It’s often said by critics of Barack Obama that the president seeks to turn the United States into Europe. In Europe, everyone is taken care off from cradle to grave with welfare, leaving no incentive to have children, work or do much of anything necessary to keep their society on a productive self-replicating path.
There are partial truths there, but there’s also another phenomenon. Europe, and most of the Anglosphere aside from the United States, have been drifting rightward after years of socialism. The Conservative Party in the United Kingdom is enjoying high hopes, Canadian Conservative PM Stephen Harper is in his second term and France and Germany now have their most center-right leadership in recent memory.
What have been the fruits of European center right policy? You’d be surprised.
School choice - Just as the Washington D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program has been dismantled by Democrats, Sweden has enjoyed a successful program. From the Washington Times:
No, I don’t make these things up. All children throughout Sweden get education vouchers. It seems that the citadel of socialism can teach our Congress and teachers unions quite a bit about education choice.
Sweden introduced school vouchers throughout the country in 1992 to deal with exactly the same quality problems we face in our public schools.
Under the program, enacted by a center-right coalition government, children can use a voucher to go to either public schools or one of the growing number of private schools.
Private schools include religious schools and even for-profit schools. One of the largest for-profits - Kunskapsskolan (or “Knowledge School”) - runs 32 schools with about 10,000 students ages 12-18.
It looks like another hot button issue will be coming to the forefront of American politics this year as the Senate is planning on tackling immigration. You may recall that President George W. Bush tried to tackle this issue with the Democratic-controlled Congress in 2007. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), was meet with fierce opposition by conservatives and Republicans and ultimately defeated.
Reform that makes it easier for immigrants to come to seek the American Dream, should be welcome. Unfortunately, much of the opposition (though not all) was rooted in xenophobia, nativism and, in some cases, racism. Because of this there was no opportunity to have a substantive debate on the points of the bill, such as provisions of McCain-Kennedy dealing with REAL ID, which was a defacto national ID card approved by Congress in 2005.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Chuck Schumer may be incorporating a biometric national ID card in his proposal:
Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.
The ID card plan is one of several steps advocates of an immigration overhaul are taking to address concerns that have defeated similar bills in the past.
Recently, the TEA Party movement celebrated its first anniversary. At first the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party activists were dismissed as a few grumpy right-wingers upset that America elected a black president. They were given little credence beyond being an amusing political side show. That soon changed. On April 15th hundreds of thousands of average Americans showed up at protest rallies across the nation, outraged at the “stimulus” package of goodies doled out to special interests, liberal activism organizations and Democrat pet projects. CNN reported that a few thousand people showed up at the rally in Atlanta, but I was there and can assure you that it was close to ten-fold that amount. It was shoulder-to-shoulder for about four blocks in one direction, not counting the people on the side streets.
Once they could no longer be dismissed as a fringe element, TEA Party activists were labeled as “Astro-turf” (fake grass roots), accused of being flunkies of Big Corporate America, mindlessly doing the bidding of their masters. They were accused of being a fabrication of FOX News and the Republican Party. They were accused of being everything except what they are…average Americans, generally with traditional conservative values, who were fed up over 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush politics, two political parties who paid only lip service to the people they claimed to serve while engaging in a bacchanalian orgy of political perks, who had finally been pushed over the edge by a pork-laden spending bill of almost $800 billion. They were saying “Enough is enough!”, and they were going to make their voices be heard.
As the business community and more public polling shows opposition to ObamaCare, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tells us, “[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”
President Barack Obama made a promise to promote transparency by having negotiations broadcast on C-SPAN. Even though C-SPAN encouraged President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress to let people see the process, they failed to follow through. Even if they had made good on the promise, certain aspects of ObamaCare are going to be controverisal, such as the individual and employer mandates and breaking the pledge not to tax the middle class.
You don’t hide the process. That’s how you make sausage, not health care policy.
Charlie Crist is getting desperate. Any candidate who goes to such great lengths to insinuate that his opponent isn’t a fiscal conservative because he gets expensive haircuts must be, oh I dont know…30 points down in the polls?
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Take a shot every time you hear the phrase “back wax.” Double shot when Greta says it. You’ll need it.
“Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up, it was a happy place. They had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.” - Sean Penn, satirized in Team America: World Police
Sean Penn wants reporters jailed for calling Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez a “dictator”:
First Amendment be damned … If Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn had his way, any journalist who called Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a dictator would quickly find himself behind bars.
Penn, appearing on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday, defended Chavez during a segment in which he detailed his work with the JP Haitian Relief Organization, which he co-founded.
“Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it” said Penn, winner of two Best Actor Academy Awards. “And this is mainstream media, who should — truly, there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.”
If Sean Penn to comes to my doorstep, he better be prepared to meet the Second Amendment.
Americans oppose the Court’s recent decision in Citizens United by a margin of nearly two to one (sixty-four to twenty-seven percent), according to a poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and McKinnon Media on behalf of Common Cause, Change Congress, and the Public Campaign Action Fund. Another poll, by ABC News and the Washington Post, recently found that eighty percent of Americans oppose the Citizens ruling, with sixty-five percent “strongly” opposing it. Both polls also found that a broad majority of voters favor some type of congressional response to the decision. These findings have been widely reported, with some proponents of reform relying on them to call for a congressional response to the Citizens decision.
Competition among 50 regulatory regimes would have beneficial effects both on regulators and insurers. Regulatory regimes that impose high costs and create few benefits would soon see everyone avoiding them. In time, they would have to change or discover they have no insurance left to regulate. And once customers start focusing on the non-price aspects of insurance, insurers will have enhanced incentives to compete on those features.
Remember the phrase, “You’re in good hands with Allstate”? The advertisement asks consumers to think about how they are treated at the time claims need to be paid. I don’t recall ever seeing a health insurance company boast about its claims-paying prowess. But that would become normal if health insurance were sold in a national marketplace.
Which brings us back to the claim of the proponents. I would not expect to see more competitors. I would expect to see more competition, however, in those aspects of insurance that are today handled almost exclusively by regulators.
One thing that would not survive 50 state regulatory regime competition is guaranteed-issue and community rating in the individual market. In the six states that impose such requirements the vast majority of people who are relatively healthy are overcharged so that the small percent who are sick can be undercharged. This form of private sector socialism would quickly dissolve, as the healthy sought cheaper insurance under other regulatory regimes.
The latest survey the Republican primary for Florida’s Senate seat shows Marco Rubio leading Gov. Charlie Christ by 32 points, according to Public Policy Polling:
Rubio now leads Crist 60-28, including a staggering 71-17 lead with conservatives. Crist has a 49-36 advantage with party moderates, but they account for just 31% of likely primary voters compared to 65% who describe themselves as conservative.
Rubio is benefiting from a widely held sentiment among Florida GOP voters that Congressional Republicans are too liberal and that Crist would add to the problem. 41% of them think that the party leadership in Washington is too liberal, and with those folks Rubio holds an 83-10 lead. 50% think that Crist himself is too liberal and with those voters Rubio’s advantage expands even wider to 90-5.
If Crist, who has a 56% disapproval rating among Republicans, were to decide to run for re-election, he would also be trailing Bill McCollum, the GOP frontrunner in that race.
As has been pointed out by pundits, the only way Crist can win is to switch parties or run as an Independent, which he has said he would not do.
I came across this piece on Friday right before heading off to a retreat with the young adult ministry I am a part of, and I must say it is one of the best I have read about what kinds of actions a Constitutional President would take once in office.
The article, titled “My Plan for a Freedom President - How I would put the Constitution back in the Oval Office” originally appeared in Young Americans for Liberty’s recent publication that goes out to college campuses and other organizations all across the United States.
I think it is safe to say some people think Paul is “too extreme.” What is unfortunate, and what he points out at one point in the article, is that a Constitutional stance is hardly extreme. What is extreme is year after year passing budgets that increase rather than decrease spending while our nation is in extreme debt.
What I think is most important, though, is that this article should calm any fears that Paul’s presidency would be extreme. To the contrary he is very sympathetic to those who have become dependent on the welfare state through such programs as social security. He does not believe in pulling the rug from underneath those who have become dependent, but giving younger people at MINIMUM the ability to opt-out starting at a certain date.
Paul realizes the limits of what can be done immediately, but that does not mean there is nothing a President can do. I particularly respect his stance on foreign policy: