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Friday, April 22, 2011

President Obama's Deficit Speech and S&P's Forecast

Everyone in the country should be embarrassed of what happened at Obama's speech a few days ago. I have already mentioned the fundamental flaws in Obama's plan to "deal with the deficit," but the most annoying aspect is how he behaved during the speech.

First of all, remember that his only significant proposal made during the speech was to set up another task force, a pillar of big government. Considering the fate of the last task force (it did nothing), this is meaningless and will serve as little more than a facade behind which Obama can continue his uninhibited spending practices. 

What makes this so bad is not that Obama failed to give a sufficient plan of his own, but that he spent a bulk of his time bashing the plan of one of the few people who are willing to take a stand: Paul Ryan going as far as calling it "un-American." Is Ryan's plan perfect? No, it does not cut enough and fails to take a strong enough position on Medicare, but it is a milestone in the right direction.

Is Ryan's plan popular? Certainly not to the vocal minority of fiscal liberals, yet Ryan took the initiative, created the plan, and has proven that it is absolutely necessary to prevent impending disaster. 

So, Ryan was invited as a Presidential Guest to this speech. Sitting in the front row, he was then subjected to Obama's virulently partisan tirade. Painting Ryan as a monster proves that not only does Obama lack leadership in this arena, but that he has no idea of how to confront the problem of the deficit. Did it ever cross the mind of anyone in the administration that attacking a responsible American may not be the best course of action? To use cliches, not only does Obama not "have guts," but he chooses to attack one of the few who do. 

It is quite poetic that after our President proved he was unwilling to control his spending, that S&P took a step that had never taken before. "Because the U.S. has, relative to its ‘AAA’ peers, what we consider to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable." Maybe this will finally teach Obama the meaning of "unsustainable," but I doubt it: it's so much easier just to raise taxes.

I feel bad for what Paul Ryan had to sit through: I can only hope that he goes very far in politics- for all of our sakes.



(P.S. For those of you who did not know, Ryan requires all of his staffers to read Atlas Shrugged. That's certainly a sign of a good congressman.)

12 comments:

  1. I feel almost bad for Ryan. His plan is good, but will be ridiculed by class warfare politics.

    Thanks for checking out Pundit Press. Following the site if you'd like to do the same.

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  2. Yep: when the people with good ideas are ridiculed in this way, our poliitical system has definitely reached a near bottom point.

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  3. your blog title declares that you are attempting to apply objectivist prinicples to politics. i would be very interested to hear about what you think these principles are

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  4. I'm aware that Ayn Rand was not a wholehearted supporter of Libertarian causes, but I have also heard that that was because she feels that they "took her ideas" without giving her credit and often critizing her.

    In the modern political system, a government crafting foreign and domestic policy with Objectivism in mind would obey basic libertarian principles. While maintaining the rights to life, liberty, and property, the government ought to increase economic and personal freedoms to the greatest degree possible. Tangible examples would include an isolationist foreign policy where the government does not get involved unless it directly affects national security. On the economic side of things, I think establishing the "Fair Tax" would be a morally and economically satisfactory source of revenue.

    What are your thoughts on the subject?

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  5. the government ought to increase economic and personal freedoms to the greatest degree possible

    this is very vague - what would this mean in practice? also, you seem to be advocating some action on the part of government here

    by 'principles', i don't mean to ask you if you support mom and apple pie - that is, vague principles that nobody could object to. i want to find out how you feel that your 'objectivist' philosophy is different from other philosophies of government current today. for example, you say we should have a "foreign policy where the government does not get involved unless it directly affects national security". yet, any president wishing to intiate a foreign policy action strives to find a way to describe it as directly affecting national security, so setting at standard this way is effectively saying you are in favor of motherhood and apple pie. do you see what i mean here?

    on another subject, how do you feel about these propositions:

    1) any society that doesn't do anything it can to assure that every child gets the best education, nutrition, and health care possible is damaging its future. children cannot choose who they are born to

    2) teddy roosevelt demonstrated the necessity of government action against those who he called "malefactors of great wealth", in other words, those who used their economic influence to force other people to do what they wanted, as when standard oil used its monopoly status to extract special rates from the railroads that put other companies at a competitive disadvantage since they had to pay more to move things on a railroad than friends of standard oil did. roosevelt used the power of the federal government to intervene in these activities to restore a level playing field

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  6. The current system of government seeks to control the individual in order to achieve what is best for the collective: that can't happen under an Objectivist government. Legislation that prohibits the use of drugs (ones that will only harm you) is an example of this. Banning smoking in private spaces (bars, offices, etc.) do the same thing: stripping the rights of the property owner in favor of anyone and everyone else.

    I'm not sure that all presidents' foreign policies are as strict as an Objectivist would like them to be. For example, President Obama mentioned averting a humanitarian crisis as the basis for action in Libya. McCain has supported regime change in the Middle East to "be on the right side of history" and "support freedom." None of those directly affect national security (and could even be harmful in the cases of our ally Mubarak and potential ally Gaddafi). In contrast to the views of some Libertarians, I saw military intervention in Iraq as fair because of the danger of the suspected WMDs. I see stark contrast between a policy where the U.S. acts as the world's freedom police and one where the government acts strictly in our own interests.

    1. While that may be true, providing education, nutrition, health care, etc. also comes at someone else's expense. In this case it would be taxpayers would do not necessarily want their money to be spent on that cause. Each person's goal should be the fulfillment of their own happiness: no one (especially the government) should be able to make the judgmental call for someone else as to where their money should go. That's why private charity is so much more powerful.

    America was founded upon the principles of social mobility. With hard work, people can increase their socio-economic status for themselves or their children regardless of where they came from. A UCLA professor did a study which showed that 50% of people moved up from the position they were born into (10% stayed the same and 40% went down).

    2. It is not the government's place to involve itself in the private matters of corporations. The beauty of the free market is that after a while (when the need becomes great enough) a genius innovator will come along and change things. Rather than the government breaking up monopolies (and in a sense stealing from those who created the corporations), let the free market take care of it. It's more morally acceptable (to an objectivist).

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  7. In this case it would be taxpayers would do not necessarily want their money to be spent on that cause. ... no one (especially the government) should be able to make the judgmental call for someone else as to where their money should go

    i didn't want my tax money to go to taking over iraq. i don't want my tax money to go to buying weapons systems that even the pentagon doesn't want. i do want my tax money to go to providing food, health care, and education to poor children whose parents can't afford it. if, as you say, "no one (especially the government) should be able to make the judgmental call for someone else as to where their money should go", then i should have been able to call up george bush and tell him to not spend any of my tax money on taking over iraq, and to please spend it all on assisting poor children

    but i can't

    aren't my wishes as a citizen and a taxpayer exactly equal in value to yours as another citizen and taxpayer?

    in this country, the system we use to decide where our tax money gets spent is a representative democracy. if you wish to change spending priorities, you need to vote for people who you think will do this. or do you wish to change this?

    That's why private charity is so much more powerful.

    this is an empirically false statement

    It is not the government's place to involve itself in the private matters of corporations

    this issue is not covered in the constitution or statutes of the united states. where do you think that you derive the authority to make this statement?

    The beauty of the free market is that after a while (when the need becomes great enough) a genius innovator will come along and change things. Rather than the government breaking up monopolies (and in a sense stealing from those who created the corporations), let the free market take care of it.

    "in theory, theory and practice are the same thing; in practice, they are not"

    in practice, the free market has never "taken care" of the fact that monopolies stamp out competition. in fact, adam smith explicitly objected to the monopolies of the 18th century, and specifically stated that government action was required to restrain the power of corporations

    please take care to compare your theories with reality and history before making categorical statements

    thank you

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  8. I saw military intervention in Iraq as fair because of the danger of the suspected WMDs

    i objected because i did not believe that there were any 'WMDs' in iraq beyond the poison gas that the reagan administration sold to saddam hussein

    i turned out to be correct, and you turned out to be incorrect, about this issue - there were no 'WMDs'

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  9. after a while (when the need becomes great enough) a genius innovator will come along and change things

    suppose a drug company releases a dangerous drug, or a food company puts a dangerous food on the market. (of course, this has happened many times)

    you may imagine that "the free market" will in time punish the company for this, and it very well might - in the long term

    but in the meantime you or your children may be killed by it. we are better off because the government attempts to stop this from happening through government regulation

    are you against government's attempt to keep you and your children from getting hurt or killed?

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  10. after a while (when the need becomes great enough) a genius innovator will come along and change things

    i'm sorry - i meant to say in reply to this statement:

    how old are you, really?

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  11. I think the government has three purposes: to provide for national security, a police force, and a judicial branch. Intervening in Iraq directly helped all citizens of the United States (that was the intent) and fulfilled one of the goals of government. The other things that you mentioned do not directly help all taxpayers. Democracy allows the majority to govern the individual, so there needs to be certain limits on it, particularly in the realm of spending.

    I said that the government should not involve itself in corporations because that can only lead to two things: crony capitalism or stealing from the people behind it.

    Extracting the "practical" from "theory" in the name of realism can be very dangerous. It will simply lead to questionable moral practices. Clarence Thomas once said something along the lines of "if something is wrong, it's wrong even if it is only over one penny."

    In the pharmaceutical company case, I would be opposed to government intervention. First of all, a disaster of this sort is not inevitable. Consumer pressure can achieve many of the same goals of the FDA by elevating the companies who are more responsible with the drugs they produce. Then, in the spirit of competition all companies would follow in the path of safety. When the free market can succeed in this way, why set the government on the dangerous path of increasing size?

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  12. Most people have no idea what is behind this countries current financial and economic woes. A new blog seeks to explain the economic and financial system and the problems in plain terms all can understand.

    http://canonicalthoughts.blogspot.com

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