Tuesday, August 30, 2011


To hear the TV pundits tell it, the American people are currently awaiting President Barack Obama’s new plan to stimulate the economy.

From both sides of the aisle, the politicians are yelling, “Jobs, jobs, jobs.”

The economy is the big issue of the day. Unemployment is rampant. Real estate isn’t selling. Businesses are closing. Sales are lagging. Buying is postponed.

How in heck do you stimulate the economy? How do you get people to work, to buy and sell, to build, to get up and go?

Rumor has it that one of the president’s recommendations will be that the federal government extend unemployment benefits. Again.

Typical unemployment benefits last for 26 weeks. In New York, you can get another 33 weeks of ‘emergency’ benefits, and an additional 20 or so weeks of ‘supplemental’ benefits.

The theory of extending benefits to stimulate the economy is that the unemployed will spend the money and all that money being spent will create jobs, which in turn will create more spending and more jobs.

By this logic it would follow that giving every person over the age of say, 18, in Detroit a million dollars would result in a bustling, stimulated economy in that city.

I don’t think so.

I suspect that the casinos and the drug dealers would prosper, but it would be hard for all those millionaires to find anyone willing to cut the grass, paint the house or shine their shoes. And who would drive the cabs or the buses, or register the deeds? Millionaires don’t have to work.

I’m waiting to hear a politician who has the cahoonas to say, “The issue isn’t ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ the issue is ‘work, work, work.’.”

There’s a difference.

Rodney Dangerfield or Henny Youngman would explain it this way:
“My brother-in-law has a great job. He doesn’t have to work at all.”

That’s about the size of it. Everybody wants a job. Nobody wants to work.

Franklin Roosevelt put people to work with the WPA and the CCC. Bill Clinton touted ‘workfare’ over welfare. They were Democrats for heaven’s sake. Making people earn their daily bread is not some heartless capitalist, Republican idea. It’s just plain common sense.

Our goal should be to have a busy, industrious, productive population. To be a people imbued with a solid work ethic. To be builders and makers, and doers. Inventors and cleaners and fixers.

Somehow America has to go from an entitlement society to an opportunity society.

Here’s an agenda to start with:

We need urban homestead laws that will allow people to build up sweat equity in abandoned houses.

We need energy parks where young and not-so-young people can spend time generating useable energy through physical activity. In all the talk about clean sources of energy, nobody mentions human effort; walking, running, pulling, pushing, carrying, climbing. Make it fun, make it pay. The pyramids were built before there were bulldozers and cranes. Or entitlements.

We need to clean up our cities. Nothing destroys the work ethic more than seeing prisoners in orange suits picking up trash along the freeway while thousands of able bodied men and women draw welfare and watch television. Picking up trash is useful, honorable, manual labor. It isn’t punishment.

We need people to till the soil. To plant and prune and pick. In the 1940’s we had Victory Gardens. There’s lots of vacant real estate in America. And lots of hungry people in the world.

We need leaders. I don’t mean big shot political leaders in Washington and the state capitols. We need men and women who have the imagination to come up with useful projects and the chutzpah to organize teams to carry them out.

In short, we need to get off our butts and go to work.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


In 1982,I gave a speech at Yale University. I called it "The Last Prerogative."

In it, I called for a convention under Article V of the federal constitution to propose needed amendments to our national charter.

Reading it again, I could not help but think how pertinent the words are to issues that daily confound the people of this country, saturate television and dominate the Internet pages of 2011.

Here are a few paragraphs:

"Despite the befuddlement of Keynesian economics, government fiscal responsibility is not, as so often urged by "gliberals", a mere question of transient political or economic policy, better left to statutory or administrative regulation than constitutional mandate.

"The Congress is already empowered by the Constitution to lay and collect taxes for the purpose of paying the debts of the United States. I seriously doubt that any of the delegates who labored through that hot summer of 1787 to write the Constitution would have believed for a moment that Congress might someday neglect or refuse to lay and collect taxes to pay the debts of the United States and persist in that refusal year in and year out until more than a trillion dollars of unpaid obligations had accumulated.

"Indeed, I think that any fair reading of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution would yield the conclusion that if the common defense and the general welfare are things that ought to be provided for, debts of the United States are things that ought to be paid.

"Fiscal responsibility is not a matter of politics or economic policy. Capitalist states can be run on red ink, and socialist regimes can have balanced budgets.

"Fiscal responsibility is not merely the platform of a political party or the goal of a particular administration. It is a measure of the credibility and viability of the established institution of government itself.

"Nor is fiscal responsibility a matter of choice. The effects of fiscal irresponsibility are not immediate, but they are certain. We know that our government is deeply committed as the guarantor of the nation's economy. The government stands behind mortgage loans, business loans, and student loans. The government protects our bank deposits and bond issues.

"These secondary obligations are so immense that they dwarf even the monstrous primary public debt, not to mention the moral commitment which underlies our many national entitlement programs. If we default on these obligations, we can expect nothing less than civil disorder.

"This is an irrefutable lesson of history. Shay's Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion, the Veteran's March and the Welfare Marches show that the American people are not apathetic when they are hungry or homeless. They will not exchange a lifetime of savings for a fistful of worthless scrip without a fight.

"In such an extreme case, the American people will show no more restraint in preserving the institutions of government than they will be inclined to protect the unhappy temporary occupants of public office.

"In summary, I submit to you the following propositions. Since fiscal integrity relates to the stability of our system of government, the means of assuring it belong in our Constitution.

"The proper constitutional means of assuring the fiscal responsibility and integrity of the union can only be reliably proposed by a body of citizens which is not itself participating in the excesses to be guarded against.

"An amendatory convention called pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution is such a body, created and intended by our forefathers precisely for the purpose of enabling the sovereign people of the several states of the American union, without bloodshed, to assert their last prerogative as free men and women: to alter the form of the government (as it was said in the declaration of independence), '. . . laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.'

"Finally, I submit to you that the act of convening an amendatory convention under article V would in itself be more significant than whatever particular amendment or amendments 'might be agreed upon as a result of it. For the convention itself represents a return to first principles. It represents a reassertion of the right of self-determination, and a return to representative democracy in America. I can think of no cause more worthy of any responsible citizen's best efforts and total commitment."

That's what I said in 1982. I'll say it again at Harvard in September.


Friday, August 5, 2011


On November 18, 1978, nine hundred seven people died in the worst slaughter in American history until the attack on the World trade Center.

They were people who followed a charismatic leader who hated religion, capitalism, and rich corporations. A man who led them to the enlightenment of socialism.

His name was Jim Jones. He urged them all to drink the Flavor Aid laced with valium, chloral hydrate, cyanide and phenirgon .

They did. And they all died.

And so a sweet tasting sugar drink has become a metaphor for mass suicide.

To drink the Kool Aid is to accept without question the teaching of the leader, the shibboleths of the party, the political correctness of attitudes, opinions and choices.

Because everybody’s doing it. Until it kills you.

In her new book, DON’T LET THE KIDS DRINK THE KOOL-AID: Confronting the Left’s Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom, Marybeth Hicks has sounded an alarm that should ring loud and clear in every household in America.

In 192 tightly reasoned, fact-filled pages, Marybeth exposes the agenda of those who use our schools to indoctrinate children with secular humanist values that fly in the face of the Judeo Christian traditions upon which the United States was founded.

Some examples:

• Teachers who believe it is absolutely essential to teach their students to become activists who will seek to change our political system, but who do not think it’s necessary that they understand concepts like federalism, separation of powers, or checks and balances among the branches of government.

• A sex test administered to eleven and twelve year old school children in which they were asked about the difference between oral, vaginal and anal sex and if they know how to put a condom on themselves or their partner.

• A Sacramento boy who was told by his school authorities that he was not allowed to display the American flag on his bicycle when riding to and from his school.

• A New York middle schooler suspended for wearing a rosary around his neck, a Pennsylvania fifth grader barred from inviting her classmates to a Christmas party at her church, while Massachusetts fifth graders were taken on a class field trip to an Islamic community center and several non Muslim boys permitted to join in prayers with the Muslim men.

On page after page, the author exposes the subtle and not so subtle ways in which the political left has coopted the teaching profession, the public schools and the popular media to preach an orthodoxy of atheism, socialism, and hedonism.

Their target? Our children and grandchildren.

The little folks who spend as much as 7 or 8 hours a day glued to a television set, a computer, an Iphone and all the other gadgets that define the lives of generation M.

Sadly, the radical left is winning the minds and hearts of the kids. Here’s what the polls show:

They think socialism is better than the free market.

They think Christianity is judgmental and mean spirited.

They think America is the villain of world history.

They think family does not mean marriage.

The think gender is not biological, but a matter of personal choice.

They think human greed is destroying the earth.

Happily, Marybeth doesn’t leave us in nail biting despair. As the involved mother of four, a popular columnist, busy consultant and much sought after speaker, she has plenty to share with concerned parents and grandparents.

Her prescriptions resonate with common sense. See for yourself.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Well, the gentlemen in Washington have done it again.

We are treated to televised announcements by Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell telling us that ‘the system works.’ Once again, we hear that politics is the art of compromise, that each side got less than they wanted, but all it was possible to get.

Here’s what I understand has been done:

1. Congress has raised the debt ceiling by something like 3 trillion dollars. Which means that the national debt can swell from 14 trillion to about 17 trillion without bumping up against the statutory maximum.

2. Congress has committed to ‘spending cuts’ also known as ‘deficit reduction’ of something over 2 trillion dollars.

3. About three quarters of those spending cuts are yet to be identified. A committee of 12 legislators will be appointed to come in with recommendations on the subject.

As I understand it, the new debt ceiling should last until about March of 2013. So the federal government now has its credit limit boosted high enough so that it can continue to borrow money to live on for about another year and a half.

Isn’t that wonderful news?

We get to spend an additional 3 trillion dollars we don’t have, provided, of course, that we can agree on not spending 2 trillion we already have agreed to spend.

Our elected representatives have decided to postpone taking any steps toward fiscal responsibility for another eighteen months. Then, of course, we will get to do it all over again. With a new Congress and either a new or a renewed executive office.

When will we Americans begin to realize that it doesn’t make any difference who wins the elections as long as the system is broken?

Our two hundred year old constitution simply does not address the question of fiscal integrity. Our forefathers apparently assumed that the elected representatives of the people would not borrow more than necessary. And would provide for timely repayment of our debts.

Silly fellows.

Didn’t they know that voters have a tendency to vote themselves rich? Weren’t they aware that democracies throughout history have lasted less than 200 years because they go broke ?

Frankly, it’s hard for me to understand how a nation can go broke when it has the power to coin money and issue currency.

If counterfeiters can get rich printing hundred dollar bills, why can’t the federal government?

I looked at the annual reports of the U.S. mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Last year the mint turned in a piddling profit of $405.8 million. The B.E.P. was worse. It made only $43,428,000.

Of course, the Bureau has a problem in that it has only one customer, the Federal Reserve Bank. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is part of the United States Department of Treasury. It cranks out about 6 billion greenbacks every year, which it sells to the Fed for a little less than ten cents apiece.

Can’t make a lot of money selling hundred dollar bills for ten cents apiece, now can you?

Maybe it’s time for the people of the United States to realize that our government is in the business of manufacturing currency.

Our Constitution should require that we manufacture enough every year to pay the debts of the government. We should never run a deficit. We should never have to borrow money.

Wouldn’t that cause inflation?

Only if we spend too much. And if we do, the consequences will be immediate. We will pay the price of our own profligacy.

Not our children and grandchildren.