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.


The Dirty Little Secret of Socialized Medicine, by David Teesdale

July 24, 2009

It is with great trepidation today that I reveal the dirty little secret about the Democrats’ health-care ‘reform’ bill, languishing in mark-up, that neither Democrats or Republicans want you to know. This is a secret so great, that even greater lengths have been gone to in order to make sure you never know about it. That secret, is of course, that the thousand page leviathan snaking its way through Congress will never pass. It will not become law, at least during Obama’s presidency.

Congressional Democrats don't want you to know that the health-care bill is doomed because they want you to support it.  Congressional Republicans don't want you to know this because then you won't belly-ache to your Congressman.  Belly-ache away.

Congressional Democrats don't want you to know that the health-care bill is doomed because they want you to support it. Congressional Republicans don't want you to know this because then you won't belly-ache to your Congressman. Belly-ache away.

There was some question, prior to his inauguration, as to how moderate an Obama Administration would be. Obama tacked to the center in the later stages of the presidential campaign and many expected that he had learned the hard lessons of Clinton’s ill-advised lurch leftward in the early days of his own presidency and would take a more centrist approach early on. Obama cleared up any of those debates within days of his inauguration, signing radical executive orders regarding abortion and terrorist detainees, and by pushing through the massive American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The AERR (probably better spelled ERROR– Economic Retardation and Redistribution for Obama’s Re-election) has thus far been a colossal disaster.

Obama’s leftward lurches were noted by this author as early as January, and upon passage of the stimulus, I declared definitively that as a result of the stimulus battle:

“The Democrats stand to potentially be hammered in the 2010 mid-terms, if only Republicans in the Senate hold their ground and let the Democrats have their win now. It is costly for both sides, but Obama will have spent his political capital on a project only 37% of Americans support. You and I can kiss goodbye the notion of socialized medicine or other hair brained plans hatched 50 years ago by pseudo-socialists.” (Feb. 7, 2009).

Republicans largely stood their ground against the wasteful spending in the stimulus bill, and though it was not evident at the time, this helped to harden Americans against any more socialist-leaning legislation. It was to me evident then, that no plan for the nationalization of health-care could ever pass muster. However, I, like many others, was reticent to point this out and risk the disinterest and dis-involvement that would likely emanate from those activists who would otherwise be speaking out against this bill by calling their Congressmen and generally stirring the pudding. We’ve seen this phenomenon occur most recently during the cap and trade debate in the House, where a highly unpopular and dangerous bill somehow managed to squeak into a position dangerously close the Federal Register.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC):  “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his waterloo. It will break him,”

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC): “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his waterloo. It will break him." Republicans should heed his words.

So why come out now at such a pivotal time in the legislative process and chat up how the bill is doomed? Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) recently stated that Obama’s health-care initiative is like his Waterloo. If Obama is defeated here, that may very well spell the end of Obama’s endeavors to reshape the American social and political landscape in his own very liberal image. While the analogy is imperfect, as all analogies are, it is important to note that if Obama can be stopped on health-care—and he almost certainly will be stopped—Republicans can salvage what is left of America.

Though the stimulus plan has severely debilitated America by plunging us into nearly irreparable debt and by burdening future generations with a crushing tax, we may someday be thankful that the Obama Administration pressed for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ERROR, when they did. In doing so, the Obama White House lurched far to the left, and this bacchanalian spendthrift left America not just with a hang over, but a terrible after-taste, and has ignited opposition to further leftward power grabs. National health-care, which would destroy innovation, hinder care, raise costs, institutionalize a culture of death, deprive us of our liberties and relegate America to European style mixed-economic socialism, would be far worse.

The blows dealt by Obama’s stimulus package are severe, but not insurmountable. National health-care would radically transform America. With calls to Congressional offices running fifteen to one against the plans as they stand, Obama is on the ropes. A resounding defeat here would diminish Barack Obama’s future political capital and neuter the march toward a Fabian-styled social order. To utilize another imperfect, boxing analogy; now is not the time to relent. If this is truly destined to be a defeat for the Obama Administration, we should not be content to win by T.K.O. Just as the Duke of Wellington and allied forces saved the continent of Europe from Napoleon’s forces, we should not see Obama’s weakened state and let our guard down. Republicans and conservative Democrats should press Obama all the more fiercely. Let’s make health-care Obama’s Waterloo.

David Teesdale, is particularly fond of analogies.  Mr. Teesdale is to rice pilaf as Steve Irwin is to: __________.  Comment here or e-mail him at david.evans.teesdale@gmail.com for the answer.

Give Him a Chance! by David Teesdale

July 13, 2009

Since Barack Obama was nominated in January, much of his presidency has, unlike that of—well, any of his predecessors–been spent attempting to escape blame for the results of his policies, by reminding America that he has “inherited” any of those ill conceived ideas which have gone awry. Many Democrats and Republicans alike have pleaded from very early on for Americans to “give him a chance.” A chance, they say, for Obama’s policies to succeed. My question is: how long should we wait?

In the immediate aftermath of the throngs of American Idol voters who swarmed to the polls and swept Obama to victory last November, the American electorate overwhelmingly granted Barack Obama his grace period, nearly 70% supporting him in Gallup polling. Those who voted for Obama dismissed as rabble rousing and partisan politics ,the cries from many on the Right who warned of Obama’s socialist influences, dangerous associates and liberal voting record. Obama supporters and Republican pundits hailed Obama as a post-partisan uniter and a ‘centrist.’

Obama himself dismissed these accusations, promising static tax rates for anyone making under $250,000, or $200,000, or $100,000—depending of course on which day it was on the campaign trail. Obama laughed at charges of “re-distribution,” nationalization and class envy. Those who listened closely enough to Obama could see through the rhetoric, however, such as when Obama told Joe ‘the Plummer’ that he just wanted to “spread things around.” Astute individuals and students of history knew that for Barack Obama to succeed in implementing his agenda spelled trouble for generations of Americans. However, the rest of America gave him a chance. Barack Obama quickly set about reneging on many of his milk and honey campaign promises.

As of July, Barack Obama and the Democrat Congress have already passed a massively unpopular “stimulus” bill, are pushing the massively unpopular national health-care and cap-and trade legislation, and have tripled the national deficit. Obama promised while on the campaign trail to have all legislation available online for five days prior to votes in Congress. Now fully into Barack Obama’s presidency, this has been discarded. 1,000 page leviathan after 1,000 page leviathan have been passed by a punch-drunk Congress, who have enacted these bills without ever posting them online, and without reading them.

These are not the result of the “failed policies” of the Bush Administration. These are deliberate choices and Statist pet projects, which have been fermenting since the 1960’s and are being pushed now for the sake of ideology. Meanwhile, instead of cyclical sequences of events unfolding and the economy recovering naturally, the recession has deepened beyond the Administration’s worst case scenarios. Obama’s promises of the stimulus halting unemployment at eight percent were illusory, and the ranks of unemployed may in fact broach eleven or twelve percent. The stock market, recovering in early 2009 on the wings of “hope” and “change,” is again crumbling at a startling speed.

Stimulus money, supposedly designed to urgently ignite the sagging U.S. economy (definition of a stimulus), is being diverted to frivolous pork projects. Despite the fact that counties which voted for McCain in 2008 pay an inordinately higher amount in taxes than Obama voters, the money that is actually being dispersed prior to 2010 is going to Obama voters in absurd quantities. Stimulus money received by the counties which voted for Obama averages out to $69 a person. Counties which voted for McCain received an average of $34 a person. Nothing like rewarding your constituencies, right? Of course, elections have consequences, but using the vote to steal from future generations and to redistribute already borrowed wealth to your own voters is a little ridiculous if you ask me.

The general public is also becoming wary of proposed tax hikes by Obama and Congress. Cap and trade represents nearly $1,000 in additional taxes on each American each year despite the fact that northern states are experiencing a year without summer and have not seen a temperature increase in eight years. The Congressional Budget Office has revealed the stratospheric costs of Statist health-care and others have pulled the curtain back on the farcical claims of fifty million uninsured Americans (more likely there are seven to eight million). Americans, despite their personal affinity for Obama’s person, are now beginning to overwhelmingly disapprove of his policies.

Most Americans, according to Rasmussen, now view Obama as less ethical than most politicians, and only 30% trust Obama in dealing with the economic crisis. Majorities of Americans disapprove of Obama’s policies on Iraq and Afghanistan, while support for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and his health-care plan is wavering. On the foreign policy front, dictators in Iran, Venezuela and North Korea are running amok unchecked and Obama’s limp diplomacy is transparently weak, emboldening nations such as Russia, China and even India to expand their spheres of influence.

Obama’s teleprompter crashing to the floor yesterday may be a metaphor for the state of things currently.  A teleprompter, which, with great eloquence, assisted in foisting untruths wrapped in sweet sounding rhetoric–with only the occasional slip.  A teleprompter is transparent to those at the right angle, just as Obama.  Though I’m sure TOTUS will be replaced, Barack’s beloved Cyrano de Bergerac’s untimely demise gave us a glimpse of an Obama exposed.  Perhaps now, with the curse lifted, Americans will continue to awaken from their hypnosis and will blow away the chaffe of lies they have thus far believed.

Seven months into Obama’s presidency, Republicans now lead Democrats on generic ballots 41-38% and Obama’s approval rating, while still at 51%, is slipping quickly and is well below George Bush’s approval rating at the same point in his presidency. Americans are waking up from their Obama induced slumber. Still, the Administration and Obama-apologists alike continue to try to attach Obama’s failings to Bush, with waning success. Liberals wanted us to give him a chance. Seven months is enough. Obama has spent the doubt in that benefit, and barring an incredible turn of events, the writing on the wall is clear: Obama is a one-term president.

David Teesdale, wonders who buys Twinkies, and are they still manufactured–or is the current stock what is left over from the Cold War? Comment here or e-mail him at david.evans.teesdale@gmail.com with the answers to these and other life questions

On the Other Hand, by David Teesdale

July 4, 2009

Thousands of pages have been dumped into Law and into the Federal Register, un-read, since Obama took office.

Thousands of pages have been dumped into Law and into the Federal Register, un-read, since Obama took office.

Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison this week after stealing $13 billion from investors in the second largest ponsi scheme in U.S. history (Social Security being the largest). But what of Barack Obama and the 219 U.S. Congressmen who voted this week to steal $1 trillion inter-generationally through cap and trade? Not even counting the ‘stimulus’ debacle, this Administration and Congress should, in a just world, be removed from office and sentenced to a similar prison recess. If not for the pain that these half-baked plans will cause our own generation, but for the next three, which may or may not be able to lift this oppressive tax.

President Obama said on prime time television weeks ago that worrying about the U.S. government’s finances “keeps [him] awake at night” and that the country needed to start planning now to tackle soaring deficits. In a pair of interviews on CNBC and Bloomberg television, Obama claimed to lose sleep over the Nation’s debt. Of course, that has not stopped the president from indulging his veritably narcoleptic tendencies, ringing up more debt in a single year than all the presidents in the 220 years prior. This has burdened the Nation with the largest debt in the history of the world.

Thus, trillions of dollars have hemmorhaged from the American people.

Thus, trillions of dollars have hemmorhaged from the American people.

All this highlights inherent liberal hypocrisy, especially that of Obama; saying one thing, and doing another. Not that hypocrisy isn’t a modus operandi of most politicians, but for Obama and Democrats, this “on the other hand” approach, brings with it a moral relativism matched only by the Sophists of ancient Greece, and is as dangerous to the civil society today as it was then.

Obama, while campaigning, promised to have all legislation available on-line for five days prior to votes in Congress. The first legislation passed during Obama’s administration—the so called ‘stimulus,’ was apparently so critical that the people didn’t need to read the Bill—so important, in fact, that the 1,000 page Act was not read by any of the Senators and Congressmen who voted on the Bill either. Six months later, cap and trade sailed through Congress with a 300 page dump at 3:00 AM the morning of the vote, which again, presumably, was not read and not uploaded to any Internet site—though I haven’t checked TMZ.com.

Most recently, Obama’s is concerned about meddling in Iran’s affairs following a rigged election in which Ahmadinejad got more votes than there were registered voters and the tyrannical regime violently suppressed peaceful protests. Erstwhile, Obama’s doing a great deal of meddling in order to prop up a leftist leader in Honduras who was rightly removed by the Supreme Court and Legislature after an unconstitutional power grab a la Hugo Chavez—who, ironically, supplied the ballots for Zeyala’s illegal election, which was supported by Daniel Noriega and the Castros. Striking, though, to note the parallels between the Iranian debacle and the theft of a Minnesota Senate seat by Al Franken, who also received more votes than there were registered voters in many areas of Minnesota.

Chavez, Castro, Noriega, Ahmadinejad...  Obama?  Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Chavez, Castro, Noriega, Ahmadinejad... Obama? Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

All these Indian-gifts and falsehoods perpetrated by Obama and Democrats are truly not their fault. They honestly don’t see anything wrong with it. In fact, Democrats routinely will out and out state their hypocritical disposition. June 15th, while pitching national health-care, the president spoke to the American Medical Association, and, well, I’ll let you read it from the donkey’s mouth:

Now, I recognize that it will be hard to make some of these changes if doctors feel like they are constantly looking over their shoulder for fear of lawsuits. Some doctors may feel the need to order more tests and treatments to avoid being legally vulnerable. That’s a real issue….I’m not advocating caps on malpractice awards which I believe can be unfair to people who’ve been wrongfully harmed.

In other words, “I understand what the problem is, but I’m going to ram my vision through any way.” This approach extends to foreign policy as well. The president is on record saying that Iran, which has openly stated it intends to end Israel and sponsors terror around the world, has a the same “right” to nuclear weapon capability as civilized nations. But Obama didn’t stop there. In his speech to the entire Muslim world on June 4th in Cairo, Obama claimed to empathize with Jews regarding the Holocaust, then proceeded to equate this with the Palestinians’ self-inflicted perpetual refugee status.

Liberals pretend to know about their opposition, but are in fact clueless.

Liberals pretend to know about their opposition, but are in fact clueless.

Time and time again Obama claims to understand his opponents’ stances, and then proceeds to demonstrate exactly how he doesn’t. This is pervasive amongst liberals, who promote equality but support racial quotas because “wise Latinas” might have a leg up on a stodgy old man, and oppose the War in Iraq and support the barbaric practice of abortion, which has killed far more. Obama stated that he personally opposed abortion, and would teach his daughters about morals and values, “but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” Must be why he supports partial birth abortion and voted multiple times to disallow medical treatment for fully born babies who survived their attempted murder and were to then be left to die in a dark, dank hospital room.

There are nuances and differences between every issue, but on issue after issue, liberals will cast aside promises in order to achieve political ends, or morally equate decadence with virtue, buttressing this with a passing allusion to their adversaries’ protests. In the end, liberals love candidates like Barack Obama because they sound “thoughtful” and “understanding,” because they purport to comprehend opponents’ views while respectfully disagreeing and doing what they like anyway. The proof is in the pudding however, and liberals don’t understand a thing.

David Teesdale, is an investigator in the hills of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Moonshine stills haunt his dreams.  For questions or comment, or for Nigerian princes who desire to send him large inheritances, contact him at david.evans.teesdale@gmail.com.

Open Letter to Barack Obama, by David Teesdale

March 24, 2009

The Following is an Open Letter to President Barack Obama:

President Obama,

My name is David Teesdale. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your historic election to the office of President of the United States of America, and upon your swift legislative victories in your first sixty days in office.

Among these victories, the economic stimulus bill, aimed, as the Congressional Budget Office states, to “boost economic activity during periods of economic weakness by increasing short-term aggregate demand.” This, the largest single government expenditure in American history, is intended to “save or create” 3.5 million jobs (your advisers only expect a 2.1 million increase in jobs), at a cost of $789 billion. This means the government is spending roughly $225,000 per job created or “saved.”

The public is poignantly aware that the government never comes in under budget. The Capitol Visitors’ Center was just completed at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., late and over budget. Ground was broken in 2000 and the project was slated to cost $71 million. Completed in late 2008, the building cost a stupefying $621 million. At this rate, the “stimulus,” programs expected to break ground in 2010-11 should begin somewhere around 2020 and should actually cost around $9 trillion.

Even if we use the conservative estimates of the Congressional Budget Office, which peg the true cost of servicing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1) at $3.27 trillion, the cost per job will ring in at $9.3 million per job.

I don’t mean– by any stretch–President Obama, to sound at all disrespectful, but this seems like a terrible waste of public tax dollars. I have the utmost regard for your desire for good stewardship of Americans’ dollars, so I have confidence you will find the following proposal much more palatable.

You’re a pretty smart guy, O. Can I call you O? Anyway, you’re pretty smart, and I am pretty smart too. I recently graduated with a degree in Political Science from Syracuse University and interned at the White House, before you took up residence there. I’m not Ivy bred, but I am strongly confident that I can create–yes, create, not save–jobs for you at a rate below $9.3 million per. In fact, I am confident that I could create jobs at a rate under one million dollars per.

In fact, O–I mean Mr. President–all I ask is to be provided with 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of the stimulus bill’s $789 billion dollar price tag. Roughly $79 million, tax-free, low-denomination, unmarked bills, preferably in little black briefcases. With this much tax money, I can assure the creation of hundreds or thousands of jobs, or I will pay back every red (no commu-puns intended) cent.

As a driven and hard working recent graduate, I feel I can bring youth and energy to the stimulus package. Even by any Keynesian measure, you’ll be getting more bang for your buck than the $600 million used on digital TV converters, $50 million for cemetery repair work, $1.7 billion for the National Parks Service, $2 billion for groups like ACORN and $300 million to fund cars for bureaucrats in the Federal government.

I assure you that the businesses that I create will be much more effective in creating lasting jobs, even if those jobs are as my housekeeper and butler (though, I will need a bigger house to accommodate more servants–which should probably cost no more than $1 million dollars–but will create one landscaping, and two housekeeping jobs at the very least). This plan is clearly what America needs right now, especially in my home city of Knoxville, TN, where unemployment is becoming a problem.

If I can’t, I won’t even ask for a bailout.

I am sure you, Mr. President, as a person who can see a great deal when it is presented to him, can see the virtue in my plan. I save the government money, I make a whole bunch of money, and I save the government further embarrassment when the public finally realizes that government cannot create wealth it can only spend it (First Law of Government Dynamics).

You may call my office (leave a message after the beep if you can’t get through, I screen calls from the ‘202’ area code) with any questions you or your 40 person economic team at Treasury may have, or if you wish to see a business model.

All the Best,
David E. Teesdale

David Teesdale, delights in poking at millions of dollars of sliced ham subsidies as part of the economic stimulus.  Comment here or contact him at david.evans.teesdale@gmail.com