Beginning in 2000, with the election to the presidency of George W. Bush, the Republican Party enjoyed control over both the legislative and executive branches of government. Election Day, 2006, however, marked the beginning of the end of this era, and by November of 2008, voters had long since resolved to bring the Republicans’ reign to a decisive close. While watching the Iowa Republican presidential primary debate, one could be forgiven for thinking that none of this had happened. With the sole exception of Ron Paul, there wasn’t a single other candidate on the stage who so much as signaled regret over, much less repudiate (as Paul did), the very Republican Party agenda with which Americans became thoroughly disenchanted three years ago — an agenda to which, judging from the candidates’ utterances, Republicans remain committed today. To put it in terms of our contemporary political vernacular, President Bush’s “Compassionate Conservatism” is apparently alive and well in the Republican Party of 2011.
By his first executive order, Governor Sam Brownback appointed Dennis Taylor to the new office of Repealer, to cut the size of government and reduce its intrusion on the people and economy of the Sunflower State. The website for the Kansas state government now includes a tab for the Repealer, which, when clicked, states: If you believe that an unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous or conflicting law, regulation or other governing instrument, detrimental to the economic well-being of Kansas, exists, please provide us with information in the fields below. Please enter your information and the law, regulation, or rule that you would like to have reviewed. During a luncheon at the Wichita Pachyderm Club, Taylor explained what has already been done to improve the efficiency of the Kansas Department of Administration, adding that he expects approximately 300 repeal recommendations to be delivered soon.
On March 2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to freedom of speech. The court said that despite the Topeka, Kansas, church’s contentious behavior — extreme demonstrations against homosexuality, including anti-gay protests at military funerals — such actions are subject to constitutional protections. State legislatures, however, have attempted to pass laws that would undermine the Supreme Court ruling. The latest endeavor can be found in Illinois. On Sunday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the “Let Them Rest in Peace Act,” which would force anti-gay protests at military funerals to be at least 300 feet — the length of a football field — from military funerals. Additionally, the bill bans protests from taking place 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after funerals. At the time he signed the law, Governor Quinn declared:
Both incumbent Democrats facing recall elections on August 16 managed to hold their Wisconsin state Senate seats, leaving Republicans with a narrow 17-to-16 majority following the largest string of recall campaigns in American history. Democratic state Sen. Jim Holperin survived the election with about 55 percent of the vote against first-time Republican candidate Kim Simac, a Tea Party activist and mother of nine. GOP contender Jonathan Steitz, an attorney, garnered about 42 percent against incumbent Democrat Bob Wirch. Last week, six Republican state Senators were also forced to defend their seats. Democrats needed to win at least three of those races to gain control of the state Senate, but succeeded in taking only two from vulnerable incumbents — one of whom was facing a scandal. In July, another Democrat held on to his office as well.
Warren Buffett, better known as the Oracle of Omaha, earned $40 million last year and paid $7 million of it in taxes. But in his editorial in the New York Times on Sunday, he claimed that he doesn’t think he’s paying enough, and neither are his friends. So he’s asking the SuperCommittee to stop “coddling” him and his friends, and raise their taxes as part of the deficit reduction scheme they are hatching. He began by suggesting that government leaders have called for “shared sacrifice” but that he didn’t get the call. “I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.” Unfortunately, facts are not only stubborn, they are different. In his editorial, Buffet notes that incomes of the top 400 taxpayers (many of them his friends) had grown from $16.9 billion in 1992 to $90.9 billion in 2008, but that their actual tax rate over that period had declined.
Is President Barack Obama working on a proposal to keep Uncle Sam deeply involved in the mortgage business and taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in home loans? The White House says no, the President is merely examining his options. Meanwhile, the Washington Post, based on leaks from anonymous officials, reports that he is indeed looking to maintain the federal government’s outsized role in guaranteeing mortgages. Most sound observers of the mortgage crisis say that to maintain the status quo would be incredibly foolish. They have concluded that federal guarantees of subprime mortgages via “government-sponsored enterprises” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with other federal policies encouraging banks to issue loans to less-than-creditworthy borrowers, were one of the major causes — if not the major cause — of the mortgage meltdown. Fannie and Freddie, since taken over fully by the government, have thus far cost taxpayers over $150 billion in bailouts, an amount that is expected to reach $259 billion by the time all is said and done. Who in his right mind, analysts ask, would want to continue down such a disastrous path?
The bad news from the European Union is growing almost daily. Germany, the largest economy in Europe, had almost no economic growth at all in the last quarter The entire 17-nation European Union grew at the miniscule rate of .2 percent from the prior quarter. The prior quarter’s eurozone economic growth had been .8 percent, larger than last quarter but still far short of what is required to create confidence that the sovereign debt crisis can actually be managed. That represents the slowest economic growth since late 2009. The French economy also stalled during the quarter and the Italian economy grew only .3 percent. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met to discuss how to address the sovereign debt crisis that began in Greece and Ireland, quickly spread to Spain and Portugal, and now threatens to produce tremendous stress on the European Union. Furthermore, the recently announced Italian plan for a combination of austerity and tax increases may not work. Sarkozy has called for a "new economic government" for Europe that would meet at least twice a year with European Union President Herman Van Rompuy.
Someone at long last has had the courage to tell the plain, honest truth about race. After mobs of young blacks rampaged through Philadelphia committing violence — as similar mobs have rampaged through Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, and other places — Philadelphia's black mayor, Michael A. Nutter, ordered a police crackdown and lashed out at the whole lifestyle of those who did such things. "Pull up your pants and buy a belt 'cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt," he said. "If you walk into somebody's office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won't hire you? They don't hire you 'cause you look like you're crazy," the mayor said. He added: "You have damaged your own race."
People are beginning to compare Barack Obama's administration to the failed administration of Jimmy Carter, but a better comparison is to the Roosevelt administration of the 1930s and '40s. Let's look at it with the help of a publication from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Foundation for Economic Education titled "Great Myths of the Great Depression," by Dr. Lawrence Reed. During the first year of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, he called for increasing federal spending to $10 billion while revenues were only $3 billion. Between 1933 and 1936, government expenditures rose by more than 83 percent. Federal debt skyrocketed by 73 percent. Roosevelt signed off on legislation that raised the top income tax rate to 79 percent and then later to 90 percent. Hillsdale College economics historian and professor Burt Folsom, author of "New Deal or Raw Deal?", notes that in 1941, Roosevelt even proposed a 99.5 percent marginal tax rate on all incomes more than $100,000. When a top adviser questioned the idea, Roosevelt replied, "Why not?"
Most voters today no longer remember a time when the tenets of “progressive education” were not part of their everyday lives. It no longer seems strange to the average parent, for example, that what once gave America its cohesiveness, as well as its economic and cultural “edge” over other countries, is largely missing from the school environment and curriculum. The parents of the Baby Boomers reacted too late once they started noticing the disappearance of “a common body of knowledge … that common group of heroes and villains, images and values, of which national spirit is born,” as the late historian Henry Steele Commager described it. In its place came a leftist mix of progressivism and psychology, eventually marketed as “functional literacy.” Today, this psychologized progressivism has impacted every facet of society. Having been institutionalized in classrooms, and passed along to society via newspapers and newscasts, popular magazines, entertainment, and the arts, it is taking on new life in the voting booth.