Recently Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized fellow contender Rick Perry for labeling Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Romney extolled the virtues of the soon-to-be-bankrupt program and vowed to support its continuance unconditionally if elected.
A Ponzi scheme, so named after white-collar criminal Charles Ponzi, involves a huckster collecting money from numerous investors who are promised a high or reliable return on their investment, but in which payments are made by future investors lured in by similar promises of financial gain. The scheme is unsustainable, because dividends received are not actually invested, and are not equaled by the dividends promised to investors. Earlier investors fare better than later investors, who lose their money once the scheme collapses.
Social Security, signed into law by white-collar criminal Franklin Delano Roosevelt, involves the federal government collecting money from all working citizens, who are promised a reliable pension when they retire, but in which payments are made by subsequent generations dragged into the program. The system is unsustainable because, due to slowing population increases and politicians raiding the Social Security Trust Fund, most payroll taxes received are not actually invested and are not equaled by the payments promised to retirees. Earlier generations fare better than later generations, who will not receive benefits once the system collapses.
The history of Social Security’s establishment and implementation reveal that Governor Perry is wrong about the program’s being a Ponzi scheme. It is much worse. read more »
What have we learned in the 10 years since Islamic terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Several lessons spring to mind:
1. There is nothing President George W. Bush could have done to prevent terrorist acts in his first eight months in office, of which his post-9/11 critics would have approved. Even after 9/11, liberals have loudly disapproved of profiling at airports, surreptitiously monitoring terrorist communications, and fighting al-Qaeda militarily abroad. Imagine how they would have reacted if Bush had attempted any of these strategies pre-9/11.
2. Poverty does not cause terrorism; it is both unnecessary and insufficient to the task. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up Northwest Flight 253, was the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker. American Taliban John Walker Lindh went to high school at a “California Distinguished School” in SoCal. In contrast, poor people the world over—rice farmers in China, untouchables in India—do not rise up en masse to wreak havoc in suicide bombings. Modern-day terrorism is caused by individuals’ adherence to an ideology that encourages terrorist acts against innocent civilians—an ideology that usually happens to be Islamist. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all modern-day terrorists are Muslims.
3. Liberals have amassed a formidable glossary of imprecations they invoke whenever commentators scrutinize the radical nature of Islam: alienating Muslims, being at war with Islam, being Islamophobic, demonizing the other, engaging in inflammatory rhetoric, hijacking a peaceful religion, singling out people because of their religion. None of these terms is objective enough to mean anything. read more »
In an interview with the Climate Reality Project, Gore declared that the civil rights and climate change movements are similar in that both harbor a profound moral component. (Honestly, Gore’s new comparison lacks the punch of “Today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin.”)
The bloated old walrus offered his awestruck, rosy-cheeked interviewer a two-pronged strategy that global warming believers should adapt from anti-racism protestors to “win the conversation.” First, global warming fanatics should persuade non-believers through facts; second, they should confront “inappropriate” statements by expressing loud disapproval just as if they were racial slurs.
I could be wrong, but I think in order to “win the conversation,” you have to actually have a conversation first, at least one in which both sides are allowed to speak. Yet the Goracle is notoriously reluctant to accept invitations to debate climate change skeptics such as brilliant mathematician and former Margaret Thatcher advisor Christopher Monckton—probably because he knows Monckton has enough logic and facts at his disposal to mop the floor with Gore. read more »
Liberal hack and annoying twerp Ezra Klein recently posted a lament for the president’s waning popularity titled “What could Obama have done?”
Klein’s query is just an updated iteration of an eternal, intractable, metaphysical question for the left: How can Democrats govern like liberals for any extended period of time and generate good results so they can maintain their favorable ratings?
To conservatives (and Bill Clinton), the answer is obvious: You can’t. Liberal policies don’t work. Any goodwill remaining toward you from your base for remaining stubborn ideologues in the face of contrary evidence is overshadowed by widespread revulsion toward the disastrous consequences of your policies.
In other words: Conservatives are never going to like you, a few crazy liberals always will, but a large number of independents, moderates, and center-left voters will abandon you if you don’t give up on your leftist policies after the public realizes you are not a magician.
Since Klein asked, here’s what Obama could have done to enjoy a successful presidency and retain the sky-high favorability ratings he held in those blissful few minutes after he was sworn in before the trouble began.
Let’s start with the good news—things Obama did and should have done (hurry back from the fridge, right-wingers; this won’t take long!): read more »
Maybe Michele Bachmann is reluctant to elaborate on her views on homosexuality with reporters because—gasp!—she doesn’t care.
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, host Dick Gregory badgered Bachmann about comments she had made seven years ago on her interpretation of the Bible’s statements on homosexuality.
Since 2004, the country has radically evolved in its understanding and acceptance of homosexuality, including its approval of same-sex couples getting married and adopting. Gay marriage is legal in six states plus D.C. and available to 35% of the country’s population. Gay marriage was used as a wedge issue in many states in the 2004 Congressional elections, but in 2008 it was used primarily in California’s Proposition 8. Prominent Republicans who now support same-sex marriage include Dick Cheney, Laura and Barbara Bush, Cindy and Meghan McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, S. E. Cupp, Margaret Hoover, Ted Olsen, and Vaughn Walker. Countless other prominent Republicans favor gay civil unions; most didn’t back in 2004. Even Ann Coulter was recently appointed Honorary Chair of the Advisory Council for gay conservative group GOProud. read more »
The new meme on the left, helpfully demarcated on social media sites like Twitter via such catchphrases as #TeaPartyDowngrade, #HeckuvaJobTeaParty, and the recently trending #TeabaggersArePoopyheads, is that Standard & Poors’ downgrade of the U.S. long-term credit rating is due to the Tea Party pushing for spending cuts in the debt ceiling battle.
Never mind that S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch are the same agencies that thought Democrats’ Community Reinvestment Act and government-mandated subprime housing loans were a peachy idea, maintained top ratings for most securities backed by subprime mortgages, and thus contributed to the meltdown.
Never mind that S&P, headed by English lit major John Chambers, recently made a $2 trillion error in calculating the U.S.’s debt-to-GDP ratio over time, then rewrote its justification for the downgrade to fit its already formulated decision.
Eurotrash Italophile snobs aghast over Season 4 of the MTV reality show Jersey Shore being set inside the pristine borders of teetotaling, sunscreen-loving, sexually Puritanical Italia need to get off their high horses.
Back when Season 1 aired, some reviewers of the show were appalled at the Italian-American stereotypes the Jersey clan supposedly perpetuated, including being muscular and energetic dancers (the guys), fashionable and flirty (the girls), and close-knit and family-oriented (the guys and girls). Heaven forfend everyday folks should associate such ghastly traits with Italian Americans.
That paragon of fine Italian cuisine, Domino’s Pizza, huffily yanked its advertising from the show over feared repercussions from its silver-palated customers.
Season 4 of Jersey Shore, which premiers tomorrow night, was set in Italy, because the cast members are Italian American and the show’s producers thought it would be fun to send them abroad to learn a bit of Italian and explore their roots.
Last week, The New York Times wailed that during their stay cast members had caused Florence residents “to despair that their elegant city had irrevocably become a party town,” and compared the housemates to the “hordes of drunken American junior-year-abroad students [who] have helped transform Florence into the backdrop of a 24/7 movida, or pub crawl.”
The Times admitted that during filming, Italy was caught up in the sex scandals of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was charged with “dalliances with under-age women and hosting wild parties at his villas… in a real spectacle far more grotesque than anything to spring forth from MTV’s almost quaint cultural imagination.” So it appears that guidos and guidettes don’t have a monopoly on bad behavior, and that libido doesn’t slow down for everyone over 30. read more »
Random thoughts and observations on last week’s terror attacks in Norway (per Thomas Sowell):
Just when the mainstream media was finally starting to learn that virtually every ideologically motivated mass murder attempted in the past 30 years has been committed by an Islamic extremist, some anti-immigration nut in Norway has to go and spoil it. It’ll take us 30 years to retrain them.
The mass shooting perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik that left scores dead at a children’s day camp at Utoya Island “puts the spotlight on right-wing extremism in Europe,” as the New York Times helpfully noted, and “typifies a new breed of conservative extremists,” in the Financial Times’ words. Yet the 9/11 attacks, the London bombing attacks, the Spain bombing attacks, the Mumbai bombing attacks, and eight million other blatant, graphic examples of Islamist-fueled mass murder somehow never seem to “put the spotlight on Muslim extremism” worldwide.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg mistakenly predicted that failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was “[h]omegrown, maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill…” Attorney General Eric Holder urged us not to jump to conclusions about the ideological motivations of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan, who delivered a PowerPoint presentation to doctors on slaughtering infidels and roared “Allahu Akbar!” before his murderous rampage. The Council on American-Islamic Relations sniffed that Washington, D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad had no Muslim connection and was most likely a right-wing redneck. But one loon in a Scandinavian village-state shoots up an island, and suddenly conservatism is on trial worldwide. read more »
Last week Moody’s Investors Service threatened to downgrade the U.S.’s Aaa credit rating if the nation fails to raise its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before August 2. On Monday the agency counseled the U.S. to scrap its debt ceiling altogether.
Standard & Poors (S&P) and Fitch, the other two major credit rating agencies, have recently echoed Moody’s warning.
Democrats pounced on Moody’s pronouncement as ammunition in Congressional budget talks, citing Moody’s as an unimpeachable source on what to do with our debt ceiling.
Why is anyone listening to what Moody’s has to say about the economy?
Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch are the same credit rating agencies that helped precipitate the subprime lending crisis of 2008. These bureaus continued to give large financial institutions their highest ratings until the last minute, despite the flimsy cores of these firms’ collateralized debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities. Moody’s and company thought the Democrats’ Community Reinvestment Act was a splendid idea, with the result that millions of investors lost billions of dollars and the international market collapsed. read more »
Casey Anthony is set to be released from jail on Sunday after being found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse, and guilty only of providing false information to police.
What was astonishing about the public reaction to the verdict last week was not that ordinary citizens were outraged, wondered whether prosecutors and jurors had done their jobs, or asked whether there were still some way to serve justice to the acquitted murderess.
What was astonishing was the instant, instinctive chorus of chronic felon-defenders everywhere that “the system worked.”
Harvard law professor and O.J. Simpson-defender Alan Dershowitz decided that this travesty of justice would be the perfect opportunity to lecture Americans, Janet Napolitano-style, that “the system worked.” (Liberals’ sense of irony is even less developed than their sense of humor.)
Dershowitz wrote, “[A] criminal trial is not a search for truth. Scientists search for truth… A criminal trial searches for only one result: proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” I suppose the hours of scientific testimony by forensic experts at the Anthony trial were provided for mere entertainment value.
Commentators everywhere chided the masses for swelling in anger over the “not guilty” verdict and portrayed them as overemotional, unthinking rubes with no respect for our legal system and a hankering for the days of vigilante justice. read more »