GIVING VOICE: Reconciling Nelson Mandela





Photo credit: michaelseangallagher (Creative Commons)

As Americans and the rest of the world mourn Nelson Mandela’s death, those of us in the less popular position – being informed – are left with the utterly unfair, tough task of how to reconcile Mandela’s messages of peace and forgiveness with the knowledge of his neck-lacing Barbarism, his Democratic-Socialist terrorism, and lust for Communistic ideas.

How does one do that? Is it necessary? Does one merely extract the good and toss the bad to the side? If one were to do that, is it still Mandela?

The idea of “The Great Man” Mandela was is far greater and comforting to the uninformed human than is the reality behind his legacy as a political animal.

Reconciliation is a virtuous ideal, but is it always practical or applicable? Is it in the case of Mandela?

When I speak about Mandela as a whole person, Progressives tell me that they are disappointed in me, accusing me of dividing people into two camps – informed and uninformed – and of being driven by arrogance. Information equals arrogance now? Slow down, please; I’m still working on Truth being the new Hate Speech. Progressives and the uninformed others urge that they don’t think anyone is ignoring the bad, but that most people just recognize the overwhelming positive impact Mandela had. I disagree with their simplistic, presumed assessment, mostly. I do agree that it is not that people aren’t ignoring; but I further add that these “most people” who just recognize Mandela’s “positive impact” are completely uninformed, which, according to Progressive logic, just means to be humble, a much more comforting word than arrogant.

I question why they are disappointed in what I’ve said, for I’ve done what I have always done: present facts from more than just one angle, affording others the opportunity to see a more whole picture of issues, topics, or, in this case, a person named Nelson Mandela.

The world needs a hero, a leader, someone in whom they can find the hope or a wholeness they lack in their lives, family, community, or nation. It is an inherent trait of humans to feel this need for a leader or hero. This yearning, when manifested, allows the reasonable person to become deaf and blind to certain elements of reality that would otherwise deny or eliminate the necessary bricks to build that legend…to construct that Superman.

The question I have posed is how we – the informed – are supposed to reconcile Mandela’s prison epiphanies of forgiveness and peace with his acts of Democratic-Socialist terrorism and salivating lust for Communistic ideas, or the neck-lacing (not very forgiving/peaceful) his then-wife and he endorsed.

Mandela was the terrorist leader of a violent terrorist organization, the ANC (African National Congress), which was responsible for many thousands of mostly black deaths. At least we know he didn’t discriminate (he was responsible for both black and white murders).

Yes, Mandela had quite the impact on the world; while undeniable, it was a farce, based on lies that took root and became legend. The iconic legend is no more real than Paul Bunyan and his blue ox.

This is what he thought of your country, my country, our country: “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”

What he thought about a country that truly doesn’t care for its citizens: “Long live the Cuban Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro. We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people. There can be no surrender. It is a case of freedom or death. The Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people.”

Hey, uninformed Americans, Mandela considered you his enemy; unless you support Democratic Socialism and lust a little for Communistic ideas, you are not his girl.

It’s said that in his late life, Mandela eased off his Red ideas. If such were the case, one must ask why this supposed conversion wasn’t media-worthy; for many would have embraced it. As it is, the uninformed praise him for the “idea” of what, to them, he represents. It’s not my intention to subtract credit from his character.

It’s in the best interest to be afforded all parts of the whole. In Mandela’s case, while I recognize why he’s appreciated, it’s pertinent that one understands that in praising him, one indirectly continues to validate the efforts he so passionately engaged in, began, encouraged, and perpetuated.

Persons should want to know the whole of the person and appreciate or reject him or her for it. In this best-case scenario, the informed person will fully understand why it is that he or she believes in, fights for, and defends that person…or none of those at all.

In the final analyses, it ultimately is up to the informed individual to forgive anything that might require such action or find a way – an informed way – of reconciling the good and bad.

Is the human investment in genuine hope for peace and forgiveness worth reconciling Mandela’s prison epiphanies with the political animal he was, merely because humans need that comforting idea of a hero whom we believe espouses virtuous qualities we’re afraid to admit we don’t possess, regardless of how incomplete that hero is?

Photo credit: michaelseangallagher (Creative Commons)





The New Pitch For Keynesian Obamanomics





Photo credit: terrellaftermath

Recently, President Obama vowed to focus on income inequality in the U.S while calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage. He reasserted his defense of government’s role in stimulating economic mobility. Mr. Obama also said that rising income inequality and decreased economic mobility “pose a fundamental threat” to American prosperity.

This may have been an appropriate pitch if it was made in 2008 during a campaign rally, but it has been 5 years of Obamanomics that was promised but failed to stimulate a sustained growing economy while enhancing economic mobility. As such, the fundamental threats to American prosperity are actually the President’s policies. President Obama, in his renewed focus on economic mobility and inequality, is now pitching that hiking the minimum wage is a means of achieving those goals. This only speaks volumes on how this administration has lowered the bar and dismissed what it actually takes to grow an economy.

The resurgence of populist chants of ‘inequality’ and hedging on the emotions of activists (some of which demand doubling the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour) only indicate that President Obama wants a platform to double down on the failed no-growth Keynesian Obamanomics of the last five years. In 2011, I wrote a detailed piece titled ‘Failed No Growth Keynesian Obamanomics versus the Reality on Taxes and Spending’. As I predicted then, 2013 would be the year for other attempts at a Keynesian binge; only this time, it is coupled with more coercive regulative attempts such as a drastic hike in the minimum wage.

The President again called for more ‘investment’ and stimulus supervised by government. This is just a precursor to justify calling for more tax hikes in future budget deals. So far, he and other liberals in Washington have proven inept in investing the money they have already collected from taxpayers or borrowed from other countries. Look for his plans to require more. They have failed to provide any return of vibrant economic growth. There is no shortage of capital or money in the private sector to invest in economic growth and ensure upward mobility. There is only a shortage of coherent government policies and leadership to motivate such investments, while reducing the economic uncertainties that hinder them.

Democrats, after President Obama came to office in 2009, had an advantage by also having both the House and Senate. They took the opportunity to unleash their ideological dreams with a barrage of hyper Keynesian spending experiments and massive growth in government. This included the almost $1 trillion in stimulus, a surge in temporary and targeted programs such as cash for clunkers, tax credits for home buyers, over 99 weeks of jobless benefits, clean energy grants, subsidies to states (which have already run out and caused budget shortfalls), and much more.

The Keynesian ‘theoretical multiplier’ supporters of stimulus programs said that every $1 of this spending would lead to $1.50 of economic output. Some liberals like Nancy Pelosi and newly elected NYC mayor Bill de Blasio think that unemployment benefits stimulate the economy, while denouncing reforms that require welfare recipients to actively look for jobs while receiving benefits. The results of this Keynesian spending binge have led to the hangover of fiscal consequences: temporary increases in demand, then a continuation to economic downturn when the funds dry up–leaving a higher national debt tab and limited mobility for citizens.

In addition, the other sobering reality is that Keynesian approaches normally fail because they do not provide permanent predictable incentives to save and invest in the long term. Predictable incentives, as opposed to tax hikes, are the key motivating factors that have been proven to spur economic growth, jobs, and increased mobility. This reinforces the earlier point of my predictions in 2011 about what to expect in this time period. The recent push by the President is setting America up for another Keynesian spending binge, and a hangover from which America may find it difficult to recover from.

Due to Keynesian Obamanomics, we still have an unemployment rate of 7%, the lowest labor participation rate in 35 years of 63%, and anemic economic growth. Going forward, the opportunities for growth will depend on how much capital will be controlled by a Keynesian driven government, versus allowing expanded economic freedom and the free movement of capital to areas where they will be most productive and create well paying jobs.

Pro-growth tax reform has been repeatedly shunned by the Obama administration. The Democratic Senate led by Harry Reid has not taken up for a vote over three dozen pro-growth and jobs bills passed by the Republican House, even though some had bi-partisan support. Not only does the U.S now have the highest corporate tax rate in the world at 39% (which encourages global companies to invest elsewhere); profits earned on subsidiaries overseas and already taxed there are also taxed again if repatriated back to the U.S. Thus, billions of dollars that could return and be invested in the U.S remains where it is generated. Most developed countries do not have this ‘double tax’ scenario for repatriated profits. The Obama administration has repeatedly said no to the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to the U.S, which would also have boosted jobs, tax revenue, and a safe source for more energy. Instead, the Canadian companies are preparing to build a pipeline to their west coast and export the oil to China. More recently, the effects of Obamacare are becoming more apparent on job creation due to the mandates and the increased costs it adds to hiring. In addition, the Fed has contributed to uncertainty with its shifting policy targets with quantitative easing, which in turn reduces business risk takings for investment and hiring.

The President’s inequality argument also aims to re-ignite the populist passion of class warfare to fuel and galvanize the efforts of his supporters to help his cause. The chants of ‘inequality’ implies that those who do well do so at the expense of keeping others down, so government efforts are needed to ‘close this gap’ through redistribution. However, demonizing success actually curtails it and the prosperity the nation can benefit from when the successful do strive. These populist rants of inequality also ignore the reality of economic facts that contradict the basis of their argument.

The more successful one is, or the more disposable personal wealth one has, the more likely a higher proportion of that wealth will be saved or invested in economic activity that further grows that wealth. Thus, the ‘richer’ one is, the more likely they will get ‘richer’ or be able to weather an economic downturn. The less wealth one has means that a higher proportion of that will be used for consumption and not investment. As such, they will be more susceptible to increases in cost of living, unforeseen circumstances, or limited mobility due to a slow growth economy–like we have now.

The minimum wage was never intended to be a living wage but the entry wage for a low skilled worker who eventually earns more as they acquire more experience. It is the first rung of moving up an economic ladder. If the President and his supporters are so adamant to make more people comfortable on this ‘first rung’ of the economic ladder, it does not instill confidence that his economic policies will give them the mobility for them to rise above that rung.

President Obama’s own Labor Department reports that only 2.9% of American workers paid by the hour and over the age of 25 are earning minimum wage. Most of them are not raising families on it. However, what is often ignored is that earning $15,000 per year is not their sole income. Food stamps, earned income tax credits, and Medicaid–which this income group may qualify for– actually means that their real income could be almost double that. Measuring economic inequality often leaves out such transfers of benefits, as Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor who directs e21 at the Manhattan Institute, recently explained in an article: The Income Inequality Problem is Overblown.

More so, an increase in the minimum wage means increasing the cost of low skilled labor, which means less people might actually be hired. As Jared Meyer of the Manhattan Institute explains in an article, ‘Minimum Wage is not a Win Win,’ low-skilled workers are disproportionately affected by increases in the minimum wage. The U.S teen jobless rate in October was 22.2%; and for black teens, it was 36%, which reinforces the observations in Mr. Meyer’s article.

The mantra by many liberals about ‘inequality’ and mobility often ignores how their actions to prevent school choice limits the educational opportunities that would enhance the income mobility of students, especially for those who are poor or are minorities. The most valuable capital is human capital, like maturing young students; and the best way to invest such capital is by young people being free to access the best educational opportunities for them. See my previous article: NYC de Blasio joins other Dems against a 21st century civil right, school choice.

If President Obama is serious about increasing economic mobility and preventing inequality, there is a lot of self-evaluation he will need to do about his own policies. First, he should face the reality that populist Keynesian and class warfare tactics are no substitutes for pro-growth economic policies. Unfortunately, President Obama’s ideological mandate to himself normally supersedes such rationale.

 

Photo credit: terrellaftermath





Video: The Terrorists, Socialists, and Con Men Behind ObamaCare





“If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it…”

This refrain was repeated by Obama literally hundreds of times despite the fact that he knew it was a lie.

But this Big Lie wasn’t some off-the-cuff remark; it was the brainchild of a slick, socialist public relations firm called the Herndon Alliance—whose ultimate goal is a socialist utopia where the State is God.

Gone are the days of blowing up the Pentagon to usher in a socialist utopia—á la Bill Ayers, head of the Weather Underground. Now everything is done in secret—stealth socialists they’re called. So former domestic terrorist Weather Underground architect and Bill Ayers buddy Jeff Jones is pushing ObamaCare over at the George Soros-funded Apollo Alliance. And socialist-connected American Environics is doing all the polling for the stealth operation. And another socialist front group, Families USA, is concocting phony ObamaCare “success stories.”  Enroll America, the so-called “non-partisan” federally-funded group, outed by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas as full of liars and conmen, is tasked with signing up dupes for Obama’s overpriced healthcare.

Domestic terrorists, socialists, and con men, all working with Obama to push socialized medicine…and no one is surprised.





Pope Francis, Meet Venezuela’s President!





Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales) (Creative Commons)

In just a few months, Pope Francis has made quite an impact on the Catholic Church. He has shown admirable qualities of compassion and humility and offered stern warnings for Church leaders to focus on their true mission, instead of the trappings of their position.

At the same time, he has won the praise of the liberal media and leftist politicians like President Obama. They were certainly overjoyed when the Pope cautioned his flock from being “obsessed” with issues such as abortion and gay marriage. He also expressed concern about Catholics who attend Latin mass, noting that following the traditional services could risk “ideologization” and “exploitation.”

While somewhat disturbing, these comments pale in comparison to his recent denunciation of capitalism. Last week, Pope Francis released his first encyclical, which labeled “trickle down economics” a major failure that “expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.”  In the Pope’s view, the poor have been left out by rich capitalists; and a more equitable system focusing on economic justice is necessary to combat poverty.

The document served as a shocking attack on the most successful economic system ever devised: capitalism. Only liberals like Pope Francis equate capitalism with the loaded term “trickle down economics.” For all its faults, capitalism and “trickle down economics” is a much better model for prosperity for all citizens. It worked during the 1980’s in this country and led to the creation of over 20 million new jobs. It also worked in other countries throughout the world, such as Chile.

The best way to help a poor person is to give that individual a job, not a government program. Capitalism lifts people out of poverty, while socialism distributes crumbs of assistance to the poor, dooming people to an existence of misery.

The Pope said that the “idolatry of money” would lead to a “new tyranny.” Yet, this system has created an untold number of rich philanthropists who have generously contributed to Catholic causes and helped the Vatican maintain a worldwide network of activities.

It seems that Pope Francis prefers socialism, or Marxism, two systems that have continued to fail miserably throughout the world. In fact, the Argentine Pope only has to look at what is happening to the north of his native country. In Venezuela, a socialist dictator, Nicholas Maduro, has maintained the failed policies of the late Hugo Chavez. The result has been a total disaster for the poor people of Venezuela.

It is so bad there that there is a shortage of basic items such as toilet paper, newspapers, and magazines. To address the continuing economic problems, Maduro spoke to the nation Monday night. However, in the middle of his speech, a power outage disabled 60% of the country.

How ironic and appropriate that the outage occurred as the President was issuing more decrees against the country’s diminishing private sector. It was similar to a major power outage that occurred in early September. Instead of taking responsibility for these embarrassments, Maduro hinted it was caused by some sort of sabotage by his political opponents.

In reality, the socialist government of Venezuela is always looking to shift blame for their failures, reminiscent of the current occupant of the White House. Maduro’s failed policies include a ridiculous campaign to regulate prices on items such as used and new cars. This is an attempt to limit the ability of Venezuelans to buy durable items (such as vehicles) as an investment hedge against the rampant 54 percent inflation rate and the plunging value of the currency.

Maduro is an enemy of the private sector and is working to reduce corporate salaries and shrink private sector profit margins. He has ordered the military to assume control of major outlets selling electronic goods. While he demands that his citizens save more and consume less, his government continues to grow.

In total, these actions limit freedom, all in the name of helping the poor. Of course, the complete opposite will occur as expanded government control will lead to more economic misfortune for the poor people of Venezuela.

It is outrageous for a country with the world’s largest crude oil reserves, estimated at 297 billion barrels, to have rampant poverty, a scarcity of basic necessities, and a moribund economy.

In a country with massive rivers and hydroelectric facilities that generate power for two-thirds of the population, blackouts are becoming routine, especially since the government nationalized this sector in 2007.

For the past 15 years, socialism has been tried in Venezuela. The result has been widespread corruption and utter incompetence, along with shortages, blackouts, and overall economic misery. There have been few benefits for any segment of society, the poor, the middle class, or the rich.

It should be crystal clear to any objective observer that socialism, such as the Venezuelan model, does not work. Hopefully, one day, Pope Francis and other liberal Catholic leaders will get the message.

Obviously, Pope Francis has the best intentions to help the poor and the powerless. Sadly, his recipe for success will only lead to more poverty, unemployment, and hunger. For evidence, the Pontiff just needs to look at the disaster unfolding in Venezuela today.

 

Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales) (Creative Commons)





Video: Screwing Up “Hope And Change”





How incompetent must a guy be to screw up something as simple as “hope and change”?