In the midst of devastation one Secret Santa has brought smiles. A Missouri businessman was found handing out $100 bills to Sandy Survivors along the hard hit coast of New York and New Jersey. He told reporters his plan of sharing with others was not about the money. “It’s about the random acts of kindness,” he said.
Secret santa gives out $100 bills to Hurricane… by andfinally
Monthly Archives: November 2012
In the midst of devastation one Secret Santa has brought smiles. A Missouri businessman was found handing out $100 bills to Sandy Survivors along the hard hit coast of New York and New Jersey. He told reporters his plan of sharing with others was not about the money. “It’s about the random acts of kindness,” he said.
We are just days away from finding out who the 2012 TIME Person of the Year will be. You may be surprised to know that one of the 2012 “candidates” — if chosen as Person of the Year — is literally “too much for even the earth to bear.”
The Person of The Year is considered the person who “most influenced the news this year for better or worse.”
Sandra Fluke, the now-infamous disgruntled Georgetown student who is outraged that the Catholic University “does not provide enough access to birth control pills for female students”, is a candidate for the title this year. Ms. Fluke is described by TIME Magazine as “the target of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s vicious rants.” The magazine goes on to say, “Conservatives painted Fluke as the epitome of liberal entitlement; to liberals, she was a victim of the right’s war on women.”
Victim? A more accurate description is that she is “the political prop” for “The War On Women’s Brains”.
You may be surprised that the real description of Sandra Fluke was written sometime between the 10th and 6th centuries B.C., when Agur, son of Jakeh wrote Proverbs 30.
“Three things are too much for even the earth to bear,
yes, four things shake its foundations—
when the janitor becomes the boss,
when a fool gets rich,
when a whore is voted “woman of the year,”
when a “girlfriend” replaces a faithful wife.”
When discussing her nomination as TIME Person of The Year, Ms. Fluke stated:
“I would do this again, because these issues are that important to me.”
This is not surprising:
“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2
On December 14, we will know who this years most influential person is. Sandra Fluke most definitely influenced the news this year- for worse! Will the American people vote for her just as they did Barack Obama? If Sandra Fluke is indeed voted the 2012 Person of The Year, she is sure to receive another phone call from Jamie Foxx’s “lord and savior” Barack Obama, congratulating her!
Kristen Walker Hatten said it quite eloquently:
“Sandra Fluke totally deserves to be TIME Magazine‘s Person of the Year!”
Sandra Fluke truly represents what America has become: a nation of blind, conceited, wicked fools who are making no attempt to turn from evil. Sadly, “Sandra Fluke embodies the times’!
“Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts.
They have no fear of God at all.
In their blind conceit,
they cannot see how wicked they really are.
Everything they say is crooked and deceitful.
They refuse to act wisely or do good.
They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots.
Their actions are never good.
They make no attempt to turn from evil.”
As I’ve said previously, I hate tax increases, but I’ll settle if a 10:1 deal is reached. Ten dollars of spending cuts, including welfare state cuts, for every one dollar raised in revenue. It’s a rational deal. If we can retake the Senate, and maintain our majority in the House; then perhaps we can discuss making other changes more palatable for the job creating and investing class. However, in this brief time where I am open to such compromise, the chances of such a deal is unlikely. But I’m still holding an optimistic grin.
Yes, Democrats will get what they want of we go off the cliff – and Republicans will be blamed for it. Joel Pollak at Breitbart described how Republicans were failing ‘negotiation 101.’ In his November 27 post, he wrote that Republicans need to focus on:
Framing the debate. The negotiations are now about the meaning of “revenue,” rather than about how to reduce runaway federal spending. President Obama says “revenue” and means increases in tax rates for the wealthy; when House Speaker John Boehner uses the same term, he means cutting loopholes and deductions while keeping rates the same. But both sides are talking about making the rich pay more to close the gap.
Aside from the fact that the wealthiest Americans bear a disproportionate share of the federal income tax burden–disproportionate even to their disproportionate wealth–and the fact that taxing the rich at a 100% rate would not solve the deficit and debt problem, there is a principle at stake here: that the government does not have an inherent claim to wealth and income that Americans have earned through their own labor and risk.
Arguably, the wealthy–like the rest of us–owe only for what provides the opportunity for all to earn and enjoy income in safety. Furthermore, too much of today’s public spending hurts the public–creating waste, reinforcing cronyism, and building dependency. But Republicans lost the chance to frame the debate around spending last year when they dropped the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan after obstruction from the Democratic Senate.
It’s true. The job creating and investing class pay a disproportionate share of the taxes, but Mitt Romney lost. President Obama campaigned heavily on raising taxes on the wealthy, and he won that argument on November 6. This was due to Republicans not making the argument against such hikes. Furthermore, there wasn’t even a single ad in the ’12 cycle that hit Obama on his hypocrisy surrounding the Bush tax cuts. He extended them in December of 2010, which was a tacit agreement of Republican economic policies, regardless of the ‘hostage’ talk – which was pure drivel. I agree with Pollak that the government is taxing too much of Americans’ hard-earned money, and that it’s immoral for members to say that those monies are government property, but there was an election about this – and we lost.
In short, the reason why Republicans will be forced to raise taxes is due to the fact that we have poor leadership and bad messaging.
Media and culture. Democrats blocked “Cut, Cap, and Balance”–but the Tea Party was blamed for obstructionism. Obama destroyed a grand bargain by insisting on increased tax rates–but House Republicans suffered more media criticism when ratings agencies lowered the U.S. credit rating a few days later. Today, more Americans blame the GOP for the fiscal cliff impasse even though the sequester was Obama’s original proposal.
More is at work here than simple media bias. The Democrats have consciously pursued a media and cultural strategy to reinforce the idea that Republicans are the guardians of the rich–even though the wealthiest are actually a Democratic constituency. In the summer and early fall of 2011, for example, after the downgrade and with the economy creating net zero jobs, Occupy Wall Street began–and the Democrats latched on.
The movement failed, but Democrats salvaged the “99% vs. 1% meme,” setting a trap that Mitt Romney fell into with his comments about the “47 percent” last spring. Obama has also made the effect of spending cuts visceral for many Americans; Republicans have failed to describe the cost of debt in similar terms. That media and cultural edge allows Obama to rig the game in his favor. It’s time Republicans found an answer.
Here is the answer is simple. It’s time to have a Reagan throwback. Not necessarily on everything during the Reagan administration, but reconnecting with middle class Americans. Conservatives and Reaganites were a coalition of blue collar, middle class, ordinary, and right-of-center Americans – who took a liking to a lot of Republican policies. For example, it explains the Arkansas bleeding of Democratic voters until Bill Clinton came into the picture.
Shifting away from Wall Street will also have a positive impact on our Hispanic outreach, since Latinos view Republicans as the party of the rich. Yes, it’s an incorrect assumption, but it’s not to say that we can do better with the folks in the American middle class. It’s time to challenge Democrats’ core constituency. I’m not saying we should be anti-wealthy, or engage in class warfare, but we need to find candidates who are popular both on ‘main street’ and ‘Wall Street.’ Let’s face it. Wall Street isn’t, and shouldn’t, come off scott-free from the ’08 financial meltdown. On the other hand, they didn’t deserve Dodd-Frank either.
Coming back to the fiscal cliff, Republicans should insist on entitlement cuts. After all, the president agrees with this position as well. It’s also put him at odds with his fellow party members – forty-two of which signed on to a deal that called for zero cuts to the welfare state. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), in Napoleonic stature, has found her Waterloo by leading a coalition of cliff jumpers in the U.S. Senate. To counter this, Republicans may have to take flak from the base by insisting that tax rates only rise for millionaires. There is a winnable argument to be made that $250,000 isn’t rich when all of the mitigating elements are factored in, such as location, utilities, property taxes, state income taxes, sales tax etc. For example, urban residents making this kind of money, and they should be congratulated on it, don’t feel rich once all the bills are paid – and they’re right. The GOP has a winning narrative in this period between elections.
On the other hand, they can fight to keep the 2% cut in payroll taxes. James C. Capretta wrote in National Review on November 27 that “this tax cut lowered the Social Security payroll tax from about 12 to 10 percent on all earned income (up to a limit of just over $100,000 annually). In January, if the cut is not extended, all 155 million American workers will see this two-percentage-point hike in their taxes. The Obama administration is ready to let it expire because it fears a long-term cut might create pressure for additional Social Security reform — which is precisely why the GOP should support keeping payroll taxes, as well as income taxes, as low as possible.”
Concerning entitlement reform, Capretta added that:
There should be no deal on long-term taxes without far-reaching reforms to health-entitlement programs. And what’s far-reaching? For starters, the entirety of Obamacare should be on the table for revision and retrenchment. The law sets in motion the largest entitlement expansion in a generation. It’s far better to scale the program back now before it gets started than to wait and hope it can be scaled back later.
Republican governors have substantial leverage in these negotiations because they can opt out of the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare, thanks to the Supreme Court. If 25 or so Republican governors refuse to put more people into an unreformed Medicaid program, it will put tremendous pressure on the Obama administration, which is desperate to see the Medicaid expansion occur during the president’s second term. The congressional GOP should use this leverage to move Medicaid toward fixed financing and maximum state flexibility.
Most importantly, if there are any cuts, they need to be immediate. Conservatives stress this because in such fiscal deals during the Reagan and Bush 41 days, they were promised – but never implemented. While those on the left, like Matt Yglesias, think a grand bargain is impossible, and negotiations towards one is hurting the country.
Jennifer Stefano, PA State Director for Americans for Prosperity, stated in a news release on November 20 that she thinks:
…it is funny people are criticizing the president for being abroad in Asia during this crisis. The President can be abroad in Asia and do exactly what he has been doing in the White House; which is absolutely nothing to prevent the economic calamity that will come on all Americans because of his fiscal policies..at the end of the day there are issues. And on the issues there are things that are right and there are things that are wrong. President Obama’s tax hikes are going to continue to crucify small businesses in this country… along with Obamacare, it is a crushing blow to the entrepreneurial spirit and as well as to the bottom line.
Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, aptly noted in Forbes on November 29 that such reforms to get our fiscal house in order will take more time, and that Congress should extend all the tax cuts for one more year. This would provide a buffer from the cliff, and give representatives the necessary cushion to come up with a comprehensive long terms plan to tackle our debt and deficit.
This is why FreedomWorks has activated its grassroots members to call Congress with a two-part message. 1) Keep your promise on the sequester savings. 2) Pass a one-year extension of all current tax rates, so America has time to pass serious tax and entitlement reforms.
By the way, there is some good news hiding in all the dust of the “fiscal cliff” fracas. The coalition of committed fiscal conservatives in Congress has grown in the past two elections. Constitutional conservatives in the House held on to the historic gains of 2010, while the Senate just picked up three principled fiscal conservatives in Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, and Deb Fischer to replace GOP establishment types Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jon Kyl, and Olympia Snowe.
This new generation of legislative entrepreneurs is re-populating Washington with innovative energy. Expect these principled leaders to put real specifics on the table, craft thoughtful budget solutions, and carve pathways to needed tax and entitlement reforms next year – all things Senate Democrats haven’t seen fit to do for the past 3 years.
Fiscal conservatives are once again at the table, but we won’t bargain with ourselves against an arbitrary deadline. Your move, Harry Reid.
Extending the tax cuts for one more year – I’m for it! However, there’s a fat chance that will happen. Reid, Pelosi, and liberal Democrats won’t back a deal with such extensions. As I’ve said, politically, Republicans have little to stand on without getting blasted by the media, and the American people. We need to stand our ground with the spending cuts for sure. No compromise there, but concerning taxes – they’ll have to go up. It’s time to face reality for now. Come 2014, hopefully, we’ll have a comprehensive tax reduction and reform plan that is palatable to everyone, and we can return to a sense of fiscal sanity.
I won’t lie. I found Suzanne Venker’s piece about the ‘war on men‘ interesting, thought-provoking, and controversial. In the process, she has reaped a whirlwind of left-wing hate. It’s no surprise that today’s economy is better suited for women. Manufacturing, the lynchpin of male labor, has collapsed – and now scores of men are left without the skills necessary to maneuver in the services economy. Women are out-educating us, out-earning us, and out-performing us in the workforce. In short, Venker says men are being stomped on, and we should be angry. I couldn’t disagree more.
As Angela Morabito at The College Conservative wrote on November 28, women are just more ambitious at the moment. Also, she disagreed with Venker, with whom she says got ‘gender politics wrong.’ As such, she injected a little Adam Smith into her argument.
It is true that women are getting more college degrees than our male counterparts. That’s not because we are angry. It’s because you have to compete to get into college and the majority of the recent winners have been female. It is not because we are female that we have won: Competition drives the application process. Competition is what also should drive the economy. When we compete based on merit, and one team wins, all competitors improve in the process.
However, I would say that affirmative action policies also had a part in increasing women’s enrollment into higher education. Yet, that’s a separate debate. Furthermore, Morabito added that:
We [conservatives] cannot be – nor should we be – the side that thinks women are too ambitious, too smart, or too driven. America needs all hands on deck to pull us out of this recession. Individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom can still work for us today. These principles are strongest when everyone, including women, participates.
This is real conservative feminism: Women have the same freedoms as men and the same responsibilities as men. Wealth is allocated according to what we do with our freedoms and how we manage our responsibilities. Gender doesn’t need to enter the equation. The Left is going to freak out about it because they think women need special government “help.” But what we’re seeing now is that it’s just not true – we aren’t some feeble, marginalized group that flounders without Big Brother.
Yet, I feel inclined to defend Venker for a moment. she mentioned in her column – and it’s true – that men worked to sustain themselves, find a woman, love her to death, and start a family. We’re then happily burdened with providing and protecting our families, and that’s what we’ve been doing for nearly ten thousand years. The system worked, and I liked it.
I’m the product of a household where Dad worked and Mom stayed home caring for me, loving me (to death), feeding me, and fussed over me. She did this with my older brother and sister as well. As a little tyke, I was King Tut. Life was good. However, the dynamics have changed, and we must adapt. We’re a nation of two income households, but women have increased their share of bacon they bring home.
Liza Mundy has written about this shift in her new book, The Richer Sex, where she predicts that women will be the majority of breadwinners by 2030. She calls it the ‘Big Flip.’ However, there have been many ‘big flips’ in socioeconomic history. The Industrial Revolution, the invention of the Cotton gin, and the transition from an agrarian to a manufacturing-based economy in the U.S. are all prime examples of such shifts. But women were never as involved as they are now. Hence, guys, and some conservative gals, shouldn’t freak out as much. This is all part of the cyclical life of economic progression. We shouldn’t be afraid.
Where Venker, I think, freaked out women, especially left-wing women, is her assertion that they’re the ones responsible for being incompatible with marriage due to their focus on building a career. To be precise, Venker said that “fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs. If they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork.” This is troll city. I can only imagine the uproar that would ensue if a woman told men to surrender their masculinity to be successful in the 21st century economy. My response would’ve been similar: “like hell I will!”
On this rare occasion, I actually agree with what Lauren Boyle’s November 27 column on Huffington Post, where she noted that Venker’s piece degrades men.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, Venker has 1) implied that young men are pathetic, 2) flat-out stated that they don’t want to compete with women and 3) suggested that, if not corralled, all men want is sex and meaningless relationships without responsibility. If that isn’t offensive to men, what is?
Venker refers to the hundreds of men upon which she bases her opinions. But these men she describes bear no resemblance of the young men I know, who celebrate the successes of women in their lives and value them for their professional contributions.
Well, that’s because we know our existence depends on it! No, just kidding, but given the Republican Party’s abysmal stance with young, single women – we should embrace female advances in the workplace. It’s very much aligned with conservative values. After all, we’re the party that supports free market achievements. Morabito puts it succinctly:
Conservatism, at its core, means equality of opportunity. We’re not there yet in this country, but we get closer every time we cut bureaucracy and improve our schools. This is, after all, what makes it easiest for more people to achieve at a high level. In a free market we all compete with one another. In a free market workers are valued for their skills, and not because of any union or demographic group they may belong to. The free market cares about cost and value. It does not care about male versus female. Venker’s “war on men” is unfounded, just like the “war on women.” It’s time for men and women on both ends of the political spectrum to call for a ceasefire.
YES! Taking a step back from the gender politics for a second, the emphasis on the equality of opportunity is highly salient. Both Republicans and Democrats used to agree on this. However, we’ve seen a perverse reversal within American liberalism that stresses equality of outcome, which is indicative of the liberal dependency agenda. An agenda that is being implemented aggressively at the federal level by this current administration. The more people on food stamps or any government program, equalizes the playing field, and enhances the public good. Our constitution was never meant to be compatible with social dynamics of this nature.
Morabito sets the ground work for a winning narrative ahead of the 2014 elections. Democrats needs to divide, identify, and exploit groups to win. Hence, why they have a fetishistic attitude towards the ‘war on women,’ abortion, contraceptives, MediScaring, and racism – which are all tools that are successful in galvanizing a rabid liberal electorate. That’s how Obama won in 2012. Then again, it also helps the opposition when your side doesn’t make the argument. Nevertheless, if Republicans can convey a message that is malleable with the 21st century economy – it will shatter the ‘demography is destiny’ narrative liberals are peddling right now. Furthermore, telling women to not be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen in order to be marriageable also helps.
Granted, there are still jobs that are better executed by a specific gender. Case in point, Morabito aptly says men are better suited for professional football and women are better Victoria’s Secret models. Yet, these examples are rare. Nevertheless, I would say the Venker does focus too much on being ‘doom and gloom.’ As I’ve said before, we, as guys, need to adapt. Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, aptly made the observation that women are more flexible, and men are cardboard in this new economy. That’s ok. We just need to stretch more.
Like modernizing the messaging of conservatism, I look at this challenge with optimism. Bring it on! As Barney Stinson would say, “challenge accepted.”
On a more personal note, it’s not a bad thing women are more ambitious to get into the trenches. I have a sister, who is a mother of two, that works full-time in the human resources department at the Philadelphia Art Museum. My sister-in-law does the same work at a non-profit in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I have two nieces, ages 13 months and two years old, and I hope they’re offered the same opportunities that were afforded to me. After all, they’re Vespas – and hard-work is a cornerstone of our family.
So, for the guys who are part of the ‘pissed off coalition,’ which Venker alludes to in her piece. I suggest look at your family dynamics. Are you really going to tell members of your own family, who are female, that they should surrender her femininity in order to get married? That would be absurd. It’s not a woman’s world, then again it’s no longer a man’s world either. It’s not the end of men, but a beginning of an equilibrium amongst men and women in the workforce. To keep the balance, guys need to get more animated, and stop slamming reading as a ‘girly’ activity. When did that become a hallmark of masculinity?
Finally, let’s think of it in these terms. As men, we’ve ruled the world since the beginning of time. I don’t know about you, but I would be exhausted. Thank God for women to help us pick up the slack.
Originally posted on The Young Cons.
Most Americans view the guarantee of free speech to be the cornerstone of all other rights contained within our Constitution. Our founders certainly saw the importance, judging only by its placement as the very first of our Bill of Rights.
As with so many other traditionally American values, though, leftists seem to be competing against one another to see who can most effectively degrade the First Amendment. A Democrat Representative from Georgia appeared to be leading the pack after making some shocking recommendations.
Joining in the deafening chorus of class envy and wealth hatred, Representative Hank Johnson claimed America needs “a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to control the so-called free speech rights of corporations.”
Who could have foreseen a legislator arguing for more legislative power? The reason for Johnson’s appeal is baffling to anyone with even moderately conservative views.
“These corporations,” he said, “along with the people they support, other millionaires who they’re putting into office, are stealing your government.” [Emphasis mine.]
As Obama nationalizes more and more of the private sector, it may seem disingenuous to suggest the corporate world can bring a bloated, all-encompassing federal government to its knees. Still, facts mean little when there’s propaganda to disperse.
Dreaded corporations and the evil rich “control the patterns of thinking,” Johnson said, explaining “you are being taught to hate your government.”
Any nation that re-elected Mr. Government himself, Barack Obama, to a second term is not being adequately taught that lesson, Rep. Johnson. Continuing his diatribe, he alleges “these folks” are “setting up a scenario where they’re privatizing every aspect of our lives as we know it.”
The bottom line, in my estimation, is that corporations are the only entities left with enough capital to effectively speak out against a rogue government. If Johnson has his way, the private sector will be left muzzled and completely ineffective politically.
B. Christopher Agee founded The Informed Conservative in 2011. Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.
Little by little, I have noticed that many freedoms are being taken away from us, but we do not seem to care; as a matter of fact, we seem to laugh and make light about it. I am not talking about big freedoms, but little things. But a freedom is a freedom, and it does not matter how small it might be. Many people do not realize that when the Government limits choice, it is limiting freedom; and that is exactly what it is doing today.
Everyone is probably aware that the Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg has banned sodas larger than 16 oz. Everyone I know says,that is ridiculous, we should be able to drink whatever size soda we want — after all, this is America. Bloomberg also indicated an interest in enforcing limits on other high-calorie foods like movie theater popcorn, coffee drinks and milkshakes.
So, we all talk about it, laugh a little and go on with our lives — it is forgotten about. Did you know that the Mayor also banned baby formula at hospitals, because he says breast-feeding is better for the baby? The hospital will still carry formula, but it will be kept under lock and key and forms must be filled out if the mother insists on using formula. He has also banned smoking on beaches or in the parks.
Why has he done all of this? Because HE says, it is better for us. We are too stupid and ignorant to think for ourselves, Government seems to know what is best for all people and they make sure they let us know about it. We once were the freest nation in the world — what happened to us? According to the Index of Economic Freedom, which is produced by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, the United States just barely makes it into the top ten: ranked number nine in the world.
Among the 179 countries examined in the Index, Hong Kong is ranked first, followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, and Denmark. These nations all outscored the U.S. across ten categories, including taxes, free trade, regulation, monetary policy, and corruption. The rights that Americans have lost over the years are just too many to fit on this page. I give small examples, but there are much bigger ones to be sure.
A while back in New Jersey, a couple had their son taken away by the state, because they named their child Adolph Hitler. Let me be clear, I would never name my kid that and I am sure you would not as well, but do we not live in America? Now, because the Government does not like a name, social workers can come in and take your child. What if the Government decided it do not like the name Olga, does that give the state the right to take your child? Where does it stop? We should be free to raise our children the way WE see fit, not the way the Government sees fit.
Every year there are new laws, new regulations and policies that restrict our freedoms and control the way we live our lives. The latest is Obama-Care. At last count there were 180 new bureaus, boards and commissions that have to be set-up for the new law, with them come 2700 pages of new taxes, laws and regulations — more freedoms we can kiss goodbye. The Government can now force you to buy coverage, tell you what doctor to use and what procedures you can have. Freedom? I don’t think so, but once again, the Government tells us what is best for us.
So if you keep saying that we are still the freest country on earth, you need to wake-up, because each year that goes by, we have fewer and fewer freedoms to enjoy. And with Obama as President for another four years, be prepared for our rating as a free nation to drop even further.
Soda, popcorn, smoking, baby formula are all little things, but they are all freedoms of choice which have been taken away. How many more little freedoms must be taken away before we have all had enough? I guess we are not there yet, but sooner or later it is going to come. But by then we will not be able to do anything about it.
This is one man’s opinion.
As we head into the Christmas season share this story with your children. And then find your own random act of kindness to do.
The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) falsely claims, and has produced a graph purporting to show, that the US spent $739 billion on its military in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 and outspent the 10 next countries combined. China supposedly spent only $89 billion in FY2011.
Supporters of deep defense cuts, such as Sen. Rand Paul (RINO-KY) and former Senator Alan Simpson (RINO-WY), have used this graph and this false statistic to argue for further defense cuts, claiming, falsely, that the US has a $740 billion military budget and outspends the next 17 countries combined (Simpson).
These claims are blatant lies. America has never had a $739 billion military budget. Not in FY2011. Not ever.
In FY2011, the total military budget – counting the base defense budget, spending on outside-DOD defense-related programs, and spending on the Iraqi and Afghan wars – amounted to a total of $688 billion – a large sum to be sure, but significantly less than $739 billion. In FY2012, total US military spending declined to $645 billion (per the FY2012 NDAA) and is poised to shrink further, and deeply so if sequestration kicks in.
As for China, it’s real military budget was far more than $89 billion in FY2011, and is even far larger than that today. No one knows how big it is exactly – because unlike the US, China is extremely opaque about its military spending, hiding large portions of it outside its military budget – so we have to rely on unofficial estimates. The DOD estimated that in FY2011, China’s military budget was at around $160 billion, while SIPRI estimated it to be $143 billion. In fact, in FY2007, the DOD estimated the People’s Liberation Army’s budget to be up to $140 bn.
In 2012, the DOD estimates that Beijing’s military budget is between $160 billion and $250 billion, and that’s before PPP differences are accounted for. As Bill Gertz writes:
“The official figure for Chinese defense spending is considered by the Pentagon and other non-government specialists to be far lower than actual spending, which has been estimated to be at least $160 billion and as high as $250 billion a year. (…)
Last year, China announced a 12.7 percent increase in defense spending to about $91.5 billion. The boost “continues more than two decades of sustained annual increases in China’s announced military budget,” the Pentagon said in August.
The Pentagon’s annual report on the Chinese military stated that China actually spent more than $160 billion in 2010, noting that Chinese military secrecy makes estimates difficult.”
But even the PDA’s Carl Conetta, a supporter of deep defense cuts, estimates China’s military budget, with PPP differences, to be $240 billion. This is a stark contrast to Beijing’s official figure of $100 bn for 2012.
So according to the DOD, the SIPRI, and the PDA, China’s military budget as of 2011 was far higher than $89 bn and is even higher this year. In fact, the DOD says China spent $160 billion on its military as early as 2010, and even more than that in 2011 and this year.
How did the IISS arrive at such woefully understated figures for China (and Russia) as $89 billion?
By blindly accepting these countries’ official figures, which are not credible. Both of them leave most of their military spending off their official defense budgets. Both leave weapon purchases off budget, for example. China also leaves most personnel and operational costs off the PLA’s budget, and many other military expenditures, along with off-the-books sources of income, such as those from PLA farms. GlobalSecurity.org has more on that subject here. AirPowerAustralia correctly writes that:
“The oft quoted comparisons between the United States and PRC defence budgets produce a misleading picture of the relative scale of investments, especially in terms of equipment recapitalisation. Chinese aggregate defence budgets as cited reflect primarily capital equipment acquisition and support costs, while many infrastructure and personnel costs are born by regional governments. United States budgets tend to carry a significant fraction of operational costs which have been unusually high over the last decade due to the ongoing global conflict with Islamo-fascist insurgent movements.”
All of which means that China’s annual military budget is much higher than what Beijing admits to and what the IISS claims, and then has to be multiplied by a factor of at least 2 or 3 to account for PPP differences. Therefore, if China’s military budget for FY2012 was $250 billion (the DOD’s high-end estimate), and if we assume that in China one dollar can buy 3 times more than in the US, China already outspends the US in military expenditures by $750 billion to $645 billion, i.e. by more than $100 billion, if PPP differences are accounted for.
But even if PPP differences are not accounted for, the next 10 top spenders combined (China, Russia, the UK, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Brazil, and Italy) outspend the US in military expenditures. Their respective military budgets this year are as follows: $250 bn, $71.9 bn, $62.7 bn, $62.5 bn, $59.3, $48.2 bn, $46.8 bn, $46.7 bn, $35.4 bn, $34.5 bn (and that’s AFTER the deep cuts made in the British, German, and Italian defense budgets in recent years). The figure for China ($250 bn) is from the DOD (as cited here) and the figures for the other 9 countries come from SIPRI’s 2012 Yearbook for military spending, as cited by Wikipedia.
Together, these countries’ military budgets add up to $718 bn, far more than America’s military budget for FY2012 ($645 bn) or FY2011 ($688 bn).
In fact, the top 8 after-USA military spenders collectively outspend the US at $648.1 bn to America’s $645 bn.
So the IISS, Rand Paul, and Alan Simpson are reporting false information and are using it to make their case for cutting the defense budget.
“The Chinese government announced prior to last month’s National People’s Congress that PRC defense spending would increase another 11.2 per cent in 2012 to 670 billion yuan (U.S. $106 billion).
This is a “minuscule” fraction of the nation’s economy, some diplomats and intelligence officers said.
“If you believe these official defense spending numbers, then you accept that the PRC are spending only about 1.4 per cent of their GNP on defense, which is just not at all realistic,” one diplomat said.”
Of course not; China’s real FY2012 military budget, according to the DOD, is between $160 billion and $250 billion.
“If you can’t get in there and start getting stuff out of there when you have a defense budget of $740 billion bucks — and the defense budget of every major country on earth, 17 of them, including Russia and China, is $540 billion combined. Who is joshing who? That’s madness, madness.”
Simpson’s argument is misleading. Firstly, as stated above, America’s total military budget has NEVER been $740 billion or anything close to it; the FY2012 military budget was $645 billion, almost $100 billion less than what Simpson claims. Secondly, as proven above, the US doesn’t outspend the next 17 countries combined, or even the next 10 countries combined – not even close. What is “madness” is vastly exaggerating the size of America’s defense budget while understating those of America’s potential adversaries (Russia and China).
Thirdly, the claim that “you can’t take stuff out of there [the military budget]” is also a blatant lie. A lot of “stuff” has already been taken out of the defense budget during the last 4 years. In 2009 and 2010, the DOD killed over 50 crucial weapon programs, including the F-22, the C-17, the Airborne Laser, the EP-X aircraft, the Zumwalt class DDG, the CGX cruiser, the Multiple Kill Vehicle, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and the AC-X gunship. In 2011, Secretary Gates announced $178 bn in efficiencies and cuts, which included cuts to bureaucracies, troop layoffs, and weapon program closures. And earlier this year, complying with the Budget Control Act, Secretary Panetta announced another $487 bn in cuts, including weapon program closures, cuts to cruiser, fighter, attack jet, airlifter, and other platform fleets, and the layoff of 80,000 troops. Any claim that the DOD has not “taken stuff out of its budget”, or has so far been exempt from scrutiny and budget cuts, or has not yet had to make tough choices, is a blatant lie. Alan Simpson’s supposition (“if we can’t take stuff out of there”) is, in the best case, a straw man argument against a claim that no one is making.
No one is claiming that there isn’t any waste in the defense budget, or that the military cannot afford to trim its heavy ground formations. But there’s a limit to how much you can cut safely, and it isn’t much. Deep defense cuts are exactly that – deep, destructive defense cuts. That includes the proposals made by Simpson and his colleague Erskine Bowles in their deficit reduction plan of 2010.
Simpson falsely claims that the defense budget is “a big piggybank”, and Donna Cassatta of the Associated Press claims the same. That is also a blatant lie. The defense budget is not big, and it’s not a piggybank.
The FY2012 military udget, $645 bn, amounted to just 4.22% of America’s GDP ($15.29 trillion) and less than 17% of the total federal budget. The base defense budget, $531 bn, constituted just 3.47% of America’s GDP and less than 14% of the total federal budget. It’s not big at all, and it’s not a big “piggybank” or a big potential source of savings.
Treating the defense budget as a mere “piggybank” for deficit reduction is destructive, harmful to national security, unacceptable, and out of line with the Constitution, which makes defense the #1 Constitutional duty of the federal government. The Constitution says that one of the reasons why it was adopted and why the federal government was created in the first place is to provide for the common defense. Treating the defense budget as a mere “piggybank” is shameful, and Simpson should be ashamed of himself.
When: Thursday, November 29th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific
What: Join Social Media Director of ConservativeDailyNews.com, Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) as she discusses the issues that impact America.
Tonight: Come listen to a lovely lullaby about the US economy. Sure to include fiscal cliffs, debt ceilings, and pretty bubbles. We’ll also talk about the “war on men” and if Going Galt is possible and why you might consider it. Bring your own bacon. There are no freebies, here!
This story dates back to 1778. Once you hear the story, you will never look at a simple deck of cards the same again.
But you say, “How can that be? I thought the Affordable Care Act would mean health insurance coverage for those very people. The working class who don’t qualify for Medicaid but don’t have coverage through their work or who have preexisting conditions…”
From Bloomberg News: To Megan Hildebrandt, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act means she can no longer be denied health insurance because of her lymphatic cancer.
There’s a big catch: Coverage for the 28-year-old artist and many other Americans without insurance will come at a potentially unaffordable cost.
Hildebrandt, who relies on hospital charity, will face more than $1,000 in annual premiums, by one estimate, and probably more in out-of-pocket expenses even with new federal subsidies. She and her husband have a combined income of $25,000.
“It’s great that I’m not going to have to pay some hugely impossible amount,” said Hildebrandt, who lives in Austin, Texas. “Though now I’m in the health-care system and still have to pay money that we can’t really afford.”
So there it is. The program that was meant specifically to help those caught without health coverage still may not be covered.
Those earning up to 400 percent of the poverty line — about $92,000 for a family of four — will receive tax subsidies to buy private insurance on a sliding scale.
Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s second- ranking Democrat who was instrumental in pushing through the law, said there’s “legitimate concern” that care will remain unaffordable for some.
Lawmakers sought to “protect the poorest” yet weren’t able to offer as much help to others as they would have liked because of budgetary constraints, said Durbin. “We did all that we could do,” he said.
We did all that we could do??? Unfortunately, in the haste to pass a 2000 page bill that nobody took the time to read through we now have a law that is changing the face of American health care…and yet there are still many who will not be covered.
This time of the year is a celebration of Life- the Life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This video very interestingly lays out the dates of historical events that can point us to the approximate date of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The other day, one of the few liberals that is still speaking civilly with me on Twitter suggested that I write something on a David Brooks column. I dutifully warned him that it probably would not be something that he would like, and have no doubt this could very well annoy him enough to stop paying attention to me altogether.
First, I need to point out that Nick Crews – the object of that column – is now a hero of mine. It isn’t because he wasn’t a great parent, and not because he was smart enough to admit that fact. It is because he was honest to his children, and told them what they should have been told repeatedly throughout their lives. The article recounts an email he sent to his adult children after all of them had failed to rise out of decade-long patterns of failure. Crews used tough love to tell his children things they probably should have heard long ago.
“The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn’t for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being woefully let down by you, their parents.”
Crews has become somewhat of a hero to parents in Britain and abroad because of the letter he signed, “I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed. Dad.” As if Crews’ final commentary were a prediction instead, one of his daughters chose to release the letter to the press in hopes of gaining publicity for a book she was translating.
David Brooks, the author of the article, takes issue with Mr. Crews’ letter.
It’s foolhardy to try to persuade people to see the profound errors of their ways in the hope that mental change will lead to behavioral change. Instead, try to change superficial behavior first and hope that, if they act differently, they’ll eventually think differently. Lure people toward success with the promise of admiration instead of trying to punish failure with criticism. Positive rewards are more powerful.
Brooks and the psychological establishment are so off base with all of this “positive reinforcement” garbage, I’m starting to believe that they are doing this just to ensure job security in the future. Screw up the masses, and there will be a need for psychologists and psychiatrists forever.
I’m not saying that kids do not need positive reinforcement at all – they do need it. But, it needs to be given when the kids are actually doing something positive to deserve it. Conservatives have been complaining about the stupidity of giving trophies to kids for just showing up, and for good reason. Question the problem with making every kid think they are better than they really are? Obviously you’ve not gone to a fast food restaurant recently, or you haven’t paid attention to the folks getting your bag of grease wrong.
And then there’s the problem with this warm and fuzzy nonsense invading our schools. Remember when teachers actually got respect, because they actually disciplined children? Good luck finding that now in the “new and improved” public school system today. Telling little Johnny that it’s not right to beat the crap out of the kid sitting in front of him might hurt Johnny’s feelings, don’t you know! Today, teachers and administrators apparently wait it out for when the truly evil children do something decent, and praise them for that, instead of punishing them when they do something wrong. At least that’s how it’s done in my kid’s school. Even better, our school district freely admits that they have a problem with kids acting badly on the buses. But there’s no talk about actually doing anything to put an end to those problems!
But back to Crews – the fact that he broke down, and told his adult children the truth. It’s good that he finally said it, but he probably should have spoke up long ago. As long as parents don’t get to the point where all they are saying to their kids is negative, and as long as they do not become verbally abusive, there isn’t a problem with being honest about when kids disappoint. Bluntly, it does more harm than good to lie, and fail to tell children when they have done something wrong. The whole point of raising responsible children is to prepare them for the real world. When they are on their own, they will not be coddled by employers. If they do something wrong, there will be real consequences. And worst case, if they end up getting in real trouble by breaking the law, they will have to face the music in court. Failing to teach children that there are consequences for their actions is bad parenting. Finally, failing to teach children that there are winners and losers in this world might make them feel good for the short-term, but it will discourage excellence in the long-run. It’s a simple enough concept – if a child learns that no matter what he does, he will be praised, there is no incentive to do anything well. There is no incentive to attempt to do better than anyone else.
It’s no secret that the liberal agenda has been to level the playing field. That necessarily causes those with the greatest potential to have no real incentive to perform the best they can. It breeds mediocrity, not excellence. If the liberals want to raise their kids with blinders that make them not see where they can improve themselves, so be it. That just creates less competition for the children of conservatives.
To those familiar with “progressive” modus operandi, it is not surprising that the White House and their “progressive” political allies envision Medicare and other “entitlement” savings happening ten to twenty years from now.
This is what “progressives” call a “balanced approach.”
The same “balanced approach” “progressives” used when they promised Ronald Reagan three dollars in future spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases. The same “balanced approach” “progressives” used when they hood-winked George H. W. Bush into violating his “Read my lips, no new taxes” pledge with a similar two to one offer.
Reagan, Bush 41 and the American taxpayer have yet to see those promised spending cuts.
In the current “fiscal cliff” negotiations, Republicans who are willing to accept “revenue” increases as a part of a deal with “progressive” Democrats in exchange for promised spending cuts that will happen sometime in the future are stupid, in denial or both. How many times do Republicans need to make this same mistake before they learn?
“Duh…as a kid I burned my finger every time I stuck it into the fire, but this time that won’t happen…duh…yup…uh huh…duh…ooooh…aaaah…look…something shiny…duh.”
By whatever means, no matter how much “new revenue” Republicans agree to provide, it will never be enough for “progressives”. No matter how completely Republican squishes cave to “progressive” demands for more “revenue”, it will work against them in both the short and long term.
The economy will tank and Republican will be blamed by “progressives”, while being seen as unprincipled jellyfish willing to break promises made to their constituents in order to “deal” with those who have no interest in compromise.
The “progressive” motive is not to make a deal. It is not to enact legislation that will stimulate private sector economic growth. History instructs that lowering tax rates stimulates the private sector and increases economic growth while resulting in additional revenue to the IRS. To “progressives” this is irrelevant.
They are far more concerned with what they call “fairness.” To “progressives”, fairness means confiscating money through taxes from productive people who create wealth and redistributing it to the unproductive.
History shows that tax increases stifle economic growth, which leads to reduced revenue collection. Budgetary imbalances grow worse and deficits continue to explode at an increasingly alarming rate. By following this path, it is all but guaranteed that the American government will raise the debt ceiling again and experience another credit downgrade. U.S. national debt will not go down and GDP growth will become virtually non-existent.
Eventually the federal government will need to find “other revenue” to fund its big spending operation.
The retirement savings, IRAs and 401Ks of every American are in “progressive’s” sights. Americans believe their 401ks and IRAs are private property, safe from government seizure.
These retirement savings are already heavily controlled by government regulation. Given the track record of “progressives” it is no stretch to realize that trillions of dollars in private savings are threatened by “progressives” who see them as a way to finance the national debt their big government socialist programs have created.
When Social Security began it was a compulsory savings program administered by the federal government. When someone retired, they would get back what they had paid in plus interest. It only took until 1939 for a “progressive” Democratic Congress to begin using a pay-as-you-go financing method, meaning money currently being paid into the Social Security System is financing current beneficiaries. At first it was worked. In 1950 sixteen people were paying into the system for each person receiving benefits. In the not so distant future there will be two people making payments for each check.
What happened to all the money millions of Americans have had stolen over the course of their lives from their paycheck by government mandate? What will happen if the government seizes private savings?
If Republicans ever wish to be taken seriously, they must stand on principle. For the future of the American Republic, backing down is not an option.