jump to navigation

Are Unintended Consequences the Intention? March 31, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

Joining the slow motion delivery of Iraq to the Ayatollahs of Iran and the decade long quagmire of Afghanistan America’s Progressive leadership stumbled into Libya with all the bravado and none of the experience of Custer at Little Big Horn.  The UN and NATO get more attention and have more influence on a decision affecting the lives of our warriors and the security of our nation then the United States Congress.

The government drifts rudderless into the whitewaters of war, the mission changes with each new speaker at the podium, and the President appears more interested in sporting events and vacations than in doing his job.  With a foreign policy this well directed the unintended consequences are the only consequences we should count on, which makes one wonder how unintended they are.

On the Home front after all the back-slapping died down its plain that as far as Congress goes the new boss is just like the old boss.  First the Patriot Act receives rubber-stamp approval.  Then a series of highly publicized overly dramatic Continuing Resolutions take one step back and billions of steps deeper into debt.  And after the record-shattering victory of the Tea Party led Republicans the Progressive’s Evolution Revolution continues as the Stimulus, Obamacare, and the Financial Reform Bill take affect and strangle the economy.

The Stimulus: a slush-fund to help re-elect the President kicks into high gear pouring out money for make work jobs. The administration trumpets each drop in the unemployment figures as a return to normalcy when everyone knows it is merely a reflection of discouraged workers leaving the job market as America’s work force shrinks.  It is patently absurd to think that government spending can grow the economy.  Government only gets money by expropriating it from the economy in the form of taxes, inflation, or borrowing.  It then rakes off exorbitant handling fees and then puts it back into the economy.  If I take twenty dollars out of my right pocket, throw eleven dollars down a rat hole and then put nine dollars in my left pocket how have I increased my net worth?

Obamacare: sold to the American people on the basis of insuring 30-40 million people while at the same time lowering costs is busting the budget.  Even according to the Progressive’s own Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media the budgets so far proposed by President Obama add in excess of $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years, as analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

This nonpartisan report contrasts with the still disturbing projections of the White House, which stated that President Obama’s budget would produce deficits adding only $8.5 trillion to the national debt in the same time frame. That was last year and the dominant Progressive party never passed that budget in the face of elections.  This year’s budget is even bigger yet the administration claims it will result in lower deficits and a decreasing debt and the cow jumped over the moon.

This optimistic White House projected a deficit of about $1.5 trillion last year or 10.3% of the entire economy which would be the largest since World War II.  The report went on to predict a $1.3 trillion in 2011.  It is now estimated at 1.6 trillion.  The sobering news does not stop there however.

The CBO continues in a considerably less optimistic vein predicting that deficits would never fall below 4% of the economy under President Obama’s policies and that they will begin to grow even larger after 2015.  The report also notes that perpetual deficits of this size will make it necessary for the government to continue to borrow at ever accelerating rates and that by 2020 the national debt will account for an astounding 90% of the economy.  The CBO also projected that the interest payments on this escalating debt would increase by over $800 billion in the next decade.

The financial reform Bill was passed on a wave of indignation concerning big banks which foreclosed on homes without reading error-filled paperwork.

It is beyond absurd that legislators who routinely pass thousand page bills without reading them were really indignant at the crony capitalists who are among their biggest donors because they foreclose on houses without reading the mortgage papers.  Can’t you just see our legislators from central casting in the best Congress money can buy, sleeves rolled-up, coat over the shoulder ready for a photo-op as they plan more regulations to clean up the mess their previous regulations caused?

The crisis with the big banks exploded after President Obama theatrically pointed his finger at the EVIL bankers telling them defiantly, “We want our money back!” as he is lobbied Congress for the imposition for a Financial Crisis Responsibility Tax.  It turns out that the bankers are passing any taxes imposed on them to consumers in the form of fees.  So now we get to contribute the money to pay ourselves back for the money Washington appropriated from us to bail out the banks.

To finish the cyclical kabuki farce Congress then bails-out their friends again so they can return to the casino floor to place our money, our children’s futures, and the fate of our economy on Red-13.  It’s time to deactivate the robo-signers.  It’s time to vote out the cronies in Congress and to stop doing business with the cronies in the financial industry.   There are alternatives available: citizen-patriots who will serve a few terms and return to the real world and locally owned banks and credit unions.

What’s the shape of our Transformed America? Looking at the government-induced government-sustained Great Recession, the unsustainable debt that grows every day, and the increasing over-extension of our military obligations the now repudiated doctrine of Too-Big-to-Fail may be our last best hope.  America’s status as the largest consumer economy in the world makes us valuable to China, the largest manufacturer in the world.  Hopefully they will continue to buy and hold our debt. After two years of the Obama Administration it feels like America’s New Motto should be “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

What Needs To Be Said About What Needs To Be Done March 25, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

Its spring and I’m in a motel snowed in for the second time in three days.  This past weekend I spoke at a symposium hosted by the Tenth Amendment Center at Southern New Hampshire University.  It was a power packed event.  A full day surrounded by people who not only see the hand writing on the wall but who also believe they know what the words mean left my head swimming with the ideas presented and the inevitable optimism created when people see a problem and take action.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way!  This has long been the battle cry of the do something even if it’s wrong lobby.  It also appears to have been the guiding philosophy of George the Second’s TARP and Obama the Only’s stimulus.

I once knew the manager of a Rock-N-Roll band famous for the on the road antics.  A constant string of motel mayhem, bar room buffoonery and generally boorish behavior devoured his attention.  He always managed to get the boys out of trouble and on to the next town.  I asked him once how he managed to smooth so many ruffled feathers.  His answer and his policy for living large in the Rock-N-Roll lifestyle, “Do whatever you want, and choke them with hundred dollar bills.” Or as our politicians lead by example, “Come on let’s throw some money at the problem maybe that will make it go away.”

On my way to my second snow day I drove past miles and miles and miles and miles of orange barrels blocking half the highway.  I could almost count them since the speed had been cut by about 30%.  After a minimum of twenty miles the construction ended, and I could once again drive at normal speed.  During all that time I saw not one worker, machine, or any evidence of human activity except the barrels. Our President has admitted that even though he sold us a trillion dollar pig-in-poke with the catchy little phrase there is no such thing as a shovel-ready job.  It now seems the Stimulus the Progressives foisted upon us was clearly a make-work boondoggle.  Now we are paying people to make signs telling us what wonderful things the Stimulus is accomplishing.  We’re paying people to put the signs up.  Paying people to put out the orange barrels, and then paying someone to pick up the barrels and take down the signs.  What’s next? Do we hire people to dig holes and then hire people to fill them up?

Once American said things like, “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute!”  Once we said, “Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!” And “I have not yet begun to fight!”  Today the whine seems to be, “Where’s my share?”  “How about me?” and “Don’t touch my entitlement. Cut someone else.”  We have trillions for the political hacks, sweetheart deals for the unions, bail-outs for crony capitalists, and all the other hucksters, but no one with the courage to say what has to be said or do what has to be done even if it won’t cost one cent.

What has to be said is that we’ve squandered all the treasure and we’re about to kill the economy which has always been the goose that laid the golden egg.  Generations of over-the-top spending have finally brought us to the day when the credit cards are about to be cut up and the notes are about to be called.

What has to be done is stop the over spending.  Every household in our transformed America is facing the reality of cutting the expenditures to meet the income.  It’s time the government did the same thing.  We don’t need to have a series of continuing resolutions providing token cuts in exchange for an Amen to continued spending at astronomical levels.  And we don’t need to raise the debt ceiling if we will begin to spend no more than what comes in.  Since we are currently borrowing approximately 40 cents of every dollar Washington spends this will of course mean austerity such as we have never known.  But what is the alternative, insolvency, default, and an America which will slide from the first world to the second.

This isn’t what we inherited from our parents and it isn’t what we should leave for our children.  The people who met to uphold the Tenth Amendment know that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  And we never delegated the power to spend us into serfdom or charge us into bankruptcy.  So the next time you crawl past miles of closed highway with no work going on make a mental note to contact your Congressman and Senators and tell them to quit the spending and quit digging holes you can’t afford to pay someone to fill up.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

 

Are We On Our Way To Gettysburg? March 18, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
6 comments

The nightly newsreel rolls and we watch in fascination as our friend and ally Japan struggles to regain its bearings after nature’s devastating one-two-punch seems to have set them up for a potential nuclear knock-out.  Boosting the ratings of the wall-to-wall news channels we sit for hours glued to the scenes of devastation waiting to be amazed by the most recently discovered views of water overtaking land in a world where every phone is a video camera.  The destruction of this latest mega-tragedy is reminiscent of World War II after America paid back Pearl Harbor in spades and today’s situation even has an atomic twist at the end.  One major difference is that this time we are all praying that our partners in the land of the rising sun won’t have to surrender.

Today America faces an economic earthquake and a social tsunami.  Our leaders have spent us into the poor house.  Our melting pot has become a smelting pot.  Our social glue consists of eating at the same fast food restaurants and watching the same game shows. Reality shows are more popular than reality.  Our President fiddles while Rome burns more concerned about b-ball brackets then about a 14 trillion dollar debt, two wars, and a world aimed at meltdown.  The only event able to hold the administration’s interest is the 2012 election and their obsession to maintain their grasp on power.

The lack of a Historical perspective may well prove to be the undoing of our nation.  Once a people are divorced from their past they live in the Eternal Now and those who set the agenda can always change now.  The study of History not only provides context it also provides an endless number of lessons, illustrations, and warnings.

The magnitude of the calamities currently assaulting Japan cannot help but bring to mind the terrors of total war.  In all our wars only one ever visited such destruction on our homeland.  In the Civil War the North adopted a policy of total war to destroy the South’s will and ability to fight.   After the South under a string of brilliant generals culminating in Robert E. Lee handed the Union defeat after defeat Grant and Sherman were able to convince Lincoln of the necessity of wonton destruction of civilian as well as military targets.

Flush with victory Lee launched his first invasion of the North in 1862.  He marched into Maryland, a slave state which stayed loyal to the Union more because of an occupying army then because of popular sentiment.  Lee’s goal was to defeat the Union Army and lead Maryland into the Confederacy thus surrounding Washington DC, probably winning foreign recognition, and possibly winning the war.

The previously invincible Army of Northern Virginia led by arguably the greatest tactician America has ever produced met General George McClellan and the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Antietam for the bloodiest day in American combat history.   More than twice as many Americans were killed or mortally wounded at Antietam on that one day than in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Spanish-American War combined.

After twelve hours of savage combat more than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing.  The fighting ended in a stalemate with combat stopping due to the sheer exhaustion of the armies not because one side had triumphed over the other.   However, Lee and his men were at the end of a precarious line of supply through enemy territory with no hope for reinforcement and more Union forces were arriving all the time.  Therefore, even though the Union sustained more casualties than the South, Lee was forced to withdraw.  This was a tactical victory for the South but a strategic victory for the North opening the door for Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation thus seizing the moral high ground in the war and precluding any recognition of the South by the European powers.

One year later after fresh victories at Spotsylvania Courthouse, in the Wilderness, and Chancellorsville Lee once again sought to end the war with a second invasion of the North.  This time he crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry and marched into the heart of Pennsylvania hoping to destroy the North’s will to fight by bringing the war to them.

This time he met the Union Army under General George Meade a career officer and civil engineer.  In this pivotal battle of the war the great bold tactician met the plodding bureaucrat.  On the first day of the battle General Lee moved uncharacteristically slow and Meade moved uncharacteristically fast allowing the North to gain the high ground.  This set the stage for the battle as the South wasted itself attacking strong positions culminating in the fruitless slaughter of Pickett’s charge.  Bled white and facing a Union army that was constantly growing Lee turned around and carried the Confederacy’s last hope of victory from the field of honor.

But it didn’t have to end that way.  Instead of attacking against fortified positions either uphill or over open ground Lee could have turned to the east to march towards Washington.  Meade and the Union army would have had to follow him doing their best to move around him to shield the capitol.  Lee could then have chosen his ground and allowed the North to waste itself against a fixed position as they had so many times before.  A victory here would have left Lee with an unopposed road to Washington and possible victory.

Hindsight is 20/20 and at this distance without the hazard of battle and the gamble of combat it’s easy for an armchair general to improve upon the real life experience of one of the greatest generals in history.

What we need now is not hindsight but foresight.  Domestically, America is facing the perfect storm of crushing debt, dwindling industrial capacity, high unemployment, and creeping inflation.  Internationally we’re engaged in two hot wars, a desultory campaign against international terrorists, pirates on the high seas, and collapsing prestige.

Are we boldly marching towards our Gettysburg?  Are we blindly relying on our past glories expecting them to propel us to future triumphs?  Will we waste ourselves assailing massive debt with paltry cuts?  Are we marching over open ground against the fixed positions of free trade agreements that are free in only one direction?  Are we hamstringing ourselves with an energy policy designed to keep the earth green by devastating our pockets for the benefit of our enemies?

Before it’s too late we should turn and march towards victory!  Stop the over spending.  Renegotiate all our trade deals, and make them equitable for all sides.  Put the welfare genie back in its lamp before Ali Baba and his 535 thieves pass another budget, loot the treasury, and we end up sitting in the dirt eating leaves.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

 

What Will You Do When the Lights Go Out? March 11, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

When the power goes off leaving you with no TV, Internet, or email you have a lot of time on your hands.  Thankfully there are batteries, so my trusty computer will still work for a few hours, and I can follow my fingers into my thoughts.  Looking out my window I can’t see any lights in the neighborhood so at least I know it isn’t just our house that’s in the dark.  In addition, there are cars running up and down the street, so I know at least it wasn’t the dreaded EMP blast.  The wind was making a strange noise but stopped, so we have come out from under the table since there’s no indication of a tornado on the way.  All these kinds of thoughts run through your mind when the lights go off.  In other words, when you’re in the dark there’s little light.

This lack of power also brings to mind the recent spike in oil prices and the resulting sticker shock at the pump.  Our government assures us there is no inflation.  Anyone who goes to the supermarket or the gas station can gauge the validity of those claims for themselves.  When the power goes off in the middle of the night it’s impossible to know why, but when America runs out of energy we should all know why.

Beginning in 1974 when the former anti-establishment protesters became the establishment and the Watergate Congress grasped the reins of power the United States has been systematically hamstrung in its production of energy.  They founded the department of Energy in 1977, and through its enlightened management of our energy production and power needs the percentage of our energy needs coming from domestic sources has steadily fallen as our dependence on imported oil has soared.

America has some of the greatest proven reserves of oil in the world, but due to unproven and sometimes disproven environmental concerns we aren’t allowed to explore, drill, or pump at anywhere near full capacity.  We have one of the world’s largest supply of coal, but for the same tenuous reasons its use is maligned and restricted.  We are the preeminent designer and builder of nuclear power plants, but due to unsupported safety concerns we haven’t licensed or built a new plant for decades.  We have the technology and the space to build refineries that don’t pollute; however, the all powerful environmental lobby has blocked the construction of a new one for over thirty years.  So when the price hits $4 a gallon and the lights go out don’t sit in the dark and wonder why.

Right now the Obama Administration is fighting the federal courts that have said the moratorium on oil exploration in the Gulf, which was imposed by decree, is illegal.  In a knee jerk reaction our President declared the gulf off limits for drilling, economically devastating the deep water oil business and the many industries and people it supported.  The government argues it’s too dangerous to drill in deep water after the BP leak.  No one contends it isn’t difficult but since the same government makes it almost impossible to drill on land where it is the safest or in shallow water where it is much less dangerous what alternative is there?  Only the one each successive administration for decades seems to favor: buying oil from the Mideast.  Our elected leaders are trading our energy independence and our treasure in exchange for letting someone else drill somewhere else.

Instead of oil and coal and nuclear we are told that America’s future energy needs will be met by ethanol, solar, and wind.  Our massive use of ethanol, which is a very inefficient energy source, has driven up the price of corn worldwide causing food prices to escalate.  This in turn has contributed to the current unrest which is driving up oil prices.  The same environmentalists who campaign against oil, coal, and nuclear also work to block the construction of solar power plants in the vast deserts of the Southwest.  The same politicians who work for the demise of our traditional forms of energy fight the construction of wind farms if they happen to be anywhere near them.  All three of these boondoggles have received billions in federal dollars, tax breaks and incentives for decades and the answer to our energy needs are still blowing in the wind.

The only growth industry left by the government is the government.  It is powered by its own inertia. America’s energy policy seems to be to manufacture an energy crisis.  Typing away on my battery operated computer by the flickering light of an oil lamp, the vision of America’s energy future seems almost as dark as the scene outside my window in a blackout.  We’ve allowed demagogues preaching a false gospel of man-made global warming chanting songs of pollution hysteria while serving sacraments of social guilt to give our enemies a chokehold on our energy artery.  The next time you pull into a gas station as you pump your fuel look at the price.  Remind yourself we have a Secretary of Energy who thinks the price should be at European levels and a President who has said energy prices will skyrocket under his programs. Now ask yourself, “If that’s their plan, what’s mine?”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

And the Dead Beat Goes On March 3, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Now we’re getting tough!  Since the Tea Party Turnaround last November the new Republican majority in Congress is taking the bull by the horns and showing that they mean business!  They would only agree to raise the debt limit for two weeks.  That’s like telling your shopaholic alter ego who’s emptied the family savings, overdrawn the checkbook, mortgaged the house, and taken out a juice loan with a loan shark just to cover the interest, “This has got to stop!  Here’s a new credit card, but you can only use it for two weeks.”  How could that possibly go wrong?  Just charge it to someone who hasn’t been born yet. They never seem to complain.

In a letter to James Madison, referring to the idea of running up a national debt beyond the power of the current generation to fully fund or pay off, Thomas Jefferson said, “I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and encumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.”

Currently the national debt of the United States stands at over 14 trillion dollars and it’s growing at the rate of more than one trillion per year for as far as the eye can see.   It has increased by an average of $4.13 billion per day since September 28, 2007.  We can question the wisdom of this but did you know that it is illegal to question the validity of the practice?  According to the14th amendment Section 4 it’s illegal to question the validity of the National Debt.  This section says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.”

When we take actions like making Health Care a right we have just placed an obligation on everyone else to pay for it.  I want to be healthy.  I want everyone else to be healthy.  I also want the economy to be healthy.  Creating another entitlement that requires taking money from productive people and using it to give benefits to a third party only points to the coming double-dip in this Great Recession and the shell game which is our national budget.  We sent Bernie Maddoff to jail for doing on a smaller scale what our government does every day: robbing Peter to pay Paul.  The problem with robbing Peter to pay Paul is eventually Peter changes his name to Paul.

Although it was stated before it was illegal to do so Thomas Jefferson was willing to say the practice of robbing our children and grandchildren because we cannot quit spending is not a valid way to manage our affairs, “The conclusion then, is, that neither the representatives of a nation, nor the whole nation itself assembled, can validly engage debts beyond what they may pay in their own time.”

Along with much of the wisdom of our Founders this has been forgotten by an ever growing government seeking to be all things to all people.  Our current leaders may have forgotten the wisdom of our Founders but they seem to have accepted the wisdom of Salvador Dali, “I believe that the moment is near when by a procedure of active paranoiac thought, it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality.”  This may describe our current descent into the bizarre world of a fundamentally Transformed America, but it doesn’t sound promising as a plan for political success.

We can’t spend our way to prosperity. We can’t borrow our way to solvency, and we shouldn’t condemn our descendants to a life of limited opportunity crushed under the debt for the entitlements we wanted but couldn’t afford.  That’s the reality our actions are ignoring as our shopaholic alter ego pouts, “But, I want it now!”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 486 other followers

%d bloggers like this: