George Will

2015 Predictions Mostly True — With Some Surprises

Some had hoped Zuckerberg’s generosity would be the story of the year. They were disappointed.

 

As 2015 comes to a close and we begin the start of a new election year — and, fingers crossed, a new trajectory for the country away from hyper-focus on social issues and more of a balanced approached toward leadership — it’s interesting to look back and see if what the pundits predicted about the last year came true, and what they may have missed.

The Washington Examiner, back in January, laid out a list of five stories they thought would top the news cycle for the year, leading with the horse race for the GOP nomination. They also wondered if anyone would challenge Hillary Clinton, and if the economy would be the primary policy issue for office seekers.

While their musings on what Obama’s next move would be fell flat — turns out he really isn’t all that much a man of action — they certainly got the GOP presidential race right because who in their right mind could have predicted the ascendency of Donald Trump (and, hopefully, his slow fade to black as more and more people get wise to his brand of beat-you-over-the-head-with-your-basest-desires brand of advertising)?

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

Guess what? The race for the Republican nomination has been shaken up again. Many of us saw Herman Cain’s downfall coming, it was only a matter of time. But still the fact that he lasted this far into the race is concerning given his lack of experience and complete lack of knowledge on some of the most basic issues, including foreign policy.

It looks as though Newt Gingrich has been able to capitalize on Cain’s misfortune and, as noted earlier, seems like to receive an endorsement. Gingrich leads in six of the last nine national polls, hold a single-digit lead in Iowa, and double-digit leads in Florida and South Carolina. Mitt Romney still leads in New Hampshire, but Gingrich and Ron Paul are gaining steam.

The News

Was it all worth it?

As every last soul has surely heard by now, Osama bin Laden is dead.  Finally located and taken out by American special forces, the death of bin Laden marks a significant moment for America.  The occasion was marked by numerous celebrations and expressions of profound relief and satisfaction, coupled with a harsh brushing of the wounds left by 9/11.  Whether it helps Obama’s political fortunes is yet to be seen, but it surely has raised Americans’ spirits.

But one question still remains in the minds of many - were the sacrifices we have made up to this point worth it?  Over the past nine years Americans have had their privacy invaded, their values called into question, and their coffers tapped to fund two wars expensive in both treasure and blood.  We’ve certainly engaged in some ugly practices in our anger over what bin Laden did to us on that fall day in 2001.  Your average citizen may never know the true extent of the things done in the name of fighting terrorism.

It’s clear to me then that we have paid an immense price for this victory, one that is hard to justify in retrospect.  It’s hard to look at the way our lives have profoundly changed and not say that, despite the fact that his life ended at the point of an American rifle, Osama bin Laden will go down as a victor.  His actions have altered the American landscape permanently and have led us to do things that we ought be ashamed of.

Problems of the Republican Party

The current Grand Old Party is in despair and acknowledging some need for change. Since the end of the Reagan Administration it has slowly become the “Grumpy Old-White-Man’s Party” with little appeal to individuals outside of its traditional coalition, and even within that coalition there is little enthusiasm. So, most acknowledge there are problems; But what are they? How can they be fixed? These are the questions party insiders and loyalists are already attempting to answer.

What are the Problems?

While the mistakes made by George Bush’s Republican Party are so numerous one could probably never compile a completely conclusive book on the matter, most can be traced to fundamental root causes that desperately need to be identified and purged- below are a few of the broad policy mistakes committed by the Party.

Today in Liberty: Email privacy reform bill hits the magic number, Senate Conservatives Funds goes on the air for Chris McDaniel

“Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?” — Thomas Sowell

— Email Privacy Act hits majority support: We mentioned in Tuesday’s Today in Liberty that the Email Privacy Act was very close to 218 cosponsors, a majority of the House of Representatives. Well, it happened. “The Email Privacy Act from Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kans.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) gained its 218th cosponsor late on Tuesday, giving the sponsors hope that the bill could move this year,” The Hill reports. “The sponsors have been talking with House leadership and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) about moving the bill forward, according to Yoder.” The Email Privacy Act would close a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act that allows law enforcement agencies to access emails and other electronic communications older than 180 days without a warrant.

Today in Liberty: Obamacare’s missing Millennials, data review urges privacy law reform

“The strongest continuous thread in America’s political tradition is skepticism about government.” — George Will

— Just 28 percent of Obamacare enrollees are Millennials: The Obama administration finished first Obamacare open enrollment period far short of its target for 18 to 34-year-olds. The administration estimated that it needed between 38 to 40 percent of enrollments to be from Millennials for the risk pools to be sustainable. It got 28 percent. “The administration is still touting 8 million sign-ups—technically 8.019 million—when the official open enrollment period of October 2013 through March 2014 is combined with stragglers who came in during the special enrollment period through April 19,” Peter Suderman explains, based on the latest figures. “It’s still the case that just 28 percent of those sign-ups were between the ages of 18 and 34, far short of the administration’s target of 39 percent. State-by-state variation remains significant, with some states seeing robust sign-up activity and others posting relatively weak numbers.”

Yes, there are Republican alternatives to Obamacare

Since the disastrous Obamacare at the beginning of October, some administration officials, congressional Democrats, pundits friendly to President Obama have been, unbelievably, trying to place some blame on Republicans for the problems. They’ve also countered the attempts to repeal or delay the Obamacare with the line that Republicans haven’t offered any ideas or alternatives to this administration’s ill-conceived law.

But that’s not true, as George Will explained on Tuesday night during an appearance on Fox News’ Special Report. Republicans have offered alternatives to Obamacare, and they’ve pushed these ideas for several years.

“I think it’s unfair [to say Republicans don’t have healthcare ideas]. Paul Ryan has a premium support plan, John McCain, amazingly, got it right in 2008,” noted Will, a conservative Washington Post columnist. “[H]e said, look, tax all employer-provided health insurance as what it manifestly is, compensation, but compensate for that by giving people a large tax credit to go into the market and shop across state lines, which you’re not allowed to do now, for health insurance.”

George Will’s Libertarian Evolution: Q&A on Obama, Syria, & the Power of Choice

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Nick Gillespie and Reason TV chat with George Will, a conservative journalist, about his transformation to libertarianism.

George Will: Chris Christie is “dangerous”

What’s more dangerous — a government that respects its limitations and the rights of its citizens or a government that can do virtually anything it wants under the guise of protecting the homeland? That’s the question that summed up the public debate between Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) that went down late last month.

George Will, an iconic conservative columnist, answered the question yesterday on ABC’s This Week, explaining libertarianism’s respect for individual liberty and noting that its Christie’s view of government that is truly dangerous.

“[T]here is a rising libertarian stream that Chris Christie has said is ‘a very dangerous thought.’ So let’s be clear about what libertarianism is and what it isn’t. It is not anarchism. It has a role in government,” noted Will during a panel on the Sunday talk show. “What libertarianism says — it comes in many flavors and many degrees of severity, and it basically says before the government abridges the freedom of an individual or the freedom of several individuals contracting together, that government ought to have, a) a compelling reason and b) a constitutional warrant for doing so.”

“Now, if Mr. Christie thinks that’s a dangerous thought, a number of people are going to say that Mr. Christie himself may be dangerous,” said Will in his usually clear and pointed tone.

Federal Reserve to monetize more debt

Ben Bernanke

The Federal Reserve announced a third-round of quantitative easing (QE3), during which the central bank will purchase $600 billion bonds in hopes that the debt monetization will stimulate the economy and thus bring down the unemployment rate by one-percentage point.

The move has already been met with derision by GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R-WI), who called the Fed’s actions “insidious” during a speech in Florida on Saturday. Before the Federal Reserve announced its decision last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that many economists expressed doubt that another round of quantitative easing would do anything to stimulate the economy. And if they do manage to do anything, it could be as, Neil Cavuto explains, “substituting bubbles”:

The risk with forcibly keeping interest rates low is you create another bubble, which is odd because we’re in the fix we’re in because we burst out of a real bad financial bubble.

My fear is that we’re substituting bubbles.

We’re encouraging the very reckless hedging and leveraging that brought on the last financial meltdown.

I’m not saying that happens again. But you don’t have to be Nostradamus to see where this kind of stuff goes. It’s inflationary, for one thing, and likely prompts a continued run-up in commodity prices that had stalled for a while.


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