Hugh Jidette

November 21, 2010

A new viral campaign led by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation is making its way across the internet and on television. It features a mock presidential candidate named “Hugh Jidette” and is a satire of the mounting debt our country is accumulating because of politicians and their spending.

Here is the website. Below is one of the mock campaign videos:

Most politicians are for racking up our debt. The only difference here is that at least he’s honest.

The Upside to Gridlock

November 7, 2010

With the House of Representatives soon to be under Republican control, the government will be divided. The two parties, divergent as they are on ideological grounds, will likely not compromise on much. Such leads to a situation often derided as “gridlock.”

Those on the left, right and in the middle opposed to such gridlock say it is not good for our country. They argue that it means nothing will get done. But given the amount of things done over the years that have added to our massive debt, there may be something to be said for government not doing anything.

Republicans may argue that this gridlock is not acceptable. Their argument is that they must gain the Senate and the presidency in 2012. Then, they can go through with their agenda. It’s an agenda they claim, as they have done before with no significant results, will mean an end to wasteful government spending and a reduction in both the size of our government and its debt. But many of those same Republicans, when asked over the last week since the elections, have been hard pressed to spell out what they specifically would cut to make a significant dent in the debt. All too often they have resorted to the old “cut discretionary spending” mantra. The problem with that is, discretionary spending only makes up a small portion of overall federal spending.

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Words for the Weekend – 11-5-10

November 5, 2010

“Republicans campaign like Libertarians and govern like Democrats.”

                             — Harry Browne

Words for the Weekend – 10-29-10

October 29, 2010

Noah Webster

“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, ‘just men who will rule in the fear of God.’ The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be sqandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.”   — Noah Webster

Poll: Obama on Voter Fear and Irrationality

October 25, 2010

President Obama recently said the following:

Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country’s scared.

In light of these comments (more detailed report on them here), here is a poll:

Obama: Americans are Scared, Dumb

October 21, 2010

Why is this election cycle so controversial and heated? President Obama, in his infinite wisdom, has an answer:

Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country’s scared.

Translation for us lowly voters: We’re dumb. This, unfortunately, is an all-too-often excuse for failure used by those who still believe they are wiser than most other people. It’s also a fairly common sentiment from progressives with a lot of formal education and little real-world experience.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=obama+fundraiser&iid=9954900″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”176″ /]Imagine the type of arrogance it takes to claim that those who oppose you oppose you because their mental faculties are essentially compromised; they don’t want to listen to facts and science. If only they were to be guided by your rational arguments and adherence to facts, they would support you and your wise policies.

Professor Obama went on to note that the job of his political party was to “break through the fear and the frustration people are feeling.” Another translation: We need to make them comes to their senses.

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Words for the Weekend – 10-15-10

October 15, 2010

“Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.”

                                         — Oscar Ameringer

Tweaking the Voting Method Again

July 20, 2010

The 17th amendment to the U.S. Constitution effectively weakened the power of states, and now another proposal would further alter the nation’s founding document to favor the pure majority.

The 17th amendment changed the selection of U.S. Senators from a state legislature decision to a popular election. Many argue that this change tipped the careful balance the framers sought between the federal and state governments too far away from the states.

Similarly, another tweak that would bypass the amendment process would change the election of president to reflect the popular majority as opposed to the electoral college system of basing votes for president on the state voters’ majority opinion. A OneNewsNow story details the plan:

A group called National Popular Vote (NPV) is pushing state legislatures to enter into a compact that calls for them to allocate their electoral votes in a particular presidential election to the candidate who gets the most votes nationwide rather than to the contender who gets the most votes in their state. NPV argues that the legislation “would reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote reflects the choice of the nation’s voters” for president.

It will be interesting to see where this proposal goes. If successful, it will make voting for all elected federal government offices based on popular opinion. There are arguments pro and con to this.

Bad ‘Results’

May 1, 2010

In the run-up to the 2010 mid-term elections, Democrats have found a new slogan they hope will keep them in office. They, according to DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, are branding themselves the “party of results.” Here is a sample of the new sales pitch.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=tim+kaine&iid=3471921″ src=”2/9/7/5/48.JPG?adImageId=12707187&imageId=3471921″ width=”125″ height=”182″ /] Going further to lay on the meaningless political rhetoric, he claimed that “Americans will reward results rather than obstruction.” What results, exactly? Perhaps the recession that nearly became a depression (according to many politicians), bailouts, stimulus, health-care “reform” and a host of other budget-busting measures.

In short, the last four years of the “results party” in power has led to an expansion of our debt. All of this either means future inflation, future increased taxes or a combination of the two in order to decrease that debt — assuming politicians will eventually actually care about reducing the debt.

To be fair, runaway spending is not the fault of one party. But with political rhetoric as empty as this, voters who fall for it will have no one but themselves to blame for these “results.”

Tax Burden By State

April 5, 2010

Below is an interesting chart I generated from a recently updated Tax Foundation report showing the 2008 state and local tax burden per capita for the United States, the 50 states and the District of Columbia (click on it to get a better view). For comparison purposes, the bars are color-coded based on who they voted for in the 2008 presidential election.

It’s interesting to note the disparity in the level of taxation imposed by different governments on their residents — particularly when comparing blue states to red states. Of course, since this is in actual dollars, the cost-of-living differences among the states would also need to be factored in. To that end, the entire report contains much more interesting data on taxation, including data showing the state and local tax burdens as percentages of state income.