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Reagan’s House Heroes Stop Plan B

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By Jeffrey Lord on 12.21.12

Call it a Reykjavik Moment.

An Air Traffic Controllers Moment.

Both of which were Reagan Moments.

Moments in American history when, under extreme pressure, Ronald Reagan simply refused to buckle. Against all the chorus shouted from the media and congressional bleachers — that he had failed by walking out on a bad deal with Gorbachev or recklessly fired striking air traffic controllers who were striking against federal law — Ronald Reagan never blinked.

And the fact that he didn’t blink made America — and the world — an infinitely better place.

Thursday night 13 conservative House Republicans defeated the Rule for the vote on Speaker Boehner’s highly controversial “Plan B.”

Those conservatives, by name (an asterisk denoting those who will not be returning to Congress next year) are:

Justin Amash of MI
Paul Broun of GA
Trent Franks of AZ
Louie Gohmert of TX
Tim Huelskamp of KS
Walter Jones of NC
Jim Jordan of OH
Andy Harris of MD
Jeff Landry of LA*
Thomas Massie of KY
Ron Paul of TX*
Jean Schmidt of OH*
Joe Walsh of IL*

Let’s not forget here that in terms of pressure, a great deal of it was coming from the GOP House Leadership. Congressmen Amash, Huelskamp, and Jones were removed from their committee assignments for not cooperating with the Leadership.

And make no mistake….the talk radio stars jumped on this, each in their own way. Rush was there. Hannity was there. Levin was there.

Then there was the great Brent Bozell from For America (as reported at Breitbart) pounding away just Wednesday at a Capitol Hill presser saying:

I’m going to make a prediction, right here and now, and write it down – and call me on it. If the Republicans support this tax increase, they will lose control of the House in the 2014 elections,” Bozell said.

They will lose control of the House. Not only that, but a whole lot of members who thought they were safe and who thought they could get away with this will lose in their own districts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. This is precisely what happened to them six years ago and they’ve already forgotten that message. The Republicans were tossed out of the majority when they broke their word on spending. Now they’re breaking their word again but it’s not just spending. It’s taxes on top of that. Fiscal conservatives will not stand for this. This is a terrible bill. This is a terrible box Republicans have painted themselves into, in this corner. They’ve got to try to get themselves out of it. But going for higher taxes and trying to play “Democrat-lite” is the worst possible solution and the negotiations that are going on right now between the Speaker’s office and the Obama administration is the stuff of Keystone Cops. It is embarrassing how badly this has been negotiated. Real fiscal conservatives would simply walk away from this mess.

What is the take away here?

This was a botched GOP House Leadership issue. It is exactly what happens when the governing principle is deal making and not principle.

House GOP Members began to realize that, intended or not, they were perceived as trashing the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

It is worth remembering as Washington slows momentarily for Christmas, the words of Reagan’s old friend and House ally the late Jack Kemp. On November 3, 1991 — and I was there — Kemp stood up at a reunion of Reagan alumni at a pre-dedication ceremony for the Reagan Library. Reagan was there as Kemp said that Reagan’s tax cuts had ignited:

…the most expansive, noninflationary economic growth and entrepreneurial revolution this country has seen in the 20th Century:

  • 21 million new jobs were created
  • 4.5 million new businesses were started
  • The federal deficit came down from 5.5 percent of GNP to 1.5 percent
  • Federal spending fell from 25 percent of GNP to 21 percent
  • GNP grew by one-third
  • Revenues increased by 40 percent
  • And the Wall Street Journal called the 1980’s a decade of minority capitalism — there was an 80 percent increase in Hispanic businesses; 60 percent for Asians; and nearly 50 percent for Black-owned businesses.

Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas remarked to Sean Hannity Thursday afternoon that he had a colleague tell him he, the colleague, was “sick” of hearing about history. To which Gohmert astutely and correctly replied: History matters.

Indeed it does.

Mark Levin has noted repeatedly the problems with a Boehner Speakership, as have I in this space and many others have as well. (As Peter Ferrara did here.)

He’s a good soul, but he’s an affable deal maker when history at this moment calls for much more. In Levin’s words:

I just don’t think he’s up to the monumental task of saving the country from Obama’s designs. It’s time for the Republicans to seriously reassess what they’re doing.

Amen. As the Thursday night debacle illustrates.

America is being dragged backwards by the day by this President. House Republicans won an election. And they weren’t elected to sit idly by and let America go under.

Three cheers for those thirteen GOP House conservatives for standing up, Reagan-style, for principle.

They had a Reykjavik Moment.

An Air Traffic Controllers Moment.

They had a Reagan Moment.

And whatever happens next, the Reagan Thirteen are heroes.

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Texas Hold’em: To Hell With It, Let’s Jump Off the Fiscal Cliff

Obama must not know Texas Holdem.

by Derek Hunter

We’ve all heard about the “fiscal cliff.” But what does it mean? The media won’t bother to explain it in any detail, and people aren’t looking it up on their own. So, a great many Americans think it’s a physical place, a vacation destination of some sort. I understand people are busy with their lives, but a majority of Americans just voted to re-elect President Obama, a man whose failed leadership created this harmonic convergence of economic mess that is the fiscal cliff. So I say, “To hell with it; let’s jump.”

President Obama is still in campaign mode, traveling the country to sell his unserious proposal of $1.6 trillion in tax hikes, more insane spending and a laughably small amount of spending cuts. So much for a “balanced” plan. But the president couldn’t even be bothered to deliver his “plan” to Congress himself. He sent Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, an alleged financial wizard who claims he “misfiled” his taxes because he couldn’t properly use the near idiot-proof TurboTax.

Democrats are unwilling to take seriously the coming crush of entitlement spending. They took entitlement reform off the table before negotiations even began, and their megaphones in the media don’t put down their pompons long enough to report honestly about any of it.

The House of Representatives has passed an extension of the current tax rates, and the Democratic-controlled Senate has done exactly nothing with it. The Senate could vote to just extend the current rates they support and deal with it in a conference committee, but it won’t. It won’t do anything because the party that controls the Senate doesn’t want anything done.

What few leftists will tell you is they want tax rates to increase on everyone. That’s why the president campaigned on extending them for the middle class for only one year, not permanently. They know, just like hiking rates on top earners, that will harm the failing economy, but they don’t give a damn. They want more money.

Liberals have no interest in even inching toward a government that lives within its means because, unlike every other individual, company and entity in the world, government is the only entity that can simply vote itself more means. Max out your credit cards, then tell Visa you’re raising your own credit limit, and let me know how that works out for you.

Republicans should start now, raising a lot of money and running ads about how Democrats are unserious and responsible for taxes going up. Spend money to explain the situation to the American public. The media never will report it, and Republican leaders, such as John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, don’t have the bully pulpit or ability to communicate Ronald Reagan did. So paid media is the only option.

In the meantime, the people voted for Obama, so let them have Obama. Just make sure to pin every ounce of failure on his chest like a scarlet letter.

Yes, sequestration will cause serious cuts in defense spending, but the military can handle it. Liberals become aroused at the prospect of cutting defense, and liberal voters in Virginia and Maryland would be hardest hit as defense contractors lay off Obama voters in those blue states. I say good. Sometimes voters have to take their medicine, even if it’s a suppository.

It won’t be easy, but the military will adapt. That’s what the military does, and that’s why it is the best in the world. And half the automatic sequester cuts will come from domestic spending – bureaucracies also filled with Obama voters, who will be less able to deal with them. If they can’t adjust their spending to absorb the cuts, they’ll have to lay off people. Again, good.

If Republicans refuse to extend unemployment benefits, these newly unemployed Obama voters eventually will get to experience first-hand the lifestyle their vote empowered. Welfare state overlords on welfare. Can you think of a better education for bureaucrats than to be forced onto the very programs they administered, so they themselves experience the soul-sucking, aspiration-killing impact of what they’ve done to others? Karma is exactly what they say it is.

Or, if Republicans don’t have the “intestinal fortitude” for this (which leadership hasn’t displayed in years), the House should pass a middle-class tax cut but keep the top rates the same. And make them permanent. That would force Democrats to reject an actual middle-class tax cut, not the “keeping-rates-the-same” nonsense they’re now trying to sell to the American people as a tax cut.

We know Democrats aren’t interested in cutting taxes for the people they claim to fight for, so call their bluff. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama like lying about middle-class tax cuts, so pass the bill and see how they react.

But none of this will work if Republicans don’t start a smart, aggressive, expensive and sustained ad campaign that circumvents the media. The key word is “smart,” and it’s also the catch. The Republican Party needs to treat itself like Keith Richards and embrace failure and go with all new blood. If the party doesn’t shed those who brought us the debacle of Nov. 6, no strategy will work. Just like voters who re-elected a failed, incompetent president expecting a different outcome, Republicans can’t retain the same failed team and expect to win.

Democrats have no interest in addressing our massive deficit and out-of-control spending; it’s up to Republicans. The question is this – do Republicans have the will? We’ll all have to have to take our medicine sooner or later. If we don’t take advantage of the opportunities now, that suppository will end up being like a cyanide pill.

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INFLATION On The Way

J. D. Longstreet

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

Let me be clear. I am not an economist. Heck, I’m not even a CPA. Frankly, I know squat about finance short of running a business and having the good sense to hire someone to handle the financial end of the business — extremely well.

Here, at the Longstreet Manor, my lovely and gracious (and long-suffering!) spouse is the financier. She is my “Personal Banker.” No, I MEAN IT! She has kept me out of jail, debtor’s prison, or wherever they place men like me (who spend all the money they can lay their hands on.)

See, I view money as having been made for one purpose — to spend! And yes, I have been told all my life that one cannot take it with them when one departs this world. Although, I did meet a hearse once, out on the interstate, towing a U-Haul trailer behind it. I remarked to my wife at the time, that, perhaps, someone HAD figured out a way to take it with them, after all!

I distinctly remember a member of my board of directors insisting once, many years ago, that if he couldn’t take it with him, the he wasn’t going! Today’s he’s gone — and so is his money. Oh, he didn’t take it with him. No, after he passed from the scene, the family spent the heck out of it until, it, too, was gone!

This may seem strange and even alien to some of you, but I never sought wealth. It was never important to me. Having ample funds to stay fed, clothed, housed, and out of jail was sufficient. So far, I have managed to do that.

I think an aunt made such an impression on me, as a child, that it bent me in a way one might even describe as fear of wealth.

See, my aunt ,was the daughter of a share cropper. (I’m the first generation off the farm, myself.) She was fortunate. She married a man on the way up in one of the most powerful labor unions in the country at the time. They became wealthy. But it affected my aunt in a strange way. She was always afraid — afraid of losing her wealth and returning, I suppose, to the poverty she knew growing up as a hard scrabble sharecropper. She invested wisely, had plenty of money, real estate, stocks, bonds, all of it. But what she lacked was happiness.

I decided then and there, I did not want that. I chose an occupation that I loved, was, indeed, suited for and I stayed with it for thirty years.

Now that I have established my bona fides — which is to say that I am dumb as a post when it comes to high finance, I am about to tell you why Ben Bernanke blew the US economy to hell recently with QE-3.

In a word: INFLATION.

The money you had before QE-3 is now worth less — and the more money Ben and his cronies order printed — the less your money will be worth.

Bernanke, a Jew and a Republican, was born in Augusta, Georgia and raised just thirty miles, or so, from where I sit as I write this piece. It’s a small country town in the coastal plain of South Carolina. So, we are both “Sandlappers.” And as much as I would like to agree with, and support, a fellow son of the Palmetto State, and a fellow Republican, I cannot. He’s wrong on this and, unfortunately, all Americans are going to pay for it, dearly, in the not too distant future.

Ben Bernanke

It pains me to say this, but I am of the mind that Ben really wants Obama to win the coming election. See, Mr. Romney has already said he intends to replace Mr. Bernanke if he is elected. So, it stands to reason that if Bernanke can make the President look good, or even better, in the few weeks left ’til election day, Obama may be reelected and — guess what — Ben gets to keep his cushy job!

See? Politics ain’t all that hard, now, is it?

Seriously, inflation brings the mighty low… quickly! To get a better understanding of what inflation, especially hyperinflation can do to a country just Google “Weimar Republic” or “Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic.”

During the Gerald Ford Administration the US had a fight with inflation. I can still see, in my mind’s eye, those big red WIN buttons — Whip Inflation Now!” It took a toll on the country that lasted the remainder of Ford’s Administration, through the Carter Administration, and right up until Ronald Reagan came into office. It was an anvil around the neck of the US economy.

As I said, I don’t know diddly-squat about high finance so I can’t dazzle you with great gobs of numbers with dollar signs and percentage signs, etc., but take it from a guy who was trying to run a business during those years and believe me when I tell you it was “hunker down” and “tread water” time during those years. Reagan tossed the country a life-preserver and we got through it — vowing never to make the same mistake again.

But Americans have extremely short memories. As a result, we are making the same mistakes over and we are inflicting unnecessary pain on ourselves.

The MSM was touting the skyrocket in the stock markets after Bernanke made the announcement. And, yes, it DID look good. But, believe me — it is a bubble and IT WILL BURST — and we will be far worse for it in the end.

J. D. Longstreet

INFLATION On The Way … J. D. Longstreet.

Republicans Eye Return to Gold Standard

Published: Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | 6:39 AM ET
By: Robin Harding and Anna Fifield, Financial Times

The gold standard has returned to mainstream U.S. politics for the first time in 30 years, with a “gold commission” set to become part of official Republican party policy.

Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold.

The move shows how five years of easy monetary policy — and the efforts of congressman Ron Paul — have made the once-fringe idea of returning to gold-as-money a legitimate part of Republican debate.

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican congresswoman from Tennessee and co-chair of the platform committee, said the issues were not adopted merely to placate Paul and the delegates that he picked up during his campaign for the party’s nomination.

“These were adopted because they are things that Republicans agree on,” Blackburn told the Financial Times. “The House recently passed a bill on this, and this is something that we think needs to be done.”

The proposal is reminiscent of the Gold Commission created by former president Ronald Reagan in 1981, 10 years after Richard Nixon broke the link between gold and the dollar during the 1971 oil crisis. That commission ultimately supported the status quo.

“There is a growing recognition within the Republican party and in America more generally that we’re not going to be able to print our way to prosperity,” said Sean Fieler, chairman of the American Principles Project, a conservative group that has pushed for a return to the gold standard.

A commission would have no power except to make recommendations, but Fieler said it would provide a chance to educate politicians and the public about the merits of a return to gold. “We’re not going to go from a standing start to the gold standard,” he said.

The Republican platform in 1980 referred to “restoration of a dependable monetary standard,” while the 1984 platform said that “the gold standard may be a useful mechanism”. More recent platforms did not mention it.

Any commission on a return to the gold standard would have to address a host of theoretical, empirical and practical issues.

Inflation has remained under control in recent years, despite claims that expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet would lead to runaway price rises, while gold has been highly volatile. The price of the metal is up by more than 500 per cent in dollar terms over the past decade.

A return to a fixed money supply would also remove the central bank’s ability to offset demand shocks by varying interest rates. That could mean a more volatile economy and higher average unemployment over time.

Copyright 2011 The Financial Times Limited

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US Congress Short Memory: (Oil For Food) “Why the U.N. Shouldn’t Own the Seas”

The Law of the Sea Treaty is as harmful today as it was when Reagan and Thatcher first opposed it in 1982.

June 13, 2012
By DONALD RUMSFELD

Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan asked me to meet with world leaders to represent the United States in opposition to the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. Our efforts soon found a persuasive supporter in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Today, as the U.S. Senate again considers approving this flawed agreement, the Reagan-Thatcher reasons for opposition remain every bit as persuasive.

When I met with Mrs. Thatcher in 1982, her conclusion on the treaty was unforgettable: “What this treaty proposes is nothing less than the international nationalization of roughly two-thirds of the Earth’s surface.” Then, referring to her battles dismantling Britain’s state-owned mining and utility companies, she added, “And you know how I feel about nationalization. Tell Ronnie I’m with him.”

Reagan had entered office the year before with the treaty presented to him as a done deal requiring only his signature and Senate ratification. Then as now, most of the world’s nations had already approved it. The Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations had all gone along. American diplomats generally supported the treaty and were shocked when Reagan changed America’s policy. Puzzled by their reaction, the president was said to have responded, “But isn’t that what the election was all about?”

Yet, as the Gipper might have said, here we go again: An impressive coalition—including every living former secretary of State—has endorsed the Obama administration’s goal of ratifying the treaty. The U.S. Navy wants to “lock in” existing and widely accepted rules of high-seas navigation. Business groups say the treaty could help them by creating somewhat more certainty.

Can so many people, organizations and countries be mistaken? Yes. Various proponents have valid considerations, but none has made a compelling case that the treaty would, on balance, benefit America as a whole.

Though a 1994 agreement (signed by some but not all parties to the treaty) fixed some of its original flaws, the treaty remains a sweeping power grab that could prove to be the largest mechanism for the world-wide redistribution of wealth in human history.

The treaty proposes to create a new global governance institution that would regulate American citizens and businesses without being accountable politically to the American people. Some treaty proponents pay little attention to constitutional concerns about democratic legislative processes and principles of self-government, but I believe the American people take seriously such threats to the foundations of our nation.

The treaty creates a United Nations-style body called the “International Seabed Authority.” “The Authority,” as U.N. bureaucrats call it in Orwellian shorthand, would be involved in all commercial activity in international waters, such as mining and oil and gas production. Pursuant to the treaty’s Article 82, the U.S. would be required to transfer to this entity a significant share of all royalties generated by U.S. companies—royalties that would otherwise go to the U.S. Treasury.

Over time, hundreds of billions of dollars could flow through the Authority with little oversight. The U.S. would not control how those revenues are spent: The treaty empowers the Authority to redistribute these so-called international royalties to developing and landlocked nations with no role in exploring or extracting those resources.

This would constitute massive global welfare, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. It would be as if fishermen who exerted themselves to catch fish on the high seas were required, on the principle that those fish belonged to all people everywhere, to give a share of their take to countries that had nothing to do with their costly, dangerous and arduous efforts.

Worse still, these sizable “royalties” could go to corrupt dictatorships and state sponsors of terrorism. For example, as a treaty signatory and a member of the Authority’s executive council, the government of Sudan—which has harbored terrorists and conducted a mass extermination campaign against its own people—would have as much say as the U.S. on issues to be decided by the Authority.

Disagreements among treaty signatories are to be decided through mandatory dispute-resolution processes of uncertain integrity. Americans should be uncomfortable with unelected and unaccountable tribunals appointed by the secretary-general of the United Nations serving as the final arbiter of such disagreements.

Even if one were to agree with the principle of global wealth redistribution from the U.S. to other nations, other U.N. bodies have proven notably unskilled at financial management. The U.N. Oil for Food program in Iraq, for instance, resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in corruption and graft that directly benefited Saddam Hussein and his allies. The Law of the Sea Treaty is an opportunity for scandal on an even larger scale.

The most persuasive argument for the treaty is the U.S. Navy’s desire to shore up international navigation rights. It is true that the treaty might produce some benefits, clarifying some principles and perhaps making it easier to resolve certain disputes. But our Navy has done quite well without this treaty for the past 200 years, relying often on centuries-old, well-established customary international law to assert navigational rights. Ultimately, it is our naval power that protects international freedom of navigation. This treaty would not make a large enough additional contribution to counterbalance the problems it would create.

In his farewell address to the nation in 1988, Reagan advised the country: “Don’t be afraid to see what you see.” If the members of the U.S. Senate fulfill their responsibilities, read the Law of the Sea Treaty and consider it carefully, I believe they will come to the conclusion that its costs to our security and sovereignty would far exceed any benefits.

Mr. Rumsfeld was secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 and from 2001 to 2006. He is author of “Known and Unknown: A Memoir” (Sentinel, 2011).

A version of this article appeared June 13, 2012, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Why the U.N. Shouldn’t Own the Seas.

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