Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yearend Reading: Romney, GOP

“What do you call it when someone steals someone else's money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else's money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else's money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice.”

--Thomas Sowell, Stanford’s Hoover Institution

"The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself."

--Daniel Patrick Moynihan (via Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times)

"Raise a Banner of Bold Colors, Not Pale Pastels!"

--Ronald Reagan

Culture is a way of life that evolves to support economic survival. Rules that emphasize caring for one’s family, hard work, getting along with others, avoiding destructive behaviors. Hunting, farming, food on the table, clothes, shelter.

In dealing with modern American culture, I have seized upon the insight of Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), about how societies evolve. Diamond is a political outsider (his fields are physiology, biophysics, ornithology, environmentalism, ecology, geography, evolutionary biology, and anthropology) who flatly asserts that government equals kleptocracy—theft from the people.

In simple terms, the U.S. used to have a culture based upon lots of farmers and a small government. Then liberal Democrats used politics from 1933 to 1968 to replace the old culture with one supporting big government, government as your friend. Conservatives who prefer the old culture want smaller government. They want a free enterprise economy that once again works.

Looking at the quotes above, Sowell writes about government theft, Moynihan wrote about liberal use of politics to overturn the culture we had, and Reagan said the country must fight back, battling today’s status quo.

Mitt Romney, Mr. Pale Pastel, isn't the leader Republicans need now. Listen to Steve McCann, who writes in the conservative American Thinker:
As with so many others previously christened by the establishment, [Romney] is a candidate who would maintain the status quo in Washington -- the most important agenda item for the ruling class.
McCann showed his open distaste for the GOP elite when he added:
the Republican primary voters are being told by the Republican establishment and many "conservative" pundits that [Romney] is in his heart a real conservative. . . It is expected of the mainstream media to cover for Barack Obama but for the so-called conservative media to ignore Romney's record is outright betrayal.
Conservative Jonathan Tobin, in Commentary, similarly argued:
Romney is the candidate of his party’s elites. . . the epitome of the notion that the best and brightest deserve the highest rewards. . . He is at his best when fixing broken things–-be it companies, Olympic games or budgets. But as a standard bearer for a movement or as someone who can exercise the vital task of articulating moral leadership, Romney seems out of place.
Romney has alienated himself from populist Republicans, as ABC News’s Matt Negrin recently found:
“There is a huge anti-Romney sentiment,” said Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation. [Phillips] said that surveys of Tea Party Nation members show that as many as half of them say they’ll refuse to vote for him in a general election because he’s too “liberal.”

Asked if she could see the tea party coming together to support Romney, Amy Kremer, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, said, “I don’t know where the tea party’s going to go.” “I think it’s going to be a very bumpy ride, and it could get pretty ugly,” said Kremer, who hasn’t endorsed a candidate yet.
We have the GOP elite against the rest of the party, the non-elite (“tea partiers”) who don’t fall in line behind Romney and the elite leadership the way they should. Here’s elitist George Will, venting his frustration with the uncontrollable Newt Gingrich:
[Gingrich] is thoroughly anti-conservative. He disdains the central conservative virtue, prudence, and exemplifies progressivism’s defining attribute — impatience with impediments to the political branches’ wielding of untrammeled power. He exalts the will of the majority. . .

Atop the Republican ticket, Gingrich would guarantee Barack Obama’s reelection, would probably doom Republicans’ hopes of capturing the Senate and might cost them control of the House.
Is Will right? Are Republicans likely to win only with elite candidate Mitt? The Eastern seaboard world Will lives in thinks so. GOP intellectuals understandably have a high opinion of the ruling class that dominates their Eastern neighborhood, and that has only grudgingly made a place at the table, though far from the center, for articulate Republicans with proper leadership credentials like Will. If Mitt’s the nominee, the election might become a competence debate Obama could lose. From Will’s perspective, "tea partiers" on the other hand seem likely to lead the GOP down the 1964 Goldwater path to crushing defeat.

Gingrich, Perry, and others are bold colors, Romney is Mr. Pale Pastel, and Will, who once embraced Reagan, now wants pale pastel.

Karl Rove is from Texas but has lived among the Washington, D.C. elite for a decade, and works now for the conservative elite FOX News and Wall Street Journal. His current analysis reveals the “pale pastel” of “inside baseball” politics, missing the “bold colors” of a revolution that liberates capitalism from government’s yoke and fuels economic expansion:
a Gallup poll of Nov. 28-Dec. 1 shows that fewer Americans (45%) now believe income inequality "represents a problem that needs to be fixed" than believed that in 1998 (52%). . . Republicans can argue that Democratic class warfare would penalize achievement and diminish prosperity. That Mr. Obama's goal is redistribution, not success. That over the past three years this approach has resulted in persistently high unemployment, anemic growth and economic hardship.
Would you be excited about income inequality bothering "only" 45% of the people instead of 52%--nearly half the country still with Obama's big issue? And what about “persistently high unemployment, anemic growth and economic hardship”? Is that really a problem of “the past three years” as Rove says, or did it begin under Rove’s man George Bush? Rove skips past the real issue: big government's gigantic growth under Obama, growth that began under Bush. Conservatives are focused on big government crushing economic growth. Rove isn’t.

Elsewhere, Rove predicts Obama’s defeat because:
Scandals . . . will metastasize, demolishing the president's image as a political outsider. By the election, the impression will harden that Mr. Obama is a modern Chicago-style patronage politician, using taxpayer dollars to reward political allies and contributors.
Really, Mr. Rove. You think the upcoming election will turn on scandals, even though people personally like Obama? Bold colors, Mr. Rove, bold colors.

Former Reagan/Bush 41 speechwriter Peggy Noonan, in the Wall Street Journal, has provided her personally revealing look at conservative elite concerns. Writing about the movie “Iron Lady,” a portrayal of former British prime minister and conservative hero Margaret Thatcher, Noonan fixes on Thatcher’s sex:
Thatcher's very presence was an insult to the left because it undermined the left's insistence that only leftism and its protection of the weak and disadvantaged would allow women to rise. She rose without them while opposing what they stood for.
Women of Thatcher’s and Noonan’s generation certainly did battle to rise in a man’s world. And it was an even bigger challenge for conservatives, because liberals do favor women because they’re from a disadvantaged class government seeks to protect. But what about Thatcher? Wasn’t she first and foremost a “bold color” revolutionary, less significantly a female, unlike Noonan, who goes for “pale pastel” Romney?

Daniel Henninger, member of the conservative Wall Street Journal elite editorial board and a Romney backer, has at least noticed how strong is the opposition to Romney, with Mitt’s support numbers constantly stuck at 25%. That means 75% of Republicans want someone else. Henninger writes:
[Romney] should be worried. These Republican protest fish have sharp teeth. Unless fed something soon, they may tear the Romney campaign to pieces. And there are a lot of them. Political commentary sometimes refers to . . .second-tier candidates as appealing to "the tea party vote." This is intended as condescension—you know, it's those people. . .

This vote has been building in the depths of the American political ocean since the spending spree of the second Bush term. These people see the upward spending trend in annual outlays and accumulated commitments not as a "problem," as the Beltway prefers, but as a threat to their well-being.

The Romney campaign may assume that this vote must land by default in their man's lap. . . But if [Romney] doesn't reach out pretty soon to the Paul-Perry-Bachmann Republican protest voters, he may never get them. The longer he waits, the more pressure will build for a third-party challenge that will cost him the election.
It’s unfortunate Republicans seem stuck with Romney. Here’s from CNBC’s Larry Kudlow’s interview of Paul Ryan, the House budget chair and one of the non-candidates who would have been able to unite the whole party:
[Ryan] believes “there is a shift to the right” in the country, “toward free-market approval. . .The country will not accept a permanent class of technocrats that will diminish freedom, enhance crony capitalism, and allow the economy to enter some sort of managed decline.”

Ryan talks about . . . “fighting paternalistic, arrogant, and condescending government elites who want to equalize outcomes, create new entitlement rights, and promote less self-government by the citizenry.” . . Ryan wants “the right to rise” [and rejects a] “ruling system of big business, big government, and big-government unions [that] does violence to the notion of entrepreneurial capitalism. . .Whether it’s TARP, Fannie or Freddie, cap-and-trade, or Obamacare, this must be stopped.”

Ryan stands against what he calls “the moral endgame to equalize outcomes. No consolidation of power into a permanent political class. Equality of opportunity, not result.” Drawing from the Declaration of Independence, Ryan believes that individual citizen power in a democracy comes from God and natural rights [and flows] directly to the people. It complements what Reagan always said: Government works for the people, the people don’t work for government.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yearend Reading: Obama Happy, Economy Up

“the major media aren't in the news business. They're political activists abusing their power to propel Obama to re-election”

--Jed Babbin, American Spectator

“People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to.”

-- Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990)

Obama’s poll numbers are back in re-elect territory. For the first time since his “bin Laden bounce” last Spring, the RealClearPolitics average has his approval ratings at 47%, historically, the minimum level that makes re-election possible. Obama is also within about 1% of being “right-side up” in the polls, meaning his approval rating would exceed his disapproval rating.

How is this possible?

The only issue that matters is the economy. Democrats, we thought, wanted power because they believed they knew how to make the economy create jobs. Democrats have the brains. Democrats know how to pull Washington’s levers of power. Democrats are the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Clinton, presidents who created jobs. And Obama is failing to create jobs, to generate growth. Surely Democrat Obama is headed for defeat, based on poor job performance. Or so one would think.

Ah, but the fight for power, not so simple. First, we have a unified national elite, a meritocracy that has fought its way to the top and will do anything to remain on top. This elite, this minority, rules through the Democratic Party, which links to millions who believe they are dependent on big government—bureaucrats, unmarried women, minorities.

Second, the national elite, anti-business, pro-big government, controls the national dialog through its media, arts, and entertainment. They lie, and talk to those who believe their lies (Muggeridge above). They are absolutely committed to Obama’s re-election (Babbin above). And, shockingly to me, they don’t really care about competence. As Rush Limbaugh perceptively noted, "the left doesn't want to be judged on the results of anything they do. They only want to be judged on their good intentions."

The deck is stacked. The game is fixed. Yes, and what’s new? You play politics with the house’s cards. That’s life.

So setting aside the stacked deck, why is Obama surging?

Answer: some good economic news. The stock market is ending the year in “healthy” territory, which according to our FOX Index, is a Dow of 12,000, an S&P of 1,300 and a NASDAQ of 2,500—total 15,800. Right now, the Index is plus 191 (see chart). The unemployment rate is down to 8.6%, after being over 9% for most of Obama’s term. Weekly unemployment claims fell by 4,000 last week to 364,000, the third straight weekly drop, bringing the four-week average of claims down for the 11th time in 13 weeks to its lowest level since June 2008.

Furthermore, the economy added at least 100,000 jobs each month from July through November, the best five-month streak since 2006. And the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose strongly in November for the second straight month, with the economy on track to grow at a 4% percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, something it hasn’t done since the first quarter of 2006. And the price of gasoline is lower. Actual evidence that people are feeling better comes from increased retail sales this Christmas season.

On the other hand, government revised the GDP downward in the third quarter from 2% to 1.8%, and GDP growth for the full year will almost certainly stay below 2%. Housing prices continue to fall, with the Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 leading markets showing a 3.4% decline over the past year. The Euro crisis remains unsettled; it's a potential threat to U.S. growth in 2012.

On next year, Robert Samuelson, in the Washington Post, quotes economist Barry Eichengreen, a leading scholar of the Great Depression:
Given low interest rates and the still-weak U.S. economy, it will be tempting for the U.S. government to continue running deficits and issuing additional debt. At some point, however, investors will recognize this behavior for the Ponzi scheme it is. ... If history is any guide, this scenario will develop not gradually but abruptly. Previously gullible investors will wake up one morning and conclude that the situation is beyond salvation. They will scramble to get out. Interest rates in the United States will shoot up. The dollar will fall. The United States will suffer the kind of crisis that Europe experienced in 2010, but magnified.
A sober warning indeed. But should the economy continue to improve, Obama, according to the New York Times, does have a narrow path to re-election:
All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.
The very coalition we pointed to above, except that for some unknown reason, the New York Times left out unmarried women.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yearend Reading: Women on Top

In an article titled, “Women on Top, Men at the Bottom,” Philip Brand, a New Hampshire writer, has reviewed Kay Hymowitz’s new book, Manning Up: How the Rise of Women is Turning Men into Boys. Hymowitz believes that when male students graduate -- if they do -- they tenaciously hold to uncertainty, glancing off jobs and relationships, undecided about what to do and whom to love for a decade or so as "preadults," Hymowitz’s term for an unflattering metamorphosis.

Preadulthood is a consequence of two related economic trends that are reshaping both men and women. The first is the extended period of training -- college and beyond -- deemed necessary to the modern economy. The second is women's flourishing in the new economy, two developments that make Hymowitz's book so timely.

Hymowitz says economic changes drive cultural ones. She puts economic conditions first -- along with the increasing professional accomplishments of women. “Preadulthood” is "an adjustment to huge shifts in the economy, one that makes a college education essential to achieving or maintaining a middle-class life."

Hymowitz points to the lifetime earnings gap separating college graduates from those who have only a high school diploma. But a changing economy more friendly to the educated is also "very, very female friendly," offering women more career choices. Last year, women became a majority of the workforce: "At the heart of preadulthood is women's determination to achieve financial independence before marriage."

Right now, the "second sex" dominates higher education from attendance data to graduation statistics. After graduation, young single women out-earn men in nearly every U.S. city, and they are more than twice as likely to own real estate. More education typically means delaying marriage. The average college-educated woman now waits until 28 to wed. And what goes for the goose has to go for the gander. Forty years ago, 80% of men aged 25-29 were married. Today it's 40%.

Why do men suffer in “preadulthood”? Libertarian scholar Charles Murray blames government social programs that slam non-college males. Welfare state programs have had a devastating effect in many inner-city communities. Murray says that when “the children of the woman he sleeps with will be taken care of whether or not he contributes, then that [man’s] status goes away.”

Journalist Hanna Rosin, writing in the same vein, describes a group of men in Kansas City she calls "casualties of the end of the manufacturing era."
The 30 men sitting in the classroom aren't there by choice: Having failed to pay their child support, they were given the choice by a judge to go to jail or attend a weekly class on fathering, which to them seemed the better deal. Like them, [the social worker running the class] explains, he grew up watching Bill Cosby living behind his metaphorical "white picket fence" -- one man, one woman, and a bunch of happy kids. "Well, that check bounced a long time ago," he says..."All you are is a paycheck, and now you ain't even that...What is our role? Everyone's telling us we're supposed to be the head of a nuclear family, so you feel like you got robbed. It's toxic, and poisonous, and it's setting us up for failure." He writes on the board: $85,000. "This is her salary." Then: $12,000. "This is your salary. Who's the damn man? Who's the man now?" A murmur rises. "That's right. She's the man."

In his book Manliness, Harvard Professor Harvey Mansfield wrote to become a man is to develop a sense of duty, which means responding productively to life's challenges. Mansfield points to a U.S. Navy ad that shows men jumping from helicopters into the ocean on a rescue mission to "answer the call."

Today, however, men are unemployed, and the cause, Mansfield believes, is modernity, which relies on technology more than duty to satisfy our needs and protect us. The economy's productivity and the government's programs provide a baseline level of security that is the "very antithesis of manliness... The entire enterprise of modernity could be understood as a project to keep manliness unemployed."

Jonathan Rauch is another writer who like Hymowitz believes shifting economics is reshaping the American family. Rauch says the new model is delayed marriage and delayed family formation, as men and women pursue their education. This leads to new gender roles, with fatherhood redefined to include children's emotional well-being, and motherhood including bringing home a paycheck.

But Rauch is speaking to college graduates. Next year Charles Murray's new book Coming Apart will argue that American behavior in the core areas of marriage and family is dividing along class lines to an unprecedented extent. For the educated upper middle class, Rauch’s new model may work fine. But in the working class, intact families are an endangered species.

Murray compares the extent of marriage in the upper-middle class relative to the working class for those in the prime of life (ages 30-49). In the 1960s, 88% of those considered upper-middle class and 83% of those considered working class were married. In 2010, the figures were 83% and 48%. That 35 percent gap "amounts to a revolution in the separation of classes in this country...Marriage has collapsed in the working class." And the rate of out-of-wedlock births has skyrocketed. In 1960 only 6% of children of working class parents were born out-of-wedlock. Today the number is nearly 50%. (Note: Murray looks only at data for white Americans to underscore his argument that class, not race, is what divides us.)

A new Pew study has figures similar to Murray’s. In 1960, nearly three-fourths of those 18 and older were married. By 2010, that number had plummeted to 51%. Four in 10 births were to unmarried women. In 1960, the most- and least-educated adults were equally likely to be married. Now, nearly two-thirds of college graduates are married, compared with less than half of those with a high school diploma or less. And those with less education are less likely to ever marry and more likely to divorce if they do. Looking at the figures, Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution concluded that “family structure is a new dividing line in American society.”

: On top, married, educated women. On the bottom, unmarried, uneducated men.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Some Things To Think About (#1)

U.S. still welcomes business.

Here’s some good news to focus on at Christmas, during admittedly rough economic times. According to the World Bank, the U.S. ranks #4 in “ease of doing business,” behind only Singapore, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, that is, behind a city, a Chinese “administrative region,” and a country that—combined—have only 16 million people (click on chart to enlarge).

The World Bank, once known for massive loans to under gird massive infrastructure projects, has come to appreciate the valuable work entrepreneurs perform in generating economic growth. So it now focuses assistance on helping nations improve their own business climate through laws that encourage business formation and a predictable, level playing field. Of its ten “ease of doing business” criteria, only “getting electricity” is infrastructure-related.

The U.S. certainly could do better, however. On “ease of paying taxes,” another of the ten indicators, America ranks a lowly #72.

Monday, December 12, 2011

No! Not Newt!

Newt Gingrich “embodies almost everything disagreeable about modern Washington.”

--George Will

As we just said, the New York-Washington D.C. Republican establishment is appalled at Newt Gingrich’s apparent lead over Mitt Romney. Here’s the National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru, in his column, “Romney’s the One”:
there is a limit to how much political risk conservatives should want a president allied to them to take. Most of the time conservative activists should be trying to reduce the risks of advancing conservative initiatives rather than to goad elected officials to political recklessness. Conservatives should, that is, point the way for ambitious politicians to advance good ideas that can command the support of a national center-right majority.
Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, at the liberal website “Politico,” provide their take on the angst hitting the GOP establishment:
the pro-Romney Republican donor and operative class has been taken aback by Gingrich’s rise, mystified as to why conservative activists would want to nominate a candidate they view as a sure-fire loser against President Barack Obama. The GOP conversation now in New York and Washington is ablaze with talk of the former speaker’s 1968-style Nixon comeback and whether it will last. Some Republican insiders are intrigued by it, others nothing short of horrified. [emphasis added]
But Milton R. Wolf, writing at the less-respected, non-elite Washington Times, points out that Romney, the ex-Massachusetts governor:
was elected initially in 2002 but couldn’t crack 50% of the popular vote. By the end of his first and only term, he had an anemic 34% approval rating and a 65% disapproval rating. Survey USA ranked Romney’s popularity 48th out of the 50 governors. With that, the supposedly electable Mitt Romney walked away rather than face the voters.
And Charles Hurt, in the same, apparently anti-Romney Washington Times, wrote that “the problem for Mitt is that these are not normal times. These are desperate times. We don’t need competence. We need a revolution. And this is where Newt shines.”

“We need a revolution.”

Christian Whiton at FOX News has caught exactly the same point—Gingrich, the Gingrich candidacy, threatens not only the Obama legacy but also the GOP junior elite:
Gingrich has the audacity to imagine that Washington can be run without his own party’s establishment. Their assumption of dominating the next Republican administration is not safe if it is Gingrich. He is not proposing to replace the Democratic piano player at the brothel that is Washington with a slightly sterner-sounding Republican. Instead, he claims he will close the brothel. And the establishment of his own party just knows that can’t happen. In their lives, it never has. And where are they then to go for their pork and porking?
“A revolution.”

It’s ironic, but the GOP junior establishment’s animosity toward Newt may actually push him toward the party’s nomination. As ex-Reagan-Bush speechwriter Peggy Noonan recently noted, “The antipathy of the establishment not only is not hurting [Gingrich] . . . it may be helping him. It may be part of the secret of his rise.”

What happened to the wooden stake?

"cream rises to the top"

--English idiom

There is a junior establishment in the Washington D.C.-New York power axis. And it is quietly going crazy because of Newt Gingrich’s rise. This junior establishment is like a shadow cabinet in Britain—people from the opposition party with all the credentials and the qualifications to take over when the opposition regains power. They expect power. They have earned it; cream risen to the top based on merit.

The junior elite’s voices are conservatives with credentialed publications—David Brooks at the New York Times, George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post, Peggy Noonan and Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal. They believe in elite rule, a nation guided by our “best and brightest.” They just all believe, in sharp contrast to liberal orthodoxy, that the best brains since William Buckley founded National Review in 1955 are in the establishment’s junior, less respected, conservative branch.

Just as Democratic elitists tolerate the lower-class, government-dependent voters whose support provides their only path to power, so do Republican elitists tolerate the less-educated rubes who make up the GOP majority. Naturally, however, the junior elite use all powers at their fingertips, including their few national media allies, in a determined effort to keep Republican party control in the elite’s hands.

The GOP elite have been perplexed by what they see as a dangerously thin field of qualified Republicans seeking the presidency in 2012. Preferred candidates Jeb Bush (ex-Florida governor), Paul Ryan (House budget chair), John Thune (South Dakota senator), Mitch Daniels (Indiana governor), and Chris Christie (New Jersey governor) all (along with the feared and detested Sarah Palin) declined to run, while Tim Pawlenty (ex-Minnesota governor) and John Huntsman (ex-Utah governor) failed to catch on. That left the current group, which fortunately includes the wealthy, steady, handsome, and qualified Mitt Romney. For months, it’s been Romney or bust.

And all Romney, until now. Romney has remained in first or second spot in the polls through the boomlets for Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain. But now comes Newt Gingrich, the out-of-control ex-House speaker who self-destructed in 1997-98 with his losing effort to shut down the federal government in 1995, followed by his disastrously ill-timed ethics and personal problems at the height of the Republican effort to impeach President Clinton.

Gingrich, forced out as Speaker, resigned from the House in 1998. As we have said, Democrats successfully demonized Gingrich in the 1990s—he became the face of all that was wrong with Republicans. Our junior elite remembers those days well and loathes Gingrich, partly for what he did to the GOP brand.

Gingrich tried to come back earlier this year, but self-destructed again in May when he attacked Paul Ryan’s budget-balancing plan as “right wing social engineering,” followed by a two-week Greek island cruise with his third wife (a women who has benefited from Gingrich’s $250,000-$500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s), an ill-timed vacation that led to the June mass resignation of most of his campaign staff.

Now Newt’s back again, stronger than ever, much to the delight of a Democratic elite that believe Gingrich will be easily demonized once again, and to the abject terror of the Democrats' elite Republican opponents, who are asking, “Where was that wooden stake when we needed it most?”

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some Things To Think About (#2)

Hatred of business is killing us.

As Friedrich Hayek put it, socialism’s “fatal conceit” is believing that always-flawed markets can be fixed by bright people with good intentions. Not so. People who understand business create jobs, while those who act on the “fatal conceit” treat business at the enemy, and destroy jobs as a result.

George Will, in the Washington Post, uses the Carl’s Jr. story to point out how business helps the people progressives profess to favor, and how progressives respond by killing jobs. Of Carl’s Jr. managers, 84% are minority and 67% are women. And in business-friendly Texas, Carl’s Jr. will open 300 outlets over the next decade, versus nearly 0 in California, dominated by progressive, anti-business laws.

Will ends with a quote from Barack Obama’s autobiography. In it, the president tells us that during his very brief sojourn in the private sector, he felt like “a spy behind enemy lines.”

After listening to a recent Obama “screed” against entrepreneurial success, former congressional budget office chief Douglas Holtz-Eakin asks, “Why attack that which you need most?” Why indeed, if not because business is the enemy.

So which party is the enemy of job creation?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Some Things To Think About (#3)

1990s v. 2010s

In 2008, Barack Obama ran against Hillary Clinton and the era of which she was a part. The ‘90s, a time of partisan division, a time of narcissistic greed—the excesses of Hillary’s husband Bill Clinton and his crony capitalist pals, and a time of Democratic triangulation, instead of standing up for the disadvantaged.

Oh how different it all looks now. We look back on the 1990s as years of booming growth and balanced budgets; the last time America really worked (both meanings). Years of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. Can Newt ride those memories to the GOP nomination? Byron York, in the Washington Examiner, writes:
when outsiders think of the two greatest policy achievements of the Clinton years -- a balanced budget and welfare reform -- they know Gingrich can legitimately claim a lot of credit for both. So what if he was abrupt with colleagues? Or, for that matter, if he was the target of a Democratic-driven ethics attack?
America worked then, as it doesn’t work now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Some Things To Think About (#4)

Christie to Newt

We wanted Chris Christie for president, and alas, it didn’t happen. Today, while Christie supports Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, in a larger sense, Christie is running interference for Newt’s presidential image (pictures).

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Big Success, No News: World Poverty Cut in Half

You didn’t know, did you? In 2000, the United Nations set a “millennium development goal” of cutting in half between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people living in poverty. The share of those in poverty in 1990 was 45% of the world’s population. The target, a proportional one, was to reduce from 45% to 23% by 2015 the share of those living in poverty. The actual number in developing countries living on less than $1 a day, the definition of extreme poverty, in 1990 was 1.8 billion.

The UN now estimates that by 2015, the share of the world’s people living in poverty won’t be 23%, it will be down to 15%! And in absolute numbers, which was not the target goal, the 1.8 billion in the developing world living in extreme poverty will be down to 900 million, meaning that in a larger world with more people, the absolute number living on $1.25 a day (the new definition of extreme poverty; it accounts for inflation) will have been cut in half. This is an amazing success.

East Asia is responsible for the sharpest reduction in poverty, particularly China, along with India to its south. The number of people living in extreme poverty in both countries fell by about 455 million between 1990 and 2005, and 320 million more people are expected to join their ranks by 2015. In that year, India’s poverty rate will be down from 51% in 1990 to just 22%, and China’s will be down to a mere 5%! Shouldn’t we be celebrating, and let me be blunt, capitalism’s success? (Download the “The Millennium Development Goals Report, 2011" here.)

Some Things To Think About (#5)

Clinton to Newt

It’s passing strange to our Washington-New York chattering class that Newt Gingrich might actually grab the GOP presidential nomination from the well-prepared and packaged Mitt Romney. In her column “The Comeback Kid of 2012,” ex-GOP speechwriter Peggy Noonan refers to what is known as “the baggage problem”—Gingrich’s past errors and foibles. It’s supposed to finish Newt. But, Noonan asks, what about Clinton’s past?
“the baggage problem”[‘s] impact on voters is [hard] to predict, in part because many [voters] have lived through and fully experienced the past 40 years in America. Bill Clinton, if he ran for president tomorrow, would probably win in a landslide, and he has enough baggage to break the trolley carts of 10 Amtrak porters.
Clinton has made it easier for voters to accept an older, wiser Newt.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Unemployment Drop to 8.6% is Wow

Unemployment is down to 8.6%. As TIME’s Stephen Gandel writes:
The unemployment rate in November dropped faster than it has in more than 11 years. You have to go back to September 2000 to get a quicker decline. What's more, the jobless percentage, which fell to 8.6% in November from 9.0% a month before, was the lowest it's been in two and a half years.
The big unemployment drop, of course, is soft, based as it is on a drop in those searching for work (they have instead given up), and an early Thanksgiving that pushed 2011 Christmas hiring gains into November. Still, any large drop in unemployment is good news. Especially for Obama. Conservative Don Surber at the Charleston Daily Mail says the 8.6% rate is “a godsend for the president” and only half-jokingly adds the number should send Obama’s approval rate above 50% (it’s currently at 43%).

And at the same time, stocks ended a “stellar week,” with Dow up 7%, its biggest weekly gain since July 2009, the S&P 500 up 7.4%, its best weekly performance since March 2009, and the Nasdaq up 7.6%, its second-best weekly rise this year. Our FOX Index with a Dow at 12,019, an S&P of 1,244, and a NASDAQ at 2,627 has at a total of 15,890. The Index arrived back in “healthy” territory (a Dow of 12,000, an S&P of 1,300 and a NASDAQ of 2,500—total 15,800) at plus 90 (see chart), after mostly being in an “unhealthy” range since July.

Here below our look at how, with 10 months left, Obama is doing measured against his two most important employment targets: the unemployment rate and total number of jobs when he took over in January 2009: