Friday, August 21, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

What is Hilary Clinton’s Greatest Accomplishment?

Great leaders have accomplishments, not just titles.  Just for fun, next time you are in a crowd of progressives, ask them what Hilary Clinton’s greatest accomplishment is.  Most likely you will get her titles: First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State.  But what did she actually achieve in those positions?  I’ve searched for the answer, and I haven’t found anything significant.

Let’s start with her position as First Lady.  Her most notable contribution during that time was her effort on health care reform, where she was the chair of the task force set up to design a reform plan.  Any objective reading of that effort was that it was an abject failure.  Her proposal was shunned almost universally, with critiques from the left and right, and it did not even make it to a congressional vote.

Next, consider her time as U.S. Senator.  Can anyone name a significant bill that she sponsored?  Some have argued she deliberately kept a low profile not to draw attention to her famous name.  I find that laughable.  What was the point of her being senator then?  Some state that she “argued on behalf of [something]”.  Yes, well pretty much every senator does that.  No doubt she was involved in drafting some minor bills.  But really her most notable vote was her vote in favor of the Iraq War.  So, if you don’t like President Bush’s record on Iraq, you need to put Mrs. Clinton in that same sentence.  I doubt that is something she will put in a campaign ad however.  Also of note is that she voted against two tax reduction packages and against a free trade bill.

Finally, consider her term as Secretary of State.  The most absurd achievement here that you see mentioned regularly is that she travelled to 112 countries while Secretary.  Yippie!  Once again, this is not really an achievement is it?  Two more notable events in her time as Secretary of State were that she gave Russia’s Putin a “reset” button and she presided over Benghazi.  These are clearly two large failures (even if you think Republicans have overdone the attention on Benghazi).  Russian relations have worsened dramatically since that so-called reset, and, putting it kindly, Benghazi was handled very poorly by her office (just to remind you, 4 Americans were killed by Islamic militants while serving our country in Libya, and their requests for additional security prior to the attacks was denied by the State Department).  Trying to find any meaningful foreign policy achievement that she orchestrated is a significant challenge.  Of course we may not know what else she accomplished, since she destroyed all her servers.

So I ask genuinely, what is her greatest accomplishment?  The answer:  she married Bill Clinton.  Is that unfair?  Well, ask yourself this question.  If someone else was running for president with this record, who didn’t have the name Clinton, what would you think of their prospects?  Chair of a failed health care reform task force, voted for the Iraq war, and presided over failing Russian relations and the Benghazi disaster.  I think if you are fair, you would say they wouldn’t even bother trying to run.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Everything is Free!

The New York Times has a headline today that says, "Obama Plan Would Help Many Go to Community College Free".  Not long ago, many were touting how Obamacare provides "free" birth control for women.   Obama has also pushed to make pre-school "free" for all children.  And he has pushed to give "free" cell phones to the poor.  When someone wants to make something free, who wouldn't like it?

Well, of course, these things aren't free.  Someone still has to pay the teachers at the community college, and someone still has to pay the drug companies for birth control pills, someone still has to pay the electricity bills at the pre-schools, and someone needs to pay for those phones.  That someone is taxpayers.  In the case of the community college plan, by some estimates that bill comes to about $34 billion per year.  But of course it isn't as appealing if you say, "Obama Plan Would Force Americans to pay $34 Billion in Community College Tuition for other Americans".

Monday, December 15, 2014

Balance in life

Some great perspective during the holidays...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Income Inequality

This should come as no surprise, but I agree completely with this article...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Balance has been restored in America, thank goodness

Last night was a great night for capitalism loving Americans.  6 years ago, Americans elected Barack Obama and gave him a filibuster proof majority in the Senate (60 out of 100) and control of the House of Representatives.  The next two years saw the biggest expansion of government and government regulations in recent history.  Last night, American officially rejected those policies.  Democrats got thumped.  Best estimates suggest Republicans will finish with 54 Senate seats and a record number of House seats, giving them significant control over the legislative agenda for the next 2 years.  Further, Republicans swept Governor elections, winning in ultra left states like Illinois, Maryland and my home state of Massachusetts, not to mention heavily contested states like Wisconsin and Ohio.  The message from Americans is clear:  we reject the statist/progressive direction the country had been taken.

Now, Republicans can still blow this, and it would not surprise me if they did.  Republicans could be bad winners and overreach.  They could focus on impeachment of Obama or investigations into Benghazi or repeal of Obamacare.  This is not what Americans want them to do.    Sure, Americans don’t like Obamacare, but everyone knows that Obama would never allow repeal while he is still in office, so trying to do so would be a waste of time.  Instead Republicans would be wise to pass a number of bills that are popular with Americans and that Obama would have a difficult time vetoing.  They have many choices.  They could pass a simple immigration bill that increased border security, increased legal immigration, and relaxed requirements for visas for those with advanced degrees.  They could pass a revenue neutral corporate tax reform bill, that lowers rates, eliminates many corporate tax preferences, and increases incentives for corporations to bring overseas cash back to the U.S.  They can pass trade bills.  They could pass modest reforms to Obamacare.  They could pass an energy bill including Keystone Pipeline.  And, if they were really clever, they could pass a bill increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (see my blog post of January 7, 2014).  Passing a bill to increase the EITC would outflank the president on the minimum wage issue, and would be very difficult for the president to veto.    Will the Republicans do any of these things or will they overreach?  I don’t know.  But at least for today we can breathe easier knowing that sanity has returned to America.