Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Three-Point Plan To Create Jobs

While the President is hyped about his latest jobs proposal, The New York Times is reporting that many employers say they do not plan to increase hiring because of the plan.

The problem with Obama's plan is that it does not address the core problems in our economy. We do not have high unemployment because Social Security taxes are two points higher than they need to be, because we lack an employment tax credit, or because government spending is too low. We have high unemployment because there is a high level of uncertainty coming from the government. Congress cannot agree on what course to take until the last moment, and those last-minute decisions have rarely been good for the nation. For example, when Congress could not come to an agreement on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts, Americans waited until December 7 before they knew how much would be withheld in the following year. Just as last-minute cramming rarely works for a college exam, last minute deal-making by Congress has not worked for the American economy.

Instead of offering tax credits and spending, we need to improve government involvement in American labor. Instead of uncertainity and last-minute deals in Congress, we need permanent solutions that employers can rely on when making decisions. A three-step approach would help solve our unemployment problems:

1) Decrease regulation. Regulation currently costs the American economy $1.75 trillion. If companies could cut the costs of regulatory compliance in half, they would have plenty of money to hire new employees. The money that would be saved would be larger than any stimulus plan the President could get through Congress. And the good news for the President is this: he can do it all on his own; no Congressional approval required.

2) Reduce corporate income taxes and eliminate loopholes. Corporations have become very good at dodging income taxes through loopholes. Replacing the current structure with a corporate flat tax will greatly assist corporations in planning for their futures. Eliminating loopholes will ensure that all corporations pay a "fair share" and cover for the loss of revenue from the flat tax.

3) Eliminate Obamacare. Companies still do not understand what impact this law will have on their finances. Many employers are currently considering or planning to eliminate health care when the mandate takes effect in 2014. They are choosing to do this because they would rather face the surety of the fine than the unsure prices in the healthcare market. As employers prepare to face rising prices or the fines, they are certainly not going to hire more than necessary and incur extra costs.

Employers are looking at the big picture, not the immediate one. Employers are not going to hire new employees because of a one-year reduction in payroll taxes or a tax credit. Employers may hire some new workers because of federal spending, but those jobs will only last until the money runs out. It is time to put together a plan of economic certainties that will help employers see a stable picture, and then they will consider hiring new employees.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Final Five: September 9, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 9, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

Yes, you read the headline correctly. A moose apparently got drunk by eating fermented apples off of a tree, and then got itself stuck in said tree while drunk. See the picture at FOX News.

Tonight's Final Five:

Shikha Dalmia argues on a column at Reason that Rick Perry is soft pedaling on Social Security. Dalmia says that instead of giving it credit as a Ponzi scheme, Perry should "tell it like it is" and say that it is worse than a Ponzi scheme.

Steve Jobs and Apple set the bar for innovation with new gadgets (iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.) What can we learn about entrepreneurship from one of the greatest innovators of all time.

Pressing the Pause Button...
To bring some laughs.
"Republicans actually decided not to give a rebuttal to President Obama’s jobs speech tonight. I guess they figured there’s already a rebuttal to his jobs speech: No jobs."
-Jimmy Fallon, 9/8/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Tax holidays usually only result in fewer taxes with no more net jobs created. Why? The problem was not caused by tax policy, and the problem will not be solved by tax policy. The New York Times explains why it will not work.

In order to win re-election, an incumbent has to have a population that believes they are better off now than they were when he took office. President Obama has a problem: only 15 percent of Americans fall into that category. Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake analyze the situation in the Washington Post.

Charter schools not only improve education for their students, but they also often improve education for students in nearby public schools as they strive to stay competitive. This provides a lesson in all areas (not only in education): competition makes the free market thrive. John Steele Gordon analyzes the debate at Commentary Magazine.

Tomorrow in History: September 10
September 10, 1846 - Elias Howe receives a patent for the first sewing machine using lockstitch design.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform them."
-James Madison

ACLU Claims Welfare Drug Testing Is Unconstitutional

The ACLU has sued claiming that a Florida law that requires drug testing for welfare recipients is an unreasonable search. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a 35-year-old Navy veteran, who released a statement saying, "I served my country, I’m in school finishing my education and trying to take care of my son. It’s insulting and degrading that people think I’m using drugs just because I need a little help to take care of my family while I finish up my education."

While I can understand the feeling, the ACLU seems to be unconcerned with another unreasonable seizure: seizing money of Florida residents to give to other people, including in some cases, drug users. I would contend that the program should be ended, but not because of Constitutional questions. In the first six weeks of the program, $1,140 was reimbursed to 38 people who tested negative, while only $240 was saved by denying benefits for two positive tests.

Ryan on CNBC: We Need Tax Reform, Not Tax Cuts

Paul Ryan was on CNBC this morning to discuss the President's jobs plan. He said that one of the problems with the plan was its reliance on temporary tax cuts instead of tax reform. Ryan said, "The payroll tax cut that, to me, is not a bad idea. It's always good to let people keep more of their own money. But it's no substitute for fundamental tax reform--for certainty. It's temporary stuff."

Uninsured Increase Under Obama

Despite Obama's focus on providing health insurance for the uninsured, and despite the Affordable Care Act, which promises to provide affordable health insurance for everyone, the percentage of uninsured Americans has actually increased under Obama. In the first half of the year, the uninsured percentage has incrheased to 16.8 percent, up 0.4 percent for the year and 3.9 percent over the course of the administration. While the individual mandate and subsidies have not taken effect yet, the implementation of high-risk pools took place at the start of the year and would be expected to reduce the number of uninsured. If Obama wants to make an impact on healthcare, he needs to consider these stats in addition to his so-called "success" with the Affordable Care Act.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Final Five: September 8, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 8, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

Michael Cembalest, Chief Investment Officer at JP Morgan, was having a difficult time explaining the European financial crisis. However, he turned to an assistant: his son, Peter, age 9. Peter decided that the easiest way to describe it would be using Lego minifigs. See his diagram at Wired.

Tonight's Final Five:

Back in 2008, McCain was expected to apologize for a remark made during his introduction. However, the President is not being held to the same standard in the wake of the Hoffa remarks last weekend. Hot Air analyzes the similarities.

To quote this wonderfully-worded article, "President Obama will this week be addressing a joint session of Congress that doesn't really want to hear from him about a jobs plan that he doesn't really have." Why is it that politicians take the biggest stage when they actually have nothing to say? The Wall Street Journal analyzes.

Pressing the Pause Button...
To bring some laughs.
"Ford is building a new plant that will create 5,000 jobs in India. Or as Obama put it, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”"
-Jimmy Fallon, 9/7/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Although Obama criticized many facets of Bush Administration policies, the fact that many still exist over half way through his Presidency show that they were the best option. Watch and read what Donald Rumsfeld has to say at Politico.

Need some examples of union stupidity. Read these five stories of how union rules hurt workers, and even killed others.

RedState has a video from the Cato Institute explaining why government spending will not create jobs. Watch the video and see what the Cato Institute proposes to create jobs.

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Tomorrow in History: September 9
September 9 marks the establishment of two names:
September 9, 1776 - The term "United States" was established as the official name of the union of sovereign states by the Continental Congress.
September 9, 1791 - The new federal district established as the capital of the United States is officially named Washington, D.C.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude....This is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering... And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."
-Thomas Jefferson

Is Obama a Broken Record?

The NRSC has a new video predicting what we will hear tonight in Obama's jobs speech, comparing his talk about jobs to a broken record.

Bachmann's $2 Gas: Genius or Stupidity

A USA Today article published yesterday declares Michelle Bachmann a "genius" for her claims that she would bring gas under two dollars. The article then goes on to claim that Obama should emulate her attempt to "be real" with the American people. However, I contend that Bachmann's claim is more stupid than genius.

Imagine the following scenario: Bachmann wins the Republican nomination and goes on to become America's first woman President. Her energy policies are successful and bring the price of gas down, but not quite to $2. As the average price reaches $2.30, demand begins to pick up and drive the price higher. The price settles near $2.75, certainly an improvement, but not quite what Americans were expecting. As Bachmann runs for reelection, "That will happen" becomes the new "Read my lips." With more than half the country never seeing $2 gas and no one seeing it on election day, Republicans stay home, allowing the Democratic nominee to win the Presidency.

It might seem strange that an electorate would stay home over gas prices, but as the USA Today article states, gas prices are very personal. Just as H.W. Bush's tax hike hit people in their paychecks, gas prices hit people on a weekly or biweekly basis when they fuel their cars. Although Bachmann should be commended for trying to get personal with the voters, it is ridiculous and stupid to make promises that you do not know you can keep.

Is The Estate Tax a Method for Redistributing Wealth?

According to one congressman, the answer is yes.

Obama's Jobs Speech: Too Much or Not Enough?

As Obama prepares tonight's address to the nation (or more likely, his address to all non-football fans), the word is that it will call for spending approximately $300 billion. However, it seems that everyone will have a problem with this plan; they will think it is too much, or not enough.

Those who support trickle-down economics will likely see this plan as being too much spending. They will want reductions in taxes and regulations instead of spending increases. Those who subscribe to Keynesian economics will see this plan as too small. Given the lack of success of a plan over two times the size of this proposal, they will argue that this spending package needs to be larger, not smaller.

Ultimately, it seems unlikely that Congress will go for any Obama spending plan, but it seems equally unlikely that Obama will go for any Republican plan. It seems more likely that any type of agreement is going to be developed in Congress in a bipartisan measure, similar to the other ridiculous compromises recently. Given these circumstances, one has to wonder if this speech is really a "State of the Union" type of address to Congress, or is it just a campaign speech in a government building.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Final Five: September 7, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 7, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

Hula Hooping isn't usually considered an educational activity. However, James Altucher writes a column showing six things that he learned from hula hooping with his girls, showing that we can learn from even the smallest things in life if we really want to.

Tonight's Final Five:

Victor Davis Hanson shows some landmark events that have gone undiscussed in the media since 9/11.

If we could invest in the business of regulation, someone would have made a fortune. Investors Business Daily shows how the regulation industry has expanded under the current administration.

Pressing the Pause Button...
To bring some laughs.
"Mitt Romney revealed a 59-point job plan at a big auto dealership. That shows you how smart Romney is. He knows that a politician only looks honest when he’s standing next to a car salesman."
-Jay Leno, 9/6/11

Now Back to The Final Five

John Podhoretz asks whether Obama is focused on jobs or focused on surviving the 2012 election.

With billions in spending expected to be proposed in tomorrow's speech, Obama's new jobs plan sounds very similar to his old jobs plan. RedState shows why what the President is expected to propose will not work any better than what he has already proposed.

Even liberals are beginning to question whether Barack Obama is the right man to lead this country. Should Obama face a primary challenge? Russ Smith examines the question and says, "When a Democratic president loses the op-ed braintrust of The New York Times, the jig is up."

Tomorrow in History: September 8
September 8, 1966 - The first episode of Star Trek premiered on NBC.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"There is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermeddle in religion. Its least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation."
-James Madison

Could Congress Survive a ... Pay Cut?

The Washington Post is covering the fate of several bills currently before Congress that would result in a pay cut for Congressmen, Senators, and with some, even the President and Vice President. While Congress has gone without a pay raise since 2008 (which according to Washington's messed-up budgetary principles is already a "pay cut"), there does not seem to be a large amount of support for cutting salaries. However, as the article states, "All those bills have one thing in common — none has gone anywhere."

TSA Shoe Restrictions To End

USA Today is reporting that the TSA is planning to reduce or eliminate the shoe removal requirement when passing through airline security checkpoints. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said, "We are moving towards an intelligence and risk-based approach to how we screen. I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on. One of the last things you will [see] is the reduction or limitation on liquids."

While this is a step in the right direction, it is not good enough. Elimination of the TSA and its unwarranted searches is the only viable solution warranted by the Constitution. Airlines and airports should be responsible for their own screening, not the bloated federal bureaucracy.

Solis's Selective Knowledge on Texas Labor

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis seems to have a selective memory when it comes to the employment record in Texas. She acts confused when asked to explain why Texas has the largest job growth, but she is sure that Texas has low pay, dangerous work conditions, and poor education.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Final Five: September 6, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 6, 2011

Would you like to read The Final Five from your e-mail instead of the blog? Starting next Monday, September 12, you can! Simply send an e-mail to finalfive@defenseoffreedomblog.com to sign up.

Tonight's Crazy Story

A restaurant in California has placed Obama stickers on its urinals. While most of the patrons laugh it off as a joke, the owner claims that the bathroom floor stays cleaner.

Tonight's Final Five:

Jeffrey Anderson at The Weekly Standard writes a 3-step plan to solve our health care problems without the expensive Obamacare plan.

With so many products 'Made in China' or in other foreign countries, it may seem hard to purchase primarily American-made goods. However, one man has shown that it is possible to live this way: 85% of his household items were American-made. Now, he spreading the word to inform others how to buy American.

Taking a break...
To laugh a little
"I read that a man from Illinois discovered $150,000 in his garden. Did you hear that, President Obama? A man from Illinois actually grew the economy."
-Jimmy Fallon, 9/6/11

Now Back to The Final Five

The President's jobs plan is to present spending and more spending, something that Republicans will certainly oppose. Seth Mandel at Commentary Magazine asks if this is going to be a jobs plan, or a blame-the-Republicans campaign speech?

Chuck Schumer said that we would "learn to like" Obamacare. So why do 57% of registered voters want it repealed? Possibly because we found out what was in the bill and still didn't like it. RedState sorts out the numbers on Obamacare and its economic impact.

The Justice Department's intrusion into the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is another example of our overreaching federal government. Steve Chapman at reason.com analyzes why the government has overstepped its bounds.

Tomorrow in History: September 7
September 7, 1963 - The Pro Football Hall of Fame opens in Canton, Ohio with 17 charter inductees.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes..."
-criminologist Cesare Beccaria, as quoted by Thomas Jefferson in "Commonplace Book"

Get Ready for Cowboy Poetry Festival 2012

The Blaze is alerting us that tickets for the 2012 Cowboy Poetry festival go on sale today! The festival, which gained its infamous reputation from a Harry Reid defense of federal spending, will take place from January 30-February 4, 2012 in Elko, Nevada. The link provides a video of a poem from the festival along with the Harry Reid speech.

As a financial sponsor of this event, I'll be waiting for my free ticket!

Is Obama In Trouble With Democrats?

Salon.com is raising the idea of a Democratic primary challenge for Obama. Reasons cited include his low approval rating, his even lower approval rating on economic issues, his loss of support among reliably-Democratic groups such as unions and youth, the decline in Democratic party affiliation since his election, market drops when the President speaks, his departure from the ideas of the Democratic base, and the fact that almost one-third of Democrats want a challenger. It would certainly be a difficult task to challenge a sitting President, but given recent polls, it might be possible to do it and win.

California Now Considering Ban on Shark Fins

As California struggles under massive debt and unemployment, it is reassuring to see the state legislature tackle such pressing issues such as fitted sheets, styrofoam containers, and now, shark fins. A bill currently being considered by the California Senate would make it illegal to possess, sell, or trade shark fins. I can understand the reasoning behind this bill: shark fins are so rare that sharks are sometimes captured and released just so that their fins can be cut. However, California has survived for years without a shark fin ban, and given the current economic problems this state is facing, it seems that the legislature should focus on solving them instead of other trivial matters such as shark fins.

Obama Speechwriter Headed to Hollywood

USA Today is reporting that Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett is leaving his job with the administration to become a comedy writer in Hollywood. The Defense of Freedom Blog would like to wish Mr. Lovett well in his future endeavors. His recent job experience shows that he is well qualified for his new position.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Final Five: September 5, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
September 5, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story

What do a Ferrari, a sex-change operation, and candy have in common? Someone actually believes that they will get you out of paying child support. The Huffington Post give four ridiculous (but real) excuses for failing to pay child support.

Tonight's Final Five:

With the President's jobs address coming this week, Jonah Goldberg writes a column on Townhall.com to discuss what the President should say.

Union leaders thought Obama would be their man, supporting initiatives to drive union membership back up. However, after facing legislative defeats in Wisconsin and Ohio and not getting their way in Congress, unions are feeling betrayed by the President they helped elect.

Taking a break...
for some humor
President Obama’s uncle was arrested for a DUI. His alcohol level was actually higher than Obama’s approval rating.
-David Letterman, 9/1/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) writes an Op-Ed for Politico to defend Republican priorities in the immigration debate. He says that before we suggest any type of immigration reform, we must deal with the border problem that has allowed so many illegal immigrants.

The Weekly Standard's blog discusses the recent raids on Gibson's guitar plants. Gibson's wood meets Forest Stewardship Council speficiations, but is under attack from the American government because they use American workers rather than native Indian workers. I am not condoning the violation of laws in other nations (if one occurred here), but it seems rather hypocritical for the American government to shut down a plant for using American labor and one week later, talk about the need to create American jobs.

A great analysis from Labor Union Report discussing the impact labor unions have on the unemployment and job creation.

Tomorrow in History: September 6
September 6, 1522 - The Victoria, one of Ferdinand Magellan's ships, arrives in SanlĂșcar de Barrameda, thus making its crew the first to record a circumnavigation of the globe. Unfortunately, Magellan was killed in battle in April 1521.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
-Alexander Hamilton
Editor's Note: Ironically, Alexander Hamilton died after sustaining a gunshot wound during a duel with Aaron Burr.

In Honor of Labor Day

We bring you this video from F.A. Hayek, where he speaks on the subject "How Unions Cause Unemployment."

President Obama Says Congress Needs To "Get On Board"


In a speech before union members today in Detroit, President Obama gave a hint of what his jobs plan will contain. Obama stated that there are bridges and roads that need to be rebuilt, and there are unemployed construction workers ready to do the job. He states that labor is on board, business is on board, he is on board, but Congress just needs to get on board. (By "get on board," he means, "agree with me.") This sounds very similar to the "tremendously successful" not-as-shovel-ready-as-we-thought shovel ready jobs plan. Given the success of the last plan, I'm not holding my breath.

Another Obama Promise Not Kept

In 2009, President Obama promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term. However, the White House's own budget numbers show that he is nowhere close to meeting that promise. Budget projections show a $1.3 trillion deficit this year, followed by a $956 billion shortfall in 2012 and a $648 billion shortfall in 2013. Those numbers fall short of the $530 billion mark that would represent the halfway point. If Obama had actually implemented some of his good ideas, such as pay-as-you-go budgeting (the law was passed but not enforced), posting bills online for at least 5 days, and cutting budget deficits, the country and the economy might look a lot different than it does today. Put simply, the "change" we got was not the "change" that was promised to us in 2008.

US Postal Service in Trouble

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds..."

These words are inscribed on the wall in a New York Post Office branch. However, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has warned that something other than bad weather could affect the Post Office this winter. According to Donahoe, the Post Office will not have the cash to make a retiree health payment later this month, and it could run out of money to pay salaries and benefits for current workers early next year. Donahoe stated, "Our situation is extremely serious. If Congress doesn't act, we will default."

There are two problems with the way the Post Office has been managed. First, this is another example of our government not being able to keep up with changing times. As online payments and e-mail have reduced mail volume, the USPS has been unable to effectively keep up with the changes. Innovative thinking by Congress could have solved this problem, but innovative thinking usually doesn't take place in our government.

Second, if Congress had handled this problem years ago, the situation would be much better. The Post Office did not suddenly start running deficits; it has been running deficits for years. If the problems had been dealt with when the deficits started, we would not be facing a Post Office default today. However, since the government has ignored the problem, it now faces a serious budget crisis. While it is too late to change what has happened to the Post Office, our leaders should learn from this problem and deal with other government programs (Social Security, etc.) before they face a similar fate.