Tag Archives: government

A Connected Earth

Attaining World Order

I’ve read and I plan to write a lengthy review of World Order, by Henry Kissinger.  It’s quite informative and interesting, but so much of the book is taken up by wars, balance of power, and such with very little devoted to globalization and the fact that governments do not compare in size with private businesses in most places in the world now. World order today includes Apple, Google, ExxonMobil, and on and on.  And small businesses in total make even more of the total economic action globally.

Governments should be democratic, but they should answer to the people, not the other way around with onerous taxes that inhibit jobs and opportunity and regulations that stymie our freedom. If people can be trusted, onerous and complex regulations would simply not be needed, wanted, or economically efficient.  Humanity as a whole, therefore, must work toward attaining wisdom so that people truly will be trusted, and the burdens of overly complicated laws can be lifted. Our “world order” will improve as a result; that is for certain.

Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge

Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge

By Governor Scott Walker (Wisconsin) with Marc Thiessen

Review by John E. Wade II

Summary

Governor Walker received national attention when he became the first governor in American history to win a recall election—and by a bigger margin than his original election.  This happened after angry protesters actually occupied the capitol of Wisconsin, causing physical damage to the building and alienating the state’s voters, the Republican legislators, and the governor whom they were trying to influence.

This was a time of courage and leadership, but the real beneficiaries of this victory were the citizens, school teachers, administrators, and students of Wisconsin.  Now, with only police and firefighters’ unions able to negotiate wages, local and state governments and schools are being run in a business-like manner.

A miracle has happened.  A $3.6 billion budget deficit was turned into a surplus while all public schools now have the ability to operate like charter schools.  Without the intimidation of union bosses, school principals are empowered to hire based on merit, pay based on performance, and spend professional development dollars on teachers who deserve it rather than on the basis of seniority.

Governor Walker is a courageous leader and innovator who served as Milwaukee County Executive from 2002 through 2010.  It was while serving in this capacity that he learned the destructive nature of unions, specifically their inefficiency and their utmost desire to preserve union dues over teacher or other public employees’ jobs, tax considerations, or fiscal viability.  When he became Governor of Wisconsin, with a majority of Republicans in the two legislative chambers, he moved boldly and quickly to disarm the unions by taking away collective bargaining rights and involuntary dues collections, except as mentioned above.

He also lowered taxes and initiated a multitude of reforms that have turned around the state economically, providing much-needed jobs.  He wrote that he plans to cut taxes “over and over and over until Wisconsin is leading the country in economic recovery.”

Governor Walker is a courageous leader who is deeply in tune with the Innovation Age.  I heartedly support him for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

 

Book Review and Commentary

The view from Washington appears bleak with the reelection of President Obama, an unlikely Obamacare repeal, massive tax increases, and spiraling national debt.  “Family income has plummeted, and more than three quarters of Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck.”  A study found that our country’s citizens believe our economy has “undergone a permanent change” which is the “new normal.”

But beyond the Washington beltway, with many states—including Wisconsin and other states with Republican leadership—“…conservative reformers are winning elections and policy battles in state houses all over the country.”  Only one incumbent GOP governor has lost a general election since 2007; the number of GOP governors has risen from twenty-one to thirty, just four short of a record; Republicans have gained 606 legislative seats—from 3,220 in 2008 to 3,826 in 2013; gains have brought control in twenty-eight state houses of representatives and twenty-nine state senates; four years ago Republicans controlled both the legislature and governorship in just eight states and now that number is twenty-three, including sixteen states that are veto-proof.

Thus, at the state level, the GOP appears to be thriving.  Why?  Governor Walker states, “In the states, we are focused on improving education, caring for the poor, reforming government, lowering taxes, fixing entitlements, reducing dependency, and creating jobs and opportunity for the unemployed.”   Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Wisconsin are making the Reaganesque-type reforms which echo through Republican-led states, and there are countless other examples of reform.

Thanks to Walker’s leadership in Wisconsin, a $3.6 billion inherited deficit was turned into a $500 million surplus.  Many teacher jobs were saved and education is improving through flexibility in administration.  Property taxes decreased for the first time in over a decade.  Unemployment has gone down and “…Wisconsin’s pension system is the only one in the country that is fully funded.”  Clearly, Walker’s strong push for reform is working.

Governor Walker stated, “I firmly believe that the lessons we learned in Wisconsin can help conservatives win the fight for fiscal reform in Washington, D.C. and lead the way for greater prosperity for people all across America.”  I fully agree, and I hope and pray that in 2016 Governor Walker will realize the presidency in order to lead the charge from pessimism to sustainable, sound optimism throughout America.

In 2002, Scott Walker was elected Milwaukee County Executive, the most Democratic-leaning county in the state.  He was reelected three times, with bigger margins of victory each time.  It was there that he learned of the perils of public unions.  He stated, “I will never forget sitting at the conference table in my office across from…the head of ”…a union and “…explaining to him that without some of these modest changes we would have to lay off hundreds of workers…He looked me in the eye and said: ‘Go ahead and do it!’…I was stunned.”  He stated that he didn’t care how many workers were laid off, he had no intention of giving up any benefits.

When the layoff notices went out, Walker was overcome with “…people streaming into his office, usually young workers in tears, pleading for their own job or that of a coworker.”  The inflexibility of the union limited Walker’s ability to manage Milwaukee County and save the jobs of productive employees.

Walker makes a good point, “As conservatives, we believe that as many decisions as possible should be pushed down to the local level.  This is not only a matter of efficiency, it is fundamental to our freedoms…For years, Americans have been presented with a false choice between raising taxes and cutting government services.”  In a business, “…you don’t double the price of your product or cut its quality in half—at least not if you want to stay in business.  You find ways to run your business more efficiently, and deliver a better product than your competitor at a lower cost.”  Walker tried to do that as a county executive, but it was next to impossible with the obstructions of collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining “…denies hardworking taxpayers their ‘right’ to the efficient delivery of public services.  It denies children their ‘right’ to a decent education.  And it denies citizens their ‘right’ to a government that lives within its means…Rather than a right, collective bargaining has turned out to be an expensive entitlement.”  These lessons at the local level were what taught Walker that a near-total statewide ban on collective bargaining could—and would—be the key to success in local and state government in Wisconsin.

Walker got advice from Indiana’s Governor Mitch Daniels, who had eliminated collective bargaining, saving “…buckets of money” but with the primary benefit of “flexibility to make state government run better.”  Daniels advised Walker to go big, go bold; go fast; invest political capital; and never stop reforming.  Indeed, Walker took Daniels’ advice.             In Walker’s inaugural address, he quoted the Frugality Clause of Wisconsin’s constitution, approved in 1848, which states, “It is through frugality and moderation in government that we will see freedom and prosperity for our people.”

With the $3.6 billion budget deficit which he inherited, Walker faced grim prospects.  States such as New York, California, and Connecticut were announcing layoffs to balance their budgets.  Wisconsin could do the same, raise taxes and lay off teacher and workers.  But Walker realized that this would take money from the poor, middle class workers, undermine education, and decimate government services.  The unions would do this just to keep “…the automatic spigot of cash that was filling their union coffers.”  Regarding his reforms, Walker explained, “We were not doing this to go after the unions…We were doing it to protect the schools.”

When Walker became governor he instituted the policy of meeting with Democratic leaders once a week, a practice he still continues, his office being open to individual members of either party.  This reminds me of President Reagan and his open-door and across the political aisle policies, which are quite pointedly just the opposite of President Obama.

Walker presents some interesting facts.  Most of the federal workers do not have collective bargaining and yet “…the average federal worker received total compensation 16 percent higher than the equivalent private sector worker.”  I believe this disparity and our bloated federal government should be addressed—in a kind way that allows any displaced workers to receive outplacement services comparable to good citizen corporations.

When Walker assumed office he assessed his alternatives, and, fully aware of his inflexibility at the local level and Governor Daniels advice, he knew that with a Republican majority in both houses of the Wisconsin legislature, he could “…fix the whole system.”  This was courageous, innovative, and the mark of a genuine leader.  He faced a $3.6 billion budget deficit, property taxes that had gone up twenty-seven percent over the past ten years and were increasing every year, and the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.  In two years, he produced a $342 million surplus, lowered property taxes, and the unemployment rate was brought down to 6.7 percent (and in 2015, unemployment is only 4.6%).  He also backed reforms that would allow schools throughout the state to be run like charter schools.

I won’t dwell on the protests that eventually led to a recall campaign.  At one point the capitol building “…was packed wall-to-wall with protesters.  They banged drums and blasted horns day and night, harassed and spat on lawmakers as they made their way through the capitol, and turned our historic rotunda into a theater of the absurd….Protestors carried signs comparing [Walker] to Hosni Mubarak…and Obama bin Laden.  Others read ‘Death to tyrants,’ ‘Don’t retreat, reload,’ and ‘The only good Republican is a dead Republican.’”  There were death threats and harassment directed toward Walker and his family, as well as to other Republican leaders and their families.  The unions’ goal was clear: to intimidate the senators and strike fear into them.  But their smash-mouth tactics had the opposite effect.  The more the senators were heckled, harassed, cussed at, and spat upon, the more their resolve deepened.  Those who might have been wavering became increasingly determined not to give in.

Act 10, which banned collective bargaining—except for wages for police and firefighters—passed and was signed into law by Walker.  It opened the doors for Walker and the Republicans to enact extensive and positive reforms in state government and the schools.  Additionally, Walker won his recall by a larger margin than his original election, due primarily because his reforms were working, and Wisconsin voters were disenchanted with both the rowdy protestors and the teachers who interrupted schools all over the state to congregate in the capitol.

He explained some of his education reforms, “We gave every public school administrator in Wisconsin the same freedom and flexibility that charter schools enjoy.  They can now change the curriculum, expand the school day, reward good teachers, and get rid of failing ones—all without getting permission from (or dealing with grievances from) the teachers unions.”

Walker wrote, “The message of Wisconsin was not that the American people want fewer teachers, or police, or firefighters.  The message of Wisconsin was that Americans want   leadership.  And in times of crisis, they don’t care if it is Democratic leadership or Republican leadership—they will stand with those who offer bold ideas and have the courage to take on the tough issues.”  Walker demonstrated the type of courage, leadership, and boldly innovative ideas we desperately need on a national basis.  This is why I fully support Walker in the 2016 presidential election—and why I encourage everyone else to do so as well.

As mentioned earlier, Walker took to heart the advice that he got from Indiana’s Governor Mitch Daniels, “Never stop reforming—always have the next big idea ready.”  This is just the right approach needed by our national leaders—most especially our president—during this Innovation Age.  Walker stated, “We plan to cut taxes over and over and over again until Wisconsin is leading the country in economic recovery.”

Walker explains, “Republicans need to reclaim their position as the party of upward mobility and opportunity for all.  We need to lay out a positive vision for an America where every one of our citizens—no matter what their race, creed, origin, political party, or station in life—has a chance for a better future.  We need to offer innovative, free market alternatives to the permanent welfare state.”

Walker describes overcoming obstacles as “fun…I enjoy finding creative solutions to difficult challenges.”  We need this public servant in Washington, as our president.  He goes on the say, “Republican governors are succeeding because they are focused on…” relevant challenges to our people.  Walker makes a very good point; Republicans often offer logical and empirical data to try to win voters whereas Democrats tell heartbreaking stories to appeal to the emotions.  He states Republicans must always win the fairness fight.

In describing the current political trends, Walker states, “Across America, citizens are casting their ballots for fiscal responsibility.  Courageous political leaders are taking on the entrenched interests, delivering reforms relevant to the lives of their citizens, and showing that they will not be intimidated by threats and scare tactics.”  Governor Scott Walker has proven that he is this type of leader, one who will attract the votes and approval of citizens all across the nation.  Why?  He’s a genuine, innovative, courageous, capable, and honest leader.

Unintimidated is an extremely well-written and exciting book because it demonstrates to me that help is on the way, hopefully and prayerfully through Governor Walker’s election the 2016 presidential election.  Of course, this must include Republican leadership at all levels throughout the nation.  We don’t want our federal, state, and local governments to go the way of long-time Democratically controlled Detroit and other cities, states and our federal government, where challenges are avoided and “kicked down the road” to be addressed during the next election.  We need Scott Walker’s strength of leadership—now and tomorrow!

How Republicans Can WIN in a Changing America

How Republicans can WIN in a Changing America:

The Art of War with Lesson Plans

By S. J. Helgesen and V. Lance Tarrance

Book Review By John E. Wade II

This is an extremely well written, concise, and realistic book that I highly recommend to all fellow Republicans, as well as anyone else who would like to understand the elections of 1980, 2012, and the coming elections of 2014 and 2016.  Lance Tarrance has a wealth of experience conducting hundreds of polls, and is both a consummate pollster and a strategist.  Stephan Helgesen has served in the Foreign Service for thirty years and managed a campaign.  Both have written previous books.

Why did such a smart, attractive candidate like Mitt Romney lose in 2012?  The short answer is “The Machine” of the Obama campaign.  Secondly, it was Romney’s “…own campaign which, according to some, ‘held him back and kept him on a leash of civility…’”

“Crunch the numbers and the unmistakable conclusion you’ll draw is that the Republicans lost because of:

1.     A higher Democratic turnout,

2.     A lower Republican voter turnout and

3.     A higher percentage of Blacks [93 percent], Hispanics [71 percent] and young women [60 percent] voting for the Democrats.”

The authors explain “…that all campaign strategies will need to be more attentive and more nuanced to appeal to the ethnic voter, the low information voter, the emotional voter and many other single-issue voters.  The colors of the campaign world today are much more than just Red, Blue and Purple.”

The authors did a good job of summing up the media, something that is both truthful and unfortunate in terms of informing our electorate:  “If you’re on CNN regularly you’re probably left of center, MSNBC, ultra left, PBS, left of center to Progressive, Fox News, center to right and mixed, and on the ‘mainstream media’ TV you are left to center.”

A key factor in 2012 was that “…our deteriorating economic condition was successfully blamed on the Republicans (and the do-nothing Congress) by the Democrats instead of where it belonged…at the doorstep of an inept tone deaf Administration and a divisive President…Republicans lost the argument because they didn’t make a clear cause and effect connection between economic growth and a proven private sector empowerment model.”

Looking at the House and Senate races in 2014, “it’s too early to say what exactly is motivating the Democratic voters to ignore the reality of a failed Obama economic policy, a divisive social policy, a flawed energy policy, and an amateurish foreign policy.”  We just can’t afford—for our nation, its people and the world—to again underrate the Democratic Machine.

I agree very much with the authors that money has gotten too big in elections, and that campaign reform should be high on our agenda—“Our elections are important to our democracy.”  Having to raise a billion dollars for each presidential race, not to mention the millions for senate and house races, puts fundraising too high on everyone’s priorities.

A host of sad personal economic stories are in progress during the Obama administration.  “Republicans would be wise to start gathering these personal stories now.  They will need them, later.”  In 2014 and 2016 it will be critical “…to show HOW the values of the Republican Party can turn around our current economic malaise.”  Republicans must “Shore up the base with an optimistic and uplifting Reaganist message that is rooted in history and makes a clear cause and effect connection to today using recent historical comparisons that fit within the voter’s generational frame of reference.”  Republicans would do well to highlight their successes in the Red states.

The book has a multitude of advice for Republican candidates, including, “Never speak ill of another Republican.”  I like that one.

The authors state, “Hillary’s time has come…unless she is unmasked and viewed as many see her: an ultra-liberal, highly impatient, chronically intolerant, extraordinarily calculating and sometimes vengeful person.”   They explain, “Her biggest asset is her live-in banker, mentor and sometime sparring partner, the 42nd President of the United States.  Bill Clinton’s foundation, his contacts, contributors, venues and microphone are all Hillary’s for the asking, and the use of them she will.”

The authors caution, “If Republicans truly want to win in 2016, they must acknowledge the new reality of the changing voter ‘marketplace’ that includes style over substance voters and watch how the opposition courts them.”

I agree completely with the authors that the 2014 elections are critical if we are “…to reclaim America’s core conservative values.”  Loses would “…give the President and the Progressive Democrats carte blanche to finish their job of taking the world’s most powerful country on an orgiastic spending binge, destroying America’s financial future.”

In Louisiana, I am supporting Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D. for the U.S. Senate in 2014.  He’s an outstanding public servant, both as a doctor, and previously in both the state legislature and Congress since 2008.  Completely out of sync with her constituents, Senator Landrieu cast a deciding vote allowing Obamacare to pass, and her voting record is 97 percent aligned with President Obama.  Most of the citizens of Louisiana just don’t espouse the liberal ways of Mary Landrieu or President Obama.  I believe Congressman Cassidy will soon be our next Senator.

The authors suggest that Republicans select a third way candidate for President in 2016.  Past examples of third way candidates include Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.  It’s important to select “…another outsider who can change the landlocked polarity in WASHDC.  It has been done before, and it is time to do it again.  It just takes common sense and uncommon courage.”  As the authors state quite dramatically, “The third way is the only way Republicans can win in a changing America.”  I agree.

I highly recommend the Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, as a third way candidate.  Scott Walker has dramatically demonstrated courage, leadership, wisdom, competence, and honesty.  I highly endorse his book, Unintimidated, as a way to get to know a Republican who is in tune with the Innovation Age, and one who can WIN the office of United States President in 2016.  My review of this book will be posted to my website in the very near future.

How Republicans Can WIN is a must-read manual for all serious Republican candidates and supporters, not to mention all American citizens who sense that all is not right in Washington.  I have only touched on the high points of this work of clarity and reason.  I encourage you to dig deeper by reading this book.  Here’s a link to purchase the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Republicans-can-changing-America/dp/061588427X.

The Real Romney

The Real Romney

by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman

Review by John E. Wade II

 

This is an outstanding biography of Governor Mitt Romney, written by two reporters from The Boston Globe.  They describe Governor Romney as incredibly bright, hard working and ambitious.

Faith and family are an integral part of Governor Romney’s makeup.  He has a strong support system in his wife, Ann, his children and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon).  His father, George Romney, served three terms as governor of Michigan and then lost his bid for the presidency.

The book recounts Governor Romney’s business qualifications and knowledge of our economy, with its enormous debt, deficits, obsolete tax system and a bloated government; it is time for an amazing rescue by Governor Romney, a man who loves a challenge.  He sums up his message in a way that I consider quite honest and desperately needed:  “I know how business works…(and)… why jobs come and why they go.”  I don’t believe President Obama could sincerely make that claim.

Mitt was born five years after his brother Scott, becoming the fourth and last child of George and Lenore Romney.  A gap like that, five years and more, makes him, I’ve been told, another “oldest child” (psychologically).

George Romney became Chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation.  He was able to turn around the company, partly using his own funds.  George advised Mitt, to “dream big and work hard and pray always….”  As far as Mitt is concerned he had a strong and beneficial relationship with both his father and mother.  It appears Mitt’s tact came from his mother.

There were some unusual aspects of George and Mitt’s lives.  When George was governor, he liked getting advice from Mitt, and generally liked when his son was with him in the governor’s office and elsewhere.  And when Mitt graduated from high school, his father was the speaker.

Mitt met Ann when he was still in his teens and described falling in love with her at first sight.  He was smitten, finding her smart, beautiful and independent, and he pursued her until she returned his love.  When she was just sixteen years old Mitt asked her whether she might someday marry him.  She said “yes” but quizzed him about his Mormon faith as she was a traditional Protestant.  He gave her a brief explanation, after which he noticed she was crying.  Later with George Romney’s help Ann learned about the Moorman faith and converted.

Mitt is justly proud of his Mormon ancestry.  And although generations ago, some of his ancestors had multiple wives—outsiders considered polygamy one of the biggest objections to the faith—Mitt and his father had traditional marriages and family lives.

Mitt started his college career at Stanford University.  One of his classmates was impressed by Mitt’s dedication.  A classmate commented that Mitt was “wanted… on whatever committee or group you were doing.  He would take charge or lead it.”  Another complimented that Mitt was down to earth and did not put on airs.  This last comment was particularly revealing in that his father was at the time governor of Michigan.

Other things that stood out with his classmates were his closeness to his father and his loyalty to Ann—he often flew home to see her.

As are most nineteen-year-old men of the Mormon faith, he was called to missionary work.  His main reason for being reluctant to go was his fear of losing Ann.  But he acquiesced and was sent to France.  There, as always, he was very dedicated and remembered as “… charming, charismatic and passionate.”  Mitt would later explain that he had converted ten to twenty people during his mission work, which was an impressive feat.

One fellow missionary said of Romney, “You saw this exceptional leadership …to inspire, uplift, bring people to focus, remember what they’re about.”  Another admired his “drive.”  Throughout his two years as a missionary, Mitt remained dedicated to Ann.

After returning from France, Mitt transferred to BYU to be with his new missionary friends, but mostly in pursuit of Ann.  In 1969, Mitt and Ann married—a match that seems to have been made in heaven.

The BYU Cougar Club invited Mitt to join and by 1970 he became president.  He started a major drive to raise money for university athletics.  The club has since become a financial booster for the University and it was Mitt’s vision that made this happen.

Mitt watched his father’s political career, as he was re-elected as Michigan’s governor, featured in a Lifemagazine story, and in 1967 was ranked as a “leading presidential candidate.”  George Romney lost his bid for the presidency with one public statement, “… I just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.”  He was talking about a trip to Vietnam where he had been extensively briefed about the war.  But the “brainwashing” statement drove him out of the presidential race.

Perhaps the most important thing now is that Mitt saw his father win the Michigan governorship three times and lose his bid for the presidency.  What is also important is that his father was his hero and he watched closely the ups and downs of his career.

In 1971, Mitt earned a degree in English literature with highest honors.  He gave an address in which he said, “I pray that this graduating class will choose a different kind of life, that we may develop an attitude of restlessness and discomfort, not self-satisfaction.”  George sat down with Mitt and encouraged him to take his next step in life—a dual endeavor—law and business degrees from Harvard.  So, Mitt and Ann moved to Massachusetts.

One striking aspect of the path that George and Mitt chose, mentioned by the authors, was that out of the hundreds of business and law school classmates, only fifteen earned this joint JD/MBA degree, students who were considered the “elite of the elite”.  Mitt excelled in both law and business.  Romney left Harvard in 1975, graduating with honors from both law and business school.  He was selected as a Baker Scholar, which signified that he was in the top five percent of his business school class.  This is the sort of academic background, combined with his later rich experience, not to mention his other profound qualities, that makes him superbly suited for the presidency.

Charles Faris courted Romney for years, and upon graduation hired him for the Boston Consulting Group.  This business consulting company analyzed extensive amounts of financial data seeking to “lower costs, improve productivity and gain market share.”  This is the type of background that can lead to a necessary streamlining of our government.   Faris, his mentor at the firm, commented about how hard Mitt worked.  I believe that as president he would do the same.  He would be hard-working, unlike President Obama with his frequent golf games and vacations while the national debt rises rapidly.

The authors note that Mitt and Ann’s “faith, as they began building a life together, formed a deep foundation…(in)  their marriage, their parenting, their social live…”  To me that foundation will serve the family well in the White House.  The biographers note that the Romneys always maintained a solid, functional family life.  They reared five sons, each of whom in turn served as a missionary.

Romney held important leadership positions in his church, which exposed him to “personal and institutional crises, human tragedies, immigrant cultures, social forces, and organizational challenges.”  One church colleague said, “… he was warm, accessible, and a good listener… reasonable, accommodating, and imaginative.”  A friend, who is a Democrat, said, “His leadership has been obvious to the people who know him best…”  Romney grew as a leader throughout his life, whereas President Obama is a political science follower.

After two years with Boston Consulting Group, he continued as a business consultant for about six years with Bain and Company.  When Romney was only thirty-six years old he walked into the offices of Bill Bain, his mentor and boss.  Mitt was already sought after by clients, always calm and collected, analytical and effective.  But this time, Bill Bain didn’t have a consulting assignment.  He proposed the formation of a new venture, Bain Capital.  Bain’s idea was to raise some money and invest in start-up, new companies as well as troubled companies.  This way Bain Capital could both advise them as consultants and also share in their growth.  Mitt was to head the firm.  But Mitt stunned Bain by driving a stiff bargain for him to take the risk in his career.  Bain eventually sweetened the deal until Mitt agreed.

The next fifteen years proved not only that Mitt was a superb business and investment practitioner, but a wonderful leader as well.

Mitt presided over approximately one hundred transactions.  He attempted to be very prudent and careful.  After a time he found the risk was less in troubled companies already operating rather than new ventures.  He learned, from the bottom up and top down, business and investing with great success.  He came to understand very well how jobs were created and why they were lost.  That depth can be of tremendous help in the presidency.

To do this Romney had to peer into the future over and over again, which can be of tremendous benefit in controlling the budget, reforming entitlements as well as simplifying and remaking our tax system.  President Obama lacks any such vision.

Romney and his team averaged significant returns during the time that he lead Bain Capital.  Most of this astounding success came from a relatively few companies.  That’s somewhat characteristic of small cap companies.  But Bain Capital was a pioneer in leveraged buyouts and applying intense management consulting.

Romney engaged in leveraged buyouts in which a troubled company would be purchased with funds from Bain Capital and much more money from debt supported by the company’s business.  Romney favored friendly takeovers in order to get the cooperation of management in the endeavors.  Intense analysis, possibly restructuring, would follow.  Some businesses would involve layoffs while others were roaring successes.  The debt and dividends to Bain Capital at times led to bankruptcy of the companies,  but in other cases the risk was highly rewarding, sometimes to all, sometimes mainly to Bain Capital.

Perhaps the greatest lesson from Romney’s two years with Boston Consulting Group, six years with Bain and Company, and fifteen years as head of Bain Capital was a deep top-down, bottom-up knowledge of business and investment.  Another very important aspect of Romney’s record was that he “surrounded himself with great people who know how to execute his vision,” as expressed by Thomas G. Stemberg, co-founder of office supply giant Staples, later a Bain Capital investment.

The story of how Romney saved his previous consulting firm was a superb example of his executive abilities.  He was called back from Bain Capital because of severe financial problems in his old employer, Bain and Company.  He intensely analyzed the problem, did some restructuring and then called all the partners (about forty of them) into a meeting.  He expressed confidence that the firm could survive and thrive if they would take a pay cut even though at the time many of these partners could earn higher salaries elsewhere.  He left the room and gave them thirty minutes to decide, saying anyone who wanted to leave the firm should vacate the room.  Only one partner left the room.  The book describes this as “one of his most impressive displays of executive talent and toughness.”

Romney’s experiences at Bain Capital might be mined from Democratic viewpoints for evidence of jobs lost or business failures.  But I certainly don’t expect them to be fair.  The reality is that Romney gained superb background throughout his academic and business career, in contrast to President Obama who is sorely lacking in practical or academic business or investment experience.

In 1993, Romney decided to run against Senator Ted Kennedy, unsuccessfully.  But in defeat he learned.  George Romney commented about his son during the race, stating that Mitt had a better education, more success in business and that he had made much more money. That’s high praise, especially considering the source.

After the loss, Romney returned to Bain Capital and helped guide it to some of its biggest negotiations,  as “… a confident, comfortable deal-maker.”  At this point, Bain Capital was established as “one of the country’s elite leveraged buyout firms.”

In 1998, Romney’s dearly-loved wife, Ann, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  The good news is that Ann discovered, over time, treatments that worked, including exercise, a special diet and riding horses.

Romney’s next venture was the 2002 Winter Olympics.  It was rocked by the scandal of unethical gifts to secure the games in Salt Lake City and serious financial shortfalls.

Of her husband, Ann said, “He loves emergencies and catastrophes….  He would never have considered doing it [the 2002 Olympics] if it weren’t a big mess.”  This is an echo from the past as Romney seeks and is well-suited for the most enormous challenge of his life.

Romney was instrumental in saving the games, generating a tremendous budget surplus.  He also created a path to his next try for political office, the governorship of Massachusetts.  Mitt was elected governor forty years after his father had been elected governor of Michigan.

Romney used his prior career as a guide, as the book annunciated his credo, “… surround yourself with smart, aggressive players and let them go to work.”  This sounds like President Reagan.

Immediately upon assuming office Romney and his staffdiscovered a budget deficit of $650 million which was projected to go into the billions in the following year.  Undaunted, he lead the state through a balancing of this wide gap.  I believe what he did at the state level prepared him for proactive fiscal discipline in the presidency, unlike anything in President Obama’s background.  A major part in Romney’s turnaround was his team’s analysis of fiscal data to identify and eliminate inefficiencies and waste, direly needed in the federal government.

A Democratic state senator said of Romney that he “brought out the best of us.” Of government, Romney said that he did not “think (it) is about doing favors for people.  I think it’s doing the right thing for the folks we represent.”  His desire to do the right thing was echoed by his advisors and others with whom worked closely.

Romney decided to try to achieve universal healthcare in Massachusetts.  In doing so he showed “creativity and confidence, a gift for framing a problem and seeking a solution through, and the courage to disregard some political risk.”  These characteristics are needed now nationally to repeal and replace Obama care.

It was easier to achieve universal healthcare in Massachusetts because the percentage of uninsured residents was among the lowest in our country.  The assessment I make of Massachusetts’ healthcare program is, as Romney has said, suitable for that state, but not for the nation.

However, I believe Romney’s experience as a business consultant examining hospital costs, as well as his Massachusetts success, his academic training, deep business career and moral persistence will help him determine a way to achieve universal healthcare nationally in a sound way, not Obamacare.

In 2008, Romney campaigned for the presidency, having proven a successful businessman and governor.  But he made a series of political mistakes and in the end Senator McCain got the Republican nomination.  I still believe that Senator McCain might have won the 2008 election if he had picked Governor Romney as his running mate.

Romney learned from his 2008 loss, his successful governor’s race and his loss to Senator Kennedy.  So, in the 2012 campaign he knows to focus on the three most vital issues:  the economy, the economy and the economy.  He wrote a book, No Apology, which outlined his policies.  He raised money in an effective manner.  Romney has superb persistence, drive, stamina and a strong underlying moral bend to do the right thing.

Romney stated that “The United States … must remain a beacon of strength and liberty in an uncertain world.  If we don’t, freedom itself is at risk.”  I agree.  We must remain strong militarily and regain our economic growth, not only for our own good, but for the good of the world.

I believe Governor Romney is ideally suited to lead our country out of our unsustainable spending and entitlements which are dragging our economy down.  I believe Governor Romney and a host of Republicans can fix the economy in a kind, moral way.

No Apology

No Apology:  The Case for American Greatness

by Governor Mitt Romney

 

Review by John E. Wade II

This is a frank and genuine book, pointing in authoritative fashion to America’s enormous problems and opportunities.  Governor Romney recognizes that these are difficult times with millions out of work.

I believe we are in the Innovation Age, and Governor Romney is the leader we need to convince Americans to act within and outside our government, using American ingenuity, hard work, faith and courage.  America must remain a strong force in the world—powerful in economic and military terms—a force for peace, freedom, democracies and prosperity worldwide.

America is unique in history, as we have expended blood and treasure for our ideals—freedom, democracies and prosperity.  We have not, in modern history, used our military victories to acquire territories.  Our economic and military strength are a very necessary force for good in the world, such force being greatly diminished by the Obama administration.

Governor Romney and I are genuinely optimistic that China will eventually join the free, democratic family of nations.  Russia may become more dangerous than China largely because of their history of imperialism, wars within their country, and the autocratic rule of Putin.  The militant Muslims must be taken into account very seriously, unlike with President Obama’s weak approach.

Since World War II the United States, in Democratic and Republican administrations, has stood for the concept that America is a force for good in the world.  That has brought about the spread of freedom, democracies and prosperity, along with more capitalism tempered by democracy.  Free trade has helped engender business globally.  On the other hand, “… President Obama’s presuppositions is that America is in a state of inevitable decline.”  And I now believe he is in the process of consciously engineering that fall, indicated by his enormous deficits and dangerous national debt.

A world full of stable, robust, prosperous democracies would be a world of permanent peace.  President Reagan did and Governor Romney will seek policies to promote that goal with America in the lead.  President Obama calls for the decline of America.

But decline is not a given if a great Republican victory brings the right turn.  Governor Romney explained how Rome avoided a collapse in Nero’s time and “thrived under ‘Five Good Emperors,’” how “the Ottomans overcame an eleven-year civil war,” and Great Britain was led to “… victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be,” sterling words and leadership by Winston Churchill during World War II.

Numerous leaders have had a dramatic influence on history:  “Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Golda Meier, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin … and Ronald Reagan.”

The decline of America can be avoided.  “But doing so will require uncommon truthfulness, candor, decisiveness and sacrifice from citizens and leaders alike.”

Governor Romney writes, “The best ally world peace has ever known is a strong America.”  I’m sure President Reagan would agree with that statement as I do.  Governor Romney explains simply that it is good for America to be strong because we are good and that power is a force for good in the world.  It can and has prevented war, as during President Reagan’s time.

China has been building up its military might, most notably in submarines, as well as space warfare and cyber-warfare capabilities.  But China’s main problem is not of a military nature.  “President Hu [stated] that his greatest concern was whether twenty million rural Chinese who move to the cities each year will be able to find work.”  China needs peace and prosperity very much, perhaps even more than we do.

“Putin is taking Russia in a different and worrisome direction.”  I fully agree.  He has said that the “dissolution of the Soviet Union was the ‘greatest political catastrophe of the twentieth century.’”  He is choking off freedom of speech, free enterprise, and democracy.  It’s estimated that Putin’s personal and political friends occupy the position of chairman of the board on companies representing as much as “eighty percent of Russia’s economy.”  He is allying Russia with the world’s non-democratic countries.  “Russia has returned ‘not to the Cold War but to a thuggish, indeed czarist, approach to former dominions.’”

Putin is rebuilding Russia’s military.  But Russia has a demographic problem, with a male life expectancy of sixty-one, which, combined with a low birthrate, has created a population decline of seven million people in just fifteen years.

Governor Romney concludes that “both China and Russia pose threats to the United States, but the likelihood of near-term head-to-head war with either is low.”  I agree.  However, he does not believe that to be the case with the violent Muslims.  It’s quite shocking that, “Radical, fundamentalist Muslims—Islamists—are estimated by Indonesia’s former president to number about two hundred million people.”  And to think, President Obama has been conducting a very weak, amateurish policy toward this huge menace to America and the world.

Hassan al-Bana, the 1928 founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, said, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations, and to extend its power to the entire planet.”  That’s scary, and is particularly alarming with only President Obama’s “leadership” to combat this large movement, one that has carried out violent attacks throughout a great deal of our planet.

Governor Romney expands on what he calls “soft power,” economic, diplomatic and persuasive influences.  He refers to the Pentagon strategist and author, Thomas P. M. Barnett.  I have read two of his books and I agree fully with Governor Romney that Barnett’s soft-powers doctrines can be quite effective.  Governor Romney has a great idea of dividing the world into regions and appointing “one individual—only one—per region who would lead in the promotion of democracy, freedom, stability and free enterprise.”  This would be a peaceful and relatively inexpensive initiative that could reap enormous benefits.

Governor Romney also explains how hard power—nuclear weapons in the hands of Russia and North Korea and the pursuit of them by Iran—can and does engender influence.  Governor Romney writes something that I certainly believe also:  “The stronger our army, the less likely that it will have to fight.”  President Reagan held the same point of view and it worked for him in winning the Cold War.

Perhaps it’s my background as a CPA for twenty-nine years and an investor for forty years, but I was particularly impressed with Governor Romney’s chapter, “A Free and Productive Economy.”  I have written that I believe we are in the “Innovation Age.”  It is certainly apparent that Governor Romney is fully aware of that concept.

Productivity is all important.  Governor Romney described a factory in China with very hard-working, diligent workers, but a similar factory in America had higher productivity because it was more automated.  He writes that “… the only way that American wealth will grow and our personal incomes and standards of living can be raised is by increasing national productivity.”

Innovation ignites productivity, with improvements to the old and inventing the new.  Robots and computer monitors at nursing stations are just two examples of the ingenuity of “… a consumer-driven, free-market economy.”  We must learn how to innovate in government.

Alan Greenspan said deep creative destruction—“the scrapping of old technologies and old ways of doing things for the new—is the only way to increase productivity and therefore the only way to raise average living standards on a sustained basis.”

Unions tend to oppose change.  The decline of unions in the private sector reflects people’s realization that unions can and do stifle the innovations needed for improvements, growth and sustainability.  Unfortunately, unions have grown in the public sector, partly because governments are monopolies, unlike companies that must compete efficiently.

“Protectionism stifles productivity.”  I agree.  We must, as Americans, realize that globalization is here to stay, barring a catastrophic war.  Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates told author Thomas Friedman that a research facility opened in Beijing in 1998 became, within a few years, more productive than those in India, England and the United States.

Governor Romney made an astute comment, “… those who study something in depth are the most likely to make discoveries about it.”  This education is crucial to innovation.  Over twelve percent of Americans are entrepreneurs of some sort.  We are not afraid to fail.  We must turn our immigration practices around and welcome talented people of all kinds because they increase jobs here, fill great needs and enhance innovation.

Governor Romney wrote, “The best course in the near term is to overhaul and to dramatically simplify our tax code, eliminate taxes on savings for the middle class, and recognize that because we tax investment at both the corporate and individual level, we should align our combined rates with those of competing nations.  Lower taxes and a simpler tax code will help families and create jobs.”

Governor Romney makes another important point, “Our government deficits … drain away capital.”  This capital is crucial to innovate and increase productivity.

Governor Romney explains that, “The rule of law and the establishment of regulations that are clear, fair and relevant to contemporary circumstances provide the predictability and stability that is needed for investment and risk-taking.”  The Obama administration has, on the other hand, acted as if more regulations are better.  Flexibility in hiring and firing leads to more hiring.

Governor Romney writes, “A growth agenda favors low taxes, dynamic regulation, achievement in education, investment in research, robust competition, free trade, energy security, and purposeful immigration.  And it seeks to eliminate government waste, excessive litigation, unsustainable entitlement liabilities, runaway healthcare costs, and dependence on foreign oil.  This, in a nutshell, ought to be the economic agenda for America.”

Entitlement liabilities—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—have grown into a threat to our government viability and, in turn, to our overall economy.  President Obama has done nothing to address this problem despite opportunity after opportunity.  Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan would not ignore these programs, but would handle them in a kind, effective way on a bipartisan basis, unlike the inaction of President Obama.

I believe the reelection of President Obama would lead to a worldwide depression.  This point of view is echoed in the book; in the words of Lawrence Kadish inThe Wall Street Journal, “Left unchecked this destructive deficit-debt cycle will leave the White House and Congress with either having to default on the national debt or instruct the Treasury to run the printing presses into a policy of hyperinflation.”  And Governor Romney writes, “The consequences of either outcome for America and American families would exceed those of the Great Depression.”

Regarding healthcare, Governor Romney wrote of his experiences as a management consultant to hospitals at times.  This and his Massachusetts healthcare legislation provide an outstanding background to repeal and replace Obamacare, a poor, costly and ill-advised “copy” of the Massachusetts plan.

Technology can help, but not as much as touted.  Malpractice costs inflate medical costs with victims getting “… only twenty-eight percent of all the money that goes into our malpractice system.”

“Business rewards innovation and risks.  Government rewards the status quo and the avoidance of risk.”

The book explains that “The best incentive for doctors and providers is to pay them for the quality of their work rather than the quantity of their work.  One method of doing this is to pay an entity for all the healthcare needs of a patient, such amount covering prevention-type work as well as such things as necessary surgery.”

The book describes that, of the twelve leading causes of death in our country, about forty percent are behavior-related, such as smoking and obesity.  His approach is to address health at the preventative stage rather than the treatment stage, a far better outcome for Americans and resulting in great savings as well.

In the book Governor Romney writes, “If I could wave a wand over American education and get one result, it would be a national rededication to the practice of writing.”

We are falling behind globally in education, whereas we led in the first three quarters of the twentieth century.  As Thomas Friedman writes in his books, if our American workforce receives a poor education, this will lead to inferior wages and an inferior economy.

African-American and Hispanic-American primary and secondary achievement is far below Anglo- or Asian-American students, and it’s even worse if the number of dropouts is factored in.  Governor Romney writes, “Our current failure to educate our minority populations is the foremost civil rights issue of our generation.”

Governor Romney explains, “There is no greater indictment of American government than the scary state of American education.  It is an epic failure.”

He believes bilingual education ought to be scrapped.  He points out that “… neither reduced class size nor increased spending will repair our broken education system.”  Children born out of wedlock represent a large percentage of students who don’t succeed in school.

The quality of each teacher is the biggest variable in successful education.  We hire from the bottom third of colleges on average, whereas school systems that recruit around the world recruit from the top third or higher.  We should pay new, top teachers better.  We also have too many administrators and non-teaching staff.

Teacher unions, which have a lot of political clout, oppose innovations.  The book explains that “… the two major teachers’ unions in the United States have over 6,000 members and annual revenues in excess of $1.5 billion, more than both political parties combined.”

The keys to improving our country’s education include excellent teachers drawn from our best students, paying them well and mentoring them, with accountability and school choice.  Class size and spending levels, up to a point, are less critical.  Innovation and technology will also be important.

As Thomas Friedman wrote, “America’s dependence on oil for transportation and consumer products is huge and dangerous.  It limits military and foreign policy options, handcuffs the economy, and generates a steady stream of revenue that helps finance Muslim terrorism.”  Vehicles must become more fuel efficient.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power should be exploited.  And nuclear power regulations ought to be simplified, updated and utilized in such a way that safe nuclear power can be created as it is in many other countries.  There is an enormous energy challenge and we must face it in a knowledgeable, practical and wise manner.

When speaking of the culture of our country, Governor Romney writes “Americans like to work.”  He also wrote, “I’ve never met a successful entrepreneur who didn’t like to work.”  He states that “… on average we’re on the job twenty-five percent more than the Germans, fifteen percent more than the French, and even slightly longer hours than the famously industrious Japanese.  And, “Americans work hard.”

We are a nation of risk-takers.  We are a religious, spiritual people.

As Governor Romney writes, “Faith, purpose greater than self, and willingness to sacrifice are part of what makes America, America.”  The book said Americans “… are the only people in the world who put their hand over their heart when [our] national anthem is played.”  Our own history must be taught.

But we have our problems.  In the 60’s the number of American children born out of wedlock was seven percent, and now it’s forty percent.  Ann Romney volunteered in an at-risk school, and asked a class of twenty 5th grade girls how many wanted to go to college.  Almost all raised their hands.  Then she asked how many wanted to have a baby before they graduated from high school.  Again, almost all raised their hands.  That’s a culture that must be reversed, someday, somehow.

We have been blessed with great resources, but our people make up our greatest asset.  Partly because of America’s leadership, the world’s democracies have increased from about twenty-five percent in 1975 to about half now.  But, “Freedom House reports that from 2007 to 2009, four times as many nations have experienced reductions in their freedom as those countries that saw advances.  That’s on President Obama’s weak watch.

Our national debt is $16 trillion and rising at an unsustainable level of over $1 trillion per year.  Governor Romney and fellow Republicans will reign in spending in a thoughtful, kind, and wise manner, whereas we can’t expect that result if the party of Obamacare wins in November.

Governor Romney writes, “Too often, I fear, the Democratic Party is focused less on the disadvantaged than on union bosses, trial lawyers, environmental extremists, and the self-interested who want higher government benefits for themselves paid for by higher taxes on others.”

The Amateur: Barrack Obama in the White House

The Amateur:  Barrack Obama in the White House

by Edward Klein

Review by John E. Wade II

Truth-seekers of all political strips should find this book enlightening and a page-turner.  This New York Times#1 bestseller is based on almost two hundred interviews with people in and out of the White House, and some back to President Obama’s earliest days in Chicago.  Through these interviews “The Amateur” emerged:  a person without the ability to manage government, who isn’t joyful about his position, and who repeats the same mistakes, not growing but merely surviving until the next election.

Klein’s key conclusion is that President Obama has a mindset and temperament that make him ill-suited to be chief executive and commander in chief of the United States.  Obama is one who is quick to attack and blame Washington, the Republicans and the media.  He also dismisses long-standing friends and supporters when they are of no further immediate use to him.  But despite his lack of pleasure with his job, he clings desperately to the narcissistic life of the presidency.

This picture of Obama varies greatly from the “… centrist, post-partisan leader” that his image-makers have tried to create, to the young, articulate man who was elected, who presented himself “… as a new kind of politician, a peacemaker, a mediator, and a conciliator who promised to heal the rift between red and blue America.”

The shocking truth unfolds.  One of his oldest Chicago acquaintances told the author, “Ever since I’ve known him, Obama has had delusions of grandeur and a preoccupation with his place in history….  He is afflicted with megalomania.”

This sheds light on Obama, who began his autobiography at age thirty before he had any deeds to tout, and, as a junior senator, started plotting a route to the hardest job in the world.

The person quoted above also said, “You can explain it with any number of words:  arrogance, conceit, egotism, vanity, hubris….  But whatever word you choose, it spells the same thing—disaster for the country he leads.”

Note the largest part of the disaster.  Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the top military figure) under President Obama, on June 24, 2010, said “Our national debt is our biggest security threat.”

Klein explains that Obama is actually in revolt against the values of the country he was elected to lead.  He rejects that America has a special place in the world.  That is why he has thrashed capitalism tempered by democracy, demonized the wealthy, and identified with the Occupy Wall Street protestors.

Obama is sorely lacking as a president, especially with regard to our economy.  He is a political scientist by college training.  He wants a second term out of ego, not out of the joy of serving and making our country strong—economically and militarily—a force for good in the world as President Reagan so ably promoted.

And, thankfully, we have a choice—Governor Romney, who reminds me of President Reagan.  Romney knows why jobs are created and why they are lost.  Unlike Obama, he has deep business and investment experience.  He and a host of Republicans at all levels can address this Innovation Age with fruitful changes within our government.

The author interviewed David Scheiner, M.D., who was Obama’s personal physician for twenty-two years, from the time Obama was a community organizer until he became president.  The doctor was a liberalwho believed in socialized medicine.  The doctor said Obama made no secret with him that he was for the type of socialized medicine practiced in Canada and Western Europe.

But given this apparent agreement between the doctor and patient, Scheiner said of Obamacare, “… I can’t see how it can work….  There would be no effective cost control in his program….,” and “… it’s going to be incredibly expensive.”

Steve Jobs said, “It’s not about charisma and personality; it’s about results.”  Klein heads a chapter with this quote and it is quite telling.  Steve Jobs was highly successful with tremendous growth, yet Obama’s influence on our economy and elsewhere has had dismal results.

Obama taught at Chicago Law School, and was a charismatic figure with students.  The man who hired Obama said that Obama could excite students, but it was “… quite another thing to be a leader—to hire people, motivate people and manage decision-making.”  No experience in law school prepared Obama for leadership.  On the other hand, Romney has eight years of business consulting, was co-founder and head of Bain Capital for fifteen years; saved the 2002 Olympics from scandal and money problems, and as governor of Massachusetts turned a $650 million currentdeficit and projected $2-$3 billion deficit in a $23 billion annualbudget into a $100 million surplus.

Romney is all about results.  Obama is all about Obama.

After his presidential election Obama dropped a number of friends and supporters.  One quote was, “Barrack is not necessarily known for his loyalty.”  Another quote is even more telling: “What you have with Barrack Obama is a lack of character.”

Perhaps the one figure who can explain Obama’s leftist mindset is the person who was so dangerous to his election that he had to be hidden in 2008, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Wright had more than a twenty-year relationship with Obama, serving as a father figure, a political motivator, but also an adamant proponent of black liberation theology.  This sounds extreme—that it explicitly called for Marxism—but father/son talked about it and Wright preached about it.  Klein points out how Obama espouses Wright’s Marxist ideology when he says, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

This is definitely contrary to capitalism tempered by democracy that has served our nation so well, so long.  Romney and Republicans believe in free-market capitalism within the framework of our robust, stable democracy.

The economy, the economy and the economy are the biggest issues in this election.  Yet Obama’s mindset is grounded in Marxism, a system that is foreign to America and disproved by the rot and failure of Communism.

Obama’s supreme egotism drove him to believe that he could be a transformational president in our foreign and domestic policy in spite of his lack of preparation for even lesser goals.  After the election, he told his chief political strategist, David Axelrod, “I’m looking forward to it.  I think it’s going to be an easier adjustment for me than the campaign.  Much easier.”

On June 30, 2009, Obama revealed his plans to nine prominent, liberal historians in a private, secret dinner.  He told them he intended to make permanent peace in the Middle East, talk constructively with Iran and North Korea, revolutionize our healthcare and energy policies, and regulate the American economy to create “… a more just and equitable society.”  He believed he could accomplish these enormous goals, according to the book, simply by the force of his personality.

Klein wrote, “Unintentionally, Obama revealed the characteristics that made him totally unsuited for the presidency and that would doom him to failure,” citing his “…extreme haughtiness and excessive pride, his ideological bent as a far-left corporatist, and his astounding amateurism.”

Obama micro-managed foreign policy as had no president since Richard Nixon, except with far worse results because of his extreme lack of experience and unwillingness to seek advice inside or outside his administration.

Compounding his problems was the fact that his senior people proved to be just as inexperienced and inept as Obama.  His inner circle knew how to campaign, but, just as Obama, were lost regarding the art of governing, and at least partially because of the lack of leadership from Obama, they kept making the same mistakes.

The secret dinner showed “… that Barrack Obama didn’t have the faintest idea

1) who he was, 2) why he had been elected president, and 3) how to be commander in chief and chief executive of the United States of America.  In short, he didn’t know what he didn’t know.”

Romney is a leader, totally suited for the presidency in academic training, business experience and leadership, as well as gubernatorial success.  He’s a person who is much more in touch with himself, his family, his church and most pertinently, our country

During the dinner with historians, Obama said he favored “… a corporatist political system … managed by big employers, big unions, and government officials through a formal mechanism at the national level … state capitalism.”

Chicago, which has a long history of corruption, is where Obama evolved into his political self.  Both his wife, Michelle, and his senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett, worked for Mayor Daley’s political machine.

Obama is a merciless attacker who can and has been effective in campaigning, but lacks the executive and managerial abilities and mindset to govern, most disastrous in handling our economy.  Deficits have run $1.3 trillion, and Obama has missed opportunity after opportunity to address unsustainable spending and entitlements.  And he is totally out of touch with reality regarding a tax remedy in this weak economy.  Additionally, he has and will pile on more and more productivity-draining regulations.

He fumbled around with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.  Even though I believe in universal health care, I think his massive Obamacare spells trouble if not repealed.  His way is the wrong way pushed through by Obama and a large Democratic Congress.

Obama has been touted as a great orator and even compared to the “Great Communicator,” Ronald Reagan.  That’s much less so now.  In his first address to Congress in 2009, 52.3 million people watched, whereas his 2012 address had only 37.8 million viewers, out of 114 million taxpayers.

Obama just doesn’t have the personality or temperament to be president.  And he has some odd, mistaken opinions that don’t square with the history and values of the American people.  For instance, Klein writes, “He [Obama] believes that he was chosen as president to save a wayward America from its dependency on free market capitalism.”  This mindset led him to far-left, unaffordable policies such as Obamacare and Wall Street bailouts, instead of seeking Reaganite-type solutions to put people back to work.

This may sound catty, but the facts in the book supported by almost two hundred interviews reveal that not only is Obama an amateur who doesn’t learn, but he runs every decision by Valerie Jarrett.  This is a person who was and is not qualified to be such an advisor (according to the interviews), but is also one who shields the thin-skinned Obama from anyone who might criticize him.  Also, “Only the people she feels she can control can get in.”

So, you have a president who is an amateur who is so egotistical that he doesn’t seek advice, and he has a gate-keeper who also keeps him from growing in the job that he doesn’t enjoy.

Now I don’t like to criticize the First Lady, but the book reveals that she has been behind some of his most dramatic actions, such as Obamacare.  Michelle’s attitude of pushing for “fairness” stems from her father’s necessity to soil his hands in Mayor Daley’s machine to maintain his modest job.

Now there’s nothing wrong with fairness or modest means, but this previously-unseen influence has been forceful.  The author said that, “Everyone in Michelle’s family is afraid of her.”  One of the sources said, “Barrack has always listened to what she had to say.”

Surprisingly, Obama has no close relationships in Congress, even among Democrats.

The book goes into some detail of how Obama and his gatekeeper abandoned two of his most important supporters in the 2008 election:  Oprah Winfrey who called Obama “The One,” and Caroline Kennedy, who “… can’t stand to hear his voice anymore.”

In 2008, seventy-eight percent of the Jewish electorate voted for Obama.  According to a poll quoted in the book, American Jews’ approval of Obama has fallen to fifty-four percent.  Why?  Partly because of his adversarial attitude toward business persons and Wall Street.  But the major travesty from the Jewish point of view has been Obama’s rough treatment of Israel.  Some suspect that Obama took to heart his minister’s (Reverend Wright) anti-Semitic frequent rantings from the pulpit.

Obama’s first foreign trip as president was to three Muslim countries:  Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  “Nowhere in his Cairo speech did Obama mention the fact that Jews had a three-thousand-year history in the Promised Land.”

One journalist, Richard Chesnuff, said, “In my opinion, Obama’s problem in dealing with the Arab-Israeli conundrum doesn’t come from the advice he’s gotten from his advisors, but rather from his one-man style and his inflated view of his own leadership talents.”

Obama has been over his head in the Middle East as elsewhere.  A fundamental fact that has eluded him was expressed by Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel who said, “… Jerusalem is above politics” and wrote, “It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture—and not a single time in the Koran.  Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (1996-1999 and 2009-present) had taken undeserved abuse from Obama and his administration until July, 2010 when, “As the TV cameras recorded the scene, Netanyahu wiggled his finger under Obama’s nose and lectured the president on the Middle East.  Obama sat there, saying nothing and looking like a weak, immature schoolboy.”  Despite Obama’s foreign policy emphasis and extreme personal attention, Arabs still don’t agree that Israel has a right to exist, sixty-two years after the nation was formed.

Another group that has been disappointed with Obama is black Americans, especially small businessmen and the unemployed.  Harry C. Alford, the president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce said, “… here we were with the first black president who deliberately discriminates against small business, women, and minorities.  How ironic!”

Obama has strayed from a foreign policy that has been in effect for decades among Democrats and Republicans that “American power is generally a force for good in the world.”

Obama’s on-again, off-again response to the Arabs Spring displayed his amateur status and contributed to the perception that he lacked courage, convictions and dependable leadership.

Some presidents are simply suited for that office:  George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.  In my opinion, Obama was not suited for the presidency in 2008 or now and he has repeatedly proved that over his whole term.

The liberal media should be ashamed of themselves, for the book says Romney “… will not only have to run against Barrack Obama in 2012, he will also have to run against the full force and power of the liberal mainstream media and cultural establishment.”

Obama has been the most left-leaning president in our history, and everything from our economy to foreign relations has suffered direly from his egotistical, amateurish presidency.

His worst performance was in surrounding himself with neo-Keynesian economists who spent enormous sums on ill-advised and ineffective stimuli, not to mention the other government waste, about $1.3 trillion a year as Obama spent, spent, spent.

Democrats no longer have their dominant political affiliation in eighteen states since 2008 when Republicans increased their advantage by six states.  Key factors in the 2012 election are that Obama:

  • has a much less favorable environment than he did in 2008 when Republicans were unpopular
  • unemployment is about eight percent, with the economy growing an anemic two to three percent
  • a national debt of around $16 trillion, increasing about $5 trillion under Obama
  • Obamacare includes more than a trillion dollars in new healthcare costs and imposes a 4.5 percent tax increase
  • his stance on illegal immigration, which has varied widely between quick deportations—4 00,000 illegal foreigners per year the last three years—to essentially an amnesty policy.

Edward Klein built a solid case, exposing the incompetence of Obama, his closest advisors and his administration in general.  He has exposed “The Amateur,” answering the questions of many who have been wondering what went wrong to this person who ran such a masterful campaign in 2008.

Thank God we have Mitt Romney and a host of Republicans at all levels as we exercise our right to vote on November 6.

We are in the Innovation Age, so let’s innovate in our government.

Obama’s America

Obama’s America:  Unmaking the American Dream

by Dinesh D’Souza

Review by John E. Wade II

With comments on 2016:  Obama’s America, a film based on the books The Roots of Obama’s Rage andObama’s America, both also by Dinesh D’Souza

 

 

This book and the movie have convinced me at long last that President Obama is not merely incompetent and irresponsible, but that he has a hidden agenda.

We are all products of our DNA and our past, and President Obama is no exception.  He was fed a steady diet of anti-colonialism and anti-Americanism from the time of his birth until he became president.  Since assuming office he has attacked our country by increasing our national debt dangerously to $16 trillion and weakened us militarily and as a force for good in the world.

I believe his reelection will result in a worldwide depression with disastrous effects on jobs and businesses of all sizes.  According to D’Souza this is President Obama’s intent, to bring down America to the level of third world countries.

The book methodically explains President Obama’s compass—an anti-colonial, anti-American world view.  He says that “anti-colonialism is the most powerful political force in the non-Western world in the past 100 years.”  He shows how anti-Americanism was derived from this concept.

The rationale of these anti-Western views is that rich countries became wealthy not from their own productivity and ingenuity, but rather from exploiting poor countries.  Now the “exploitation” is economic in nature carried out on a global scale by banks, insurance companies, oil companies and so forth.  President Obama subscribes to this radical and, in my opinion, totally false philosophy.

President Obama is not the typical liberal Democrat.  He does not want America to be a force for good in the world, which has been the policy of Republican and Democratic administrations since World War II.  Unlike other Democrats he does not want to increase the American pie so that there will be more for all.  He wants to pull America down and he’s doing a pretty “good” job of it.

Remember these words:  Fool me once, shame on you, Senator Obama; fool me twice, shame on me, President Obama.

Members of the mainstream liberal press should be ashamed of themselves, in 2008 and certainly in 2012 when any person can see 2016:  Obama’s America and understand that President Obama is unfit for reelection.

Blacks have been hurt the worst by President Obama’s policies, as their unemployment runs about twice as high as the rate for whites.  The CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerce said that it’s ironic that the first black president discriminates against minorities, women and small businesses.

President Obama campaigned and spoke of uniting the red and blue states, yet he has been the most divisive and combative president in my memory.  His policies of blocking oil drilling in the United States while subsidizing it in Mexico, Columbia and Brazil can be explained by his anti-colonial and anti-American mindset.

President Obama is a deeply flawed person, abandoned by his father before birth and his mother when he was ten years old.  His book, Dreams from My Father, shows how he idealized his anti-colonial, anti-American father through the glowing praise of his mother.  President Obama once told a reporter, “The stories I heard about my father painted him larger than life, which also meant I felt I had something to live up to.”

Actually, the future president only saw his father once when he was ten years old.  Psychologist Paul Vitz explained how absentee fathers can have a profound influence on sons, and described how World War II soldiers who were killed during the war were honored by their spouses and children.

I have come to believe that President Obama is a con man, a chip off the old block.  Obama, Sr. “… had a magnetic personality and was a great talker.”  But he was also a liar, drunkard who killed a person driving, lost his legs driving drunk, and finally killed himself driving drunk, beat his five wives and didn’t earn a Ph.D. at Harvard although he told those in Kenya that he did.  President Obama, in tears at his grave site, determined that he would adopt the good parts of his father and leave the bad behind.  Unfortunately, he did not cast off the anti-colonial and anti-American views of his father.  For “… Barrack, Sr. anti-colonialism was like a religion.”  He was also anti-Israel.  President Obama adopted his father’s stylish dressing, charismatic speaking and anti-colonialist views.

“Barrack, Sr. was indeed the dominant figure in Obama’s life, but … Ann Obama was Barrack, Sr.’s greatest disciple.”  She accepted his anti-American, anti-colonial views, and she shared those concepts with her son, creating his “lifelong obsession with the absentee father.”  Now President Obama is on a “… world stage, where his actions are shaped by years of neglect, abandonment and trauma, with consequences for America and for the rest of the world.”

In 1971 when Barrack was only ten years old he was introduced by his liberal grandfather to Frank Davis, a Communist and anti-colonialist, who influenced him until he left for college eight years later.  Davis hated Winston Churchill and to show President Obama’s adoption of Davis’s world view, he removed a bust of Churchill from the White House and returned it to Britain.

President Obama also associated with Edward Said, a Palestinian scholar at Columbia University, who is anti-American and foe of Israel.  By this time President Obama was actively seeking such influences to further cultivate his “Dreams from my Father.”

Another “founding father” in President Obama’s search for identity is Brazilian socialist and leftist Roberto Unger, who taught President Obama two courses.  But their intellectual partnership lasted long after that.  Unger was so radical that at one time he returned to Brazil to serve as a part of a socialist government, but he was too leftist for them, so returned to Harvard.  He refused all interviews during the 2008 election, realizing that he could only hurt Senator Obama’s chances of election.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright performed President Obama’s marriage and baptized his children.  His sermons which “resonated deeply with Obama” were about black liberation theology, and anti-American, anti-colonial themes, including one entitled“God Damn America!”  The liberal mainstream press and those who voted for President Obama let Obama pass these anti-American sermons off as a racial exercise.  Again, shame on the liberal mainstream press.  After a twenty-year relationship as pastor and father figure, Reverend Wright was thrown under the bus as Senator Obama marched on to the glee of the liberal mainstream press.

The most revolutionary “Founding Father” is Bill Ayers, a terrorist involved in bombing the Pentagon and the U. S. Capital.  “Obama knew Ayers quite well….”

Founding Fathers of President Obamaare not your everyday liberals, and live on in President Obama’s mind, poisoning everything from our national debt to foreign policy.

President Obama’s skill is to understand what Americans want to see and hear, on the surface oblige them while doing things totally differently.  He has played the “race” card as it had never been done previously.  I believe he’s become the affirmative action of our time.

President Obama was a community organizer under Saul Alinsky who wrote two books, Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals.  His approach was “… to radicalize parts of the middle class.”  He believed the end justified the means.  Truths or falsehoods would and should be used to manipulate the middle class.

The book explains how President Obama is a bargainer, presuming whites are not racist and allowing whites to appreciate that latitude and show it.  Whites can be gleeful that they are not racist.  The problem is that news reporting and voting should not be a matter of emotion.  We should seek wise, capable and honest leaders and not be influenced by “white guilt,” hate, envy or greed.

President Obama is doing just the opposite of what President Reagan did.  President Reagan fostered tax cuts and de-regulation, opposing collectivism domestically and within the expansionist Soviet Union.  President Obama is expanding the state domestically and lowering America’s influence on the world.

Oddly President Obama has been blocking oil drilling and fracking, a new process to greatly facilitate drilling for natural gas.  This hurts us from an employment/jobs standpoint.

Some may explain this as an environmentalissue.  But the Obama administration has paid for drilling in Brazil, Columbia and Mexico.  The anti-American/anti-colonialist thesis does explain this curious double standard.

Another flagrant anti-American act was the Obama administration’s blocking of the Keystone pipeline from Canada, which would provide 20,000 new American jobs with as many as 65,000 more by 2020.

With fracking, the Keystone pipeline and other opportunities, we could “take the lead as a global energy provider.”  But President Obama wants to redistribute our wealth and opportunities and “… to check off America’s chance for energy independence.”

Under President Reagan we had peace through economic and military strength and the world progressed to greater freedom, democracy and prosperity.  We now have President Obama who considers us to be a “rogue nation.”  He had pursued peace through weakness.  His desire is for us to no longer be a superpower.  He seeks unilaterally to reduce our nuclear weapons stockpile, leaving us vulnerable to second strikes should an unthinkable, non-avoidable nuclear war take place.

Rather than using American power, as President Reagan did, for peace, democracy and prosperity, President Obama is using his own power “to make the world safe from America.”

President Obama’s anti-colonial mindset leads him to see America “… as an invader, occupier, and  oppressor that has looted Iraq and Afghanistan, while America’s ally and satellite Israel has occupied and oppressed Muslim Palestine.”  A second term for President Obama could be disastrous for Israel.

President Obama’s poor handling of Iraq has meant that our investment of blood and treasure to create a stable, robust, prosperous, peaceful, and secure Muslim democracy there has been jeopardized.

As for Afghanistan, President Obama has risked our troops by announcing withdrawal dates, subjecting our troops to “friendly” fire.  His anti-American, anti-colonial stance was evident in his own statement concerning Afghanistan:  “We stand not for empire but for self-determination.”

Our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and long support of Israel could all be in jeopardy if President Obama gains a second term.

As far as the Arab Spring is concerned, President Obama’s actions seem inconsistent, but in the end President Obama got what he wanted—decrease in American influence, and Muslim democracies such as Libya and Egypt becoming anti-American.  He didn’t support the failed uprisings in Iran and Syria, both being anti-American regimes.  Thus, President Obama’s approach has been to help topple pro-American dictators such as Egypt’s Mubarak and refuse to help revolts against Syria and Iran.

President Obama’s actions in the Middle East are quite consistent with a mindset of an anti-colonialist who wants to diminish America’s power and influence.  I believe these results are sad, even tragic, because a world full of stable, robust, prosperous democracies would be a world of permanent peace.  As President Reagan demonstrated, a strong America, economically and militarily, can be a force for good globally.

I believe President Obama’s most serious threat to America is in the enormous increases in our federal debt to $16 trillion.  According to “The Debt Bomb” this is already depressing our economy by twenty-five to thirty percent.  According to that book sometime in 2013 the sovereign debt requirements will be $13 trillion, and with liquid assets of only $9 trillion, interest rates will rise dramatically.  Debtor nations, such as the United States, much of Europe and Japan, will have severe problems funding their governments (See my composition on this subject on the home page).

When one considers President Obama’s mindset of bringing down the top one percent, he is speaking of those who earn about $34,000 globally.  With debt President Obama can bring us down as Germany, Japan and Italy couldn’t in World War II.

President Obama and his wife Michele tend to live like third world dictators, taking seventeen vacations as President Obama plays over a hundred rounds of golf.  Governor Romney, on the other hand, has always been a very hard worker and would certainly continue that pace in the Oval Office, seeking to restore our fiscal sanity and create jobs, growth and effective military policies.

President Reagan would agree with the kind of things Governor Romney would do as president, but he must be turning over in his grave at President Obama’s actions.

According to the book, “The most dangerous man in America currently lives in the White House.”  I agree with that statement, sadly.  The author also says, “I do think that Obama’s philosophy can be neatly summed up as:  Little America.  He wants to shrink America, to diminish America, to downsize America.”

We are for the moment a robust and stable democracy.  But our prosperity is weak and simply can’t withstand the reelection of President Obama.  Peace and prosperity can be successfully linked with a president such as Ronald Reagan or Mitt Romney.

In my vision of a Heaven on Earth (See How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth) I see prosperity as being vital in these ten elements:  peace, security, freedom, democracies, prosperity, spiritual harmony, racial harmony, ecological harmony and health as well as moral purpose and meaning.

My vision is that with the election of Governor Romney and a host of Republicans at all levels we can avert a worldwide depression and allow America to revert to being a force for good in the world.

The Audacity of Hope

The Audacity of Hope:  Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

by Senator Barrack Obama

Review by John E. Wade II

 

What is most revealing in the then-senator’s 2006 book is what is not written in its 352 pages.  The book is filled with anecdotes, demographics, reminiscences, questions and opinions, yet nowhere does the author reveal that he is a trained political scientist.  Senator Obama does not disclose that he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, or that he has a Harvard law degree, magna cum laude.  Many parts of the book are subtle attempts to garner votes, while others are blatant ones, the whole characterized by a surprising lack of detailed biography.

I wondered about the senator’s academic background as I read his book, but I didn’t realize at that time that it was the work of a professional politician, both by training and career path.  I later pieced together the senator’s education, which began with two years at Occidental College, a liberal arts school in Los Angeles with fewer than two thousand students.  Obama was there with a full scholarship.  Through an exchange program with Occidental, after his sophomore year, in 1981 he transferred to Columbia University in New York City where, according to David Mendell inObama:  From Promise to Power, the future senator was particularly impressed by a course in modern political thought.  He graduated from Columbia in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.

Obama wrote in his résumé that he took a job where he “… researched, wrote and edited reports and how-to manuals on international business and finance for international business and finance for multinational corporations.”  After a while, though, he became disenchanted with the job and quit.

In June of 1985, at the age of 23, Obama became a community organizer in Chicago’s South Side, the largest single concentration of blacks anywhere in the country.

Three years later, he entered Harvard Law School, older and more mature than his fellow students and more committed to his studies.  There he graduated magna cum laude and became the first black to hold the presidency of the Harvard Law Review; which included editor-in-chief responsibilities, in more than a century.  Most of the above information about Senator Obama’s past comes from Obama:  From Promise to Power by David Mendell because the senator’s book doesn’t include many key details about his background.

Following graduation from Harvard, Obama directed Project Vote! that targeted the city’s low-income blacks for the 1992 presidential election, and registered some 150,000 new voters.  After the election, he joined a twelve-attorney firm that specialized in civil rights, discrimination cases and neighborhood development in Chicago.  His Illinois law license was active for nine years, but he never handled a trial, working primarily in teams of attorneys who drew up briefs and contracts on a variety of cases.  The firm’s major appeal to Obama was Judson Miner, who had extensive political connections in Chicago, particularly in the black community.

Obama’s first run for public office was for a seat in the Illinois State Senate.  He won, taking office in January of 1997, and served almost eight years.  In late 1999 and early 2000 Obama made an unsuccessful run for the U. S. Congress.  After a campaign that included his opponent’s divorce scandal that surfaced just before the election, Obama won a seat in the U. S. Senate; he was sworn in on January 4, 2005.

The real question now, knowing Obama’s career in academia and politics, is whether the country is willing to reelect a political scientist, attorney and president (whose major accomplishment is Obamacare) for another four years.  Remember also his reckless spending and failure to address deficits, debt, taxes and entitlements.

President Obama has proven that he knows how to register voters, campaign, deliver speeches and press the flesh in a tireless, relentless, ambitious and driven manner.  He has been able to handle the public appearances required by the office.

In my opinion, the stupendous challenge over the next four years will be the economy.  President Obama has had four years of opportunity, just as President Carter did, and both of them failed to remedy the dismal pain of the American people.  Thank God, we chose Governor Reagan over President Carter, and history will show the 25-year growth ignited by Reaganomics (1982 – 2007).

The choice now before the American people is between President Obama—who who lacks academic, serious business experience, and success with our nation’s economy—and Governor Romney.  The governor earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature at Brigham Young University and went on to become the “elite of the elite” with a law degree with honors and an MBA as a Baker Scholar (denoting the top five percent of his class) from Harvard University.

Governor Romney worked eight years as a valued management consultant, and about fifteen years as a co-founder and head of Bain Capital-where he invested in about 100 corporations, saved dozens of companies, and created or preserved thousands of jobs.  He couldn’t save them all, but when one invests in troubled companies and start-ups, one can’t expect that kind of success.  The important thing to discern from that success is that he knows business and investment in depth—how jobs are created and why they are lost.

He also saved his sister corporation, Bain and Company, when it nearly folded.  Then he saved the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and money problems.

Romney went on to serve as governor of Massachusetts.  When he assumed office he faced a deficit of $650 million with a projected $2 – $3 billion loss the following year in a $23 billion budget.  Through superb fiscal management—the kind we desperately need now in Washington—he brought about a balanced budget.  He also passed the nation’s first health care legislation, one that was suited for the low proportion of Massachusetts citizens not previously covered.  Through that experience he can help repeal and replace Obamacare.

One other serious issue is Afghanistan where our troops are still in harm’s way.  President Obama foolishly announced dates of withdrawal, subjecting our soldiers to “friendly” fire from Afghanistan trainees who don’t want to be considered collaborators after we leave.  In my opinion, Governor Romney will find a sensible, workable solution to this politically-motivated decision by President Obama.

Much of what President Obama wrote in his book is non-controversial and appealing to all, including Governor Romney, such as racial equality, better educational systems for all, and an improved health care delivery system.  While I’m sure that the two candidates will differ on specifics in many of the areas addressed in the book, the purpose and appeal to the reader is to show the former senator’s empathy with the electorate, not necessarily the presentation of extensive policies of how things would be accomplished.  This is unlike Governor Romney’s book, No Apologies, which presents a great number of policy statements and views.

National security and the economy are influenced by the federal government and are the two key areas facing the next president.  We have a choice between the leadership of Governor Romney, Congressman Ryan and a host of Republicans at all levels to turn around our country fiscally, educationally and with growth creating and sustaining jobs as did President Reagan or continuing on the downward path led by President Obama.

The Debt Bomb

The Debt Bomb:  A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

by U. S. Senator Tom A. Coburn, M. D.

 Review by John E. Wade II

 

In this powerful book Sen. Coburn does more than point out our nation’s enormous debt, deficit, entitlement and tax problems, but concludes by offering suggestions to solve these worrisome challenges in ways that should suit the poor and help everyone else.

A shocking quote at the start of Chapter One is from Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Obama, June 24, 2010:  “Our national debtis our biggest national security threat.”  Incidentally, on PBS’s Charlie Rose  I saw Secretary James Baker say, “We’re broke.”(June, 2012)  In his book, Sen. Coburn writes that “America is already bankrupt.”  These statements may be and are unsettling, but the light at the end of the tunnel is the chance we have to elect Governor Romney and a host of Republicans at all levels.

But first, the bad news, which is that we are in a spending and entitlement crisis; our government debt and entitlement obligations are already slowing our economy by twenty-five to thirty-three percent.  In my opinion, the Obama administration’s trillion-dollar-plus deficits over the last three and a half years have suppressed the economy rather than stimulated it.  Perhaps if our country had been at a low or moderate debt level, his policies might have worked.  This spending binge must stop.  I realize that both Republicans and Democrats have lacked spending discipline.

To get the latest figures on our government obligations, do a Google search for the U. S. Debt Clock.  Right now the U. S. National Debt is $15,801,265.5↑↑, and increasing as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $15,217,191, ↑↑↑.  Unfunded liabilities (Social Security, prescription drugs and Medicare) total $119 trillion.  I invite you to review that website from time to time to attempt to grasp the magnitude of our very precarious position.

Almost a third of our debt is held by foreigners.  In April 2011 Standard and Poor’s (S&P), one of the larger rating agencies, downgraded the United States long-term credit outlook from “stable” to “negative,” and in August they reduced our rating from AAA to AA+.

The continuing crisis in Europe shows in real time the effects of high government debt and obligations.  That can and will happen to us unless we take decisive actions, such as the author suggests.

The world will have a liquidity crisis soon—sometime in 2013—when the planet’s liquid assets ($9 trillion) won’t be enough to fund sovereign debt requirements (around $13 trillion), a situation that will push interest rates up.  The government may try to inflate its way out by printing money as it has done already, but if such a course of action is tried, much of our life savings will be wiped out.  In the final stage, “the bottom would fall out of the middle class.  Unemployment would soar, while the cost of living would increase.”

Around the world Senator Coburn and I see the fall of the “International Welfare State,” including Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Japan—all in “serious risk of default.”  There is a very real possibility of a worldwide depression.

My calculation from the U. S. Debt Clock of our national debt ($15.8 trillion) to our Gross Domestic Product ($15.2 trillion) is just over 100 percent.  The book described a debt-to-GDP ratio of 90 percent as “dangerous.”

Careerism on the part of our elected officials is cited as the root cause of our present state.  Republicans and Democrats have lavished the government’s money in ways that they figured would allow them to stay in office, practically at any cost.  Why do they want to stay?  They are surrounded and courted by staff, lobbyists, party leaders, and special interest groups.  And there are all kinds of perks.

The Constitution has been largely ignored over the last few decades, as career politicians concentrated on the next election with “unsustainable debt” as the result.  Earmarks such as the expensive “the bridge to nowhere” in Alaska demonstrate sadly the careerism and parochialism (obtaining federal spending for one’s own district or state, usually referred to as pork barrel spending).

To quell the myth that there is a continuing stalemate in Washington, Sen. Coburn writes, “Our economy is on the brink of collapse not because politicians can’t agree, but because they have agreed for decades.”  Getting our country in fiscal shape will require that politicians learn to say “no.”

President Reagan in his first inaugural address, 1981, said, “In this present crisis government is not the solution to our problem; government is our problem.”  I firmly believe that Governor Romney could step forward and lead a host of Republicans in 2013 in a manner like President Reagan.  On the other hand, President Obama is part of the problems.

Our government itself is in dire need of kind, but firm and extensive innovation.  The stimulus simply didn’t work.  Part of the money, $535 million, went to Solyndra, a solar-power company that went bankrupt.  “One of the administration’s key donors … had a financial stake in the company.”

Senator Coburn made two key statements:  “We are on the edge of an abyss not because we had too little faith in government but because we had too much faith,” and “A government that works is a government that is limited.”

 

Part Two—The Solution

The Tea Party Republicans may be part of the solution.  Over and over President Obama was given the chance to lead.  One instance was evident at the time of the report by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, known as Simpson-Bowles, on how to reduce the deficit, which was closer to President Reagan’s 1986 tax reform than President Obama’s tax increase proposals.  President Obama didn’t embrace the recommendations.  According to Senator Coburn, “His [President Obama] decision, I believe, will be remembered as one [of] the greatest failures of presidential leadership in American history.”

We must not take a chance of future failures.  If we are to wait until after the 2012 elections, Republicans must “win the White House, maintain a solid majority in the House, and win about sixty-five seats in the Senate to control the national agenda.”

There are answers.  What is needed is courage to do what is right.  Senator Coburn and his staff identified $9 trillion in savings over ten years in a 624-page report which he called Back in Black.

We should watch and learn from the events unfolding in European countries, such as Spain, which has high and unsustainable yields on government debt, as well as unemployment at 25 percent.

Duplication in government spending is an obvious starting point, and Governor Romney is ideal to direct such an endeavor, supported by a Republican Congress.  We should shrink government, but with thought and planning to assist those who will lose their jobs.  I believe optional occupational interest tests, ability tests and privately-administered outplacement services could allow workers to assume fruitful private sector jobs or self-employment.

The General Accounting Office said, “Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.”  “Senator Coburn estimates we can save $3 trillion over ten years by ending duplication.”

U. S. Senator Joe Lieberman said, “We can’t save Medicare as we know it.  We can only save Medicare if we change it.”  Unsustainable demographics and benefits confront maintaining entitlements in their current state.  “Medicare is already broke and running on empty.”

So, what is the Medicare solution?  Senator Coburn gives two answers:  “(1) adjust the eligibility and generosity of the Medicare benefit by relating benefits to income (i.e. forcing wealthier Americans to pay more) while raising the retirement age to reflect changing life spans, and (2) transitioning Medicare from a defined benefit to a defined contribution.”

Social Security is now cash-flow negative and, “Between 2012 and 2013, the program’s cash deficits are projected to total $630 billion.”

Senator Coburn tells it like it is:  “It is not that hard to fix these problems.  The truth is, we have a surplus of solutions, but a deficit of courage.”  President Obama has graphically demonstrated a lack of courage and competence.  I believe Governor Romney and a host of Republicans at all levels can and will provide solutions.

When writing about Obamacare Senator Coburn quotes P. J. O’Rourke, “If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”  He points out that “… too many doctors are torn between serving their patients and protecting their practices from predatory trial attorneys trying to make a quick buck.”  He estimates that “defense medicine costs patients between “$650 and $850 billion a year.”  We must repeal Obamacare and put in place systems in which the doctor and patient work through a free market with competition, transparency and choice.

As to reforming taxes, the “rich simply don’t have enough money to pay all the bills.”  As Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that you “… always run out of other people’s money.”

We must make our tax system simple, understandable and affordable.  As Representative Paul Ryan said, “Every dollar that businesses spend lobbying for a better tax deal, is a dollar they’re not spending on making a better product.”  There are twenty-seven countries in the world that now have simple, flat taxes and more nations are considering them.

A key point is, Tax simplicity would redirect money in and out of the government away from tax compliance toward more useful pursuits, increasing our nation’s productivity.  The risk-takers, entrepreneurs and job creators would benefit rather than politicians, lobbyists, and such.

In 1986 President Reagan passed tax reform that closed many loopholes, lowered tax rates, simplified the tax code and started a twenty-five-year period of solid growth.  Federal tax revenues soared.  Tax reform was accomplished then with spectacular results.  President Obama lacks the expertise, attitude and constituency to emulate President Reagan’s success.  I believe Governor Romney and a host of Republicans could and would recognize and innovate in our tax system.

As to defense, the practice of spreading defense spending all over the country is very wasteful.  Waste in defense is being funded by our deficits, so such costs must get the kind of scrutiny that we pay to all fiscal areas.

Robert Kennedy is quoted in the Conclusion:  “Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues—the wrath of society.  Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.  Yet, it is the one essential and vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.”

Washington needs Governor Romney and a host of Republicans to try to live up to Senator Kennedy’s incisive words.  We are in crisis.  It’s not like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, so easily viewed, but if there weren’t such crises in Europe right now, the truth would be upon us.

The media should be ashamed of themselves for not covering hard news such as these enormous fiscal problems.  Too many cover the horse race in policies without any depth in these critical issues.

Governor Romney and President Reagan were superb professionals in the finest sense.  I see in Governor Romney the deep intelligence and motivation that President Reagan possessed.  In President Obama, however, I see a masterful politician who is drastically lacking in leadership and competence for the innovation that has been and is needed.

In Governor Romney I see a moral leader who will make his decisions, based on what’s right for the country and its future.  He has a long track record of accomplishment.

Our country has many challenges and Governor Romney points out one—illegitimate birth; it was seven percent in the 1960s, but has skyrocketed to forty percent now.  The “Great Society” destroyed many families by taking away their self-reliance.

Ann Romney volunteered at a school for at-risk girls.  When she asked the class how many wanted to go to college almost every girl raised her hand.  Then she asked the class, “How many of you want to have a baby before you graduate from high school?”  Again, almost all raised their hands, indicating they had not made the vital disconnect between those goals.

Governor Romney points out that the American people are, in general, quite hard-working with more hours than the Germans and French.  Americans are also risk-takers.  He told the story of a young person he tried to hire.  But the gentleman had an idea for a business and turned Mr. Romney down.  Years later Governor Romney saw the gentleman, who was by then worth $25 billion, having earned his fortune through Microsoft.  He had taken a chance.

The role of the electorate is to seek honest, capable, wise, visionary leaders.  I believe that Governor Romney “fits the bill.”  He’s honest and frank, and courageous; it takes a lot of courage to write about illegitimate births.  I also see the wisdom of President Reagan in Governor Romney.  He’s a moral, genuine person who can solve, with the help of other Republicans, the immense problems ahead.

We are in a frontier in terms of our nation’s financial, educational and family status.  President Obama had his chance and he has not accomplished very much of substance.  And his fiscal and financial actions have been dismal.  I believe that Ronald Reagan was a decent gentleman with vision, and the same is true of Mitt Romney.

The elections in the United States will be scrutinized around the world, much, much, more than the elections in Greece.  I hope and pray that the American people will see what I see.

Things That Matter

Things that Matter:  Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics

By Charles Krauthammer

Review by John E. Wade II

 

This is a fascinating book with well-supported opinions that are clearly deeply held by the author.  His intelligence and understanding of the last thirty years are evident on a word by word, column by column basis throughout this whole work.  I’ve listened to Krauthammer on Fox News and found his commentary enlightening, interesting and consistent—as is his book, which is a collection of his writings from the past three decades, mostly his columns.

The entire book is well worth reading and some parts are quite worthy of serious study, multiple readings and contemplation.  This book review will attempt to concentrate on this latter group of columns.

Krauthammer explains that originally he had a working title of “There’s More to Life than Politics,” but he reversed himself because, “Politics is the meat, the walls beyond which lie the barbarians.”  He points to Germany, 1933.  He also singled out North Korea with its depravity “. . . both spiritual and material.”  So, the book is about half what he describes as “personal” and half “political.”

I ask you to read the entire book, and when you do, note the dates on some of the writings.  Krauthammer recognized quite early such things as the liberal Democrats and President Obama’s setting America “. . . on a course for decline.”  Krauthammer also notes in his introduction that the Democratic Party’s Great Society, “ . . . for all its good intentions, . . . was causing irreparable damage to the very communities it was designed to help.”

Part 1:  Personal

Now, let me turn to the columns, first those I select for comment from the “Personal” Part I.

Krauthammer declared Winston Churchill to be “the Indispensable Man” of the twentieth century.  I tend to agree considering the sequence of events and Churchill’s amazing leadership in Britain’s “finest hour.”  But I was surprised that while the author mentioned other notables in the twentieth century, he didn’t introduce President Reagan in the discourse.

In his column on Christopher Columbus, Krauthammer demeans the liberals’ attack on that innovative explorer.  He makes the winning point—at least for me—“The real question is, ‘What eventually grew on this bloodied soil?’  The answer is, ‘The great modern civilizations of the Americas—a new world of individual rights, an ever-expanding circle of liberty twice in [the twentieth century], and a savior of the world of total barbarianism.’”

Krauthammer makes his case that Americans should speak the unifying, historical language of English.  I agree.

The author writes that “know thyself” is a highly overrated piece of wisdom.  As for knowing others, forget it.  Know what they do and judge them by works.  I agree that we “can’t  know” ourselves or others, but at the same time we must try to do just that in order to handle ourselves wisely and assess others fairly.

Krauthammer writes a very interesting article about a computer—Big Blue—and its chess match with “Garry Kasparov, the best chess player in the world [article in Time, February 26, 1996]; and quite possibly the best chess player who ever lived.”  Big Blue won the first game.  Kasparov won the match, but think how long ago that was and how artificial intelligence is making giant strides in this Innovation Age.

The author makes a very good case for the continuation of human exploration of space.  I fully agree with him if only to reap the scientific and technological rewards, not to mention the cowardly retreat from an endeavor where we have an enormous lead.

Krauthammer writes a column, “Are we alone in the Universe?”  It’s actually frightening that despite all our efforts and the fact we have located planets seemingly suitable for life – none has been found.  The question is, “Did life exist and it was destroyed by its own hands by nuclear weapons such as North Korea possesses and Iran is close to developing?”  It’s a frightening thought, but I believe Almighty God created each of us and all of us with a mind, body and “little piece of God.”  Therefore, He loves us with an enduring, steadfast love and that He is somehow guiding us toward a Heaven on Earth.

Part Two:  Political

Krauthammer quotes President Obama, who said on July 13, 2012, “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.”  The author thoroughly debunked that statement in part by writing we don’t credit the Swiss postal service for Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity” because they delivered the manuscript; nor do we consider that the roads Steve Jobs drove created Mac and the iPad.

In “Myth of the Angry White Male” the author does a wonderful job of showing how the liberal mainstream press has pounded the damning myth into the psyche of Americans.  I remember after watching President Obama’s re-election victory, I was asked by an African American from the University of California whether I was “angry.”  It sort of surprised me.  I told him “No.”  I did say what I saw was a lack of self-discipline.  And that’s an honest answer and analysis of the 2012 elections.

I agree with Krauthammer that we should abolish capital punishment “ . . . on the grounds that an advanced, civilized society should strive to preserve public order and social peace with an absolute minimum of official violence to life and liberty.”

Krauthammer analyzes quite logically the immigration question in the United States.  I agree with him, “A solution requires two acts of national will; the ugly act of putting up a fence and the supremely generous act of absorbing as ultimately full citizens those who broke our laws to come to America.”  The author points out those fences have been quite successful in Israel and South Korea.

In his column, “In Plain English – let’s make it Official,” the author explains the historical absorption of immigrants in America who spoke all sorts of languages; in the past they upheld the unity of our nation by adopting our language—English.  I agree that English should be a necessary part of United States citizenship.

Krauthammer and I agree strongly that values ought to be taught in the schools.  They do not have to be linked to any particular religion.  The wisdom-associated values that are enumerated by Copthorne MacDonald,  in his essay contained in my book, How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth, as well as the shunning of negative values, are sorely needed on our trek toward Heaven on Earth.

Krauthammer’s “Sweet Land of Liberty” does a superb job of showing how our country has championed liberty all over the world, demonstrated partly by so many patriot statues of other nations within our cities.

The author writes a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.  I am so glad that we now have a monument to King.  I pray for him each night.  He did so much, and in a non-violent manner, for our country.  Also, he was a person of great faith.

Part Three:  Historical

Krauthammer writes, “The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million hard by the Mediterranean . . . relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists—Iran in particular—openly prepare a more final solution.”  I agree with the author and consider Iran’s nuclear ambitions to be a dire threat to both Israel and the rest of the world.  Somehow, someway, non-violence must rule in the Middle East and everywhere else.

The problem of radical Muslims alone is a global threat; with oil it’s worse and with nuclear arms it’s completely out of reason.

The unfair way Jews are treated in the news is pointed out by the author.  The author points out that theInternational Herald Tribune once devoted “. . . seven of its eight columns to the Palestinian   uprising.  Among the headlines:  ‘Israeli Soldier Shot to Death; Palestinian Toll Rises to 96.’”  The eighth column reported that 5,000 Kurds died in an Iraqi gas attack.  The press can strike in all sorts of unjust ways, such as the above example.

In “Essay Zionism and the Fate of the Jews,” Krauthammer explains in superb fashion how, due to many factors—such as the holocaust, birth rate and assimilation—Israel has become the last hope of a continuing Jewish presence in the world.  Our support for  that beleaguered nation must continue, hopefully and prayerfully with non-violent means.

The author writes a strong article appearing the day after September 11th.  His points are well-taken, and considering that the piece immediately followed these dastardly acts, Krauthammer was quite perceptive.

The author explains how the Iraqi War had been won until President Obama took charge.  “He failed though he hardly tried very hard . . .” Three years and a won war had given Obama the opportunity to establish a lasting strategic alliance with the Arab world’s second most important power.”  I believe that President Obama lost—and lost badly—in Iraq due to his complete lack of a coherent foreign policy.

In “Language and Leadership,” Krauthammer agrees with my analysis above, that President Obama has a “. . . visible ambivalence that leads to vacillating policy reeking of incoherence.”  He says, “This is not leading from behind.  This is not leading at all.”

Perhaps the most shocking article in this book is “Hyper proliferation:  Can we Survive it?”  Krauthammer writes, “Our planet is 4,500,000,000 years old, and we’ve had nukes for exactly 61 years [article written March 26, 2006].”  With Iran close to obtaining the capability to produce such weapons, the entire world must stop them for the good of us all, including Iranians.

Part Four:  Global

Krauthammer explains that, “The alternative to unipolarity is chaos.”  I was impressed in how he summed our unipolar power, “Compared to the task of defeating fascism and communism, averting chaos is a rather subtle call to greatness.  It is not a task we are any more eager to undertake . . . But it is just as noble and just as necessary.”

Later the author states, Finland is the landmine between Russia and Scandinavia.  America is the landmine between barbarianism and civilization.”  Krauthammer sums up democratic globalism in quoting President George W. Bush. “The United States and Great Britain share a mission in the world beyond the balance of power or the simple pursuit of interest.  We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings.”

In the final piece, “Decline is a Choice,” the author states  something about which I agree, “The current liberal ascendancy in the United States—contriving the executive and both houses of Congress [written October, 2009] Congress dominating the media and elite culture– has set us on a course for decline.”  Those were very prophetic words.

I encourage you to read the entire book, which is full of wisdom, truth, facts, and very well-founded and well-supported opinions.