Election 2016: Mitt Isn’t Ready to Call It Quits
**Posted by Phineas
The War on Poverty was launched in 1964 under Lyndon Johnson with the best of intentions: through massive spending and extensive welfare programs, the government would eradicate poverty in America and make people self-sufficient. Like I said, a worthy goal.
It has also been an utter failure. In 1964 we declared war on poverty, and poverty won.
As the chart above shows, poverty was in deep, rapid decline in America after World War II without any government help, just the natural processes of a growing, prosperous economy. It looked well on its way to elimination, perhaps. Then, in the mid to late-60s, it leveled off and, save for an occasional bump up, has stayed right around fifteen percent.What happened?
In 1964, with the start of the War on Poverty, progressives and other economically illiterate do-gooders wound up trapping people in poverty, rather than helping them out of it. As Robert Rector at The Signal writes:
Johnson did not intend to put more Americans on the dole (1). Instead, he explicitly sought to reduce the future need for welfare by making lower-income Americans productive and self-sufficient.
By this standard, the War on Poverty has been a catastrophic failure. After spending more than $20 trillion on Johnson’s war, many Americans are less capable of self-support than when the war began. This lack of progress is, in a major part, due to the welfare system itself. Welfare breaks down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance, especially those of marriage and work. It thereby generates a pattern of increasing inter-generational dependence. The welfare state is self-perpetuating: By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater assistance in the future. Reforms should focus on these programs’ incentive structure to point the way toward self-sufficiency. One step is communicating that the poverty rate is better understood as self-sufficiency rate—that is, we should measure how many Americans can take care of themselves and their families.
What was it Ronald Reagan said?
“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”
One would think that, faced with all the mounds of evidence that government programs don’t lift people out of poverty, Progressives, who claim to be devoted to “progress,” would see the war on poverty has been a failure and that the programs should be reformed or discontinued and something else tried, something like less government intervention.
But, no. Few ever will be that honest, because to say government failed to reorder society as desired would be to admit that the central tenet of progressivism, a faith in the power of technocrats to manage a vastly complex society, was wrong.
Meanwhile, that core 15% remains trapped in poverty, addicted to government “crack” and walking a road paved with good intentions.
PS: Note the sharp climb back up to 15% at the end of that chart. It starts soon after the Democrats take over Congress in 2006 and undo the 1990s Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform, then accelerates under Obama. Coincidence? I think not.
RELATED: Cato economist Dan Mitchell has often written on the same topic. Here’s a post he wrote on the failures of the War on Poverty and another on the “redistribution trap.” That latter is must-reading.
(1) Many criticize that assertion, with some justification. See for example Kevin Williamson’s “The Dependency Agenda.”
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The shameful judicial advocacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been making the media rounds and the Internet is eating it up. After telling Yahoo News the five men on the court have a “blind spot” when it comes to discrimination against women, she turned around and told the Associated Press they’ll just have to live and learn.
The five conservative justices recently ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. that closely held for-profit companies may refuse to cover women’s contraceptives for religious reasons. Ginsburg was joined by the two other women on the court as well as liberal Justice Stephen Breyer in a dissenting opinion, which held that leaving it to companies to decide what sorts of health coverage a woman may use amounted to a form of discrimination.
Asked about the decision by the AP on Thursday, Ginsburg suggested the five male justices simply didn’t know better. “I have no doubt that if the court had been composed of nine women the result would have been different in Hobby Lobby,” she said. But, she added, she hasn’t entirely lost hope for the men in the court’s majority opinion: “As long as one lives, one can learn.”
Here’s the shorter version of what Ginsburg has said all along about the ruling on Hobby Lobby, including her dissent on the case: The United States Supreme Court should consider gender before the Constitution when deciding which way to rule on any given case where there is a perception that women could potentially be impacted. Furthermore, implicit in her public reaction and dissatisfaction with the majority opinion is the insinuation that the five “conservative” (hilarious that National Journal considers Justice Kennedy a “conservative”!) Justices ruled that way because they’re men - full stop, and that a court of all women would have (and should have) taken gender into account and ruled primarily on emotion rather than basing their opinion solely on the Constitution. And here you thought it was misogynistic for anyone to suggest women allow their sex and emotion to dictate their decisions rather than logic and fact and, in this case, the law! Silly rabbit.
I respect the position of SCOTUS Justice, and I respect the years Ginsburg has been on the bench. It’s cute that she and Justice Scalia are reportedly “close friends” in spite of their obvious ideological differences. However, none of that changes the fact that she has crossed a serious line here in suggesting in so many words that the men on the court are, well, just being men and that a majority of women on the court would have and should have ruled differently based more on the sideline emotional aspects rather than Constitutional law. She’ll get by with it, of course, without much criticism from the Usual Suspects™ who would have, I should note, flipped their lids at this point if any of the so-called “conservative” male Justices on the Supreme Court had even remotely suggested after a court ruling that the women on the court were, you know, just being women.
Move along here, business as usual, and all that …
Maybe not exactly what you wanted to know about the Vice President, but we need a little “lighter side” news these days, and this story is a perfect fit:
It’s the Joe Biden you didn’t know — and might not want to see.
Secret Service agents dread being assigned to protect the vice president, in part because Biden’s a big fan of skinny dipping, according to a new tell-all book.
In “The First Family Detail,” author Ronald Kessler quotes unnamed Secret Service agents dishing about the supposedly “hidden lives” of Presidents and the other important people they protect.
Biden is portrayed as being more interested in coming off as a “regular Joe” than being potentially responsible for the nation’s nuclear codes.
Not to mention he’s a guy who apparently doesn’t have a problem getting naked.
“Agents say that, whether at the vice president’s residence or at his home in Delaware, Biden has a habit of swimming in his pool nude,” Kessler writes.
“Female Secret Service agents find that offensive.”
Between Biden’s “lack of consideration as evidenced by” his naked aquatics and his supposedly incessant last-minute schedule changes, “being assigned to his detail is considered the second worst assignment in the Secret Service,” Kessler writes.
Coming in at No. 1, per Kessler: Protecting Hillary Clinton.
While news of Biden’s alleged swims in the buff is a bit shocking, Hillary’s being difficult for the Secret Service to handle, well – let’s just say there are no surprises there ….
I know 2016 Senate races are way off but this, my dear readers, is tantalizing for those of us whose top five Senate priorities include either politically neutralizing Reid or ousting him from office completely via the ballot box:
Gov. Brian Sandoval leads Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid by 10 percentage points in a hypothetical 2016 U.S. Senate matchup, according to a new poll that represents the first public release of results in this potential race.
The survey, conducted by Harper Polling earlier this week, also shows, as other surveys do, Sandoval cruising to re-election (56-34) over Bob Goodman. The robo-survey of 602 statewide voters has a margin of error of 4 percent.
Sandoval crushes Reid among independents, 65-28. Reid’s 55 percent unfavorable rating is all but fatal — you know, just as it was in 2010.
There is a lot of other data in the survey, which pollster Brock McCleary said he paid for himself, likely as an entree into Nevada to try to get business. The numbers, demographics (43-37 Dem/GOP, 53-47 female/male) generally look solid, although Sandoval’s unfavorable number (30 percent) seems a tad high (although possible). Harper is a former GOP operative on Capitol Hill, running the polling operation for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Intriguing, to say the least, but as Andrew Johnson at National Review notes, Reid looked pretty vulnerable in 2010 but ended up winning by 6 points over GOP nominee Sharron Angle. So who knows?
No matter who the eventual nominee ends up being, look for Reid, a Senator since 1987, to play all his usual dirty tricks and pull out all the stops, maneuvering the state political system to suit his own ends. Typical of a paranoid entrenched liberal politico who can’t win the conventional way, you know, by earning (rather than BUYING) votes.
WASHINGTON (Gannett Washington Bureau/Mary Troyan) – The special House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi will hold its first public hearing in September about changes the State Department has made to better protect diplomats, Rep. Trey Gowdy said Wednesday.
Gowdy, the committee’s Republican chairman, also said the panel is gaining access to witnesses that didn’t participate in previous congressional investigations into the attacks.
“I know I’m biased, but one of the good parts about running an investigation in a way that appears to be serious-minded is that witnesses who were previously unavailable or not interested in cooperating are now interested in cooperating,” Gowdy said. “The universe of witnesses is expanding.”
U.S. House lawmakers created the committee in May to review the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks that killed four Americans in eastern Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Several previous congressional investigations have looked at security lapses and intelligence failures related to the attacks, along with the military’s response and whether President Barack Obama’s administration initially downplayed the incident for political reasons.
Gowdy, in an interview Tuesday, said the panel is not scheduled to meet during the August congressional recess, but committee lawyers and investigators will be working.
In a notable departure from other House committees that battled with the administration over Benghazi investigations, Gowdy said he is “encouraged” by responses to his panel’s requests for additional documents.
“There is no substitute for sitting down and me sharing my expectations and them telling me their concerns or what their frustrations in the past have been,” Gowdy said. “I’m not looking for the fight or the story. I just want the documents. It’s been easy so far.”
The September hearing will focus on about 24 recommendations issued in December 2012 by the independent Accountability Review Board, which investigated the State Department’s actions before, during and after the attacks. The board was led by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Their report blamed “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department” for “grossly inadequate” security.
Gowdy, a former prosecutor, is famously pit-bullish when he’s not getting the information he seeks. Let’s hope he’s just as unrelenting when these Benghazi hearings start. The family members of the four victims of the Benghazi murders have been invited to attend, and they deserve answers.
Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee argued Wednesday the Republican effort to sue President Obama is nothing but a veiled attempt to impeach him — something Democrats never did to President George W. Bush:
I ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is in fact a veiled attempt at impeachment and it undermines the law that allows a president to do his job. A historical fact: President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.
Except former Rep. Dennis Kucinich did actually introduce a bill to impeach Bush in 2008 — and Jackson Lee actually was a co-sponsor to the legislation.
Here’s the text of H. Res. 1258: “Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors.” You can see who all the co-sponsors were here. Rep. Jackson Lee was indeed one of them.
Facts are pesky little things, aren’t they?
Update – 10:16 AM:
Sheila Jackson Lee's office tells me she "misspoke" when she said Dems never tried to impeach Bush. (She co-sponsored the impeachment bill.)
— Chris Moody (@moody) July 31, 2014
“Misspoke”? That was the whole purpose of her rant! You can’t make this stuff up. LOL.
Via Fox News:
House Republicans have dug up emails from Lois Lerner in which the former IRS official refers to some in the Republican Party as “—holes” and “crazies” – an exchange they say shows her “animus” toward conservatives.
The November 2012 emails were released Wednesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., as part of his renewed call for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate. Lerner is the ex-IRS official who led the unit accused of targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny.
In the email exchange, Lerner appears to be chatting with another unidentified individual about a vacation in Great Britain. She describes how she overheard “some ladies” talking about how America is “going down the tubes.”
The person she tells this to responds that “you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
Lerner responds: “Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many —holes.”
After another email to her about how “rabid” the radio show callers are, Lerner responds: “So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. (sic) It’s our own crazies that will take us down.”
The emails are being used by Camp to make the case that Lerner had a bias against conservatives – something congressional Republicans have long suggested as they push for the Justice Department to get more involved in reviewing the IRS scandal, and Lerner herself.
This is not exactly a surprising revelation, but my thought – and lemme know if you agree – is that the real “a**holes” and “crazies” out there are the ones who grossly abuse their positions of power in government in order to unlawfully target one political ideology over another. Maybe that’s just me …
**Posted by Phineas
Federal senators deal with issues of national and international importance, including matters of war and peace, and overall national security. You would think, then, that someone wishing to ascend to the Senate would at least know the basics about a game-changing weapon wielded by one of our key allies, who happens to be in a shooting war.
That is, until you meet Kentucky Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes:
As foreign policy inches its way into a debate that has largely focused on the economy, Grimes was asked about congressional efforts to aid Israel’s missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome.
“Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself,” Grimes said. “But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.
Iron Dome — as normal, intelligent folks such as you, Dear Readers, can probably tell without needing the above highlighting — is a missile-defense system. It is designed to shoot down things flying through the air: incoming tactical rockets with only minutes or seconds to spare, and it does an amazingly good job at it. One thing it does not do is stop things tunneling under the ground, jihadis or even gophers.
Someone should explain these tricky technical details to Ms. Grimes.
Grimes is hoping to defeat Mitch McConnell and capture his seat for the Democrats, and it’s a tight race. While McConnell hasn’t been one of my favorite senators, he also doesn’t give me the gas that he gives many of my fellow Righties. Regardless of one’s opinion of him, though, I think we can agree that it’s important that his seat be kept in Republican hands, for the Republic.
Even against a defense wiz like Allison Lundergan Grimes.
via Jim Geraghty
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
LOL – talk about trying to distance yourself as far from our celebrity Prez as possible! Via The Hill:
West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant declined to say Tuesday whether she supports President Obama.
Asked if she would still campaign for the president, Tennant said, “I’m not sure I’d be,” before adding, “And he’s not on the ballot.”
Pressed on the issue, she said, “This is about me and Shelly Moore Capito and about West Virginia, because I don’t answer to the president.”
Tennant has distanced herself from Obama, who is not popular in West Virginia. She has particularly played up her disagreement with the president on coal, launching an ad this week, where she flips a switch turning lights off on the White House to protest its coal policies.
Tennant, West Virginia’s Secretary of State, is not unlike Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), who also is trying his best to make himself into the more “anti-Obama” candidate than his GOP opponent – WV state Sen. Evan Jenkins. Rahall was quoted earlier this year as saying, “I probably have supported George Bush more than I have Barack Obama.”
Tennant has made waves this week by releasing an ad in which she symbolically “shuts off power” to the White House, in an effort to show her support for the coal industry.