherry tree (i.e. telling a lie to teach about not lying). As Lengel says: “A superb story-teller, Weems knew his audience — and gladly collected its money.”
Because Weems’ book was what the public wanted to hear, not based upon any actual facts, it is amazing, yet not surprising, that book after book repeated variations of the fables. For example, Lengel demolishes the myth of George Washington’s famous prayer at Valley Forge. This scene is one of the iconic myths of Americanized Christianity.
The currently popular biography “Washington: A Life,” by noted author Ron Chernow, repeats the myth, which is also canonized in a stained-glass window in the prayer room in the Capitol Building. Washington was a good Anglican Christian for the times but not the pious man we desire him to have been, nor the deist the liberals prefer.
The problem with selective myth-making about our Founding Fathers is that it creates unrealistic expectations for current times. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich loved to “assign” books for us to read. Gingrich once called the one-volume version of James Thomas Flexner’s titled “Washington: The Indispensable Man” the most important book we could read. Gingrich, not surprisingly, sees history as a story driven by the actions of great men.
Before Chernow’s book, Flexner was the recognized standard, yet it was filled with myths.
An alternative theory of history was explained by Dennis Miller, our pastor at Emmanuel Christian Church. As we study Exodus, he pointed out that Moses did not want to lead his people to the Promised Land. Moses said his people didn’t know him, that he couldn’t speak well, wah-wah-wah. God didn’t even try to build up his self-esteem but rather agreed that Moses lacked basic skills. Instead he pointed out that it wasn’t about Moses: It was about what God could do.
Washington worked to create his own myth and was perhaps the only person who could have been used to unite America. But after his death we deified him. Author Lengel points out that Thomas Paine called Washington “everything but an ax murderer,” which confirms that in his life Washington was not viewed as God. And some tea party people today deify the pathetic atheist Paine.
Our founders were just men who were slightly more extraordinary than most. So are today’s leaders. We never had gods for leaders, don’t have gods running for office today and never will have perfect leaders.
This is a great article by Peggy Noonan, one of America’s most skillful writers.
The American people are not, over a sustained period, going to support a Republican Party if it is only the party of budget cuts (even when needed). There are two basic reasons: 1) most people don’t understand basic economics and 2) they don’t trust us Republicans.
This is from a memo Peggy Noonan wrote to the Bush 41 White House in the fall of 1991, when they felt victory was assured, warning them of potential coming doom: “To vote against the Republicans is to vote against those country club sons of a bitches who rigged the system, took care of their friends and left me at the age of 51 out of a corporate job and in the Safeway stacking cans of pineapples.”
Since in economic policy, Republicans will always favor tax cuts that benefit investors, policies that favor business growth, and rewarding those who succeed, there is always a backlash when government benefits get cut, as in “the rich get richer” and the “poor poorer.”
The Democrats have the historic McGovern problem of the 3 A’s: acid, amnesty and abortion. That is, they are weak on law & order, weak on defending America (and, for that matter, current amnesty as well) and weak on social issues.
When Republicans win over a sustained period, we are a coalition of various issues. It is, well, stupid for one faction to think they can go it alone.
If the Republicans focus on just one issue – the budget – and do what is necessary, their stay in power will likely be brief. In the last election and currently, there is tremendous backlash against President Obama. If he lets the Republicans lead – and the only message is budget – we are in deep trouble.