Morning Bell: Government Unions Win, You Lose

Morning Bell: Government Unions Win, You Lose

Posted By Conn Carroll On January 25, 2010 @ 9:39 am In Enterprise and Free Markets | No Comments

Since President Barack Obama was sworn into office, the U.S. economy has shed 3.4 million jobs [1] and the unemployment rate has risen to 10% [2]. But not all sectors of the economy have been suffering equally. In fact, the sector of the economy most supportive of President Obama has not only avoided contraction, but has actually managed to grow instead.

According to a report [3] released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last Friday, in 2009 the number of federal, state and local government employees represented by unions actually rose by 64,000 [4]. Coupled with union losses in the private sector economy, 2009 became the first year in American history that a majority of American union members work for the government. Specifically, 52% of all union members now work for the federal, state or local government, up from 49% in 2008. Or, to better illustrate these statistics: three times more union members work in the Post Office than in the auto industry [5].

So what? Why should Americans care if unions are now dominated by workers who get their paychecks from governments, instead of workers who get their paychecks from private firms? There’s one simple reason: private firms face competition; governments don’t. Read the rest of this entry »

Michelle urges Palin: Don’t campaign for McCain! Update: Hayworth jumps in?

Michelle urges Palin: Don’t campaign for McCain! Update: Hayworth jumps in?

posted at 8:34 pm on January 22, 2010 by Allahpundit
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In which the boss spots a sinister trend: McCain Regression Syndrome.

It’d be just my luck that Meggie Mac is reading the site tonight.

Savor the irony: After a career spent bashing the right flank of the party, Sen. McCain is now clinging to its coattails to save his incumbent hide.

And pay attention to the hidden, more troubling irony: While he runs to the right to protect his seat, McCain’s political machine is working across the country to install liberal and establishment Republicans to secure his legacy…

With all due respect to McCain’s past noble war service, it’s time to head to the pasture. As the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, he was wrong on the constitutionality of the free-speech-stifling McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulations. He was wrong to side with the junk-science global warming activists in pushing onerous carbon caps on America. He was on the wrong side of every Chicken Little-driven bailout. He was wrong in opposing enhanced CIA interrogation methods that have saved countless American lives and averted jihadi plots. And he was spectacularly wrong in teaming with the open-borders lobby to push a dangerous illegal alien amnesty.

Tea Party activists are rightly outraged by Sarah Palin’s decision to campaign for McCain, whose entrenched incumbency and progressive views are anathema to the movement. At least she has an excuse: She’s caught between a loyalty rock and a partisan hard place. The conservative base has no such obligations – and it is imperative that they get in the game (as they did in Massachusetts) before it’s too late. The movement to restore limited government in Washington has come too far, against all odds, to succumb to McCain Regression Syndrome now.

It might be too late already. According to Rasmussen, Maverick’s up 53/31 on J.D. Hayworth and is already running attack ads against him — before he’s even gotten into the race. Proof positive that he’s worried, which only makes Sarahcuda’s “true conservative” stamp of approval that much more important in possibly warning Hayworth away.

The weirdest part of this? I don’t think anyone will be swayed by Palin’s endorsement. No one seriously believes she’d be backing him if not for her personal loyalty to him, and McCain’s sufficiently infamous for his centrism that even her support won’t scrub him clean in the eyes of tea partiers. Which means this is actually a pretty shrewd move on her part: She gets credit for being a good soldier, especially in light of the sniping at her from his former campaign aides, whereas he gets maybe a few extra votes from conservatives. In fact, someone should make a video at her rally for McCain in the same mold as that now-famous video outside Obama’s rally for Coakley, where college kids babbled about getting to see The One in person while showing no enthusiasm whatsoever for the candidate. That’s what we’re going to end up with here, I think.

We have to poll it. Do your worst.

First congressman casts his lot for Hayworth in Ariz. Senate primary

First congressman casts his lot for Hayworth in Ariz. Senate primary

By Jordan Fabian – 01/24/10 03:27 PM ET

A GOP congresman on Sunday backed former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) who announced yesterday he will primary Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) became the first lawmaker to endorse the former radio host Hayworth’s upstart bid.

In a Twitter post, Rohrabacher said:

McCain’s wrong on too many big issues: #Immigration, #GlobalWarming, #Bailouts. @JDHayworth is better #AZ #tcot #Hayworth

Hayworth informed the Associated Press late Friday that he was stepping down as host of an Arizona talk radio program to run for Senate against the 2008 GOP presidential nominee. 

By law, Hayworth could not remain a radio host and run for Senate.

The former congressman is challenging McCain from the right. McCain is perceived by some in the Republican Party as someone who too often bucks his party, though he has recently scored points among the GOP faithful for opposing the Democrats’ healthcare reform bill plan. 

Hayworth was unseated in 2006 by Democrat Harry Mitchell.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified

By David Rose
Last updated at 12:54 AM on 24th January 2010

 

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.

‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

GlacierChilling error: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrongly asserted that glaciers in the Himalayas would melt by 2035

Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation.

According to the IPCC’s statement of principles, its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.

The claim that Himalayan glaciers are set to disappear by 2035 rests on two 1999 magazine interviews with glaciologist Syed Hasnain, which were then recycled without any further investigation in a 2005 report by the environmental campaign group WWF.

It was this report that Dr Lal and his team cited as their source.

The WWF article also contained a basic error in its arithmetic. A claim that one glacier was retreating at the alarming rate of 134 metres a year should in fact have said 23 metres – the authors had divided the total loss measured over 121 years by 21, not 121.

Last Friday, the WWF website posted a humiliating statement recognising the claim as ‘unsound’, and saying it ‘regrets any confusion caused’.

Dr Lal said: ‘We knew the WWF report with the 2035 date was “grey literature” [material not published in a peer-reviewed journal]. But it was never picked up by any of the authors in our working group, nor by any of the more than 500 external reviewers, by the governments to which it was sent, or by the final IPCC review editors.’

In fact, the 2035 melting date seems to have been plucked from thin air.

Professor Graham Cogley, a glacier expert at Trent University in Canada, who began to raise doubts in scientific circles last year, said the claim multiplies the rate at which glaciers have been seen to melt by a factor of about 25.

‘My educated guess is that there will be somewhat less ice in 2035 than there is now,’ he said.

Raj PachauriForced to apologise: Chairman of the IPCC Raj Pachauri

‘But there is no way the glaciers will be close to disappearing. It doesn’t seem to me that exaggerating the problem’s seriousness is going to help solve it.’

One of the problems bedevilling Himalayan glacier research is a lack of reliable data. But an authoritative report published last November by the Indian government said: ‘Himalayan glaciers have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.’

When this report was issued, Raj Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, denounced it as ‘voodoo science’.

Having been forced to apologise over the 2035 claim, Dr Pachauri blamed Dr Lal, saying his team had failed to apply IPCC procedures.

It was an accusation rebutted angrily by Dr Lal. ‘We as authors followed them to the letter,’ he said. ‘Had we received information that undermined the claim, we would have included it.’

However, an analysis of those 500-plus formal review comments, to be published tomorrow by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the new body founded by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, suggests that when reviewers did raise issues that called the claim into question, Dr Lal and his colleagues simply ignored them.

For example, Hayley Fowler of Newcastle University, suggested that their draft did not mention that Himalayan glaciers in the Karakoram range are growing rapidly, citing a paper published in the influential journal Nature.

In their response, the IPCC authors said, bizarrely, that they were ‘unable to get hold of the suggested references’, but would ‘consider’ this in their final version. They failed to do so.

The Japanese government commented that the draft did not clarify what it meant by stating that the likelihood of the glaciers disappearing by 2035 was ‘very high’. ‘What is the confidence level?’ it asked.

The authors’ response said ‘appropriate revisions and editing made’. But the final version was identical to their draft.

Last week, Professor Georg Kaser, a glacier expert from Austria, who was lead author of a different chapter in the IPCC report, said when he became aware of the 2035 claim a few months before the report was published, he wrote to Dr Lal, urging him to withdraw it as patently untrue.

Dr Lal claimed he never received this letter. ‘He didn’t contact me or any of the other authors of the chapter,’ he said.

The damage to the IPCC’s reputation, already tarnished by last year’s ‘Warmergate’ leaked email scandal, is likely to be considerable.

Benny Peiser, the GWPF’s director, said the affair suggested the IPCC review process was ‘skewed by a bias towards alarmist assessments’.

Environmentalist Alton Byers said the panel’s credibility had been damaged. ‘They’ve done sloppy work,’ he said. ‘We need better research on the ground, not unreliable predictions derived from computer models.’

Last night, Dr Pachauri defended the IPCC, saying it was wrong to generalise based on a single mistake. ‘Our procedure is robust,’ he added.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html#ixzz0ddGjmCKo

White House nightmare persists

White House nightmare persists

By Edward Luce

Published: January 22 2010 19:21 | Last updated: January 22 2010 19:21

 

Barack Obama at the White House
Tough going: Barack Obama at the White House. Speculation is rife about his Treasury secretary

 

At the end of Barack Obama’s worst week since taking power a year ago, the US president’s fortunes look set only to deteriorate over the coming days. Following the shock defeat of the Democratic candidate in Massachusetts on Tuesday, a move that deprived the president of his 60-seat super-majority in the Senate and left his legislative agenda in tatters, Mr Obama has just four days to reboot the system.

The US president had originally delayed next week’s State of the Union address to Congress in the hope he would get his signature healthcare reform bill enacted in time. That prospect, already waning, was killed dead by the voters in Massachusetts. A growing number of Democrats believe the nine-month effort could collapse altogether.

The death of the healthcare effort would rob Mr Obama of what he had hoped would be the centrepiece of his first State of the Union message. “It now looks extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get anything resembling a broad healthcare bill out of Congress,” said Scott Lilley, a senior fellow at the liberal Centre for American Progress, the think-tank that is closest to the White House. “In his State of the Union, Obama has to slim down his ambitions. It should be short and simple and focus on jobs.”

However, even a more modest agenda looks tough for Mr Obama now. Believing their strategy of total opposition was vindicated by the voters last Tuesday, Republicans are in even less of a mood to co-operate with Democrats than before. The difference is that with 41 seats in the Senate they are in a position to block almost anything Mr Obama proposes – including the Wall Street regulatory measures he announced on Thursday.

“Obama has to decide whether he wants to be a transformational president, which looks optimistic at this stage, or merely an effective president,” says Bruce Josten, head of government affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, which has spent tens of millions of dollars opposing healthcare. “My advice would be that he pick up the phone and ask for Bill Clinton’s advice on how to recover from a situation like this.”

Nor can Mr Obama rely on unity within his own party, which has been in disarray, if not panic, since Tuesday. For example, Mr Obama’s more populist tack on Wall Street re-regulation failed to attract endorsement from Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, even though he was present when Mr Obama made the announcement.

Others, such as Tim Johnson, Democratic senator for South Dakota and a senior member of the banking committee, were already opposed to elements of Mr Obama’s regulatory proposals including the plan to establish a consumer financial protection agency.

Worse, most people do not think Mr Obama can even command unity within his own administration on the Wall Street proposals amid growing speculation about whether Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, can survive in his job. Mr Geithner was conspicuously sidelined during Thursday’s announcement by the presence of Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, who lent his name to the push to rein in Wall Street banks.

The speculation about Mr Geithner is only likely to grow. “The Obama proposals were clearly politically motivated and came from the White House not the Treasury,” says a Democratic adviser to the administration, who withheld his name.

Finally, there is increasingly open Democratic disaffection about the way Mr Obama is managing relations with Capitol Hill. Many believe that Rahm Emanuel, Mr Obama’s aggressive chief of staff, served Mr Obama badly by persuading the president that his election was a transformational moment in US politics that gave him the opportunity to push through long-cherished Democratic goals, such as healthcare reform.

In fact, exit polls from Mr Obama’s election showed that almost two-thirds of the voters cited the economy as their chief concern, with fewer than one in 10 mentioning healthcare. Mr Emanuel is also perceived to have mishandled the day-to-day logistics of getting healthcare through Congress.

By leaving the scripting of the details of the healthcare bill to Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, the White House openly courted the risk of chaos. Tellingly, in his victory speech in Boston on Tuesday, Scott Brown, the new Republican senator, cited voter disdain for the sight of lots of “old men” on Capitol Hill bickering over healthcare reform at a time when their priority was jobs.

“I haven’t seen Rahm Emanuel except on television,” Jim Pascrell, a Democratic lawmaker from New Jersey, told Politico, the news website, on Friday. “We used to see him a lot; I’d like him to come out from behind his desk and meet with the common folk.”

In short, Mr Obama’s nightmare January could easily slip into a nightmare February. “Unless and until the president changes the way his White House, works, things are going to continue to go badly for him,” says the head of a Democratic think-tank. “Heads still have to roll.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

When Pigs Fly: The Cartoon

When Pigs Fly: The Cartoon

January 23rd, 2010

Obama plotting a domestic counterinsurgency strategy?

Obama plotting a domestic counterinsurgency strategy?

William R. Hawkins

In The New York Times Saturday, Jeff Zeleny and Peter Baker reported on how President Barack Obama is moving to centralize control over Democratic party strategy in the wake of Senator-elect Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. What was striking was the terminology coming from the White House. According to Zeleny and Baker, Obama will launch his new campaign in The State of the Union address where,

He will focus on how his ideas for health care, energy and financial regulation fit into the broader economic mission of creating what he calls a “new foundation” for the country, the key words being “rescue, restore and rebuild.”
The key words sound similar to the “clear, hold, build” formula for counterinsurgency operations and nation-building in Afghanistan. Is the Obama administration going on a war footing? Will it adopt the extreme view of partisan politics advocated by the far left which sees the populist Tea Party movement as akin to a domestic Taliban?
Such an approach will likely further discredit the Democrats while poisoning the political atmosphere at a time when the country is facing real problems that need common sense reforms rather than ideological offensives. The reporters touched on the contradictions in the president’s approach without seeming to notice. After stating, “Liberals have grown disenchanted with what they see as his unwillingness to fight harder for their causes” they wrote,
The long and messy legislative fight over health care is a leading example of how Mr. Obama has failed to connect with voters, advisers say, because he appeared to do whatever it would take to get a bill rather than explain how people could benefit.
During his presidential campaign Obama crafted an image as a unifier who would be above the partisan politics than had turned off so much of the general public. He won that campaign. In office, however, he has filled the White House with radical “czars” who have taken extreme positions on very divisive domestic issues. This has sparked a powerful backlash from alienated independent voters who simply want a competent and practical government that can get the job done in a time of economic instability and foreign threats. Moving further down the road of ideology and militant partisanship will not meet that public desire for leaders who can come together and put the nation’s interests first.
Conservatives and Republicans must be aware of the same danger at their end of the spectrum. They must not sound extremist or simplistic in ways that would make them vulnerable to a Taliban comparison. America has real problems that are the result of mistaken policies made during the Bush administration as well as the Obama and Clinton administrations. There have also been devastating errors of judgment in the private sector, the repetition of which cannot be allowed. The true essence of conservatism is to learn from experience, to be realistic rather than quixotic.
The temptation to see the 2010 election as a battlefield on which any tactic or weapon can be used will be difficult to resist. But those who court a civil war must be contained. If the White House moves further left and adopts a more radical approach to politics, it can be turned against the Democrats because it is not what the American people want from their leaders.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/01/obama_plotting_a_domestic_coun.html at January 25, 2010 – 07:45:42 AM CST

Overwhelming Majority Of Investors Agree Obama Is Anti-Business

Overwhelming Majority Of Investors Agree Obama Is Anti-Business

January 23rd, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.

BUSINESS-US-PRIVATEEQUITY-OBAMA

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — U.S. investors overwhelmingly see President Barack Obama as anti-business and question his ability to manage a financial crisis, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The global quarterly poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers finds that 77 percent of U.S. respondents believe Obama is too anti-business and four-out-of-five are only somewhat confident or not confident of his ability to handle a financial emergency.

The poll also finds a decline in Obama’s overall favorability rating one year after taking office. He is viewed favorably by 27 percent of U.S. investors. In an October poll, 32 percent in the U.S. held a positive impression.

“Investors no longer feel they can trust their instincts to take risks,” said poll respondent David Young, a managing director for a broker dealer in New York. Young cited Obama’s efforts to trim bonuses and earnings, make health care his top priority over jobs and plans to tax “the rich or advantaged.”

Carlos Vadillo, a fixed-income analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in San Francisco, said Obama has been in a “constant war” with the banking system, using “fat-cat bankers and other misnomers to describe a business model which supports a large portion of America.”

Europe, Asia

Outside the U.S., Obama continues to get high marks with three-quarters or more of investors in Europe and Asia viewing him favorably. These rankings bring his global favorability rating to 60 percent among all poll respondents.

When it comes to his ability to manage a financial crisis, 55 percent of Europeans say they are either mostly or very confident; Among Asian respondents, 59 percent say they are somewhat confident or not confident; 38 percent expressed confidence.

Unlike other recent presidents, Obama hasn’t selected a leading business executive for his cabinet or a top advisory role. One year after taking office, he is coping with a jobless rate hovering around 10 percent and a federal deficit that rose to $1.4 trillion last year. In response, he has proposed a fee on as many as 50 large financial firms and yesterday called for limiting the size and trading activities of financial institutions as a way to reduce risk-taking.

‘Near Collapse’

“While the financial system is far stronger today than it was one year ago, it’s still operating under the same rules that led to its near collapse,” Obama said yesterday at the White House after meeting with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who has been an advocate of taking such steps.

The poll was conducted Jan. 19, before Obama unveiled the plan. Yesterday, after the announcement, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 1.9 percent, its biggest loss since Oct. 30. The S&P 500 has risen 39 percent since Obama’s Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration.

The U.S. investors’ perceptions of Obama stand in contrast to those of their European counterparts, most of whom say the president strikes the right balance when it comes to managing business interests. Europeans, however, are more confident in Obama’s leadership on financial matters than Asians.

The quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll of investors, traders and analysts in six continents was conducted by Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm. It is based on interviews with a random sample of 873 Bloomberg subscribers, representing decision makers in markets, finance and economics. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Geithner, Summers

Obama’s 71 percent unfavorable rating among U.S. investors is almost matched by two members of his economic team. Both Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Lawrence Summers, president of the National Economic Council. U.S. respondents give Geithner a 63 percent unfavorable rating and Summers 67 percent. In October, 57 percent held a negative view of Geithner and 66 percent said the same of Summers.

Like Obama, both men do better with Asian and European investors.

One financial figure to find favor among U.S. respondents is Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who garners a 68 percent approval rating, which is in line with his marks from non-U.S. investors and the rating U.S. investors gave him in the October poll.

There is one other figure U.S. and international investors agree on: former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a potential candidate for her party’s nomination in 2012.

Palin Rating

With a net favorability rating of 15 percent among all investors, Palin does best in the U.S., where she has the support of 27 percent of respondents. In Asia, it’s 14 percent, and in Europe just 5 percent of investors view her favorably.

“She revealed a complete lack of any global awareness,” said Anthony Gibbs, an agency broker at Vantage Capital Markets in London.

Investors outside the U.S. are more unified about Obama’s approach to business, with 67 percent of Europeans saying he strikes the right balance and 56 percent of Asians who agree.

“He is managing well a position he took over under great uncertainty,” said Sivanesan Muthusamy, senior vice president of funding and investments at Alliance Bank in Kuala Lumpur. “American leadership is again guiding the global financial markets into stability.”

The U.S. investors’ overwhelming characterization of Obama as anti-business stands in sharp contrast to the results of a Bloomberg National Poll in December, when 52 percent of U.S. adults said the president had the right balance in his approach.

Geographic Divide

The January poll shows an especially dramatic divide between U.S. and global investors when it comes to Obama’s overall favorability rating.

In Europe, 81 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of Obama. In Asia, that number is 73 percent. The polarization is far greater by geography than by occupation, the survey found. Sales executives gave Obama his highest unfavorable rating, at 53 percent, compared with 28 percent of researchers and analysts and 35 percent of traders.

Globally, other central bankers are slightly less popular than Bernanke. Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, has a 60 percent favorable rating globally, with 45 percent in the U.S. and 78 percent in Europe.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, who gets a 42 percent favorable rating overall, gets 39 percent in the U.S. and Europe and 51 percent in Asia.

To see methodology and exact question wording, click on the attachment tab at the top of the story.

On the Road to Trouble

On the Road to Trouble

Posted By Vasko Kohlmayer On January 25, 2010 @ 12:02 am In FrontPage

road

“Is America’s Financial Collapse Inevitable?” asks the title of a recent piece [1] by Patrick Buchanan. The article points out something we have repeatedly discussed here: There is no way the federal government can meet its financial obligations.

If our government were ever to do so, it would first have to eliminate its colossal deficits. For this to happen deep budget cuts would be required. But this is something that is not conceivable in today’s environment. We will understand why when we look at the largest budget items, which are Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, defense and interest on the debt. Since these constitute the bulk of government expenditures, any meaningful deficit reduction would require that substantial cuts be made there. The problem is that all of the above are for all practical purposes untouchable.

Interest on the debt is out of question, since not paying it in full would put our federal government in default. This cannot be allowed to happen as it would result in the immediate collapse of our currency. As far as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid are concerned, no elected official will touch them with a ten foot pole, since doing so would mean political suicide. When it comes to defense the prospect of any reductions is likewise nil. The ongoing operations in Iraq, our deepening commitment in Afghanistan as well as numerous challenges presented by the War on Terror make any deep cuts a practical impossibility.

But what about taxes? Could they not be raised to increase revenue and close the budget gap that way? To begin with, any sharp hikes are out of question for the increasingly unpopular president who pledged during the campaign not to raise taxes on the middle class. To even suggest such a thing would be politically precarious if not suicidal. But even if Obama would somehow managed to do it, higher taxes would only further depress the already-overtaxed and over-regulated economy. This would in turn shrink the tax base and forestall the possibility of higher revenue intake.

Buchanan asks how are we ever going to get a handle on our runaway finances if “taxes are off the table, Afghan war costs are inexorably rising and cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and entitlement programs are politically impossible.” There is, of course, no satisfactory answer. The truth is that our government is not going to get its fiscal house in order. And even though Buchanan does not state so explicitly, the implied answer to his starting question – is America’s financial collapse inevitable – is “yes.”

Pat Buchanan is not alone suffering from dark premonitions. Last week legendary investor and market commentator Marc Faber pulled no punches when asked what he thought of America’s prospects. “We are doomed,” was his response [2]. The reason for his bleak assessment? The immense and rapidly growing indebtedness of the federal government. In addition to all the other problems, Faber predicts that the rate interest that the government has to pay on the debt will shoot up rapidly in the next few years. Last year interest claimed about 12 percent of the government’s tax revenue. Faber estimates that within five years the figure will climb to some 35 percent. It goes without saying that such a jump would have a devastating impact on the already overextended federal budget.

Marc Faber is not the only one who worries about this. It has been pointed out by a number of finance experts that up until now the federal government has been able to borrow at very low rates due to the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. But there are clear signs that this favorable situation is coming to an end. Sensing that the US will not be able to make good on its debt, governments and investors have been growing increasingly wary of financing our borrowing by buying treasuries. But even as they plead with Washington to end its spendthrift ways, they have been earnestly searching for an alternative to the dollar. Admittedly, this is no easy task, since there is no major government today that can be trusted to conduct its fiscal affairs in a way that would guarantee a stable currency.

It would seem that long-term currency stability is not a realistic possibility in the era of central banking. This is because politicians will invariably exploit the looseness of fiat money to satisfy their insatiable spending urges. But the advantage is only temporal. In the end there is always a price to pay for spending more than one has. This applies to everyone including sovereign governments. In their case the price that is paid is the depreciating currency as central banks print money in order to pay for politicians’ promises. It is paradoxical that the brunt of this is born by ordinary people and not by those who are most directly responsible for the situation. While politicians keep promising and getting elected, the population bears the cost as the real value of their assets and savings decreases with the depreciating currency. This is the situation that we see taking place in this country today.

It may be objected that the people themselves are ultimately responsible, because they vote for politicians who promise all those expensive programs. Perhaps so. There are, however, encouraging signs that the American people are becoming increasingly aware of where the problem lies. In what amounted to a referendum on President Obama’s expansive agenda, the victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts showed that even a left-leaning electorate can grow wary of government’s ability to provide and finance massive undertakings such as national healthcare. Another sign of shifting sentiment can be detected in a recent Washington Post ABC News poll [3] which asked this question: “Generally speaking, would you say you favor smaller government with fewer services, or larger government with more services?”
Only 38 percent wished for a larger government with more services while 58 percent wanted a smaller government with fewer services.

This is good all news, but it still does not solve that $100 trillion question [4]: How is our government going to pay for all the massive obligations that it has so unadvisedly assumed?

McCain-backed GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina hearts Jesse Jackson — and radical gender politics

McCain-backed GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina hearts Jesse Jackson — and radical gender politics

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 23, 2010 09:52 AM

As if California GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina’s massive bailout-supporting economic advice for John McCain wasn’t bad enough (reminder from yesterday’s column: “In California, McCain’s PAC supports former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – a celebrity name with deep pockets of her own, massive media exposure, and a checkered business record. Fiorina served as the economic adviser to McCain, who supported the $700 billion TARP bailout, the $25 billion auto bailout, a $300 billion mortgage bailout, and the first $85 billion AIG bailout.”), now comes the revelation of that she has had a long political love affair with Jesse Jackson.

It’s on tape, via Neil Stevens of RedState: “When Carly Fiorina speaks on the campaign trail here in California, running to be the Republican nominee to unseat Barbara Boxer, she tries to prohibit recording of her speeches. However somebody snuck in an audio recorder to an event yesterday, and these clips seem to show why she would do that. The real, private Carly seems to be a bit different from the public, ‘conservative’ Carly.”

Listen for yourselves as she coos about “the Reverend Jesse Jackson” and panders to gender quota-mongers at a women’s conference held last week:

Philip Klein at the American Spectator has a partial transcript (and be sure to click the link for more instances of Fiorina slobbering over Jackson):

“And I thought about something that the Reverend Jesse Jackson said to me several years ago. He very graciously came to the offices of Hewlett Packard to visit me, because we were doing some work together for his Rainbow Coalition. And he said to me, ‘You know, Carly, every game is better when everybody gets to play.’ And I thought it was such a great way of describing why everything is better when all people, regardless of color or nationality or gender, get to play. Sports are better. Business is better. Politics are better. The world is better when everybody gets to play in things that matter.”

Fiorina continues to cast herself as a “mainstream conservative.” But what exactly is “mainstream” or “conservative” about heaping praise on one of this country’s greediest and unrepentant race hustlers?

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

In a speech that became public Friday, Fiorina fondly recalled the Rev. Jesse Jackson — a controversial figure across the political spectrum but anathema to many on the right — “very graciously” visiting her at HP years ago, when the two worked together to boost diversity among Silicon Valley’s work force.

“I like to remind people that women are not a constituency — women are a majority,” Fiorina said during her Wednesday night speech in Sacramento, hosted by California Women Lead, a nonpartisan group that encourages women to seek public office. “Women are the majority of voters and we will never have a truly representative democracy unless women make up half, at least, of our elected representatives.”

At a time Fiorina is seeking to appeal to conservatives, the most reliable voters in Republican primaries, her remarks could prove costly. Critics on the right, including one of her opponents in the GOP Senate primary, argued that her speech smacked of identity politics and bristled at her ties to Jackson.

“To equate representative democracy with group power is a very dangerous and wrongheaded way of thinking,” said conservative Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who is running against Fiorina. “It’s the kind of gender and racial identity politics we fight with the left over, and it’s the kind of thinking that leads to quotas.”

Fiorina’s response?

A spokeswoman for Fiorina, Julie Soderlund, said she had nothing to apologize for. “It goes without saying that as a mainstream conservative, Carly Fiorina strongly disagrees with Jesse Jackson’s political agenda,” Soderlund said. “Her remarks were focused on the importance of women recognizing and seizing opportunities to serve in public office.”

Really? “It goes without saying?” The trust-me-I’m-a-mainstream-conservative card is hard to swallow when Fiorina has such a scant record to back her up.

There’s a disturbingly long and recent collection of Fiorina quotes endorsing Jesse Jackson. Where are the public quotes from Fiorina ever disavowing Jackson for threatening businesses that didn’t capitulate to his racial bullying?

Reminder:

Jackson has repeatedly threatened businesses and corporations, black and white, with boycotts, racially biased criticism, and (implicitly) outright violence, if they refused to enrich him or his organizations. Among the companies: Coca-Cola, Texaco, Viacom, AT&T, Boeing, and Coors. In addition, his organizations have received at least $50 million from the U.S. government.

To site some specifics: Coca-Cola was induced to award a lucrative distributorship to Jackson’s half-brother, Noah, in order to protect itself from racially based attacks by Jackson (Noah is currently serving a life sentence in prison for arranging the contract murder of three business associates); Anheuser-Busch awarded a beer distributorship to Jackson’s sons, Yusef and Jonathan, for the same reason; President Jimmy Carter directed $7 million in government funds to PUSH; President Bill Clinton sent Jackson on a junket to Africa that cost American taxpayers $42 million; Jackson opposed the merger of Viacom and CBS, and attempted to force Viacom to sell the UPN Network to Percy Sutton, in whose Inner City Broadcasting company Jackson held $1.2 million worth of shares; and Jackson opposed the merger of SBC Communications and Ameritech until Ameritech sold its cellular business to a group headed by Chester Davenport, another Jackson friend.

Jackson has received literally millions of dollars for his Citizens Education Fund as part of negotiated settlements with companies he has frivolously accused of racist employment practices.

Jackson radicalized the political agenda of Operation PUSH, moving directly into the political arena to unseat the Chicago delegates of Mayor Richard Daley at the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami. He began his international political career later in the decade. In 1979, with President Carter’s blessing, he went to South Africa to speak against the apartheid regime; he made a controversial visit to Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat; and in 1983, alleging that President Reagan’s economic policies had severely impacted blacks, he made the first of his two runs for U.S. President. Despite the revelation by the Washington Post that Jackson (in a conversation with his campaign aides) had called Jews “Hymies” and New York City “Hymietown,” he received 3.5 million votes during the primaries, enough to guarantee respect within the Democratic Party and the chance to give a major speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention.

Fiorina believes she is best suited to offer a contrasting vision to Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer — a feminist social engineer who panders to self-appointed liberal black leaders and treats minority conservatives who oppose Rainbow Coalition racialism with naked contempt.

She looks and sounds more like an echo, not a choice.