Jan. 30, 2014
“If there be a principle that ought not to be questioned within the United States, it is, that every nation has a right to abolish an old government and establish a new one. This principle is not only recorded in every public archive, written in every American heart, and sealed with the blood of a host of American martyrs; but is the only lawful tenure by which the United States hold their existence as a nation.” –James Madison, Helevidius, No. 3, 1793
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Pelosi Wants Action
Nancy Pelosi says she’s glad Barack Obama promises to keep up his habit of merely bypassing Congress when he doesn’t get his way. “When you have exhausted the legislative remedies,” she said, “then the question is why don’t you do something about it where you have the power to do it?” For starters, Obama often doesn’t have the power to do things he does – but constitutional limits have never stopped Democrats from pushing their agenda.
Biden Speaks His Heart
Joe Biden was asked about another possible presidential run in 2016, but, as all possible candidates do at this stage, he demurred. That said, he confessed, “In my heart, I’m confident that I can make a good president. It’s a very different decision to decide whether or not to run for president.” We have no brief for Biden but we’ll give him one thing: He’d be a much funnier president than most, though his humor generally makes you want to bury your head in your hands.
Climatologist Gets It Right
At the turn of the century, climatologist Dr. Don Easterbrook issued his own offbeat prediction. “[I]n 1999 … the PDO [Pacific Decadol Oscillation, a natural cycle that fluctuates between warm and cold phases] said we’re due for a climate change,” he explained, “and so I said okay. It looks as though we’re going to be entering a period of about three decades or so of global cooling.” Indeed, data reveals his prognostication was correct. “We have now had 17 years with no global warming and my original prediction was right so far,” Easterbrook points out. “For the next 20 years, I predict global cooling of about 3/10ths of a degree Fahrenheit.” And that’s not necessarily a good thing: “Cold is way worse for humanity than warm is,” he adds. So as alarmists continue with ostentatious rants about nonexistent global warming, just remember that what we’re actually seeing was foreseen long ago by someone with facts on their side.
NC Unemployment Drop
North Carolina ended its own long-term unemployment benefits last summer, making the state a possible glimpse into what might happen if Congress quit authorizing the perpetual extensions. The unemployment rate in North Carolina dropped precipitously after benefits were not extended, and its rate is falling much faster than the national rate. Nationwide, the rate is dropping largely because people are dropping out of the labor force and it’s not clear how much that’s true in North Carolina. Either way, however, slowing down the gravy train certainly didn’t hurt, which is a lesson Congress would do well to heed.
DC’s ‘Mental Disorder’
This statistic explains a lot. A new report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program reveals that of the more than 10 million Americans collecting disability benefits, 35% are characterized as having a “mental disorder,” topping all categories. In Washington, DC, however, that number jumps to 43.2% of recipients. We’ll need to dig a little deeper into the data, but we’re expecting to find that the majority of these individuals work on Capitol Hill.
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Read 2014 SOTU: The MO BO Show2.
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MyRA Proposal Is a Head-Scratcher
One of the more puzzling proposals in the State of the Union address2 was the idea of MyRAs. Structured like a Roth IRA that invests in savings bonds, the federal government would guarantee these beginner investment accounts aimed at the poor. “It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg,” Barack Obama said. “MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in.” Naturally, he implemented the plan Wednesday with his infamous pen.
Given that there are already many retirement-account options out there, we’re left wondering what problem Obama is trying to solve. And as National Review’sKevin Williamson notes4, “Does anybody know why savings bonds went out of fashion? Because they are a terrible way to save money.” Low-risk, low-return. In fact, the federal workers’ program this seems to be based on had a return of less than 1.5% last year and 2.24% over the last three. While the principal protection would keep the account balance from going down, the account could still lose value if inflation outpaces the return.
Given Obama’s predisposal to nationalize everything, we question if this isn’t the first step in doing so for retirement accounts. After all, just think about all the tax-free earnings sitting in IRAs that Obama wishes he could get his hands on. At a minimum, he seems to want poor, uninformed voters to invest more of their paychecks into the U.S. government. To the extent that MyRAs are used, that money will be invested in U.S. debt instead of private equity – at least until each account hits $15,000 and rolls into a private IRA.
We have another idea. How about privatizing (even partially) Social Security? That’s what George W. Bush proposed in his post-re-election State of the Union. Unfortunately, the idea never went anywhere, and Social Security, with its multi-trillion dollar liabilities, remains unsustainable. In fact, the MyRA proposal is a tacit admission that Social Security isn’t going to be enough for younger workers. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, that’s exactly the case: Baby boomers and Generation Xers need $4.3 trillion more for retirement than Social Security and savings currently provide.
Climate Change Nonsense
In his State of the Union address2 Tuesday night, Barack Obama warned, “[W]e have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming Western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.” Those regulations are greatly harming the coal industry and are thus reflected on your monthly power bill.
Obama then declared, “[T]he debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”
Indeed, much of the nation saw several inches of “climate change” Tuesday, as snow and ice covered several states as far south as the Gulf Coast. In the South, thousands of people were stuck for hours – often overnight – in traffic or wherever they could find shelter, kids were stranded at school, and a region unaccustomed to dealing with such weather was crippled.
One of the main problems in the South was inaccurate forecasting. Chattanooga meteorologist Paul Barys admitted, “This was just not what we were seeing in the forecast models.” Therefore, road crews made almost no preparation until the snow actually began to fall, and schools waited until then to send kids home, compounding a bad situation. The South isn’t exactly known for its snowplows anyway.
It’s important to note that weather is not the same thing as climate, but we’ll make some observations. First, climatologists also use computer forecast models to show that the climate is changing. Computer models can be wrong, especially if the data entered is faulty, and that’s true if the prediction is tomorrow’s weather or the next century’s climate. Indeed, as we noted above, there hasn’t been any global warming in 17 years – hence the change in terminology to “climate change.” Second, alarmists like Barack Obama constantly point to weather patterns – drought and floods, for example – as definitive proof that, in order to prevent climate change, we need draconian government regulations and taxes that will hit the economy like, well, a snow storm in Atlanta. And no matter the weather, these alarmists blame climate change. Truth is the only thing getting plowed.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Columnist Ann Coulter: “Immigrants … have always been the bulwark of the Democratic Party. For one thing, recent arrivals tend to be poor and in need of government assistance. Also, they’re coming from societies that are far more left-wing than our own. History shows that, rather than fleeing those policies, they bring their cultures with them. … This is not a secret. For at least a century, there’s never been a period when a majority of immigrants weren’t Democrats. … The two largest immigrant groups, Hispanics and Asians, have little in common economically, culturally or historically. But they both overwhelmingly support big government, Obamacare, affirmative action and gun control. … It’s not [Republicans’] position on amnesty that immigrants don’t like; it’s Republicans’ support for small government, gun rights, patriotism, the Constitution and capitalism. Reading these statistics, does anyone wonder why Democrats think vastly increasing immigration should be the nation’s No. 1 priority?”
Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “Postmodernism (the cultural fad ‘after modernism’) went well beyond questioning norms and rules. It attacked the very idea of having any rules at all. Postmodernist relativists claimed that things like ‘truth’ were mere fictions to preserve elite privilege. … Without notions of objective truth, there can never be lies, just competing narratives and discourses. Stories that supposedly serve the noble majority are true; those that supposedly don’t become lies – the facts are irrelevant. … To paraphrase George Orwell, everything is relative, but some things are more relative than others.”
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973): “You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harm it would cause if improperly administered.” (If only he’d followed his own advice…)
Columnist Burt Prelutsky: “When Muslim terrorists threatened to make their presence felt at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Obama quickly responded by sending men, equipment and warships, to help beef up Russian security. I’m sure that somewhere, Ambassador Chris Stevens was musing, ‘Instead of diplomacy, I knew I should have taken up figure skating.’”
Comedian Jay Leno: “In his speech [Tuesday night], President Obama urged Congress to raise the minimum wage. Now don’t confuse that with congressional minimum wage. See, that’s doing the minimum for your wage. That’s completely different.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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