Sunday, June 21, 2009

This weekend's must-read list...

The lists below were originally published on the American Issues Project Blog on June 20 and June 21, 2009.

June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day to all! Today's must-read conservative articles and blogs from around the web.

June 20, 2009

Today's conservative blogs and articles from around the web.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Failure of the So-Called Stimulus

Originally published on the American Issues Project Blog on June 14, 2009.

This week will mark four months since President Obama signed the stimulus bill into law. Four months later, unemployment has reached a 26 year-high, and only $44 billion of 'stimulus' money has been spent. Ironically, a recent Rasmussen poll shows that four months after passing the largest spending bill in history, 51% of Americans now favor cutting taxes to stimulate the economy.

Where is the stimulus money? Why is it taking so long to work its way through the system? One reason, according to The Washington Post is that spending stimulus money requires money. In other words, before it can be spent, stimulus money must first make its way out of the bureaucracy in which it's trapped. While the national unemployment rate is approaching double digits, Washington D.C.'s unemployment rate has decreased to 5.6%, the lowest unemployment rate of any major city.

And there lies the problem that occurs when government spends large sums of money. As is usually the case, where government is involved, a large amount of red tape is also involved. Sure, strict regulation and oversight of the distribution of funds is necessary when spending such enormous amounts of taxpayer money. But, here is the fundamental problem that conservatives had with the stimulus to begin with - government is incapable of even spending efficiently and swiftly!

So, here are the facts. Stimulus money is lagging, and experts predict that unemployment is likely to continue to rise. 45% of Americans are now in favor of cancelling the stimulus altogether. 77% think the biggest problem facing the U.S. is the inability of government to control spending. These statistics show that the administration may soon deservedly face the wrath of an American public saddled with debt and still out of work.

Yet just this week, instead of looking at the grim statistics and implementing a new plan of action, the President promised to get more money out the door and create 600,000 jobs this summer . 600,000 jobs - another meaningless number not rooted in reality that is sure to have the administration eating their words again in a few months, as Vice President Biden did today on Meet the Press when he admitted that "everyone guessed wrong" in predicting the impact of the so-called stimulus bill.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What We Can Learn From Venezuela

Originally published June 12, 2009 on the American Issues Project Blog.

This week, the wacky government of Venezuela banned Coke Zero from being sold in the country. Citing harmful ingredients, it claimed to be protecting the health of its citizens, while the government purports to conduct an investigation into potentially dangerous ingredients in the soft drink.

In reality, the move has nothing to do with the safety of Coke Zero, nor is the government's concern genuine. In fact, in 2008, Coke removed an artificial sweetener, sodium cyclamate, from the drink. Sodium cyclamate is banned in the US, though it is legal in other countries. Venezuela's Coke Zero, however, did not contain this sweetener.

Surprised at the lack of details justifying the ban coming out of the country's health ministry? You shouldn't be given Venezuela's President's propensity toward nationalization of homegrown companies and bullying of foreign companies. For example, Venezuela has nationalized 74 of its oil companies and is set to complete nationalization of these companies by the end of the year. More recently, the government strongarmed Coke into giving up a parking lot to the government.

While this episode is just another example of Chavez's anti-American lunacy, in the midst of our discussions about the proper role of government as it relates to the private sector and health care, this example of a government on steroids should give us all pause. Venezuela is a prime example of what can happen when government overreaches, intrudes in to the private sector, takes over domestic companies, kicks around foreign companies and even bans products with no explanation whatsoever - all in the name of the greater good, out of disingenuous concern over citizens' health.

When a government runs health care, as would surely happen in the U.S. given that government-run health care would ultimately drive private insurance companies into the ground, the line between running the government and running citizens' lives becomes murky. Want to take a jab at a company by forcing it to pull a product? Easy, do what Venezuela did, claim the product threatens the health of consumers.

Public healthcare is not affordable, is not efficient and is not the answer to the health care problems our country faces. There have been many pieces on this issue here on the American Issues Project Blog.

Aside from cost issues however, there are also issues of control. And what we can learn from Venezuela's actions this week, is that a government-run health industry will not only be the first step toward destroying the best health care system any society has even known, but it will also be the first step toward total government control.