March 14, 2013
Another Bush, George P. Bush – the son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, grandson of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and nephew of former President George Walker Bush – is running for statewide office in Texas.
George P. Bush, whose mother was born in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish, is running for land commissioner, which doesn't sound like much, but is evidently a stepping stone to higher office in Texas.
I used to wonder what it was that made it possible for family members of a big-time politician to successfully run for office. Being a politician isn't like being a professional athlete, where much of the talent is simply in the genes. Nor is it like being an actor, which also involves talent. I've been around enough politicians to know that there isn't much special about them except they win elections.
What being a family member does is allows them to tap into the vast financial resources that someone has to have to win a national office. There are people who with one phone call from either former president Bush will immediately sit down and write a check for whatever the maximum amount is and have all their family members do likewise.
A regular candidate who raised $10,000 to win a City Council race can't compete with the fundraising ability of folks who have run national campaigns and tapped into that vast wealth.
Look at disgraced former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. By the standards of most people Edwards was immensely wealthy, but when he needed millions to hide his pregnant mistress from the press and his wife, he found two benefactors who were willing to donate millions to Edwards so he could continue to run for president.
If they would donate millions to hide his mistress, is there any reason to think that they would not donate as much as legally possible to help his daughter run for office?
I guess it was naive of me not to have figured that out sooner, because it is so obvious, but it had never occurred to me that it has nothing to do with an organization, or skill; it is all about money. Or better said it is all about money and ego, and most politicians have more than enough of the latter.
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President Barack Hussein Obama has said his goal is not to balance the federal budget but to grow the economy. Obama's economic advisors say that he doesn't understand the basics of economics, and it would appear that is true. Obama is attempting to grow the economy by growing the government. His $1 trillion stimulus package was about making sure that government did not have to cut back because the economy was in the tank and tax revenues were headed down.
He was successful. Look at what has happened in Greensboro since 2008 – countless small businesses have gone out of business and at best property values are back where they were in 2004. Small business owners who still have their doors open are generally making less money, in many cases making far less; their employees may not have had to take a pay cut, but it would be tough to find a small business where the employees have had raises and an increase in employee benefits. Most of the ones I know anything about have gone the other way, and we deal with a lot of small businesses.
But look at our local governments. The City of Greensboro and Guilford County have increased their budgets every year despite the terrible economy. The Guilford County Schools have been predicting disaster every year for at least the past 18 years, but their budget has increased every year.
Greensboro and Guilford County employees have received raises, not as frequently as during the boom years, but the governments have found ways to increase the salaries of almost all of their employees. I would bet good money that you couldn't find a single employee of Greensboro or Guilford County who was doing the same job and making the same salary they were in 2008. In the private sector, it's easy to find people who are doing the same job for less money and benefits then they were paid in 2008.
But the point is that Obama thinks that by pumping money into the government he can improve the economy, but the economy just doesn't work like that, because the government takes money out of the economy, it doesn't put money in. The only money government has is money that it takes from the private sector or money that it borrows.
What tax cuts, tax breaks – and the infamous loopholes for the rich that Obama harps on all the time – do is give people an incentive to invest in business in hopes of making more money. If the government is going to take all the profit a person makes, there just isn't much incentive to work.
Former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy knew that the way to stimulate the economy was not with more government spending but with tax cuts. Former President Ronald Wilson Reagan knew it also. But Obama rails against tax cuts and in support of higher taxes and ever more government.
Obama repeats the mantra over and over again that all he wants is for the rich to pay their fair share, but he never says what that fair share is. The Republicans allowed Obama to raise some taxes on the wealthy, but evidently that wasn't enough. The question is, what is enough? Does Obama think that the US should be like France and tax the wealthy at 75 percent, or would 70 percent be enough? Or maybe 80 percent is the right number.
Certainly, after being president for four years, Obama has a specific number in mind when he says that the rich should pay their fair share. Or is that just a line that he uses because it tests well in focus groups and it really has no meaning?
The truth is probably that it has no meaning, and if Obama would ever sit down for an interview with someone who would ask real questions and demand real answers, the American people might find out what it means. But Obama refuses to do interviews with anyone who might ask serious questions.
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Wow, we are two weeks into the sequester and the world has not ended. Unless you happen to be someone who signed up for a White House tour months ago, took vacation days and had hotel reservations in Washington to go on the tour, you probably haven't been inconvenienced.
I worked a couple of blocks from the White House for four years. My office was two blocks from Lafayette Park, which is where I spent a lot of lunch hours. I thought I would tour the White House one day and took a look at the line one summer afternoon – it was around the block. There was no way I could do it in two or three hours, but I thought I would wait until a cold, wet, nasty winter day and the line wouldn't be so long. So one of those awful cold drizzly days, I went out and thought it would be worth spending an hour in line to see the White House and found that the line was not noticeably shorter than on a sunny summer day.
People from all over the world tour the White House. Many are in Washington for the only visit of their lives, and if they have signed up for a White House tour, they aren't going to miss it just because of a little bad weather. But of course all of those visitors, including thousands of school children who signed up for White House tours, are going to miss them because Obama closed them down....continued on page 2