Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is America Losing its Soul?

It is interesting to look at the things people think Obama's election means for the future of the country. My biggest worry is that something like universal healthcare will pass. People don't like the results of a relatively free market determining who gets medical treatment, but I don't trust the government to do anything better.

The bigger problem is the cultural implications of the nation wanting universal healthcare. What has happened to the American independent spirit which drives people to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps? If healthcare pases this time, it will be because most Americans want it. That is more troubling than the results to the healthcare system.

Looking to government to solve every little problem is a slippery slope to mediocrity. Just look at all the financial bailouts. There is no way passing out money like this will make any of these businesses successful in the long run. Now any business in trouble will come, hat in hand, to Washington asking for money. They will say they are "too big to fail" or "too many jobs are at risk". That is no way to create innovation and economic growth.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Preach On Brother!

This is one of the reasons I wanted Mitt Romney to do better this cycle. No one makes more sense about the economy that Mitt:
Harvard professor and economist Greg Mankiw points out that recent research confirms that tax cuts have a greater multiplier effect than new spending — more economic bang for the federal buck. We should lower tax rates for middle-income families and eliminate their tax on savings altogether — no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. Let’s also align our corporate tax rate with those of competing nations. These actions will rapidly expand consumption and investment, and right now, time is of the essence.
The federal government is a black hole. Letting them keep too much money will dampen future economic growth.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Encouraging News From Across the Pond

I found this interesting:
The Tories understand that the only way of reducing the size of the state is to cut the demand for government services by strengthening civil society. They understand, finally, that the Left has lost the war on poverty. And they are rediscovering that conservatism is at its best when politicians support and never supplant the Burkean little platoons of family, voluntary organization, and local school.
Society is only stable when citizens obey the unenforceable. This article seems to indicate that some in Britain are starting to recognize that that can only be cultivated by families.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Senate for Sale and Secret Combinations

I know there is a lot of money in politics, but the governor of Illinois tried to give Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Luckily the rule of law still matters here. In corrupt political systems, there is only one way to get ahead: you play the game. When in Rome...

Thinking internationally, no one can get ahead in Pakistan, Bangladesh, or any other place like that without playing the local game. Which is why reform is so difficult. The only way to get power is to play by the rules. If the rules are corruption and conspiracy that is what you do.

Which is what makes Obama's image so interesting. His groupies consider him a messiah figure. Rush made me laugh today:
Jesus walked on water. Obama apparently walks on a cesspool and is untainted by it.
The thing is, Obama got to the top by playing the game. Once out of Chicago, he shed those who helped him rise up as fast as possible: "That's not the _____ I knew."

Obama choosing Gates says to me that he is playing by slightly different rules to get the same goal. He wants as much power as possible, so he will not do anything too crazy right off. The only Democrat presidents in his memory are Clinton and Carter. I wonder which president he will pattern himself after more closely.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

I have to admit being pleasantly surprised by the picks Obama has made as he as assembled his cabinet. The people mad at him for choosing Robert Gates to continue as the Secretary of Defense are all the people I want mad about foreign policy. Sec. Gates is beloved here in Aggieland from his time as president of Texas A&M University.

My first time on campus was the week President Bush chose Dr. Gates to be the new SecDef. I was attending my first Midnight Yell at Kyle Field just before the Nebraska game in 2006. Dr. Gates spoke to the students for the last time. They have placed a monument on campus honoring the fight against terrorism. This is the plaque on that monument:

Gadiantons All Around

This is a fascinating take on the recent terrorist bloodbath in India. I don't personally think there will be any good solution to the terrorist problem no matter whose strategy is used. Evil men see a way to get power for themselves. The money quote from that article is this:
Violence in Kashmir, the principal bone of contention between India and Pakistan since 1947, is on the decline...

This is precisely what the terrorists don’t want, of course. It’s the fact that tensions over Kashmir are diminishing that prompted them to attack on the November 28 — just as al-Qaeda blew up Samarra’s Golden Mosque in Iraq back in 2006 in order to keep Shias and Sunnis hating and killing each other. The illusion that formal agreements between peoples and governments — whether between India and Pakistan or Israel and the Palestinian Authority — can somehow defuse the terrorist problem was the among the first casualties in Mumbai. Terrorists see it the other way around: the relaxation of tensions is a problem requiring bloodshed.

Islamic terrorists don’t want justice or respect for their beliefs, or restoration of some imaginary homeland. They want violence and death.
The complaints of the terrorist groups sound a lot like Lamanite and Gadianton complaints from the Book of Mormon (see Mosiah 10:12-17; Alma 54:16-24; and 3 Nephi 3:2-10). The inclusion of descriptions of modern terrorist tactics is just another witness that Joseph Smith - or anyone else in the 1820's - could not have fabricated the Book of Mormon. The only explanation is that Joseph was inspired to translate the writings of ancient prophets.