And now for the fifth of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Chuck Asay.

Saddled with debt

Our government running up debt is a reality, and has been since before our country was founded. Article VI of the Constitution mentions that the new United States would still be responsible for all the debts incurred by the previous Confederation government. And pretty much every administration since then has run up the nation’s debt. But under President Obama deficit spending has ramped up to a whole new level. Here’s a telling graphic that is often posted at Gateway Pundit’s site:

Obama debt

Chillingly, the deficit run up by this administration in 2010 alone is close to $1.5 trillion. That’s in addition to what you see in the graph, which contains only figures up to 2009.

And what have we actually received for the $3 trillion deficit run up by President Obama’s administration? And how many generations ahead will be paying for this useless extravagance?

Here is the fourth of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Lisa Benson.

Bush's tax cuts expiring

The tax cuts that President Bush pushed for are slated to expire January 1st, 2011. And for many Americans, it means a tax hike. You can calculate and see if that’s the case using this handy form from the Tax Foundation. I did a quick test and found out that I’ll be coughing up almost $2,500 more if the tax cuts go away. I don’t know about you, but $2,500 is a bunch of money!

But there is something else worth considering. Bush’s tax cuts have and will affect the overall economy. The tax cut law was signed by President Bush on May 28, 2003, and the effect was quickly seen. The GDP growth for the second quarter of 2003 was 1.10%, but in the third quarter, with the tax cuts in effect, the GDP growth was 2.25%. GDP growth more than doubled, thanks to cutting the top rates people had to pay. Also interesting is the growth of private investment before and after the tax cuts. The private investment rate two quarters before the tax cuts kicked in were 0.61% and 0.42% while the two quarters afterwards were 3.96% and 4.50%. When people realized they could keep more of their hard-earned money, they were willing to invest it in the economy. Since the tax cuts had been heavily debated for a while before their passage, it’s very possible that many businesses and investors held off purchases and big spending until after the tax cuts kicked in.

Let’s take a look at where we are now. We are almost a mirror opposite of 2003. Instead of anticipating tax cuts and postponing activities, businesses are anticipating tax increases and hurrying to do what they can to earn before the taxes go up. As I see it, the rush by businesses and investors to get while the getting is good is boosting this weak economy. Once President Bush’s tax cuts expire, there won’t be nearly as much effort to work for less. I see a deeper recession if the tax cuts expire, and I’m not the only one seeing it.

“In a worst-case scenario, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and failing to fix the AMT could result in (1.5 percent) of fiscal drag in 2011 on top of the 1 percent fiscal drag we expect to occur as the Obama fiscal stimulus package unwinds,” Deutsche said in a note to clients. “If the recovery remains soft/tentative through early next year, this additional drag could be enough to push the economy to a stalling point.”

The opinion runs counter to that of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who said earlier this week that allowing the cuts to expire would not cause the economy to re-enter recession. The administration has proposed letting most of the tax cuts stand, but eliminating the ones for the top-tier earners.

Deutsche compared the situation to Japan in the 1990s, when the government let tax cuts expire and cut stimulus, leading to another leg down in the recession and ensuring the nation’s “lost decade” of no economic growth.

Our Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says that letting the tax cuts expire wouldn’t cause the economy to re-enter a recession. And government said that the multi-billion dollar stimulus would hold unemployment at 8%, but we are sitting at 9.5%. The administration doesn’t have a good record when it comes to foreseeing the results of their actions. Heck, our Treasury Secretary has a hard enough time just paying his own taxes.

How could we get out of our current recession? I have a plan that would do so in just three easy steps. But Congress would never do it because it means reducing their power. And they can’t have that.

Here is the third of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Michael Ramirez back in May, and it’s more applicable today.

Mexico's illegal alien hypocrisy

One of the complaints about the Arizona bill, as expressed by President Obama, was the terrifying scenario of some peace-loving Hispanic family going out to get some ice cream some evening and getting detained by the Arizona police for the crime of Driving While Hispanic.

Baloney.

The Arizona law specifically states that a person cannot be stopped merely because he looks like he’s not an American. That person must first be doing something that warrants police attention like shoplifting, speeding, violence, etc. And then only if the officer has a reason to suspect that the person in question was here illegally could he then ask about his citizenship. In Mexico, the police have the authority to detain and question anyone they like and ask about their citizenship, but I’ve already written about the problems with illegals crossing the southern border.

I said that this cartoon is more applicable today because U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down parts of the Arizona law:

The provisions blocked by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton included one requiring a police officer to determine the immigration status of a person detained or arrested if the officer believed the person was not in the country legally.

Bolton also halted provisions requiring immigrants to carry their papers at all times and making it illegal for people without proper documents to tout for work in public places.

Opponents of the Arizona law are applauding this ruling of Judge Bolton. One of their arguments against the law was based on it creating a patchwork of laws in the U.S. instead of one coherent law, but the Arizona law is merely enforcing the federal laws already on the books. How is that creating a patchwork of laws? On the other hand, there are plenty of sanctuary cities in the U.S., cities that have declared themselves friendly to illegal aliens and provide them sanctuary from federal laws. That is where the true patchwork of laws is in effect, but the federal government doesn’t say “boo” about them because the federal officials agree with them, regardless of what the law actually says.

Law professor William A. Jacobson wrote about this ruling today:

The Judge’s reasoning, particularly that the status check provision violated the 4th Amendment even as to persons already under arrest, applies just as easily to [outstanding warrants, child support orders, and non-immigration identity checks].

With a federal government which refuses to take action at the border until there is a deal on “comprehensive” immigration reform, meaning rewarding lawbreakers with a path to citizenship, this decision will insure a sense of anarchy. The law breakers have been emboldened today, for sure.

As it stands this afternoon, it is perfectly rational for someone faced with the choice of obeying the immigration laws or not, to choose not to do so. The choice of lawlessness makes a lot more sense than spending years winding through the byzantine legal immigration system, because the end result will be the same but lawlessness gets you here more quickly.

When the law and the federal government reward lawlessness, something is very wrong.

And finally, Rush Limbaugh put it pretty succinctly — “It is no longer illegal to be illegal, but it is illegal to ask someone about their immigration status.”

Here is the second in my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon. Today’s edition was drawn by Bruce Beattie last month.

BP dividend check

Look! It’s an oil-drenched bird bringing the guy his dividend check. Oh, the tragic irony!

Eh, not so much.

See, President Obama strong-armed BP into ponying up $20 billion to fund clean-up along the Gulf Coast and to help people whose businesses and livelihoods have been affected by the spill. But try as I may, I can’t find anything in either Section 2 or 3 of Article II in the Constitution that grants President Obama the authority to tell a foreign-owned company how to spend its money here. But much of what President Obama has done so far has been outside of his Constitutional powers.

But back to the dividend checks. The $20 billion isn’t coming from the coffers of BP. Instead, BP has suspended paying out any dividends to its stockholders to raise the money. So who is being given the bill for the BP payout? Could be you, if you own any BP stock or mutual funds that contain BP stocks, and about 40% of BP is owned by Americans. I sure hope you aren’t living off your investments, because President Obama has just taken some of your money.

What should he have done? There are billions of unspent stimulus money that should have been used. Then President Obama could have recovered the money by using the Justice Department to sue BP for any criminal negligence that contributed to the disaster. That would have freed up money to people harmed by the spill as well as keep paying out dividends to BP stock-holders.

OK, to get me back into the swing of posting stuff here rather than driving my wife nuts with my verbal ranting, [Yes please! --TPK] I’m going to use some political cartoons as a jump-off spot. I’m calling these posts Cartoon Wisdom.

First up, something by Lisa Benson.

Laser-like Focus

President Obama talks about having “saved or created” millions of jobs because of the multi-billion dollar stimulus. Back when the stimulus was being debated, the government put out some numbers of the jobs they expected to create. Now many months later, Republicans have checked out the reality of jobs in each market compared to what the Democrat stimulus promised would appear. Here is the table they published showing the prediction verses reality.

Industry

Administration Prediction of Job Creation by the End of 2010

Actual Change in Jobs since Stimulus (February 2009 – June 2010)

Construction

678,000

-853,000

Manufacturing

408,000

-707,000

Financial Activities

214,000

-310,000

Retail Trade

604,000

-286,800

Professional and Business Services

345,000

-211,000

Information

50,000

-158,000

Transportation and Warehousing

98,000

-155,600

Wholesale Trade

158,000

-135,400

Other Services

99,000

-72,000

Leisure and Hospitality

499,000

-69,000

Mining

26,000

-16,900

Utilities

11,000

-7,500

Government

244,000

+201,000

Education, Health and Social Services

240,000

+434,000

Total

3,675,000

-2,347,200

Over two million jobs lost in this economy, and yet President Obama is all to happy to claim that millions of jobs have been created or saved. Yeah. Right.

In every sector of the economy, jobs have been lost. But one sector has seen lots of growth, and that has been President Obama’s laser-like focus: government jobs. Interestingly enough, the list breaks it down into Government and “Education, Health and Social Services.” But here’s the dirty little secret: both sectors are government jobs.

But this isn’t a surprise to me since I have written about it already:

If you are uncertain how the current administration will react to some situation, just identify the action most likely to increase the government’s size and power, and you will know exactly how the government will act.

It’s about time I addressed a number of commonplace beliefs held in the United States which, while they often sound great in sound bites, are almost always based on flawed reasoning. I call these beliefs “American myths.”

Since 2010 is an election year, the news media will almost certainly begin to run more and more articles about the importance of voting and how everyone should vote. While I agree that voting is important, I disagree with the idea that everyone should vote. This is a common American myth.

Let’s think about it. First and foremost, anyone who isn’t an American citizen cannot and should not vote. It’s considered an act of fraud in every state, territory and dominion of the United States. Voting is a responsibility and a privilege associated with citizenship, but this idea isn’t universally understood. In San Francisco, certain people want everyone, citizen or not, to vote on local city issues. While non-citizens living in San Francisco will certainly be affected by local votes, they still remain non-citizens. Membership can and should have its privileges.

Are you aware that in the United States, convicted felons cannot vote? Since a felon has already demonstrated that he or she is not a good citizen, society has determined that a convicted felon loses the right to vote. Yes, this right may be restored after the felon has served his or her sentence, but until then, a felon cannot vote. I can’t help thinking this is a wise rule, especially when I try to imagine Charles Manson casting a ballot.

No one should vote more than once. Even if an individual finds some clever way to circumvent the many laws designed to stop people from registering and voting multiple times, he or she is still committing voter fraud. I include in this category those who damage or spoil ballots, those who browbeat or threaten other voters, and those who coach the mentally incompetent into voting for their chosen candidate or issue. In the American democratic process, no one should be allowed to get away with the thoroughly non-egalitarian idea that some votes are more equal than others.

Apathetic citizens who are otherwise eligible to vote, but who haven’t bothered to register by a certain deadline, cannot vote in the next election. Even if you’re a fully eligible U.S. citizen, you must register in your local voting district if you want to cast a legal vote. If you haven’t taken the paltry amount of time and effort required to register to vote, you won’t have much cause for complaint when the day comes around and you can’t participate because you’re not on the voter rolls.

Finally, while it isn’t illegal, no one ought to vote in ignorance. If you don’t care or can’t be bothered to find out about the issues brought before the public, why participate? There’s not much point in voicing your opinion if you don’t have one. Granted, Joe and Jane Citizen certainly have the right to walk haplessly into the voting booth and vote for candidates and initiatives based on the results of a coin toss. But every citizen who votes in ignorance is failing in his or her civic duties. During the Democrat run-off leading up to the 2008 elections, I heard someone at work say she couldn’t decide whether to vote for Barack Obama because of his race, or for Hillary Clinton because of her gender. Neither of these reasons had anything to do with the issues at hand. One of my wife’s relatives once stated that she voted for JFK because he was such a good-looking man. But neither the candidate’s nor the voter’s race, gender, or pulchritude should have any bearing on a vote. Instead, we need to take the time to do the research–read the voter guides, study the pros and cons of the initiatives on the ballot, find out what we can about the history and political beliefs of the candidates, then vote for the people and ideas that best fit our own political philosophy.

So should everyone vote? No. Only eligible citizens who have taken the time to carefully study the issues and candidates should vote, and vote once. Anything else is either illegal or ignorant. And we’ve had enough of that.