Posts tagged ‘Obama’

November 21, 2011

Ron Paul and the General Election

by Eric T. Phillips

Conrad Black is optimistic about our political future. “As long as there is a candidate that can speak and tie up his shoelaces in the morning,” he writes, “I do not believe Obama can be reelected.” Further, he continues, the election of a Republican will be seen as a mandate for the party’s small government platform and for a tougher stance against Iran.

I’m not nearly as optimistic. If Ron Paul doesn’t win the nomination, there’s no reason to believe that a new Republican administration would govern any differently than any of the Republican presidents have since Eisenhower. And that means deficits, increased spending, and fake tax cuts. And more war, of course.

I do think that Black is correct that a GOP president would be tougher on Iran. Unlike him, I don’t think this is a good thing. Especially not for the cause of small government.

But there’s something else Black is missing–Ron Paul’s power to influence the race. Dr. Paul is emerging as a front runner in Iowa and New Hampshire, and if he wins either state, getting the nomination will be in the realm of possibility for him.

But even if he doesn’t win the nomination, he’ll still have an opportunity to greatly affect the general election. According to recent polls, if Paul runs as a third party candidate, he would garner around 18% of the vote. That would be the death knell for Romney, no matter how unpopular Obama is.

Now, Paul has said that he has no intention of running as a third party candidate. He hasn’t categorically ruled out the possibility, however, and once he considers the benefits of running as a Libertarian or as an Independent (ticking off a lot of the bad guys, getting much more attention, and preventing the  election of a bad Republican), I think it’s very likely he’ll take advantage of the opportunity.

Contra Black, therefore, Obama’s reelection is a very real possibility. And while that is not a cause for optimism, neither would be the election of any of the establishment Republicans.

October 27, 2011

Congress’s 2012 Workload

by Eric T. Phillips

Nancy Cordes of CBS News is worried. The House of Representatives will only have 109 workdays in 2012. That means recess days (151 weekdays) will outnumber “working” days by a 3:2 margin. The horror.

What will we do? Our ruling class will only have 109 days  next year to come up with new laws to stifle the economy, to create new layers of bureaucracy, and to bury us all in more debt.

Nonetheless, Ms. Cordes should not be concerned. Obama will certainly be busy year-round subverting Congress with new rounds executive orders. Because, as he has informed us, if Congress won’t act, he will. The Constitution be damned.

October 24, 2011

A New Cold War?

by Eric T. Phillips

The United States is an empire. Throughout the world, American troops are defending governments that have either been installed by or bought off by the United States government. At the same time, it’s seeking economic, cultural, and political dominance both inside and outside its frontiers.

As I recently wrote, President Obama’s recent decision to send special operations troops to Uganda was designed to bolster the empire’s clout in East Africa. And now that Gaddafi is dead, politically connected firms from the U.S., Britain, and France will surely cash in on reconstruction and oil contracts in Libya.

These actions are the actions any emperor looking to expand his power would take. They are strategic moves, aimed not just at African enemies, but also at China. Since 2000, Chinese investment in Africa has skyrocketed, and many in the U.S. government have grown concerned at this supposed challenge to American global hegemony. As Paul Craig Roberts argues, “Washington has revived the Great Power Game and is vying with China.” But whereas China “brings Africa investment and gifts of infrastructure, Washington sends troops, bombs and military bases.”

A new cold war with China would be another blow to the cause of liberty, as all wars, cold and hot, lead to debt, inflation, taxes, and the growth of the police state. But most government leaders live in a different world than the average American. Normal people were relieved that communism collapsed on its own and that they no longer had to worry about nuclear annihilation. But not America’s ruling class. They lamented the disappearance of the reliable bogeyman that, for decades, united Americans behind the U.S. government. It hasn’t been hard for them to find new enemies, but none of these new villains have really managed to fill the shoes of the old Soviet Empire. But if the U.S. continues on its current reckless course, the Chinese might have a chance to do just that.

October 16, 2011

Empire Building in Uganda and Beyond

by Eric T. Phillips

If you believe President Obama, he authorized military intervention in Uganda both to save women and children and to “further U.S. national security interests.” This is from a man who is vigorously prosecuting a series of wars—in which at least 100,000 innocent civilians have been killed—on countries that pose no threat to America.

The real reason Obama has sent special operations troops to the East African dictatorship—along with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid—is to reward Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for sending thousands of troops to invade Somalia on the U.S. government’s behalf. In doing so, Obama is continuing a U.S. tradition that dates back decades–bribing third world countries to fight proxy wars and to grant military access to Western troops.

Uganda forms part of the southern border of the vast theater of operations in the War on Terrorism that stretches from Sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia. For months, the Obama administration has been stepping up operations in this southern region, which encompasses the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. is currently constructing “a constellation of secret drone bases” in Ethopia, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, and the Seychelles to facilitate air attacks on targets in Somalia and Yemen. And now, with this latest move in Uganda, Obama has almost certainly ensured that he will have the Ugandan Army at his disposal in the future. Better for him to have Ugandans dying in Mogadishu than Americans.

Our president is such a humanitarian, isn’t he?

October 4, 2011

Those New Obama-Durbin Debit Card Fees

by Eric T. Phillips

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and J.P. Morgan Chase have announced that they will soon begin imposing monthly fees for the use of their debit cards. Others banks will likely follow suit.

Obviously, people are angry. And Obama is angry. This is not a good business practice, he said, “[Banks] don’t have some inherent right just to, you know, get a certain amount of profit…” (I wonder how much of a profit he thinks his government has an “inherent right” to.)

Contra Obama, banks did not just suddenly realize that they could be more greedy. There is a reason banks are imposing these fees almost all at once–the president’s own regulatory agenda. The Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law gave the Federal Reserve the power to set limits on the fees banks could charge retailers for swiping their debit cards, which will end up costing banks almost $14 billion a year.

Since all banks subject to the regulations know that their competitors are also looking for ways to recoup the new costs, they can introduce these new fees on debit cards confident that other banks will do the same.

There are two possible explanations for Obama’s reaction. The first is that he is an economic ignoramus and was genuinely surprised when the cost of a financial regulation he signed into law was passed on to consumers. Political leaders always get angry when they realize that they cannot overrule economic law. The second possibility is that Obama knew that the banks would pass the costs of his regulations on to consumers and planned all along to jump on the opportunity to blame them for the fee increases.

Incompetent or Machiavellian…why is it always so hard to tell the difference between the two?

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