Monday, January 16, 2017

Low-Information Voters: Who Are They?

After the 2008 election, TIME magazine ran a story claiming that many people who voted for Obama never followed the news. This inspired Rush Limbaugh to coin the term "Low Information Voter."

He defined it as people who never follow the news and therefore are uninformed about the news. They don't know anything about politics. They don't know anything about the issues. They don't know anything about the candidates.

They pay attention to pop culture. They watch TV. They prefer to watch shows like TMZ and E! Entertainment than the news. They spend most of their time on Facebook paying attention to gossip. They listen to pop music. They watch TV shows and movies.

They watch shows like TMZ and E! Entertainment most of the year, only to get caught up in the moment just prior to the election. They feel the need to vote because they "need to do their part."

They generally consider themselves as independents, and independents are people who vote for the most popular candidate or the candidate who is most popular by the pop culture crowd.

They vote based on emotion more so than issues. They felt excited that Barack Obama was the first black president, so they voted for him. They felt offended that Donald Trump spoke the truth, so they didn't vote for him.

See, they vote based on emotion. They have no idea the issues. When they voted for Obama they had no idea he was a socialist. They don't even know what socialism is. They may even think socialism is good. They had no idea that Donald Trump's tax plan would benefit them. They do not know because they don't follow the news.They do not know anything about economics.

Some know who the president is while others do not. They may know the names of the candidates, although they do not know what the issues are. They are not informed on the important issues of the day.

And it's not that they don't care to be informed. Low-information voters simply choose to be informed about other things, like what actor won an Oscar, or what's happening in the latest episodes of Survivor.

They react; they do not think. They do not challenge themselves. They don't know about people who don't think like them. They hate people like Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh based on what the people on the View said, although they have never listened to Rush, and never listened to a Trump speech.

Some of them are very smart people. Some of them are academics. They are the people educating our kids at the High School and College level. They teach liberalism because it feels good and sounds good, not so much that it is good. They don't see socialism and Communism as the failure it is, mainly because they just get swept up in the moment. They don't even know their own past. They don't even know their opponents.

On the contrary, informed voters know their opponents. Rush Limbaugh, for example, understands liberals better than liberals understand themselves. Informed voters understand that liberalism is the sister of socialism and Communism. But tell a liberal that and they will adamantly deny it. They will get angry and call you an uncaring idiot, racist, homophobe, and bigot.

They like people like Castro because it feels good and sounds good that Castro created a good education system and healthcare system. They fail to see Castro as the ruthless dictator that he is (was).

But I digress.

Most Low-Information Voters care more about pop culture than they care about what the national debt is and who will pay for it. They care more about planning that trip to Disney World than learning there are nearly as many people unemployed today as during the height of the Great Depression.

They are uninformed voters. They are not stupid, at least most of them aren't, they just don't care about the news, and therefore don't watch it. They don't understand history the way informed voters do.

Further reading:

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Brilliance of the Electoral College

Residents of less populous states like Rhode Island were leary of signing the Constitution because they feared they would be controlled by more populous states like New York. So, in order to make sure that each state had an equal say in who would be President, the founding fathers created the Electoral College.  It was essentially devised as a means of getting the smaller states to sign the U.S. Constitution.

Look at it this way. When the 13 American colonies were a part of Britain, the most populous part of the British Empire was in Britain. So it was people who lived in the most populous area of the British Empire (mainly the King), who decided how the government was going to be run. The colonies had no say. They essentially had to give into the whims of the King.

The electoral college is based on the idea of Federalism, or the idea that states are sovereign and the Federal Government can't control them. According to the 10th amendment, the Federal Government has certain powers, but anything not mentioned in the Constitution is relegated to the States to decide.

So, to protect Federalism, to protect state sovereignty, the founders created the electoral college. It essentially made it so the most populous could not gain control of the Federal Government in such a way that would essentially turn the rest of states into colonies. That's the system the founders wanted to get away from; it's the reason for the American Revolution.

They understood that there were areas of the United States that were highly populated. They also understood that people tend to gravitate to certain populations centers, so they understood that the population centers change over time. They understood that ideas change over time.

They wanted to make sure that regardless of where the population centers were that they maintained the integrity of Federalism. They wanted to maintain the power of the states. It's to support the idea that elections are decided by the States and not by the population.

A perfect example here is California and New York. California and New York are run by a bunch of liberals and progressives. Most of the people in these states are inculcated to believe in liberal and progressive ideals. They are also high population centers. So, imagine if these two states decided how the government was run. All the rest of the states would lose their sovereignty and become no more significant than colonies.

This idea turned out to be ingenious.

It was never even questioned until the progressive Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and George Bush won the electoral vote. It wasn't questioned again until progressive Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 and Donald Trump won the electoral vote.

Progressives essentially are claiming that Hillary should have won and that Donald Trumps presidency is illegitimate. But they are incorrect in their assertions. They are incorrect to assert that Hillary would have won if the rules were different. They fail to understand why the electoral college was created, and also what the reason for it is.

What they fail to tell you is that the rules at the present time make it so that Electoral Votes matter and the Popular Vote doesn't matter. For this reason, campaign strategies revolve around winning the electoral vote, not the popular vote.

There are some states that have lots of democrats, such as New York and California. Groupings of these states are called the blue wall, meaning that republicans in these states can vote, but their votes don't matter. There really isn't much point in Donald Trump spending much time there.

On the other hand, there are some states that have a lot of republicans, such as Texas. Groupings of these states are called the red wall, meaning that democrats in these states can vote, but their votes don't matter. There really isn't much point in Donald Trump spending much time there.

With the system the way it is, swing states are all that matters. Donald Trump and Hillary will spend most of their time in states like Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. With the electoral college, voters in these swing states are usually what determine who wins elections.

With the rules as they are, Trump gave up in New York and it's 28 electoral votes, and California and its 55 electoral votes. Instead, he spent a lot of time in Wyoming to capture its 3 electoral votes, Michigan to capture its 16 electoral votes, and Ohio to capture its 18 electoral votes. This strategy paid off, as all these swing states gave Trump their electoral votes.

Now, for the sake of argument, let's assume, that prior to the 2016 election cycle, the electoral college was abolished. This would have changed the strategy. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would have spent hardly any time in less populous states, so that would take most of the swing states off the table. It would essentially take 80% of states off the table. Instead, they'd spend their time in New York and California.

If this happened, Trump and Clinton would have spent all their time campaigning in these two states. The campaigns would focus only on the issues that were relevant to the people in these population centers, which would probably include advancing the progressive agenda. The issues relevant to the rest of the nation would be irrelevant as the candidates would ignore those states.

Why, you ask, would Trump spend time in blue states like California and New York? Well, because there are a lot of republicans who do not vote in New York because they feel it is a waste of time. If they knew their vote counted, they would be more likely to vote. So Trump would be after these voters. Since there are a ton more potential voters in New York than New Hampshire, he would spend most of his time in New York and California, and maybe Florida and Texas.

This strategy would have made 80% of states irrelevant. The people living in these states would have no say in who becomes President, and they would essentially become slaves to the five largest states. These states would essentially be colonies rather than states.

So, with a different strategy, it is highly likely that Donald Trump would have been able to accrue the votes necessary to win the popular vote and still defeated Hillary.

Now, let us bring back the electoral college.

I would now like to use a simile that Rush Limbaugh used to put this into perspective. Let's use the 1960 world series, which had the New York Yankees playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the course of four games, the Yankees scored a total of 55 runs and the Pirates scored a total of 27 runs. So, in essence, the Yankees scored the most runs, so they won the popular vote and should have won the world series.

But the total number of runs is not what determines the winner of the World Series. The winner of the world series is not who scores the most runs, it's who wins the most games. The Pirates won four of the seven games, so they won the world series. The Yankees won the popular vote, but the Pirates won the electoral vote, meaning the Pirates won and the Yankees lost.

The strategy to win the Presidency is not to get the most popular votes, it's to get at least 270 electoral votes. Trump accomplished this, and so he is our President-elect.

The way it is now, with the rules as they are set by the Constitution, talks between people from populous and non-populous states do occur, because we are a united nation where all states have a say in how the Federal government is run. Such talks are important to change minds, especially if the people of one state have a better way of running the Federal government.

In the United States, there's a vast amount of land that is divided into States. The Federal government is controlled by the people through the states. The Constitution was ratified by the states. The Bill of Rights was ratified by the states. And every President has been elected by the states. This is the same way the states controls the House and the Senate. This gives every person in every state a voice in how the country is run.

Another way to think of it is to think of America as a Democracy. This is what many young people think we are. This is what liberals think we are. So, when they see that Hillary won the popular vote, and she did not win, they see this as non-democratic.

You see? The problem is that we are not a democracy. The founding fathers did not like democracies. We are a republic, and so we elect people to represent us. That's what the premise of the electoral college is: we vote for electors. The electors then vote the way the people of the state want them to.

So, by having an Electoral College, the entire country gets represented, not just the most populous areas. This was because of the great foresight of the founders of this country.

Further reading:
  1. Conservative Tribune: Here's What The Media Won't Tell You About The Popular Vote

Monday, January 2, 2017

Ronald Reagan: Reaganomics

Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents of all time because he followed the economic advice of Jack Kemp, who was an ardent supporter of Supply Side Economics. This inspired him to work with Congress to slash regulations and reform the tax code in an economic strategy that became known as "Reaganomics."

Reagan ran against incumbent Jimmy Carter and independent (and liberal republican Senator) John B. Anderson for President of the United States in 1980. Due to the unpopularity of the liberal President, and aided by a poor economy and the Iran-Contra Crisis, Reagan and the promise by Reagan won in a landslide.

Reagan received the highest number of electoral votes (489) ever by a non-incumbent presidential candidate. While Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives, Republicans rode the Reagan wave of popularity to gain control of the Senate for the first time since 1955.

The election was also interesting because most polls had Ronald Reagan down by as many as seven points going into election night. However, as the results started coming in when polls closed, it quickly became apparent that the polls were wrong. About an hour and a half before California polls even closed, Jimmy Carter had conceded the election to Reagan.

In 1913, Woodrow Wilson signed the 16th Amendment, which created the progressive income-tax system. At that time it was a 1% levy on the wealthy. This top marginal income tax would creep up to 94% during the 1940s in order to pay for all of FDRs New Deal progressive (socialist) social programs.

So, the marginal income tax made it so that, as you make more profit, you pay more in taxes. Once you get up to the top income tax bracket, during the 1940s, you paid a 94% tax on all of your income. This would ultimately take a toll on the economy.

Reagan himself was a victim of the top income tax bracket having to pay a whopping 94% tax on that income during the 1940s and 50s. He was one of the top draws for Warner Brothers during this era, and once he crept up to the top bracket (aptly called "bracket creep) there was no incentive to keep making movies. This came at the expense of all the crew who put together his movies, who all had to look elsewhere for work.

The same type of situation was occurring in the rest of the nation due to high taxes to pay for out of control spending on progressive social programs, many born out of FDRs New Deal during the 1930s. Reagan referred to it as "creeping socialism."  The more people made, the less incentive they had to earn more. Once they made it to the top, they took their money and put it in a bank; they saved it rather than spent it.

Worded another way, "bracket creep" means that, as you make more income, you move into a higher income tax bracket. So, when Reagan came into office, the top marginal income tax bracket was 70%. Reagan believed that this acted as a disincentive to save, invest, expand, and create jobs and capital. This was socialism. It was the antithesis of capitalism.

One quick note here. To be fair, most people did not pay the 70% income tax. There were loopholes built into the system. These loopholes, or incentives, were created to get people to invest in the economy. Money could be put in certain places and you wouldn't have to pay a tax on that money. These loopholes made it so that some people, some very rich people, might have paid no taxes at all.

So, Reagan believed the way to stimulate the economy was to cut taxes, remove burdensome regulations, and cut spending. It makes sense. It's called capitalism. It's why some refer to conservatism as capitalism.

Would Reaganomics work? Well, note here that in 1981 the government, the U.S. Treasury took in from income taxes $480 billion. Save this thought for a moment.

In 1981, Reagan revealed his "program for economic recovery" to a Joint Session of Congress calling for $41.4 billion in cuts. These cuts would slash the Carter budget, although it would mostly slash programs created by FDR's Great Society. He did, however, vow to create a "safety net" for the poor, disabled, and elderly. He also called for a 30% tax cut and an increase in defense spending.

Reagan worked with republicans and democrats in Congress to push his agenda through. In the end, he earned the support of every republican along with 26 House Democrats.

At this time, Reagan enjoyed the support of two-thirds of Americans, and his highest approval rating. They really wanted to improve the economy, and they had Faith in Reagan's economic plan.

On March 30, 1981, Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. He did not know immediately that he was shot. As soon as it was learned he was hit, he was rushed to the hospital, where he supposedly quipped to the nurses and doctors attending to him, "I hope we're all republicans here."

On April 28, 1981, Reagan appears before Congress for the first time since being shot. Some experts suspect that it was due to his rise in popularity following the assassination attempt that he was able to get his economic agenda through Congress.

Later that same year, Reagan's economic bill was approved by Congress. On July 39, 1981, he signed the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. However, rather than getting a 30% tax cut he had to settle for a 23% tax cut over three years. The top income bracket dropped from 70% to 50% and the lowest income bracket dropped from 14% to 11%. Over time, the top bracket dropped to 28%.

This was the largest tax cut in American history. It was simply a form of what Jack Kemp referred to as supply-side economics, and what the media dubbed, "Reaganomics." It was basically allowing capitalism to work. It was capitalism.
This was how you stimulate economies.

The recovery does not happen right away. While the country waited anxiously for signs of economic recovery, ' popularity dipped to 35%. Things did not look good for the country as the recession steepened, with unemployment at a six-year high. The U.S. now faced its largest budget deficit in history. Some were even calling for tax hikes. Yet Reagan was patient and predicted for things to improve.

Reagan then has to make a difficult decision whether he slashes the military budget to reduce the deficit or increase military spending. Reagan decides in favor of military spending, noting his desire to create peace through strength. This would end up being one of the many great decisions of his presidency, as it would help end the Cold war and turn the U.S. into the world's Super Power.

However, Reagan's popularity is so low during the mid-term election that the democrats pick up 26 seats in the House of Representatives, although republicans manage to maintain control of the Senate.

In 1979, Jimmy Carter hired Paul Volcker  as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in order to tackle high-interest rates. Volcker raised interest rates to 15% and lowered the money supply to force businesses to lower prices. He believed this would lower interest rates. In 1982, he believed interest rates were low enough, so he cut interest rates and flooded the economy with money.

The economy did not improve. Calls were made for Reagan to change course. Reagan, however, stubbornly (confidently) decides to stay on course. While these were very stressful times, this decision would be one of the greatest in the history of the U.S.

Finally, by the spring of 1983, the first signs of economic recovery started showing. This would the beginning of the Reagan economic boom, the greatest period of economic prosperity in the history of the United States.

To this day, liberals credit Volcker's decision to raise interest rates in 1979, and then lower them in 1982, as the reason for the Reagan economic boom. Conservatives, however, credit Reagan's economic plan, otherwise known as Reaganomics.

Now, back to our question above. Did Reaganomics work? In 1989, when Reagan left office, the top marginal tax rate had dropped from 70% to 28%. The U.S. Treasury that year took in $950 billion. This meant that supply-side economics, Reaganomics, caused the amount of money made by the Treasury to double over Reagan's 8-year term as President.

How did this happen, you ask? It happened because it created more taxpayers. It created more jobs by reducing the top marginal rate on people. Whey you tell people that you get to keep more of your money if you move up to a higher income tax bracket, they are going to go out and do whatever it takes to earn more money.

They are going to quit finding places to hide their money. They are going to quit saving it. They are going to quit looking for loopholes. They are going to take that money and try to earn more money. They are going to put that money back into the economy; circulate it.

You can also think of it this way. Smal business owners are Subchapter S. Corporations, meaning they file their income taxes on a personal form. When taxes were high, they found places to hide their money rather than finding ways to earn more money. When taxes and regulations were reduced, this provided them an incentive to take their money out of hiding to invest in new capital, to expand their businesses, and to create more jobs and hire more workers.

They are going to expand their businesses. They are going to  invest in more capital. They are, in turn, going to create more capital. They are, in turn, going to create more jobs. You will then have more people working. With more people working, you save more taxpayers. With more taxpayers, the Treasury makes more money.

Add to this the fact that Reagan also signed bills causing the capital gains tax came down. The corporate tax came down. This meant that there was more money in the private sector and not at the government level.

So, as Reagan proved, capitalism works where progressivism fails at stimulating the economy. The same economic plan worked for Calvin Coolidge during the 1920s and John F. Kennedy during the 1980s.

Supply-side means leaving money in the hands of the people, rather than taking it and putting it into the hands of government officials. It means letting people keep more of the money they work so hard to work. It encourages them to find creative ways to be more productive and to earn more income.

This works to the benefit of everyone, from the top down. In fact, this is why supply-side economics is often referred to as "Trickle Down Economics." It offers an incentive for people at the top to take risks, and when they work out, it works to the benefit of everyone. And, as was the case during the 1980s, all classes of people benefited at nearly every level. The rich got richer, the middle class got richer, and the poor got richer.

Reagan was confident capitalism would work. He knew it worked for Coolidge and Kennedy before him. And, to the benefit of the nation, he was right. Reagan's economic prowess lead the nation into the longest period of economic expansion in the history of the United States. It was all due to "Reaganomics."

References:
  1. Rush Limbaugh, "A Supply-Side Economics Lesson," http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2009/04/09/a_supply_side_economics_lesson, accessed 11/17/16
  2. Paul G. Kengor, "No Contest: The Reagan Stimulus vs. the Obama One," USA Today, http://www.rushlimbaughforum.com/contest-the-reagan-stimulus-the-obama-one-t4299.html, accessed 11/17/16

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ronald Reagan: The rise of a great man

After four years of Jimmy Carter, the United States was embattled in the worst economic downturn since the 1930s and the Great Depression. This resulted in a landslide defeat of Carter and his liberal agenda by the greatest Conservative President of all time: Ronald Wilson Reagan.

He was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois. He attended Eureka College and studied economics and sociology. He also played football and acted in school plays. After graduation, he became a radio sports announcer, and in 1937 he became a Hollywood actor when he signed a contract with Warner Brothers. He would go on to star in 53 movies from 1937 to 1957.

Some of the movies he starred in were: Love is on the Air (1937), Dark Victory (1939), Murder in the Air (1940), Knute Rockne, All American (1940), Million Dollar Baby (1941), Bedtime for Bozo (1941),  Kings Row (1942), Desperate Journey (1942), Storm Warning (1951), Hellcats of the Navy (1957), and The Killers (1964).

During WWII he took a break from acting too join the Army Air Force. He was assigned to the film production unit. Here he acted and narrated military training films such as Recognition of the Japanese Zero Fighter (1941) and Beyond the Line of Duty (1942), the latter of which earned an academy award for short film.

With the exception of his time working for the U.S. Military, all his movies were made with Warner Brothers. When his movie roles started to dwindle, he turned to TV, where he hosted General Electric Theater (1953-1962) for eight years on CBS. He retired from acting in 1965.

The Screen Actors Guild is a labor union for actors. He joined this in 1937, became a member of the union's board in 1941, and became president in 1947. He would work to get rid of the influence of Communism on Hollywood. He would step down from this role in 1954.

He was a staunch liberal or Hollywood Democrat. He supported FDR, and actually would later claim that FDR was a great hero to him. He would later become a Kennedy Democrat. In 1962, he switched to the republican party, and would later quip:  "I did not leave the democratic party, the democratic party left me."

What he meant by this was that he was basically opposed to the democratic party's shift to progressive politics. John F. Kennedy was the last Conservative Democrat. When he was assassinated, the Progressive Lyndon Baines Johnson became President, and Democrats became the stalwarts for the Progressive Movement.

During the 1964 Presidential Campaign (on October 27), Reagan made a speech on behalf of the Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater, titled, "A Time Of Choosing. He stressed the importance of a smaller government. He said:
"The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing."
This speech would set him up nicely for a career in politics, and as a leader of the conservative movement.

California republicans loved his political views and his charisma, and they nominated him to become their nominee for the 1966 campaign. He was elected by a margin of over a million votes over two-term democrat Governor Pat Brown. He would be re-elected in 1970. The party wanted him to run again in 1974, although he chose not to become a three-term Governor.

As governor, he inherited a $200 million deficit. He proposed a 10% across the board tax cut, and this was met with protests by students who claimed that he should "tax the rich." He would end up raising taxes and freezing all hiring of new workers.

In 1967, only six months into his first term, he signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act, which was a liberal pro-abortion bill that would make abortion legal in the State of California. The annual abortion rate in California would soar from 518 legal abortions in 1967 to 500,000 in the remaining years of his 8-year term as Governor of California. This would end up being Reagans, "Darkest hour," according to National Review.

Reagan later would claim that abortion was an issue he hadn't given much thought to, so when he was presented with the bill, he didn't think twice about signing it. However, in his defense, abortion at that time wasn't the issue that it is today. In the end, however, Reagan would more than makeup for this, and would ultimately become what many refer as the father of the pro-life movement, according to National Review.

Another thing he was noted for during his campaign for governor was to "clean up the mess at Berkely." He was referring to anti-war and anti-establishment protests at Berkely. During the spring of 1969, he sent the National Guard to Berkeley, where they stayed for 17 days. This established Reagan a peace restoring hero to conservatives, although the left saw him as a trigger-happy cowboy.

In 1970 he won re-election. In 1971, he worked with a democratically controlled California Congress to get a welfare reform program passed. This was generally regarded as a success and established his ability to work with Congress to get his agenda passed.  In 1973, he announced a budget surplus, and gave taxpayers a rebate, showing that his policies were successful at balancing the budget.

In 1975, Reagan decided to run for President of the United States against incumbent Republican Gerald R. Ford. Reagan put up a very good fight and came close to winning. However, in the end, after the establishment fought hard for the establishment candidate, Ford became the republican nominee by a delegate count of 1,187 to Reagan's 1,070. Ford, however, would go on to lose to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Carter inherited a recession that was highlighted by high inflation and high unemployment. Carter decided it was more important to fight inflation than unemployment, so he hired Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Volcker decided to put the economy into an intentional recession by decreasing the money supply and raising interest rates to 15%.

This, coupled with Carter's refusal to cut taxes and regulations, resulted in the worse economic recession since the Great Depression. This, coupled with Carter's incompetent foreign policy that resulted in the Iran Hostage Crisis, set the state up nicely for a Ronald Reagan shot at the White House during the 1980 Presidential election cycle.

References:
  1. http://www.shmoop.com/reagan-era/economy.html
  2. http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-carterreagan.htm
  3. https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/ronaldreagan
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Electric_Theater
  5. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/223437/reagans-darkest-hour-paul-kengor-patricia-clark-doerner

Monday, December 12, 2016

Jimmy Carter: A Great Man, terrible president

James Earl Carter Jr., known today as Jimmy Carter, was a stellar human being, but a terrible president. In fact, some marked him as being one of the worse presidents of all time until Barack Obama became President.

Even today, as liberals riot in the streets, and cry on Facebook about the victory of Donald Trump, Carter said that Trump needs our "support and prayers" as he prepares to take the office of President of the United States.

Carter is right: Trump does need our prayers. So this is another testament to how great of a human being Carter really is. What plagued Carter throughout his career in politics was his liberal view on issues.

He ran for President in 1976, the year of the American Bicentennial. Gerald R. Ford was the then sitting President, a man who was the only person to become President who was neither elected president nor vice president. After Watergate, and after failure in Vietnam, Ford managed to restore faith in American government.

During the election of 1976, Carter managed to barely defeat Ford. He would then go on to wound the spirit of the nation restored by Ford. This would work to the advantage of the Conservative movement, which was waiting, salivating almost, at a chance to take over the Presidency. Carter was such a failure that Ronald Reagan would defeat him during the election of 1980 in what would become one of the biggest landslide victories in American's glorious history.

He was born October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia, to a peanut farmer. He left Plains to serve as a naval officer for seven years. He then entered state politics in Georgia. In 1966, he ran for Georgia governor and failed. In 1970, he again ran for Georgia governor and this time he succeeded.

In 1980, he was nominated for President by the democrat party. With Water F. Mondale as his running mate, he defeated Gerald Ford by an electoral vote of 297 to 241 and a popular vote of 50.1% to 48%.

It's possible that the only reason he was chosen by the people to be the 39th President of the United States was because of Ford's failures more so than his abilities. That said, he was elected as an outsider to clean up Washington. Here is what happened during the Jimmy Carter Presidency.

1. He had dinner with the Shah of Iran. The Shah was a dictator thug, but he also ran a secular government, supported the United States, supported equality for women, and recognized the Nation of Israel. Carter's visit created animosity between Iranian rebel students and the Shah. Carter then sent a letter to the Shah reminding him of the importance of political rights and freedom. In return, the Shah released 350 fundamentalist prisoners. They were then involved in an Islamic Revolution and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Recognizing the buildup of Islamic Rebel forces, the Shah asked Carter for help, and Carter refused. The U.N. suggested that Carter help the Shah to stop the revolution. Carter's State Department should help the Revolutionaries transition to a new government. Carter took neither advice, and the result was the takeover of Iran by radical Islamist thug dictators that hate the United States, have no respect for women, and refuse to accept Israel as a viable nation. This single foreign policy failure is often cited as spearheading much of the turmoil that has occurred in the Middle East since then.

2.  The Grand Ayatollah took power in February of 1979 and murdered over 20,000 pro-Western Iranians who were held by the Sha as political prisoners. The Sha came to America to seek medical treatment for Cancer, and no sooner had this happened, the revolutionaries stormed the American Embassy and took about 20 American diplomats hostage. This lead to the Iranian Hostage Crisis. In a failed rescue attempt that failed miserably, resulting in 30 soldiers getting killed when their helicopter crashed. The hostages were not released until the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. This may have been one of the main reasons Carter lost in a landslide to Reagan.

3.  Carter's foreign policy failures gave confidence to the Russian leader. Carter signed a treaty with the Russian leader, Leonid Brezhnev, and trusted he would abide by it. Brezhnev then turned around and invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to spread Communism to the area. So, so much for the treaty. Rusian then planned for a communist takeover of Iran and Pakistan. Carter's only response was to boycott the 1980 Olympic games in Russia. Afghanistan soldiers (which included Osama Bin Laden) held their own against the Russians, and this gave them great confidence. So, Carter may also have given rise to the man who would be responsible for the greatest terrorist attack in U.S. history on 9-11-01.

4.  The new government in Iran lead to the Iran-Iraq war. Half a million people died during this war, including thousands of deaths caused by the Chemical weapons of the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. Saddam would continue to build his military, and this gave him the ability and confidence to attempt a takeover of Kuwait in 1990, leading to U.S. operation to liberate Kuwait from the Iranians, called Desert Storm.

5.  The nation faced an economic crisis that ended up turning into a recession that Ronald Reagan inherited when he defeated Carter in 1980. The crisis involved both a high unemployment rate and a high inflation rate, something that began during the Nixon years, and that Ford had also attempted to remedy and failed.

6.  Carter was a liberal who believed that much of the animosity toward the United States was because we were far too arrogant, and one of the ways to remedy this situation was to slash military spending. This resulted in the Carter administration gutting and weakening the military. Despite the down economy, enlistments in the military were low. People already enlisted in the military were leaving at a rapid rate once their time was up. This and the invasion of Afghanistan caused Carter to reinstated young men between the ages of 18-20 to register for a potential draft (this was known as Selective Service.) When I turned 18 in 1988, I had to go to the Post Office to sign up. It was the law.

7.  So, apparently, he was too trusting. He was also too indecisive. He was also a poor public speaker. He was, however, a very nice guy.

8.  In 1979, he signed the Department of Education Organization Act, which creates the Department of Education. This was done in an attempt to improve education, although what happened is it put eight people who sit on a board the ability to control what kids learn. This 8 member board has been traditionally liberal and made it so public schools became liberal indoctrination centers, more so than places where kids were educated. This resulted in our Education System tanking from the #1 public school system in 1992 to 18th in the world among the 36 industrialized nations. This is despite the Federal Government greatly increasing funds so the U.S. is the 4th leading spender in education by 2016. So, Carter is almost singlehandedly responsible for the decline of our public school system. In 1979, parents and teachers were responsible for what kids learned, and we were #1 in the world.

9.  He was poor at negotiating with Congress, even though both houses has strong democrat majorities. He wisely vetoed bills he believed would cause wasteful spending. Many of these bills would have resulted in pork barrel spending, of which would have resulted in wasteful spending. However, his vetoes angered many establishment democrats, and many were overridden by Congress. Perhaps also souring relations with Congress was his failure to compromise on his ideas. So even though he was a democrat with a democratically controlled Congress, he failed to get many of his campaign promises and ideas through Congress.

10.  He failed to effectively deal with the energy crisis. Oil prices were $10 a barrel during the early 1970s and skyrocketed to $100 a barrel by the late 1970s (adjusted for inflation). This was due in part to the crisis in the middle east that he caused, and also due to Nixon's getting rid of the gold standard.During a 1979 speech, he seemed to scold the American people rather than suggest any policies remedy the energy crisis. He told people that the needed to drive slow, purchase smaller cars, set thermostats lower, and do without Christmas lights. These are things that you never tell Americans because in America we can make anything possible. With oil prices so high, this caused oil companies to raise prices, resulting in gas prices paid at the pump. This worsened inflation.

11. To control oil prices and end stagflation, he hired Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board on July 27, 1979. Volcker raised interest rates to 15%, the highest in U.S. history. He also tightened the money supply, and this forced businesses to lower prices. Higher interest rates resulted in a consumer panic, especially in those who invested in housing, and this resulted in an intentional recession. To offset this, businesses were forced to lower prices. It seemingly worked, although to the disadvantage of the Carter Presidency. Volcker ultimately lowered interest rates in 1982 and flooded the economy with money, but too late for Carter, as he lost the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan. Some also credit this tactic for the Reagan economic boom that would follow, although I wouldn't go that far.

12. Carter cannot be blamed for stagflation (rising inflation and unemployment at the same time), which began in 1965. He also seemingly inherited a recession, seemingly the same one he handed off to Reagan rather than dealing with himself. He tried to deal with it. He actually had a campaign promise to give $50 to every taxpayer with the hopes they would spend it and stimulate the economy that way. This promise never materialized, and probably wouldn't have done anything anyway. He also wanted to both raise taxes and honed in spending, and those were rejected by the democratically controlled Congress.

13.  Some give him credit for trucking, railroads and airline deregulation, which was signed by Carter in 1978. However, this actually started under Nixon and gained steam under Ford. However, Carter did support the bill. This was supported by consumers and resulted in an improved market. Government regulations on trucking and airlines limited prices and limited what the market could do, particularly on routes. Deregulation gave airline and trucking industry more opportunities to expand, create their own routes, and this resulted in more competition and lower prices. Air Transport Association. Robert Crandall and Jerry Ellig (1997) estimated that airline prices have fallen 44.9%, saving Americans $19.4 billion per year. Due to lower prices, the air travel industry has "exploded" since then, and the number of people traveling has doubled since then. So, airline and trucking deregulation was a definite good that came out of the Carter administration, although some believe that he alone shouldn't get credit. For the sake of this article, I will give him credit.

14.  When most people think of universal healthcare, they think of Obamacare or Romneycare, although these were not the firs efforts to create a government run healthcare system. We have Hillarycare of the early 1990s, and we also have Jimmy Carter's attempt to create a universal healthcare system in 1977. His system even had support from some republicans, although it was ditched by democrat insiders, such as Ted Kennedy. However, some blame this failure on Carter's poor leadership abilities. Thankfully it didn't get anywhere, because Lord knows how badly Obamacare failed. He also had ideas for reforming welfare and lowering hospital costs, although those ideas also failed to gain steam. Of course, in all due fairness, these ideas were forced to take a backseat to his attempts to lower inflation and unemployment.

That Jimmy Carter was a failure as a president cannot go without saying. He is personally responsible for much of the turmoil that occurred in the world since his Presidency. It's amazing vowhat a failure he was, especially given that he had a democratically controlled Congress to work with.

By 1980, many people saw him as a weak leader, and they saw that foreign countries had little respect for the U.S. They were ready for a new leader. He lost in a landslide to Conservative Ronald Reagan.

And, while it's tempting to put Obama as the worse President ever, I have a hard time pulling Carter out of that spot.

References:
  • Jimmy Carter, whitehouse.gov, https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/jimmycarter, accessed 11/13/16
  • Jimmy Carter, conservatopia, http://www.conservapedia.com/Jimmy_Carter, accessed 11/13/16
  • Miller, Paul, "Jimmy Carter Can Only Blame Himself," The American Thinker, http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2007/05/jimmy_carter_can_only_blame_hi.html, accessed 11/13/16
  • Randolph, Larry, "Was the USA ever No. 1 in Education?" Historynet, http://www.historynet.com/was-the-usa-ever-no-1-in-education.htm, accessed 11/15/16
  • Smith, Fred L, "Airline Deregulation," Library of Economics and Liberty, http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/AirlineDeregulation.html, accessed 11/16/16
  • Jimmy Carter on Healthcare, ontheissues.org, http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Jimmy_Carter_Health_Care.htm, accessed 11/16/16
  • Myth: Carter ruined economy, Reagan saved it, http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-carterreagan.htm, accessed 11/16/16

Monday, December 5, 2016

Our kids are indoctrinated with propaganda

When we were kids the emphasis was to teach us about the Constitution, the founding fathers, and about American Exceptionalism. We were taught how to think for ourselves. The fear was that if this wasn't taught our children would begin to take their freedoms for granted and join movements like the liberal movement of today.

Now it is not taught, Millennials support wackos like Bernie Sanders, and these wackos think we are the ones who are whacko, brainwashed, and refuse to conform. The reason this happened is by crazy things our kids are taught at indoctrination centers (a.k.a., public schools).

From the founding all the way to 1980, parents and teachers were in charge of what was taught at school. Liberals, in an effort to advance their agenda, wanted to change this. For this reason, Jimmy Carter established the Department of Education (DOE) in 1979.

From 1980 onward, kids were taught what a panel at the DOE decided. Rather than letting parents control what kids were taught, a panel of eight experts, mainly liberal experts, now decide. This would include mainly Millennials.This has many parents and teachers frustrated because they want a say in what kids learn; they want kids to learn English and American history.

They are experts in science, so they think. They believe they are experts in global warming, and they believe that mankind is the cause of it. All told, they have been poorly educated about science. While we were told that theories were theories to be respected, but that's that: they aren't science.

Kids today are told that, since 99% of scientists believe in man-made global warming, then it is a fact. When we were kids were taught that a consensus is not science. So, even if 99% of scientists believe in global warming, that doesn't determine it is or is not true.  Science either is or is not, and it doesn't matter what individual scientists believe. Science is not up to a vote.

Millennials are the product of our public schools, which have been indoctrinating our kids with the liberal agenda since 1979. They are also the product of higher learning, which is also indoctrination centers. They are taught propaganda in terms of what they think is real and what they believe. To them, theories, feelings, beliefs, emotions are real.

They do not read about politics. To them, politics is all emotion. They see someone has a problem, they say something like, "I feel your pain!" Then they create programs that someone else has to pay for." When they don't work, they blame republicans for getting in the way of progress. When they fail, they don't get criticized due to good intentions.

When they see or read that others think differently for them, it is an eye-opening experience. They cannot understand how anyone could vote for Trump, for instance.

For instance, they believe we are destroying the planet. They believe that it might not even be here in 20 years. They believe we are destroying it fast. They believe the polar ice caps are melting. They believe polar bears are living on floating plates of ice. They believe the ozone is disappearing. They are scared to death that this is happening.

Okay, so this is how they continue to vote for people who want to make so many regulations in the name of global warming that the economy sputters. And while the U.S. has a sputtering economy because of it all, China is the beneficiary because they don't buy into the crap science.

Millennials do not have any facts to support their fears and beliefs, to them it's just a fact because it sounds good; it's fact because it's the propaganda they have been taught at public indoctrination centers.

They hate Trump, not because they don't support him on the issues, but because Trump speaks the truth. They have been protected from the truth at the indoctrination centers. They hear Trump's rhetoric, they hear Trump's jokes, and they can't handle it. They are so offended by what they hear, that they haven't even considered the issues.

You ask a Millennial one issue that Trump stands for, and they won't hear your question. They see Trump as racist, homophobe, bigot, etc. That's as far as their minds are allowed to go, as they are not trained in schools how to think for themselves. They are unable to see beyond the rhetoric.

They hate Trump. They hate republicans. And they especially hate conservatives. Anything they are told by the media about Trump, republicans, or conservatives is thought to be the gold standard view. They have a stereotypical view of whatever the media says about republicans. They take it verbatim. They do not question anything unless it's said by conservative news sources.

As Rush Limbaugh said:
"It's really a case study in Pavlov's Dog, in groupthink, in how indoctrination and propaganda actually work. And they think that we are all products of propaganda. They think they're the open-minded thinkers and enlightened ones, highly educated, super-intelligent, very perceptive, lightyears ahead. They have that in common with many young people. But I just picked one story here to give you an example. They're just beside themselves. They thought Trump was a buffoon and they thought everybody else thought Trump was a buffoon.
They thought Trump might get 20% of the vote. They thought Donald Trump was the way he was portrayed on Saturday Night Live. If they wanted to get a dose of Trump, they watched YouTube videos of Saturday Night Live and Alec Baldwin portraying Trump. Likewise, they thought Hillary Clinton was the smartest person in the world, smartest woman in the world, eminently qualified. But the thing is, 95% of Silicon Valley thinks the same way, from the executives on down on down to the employees. 
The reason they think this way is because they are indoctrinated to think a certain a way in schools, and through journalism. They think they are getting the big picture. They think they understand America. When, in reality, they are sheep herded by the indoctrination centers. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Gerald R. Ford: A Conservative At The Wrong Time

Gerald R. Ford was a moderate Republican who became the first and only person to become President without being elected President or Vice President. He also had the misfortune of entering the presidency at a time when Americans were fed up with liberalism but not quite ready for a conservative president.

Some people might contend that Ford was a Conservative. However, I think this was mainly because he was way more conservative than Lyndon B. Johnson, and even more conservative than even Richard M. Nixon. So, he did have conservative tendencies. That said, he was not, by any means, a conservative of the likes of Ronald Reagan; he was in no way the leader of the Conservative Movement that was salivating, waiting for an opportunity to gain control of the republican party.

For lack of a better comparison, he was more of a moderate republican, along with the likes of George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, all of whom would lose (with the exception of 1988) their bids for the Presidency.

For the sake of simplicity, let us just assume that he was a conservative. The American people may actually have been ready for a conservative. Who wasn't ready was the republican establishment, which had a false belief (and still does) that a moderate president has a greater chance of drawing in independent voters and winning the presidency than a conservative one. He also had the misfortune of entering the office when liberalism, while on the downswing, was high on pride after the Watergate scandal.

Likewise, even though Nixon, a moderate (with moderate meaning liberal leaning) republican, was fresh off his second landslide victory in 1972, democrats held control of both chambers of Congress. While Ford may have been a good conservative with good conservative ideas, these and other forces would work against him.

He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, although he grew up Grand Rapids, Michigan. He became a star football player at the University of Michigan. He then served as assistant football coach at Yale, where he earned his law degree.

He was first elected to Congress in 1948, and from 1965 to 1973 he served as Minority Leader. When Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace due to the Watergate Scandal on October 10, 1973, then President Richard M. Nixon chose Representative Gerald Ford to succeed him. This made Ford the first person to become Vice President under terms of the 25th Amendment.

Then, when President Nixon resigned in disgrace, also due to the Watergate Scandal, less than a year later, Ford became the 38th President of the United States. He kept some of Nixon's cabinet members, although he named some of his own. To please the liberal wing of the republican party he nominated Nelson D. Rockefeller as his Vice President, thereby making Rockefeller the second person to be named Vice President using terms of the 25th Amendment.

Among his first orders of business, after filling out his administration was to assure the American populace that he would not be an "imperial president," like FDR, Johnson, and Nixon before him.

What is an "Imperial President?"  The term was coined in a 1973 book by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who observed that, since FDR created the Executive Office of the President in 1939, the White House had become overcrowded with staff. In this way, Schlesinger observed that the executive had overstepped its Constitutional bounds: it had become too large and was gaining too much control over the people at the expense of freedom and liberty.

So, Ford assured the populace that this executive overreach would not continue during his tenure in the Washington.

FDR had increased regulations on transportation, communications, finance, and other businesses. Like FDR, Nixon was a fan of federal regulations. Ford was the first post-FDR President to begin a trend toward slashing New Deal regulations in order to get government out of the way so that businesses had more freedom and were more likely to make profits and expand to create more jobs. During the 1980s, Ronald Reagan would continue this trend.

All seemed to go rather well for the Ford administration, that is until he decided it would be a good idea to pardon Richard Nixon for crimes he might have committed during the Watergate scandal. To Ford, this seemed like an honorable idea, as the nation did not need to endure the embarrassment of a criminal trial against a former President.

So, in 1974, not long before the mid-term elections, Ford pardoned Nixon. This did not sit well with the liberal press and was highly criticized; the nation had witnessed a scandal so mischievous that it cost the nation its President and Vice President, and now there would be no trial.

Ford's decision and the media lamenting over it would end up costing republicans many Congressional seats to democrats during the mid-term election.

Like his anti-imperialistic Washington view, Ford's fiscal policies, or his economic policies, were in line with conservatives. He believed it was important to cut the size of government by slashing regulations, slashing taxes, and decreasing spending. Yet he clashed with the democratic Congress and vetoed 66 bills that would have increased spending.

A problem he faced was stagflation or an economic situation where economic growth was low, and unemployment was high at the same time that inflation was high. This was the first time the United States had ever faced this situation, so no one was certain what the remedy was.

Ford believed the solution was to combat inflation through:
  • Decreased government spending on social programs, and this was accomplished by his vetoes. This was good. 
  • Curbing spending by the private sector, and this was accomplished by raising taxes on personal income. He failed to get this through a democrat controlled Congress. 
Part of the reason for stagflation was not Ford's fault, as international forces caused oil prices to skyrocket. This created an energy crisis. Gas prices were high. Most cars were huge gas guzzlers. And, for the first time, American factories were facing competition from Japanese and German imports.

Despite his efforts, the economy continued to lag and inflation continued to climb. Unemployment was 4.8% when he entered office in 1972, and when he left office it was 8.0%. During the same timespan, consumer price inflation increased from 3.4% to 11%. This, along with high prices, made planning for the future difficult.

In 1975, he had an opportunity to put a conservative judge on the Supreme Court when New Deal justice William O. Douglass resigned. But in an attempt to keep the peace (or, showing his libera tendencies) between himself and a democratic controlled Congress, he nominated John Paul Stephens, who would become a very liberal Justice, although not nearly as liberal as Douglass.

In foreign affairs, Richard Nixon called for all forces to be removed from South Vietnam, and Ford was President when it fell victim to Communism. This was one of the sadder events of the Ford administration. All the efforts of the American military and all the lives lost in the name of Freedom were for naught and no thanks to a democratic Congress that seemed to want to see their own country punished and humiliated. 

He supported Nixon's detente approach to the Cold War with the U.S.S.R or Russia. The idea was that both countries would benefit from increased trade and the decreased threat of nuclear warfare. 

Former California Governor Ronald Reagan greatly disapproved of this policy when he ran against Ford during the 1976 Presidential campaign. Reagan also championed for easing regulations and cutting taxes as a means of rebooting the economy.

The up and coming Conservative movement were eager to get a (true) conservative into the Whitehouse, and Reagan was their man. Standing in their way, however, was the republican establishment.

As noted earlier, the establishment had then and still does this false belief (that both Reagan and Trump would prove wrong) that moderate republicans have a better chance of winning. Ford was the embodiment of this establishment. And even though he was former governor of California, Reagan was the embodiment of anti-establishment.

While his policies succeeded at improving the economy and reducing inflation, unemployment remained high. Reagan gave him a good fight, although Ford would be the eventual republican nominee.

The democrats chose a relatively unknown, a Washington outsider, as their nominee. Carter was actually expected to win easily, yet Ford gave him a good fight. Ford lost to Carter by an electoral count of 240 to 297, and a popular vote of 48.0% to 50.1%. 

Ford assumed the office of the President at a time when the nation felt great distrust in government due to Watergate, and a defeatist attitude due to perceived failure in Vietnam. He seemed to improve trust in government, and Faith in the American foreign policy.

He also assumed the office at a time when the economy was depressed amid a period of massive inflation. Perhaps as a result of battling with a liberal Congress, his ideas failed to get the economy moving again and thereby failed to get the public excited about his Presidency.

Not helping matters was the fact that, despite being known as an athlete in his youth, he was a very clumsy president. Chevy Chase, during a Saturday Night Live Skit, made fun of Ford's clumsiness, making everyone well aware of it. Also not helping was, during a presidential debate, Ford seemed confused about Poland being independent of the Soviets, and this seemed to hamper his image.

Ford is often seen as a failed president. In retrospect, we can see that Ford was a good man and a good conservative with good ideas. He may even have had a chance at becoming a great president if only he had given a chance at one more term, or at least one full term.

He just so happened to come into office at a difficult time for the advancement of his good ideas. But he did have some success, and for that, we herald him as an above average president.

References:
  1. Gerald R. Ford, Whitehouse.gov, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/vice-president-agnew-resigns, accessed 11/12/16
  2. Gerald Ford, Conservapedia, http://www.conservapedia.com/Gerald_Ford, accessed 11/12/16
  3. Detente, history.com, http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/detente, accessed 11/12/16
  4. Remembering Gerald R. FordRemembering Gerald R. Ford, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/219602/model-ford-nro-symposium, 11/12/16