Bill Clinton

Just in Time for Hillary to Declare: Bill Clinton and the Retroactive Application of Mitchell’s Golden Rule

This was originally posted at International Liberty.

 

It’s amazingly simple to reduce the burden of government spending. Policy makers simply need to impose some modest spending restraint so that government doesn’t grow faster than the economy’s productive sector.

In a display of humility that can only be found in Washington, DC, I call this Mitchell’s Golden Rule.

And, amazingly, even the International Monetary Fund agrees that spending caps are the most effective strategy for good fiscal policy.

Since I’m not a fan of the IMF, this is definitely a case of strange bedfellows!

Let’s look at some case studies of what happens when there are limits on the growth of government.

A review of data for 16 nations reveals that multi-year periods of spending restraint lead to lower fiscal burdens and less red ink.

Gun Control Push Could Hurt Senate Democrats in 2014

guns

Tom Knighton already touched on the new Washington Post/Pew Research poll showing that not even a majority of Americans express disappointment or anger for the Senate failing to enact the Manchin-Toomey amendment. In fact, the only group that is disappointed in failing to expand background checks is Democrats. A plurality of independents — 48%, to be exact — and 51% of Republicans describe themselves as “very happy” or “relieved” that the measure failed to pass.

As Chris Cillizza concludes, President Barack Obama “wound up losing the message fight over the gun legislation.” Of course, this is what happens when you waste political capital, as President Obama and the White House did, on an issue that only 4% of Americans really care about.

“Rather than a conversation centered on widely-popular measures supported by members of both parties,” he explained, “the debate — at least as people perceived it — became a wider referendum on the proper place for guns in society.”

Paul Ryan: “We would have fixed this fiscal mess by now” under Clinton

During an interview on Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) suggested that if Bill Clinton were president that the fiscal issues facing the United States could be worked out.

Ryan, who has served in Congress since 1999 and was the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, told David Gregory on Meet the Press that “if we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles chief-of-staff at the White House, or President of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now.” Ryan added, “That’s not the kind of presidency we’re dealing with right now.”

Noel Sheppard, who covered the story at Newsbusters, snarked, “one wonders if Ryan meant a Bill Clinton presidency or a Hillary Clinton presidency.” That aside, Ryan has a point that’s worth expounding upon.

Despite friction between then-President Clinton during the 1990s, Republicans in Congress were able to pass a balanced budget and enact welfare reform and pass capital gains tax cuts. While not all was perfect during these years as Republicans began their slide toward big government, a Democratic president and Republican-controlled legislature were able to reach a compromises that led to a largely prosperous era.

How Speaker Newt Gingrich Betrayed the Republican Revolution

Stephen Slivinski is senior economist at the Goldwater Institute. Previously he was director of budget studies at the Cato Institute, senior economist at the Tax Foundation, and a senior editor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Mr. Slivinski is the author of the book, Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, published in 2006.

One thing that makes Newt Gingrich an attractive presidential candidate to many conservatives is his term as Speaker of the House and his role as the captain of the Republican Revolution of 1994. But a closer look at the history of the years between 1995 and when he stepped down as speaker in 1998 show that Gingrich was usually at odds with those pushing the Reaganite vision of a truly limited federal government. In fact, when the Republican Revolution succeeded at all it was often in spite of Newt Gingrich, not because of him. Unfortunately, too many conservatives have forgotten this or perhaps may not have known it at all.

Gingrich does indeed come across as an eloquent defender of limited government principles. In 1995, he envisioned the new GOP congressional majority presaging a cultural revolution in Washington, D.C. “The real breaking point is when you find yourself having a whole new debate, with new terms. That’s more important than legislative achievements,” Gingrich told a reporter on the first day of the 104th Congress. “We’ll know in six months whether we have accomplished that.”

Steve Jobs: A man worth emulating

Seeing as nearly every site on the Internet has a tribute of some sort to recently deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, I won’t bore you with another.  Needless to say, as one of the millions who has contributed some portion of his salary to Mr. Jobs over the years, he has had an impact on my life.  But I see him as more than a guy who made me fork over hundreds for fancy MP3 players, smartphones, and more.

Steve Jobs was, in my mind, the quintessential capitalist.  He is not a man who was known for great charity, in the traditional sense.  Instead, he contributed to society in a way that is far greater than that.  He created things that we actually wanted, and that actually made our lives more productive and happy.  And in the end, we were more than happy to give him our hard-earned money because these were, in our estimations, things of VALUE.

This is an important distinction in a world where the media and those left-of-center tend to obsequiously worship only those wealthy who set up foundations and grants, or who lobby for taxes on their peers to be raised (see Obama, Bill Clinton, Buffett, and many others).  Now, there is nothing wrong with giving to charity, if that is your choice.  But it is indeed strange for anyone to be lauded for advocating the forced confiscation of wealth from others.  It’s a strange mindset indeed.

Steve Jobs, on the other hand, was the opposite of this.  He was not a political player in any major way.  He just innovated and put forth new ideas, new ways of thinking, new technologies that we didn’t know we needed.  In this way, he was the living embodiment of the truly beautiful relationships that a free market can create - a system wherein millions got gadgets they wanted, and Jobs became incredibly wealthy.

Beltway Lotharios and the Cycle of Scandal

For the last two weeks the media has gorged on a non-stop litany of stories concerning the single most important issue facing our nation. Would that be the “unexpected” reports of almost non-existent private sector job growth and an economy that, despite Obama’s reassurances, may be on the brink of a double-dip recession? No. Is it Obama’s violation of the War Powers Act with our continued “kinetic military action” in Libya? Nuh-uh. Maybe it’s Sixth Circuit’s review of the ObamaCare case (nope) or the Federal Reserve’s warning that the political body must act responsibly in order to stave off an economic collapse? Wrong again.

Based on the 24-hour saturation in the news cycle and the sheer number of stories written and aired, clearly the most important issue facing our nation is that a skinny New Yorker with an incredibly overinflated sense of his own worth had to finally admit, after days of vehement protests to the contrary, that it was indeed he who sent the lewd photographs of his genitalia, as well as sexually charged and explicit texts, to college-aged women. These women, who include a porn star, are young enough to be his daughters.

And so unravels the scandal of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), possibly the most obnoxious and arrogant member of Congress now that former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) was defeated in the last election. Weiner, considered a rising star in the Democrat Party and a likely candidate to be the next mayor of New York, instead is tearfully admitting to the nation his indiscretions which have been going on for several years, and with at least a half dozen women. Watching his fall from glory, a Brooklyn-born Icarus plummeting towards earth, the proverbial wax of his wings melted by his own flaming ego, it is hard not to feel just a little sorry for him…at least until you remember that these indiscretions occurred both before and after his marriage to his wife Huma, who is now pregnant.

Rand Paul goes to Washington

While laid up in bed last week recovering from surgery, my coworkers sent me a care package that included Sen. Rand Paul’s new book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to get past the first few pages. But Matt Welch brings us this passage from the book of Sen. Paul slamming George W. Bush:

Imagine this-what if there had never been a President George W. Bush, and when Bill Clinton left office he was immediately replaced with Barack Obama. Now imagine Obama had governed from 2000 to 2008 exactly as Bush did-doubling the size of government, doubling the debt, expanding federal entitlements and education, starting the Iraq war-the whole works. To make matters worse, imagine that for a portion of that time, the Democrats actually controlled all three branches of government. Would Republicans have given Obama and his party a free pass in carrying out the exact same agenda as Bush? It’s hard to imagine this being the case, given the grief Bill Clinton got from Republicans, even though his big government agenda was less ambitious than Bush’s. Yet, the last Republican president got very little criticism from his own party for most of his tenure.

For conservatives, there was no excuse for this.

Welch also notes:

Paul goes on to say stuff like “any self-described conservative who ‘misses’ the last president and his version of the Republican Party should probably quit subscribing to that label,” and “if judgment is based on spending and the budget, then Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush.”

Wow. Agreed.

America: Land of Gullivers?

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, in which he engraved into our national consciousness the concept that “all men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Those words provided an earth-shattering salvo which would blast a gaping hole in the world’s understanding of the nature of government. No longer would men be servants, mere subjects bound to obedience by the Divine Right of Kings. Men would now be free; sovereign individuals free to live as they so chose, answerable only to God for the conduct of their life provided they did not infringe upon the rights of others.

After years of abuse at the hands of King George, under whom they were taxed without representation in Parliament, forced to quarter the very soldiers who would punish disobedience to the Crown, unable to pass laws of self-governance and in general being treated as slaves rather than fellow citizens with rights, the American colonists declared that they would no longer be subject to such abuse, but would form a new government in which every man was bestowed the same rights and no man was favored above another in the eyes of the law.

For nearly a decade war was waged upon the American continent. Mangled, broken and torn bodies littered the battlefields along the eastern seaboard. Families were separated; husbands and brothers lost…all because the people of this nation decided to rise up against tyranny and oppression. When the sounds of cannon and musket-fire were silenced, when the smoke cleared and the soldiers returned home, a new era had begun.

Book Review: A Campaign That Will Go Down In History

It will be many years before the definitive book about the 2008 Presidential campaign is written, probably long after most of the participants are dead. After all, it took over eighty years for a truly definitive look at the Election of 1920, and more than forty for a similar volume to be written about the 1960 Election. However, for those of us who are political junkies and lived through it, Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.

The Complicated World of Bigotry

In the greater Seattle suburb of Kirkland, a very quaint and beautiful area where I would love to live someday, there is a grade-A @$$hole who has led a fevered vendetta against gay rights. He’s the pastor of Antioch Bible Church (where he’s been for over two decades) and has not only been a firm opponent of gay marriage, but of anti-discrimination legislation and domestic partnerships. He is arguably to the right of many gay marriage opponents from far more conservative areas of the country.

It’s worth noting that the pastor in question, Ken Hutcherson, is black. Whatever solidarity he is supposed to have as an ethnic minority for a sexual minority is apparently quite lost on him. Ken Hutcherson’s existence shouldn’t be shocking to those with life experience outside of textbook indoctrination. I’ve met many racists and homophobes, some white, some Hispanic, some Asian, and they all come in many different colors, shapes and sizes. It’s nearly a waste of time to confront them about it. Bigotry is not something people like to admit, and if you mention it they tend to act like they’ve been unfairly attacked.

Now that the high emotion surrounding the passage of the health care bill is in the past, it is very important to remember this. Racism and xenophobia is rampant in the culturally homogenous society of Japan, where even those of Japanese ancestry who were born elsewhere have difficulty being accepted. I’ve personally heard very disparaging remarks towards blacks from Hispanics, heard bigoted comments towards blacks from Indians, heard whites say horrible generalizations about black people and vice versa. Racism is not a homogenous factor of one particular ethnic or political group; it’s the result of the natural tribal instinct that we share with our primate cousins.


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