Monday, January 30, 2012

Some Common Sense Please

There should be a central talking points unit for conservatives that puts out concise rationals for our positions, answers the lies or misleading statements by liberals, and answer questions by the public.

How often have you heard centrists or liberals (often disguised as independents or middle of the road voters) say they only wish congress would compromise. The President uses this "failure" by congress to justify his extra legal appointments and executive orders, as well as a basis for reelection. Someone should infuse some common sense to this.

When two ideas are diametrically opposite, when both suggest that the other will not only not gain the objective, but will rather drive us farther from it, then how is any imaginary compromise possible? It's as if we reach a crossroads, knowing our destination is either to the right or left, but because we can't agree on which way to go we proceed straight ahead, insuring that we will fail. If higher spending and taxes, a.k.a. a welfare state, is the best thing for the voters, then lower taxes and less redistribution would not only not help, but would be harmful. Of course we know that the tax and spend agenda is destructive, the collectivist mentality is worse, and if conservatives don't have the power to lower taxes and spending, preventing increases is the next best thing. This is not rocket science, but one might think it is given the conservative failure to clearly respond.

When Newt attacked Romney because of his wealth, Romney was given the perfect tool to amplify the message that wealth creation benefits everyone. It provides jobs, as well as lowering prices. Wealth for everyone expands when created (as he has done), and contracts when destroyed as the government routinely does. Instead he cowered in the corner, making up a list of excuses, until the public pressure to release his tax returns grew too great. I assume he had a poll number saying people would resent it. His advisers should take note. Most of the resentment of success comes from people whose votes he could never win. Others like those of us on the right not only have no problem with it, but celebrate it. The voters who could be affected are in that theoretical middle. Doesn't he see that if those voters really want to understand, he can win their votes with a common sense explanation about the nature of economic activity. His attempt to hide however, leaves the collectivist argument unchallenged, and a voter who doesn't understand the issue but could be swayed, will gravitate to the argument by the left, however idiotic.

I will repeat myself. Ronald Reagan taught us the principled is also the political. Newt....Mitt..try the truth. It works. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Newt and Mitt

Ann Coulter eviscerated Newt Gingrich on the Mark Simone radio show Saturday morning, and everything she said was right. She even defended John King and his opening question in the debate about Newt's second wife's claims (talk about strange bedfellows.) There is an endless horizon above the territory where Newt can be criticized. With that being said, he has also done great things for the country and conservative causes.

Now there is no bigger fan of Ann than I. She has repeatedly pointed to liberal hypocrisy, failures, lies, distortions, and about everything else despicable that liberals do. And she does it with humor, facts and logic, presenting common sense and irrefutable evidence.

However, when she criticizes Newt while advocating for Romney, she leaves half the relevant facts in the file. Mitt is not conservative, or if he is we have no evidence pointing to it. The problem is knowing, really knowing Mitt. He has been on both sides of every issue, past and present. If you watch him closely you will see he is willing to go either way on the most trivial of issues. Politics drives him even more than Obama. Did you see the news clip of the CNN debate when he was asked if he would release his tax returns. He said, "I will check with advisers and"....then there were boos from the audience, and instead of finishing as he intended, that he would make the determination after checking, he switched gears and said "and I will release them." My point is the boos made him change. He has no core convictions, and since everything he says is tailored to what he thinks will garner the most votes, we can't determine what he believes or for that matter how much he really knows.

His claim to "understanding how an economy works" rings hollow in the light of his economic plan. The sign of a genius is to make a complicated thing simple. Unfortunately, his plan has 59 points. But the single most frightening part is that he raises taxes on the rich. His explanation is that the middle class have been hurt in recent years and the rich can afford more taxes. The rich create most of the wealth in the economy, and that creates most of the jobs. His plan is Democratic light, and would undermine wealth creation and job creation. Does he not understand this, or is he "only" pandering?  His defense of his totally failed (by every metric) health care plan in Mass. seems to indicate he just doesn't get it. It is as if he is saying, "Government is the answer if we just do it differently than the Democrats."

The question voters must ask themselves, is who is most likely to pursue conservative principles. Santorum actually meets that qualification more than Newt or Mitt. However, he too has a few economic blind spots. He relies too much on the government, and thinks government sponsored rewards and penalties will promote prosperity. He believes that manufacturing, the primary beneficiary of his reward/ tax system, is key to economic success.He is wrong, but that's for another day.

Mitt and Newt could both learn a lot from the Gipper. Anyone who watched Ronald Reagan should know that the principled is also the political. Reagan was eviscerated by the pundits, press and even moderate Republicans every time he made his point in "bold colors, not pastels," but within days the positive public response silenced the critics and made him even more loved and respected than he had been before.

Friday, January 6, 2012

History and Knowing

A poll was released recently showing that 60% of Americans believe socialism is either acceptable or preferable to capitalism. Of course we know this is absurd, but it is what is being taught in our schools, many churches and synagogues, and most of the media. Then again, there is nothing new there.

I recently asked one of my money managers with a law degree from Yale and an MBA from University of Chicago what he knew about American economic history. I was shocked to find out he knew almost nothing apart from a few isolated theories on the depression, mostly liberal mythology. He drew a complete blank when I mentioned the Harding/ Coolidge administration, arguably a better example of the greatness of supply side success and the magic of the free market than even the Reagan years. More shocking is the fact that economic history is not a required course at University of Chicago (it is available as an elective) or any other school I could find. I know of no subject one can truly "master" without knowing it's history. Is it any wonder we have so many liberal, political ignoramuses on Wall Street?

Economic freedom is an absolute necessity for political freedom. Compassion with real help for the poor, and the environment are served infinitely better through capitalism than anything else. At at time when collectivist theories were new there was a basis for reasonable debate about these things. But history in the US and throughout the world has made clear so over and over again that collectivist ideas are antithetical to freedom and prosperity. Any well meaning rational person, informed about US and world economic history, could not help but embrace capitalism.

Many years ago Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand and Bill Buckley argued that economic interference by the government (aka socialism/ collectivism) retarded economic and individual lifestyle growth. It destroyed freedoms guaranteed in the US constitution, and that collectivism would be left "on the trash heap of history." They had mounds of historical evidence to support their arguments. Today we have another 60 years of the exact same patterns of the success of capitalism and the failure of socialism repeating itself. Nothing has changed. Attempts to hide and distort the record seem to have made historical and socialist falsehoods into accepted truths for some, but the record points to the folly of every single Keynes, Krugman and Obama idea. That is why it is so important that history, particularly economic history, be taught, not just to MBA candidates, but to everyone.