A peculiar thing is occurring in the shadows of our economic disaster. More and more people are talking about President Ronald Reagan as they look for answers to solve today’s fiscal problems.
Liberals are trying to rewrite history by portraying Reagan as a big government Republican who raised taxes and would support President Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes to offset his irresponsible and reckless spending.
Reagan cut taxes, reduced government growth, deregulated many industries and created the largest economic expansion in U.S. history that only ended thanks to the reckless spending of President Bill Clinton, who should have reaped huge government surpluses thanks to Reaganomics and a plan known as PAYGO, instituted by President George H.W. Bush.
PAYGO enforces economic restraint by requiring new spending or tax changes to be budget neutral or offset with savings derived from existing funds. It worked well under the Bush administration. However, Clinton began looking for loopholes and ended up spending any surplus we could have had.
The Clinton surplus myth is perpetuated even today. In his last year in office, he borrowed $18 billion. Why would he borrow money if we had a surplus? Only in Washington can government borrow money and claim it had a surplus.
But I digress.
To pull us out of the current mess, we need to look at the Reagan playbook instead of Obama’s misguided belief in the economic model created by John Maynard Keynes, which is basically a fantasy that government can somehow spend its way to prosperity.
The Reagan model had four common-sense elements and he delivered on all four, which led to the long economic expansion.
First, we need to reduce government growth.
Most years of the Reagan administration saw the growth of federal spending below 3 percent, well below inflation. In 1987, government spending actually decreased by 1.4 percent from 1986. Reagan lowered the federal deficit from 6 percent of gross domestic product in 1983 to 2.9 percent in his final budget. So much for liberal attempts to label Reagan as a big spender.
Before Obama took office, our budget deficits were routinely around $100 billion to $400 billion. Under Obama, we’ve had nothing but trillion-dollar deficits as he expanded federal spending and it appears we will for at least the next decade if we don’t curb that spending.
The second leg of Reaganomics is to reduce income taxes.
Reagan reduced the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent. In the 11 instances when Reagan did raise taxes, it was mostly simplifying the tax code and eliminating tax bias and pointless deductions. Our current code could use some flattening and simplifying but the government does not need more money.
We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. The list of dubious government expenditures is long and storied.
Anyone with any sense of fiscal responsibility knows that raising taxes while the federal government spends $2.6 million to teach Chinese prostitutes how to drink more responsibly on the job or spends money on a university study examining how much alcohol college freshmen women require before agreeing to casual sex is a ridiculous idea.
As Reagan said: “We do not face large deficits because Americans aren’t taxed enough. We face those deficits because the Congress still spends too much.”
The third leg of Reaganomics is to reduce government regulation.
The government does nothing as efficient as the free market. For example, the Postal Service was paying about a million dollars a week to employees to do nothing, thanks to union contracts. And Obama wants that same government mentality running our health system.
The final leg of Reaganomics is to control the money supply to control inflation.
In other words, stop printing money to compensate for the government’s reckless spending policies.
Sane people, when given the choice between doing something that has worked in the past or doing something that has failed in the past, usually take the successful route.
If we are looking for a model of fiscal responsibility to salvage what is left of our economy ruined by the Keynesian economic nightmare wrought by Obama and his Democratic puppets in the Congress, it was laid down 30 years ago by Reagan.
I couldn't resist!
Three things that caught my attention this past week have me weeping for the future of American freedom.
The first was a June Gallup poll that showed that about half of Americans believe the proper role of government is to take money from those who earned it and give it to those who didn’t.
It is astounding that so many Americans think the government should enact heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth, which is patently un-American. Less surprising is that 71 percent of Democrats think that way. I suspect the other 29 percent were Florida voters who didn’t understand the question. Also not surprising is that 64 percent of nonwhites believe in wealth redistribution compared to just 41 percent of whites.
Another disturbing figure from Gallop’s 2011 Economics and Finance poll is that 31 percent of Americans say there are too many rich people in the country. Nearly half of Democrats say that.
In addition to showing how large the green-eyed monster has become in this country, it shows the ignorance people have of how the economy works and how government is funded.
In a free society, one based on capitalism and the free-market system, the number of wealthy citizens is a sign of a healthy economy.
Unless you are living off government entitlement programs, your paycheck is likely coming from a wealthy person, a company owned by a wealthy person, or a corporation owned by wealthy people.
And, as the IRS tells us, if you are living on government entitlement programs, that money also comes from the wealthy.
The top 1 percent of wage earners in this country earn somewhere between 21.4 percent and 23.5 percent of the income but pay about 40 percent of federal income taxes.
The top 1 percent actually pay more in federal income tax than the bottom 95 percent. In fact, 51 percent of wage earners in this country pay no federal income tax.
The second item was a July Marist poll showing that only 58 percent of residents know the United States declared its independence in 1776. Fifty-eight percent! Even more troublesome is that only 31 percent of adults younger than 30 knew that 1776 was the year in which the United States broke away from Great Britain.
As area residents gathered at Faurot Park to celebrate American independence Monday, the city of Lima and its agents behaved in a most un-American fashion.
Don Kissick, Allen County Libertarian Party Chairman, was stopped from passing out free copies of one of the nation’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence — a letter from the American people to King George III outlining the government abuses to which the Americans were being subjected. It is the document that those at Faurot Park were gathering to celebrate.
To justify this gross abuse of a basic human right, the city agents expressed some lame excuse that the Star Spangled Spectacular is a private event. I will explain below why that thinking is wrong. First, let's look at what transpired.
Kissick, in a July 5 letter to the city, explains best what happened:
The gentleman in question who approached my fellow Allen County Libertarian Party members and I (this was approximately 6 p.m.) did so in the most unprofessional manner possible.
As he rolled-up in the cart, he began repeatedly bellowing, “Give me that box,” and, “Hand over that box!”
In light of the fact he never once identified himself or under what authority he operated to be able demand forfeiture of anyone’s personal property, I politely refused.
At that point, his behavior went from threatening and combative to outright belligerent. All the while he insisted we were not allowed to distribute copies of the Declaration of Independence, he never once explained why or under what authority it was prohibited. He then attempted to interrogate me as to whether or not we had gotten “a permit from the committee” to pass out copies of the Declaration of Independence but refused to explain to what committee he was referring or how a permit was necessary to distribute anything on public property. ...
... Next, he once more demanded that I surrender my property to him and this time included I had to “get out of the park” – again, without ever even hinting to what authority he retained to eject anyone from public property – and if I did not comply he would involve officers of the Lima Police Department.
Here is my favorite part:
When I reiterated we had every right to be on public property and distribute copies of the Declaration of Independence under the protection of the First Amendment he then employed his radio to contact others working the festival and asked them to direct law enforcement to our location, saying, “He thinks he’s got rights but he ain’t got no rights!” (Emphasis mine.)
It’s been 235 years since some of the greatest thinkers ever on our continent gathered in the small town of Philadelphia. Amid the backdrop of an oppressive government and a year-old insurrection, they debated the lofty ideals of a free society, one absent the absolute power of a monarch.
How times have changed:
Go to an airport and be groped by a government thug from the Transportation Security Administration. The Patriot Act. Warrantless wiretaps. No-knock, predawn government raids by thugs with machine guns and wearing black balaclavas. Popular referendums to enact freedom-restricting laws such as smoking in private places, restricting gambling, blocking same-sex marriages, etc. Confiscatory tax codes.
I could go on and on and on.
We Americans, as a whole, clearly are not as free as we once were.
I have no misconceptions about the freedoms of the founding era. While the freedoms then, in many respects, were wider, the number of Americans to whom they applied was by magnitudes smaller.
Today, however, we are all in the same sinking ship of liberty.
Sure, we like to say — and most of us probably believe — that we are free. And to some extent, that is correct. Every society, in fact, has some level of freedom.
But here in the so-called land of the free we are missing real freedom, the kind of freedom our Founders fought a bloody revolution to win.
Today, 235 years after those brave men told King George III where to go, those same great thinkers would weep in disgust at what our country has become.
Yet another attack on a child's lemonade stand. Why do government bureaucrats fear children selling lemonade?
June's Nanny of the Month from Reason.tv is the FDA and Jennifer Hughes, of Montgomery County, Md.'s Department of Permitting Services
A great video from Ray Stevens concerning President Barack Obama's "budget plan," if one can call it a plan.
Very humorous and very true, which, I guess, takes away from the humor.
Another great and informative video from Reason.tv. This time they discuss the saftey of using hydraulic fracturing to get oil from shale.
Hydraulic fracturing — or "fracking" — is a fast-growing source of natural gas used to create electricity, heat homes, and more. It involves forcing water, sand, and chemicals into super-deep wells and then recovering the gas released during the process.
Fracking is also highly controversial, with viral video hits such as "The Fracking Song" and the 2010 documentary Gasland contending that the process leads to polluted drinking water, home explosions, and worse.
Fracking has been around for more than 60 years and over 100,000 gas wells are dug per year, most of them in sparsely populated areas in the western U.S. With the discovery of the Marcellus Shale in the eastern part of the country, fracking is increasingly common in populated parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, leading to heightened tensions between drillers and environmentalists. Indeed, the attorney general of New York has called for a moratorium on the practice in the Empire State.
During the summer of 1787, 55 men representing 12 of the 13 states gathered in Philadelphia for four months to address problems concerning the confederate government that had been in place since the young nation’s founding.
Of course, as we all know, the men went beyond their mandate and created the Constitution, the framework of a new government, this time a federal system structured as a representative republic.
The Framers categorically rejected the idea of a direct democracy and for good reason.
"It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government," Alexander Hamilton wrote. "Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny."
Or, if you prefer a less-scholarly but more succinct assessment of direct democracy, we have Winston Churchill: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
Yet, today, many states continue to move closer to plebiscitary rule through the use of referendums bypassing the built-in protections of a republican form of government. However, tyranny of the majority is still tyranny.
This movement has become noticeable this year as Republicans in more than a dozen states and are trying to push through common-sense legislation to restrict the ability of government unions to bankrupt the people.
In Wisconsin, the unions have organized a recall movement to oust some politicians, mostly because Wisconsin wisely does not permit lawmaking by referendum.
Here in Ohio, however, the unions will this week turn in petitions to put a referendum on the ballot to overturn the state’s new law curtailing the ability of government unions to hold Ohioans hostage through the collective bargaining process.
This video says it all.