September 30, 2010

Ohio Tea Party PAC Endorses Archie Wilson for Clermont Commissioner

Filed under: Activism,General,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 12:08 pm

…and evidently that’s not the only one. Here is the complete list of organizations that have endorsed Archie Wilson for County Commissioner to date:

Pretty strong line-up.

There was a slight buzz about this race a while back when the 8-year incumbent backed out of the Republican primary to run as an independent after failing to procure the party’s endorsement. According to my sources, the incumbent did however, seek the Ohio Tea Party PAC endorsement along with Wilson. Since the PAC has shown that it adheres to principles over party, and isn’t afraid to endorse an independent if/when they are the more conservative choice, I think the PAC’s decision to endorse Wilson says a lot.

Here is the survey that all candidates seeking an endorsement must answer. The $64,000 question is, with which statements and to what extent did those not receiving the endorsement, disagree?

Ohio Tea Party PAC Endorses Owens Over DeWine…

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 9:13 am

…showing the Ruling Class establishment how to stand on principle.

From Chris Littleton:

Tea Party Endorsement in Ohio Attorney General Race
Dear Fellow Citizens and Taxpayers,

Robert Owens, Constitution Party candidate for Ohio Attorney General, becomes the first statewide candidate to receive an endorsement from Ohio Tea Party PAC in a general election.

Requiring a 7/8ths majority of voting members, endorsement from Ohio Tea Party PAC makes a strong statement about support for Robert Owens amongst tea party and liberty groups throughout Ohio.

All Ohio Liberty Council member groups may have a representative vote for their organization on Ohio Tea Party PAC endorsements, and with over 50 groups represented on the Ohio Liberty Council – an Ohio Tea Party PAC endorsement is quite an accomplishment for any statewide candidate.

We are proud to stand with Robert Owens in his campaign to bring a strong sense of liberty minded principles to the Ohio Attorney General’s office. We know that in keeping with his responsibility to uphold the law for Ohio citizens, he will pursue an agenda consistent with our belief system rather than those of his two major party opponents.

In contrast to the history of this office, we fully expect Mr. Owens to prosecute corruption and avoid frivolous lawsuits. This is still an office that serves the people of Ohio, not a personal agenda.

To inform their decision, Ohio Tea Party PAC requested candidates complete a survey addressing a wide variety of topics designed to flush out philosophy and approach to elected office. Survey found HERE.

Several other races around the state are being evaluated for endorsement with announcements being made over the next 2 weeks. All endorsed candidates can be found at www.ohioteapartypac.com

About Ohio Tea Party PAC
Ohio Tea Party PAC provides advocacy and support to candidates and issues which embody the principles of the Ohio Liberty Council – principles which focus on a fundamental limitation to government.

Ohio Tea Party PAC represents over 50 member groups of the Ohio Liberty Council, liberty minded grass roots organizations including Tea Party Groups, 9/12 Projects and many more.

Follow us on Twitter @OLCPAC
Sincerely,

Chris Littleton
President and Co-Founder, Ohio Liberty Council
President, Cincinnati Tea Party

Owens is the only statewide candidate to be endorsed by the Tea Party PAC. Given that, and having checked their [regional] lists of endorsed candidates, it looks as though the Tea Party PAC is very purposefully and strategically, maintaining their autonomy by only endorsing Republicans who are the clear, conservative choice.

More of that, please.

Final 2Q10 GDP: Annualized +1.7%; Debunking the ‘Consumer Spending Drives the Economy’ Myth

The BEA’s full release is here. Expectations were for no change from August’s estimate of an annualized +1.6%.

Immediate (but clearly planned) AP reax from Jeannine Aversa (bolds are mine):

Many think the economy grew at around the same anemic pace, or slightly worse, during the July-to-September quarter. Little improvement is expected in the final quarter of this year. That’s why unemployment – now at 9.6 percent – is expected to stay high or even rise in the coming months.

Americans just aren’t spending at a robust pace to bulk up companies’ sales and make them confident enough to beef up hiring. Consumers and businesses, battered by the worst recession since the 1930s, are clinging to their cautious ways.

Consumers, in particular, are paring down debt, aren’t spending as much as they normally do during an economic recovery and they are saving more. Their spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity, so their frugal behavior explains why the economy is stuck in a slow-growth rut.

So the problem is that we dummies just aren’t spending enough.

Wrong.

An e-mailer has pointed me to a great article addressing foolishness such as what Aversa has written above.

First, a fundamental economic truth: GDP isn’t spending of dollars; it’s production of goods and services. The government measures GDP by referencing spending as an indirect way to get at (really back into) production. Alternative methods of measurement are either too difficult, too imprecise, or take too long.

Which takes me to the e-mailer’s article. It’s a Monday National Review item (“70 Percent: The Myth of the Consumer Economy”) by Kevin D. Williamson. Behold the wisdom, and the clarity (bolds are mine; internal links are in original):

God defend us from man of one datum, particularly if that man is an economist, and particularly if the datum is wrong.

Exhibit A is the constantly repeated but entirely untrue statement that consumer spending represents 70 percent of the U.S. economy, and that it is therefore imperative that we give consumers some stimulus, in the form of tax rebates, more generous unemployment checks, or cocaine-monkey research grants, in order to put some schmundo in Joe Consumer’s hip pocket, the better for him to carry that seven-tenths of the economy he allegedly holds upon his shoulders like some debt-ridden Atlas chained to Mount Wal-Mart, his liver pecked by a winged and deathless Visa bill.

Who is guilty of repeating this?

(after naming several others–Ed.) Reuters repeats this canard. Martin Crutsinger, the clueless economy reporter for the Associated Press, publishes it all the time. Fareed Zakaria and Pauly K. sing from this hymnal. Practically everybody saying the stimulus should have been bigger (and, for those of you outside New York and Washington: yes, such creatures walk among us) cites that datum.

It is not true.

As Michael Mandel documents copiously in his Bloomberg Businessweek column, what government statistics call “consumer spending” is not — get this! — consumer spending. Most of it isn’t, anyway. (actually, by Williamson’s math, it’s about 57%, or 40% below divided by 70%, but that really doesn’t detract from his point. — Ed.) Lots of that so-called consumer spending is in fact government spending; Medicare and Medicaid, for instance, are lumped in there, as is most health-care spending, which amounts to, oh, $2 trillion a year, which might tend to throw the consumer-spending numbers off a bit. Health-care spending isn’t really driven by consumers (which is why our health-care market is so messed up, incidentally!), but by insurance companies, government, and other non-consumer enterprises. Something on the order of 15 percent of health-care spending actually comes out of consumers’ pockets. Chickenfeed, in the vulgate.

All sorts of other stuff is dumped into that category: the money spent by nonprofits, for instance, along with political parties and campaigns. … the truth is that consumer spending, in reality, represents less than half of U.S. economic activity, probably around 40 percent.

Whatever fraction of our economy is represented by household consumption, 100 percent of our economy — and every economy — is represented by production. We cannot consume that which has not been produced.

The problem of economic policy is not getting people to consume. It is getting them to produce.

… the ultimate in magical thinking (is saying that): We’ll just borrow another few trillion dollars and consume our way out of what ails us! You want fries with that?

I’ve got some bad news for you, Sunshine, some ancient and unalterable and inescapable bad news: As ye sow, so shall ye reap. We’re presently sowing jack, and the Obama administration, the Pelosi-Reid Congress, the Krugmans and Reichs of the world are working hard to make sure that we sow even less. Real prosperity only comes from real productivity, which means real savings and real investment. Everything else is a Beltway full-employment program for social engineers, unicorn wranglers, and fairie-dust sprinklers.

So how do you get people to produce more?

Let people keep more of the fruits of their labor and investment, and they’ll work and invest more. People who haven’t been working will enter the workforce. Businesses will reinvest increased profits in growing their enterprises, or will save more, thereby making more capital available to others. That’s why tax policy is so important.

Along these lines but a bit off the beaten path of current debate, I think I had a pretty interesting idea towards the end of this post earlier this morning. My non-objective assessment is that it’s worth a look-see.

On Final 2Q10 GDP Revision Day, WSJ’s Henninger Touts Growth, Yours Truly Touts Regulatory Relief

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:47 am

G-g-g-g … growth. Remember that?

We had a decent (not great) run of it from mid-2003 through the end of 2007. It was driven by across-the-board income tax cuts and targeted investment-related cuts.

We had a nice run of growth during the late 1990s. It was driven not only by a key tax cut in the capital gains rate but also by John Kasich, who is running for Governor of Ohio. Kasich, as the Associated Press wrote in June 2009 when he announced his candidacy, “was the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Budget Committee in 1997 that balanced the nation’s budget for the first time in more than 30 years.”

As one can see from the graphic in the far right column of this blog (“Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics”), we had a really nice run of growth starting in the first quarter of 1983. It was driven by the Jack Kemp-Bill Roth tax cuts of 5%, 10%, and 10%, in 1982, 1983, and 1984. By the end of 1989, using annual growth figures (which differ from the quarterlies for reasons unknown), the economy was 34% larger. That’s why the period from 1983-1989 is appropriately referred to as “The Seven Fat Years.”

Replicating such growth wouldn’t be a panacea, but it would go a long way towards it’s a prerequisite to addressing the country’s serious structural financial problems, which is why Daniel Henninger’s Wall Street Journal column today is so timely:

… it looks as if they (voters) are about to repudiate a formerly popular president who has disappointed them, throw over a Democratic Party they think has failed them, and hand power to a Republican Party they don’t trust.

… Ben Bernanke, speaking at this summer’s gathering of the world’s financial elites in Jackson Hole (said): “Central bankers alone cannot solve the world’s economic problems.”

Translation: Nothing the politicians have done works …

Solution No. 1 was to throw nearly $1 trillion of stimulus at the economy. But Keynes failed. Then they sprayed the economy with gallons of Chairman Ben’s Quantitative Elixir, or QE. Nothing happened. They could have extended the Bush tax cuts, but instead the Pelosi Democrats punted the subject past the November election, the equivalent of kicking the ball straight up in the air.

It looks to me as if there’s only one policy they haven’t tried: economic growth.

Economists dispute among themselves about a lot, but not about the proven wonders of strong economic growth. It creates jobs, increases individual wealth, reduces debt, and enhances national well-being. Strong, as opposed to the middling, economic growth the U.S. has now, is so vital that a great nation should want to do whatever it takes to get it.

With it, we win. Without it, we lose. Economist Paul Romer, in an essay on economic growth, bluntly explained why: “For a nation, the choices that determine whether income doubles with every generation, or instead with every other generation, dwarf all other economic policy concerns.”

The problem is that the Democratic Party is no longer able to sustain real growth policies.

The United States doesn’t have Eurosclerosis yet, but the Democratic Party does. That’s because the party has welded itself forever to the public-sector unions, as the social-democratic parties have in Europe (see the current wave of national strikes in Spain and France). Strong growth has no meaning to the public sector, so its political foot soldiers don’t waste time pushing it. Exhibit A is the Obama administration’s abandonment of trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama.

The growth issue has defaulted to the Republican Party. That’s the pity. Hardly anyone in the party remembers how to give economic growth the starring role it deserves.

The last Republicans able to talk about growth as a crucial, creative, essential force, a driver of American prosperity and primacy (think the China threat) were Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes. The current crop of Republican leaders and presidential contenders, about to be handed the opportunity of a generation, are in danger of reverting to the party’s austerity-only obsessions. Austerity-only policies are producing Europe’s riots.

Reducing spending, controlling entitlements, reforming public pensions—all of that matters. It’s important. But any population being asked to “sacrifice” needs to be able to believe something better is possible. That’s the challenge of political leadership.

… Voters—Americans—want the chance to do what they do best: work, innovate, compete. That’s the world of strong, long-term economic growth. What the Republican Party needs are leaders willing to do what’s necessary to get it.

Here’s an idea beyond tax cuts, which are of course still important: Apply Kemp-Roth to federal regulations. Cut ‘em by 10% a year for the next three years.

A Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy study (overview here) pegs their total annual cost to businesses at $1.75 trillion. That’s about 12% of GDP.

From Heritage:

More than 50 agencies have a hand in federal regulatory policy, ranging from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Together, these agencies enforce more than 150,000 pages of rules, with purposes and impacts as varied as the agencies themselves. Many of these regulations provide needed benefits. … But each regulation comes at a cost–a “regulatory tax” imposed on all Americans.

No one can credibly claim that 150,000 pages of bureaucratic rules and regulations (300 reams of paper) are required to enforce the “rules of the game” and to accomplish appropriate regulatory goals, or that carefully culling 15,000 pages a year for the next three years can’t be done. Appropriately chosen, they would reduce the regulatory burden by at least $175 billion a year (10% of $1.75 trillion), but probably more, if we go after the most costly items with non-existent benefits first). The regulatory relief would reduce business costs, leading to a combination of increased tax revenues (because of higher reported profits) and higher economic growth (as freed-up business resources and reinvested profits are employed to pursue other economic opportunities).

Three years from now, we can then debate whether 105,000 pages (150,000 minus 45,000) are still too many. I’d bet on the answer being “yes.”

These would be “supply-side” cuts in the sense that they would increase the resources devoted to productive business and commercial activity.

Continuing on the current path, with the worst economic recovery in decades and pathetic economic growth currently projected as far as the eye can see, is, as Henninger notes, not an option.

Positivity: Kimberly Dozier Back on the Front Lines As an AP Reporter

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:59 am

Original News Report, May 31, 2006:

LANDSTUHL, Germany — A CBS News correspondent seriously wounded by a car bomb that killed two colleagues in Iraq briefly regained consciousness during a flight to Germany, where she will be treated at a U.S. military hospital, the network said Tuesday.

Kimberly Dozier was being treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for injuries to her head and legs and was in critical but stable condition, the “CBS Evening News” reported.

CBS said Dozier, a 39-year-old American, underwent two operations in Baghdad before being transferred to Landstuhl, the U.S. military’s largest medical facility abroad. Vice President Sandy Genelius told The Associated Press that Dozier was expected to stay at Landstuhl for several days.

“We are encouraged by reports from her doctors,” Genelius said. “Generally, it’s positive in that she’s certainly stable and the doctors are feeling more positive than they have been.”

Col. W. Bryan Gamble said Dozier was responsive during the flight, opening her eyes and moving her toes as she was transferred, but that it was too soon to speculate on her recovery.

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Previous Related Positivity Posts:

  • June 2, 2006 — Soldier with Heart of Gold Gives Purple Heart to Seriously Injured Newswoman
  • August 6, 2006 — CBS Correspondent Kimberly Dozier Recovering “Ahead of Schedule”
  • November 9, 2007 — Writing helped Dozier overcome Iraq injuries

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Dozier Returns to Front Lines

Yesterday, I read an Associated Press report from Afghanistan (“Petraeus fights time, enemy in Afghanistan”; saved here for future reference), and saw that its author was Kimberly Dozier.

Wow.

Dozier’s report is a clinic on how to do a fair and balanced report in a difficult, controversial situation. Read the whole thing.

God bless you, Kimberly Dozier, and may He keep you safe.