I have always loved Tom Sowell. First, because he is smart and articulate, second because he is smart and articulate, third because he is smart and articulate. Understand why I like Tom Sowell?
Well here are some more reasons. He is a Black Conservative and his success stands as testimony to the fact, anyone can succeed in this nation if they apply themselves, are willing to pay the price of getting a serious education and are willing to act responsibly.
And then of course Tom Sowell is smart and articulate.
The only problem is that Tom Sowell did not write this some person in Knoxville, Tenn. did who used a Sowell quote at the end of it. But it's still a great letter. (See 1 below.)
There will be a lot of predictions regarding Obama's chances for re-election between now and the time he is hopefully run out of town. I thought this article particularly insightful.
By any rational stretch of the imagination, Obama should be defeated for the obvious reasons Sowell articulates as well as the fact that most are not better off than they were when he was elected. If they were, why are they parading around the country expecting the 1% 'filthy rich' to wipe their noses?
Blacks are even much worse off but they are slaves to the Democrat Party and like Liberal Jews don't seem to know better.
Certainly the nation is dispirited and part of the reason is that Obama has been hard at work dividing us on the planned premise that is the way to conquer. Hopefully,that strategy should backfire because Americans have a habit of being optimistic. Otherwise we would never have discovered the West.
Finally, we should have gotten past the need to rid ourselves of self-imposed guilt now that we actually elected a Black to become President. We did and have paid an enormous price just as many cities have for electing Black mayors who, like Obama, were incapable of managing. My home town of Birmingham being the latest example.
But, as the article points out the best thing going for Obama is the Republican's ability to shoot themselves in the foot.
It could be that Republicans will nominate Gingrich on the premise he will destroy Obama in a free and open debate assuming Newt can catch up with Obama who will be running away holding onto his teleprompter. That is not a reason to nominate a person for the presidency because once the debates are over they have to govern and we have a bunch of problems that are going to demand a lot of sucking up time. That is not to say Newt is not up to the task.
If Republicans nominate Romney their own enthusiasm is likely to wane and what will motivate them is their burning desire to rid the nation of Obama. That could work but it is not the safest bet. As for Romney, he is capable for sure but is he tough and inspiring enough to lead us to the water and then whack us over the head if we do not drink? Don't think so.
Newt is so full of self confidence he probably believes he could poison the water and would still be able to make us drink.
The other Republican candidates have endearing qualities but not enough weight, though Huntsman is probably a diamond in the rough. (See 2 below.)
Meanwhile, I doubt the world will stand still so we can get our election angst out of our craw. So in the end, events we cannot control or might have somewhat better, had Obama not kept punting, will have a lot to say about what happens. I am confident of that more than anything else.
The rotund Governor of New Jersey really asked the right question when, speaking of Obama, he asked :'What the hell has he been doing to earn his salary? ' (See 2a and 2b below.)
1) Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930) is an American economist, social
theorist, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities
Medal winner, he advocates laissez-faire economics and writes from a
libertarian perspective. He is currently a Rose and Milton Friedman
Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford
University. Sowell was born in North Carolina, but grew up in Harlem,
New York. He dropped out of high school, and served in the United
States Marine Corps during the Korean War. He had received a
bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1958 and a master's
degree from Columbia University in 1959. In 1968, he earned his
doctorate degree in economics from the University of Chicago. Dr.
Sowell has served on the faculties of several universities, including
Cornell and University of California, Los Angeles, and worked for
"think tanks" such as the Urban Institute. Since 1980 he has worked at
the Hoover Institution. He is the author of more than 30 books.
Subject: Sowell on the Occupiers
The current Occupy Wall Street movement is the best illustration to
date of what President Barack Obama's America looks like. It is an
America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent
rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage
and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly.
It is an America where history is rewritten to honor dictators,
murderers and thieves. It is an America where violence, racism,
hatred, class warfare and murder are all promoted as acceptable means
of overturning the American civil society.
It is an America where humans have been degraded to the level of
animals: defecating in public, having sex in public, devoid of basic
hygiene. It is an America where the basic tenets of a civil society,
including faith, family, a free press and individual rights, have been
rejected. It is an America where our founding documents have been
shredded and, with them, every person's guaranteed liberties.
It is an America where, ultimately, great suffering will come to the
American people, but the rulers like Obama, Michelle Obama, Harry
Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Jesse
Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, liberal college professors, union bosses and
other loyal liberal/Communist Party members will live in opulent
It is the America that Obama and the Democratic Party have created
with the willing assistance of the American media, Hollywood, unions,
universities, the Communist Party of America, the Black Panthers and
numerous anti-American foreign entities.
Barack Obama has brought more destruction upon this country in four
years than any other event in the history of our nation, but it is
just the beginning of what he and his comrades are capable of.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is just another step in their plan for
the annihilation of America.
"Socialism, in general, has a record of failure so blatant that only
an intellectual could ignore or evade it."
2)The smartest guy you’ve never heard of
By Rachelle Cohen
An older fellow with a craggy New Hampshire face turns toward the camera and says, “Why haven’t we heard of this guy?”
The “guy” in question is Republican presidential contender Jon Huntsman — a former governor of Utah, a former U.S. ambassador to China — who finally this week hit double digits in a poll of likely voters in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary.
While one loser after another has somehow captured the hearts of GOP voters — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain — the hands-down smartest kid in the class struggles for traction.
“We’ve got some real issues to discuss, not the latest bimbo eruption,” he said yesterday of the ongoing Cain scandals that have managed once again to suck all the oxygen out of the room.
Monday Huntsman introduced a financial plan aimed at cutting the nation’s biggest banks and financial institutions down to size so that they are no longer “too big to fail” and, therefore, would never again become a burden on the American taxpayer.
“There will be no more bailouts in this country,” he said, because taxpayers won’t put up with that kind of strategy again. “I would impose a fee [on the banks] to protect the taxpayers until the banks right-size themselves.”
The strategy, of course, is likely to be music to the ears of anyone who despised not just the bailouts but those proposed Bank of America debit card fees. And, of course, it gives Huntsman a good opening to make a punching bag of Mitt Romney.
“If you’re raising money from the big banks and financial institutions, you’re never going to get it done,” he said, adding, “Mitt Romney is in the hip pocket of Wall Street.” Lest there be any doubt about his meaning.
But it’s on foreign policy that Huntsman — who served not only in China and Singapore but as a deputy U.S. trade representative with a special role in Asia — excels, and not just because he’s fluent in Mandarin.
This is the guy anyone would feel comfortable having answer that proverbial 3 a.m. phone call Hillary Clinton once talked about.
On Afghanistan: “We’ve been at it for 10 years,” during which the U.S. “uprooted the Taliban,” secured free elections and “up-ended al-Qaeda. We don’t need to nation-build in Afghanistan; we need to nation-build at home.”
On Pakistan: “This is a transactional relationship . . . We have to tie future aid money to our immediate needs” including maintaining our drone bases and intelligence gathering.
On Iran: “If you can’t live with a nuclear Iran — and that’s where I come down,” he said, then all options have to be on the table.
Wonky? Sure, but in a spontaneous, unprogrammed way. No handler ever put words in this guy’s mouth. Which indeed gets back to that original question: Why haven’t we heard of this guy? And isn’t it time we did.
Rachelle Cohen is editor of the editorial pages.
2a)Please, Mr. President
By LEON G. COOPERMAN
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
It is with a great sense of disappointment that I write this. Like many others, I hoped that your election would bring a salutary change of direction to the country, despite what more than a few feared was an overly aggressive social agenda. And I cannot credibly blame you for the economic mess that you inherited, even if the policy response on your watch has been profligate and largely ineffectual. (You did not, after all, invent TARP.) I understand that when surrounded by cries of “the end of the world as we know it is nigh,” even the strongest of minds may have a tendency to shoot first and aim later in a well-intended effort to stave off the predicted apocalypse.
But what I can justifiably hold you accountable for is your and your minions’ role in setting the tenor of the rancorous debate now roiling us that smacks of what so many have characterized as “class warfare.” Whether this reflects your principled belief that the eternal divide between the haves and have-nots is at the root of all the evils that afflict our society or just a cynical, populist appeal to his base by a president struggling in the polls is of little importance.
What does matter is that the divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them. It is a gulf that is at once counterproductive and freighted with dangerous historical precedents. And it is an approach to governing that owes more to desperate demagoguery than your administration should feel comfortable with.
Just to be clear, while I have been richly rewarded by a life of hard work (and a great deal of luck), I was not to-the-manor-born. My father was a plumber who practiced his trade in the South Bronx after he and my mother emigrated from Poland. I was the first member of my family to earn a college degree. I benefited from both a good public education system (PS 75, Morris High School and Hunter College, all in The Bronx) and my parents’ constant prodding.
When I joined Goldman Sachs following graduation from Columbia University’s business school, I had no money in the bank, a negative net worth, a National Defense Education Act student loan to repay and a six-month-old child (not to mention his mother, my wife of now 47 years) to support.
I had a successful, near-25-year run at Goldman, which I left 20 years ago to start a private investment firm. As a result of my good fortune, I have been able to give away to those less blessed far more than I have spent on myself and my family over a lifetime, and last year I subscribed to Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge to ensure that my money, properly stewarded, continues to do some good after I’m gone.
My story is anything but unique. I know many people who are similarly situated, by both humble family history and hard-won accomplishment, whose greatest joy in life is to use their resources to sustain their communities. Some have achieved a level of wealth where philanthropy is no longer a by-product of their work but its primary impetus. This is as it should be. We feel privileged to be in a position to give back, and we do. My parents would have expected nothing less of me.
I am not, by training or disposition, a policy wonk, polemicist or pamphleteer. I confess admiration for those who, with greater clarity of expression and command of the relevant statistical details, make these same points with more eloquence and authoritativeness than I can hope to muster.
But as a taxpaying businessman with a weekly payroll to meet and more than a passing familiarity with the ways of both Wall Street and Washington, I do feel justified in asking you: Is the tone of the current debate really constructive?
People of differing political persuasions can (and do) reasonably argue about whether, and how high, tax rates should be hiked for upper-income earners; whether the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended or permitted to expire, and for whom; whether various deductions and exclusions under the federal tax code that benefit principally the wealthy and multinational corporations should be curtailed or eliminated; whether unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut should be extended; whether the burdens of paying for the nation’s bloated entitlement programs are being fairly spread around, and whether those programs themselves should be reconfigured in light of current and projected budgetary constraints; whether financial institutions deemed “too big to fail” should be serially bailed out or broken up first, like an earlier era’s trusts, because they pose a systemic risk and their size benefits no one but their owners; whether the solution to what ails us as a nation is an amalgam of more regulation, wealth redistribution, and a greater concentration of power in a central government that has proven no more (I’m being charitable here) adept than the private sector in reining in the excesses that brought us to this pass — the list goes on and on, and the dialectic is admirably American.
Even though, as a high-income taxpayer, I might be considered one of its targets, I find this reassessment of so many entrenched economic premises healthy and long overdue. Anyone who could survey today’s challenging fiscal landscape — with an un- and underemployment rate of nearly 20 percent and roughly 40 percent of the country on public assistance — and not acknowledge an imperative for change is either heartless, brainless or running for office on a very parochial agenda. And if I end up paying more taxes as a result, so be it. The alternatives are all worse.
But what I do find objectionable is the highly politicized idiom in which this debate is being conducted. Now, I am not naive. I understand that in today’s America, this is how the business of governing typically gets done — a situation that, given the gravity of our problems, is as deplorable as it is seemingly ineluctable. But as president first and foremost and leader of your party second, you should endeavor to rise above the partisan fray and raise the level of discourse to one that is both more civil and more conciliatory, that seeks collaboration over confrontation. That is what “leading by example” means to most people.
Capitalism is not the source of our problems, as an economy or as a society, and capitalists are not the scourge that they are too often made out to be. As a group, we employ many millions of taxpaying people, pay their salaries, provide them with health-care coverage, start new companies, found new industries, create new products, fill store shelves at Christmas and keep the wheels of commerce and progress (and indeed of government, by generating the income whose taxation funds it) moving.
To frame the debate as one of rich-and-entitled versus poor-and-dispossessed is to both miss the point and further inflame an already incendiary environment. It is also a naked, political pander to some of the basest human emotions — a strategy, as history teaches, that never ends well for anyone but totalitarians and anarchists.
With due respect, Mr. President, it’s time for you to throttle-down the partisan rhetoric and appeal to people’s better instincts, not their worst. Rather than assume that the wealthy are a monolithic, selfish and unfeeling lot who must be subjugated by the force of the state, set a tone that encourages people of good will to meet in the middle.
When you were a community organizer in Chicago, you learned the art of waging a guerilla campaign against a far superior force. But you’ve graduated from that milieu and now help to set the agenda for that superior force. You might do well at this point to eschew the polarizing vernacular of political militancy and become the transcendent leader you were elected to be.
You are likely to be far more effective, and history is likely to treat you far more kindly for it.
Leon G. Cooperman
C.F.A. Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Omega Advisors, Inc.
Wall Street Plaza
88 Pine Street, 31 st Floor
New York, New York 10005
2b)Obama's 2012 Chances and Democratic Demographic Dreaming
By Sean Trende
The latest report from Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin of the progressive Center for American Progress contains a thoughtful examination of President Obama's re-election chances. There's an awful lot packed into the 60 pages of text, but the basic thrust is as follows: We should expect the non-white share of the electorate to grow at least 2 percent from the 2008 election, padding Obama's base line. If he can hold serve among either the white working class or college-educated whites, he should be able to pull out a victory, even amid troubled economic times.
In truth, the report is substantially less bullish on Obama's re-election chances than some of the articles analyzing it have suggested. It acknowledges the president has a “tight needle to thread” and “Americans will be open to replacing President Obama with an even-tempered, nonthreatening GOP leader focused on the economy.” In other words, the triumphalism of Teixeira’s “Emerging Democratic Majority” argument of the early 2000s is decidedly tempered throughout the report, and with good reason. After all, the GOP just won its second-largest share of seats in the House of Representatives since 1928, with an electorate that had the second-smallest share of non-Hispanic white voters in history. In retrospect, those repeated “last gasps” of the GOP coalition (1994, 2002, 2004, 2010) look a lot more like “steady breathing.”
But the optimistic tones in Teixeira and Halpin’s piece need to be tempered even further. The “demographics versus economics” debate that Teixeira and Halpin suggest will determine the outcome of the next election isn’t a 50-50 proposition. It is weighted heavily toward the economics side, and I think it’s unlikely that demographics will save the president. There are three critical observations here:
1. The minority population may not grow substantially from 2008 through 2012.
Probably the central feature of the Teixeira/Halpin argument is that the non white share of the electorate should have grown 2 percent by 2012, reducing the white share of the electorate to 72 percent (for simplicity’s sake, I’ll shorten “non-Hispanic whites” to “whites”). This is certainly possible, as the white share of the electorate has contracted by 2 percent, on average, in every presidential election since 1980.
But it hasn’t been a straight line. In 1992, the white share of the electorate actually increased by 2 percent, in response to H. Ross Perot’s candidacy and the economic contraction. In 2004, the white share of the electorate declined by 4 percent, in part due to the growth of the Latino population.
So why might we expect the demographic changes in the electorate to be more like 1992 than 2004? First, the Latino share of the electorate has actually remained stagnant for much of the past decade. In 2004, Latino voters comprised 8.24 percent of the electorate. In 2006, they were 7.94 percent of the electorate. In 2008, they were 8.38 percent of the electorate. In 2010, they were once again around 8 percent. In other words, for a variety of reasons, the surge in Latino population has not translated into a surge in Latino voting power (and remember, there was a huge registration and get-out-the-vote drive in 2008 among Latinos, both in the primaries and the general election).
And while the headline from the release of the decennial census was the surge in the Latino share of the populace, the lesser-known truth is that Latino immigration has largely stopped over the past several years. It may have even reversed. There are multiple reasons for this, including the United States’ deep recession and slow recovery, as well as the continued modernization of the Mexican economy. In other words, to the extent that Latino immigration is what accounts for the increase in the Latino share of the electorate from 1992 through 2004, we should not expect it to do so from 2008 through 2012.
But while the Latino share of the electorate was stable from 2004 to 2008, the white share of the electorate nevertheless decreased. Why would this be? The answer is simple: The increase in the non-white share of the electorate from 2004 to 2008 was largely driven by a surge in African-American voters. The African-American share of the electorate is typically between 9 and 11 percent. In 2008, it was 13 percent, by far the largest vote share in history.
The problem for the president is that he has probably maxed out among these voters -- the African-American share of the electorate in 2008 was about 10 percent more than their share of the population as a whole. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of African-American voters declined somewhat in 2012. This isn’t because African-Americans are disappointed in Obama -- his approval among African-American voters remains stratospheric -- but rather because it will probably be much more difficult to energize marginal African-American voters with the prospect of re-electing the first black president than it was to energize them with the idea of electing the first black president.
But the bottom line is that we should be very surprised if the African-American share of the electorate increases further from 2008 to 2012. We likewise have good reason to believe the Latino share of the electorate will remain stable. This suggests a pretty strong argument that the minority share of the electorate will be roughly the same in 2012 as it was in 2008, and a decent argument that it might contract somewhat.
(2) Obama will have a difficult time winning either white working-class voters or upscale whites.
Even if the non-white share of the electorate does increase by an additional two points in 2012, Obama still faces an additional hurdle. As Teixeira and Halpin suggest, Obama cannot afford to lose white voters at the same rate Democrats lost them in 2010. In other words, he must hold serve among either upscale whites or downscale whites if he hopes to win.
But keeping the margin close, much less winning, among either group will be difficult. Remember, Obama enjoys a low-to-mid-40s approval rating right now for one reason: He maintains an approval above 80 percent among African-Americans. Among whites, it is a mere 33 percent. At that level, there are almost by definition very, very few subgroups of whites who approve of the job the president is doing.
So when we see, for example, that Obama’s job approval among all adults making more than $7,500 a month is 40 percent, we can probably imagine that his overall approval among upscale whites is a few points lower than that. His job approval among adults making $2,000-$7,500 a month is not much different, and his job approval among adults with “some college” or a “high school diploma or less” is also in the low 40s. Once again, we can pretty safely assume that his job approval among whites in those categories is somewhat lower.
In other words, Obama doesn’t just have some “tidying up” to do among various white groups. He has to either improve his image there by about a point a month over the next 11 months, or hope for a Republican nominee so unacceptable to the overall populace that Obama can convince a substantial number of voters who disapprove of him to nevertheless cast ballots for him. Right now, the latter looks much more likely than the former.
(3) Winning minority voters and white voters is something of a zero-sum game.
In a little more than a month, my book, “The Lost Majority,” hits the stands. The central argument of the book is that the famous permanent Republican and Democratic majorities that many commentators foresaw emerging in the 2000s were mirages, precisely because long-term, permanent majorities are almost always impossible in this country.
There are myriad reasons for this, but two are of particular importance here. First, as new issues emerge, the party that is in power will inevitably have to choose winners and losers on these issues from among its coalition. This is even more pronounced in a time of economic stagnation, when the question isn’t “who gets the new slices of pie?” but rather “who is going to have to give up their share of the pie?” Second, the party that is out of power will adapt, and will chase after groups that the other party either takes for granted or ignores.
So, for instance, Obama can try to shore up his support among Latino voters by embracing immigration reform and combating Arizona’s profiling law. But in doing so, he risks alienating white working-class voters and, to a lesser extent, upscale white voters. In fact, this is precisely what happened in Arizona in 2010. Jan Brewer won the state by three points more than John McCain, despite running about 13 points behind McCain among Latino voters. She more than made up for this decline among Latinos by increasing her share among whites (who are still three-quarters of the Arizona electorate) by three points. The idea that there is a zero-sum game at work here is an inherent assumption underlying the argument that Obama has to choose between a “Colorado strategy” focusing on upscale whites, or an “Ohio strategy” focusing on downscale whites.
To be clear, if Republicans win total control of the government in 2012, they’ll have to make similar tough choices. Holding together a party composed of semi-secular soccer moms in Loudoun County, Va., evangelical attorneys in Edmond, Okla., and Catholic auto workers in Youngstown, Ohio, is almost as difficult as holding together a coalition of blacks, Latinos, working-class whites, suburbanites and urban liberals. These types of difficulties run throughout history, and they help explain why parties almost never win the popular vote more than three times in a row.
But for now, Obama is the president. The state of the economy, as well as policy choices made early in his term, are forcing him to pick winners and losers among his 2008 electoral coalition. Republicans will craft their 2012 message based in large part around the choices he makes. Barring a gift from the Republicans in the form of their nominee -- and this is something we absolutely should not rule out -- the president will likely have a very difficult time holding it together.