Here are this week’s Top 5:
1. American’s Desire for Earned Success – Pollster and pundit Michael Barone pontificates on why Democrats’ plans for winning over the majority of Americans – by buying them off with entitlements and benefits – isn’t working:
Why aren’t voters moving to the left, toward parties favoring bigger government, during what increasingly looks like an economic depression?…
I think the larger mistake the Obama Democrats have made is that they suppose ordinary voters want government to channel more money in their direction.
But ordinary Americans don’t want money as much as they want honor. They want what the chance to achieve what American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks calls “earned success.
2. Wisconsin Recall Elections Bring Disappointment to Unions – As expected by political insiders, last Tuesday’s recall elections involving six Republican state senators yielded only two new Democrats, falling one shy of what was needed to turn the State Senate. This affirms the voters’ general support for how things are going in the state. It also comports with the good news coming out of Wisconsin in the last few months showing the positive effects of Governor Walker’s collective bargaining law – cities able to re-negotiate with unions and save their budgets from a lot of red ink:
Someone has to be pretty deep in the Land of Denial to spin the Wisconsin recall elections as good news for Democrats. But the Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas rose to the occasion yesterday.
Republicans managed to keep four of the six seats that Democrats and their public union allies had targeted for recall, thwarting Democratic plans to wrest control of the state legislature from GOP hands. Of the two seats that Republicans lost, one was in a solidly Democratic district that a Republican happened to hold only due to a fluke of nature, David Freddoso of the Washington Examiner notes. And the second was held by an alleged adulterer whose wife revealed that he had moved outside his district to live with his young lover.
3. Getting Serious with the Super Committee – The Super Committee was chosen this week by the respective Congressional leaders and the positioning has already begun over spending cuts, defense cuts, new tax revenues and entitlement changes. But like we saw with the previous budget deals, there seems to be little willingness to make structural or permanent changes. Yet a cursory review of current programs with the question in mind – do they serve a valuable purpose – could go a long way toward debt reduction:
But what many of these media accounts will inevitably fail to do is ask fundamental questions about these programs: What were they designed to do? And is there any evidence they accomplish their purpose? Those questions are significant because much of discretionary spending that our government introduces is speculative in nature. That is, there is little or no evidence when we begin this spending that the money will actually accomplish what we want it to. That’s why we wind up funding anti-poverty programs that don’t reduce poverty, and job training initiatives that don’t get people jobs. We justify tax expenditures to make homes more affordable or to reduce our energy dependence, when there’s little evidence they accomplish either. And yet, once begun, we often can’t get rid of this spending, even when the evidence against its effectiveness is substantial.
4. Britain is in Disarray – Despite the hullabaloo caused by S&P’s downgrade of the U.S., this last week saw even more turmoil in the European economies and even violence in Britain:
The British state is morbidly obese. For a third consecutive year, government will spend more than half the gross domestic product — partly because half of all jobs created during the 13 years of Labor Party governance that ended in May 2010 were in the public sector.
Britain’s debt, now 62 percent of GDP, is scheduled to rise to 71 percent in 2013-14 before declining. Government devours 47 percent of national income.
The five-year goal of reducing it to 40 percent will be difficult because Cameron has a tepid mandate. In 2010, Conservatives almost suffered a fourth consecutive defeat, and they failed to win a majority against an exhausted and unpopular Labor government.
5. Are US-Sino Relations Destined to Fall Apart - As the U.S. economy continues to stumble, questions and fears continue over the Chinese and their long-term desires. The relationship is made even more tense by the Chinese military buildup as evidenced by their first naval battleship completed this week. What some are arguing is a serious focus on improving and maintaining better relations with the Chinese:
In a recent piece in the New York Times, Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, stressed the importance of improving Sino-US military relations.
Mullen acknowledged that PLA-Pentagon ties have frequently been characterized by ‘misunderstanding and suspicion,’ and complained that Beijing continues to employ bilateral defence ties as ‘a sort of thermostat to communicate displeasure. When they don’t like something we do, they cut off ties. That can’t be the model anymore.’