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Change We Can Believe In [Victor Davis Hanson: A list of modest suggestions for REAL change] ^ | November 29th, 2009 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 11/30/2009 11:42:09 AM PST by Tolik

So, fellow critics of Obama, what would we do instead? It is easy to harp, as Obama did in 2007-8, but hard to govern, as Obama learned in 2009.

So for all the criticism, let us put up some sample proposals of our own.

    Ok, try the following.

1. Pay as you go, balanced budget—whatever you wish to call a return to fiscal sanity. Conservatives need to stop talking about tolerable deficits in terms of GDP; and liberals should cease the charade that trillion-plus annual borrowing is great stimulus.

The psychological effect on the American people of paying down the debt through annual surpluses would be incalculable. “Decline” is as much psychological as real, and begins with perceptions of financial insolvency. We have a $11 trillion economy, so balancing the books is not impossible. Note how Obama intends to “address the deficit” only after he has set two budgets that will increase it by nearly four trillion dollars. Note how Bush’s sin of running up large annual deficits is used to excuse Obama’s mortal sin of doubling them. Note how Democrats, after lining up for a trillion-dollar federal take-over of health care, are worried about a multi-billion dollar expense in Afghanistan.  Cuts in defense, as the later Romans knew, are always the first reaction to profligate domestic spending and entitlement.

2. Freeze federal spending at the present rate, and let increased revenues balance the budget. The idea that we could ever cut outright the budget seems long ago impossible—given the culture of complaint and the melodramatic rants about starvation and murder if another entitlement is not granted. Still, some sort of leadership is required to remind the American people that much of what their government does is not just unnecessary, but counter-productive and they would be better off without it.

Apparently, Obama simultaneously believes (a) he can create a permanent loyal constituency of millions who either receive or disperse federal “stimulus”, in the fashion of the old Roman turba; (b )he can borrow so much money that higher taxes will be seen as vital and therefore the original intent of income redistribution accomplished; (c) that, having had little experience in the private sector, but much financial success as a community or government employee, he can assume that money comes out of thin air and is to be dispersed non-stop through public benefaction; (d) the upper-middle class, which strives to be as rich as he is, is somehow culpable. A common theme throughout history is a paradoxical hatred of the equestrian, productive class, by both the idle aristocratic and entitlement constituents, who hand in glove need each other.

3. Some sort of fair or flat tax that ends the trillion-dollar industry of tax preparation, avoidance, and fraud For about a quarter of the population April 15 is a spooky sort of Halloween. Instead, we need a tax system in which one can complete the necessary preparation in about 2 hours. Whose bright idea was it to excuse nearly half the American households from income tax exposure (Clinton and Bush, and now Obama?)—a fact that explains why in Pavlovian fashion recently Senators have been saying that we can add on a new war tax, a health-care surcharge, and a new high rate on “them”? The justification of a 40% income tax, 10% state income tax, 15.3% payroll tax, and new war and health care surcharge taxes can only be that one’s income was undeserved, ill-gotten, and thus better “rectified” by more enlightened federal redistributors.

4. Close the borders to illegal immigration, through completion of the fence, biometric IDs, employer sanctions, beefed up enforcement—coupled with a radical change in legal immigration law that favors education and skill, rather than simply family ties. The present mockery of existing law undermines the sanctity of every law. Those who knowingly break immigration laws, and know that they will not in the future be enforced, naturally assume that other laws likewise will not apply to them, from tax reporting to the vehicle code. We really must ask—why the national outcry over whether illegal aliens will be included in the new health care plan when $50 billion is sent back as remittances to Latin America each year? In rough math, each of the supposedly 11 million illegal aliens sends out on average around $4000-5000 per year southward. Perhaps we could tax remittances to fund their health care? Something is strange about the attitude of “I must send $400-500 a month home to support my family, but now I am broke and need someone to pay for my care at the emergency room, etc.”

5. A can-do energy plan. Offer tax incentives for development of nuclear power. Promote exploitation of gas and oil reserves in, and off, the United States, as a way to transition over 20 years to next generation fuels without enriching our enemies or going broke in the process. I never understood why nuclear power for electricity and natural gas/hybrids for transportation—we could be nearly energy independent through both—were declared environmentally incorrect when dotting pristine fields, deserts, and mountain passes with ugly wind turbines, acres of solar panels, and miles of access roads was considered “green.” Does Obama really think that the truther Van Jones knows more about power production than the head of a natural gas or oil company, or the engineer of a nuclear power plant?

    Now the symbolic and randomly odd suggestions:

1. For grades 8-12, teachers could choose either the traditional credential or the MA degree in an academic subject. Few laws would have wider ramifications in curbing the power of the education lobby and its union partners, and vastly improve classroom teaching performance.

It would cost nothing and do more for educational progress than anything of the last three decades (high school students can sense who wrote a MA thesis on the Civil War and who got a teaching credential taking Bill-Ayers-like courses on race, class, and gender stereotyping). Why can PhDs and MAs in American history walk into a JC classroom, but not a high-school history class? Eliminate tenure for teachers and professors, replaced by 5-year renewable contracts, subject to completion of contracted targets on classroom performance and continuing education. The combination of a therapeutic curriculum, with an increasingly illiterate student, has resulted in a national disaster. Hint: when students arrive ill-prepared from dysfunctional families as was common in the last few decades, they need more math, grammar, and basics, not more self-esteem and “I am somebody” pep courses. Each year I taught, I was struck by the ever more common phenomenon of students ever less prepped in grammar, syntax, and “facts”, but ever more ready to expound on something—anything really—about themselves, usually with the theme of their own victimhood.

2. Transfer the UN headquarters to an African or South American capital closer to the problems of hunger, disease, and poverty. I suggest either Lagos or Lima. Global elites could not walk from five-star hotels  to the CBS studios to grandstand about US pathologies. But delegates could match their solidarity rhetoric by concretely living with the other. We would get away from the “U.S. did it”.  UN forces could ring UN headquarters when a nearby Chavez or Mugabe was rumored to be saber-rattling and crossing borders. When the Kofi Annans of the world got upset stomachs from their luncheon salads, perhaps they could address world sanitation and government corruption rather than Israel.

3. An end to affirmative action based on race. If “help” is needed, it should be based on class and income. Why should Eric Holder’s children be classed as in need while someone from the Punjab (of darker hue) or Bakersfield (with less capital) is considered ineligible? Why should a Carmel female at the corporate level be seen as progress, but not a son of Appalachian coal miners? The entire corrupt system is redolent of the 1/16 laws of the Old Confederacy, as almost every American is conning some sort of Ward-Churchill-like heritage to pull off what Ward Churchill did—get some edge over the competition for something that they otherwise might not obtain. Whether intended or not, affirmative action has become the pet project  largely of elites, who feel their own capital and insider connections will ensure their own do not suffer from the unspoken quotas they impose on others—as a sort of cheap psychological penance for their own guilt over their own privilege.

4. Return of the US Homestead Act and expand it to urban areas. Instead of redevelopment for wealthy insider grandees who tear down neighborhoods for convention complexes, state and local government should be encouraged to deed over idle properties to individuals willing to build homes and stay 10 years on the property. Shedding, not adding to, government land-owning makes more sense.  Who knows, one might find self-help recolonization projects in downtown Detroit. Maybe Californians and some of their industries might move to the empty top third of their state, rather than families paying $1 million for a 800 sq foot bungalow in congested Menlo Park.

5. Outlaw the naming of federal projects after any living politicians. Don’t laugh. Without their names on highway stretches, bridges, and “centers”, most of these projects would not be built. Once a senator or congress-person accepted that there would never, never be  “The Hon. Tadd Burris Community Center” or “Mt. Bud Jones Wilderness Area”, much of the earmarks would cease. What is the logic behind the notion that we immortalize a senator or congresswoman who uses someone else’s money to build a bridge, or lobbies for an earmark for his district, or, at best, simply does his job? Should carpenters get every fourth tract house named in their honor for their work? Should teachers have their classrooms forever emblazoned with their own names (Instead of “room 11,” we would get The “Skip Johnson English room”?)? Should doctors have surgery rooms with their own names on the door? People who give their own money have a right to eponymous monuments, but not those who do it as part of their job descriptions and with someone else’s capital. Our political class, not content with being increasingly corrupt, is now buffoonish as well. The career of the court-jester John Murtha is emblematic of the age.

There!—some modest suggestions for change we can believe in.

Vero possumus!

TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: vdh; victordavishanson
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1 posted on 11/30/2009 11:42:14 AM PST by Tolik
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To: All
Victor Davis Hanson:

Just a partial list:

Riding the Back of the Tiger [Victor Davis Hanson on Obama not understanding What Causes Wars...]
We Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
The New War against Reason - Medieval heretic-hunters had nothing on Obama when it comes to closed-mindedness
Circling Sharks Smell American Blood: America should keep quieter abroad — and try finding a bigger stick
Palin-Odes? What Drives the Fear and Loathing of Sarah Palin?
Obama’s Prissy America - Why does Obama’s tolerant, apologetic America seem so very self-centered?
Same Old, Same Old at Fort Hood
What Bush Inherited, and What He Left Left Behind
Who Are ‘They’? To Obama, “they” are responsible for all our troubles. Problem is, “they” are most of us
Afghan Mythologies. We have everything we need to defeat the Taliban.
What If?—Mr. President
Fort Hood—A now familiar horror
The Discreet Charm of the Left-wing Plutocracy
Truman and the Principles of U.S. Foreign Policy. Jimmy Carter rejected the postwar consensus. President Obama appears to be following a similar path
'Present' Vote Won't Create Border Order
America’s Obama Obsession - Anatomy of a passing hysteria
The Kitty-Cat Who Roared - The loud reformer Obama himself proves even emptier in his promises than Bush
Some Signs of the Times - Victor Davis Hanson's conclusions from what’s going on in the age of Obama
Dr. Barack and Mr. Obama - The backlash is sharp as voters learn that Obama is not the man they thought he was
Deconstructing the "Whup Ass". Obama's & Jones’ lucrative anti-capitalist careers
What We Are Learning About the Era of Obama
Obama and "Redistributive Change". His real agenda
Obama vs. Obama "The fault, dear Barack, is not in our stars, But in ourselves"
The Obama Administration : What Went Wrong
Our Road to Oceania
Bullying Israel-only country with which the U.S. has worse relations since Obama took office
Prairie-Fire Anger. Why Are People in Revolt?
Obama's Great Race to Change America
Obama’s Path Not Taken. What Might Have Happened
On Shearing Sheep (relentless hostility to small business)
The War Against the Producers
A Thug’s Primer - How to win liberal friends and oppress your people
The New Orwellianism
Our Historically Challenged President. A list of distortions
I No Longer Quite Believe ... [Victor Davis Hanson on Orwellian media & science, race relations]
President Palin’s First 100 Days. Imagine if Sarah Palin had Obama’s record
Confessions of a Contrarian [deconstructing Obama, the Left and more]
Thoughts About Depressed Americans
Bush Did It. What a difference an election makes [Brilliant Parody]
Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Just a partial list. Much more at the link:
2 posted on 11/30/2009 11:45:05 AM PST by Tolik
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To: neverdem; Lando Lincoln; SJackson; dennisw; kellynla; monkeyshine; Alouette; nopardons; ...


  Ping !

Let me know if you want in or out.


FR Index of his articles:
NRO archive:
His website:

3 posted on 11/30/2009 11:45:59 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik

A few good points, tainted by spots of stupidity (e.g. “ugly wind turbines” — the works of the human mind practicing advanced engineering are “ugly” only to Luddite morons (but I repeat myself)).

4 posted on 11/30/2009 11:46:29 AM PST by steve-b (Intelligent Design -- "A Wizard Did It")
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To: Tolik

Excellent ideas!

5 posted on 11/30/2009 11:47:17 AM PST by highlander_UW (To anger a conservative tell him a lie. To anger a liberal tell him the truth.)
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To: Tolik

Darned good list.

6 posted on 11/30/2009 11:48:27 AM PST by JWinNC (
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To: Tolik

I would vote for him a million times! .....but I’m not a democrat.

7 posted on 11/30/2009 11:49:35 AM PST by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: Tolik


8 posted on 11/30/2009 11:52:45 AM PST by griswold3 (You think health care is expensive now? Just wait till it's FREE!)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: hennie pennie

Been on the board a whole month and doing thread nanny service? Rock on!

10 posted on 11/30/2009 11:56:33 AM PST by don-o (My son, Ben - Marine Lance Corporal is in Iraq.)
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To: hennie pennie

Nope. Not this one

11 posted on 11/30/2009 11:57:10 AM PST by Tolik
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To: steve-b
Saying that "ugly wind turbines" are ugly is a judgment of their appearance, not of their engineering. Luddism has nothing to do with it.

And whatever labels one may attach to VDH, "moron" is not one of them.

12 posted on 11/30/2009 11:57:52 AM PST by thulldud (It HAS happened here!)
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To: hennie pennie

I was mistaken, I wish Victor D. Hanson would come up with some brash new dashing titles.

13 posted on 11/30/2009 11:59:09 AM PST by hennie pennie
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To: Tolik
Some excellent points that will prove impossible due to party politics, immigration notably. I like the idea of a balanced budget but even that is subject to accounting trickery such as Clinton used with respect to Social Security. And "freezing" federal spending means "cutting" entitlements that will no longer be adjusted for inflation. It's fiscally sound but politically suicidal.

The real difficulty is that no one can afford to be the bad guy telling the spending addicts that are the federal government and the electorate that they've bottomed out. Politician A: "We have a strict budget and you're not going to get candy this year." Politician B: "You can have all the free candy you want because we're going to take it away from The Rich, who stole it from you in the first place." Who gets elected?

A related difficulty is that more than one term's worth of austerity is going to be required to dig us out of this hole. Could 0bama fix this in the three years he's got even if he had the slightest desire to? (He doesn't; nearly everything he wants to accomplish will make the problem worse.) Could any politician in eight years? And what happens after eight years of austerity when the next demagogue comes along promising the moon for free?

It is due to that need for something encompassing both political parties and spanning multiple terms of office that I suggest the Balanced Budget Amendment be reconsidered. It isn't a perfect solution but it's better than what we have now. Discussion?

14 posted on 11/30/2009 12:02:53 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: steve-b

Drive through Palm Springs and count the number of windmills not turning. Then ask yourself does this endeavor really make economic sense?

15 posted on 11/30/2009 12:03:27 PM PST by equalitybeforethelaw
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To: hennie pennie

Besides: see my post at the link and look for the number of replies and views to that article that was indeed posted many times:

Now, what is better - to have more exposure and more discussion, or join a posting police? (I do draw a line in not repeating the same article on the same day)

16 posted on 11/30/2009 12:03:52 PM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik
Stop the Feds - legally - at your door. CALL THE SHERIFF.

Do you know that your country Sheriff trumps the feds?

Does your country Sheriff know it?

If he/she knows it, will they adhere to it?

Go to Sheriff Mack's link (live links below) and read how he told the feds to take their edict to him to shove it - he told them all the way to the SCOTUS = and WON.

He has written a booklet on it and it's being distributed by people like you and me to country Sheriff's all over the country.

REad about Sheriff Mack's battle and victory and get the booklet and hand deliver it to YOUR local Sheriff - face to face. Then write a letter to the editor in your local paper and tell your local people about the law and that you have hand delivered the booklet to your sheriff. (buy an extra brochure and keep it in your own hands.)

This will alert the sheriff, in case they are liberal and wont to ignore it, that the public is aware of the law and knows that the sheriff knows.

This is a simple thing we can do to start shoring up our rights. For example:
If the so-called health care bill passes and the extra cost of insurance exceeds your budget - and they come to arrest you - call the sheriff. (Present your brochure and advise them to back off or face action for false and unlawful arrest.)

This is one simple thing we can do to protect ourselves and to help turn the tide of gov’t takeover.

Sheriff Mack's fight and success and a list of states and sheriffs that have been given the booklet.

the booklet

17 posted on 11/30/2009 12:09:42 PM PST by maine-iac7 ("He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help" Lincoln)
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To: Billthedrill

I hear you. What is encouraging though is that sometimes a politician elected that is not promising more candy - like Reagan.

Balanced Budget is a law in most (all?) states. Why not on the Federal level? Besides ability to print money...

18 posted on 11/30/2009 12:12:43 PM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik; Jim Robinson; Admin Moderator
Sorry I didn't realize that the mods and Jim Robinson permit duplicate postings of Mr. Victor Davis Hanson articles; personally, I don't like it when people are shoving a particular author at me, so I'll simply it a point to NEVER read him ever again, and to certainly never open any FR messagethread with his pontificating groupies ever again. I've lurked here since long before 911 and I've only recently noticed how many different userids are repetitively posting VDH's articles. To each his own.

By now.

19 posted on 11/30/2009 12:15:39 PM PST by hennie pennie
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To: Tolik

“1. Pay as you go, balanced budget—whatever you wish to call a return to fiscal sanity.”

No - we limit the amount of money the feds have to spend to 10% of our cumulative gross adjusted incomes. Because they would “balance the budget” by taxing us more.

“2. Freeze federal spending at the present rate, and let increased revenues balance the budget.”

Again, “No.” Federal spending this year is about $12,000 for every man, woman, and child. That is way, way, too much. It should be about 1/3 (maybe). It needs to be cut back to a reasonable amount over the next 10-20 years. describes better approaches.

20 posted on 11/30/2009 12:37:29 PM PST by DennisR (Look around - God gives countless, indisputable, and unambiguous clues that He does, indeed, exist.)
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