A “Cash for Clunkers” Program America Can Truly Embrace, by David Teesdale

September 1, 2009
Grumple Stiltskins here is the perfect embodiment of the career politician.  Fortunately, Harry Reid (D-NV) and many other nare-do-wells are getting their ticket home in 2010.  Arlen Specter, clean-up on aisle--well, whatever aisle it is that you sit these days, Senator.

Grumple Stiltskins here is the perfect embodiment of the career politician. Fortunately, Harry Reid (D-NV) and many other nare-do-wells are getting their ticket home in 2010. Arlen Specter, clean-up on aisle--well, whatever aisle it is that you sit these days, Senator.

Many, in light of Senator Ted Kennedy’s recent demise, may have have expected a deferential, reverent retrospective on the end of Camelot, and a tribute to a foe whom Republicans could truly embrace.  However, given Senator Kennedy’s less than noble actions outside of the Senate, and his outright destructive and mean spirited antics inside the halls of Congress (during Senate confirmation hearing and throughout the abortion debate of the last four decades), it is incumbent upon this politico to refrain from commentary.  I heed the words my mother taught me–if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all–especially after the man has just expired.

Instead, as Massachusetts voters look to replace the Liberal Lion, I would tug your attention toward Rasmussen’s recent poll of Americans, which indicated that 57% of voters, if given the opportunity, would not just replace their own Congressman, but would go so far as to replace the entire U.S. Congress.  If this item were a proposition on the ballot, that amounts to a landslide margin against the incumbents.  This is a resounding defeat for the entrenched forces within Congress currently, who have wrenched their fiefdoms from more qualified candidates by harnessing the power of the purse. Read the rest of this entry »


“Snail Mail” Needs a Redux, by David Teesdale

August 25, 2009

President Obama at his most recent town hall was mystifyingly quoted saying that, “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.” Aside from the fact that the president has, in pitching his government-run health care initiative, presented one of the best examples of myopic government-run programs, another thought sprang to the forefront of this conservative’s conscience. The presidents remarks didn’t stir deep within my soul the desire to nationalize our medical industry, as it might for some of my neo-marxist friends within the left-er nether regions of the Democrat Party. In fact, it actually brought to mind the opposite notion. The United States should privatize the U.S. Postal Service. Read the rest of this entry »

“Wanted: An Inner-city Legislator with a Backbone,” by StairwaytoKevin

August 12, 2009

As an elected official or an ordinary citizen, suppose someone presented you the following figures on an education initiative and asked your opinion: graduation rates improved from 51 percent to 66 percent, crime rates within schools dropped 44 percent, and state test scores jumped 20 percent.  Oh, and because the initiative takes place in a large urban center, you are also concerned with the minority achievement gap, which, incidentally, narrowed significantly.   You would be certifiably insane if you were to oppose this initiative or threaten to hold it hostage as a means of furthering your own pet projects. Read the rest of this entry »

Conservative Solutions to Liberal Problems (Part II), by David Teesdale

August 9, 2009

blog_july08_economyLiberals were up the their usual tricks this past fall—no, not habitually stealing inter-generational candy from babies not yet born through historically high deficit spending—that had to wait till January. Many an American face matched their stock portfolios in October as 401k savings accounts were reduced to ashen shells of what they formerly were. The liberal elite quickly went about blaming the “free-market” in an effort aimed to, as only a short time’s passage would reveal, do more re-shaping of the American economic system than Ashlee Simpson has done to her face.

Truth be told (would I lie to you?), this has been a pretty common theme liberals have employed over the last century, so as to convince other-wise freedom loving Americans that they need to be protected from themselves. Unlike their feeble attempts to have us believe that the 75 year old American Legion vets lambasting squishy Congressmen in health care town halls across the country of late are simply on the payroll of evil corporate America (who are ironically on board with national health care, which benefits their bottom-lines), this technique has been rather successful. Read the rest of this entry »

“The Latest Hyp-O-crisy: Czars” by StairwaytoKevin

August 3, 2009

President Obama spent much of his presidential campaign running against, not John McCain (the Republican nominee and his ACTUAL opponent), but George W. Bush.  Uttering the outgoing Republican president’s name – which was actually banned on university campuses, high end cafes, and inner-city parks for fear of inciting riots – was a key component of Obama’s electoral strategy and stump speeches:

Obama: Government Run Health Care…

Puppets: Yeh!

Obama: Wall Street

Puppets: Boo!

Obama: Change

Puppets: Horrah!

Obama: George Bush

Puppets: Lock and Load!

Since taking over the reigns of the White House, the Obama administration has even devoted a significant amount of time to denouncing policies of the Bush administration.  Obama has either used the anti-Bush defense to justify his own shortcomings (“the previous administration spent a lot of money, too, you know?”) or to win concessions otherwise thought unattainable (“Hey, Ahmadinejad, I won’t take up too much of your time.  I know you have to get back to brutally suppressing your insolent people.  But I just wanted to apologize for the previous administration calling you evil.”).

Kenneth Feinberg, President Obamas pay czar, (featured above) has control over several companies Executive Pay.

Kenneth Feinberg, President Obama's "pay czar," (featured above) has control over several companies' Executive Pay.

Occasionally, Obama has quietly continued Bush-era policies – much to the dismay of the left.  For example, Obama has either preserved or tweaked Bush’s approach to state secrets, military commissions, targeted military killings, rendition, and warrantless wiretaps.

One particular case of glaring hypocrisy overlooked by the mainstream media pertains to Obama’s overwhelming reliance on “czars.”  These administration officials have been appointed to develop, implement, and manage federal programs and policies.  They are basically cabinet secretaries; except they bypass the traditional constitutional advice and consent of the Senate, and Obama already has cabinet secretaries.

We all remember the left’s shrieks anytime it was reported Dick Cheney and his “shadow government” coughed.  Candidate Obama decried Bush’s executive branch consolidation of power.  Not only did he blame our nation’s biggest problems on such consolidation, he vowed to reverse the trend when he became president.  I would say “we’re waiting,” but it has become abundantly clear that Obama has established a potent executive consisting of officials that have bypassed legislative and public scrutiny.

Appointing czars is not a novel concept.  Previous administrations have employed this tactic to utilize respected policy experts – typically for a narrow objective (drug czar).  The Obama administration, however, has expanded the role of the czar – numerically and structurally.  There is not even a consensus on the number of czars, but it’s within the 32-35 range.  They range from the consequential (intelligence czar) to the minute (dog czar…ok, not really.  But let’s wait and see if they can come up with the “racism in the Cambridge police department czar.”).

In a cabinet that would make Ivan the Terrible’s blush, Obama also relies on a car czar, compensation czar, and green jobs czar.  These particular czars play a critical role because they dominate sectors no longer deemed capable of abiding by free market principles by the left.  The auto, financial, and alternative energy industries now fall outside the purview of rationale consumers and can only be properly administered by a single individual within the White House.

It’s not enough to have a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we also need an urban czar.  Perhaps when urban czar Adolfo Carrion Jr. figures out the intricacies of approving public projects for his private architect or taking donations from real estate agents that benefited from his rezoning, Carrion will truly be able to redress America’s cities.

The newly established Rise of the Machines czar

The newly established "Rise of the Machines czar"

We now have a non-proliferation czar and a war czar, not to be confused with the Secretary of Defense.  Why not merge the non-proliferation czar with the war czar (and throw in the infotech czar to form the long-overdue “Terminator Rise of the Machines Czar”?  Or just bring back the nostalgic “Secretary of War” title to confer upon Robert Gates.

What if you cannot get Tom Daschle confirmed as your Secretary of Health and Human Services because of his tax issues?  No worries, there is a back door.  Just appoint a health-care czar to spearhead your universal government health-care push?  That way, you are not just a hypocrite for the shadow government charge.  By bringing in Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, who made millions in the health care industry after her service in the Clinton administration, you are also a hypocrite on the “no lobbyists in my administration” boast.

We are told that these are perilous times that call for drastic measures.  We have heard this claim before, as far back as President Franklin Roosevelt and as recently Senator Palpatine (http://www.starwars.idv.tw/story/character/dark/senator_palpatine.jpg).  But it is precisely because we face such national uncertainty that we must practice prudence and enhanced oversight.  Health care, finance, manufacturing, and alternative energy comprise trillions of dollars worth of our annual GDP.  Displacing oversight of those industries from officials accountable to the President, Congress, and American people to officials answerable to only the President is an alarming practice.  For it’s one thing to steal a couple of men’s shirts at JC Penney, it’s another to steal our free market and fundamental constructs of our democracy.

StairwaytoKevin usually isn’t this bitter, but with the Yankees playing good ball, he has to switch the focus of his sarcasm and angst.  All comments welcome, but “LOL”s encouraged.

Conservative Solutions to Liberal Problems (Part I), by David Teesdale

July 30, 2009

Conservative solutions for health care will save money and save lives.  Liberal panaceas will increase costs and redistribute both wealth and lives.

Conservative solutions for health care will save money and save lives. Liberal panaceas will increase costs and redistribute both wealth and lives.

A common refrain in these early days of the inept Obama Administration from liberals and Democrat mouthpieces in the media is that the Republican Party is the “party of no”. Were it not for the fact that Democrats have time and again rebuffed Republican attempts to amend legislation, this might be a more stinging barb. President Obama as early as January, was telling Republicans who proposed alternative plans to his catastrophic stimulus bill that he’d trump their alternative plans, since “I won”.

A party of no? Perhaps a party of no cajones would be more apt. A party of no spines, even. A party of no personality, or of no public relations or no spin doctors would suffice. Young Republicans and conservatives are offering solutions to America’s problems.  Our solutions will solve problems created almost exclusively by liberals, both intentionally and unintentionally. Let us first begin with the issue that Democrats are largely using to try to pin Republicans with the label of obstructionists:

HEALTH CARE: CBO estimates peg Democrats’ plan for nationalized health care at $1 trillion. Apparently the last $1 trillion dollar bill passed by Democrats worked out so well, they thought they’d try again. There are some very good conservative plans to lower the cost of health care in America and that make it accessible without overhauling the best health care system on earth, keeping in mind the idea that insurance is just that–when you give a Mary Kay Cadillac-package to everyone, it ceases to be insurance at all, but rather fascist-medicine.  Socialism is government owned and operated industry.  Fascism is when the government controls industry but the industry is still privately owned.  America doesn’t need an overhaul, just a touch-up.  So, without further a due, conservative alternatives to fascist medicine:

  • Eliminate insurance mandates.  Currently, insurance companies are mandated by the government to provide insurance for superfluous procedures, costing insurance purchasers $1.3 billion a year.  In other words, 12% of purchasers’ annual premiums.  This is probably since lobbyists for industries as various as birth control, laser eye surgery, Viagra, invitro fertilization and cosmetic procedures have successfully gotten liberal legislators to mandate these things be required pieces of insurance packages, rather than allowing families to choose based on need and cost.  This would be like requiring auto-insurers to cover oil changes, tire rotations, and fuzzy dice.
  • State legislatures should loosen regulation on insurance companies to allow individuals to purchase insurance packages across state lines and Congress needs to encourage trade with out-of-state insurers.  This would lower premiums in a variety of ways, notably by eliminating or diluting the community-rating laws in many states which force an 18 year old with no pre-conditions to subsidize, say, a 55 year old with many pre-conditions by making both pay the same, higher premium.  Cato Institute provides a look into this plan.
  • Equally weighted income tax deductions for medical providers who provide pro-bono medical services as a charity to the disadvantaged.  This would provide an incentive to doctors to provide free care, which doctors largely do any way.  Despite the charge that there are 47 million uninsured Americans, that number is probably closer to 8 million when you discount illegal aliens, people who make more than $70,000 a year who choose not to be insured, and those who are temporarily without insurance as a result of job transition.  Still, in America, no one doesn’t get emergency care because of their inability to pay.  They may lose their PS3, iphone, flat screen or car, and while I sympathize with their plight–facing the choice between food and iphone creates a difficult decision–this is still better than waiting four years for a hip replacement, as in Britain or Canada.
  • Establish Health Savings Accounts for every American.  Accounts in which each U.S. citizen could select, pre-tax, to deduct their personal wealth from their pay-check and deposit into a savings account.  Many Americans could put 40-50% more savings toward health care services.  By doing this, we can unleash the power of the individual consumer to tackle the rising costs of medical services by only using the services they really need and the providers that provide the best quality for the lowest cost.  It would also reduce unnecessary testing for diseases patients and doctors know aren’t the issue.
  • Tort reform.  American hospitals waste $700 billion a year on unnecessary tests and procedures.  This is largely because doctors are terrified of being sued by trip and fall lawyers.  If Americans needed a more ominous omen that we live in an overly litigious society, we have so many lawyers that 75% of recently graduated law students will have difficulty finding work this year.    Trial lawyers being one of the largest demographics for Democrats outside of the GLBT coalitions, trial lawyer lobbyists bankrolled Democrats to the tune of $179 million in soft-money in 2008, and Democrats receive 90% of the American Association of Justice’s campaign contributions.  Democrats reciprocate every time they are re-elected by instituting thousands of arcane rules and regulations to produce more work for trial lawyers nationwide.  Capping malpractice lawsuit awards and creating some system where losers of frivolous lawsuits would be forced to pay would greatly diminish this phenomenon.  Even if we accept the premise that there are 47.5 million uninsured Americans, if we eliminate this wasteful use of health care dollars, savings would amount to roughly $15,000 per ‘uninsured’ American.

To be continued…  On to the economy.

David Teesdale, phoned Senator Lamar Alexander this morning to inform him that the Senator’s support for confirming SCOTUS nominee Judge Sotomayor lost him Teezy’s vote next time around.  Act your ideology, Senator.  Call your Congressmen.  But first, comment here and send suggestions to david.evans.teesdale@gmail.com

Will Fiscal Responsibility be Confined to Defense Department?, by StairwaytoKevin

July 27, 2009

The Obama administration, the Defense Department, and the American people recently scored an impressive Senate victory.  It will be in our nation’s best interest if the pragmatic decision-making process exhibited by various actors in the F-22 defense project is broadly applied to other policy debates.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to kill a proposed extension of the nation’s foremost fighter-jet program, the F-22 Raptor.  Despite the aircraft’s technological superiority and political sensitivity, strategic flaws and financial concerns convinced the Senate to halt the program.

The F-22 came under assault as a quintessential illustration of government waste, specifically defense industry pork.

“We do not need these planes,” President Obama said. “To continue to procure additional F-22s would be to waste valuable resources that should be more usefully employed to provide our troops with weapons that they actually do need.”

President Obama, however, generally delegated opposition to the program to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  Gates made stops throughout the country railing against the program.  He joined former defense secretaries and Joint Chiefs of Staff in lending distinguished military credibility to the cause.

“The more stuff they buy we don’t need, the less we have available for the stuff we do need,” Gates told reporters.  “It’s as simple as that.  It ain’t a complicated problem.”

Sen. John McCain even joined his former rival on the campaign trail as the Senate’s chief spokesman against the F-22.  McCain was perhaps the program’s oldest and most vocal critic, calling it “opaque and Byzantine” in 2006.  McCain also called for a more prudent allocation of resources within the U.S. military before the Senate voted down the extension by a 58-40 margin.

In cutting the program, the administration and Senators overcame significant obstacles.  Originally designed to counter perceived Soviet

$700 Billion worth of Government equipment.  The potential photo ops over NYC make them nearly worth the cost.

$700 Billion worth of Government equipment. The potential photo ops over NYC make them nearly worth the cost.

aerial combat threats, the F-22 emerged as the world’s pre-eminent fighter jet.  Its sleek design and stealth features are unrivalled (however, the likelihood that it will go unchallenged for decades only gave credence to the argument that manufacturing more jets was unnecessary).

Another notable impediment was the political element of the weapons program.  Lockheed Martin, the plane’s designer, astutely distributed all aspects of the program throughout the nation.  Therefore, individual Senators and Congressmen felt the pinch to continue the program under the auspices of ensuring economic development.

Ultimately, the hefty price tag, technical issues, and unnecessary capabilities rendered the program a failure.  At $350 million per plane, it was difficult to justify expanding the program from the current stock of 187 to over 560 jets.  The plane’s required 30-plus hours of maintenance per hour of flight, tendency to experience malfunctions in desert environments (sand), and the advent of another – superior – fighter jet program (the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter) doomed the F-22.

This massive program seemed like a logical segment to cut as the nation confronts the War on Terror and adjusts defense programs accordingly.  The Obama administration put forth financially and militarily compelling arguments as it halted the F-22’s expansion.  The question now is: will the Obama administration consistently display similar reasoning as it applies to other policy arenas?

For example, despite the consensus among economists regarding the benefits of free trade, will the President Obama continue to oppose Latin American free trade agreements as a payoff to a labor industry that vigorously backed his presidential campaign?

Will President Obama take on one of the Democratic Party’s core constituencies – trial lawyers – when what is good for attorneys is bad for

Former Trial Lawyer John Edwards with (most of) his children.  As you can see, all lawyers are probably evil.

Former Trial Lawyer John Edwards with (most of) his children. As you can see, all lawyers are probably evil.

America?  Will he mandate tort reform as part of his health care reform package and heed the advice of health-care experts who attest to attorneys’ role in the skyrocketing costs of health insurance?

Finally, will the president dare challenge the liberal teachers’ unions as he pursues education reform?  Candidate Obama promised accountability and change within our nation’s education system.  However, these values – tangibly represented by policies such as charter schools and merit pay – are typically staunchly contested by the powerful unions.

Sensible policy decisions should be lauded when they are reached.  Their successes should also be analyzed and applied to relevant policy realms.  Hopefully President Obama will have the audacity to do so.

StairwaytoKevin’s life story was famously documented in the film “Top Gun,” with a slightly less handsome man asked to portray StairwaytoKevin.  He also enjoys shirtless volleyball and angry motorcycle rides.