About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Both Trump & Biden Have Disqualified Themselves From The Presidency

"Instead of cost of living increases (based on the wage index) we do increases based on inflation." - Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley answering a question of how to preserve Social Security during the one on one Republican primary debate with Ron DeSantis on January 10, 2024.


Federal government spending is powered by Social Security & Medicare & unless the new president is willing to tackle these gargantuan entitlements our financial miseries will only get worse due to increased longevity of older American beneficiaries & the smaller payroll contributions of people unconcerned about working.  Since both Trump & Biden offer no help saying they have no intention to address Social Security & Medicare entitlement funding @ all I was delighted when Nikki Haley offered the solution above to Social Security's funding shortfalls (namely, indexing the initial Social Security benefit formula to inflation instead of the wage index) that I have presented for years, most recently in a letter published in the WSJ on November 16. 

During the December 9 WSJ weekend interview feature in NY, Editorial Board Member Kate Bachelder Odell presented the idea to Nikki of "basing adjustments on rising prices instead of rising wages—that could help address the shortfall with less political pain,"  Nikki admitted to being unfamiliar with the idea saying to an aide “That’s interesting.  Remind me to look at that.”

And look @ it she did - Nikki now supports the idea as indicated in her response above in the debate with DeSantis, who took a hands off approach, similar to Trump & Biden, to not touching Social Security.  Very disappointing - DeSantis (no longer in the race) preferred to talk about not raising the age to receive benefits.

Nikki has come a long way from December 9 to January 10 on understanding the real solution to the Social Security funding issue that is one of the four top financial issues threatening to drag the country down.  It is important for voters to understand it themselves.

The finances of Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid have been on a glide path to trouble & difficulty for seniors & the disabled for a long time.  Combined entitlement spending on these three programs increased from 10.2% of GDP in 2000 to 23.1% in early 2021 - they, along with ObamaCare & CHIP comprise 46% of the federal budget.  Nikki said during the debate "Knowing Social Security goes bankrupt in 10 years, Medicare goes bankrupt in eight—does that mean you’re going to go be president for eight years and leave it bankrupt? You can’t do that. You have to acknowledge we have a problem.”  And of course Trump & Biden will not acknowledge the problem, preferring to play musical chairs hoping they are not the one standing (i.e., in office) when the music stops.

Nikki (& DeSantis) previously supported Paul Ryan's plan of replacing Medicare with a premium support system that bends the Medicare cost curve down over the years until the threat of this medical entitlement has disappeared as people come to not rely on the government @ all for their healthcare insurance coverage.  Trump has disparaged the plan & Nikki (& DeSantis when he was in the race) for supporting it.  The premium support plan replacing Medicare is the only real solution to the Medicare funding problem.

Since Trump would not sign the unity pledge required by the RNC he did not participate in any of the four primary candidate debates held in 2023 that were organized by the RNC.  He was invited to the debate on January 10 organized by CNN but declined to attend - opting in all five cases to instead hold competing events like friendly rallies or a town hall on FNC in one case.  Just imagine the information that voters could have learned if Trump would have participated in a debate with Christie, Pence, & Nikki - three people who worked for Trump & could have scrutinized & challenged his answers.  So far Trump's no-show debate practice is tantamount to Biden hiding in his basement in 2020.  Voters only know what he says he will do under the friendly environment of a fawning rally, including claiming to be able to end the Ukraine war in 24 hours.

Since Trump never participated in any of the first five primary candidate debates we have to determine his policies by bits & pieces like I did above for Social Security & Medicare - mostly using attacks he has made on the other candidates to flush out where he stands on some issues.

For instance, Trump has pointed out that Nikki (& DeSantis) supported a 23% national sales tax - calling that such a terrible idea that it alone should disqualify her from holding office.  Now if that doesn't make the blood boil of every member of this readership who worked their fingers to the bone for the FairTax, HR-25 legislation, for several years when I was District Director & State Director I don't know what would.  Trump knows so little about what he is talking about that he doesn't seem to realize that his Vice Presidential selection, Mike Pence, had been a FairTax congressional co-sponsor for several years before Trump selected him for VP.  Implementation of the FairTax plan is the third real solution that America's economy is screaming for.

And of course there is the almost gratuitous issue of all politicians saying they support a balanced budget amendment as a way to end deficit spending of which Trump & Biden are the two biggest one-term deficit spenders in the country's history.  The problem is that people like Biden, Schumer, Bernie, & Warren support a balanced budget of tremendous increases in spending coupled with tremendous increases in taxes that brings the budget into balance without any need for deficit spending.  You will know you have a candidate who understands this issue when they say they want to "cut, cap, & balance" the budget - the fourth real solution proposed by Ken Blackwell & presented on RTE numerous times over the years.  Other than Larry Elder, none of the candidates of any party has caught on to this principle.

Prior to the first Trump-Biden debate on September 29, 2020 I posted 14 questions (such as What is the significance of the national debt? & What is the maximum amount of a person's income anyone should ever have to pay to the federal government in income taxes?) that every American should know the answers to & that I had hoped would be asked to Trump & Biden.  Although none of the specific questions were asked during the debate we have been able to determine by their records in office as well as their 2024 campaigning & attacks that both Trump & Biden have unsatisfactory answers.

Biden's entire presidency has been a deliberate violation of his oath to preserve, protect, & defend the Constitution.  Since the early morning hours of November 4, following the election, Trump also forsook his oath to the Constitution - the low point of which was asking Pence to return, reject, overrule, or otherwise not accept electoral college votes from any or all states, even when no state had asked for their electoral ballots to be returned so they could be recertified to show Trump the winner.

Accordingly, both Trump & Biden have disqualified themselves from the presidency so we should look for others trying to earn our votes to do the job.  

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Americans Don't Deserve Better Than A Trump-Biden Rematch

“Don’t believe anything you read on this web page or, for that matter, anything you hear on The Neal Boortz Show unless it is consistent with what you already know to be true, or unless you have taken the time to research the matter to prove its accuracy to your own satisfaction.” – a cautionary piece of advice that Neal Boortz regularly made on his live radio program & posted on his blog as he expressed his opinion on every controversial topic under the sun.  It is this same common sense lesson I learned from Neal that I regularly encourage readers of RTE to use in reading this web log & everything else in life.  I thought repeating Neal's advice was a good way to start 2024 before reading the first post of the new year below.


"If we can't beat this guy we can't beat anybody." - Mark Levin @ the Reagan Library in California on October 21, 2023 speaking about the Republican Party & Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election.  The comment is based on Americans recognizing & wanting to do something about Biden's pitiful anti-American record & his progressive policies purposely inflicted on America to transform the country during his presidency.


And of course Mark has reason to be concerned because two seemingly slam dunk elections in recent memory are still vivid GOP losses. 

First in 2022, Democrat John Fetterman beat Mehmet Oz in a flip of Republican Pat Toomey's Senate seat in Pennsylvania 2,747,601 votes (51.2%) to 2,484,096 votes (46.3%) for a difference of 263,505 votes.  Fetterman had serious health issues before the election - a stroke & clinical depression that affects the ability to think clearly (Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed hospital for treatment of the depression after the election) - & magnified his personal problems with a normally disqualifying performance in a televised debate due to his obvious inability to function under the daily strains a senator would face.  Nevertheless Fetterman won Montgomery County outside of Philadelphia by 117,130 votes & Allegheny County which includes Pittsburgh by 163,241 votes meaning these two reliable Democrat strongholds' combined 280,371 vote difference was more than Fetterman's final margin of victory for the entire state.  If Oz couldn't beat Fetterman, who could he beat?

Second in 2012, BO won re-election over a hapless Romney.  In September, 2012 Laura Ingraham said "If you can't beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down. Start new, with new people."  Laura referred to the 2012 presidential election as a "gimmee election" for the GOP because BO's first term had been a failed presidency by any historical measure - like the unemployment rate that was always higher than the rate when he took office.  BO went on to win the presidency 335 electoral votes (65,915,795 popular votes) to 206 electoral votes (60,933,504 popular votes) for Romney.  In addition to unemployment, other issues of the day included BO seeing no limit to the role of government in people's lives, the national debt that was growing @ twice the rate of GW Bushes', raising tax rates, the murders of four Americans in the consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, & of course global warming & Iran's nuclear capabilities.  If Romney couldn't beat BO, who could he beat?

And now Biden's deliberate anti-American assault on the country is even worse, although BO was brazen enough to carry it as far as Biden has if time hadn't run out on him - BO could only fundamentally transform the country so much in eight years.  

Within two hours of taking office Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline permit thereby signaling his support for the Green New Deal & his war on fossil fuels.  Biden issued 29 executive orders & actions in his first 48 hours in office further signaling the socialist far left turn of the Democrat party that had supported defunding the police, established sanctuary cities & states to protect illegal immigrants from federal law enforcement, & had turned a blind eye to the night after night burning, looting, & destruction of innocent residencies & businesses in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, & Kenosha by Antifa & Black Lives Matter thugs.  Those 29 initial executive orders & actions (increased to 52 in the first 20 days) revealed Biden's real agenda - a tremendous lurch to the progressive socialist left steeped in Green New Deal incentives & policies aimed @ making America weak by encouraging government dependence on its citizenry instead of the liberty that produces wealth & value.  

Biden's Executive Order on Preventing & Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation required that biological boys (i.e., transgender females) who self identify as girls be allowed to compete on girls' sports teams whether they had sex reassignment surgery or not, thereby ending the dreams of many young women with no comment from feminists as usual.  Democrat womens' organizations have way more than womens' rights on their agenda.

Biden placed a 100 day halt on deporting illegal aliens including felons with final orders of removal in a direct violation of his oath to enforce the immigration laws of the U.S.  This mindset resulted in 7,078,253 (including a record 302,000 in December not shown in the table below) southwest land border encounters by the CBP (U.S. Customs & Border Protection) from February, 2021 through December, 2023 - see table below.  Click on table to enlarge.

Note the tremendous immediate increase in these encounters under Biden who had incentivized tens of thousands of the poorest, lowest skilled, least educated people from Central America, all originally wearing Biden T-shirts (with virtually none of them even knowing who he was), to come to our southwest border to pursue admission to the U.S. to take advantage of the 126 welfare programs identified by the Cato Institute - & to vote Democrat out of appreciation for being allowed entry into the country.

On the one year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic coming to America, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law providing a $1.9 trillion Covid induced stimulus right on top of Trump's even larger $3.6 trillion stimulus during the first Covid year.  Both Trump & Biden's spending included direct payments to individuals (e.g., $8,400 for a family of two adults & four small children) & many other giveaways like 14 weeks of paid sick, family, & medical leave.  Due to the lockdowns people had limited places to spend that money & a so called excess savings of over $2.5 trillion had been built up (the amount above what would have been saved if there was no pandemic) that resulted in pent up demand, that the consumer is still spending today, that coincided with inflation starting to rise the first full month after Biden took office.  The inflation rate outpaced wage growth from April, 2021 to February, 2023 - virtually the entire first two years of Biden's administration.  See graphic below.  Click on graphic to enlarge.

It is this loss of purchasing power of wages to inflation coupled with the rapidity of an 18% increase in the general price level since Biden took office that has Americans down despite the stock indexes hitting record levels in 2023 - this will make seniors' RMDs larger than last year adding more discontent because 2024 RMDs are based on an IRA's fair market value on December 31, 2023.  Gasoline prices being anywhere between $3 to $5 per gallon have also been a large negative but are the result of Biden's war on fossil fuels as envisioned by the oil futures market.

Biden's Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes spending of $80 billion to hire new IRS agents whose main function will be to audit taxpayers or enforce the new corporate Alternative Minimum Tax, where corporations pay 21% of taxable income or 15% of the income reported on financial documents, whichever is more.

And of course there is Biden's despicable $430 billion student loan forgiveness program that would have completely erased the debts of 20 million borrowers and lowered the median amount owed by another 23 million from $29,400 to $13,600 that was only stopped @  the last minute by the Supreme Court last summer.

Now the above examples (there are a ton more on RTE) are just part of the egregious onslaught Biden has purposely imposed on America.  And this from a slightly senile man who can shuffle around a studio after an interview without a clue as to where he is going.  See photo below that shows the empty chair Biden sat in before finishing an interview @ which time he shook hands with the interviewer & aimlessly walked off the set behind the interviewer as she said "Don't go anywhere" - it is unknown whether she meant Biden or the TV audience & whether the bumper music was Dion singing The Wanderer.

Is it any wonder that three quarters of the electorate does not want a Trump-Biden rematch? - a real lose-lose situation that will come down to voters' utter disgust with Biden's performance as partially described above versus a visceral hatred for both Trump & the GOP's position on abortion.

Gallup's final poll for Trump in January, 2021 showed 34% job approval & 62% disapproval.  It was 46% approval to 52% disapproval just days before the 2020 presidential election & he lost the election with these better ratings.  With this 12% point loss in approval since leaving office I don't know one group Trump has picked up (Biden's falling support of Blacks & Hispanics does not necessarily mean a pick up of support for Trump of these groups) except for people who sympathize with his court cases - & they will disappear during the campaign if previous supporters like Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (who has an immunity deal) & Attorney Jenna Ellis (who made a plea bargain) testify as to what really went on regarding the false stolen election claims.  To say nothing of Rudy Giuliani, who has filed for bankruptcy & is in danger of losing his law license, turning on Trump to testify against him.  The Democrats are playing this hand as deftly as al Qaeda planned & executed the 9/11 attacks, just waiting for Trump to become the Republican nominee before springing this surprise attack.  Only 82% of Republicans & a lowly 30% of Independents approved of Trump's job in January, 2021 - not enough to win the 2024 presidential election.

Biden's pitiful Gallup ratings are not much better than Trump's ratings after the 2020 presidential election & certainly are not as good as Trump's ratings right before the 2020 presidential election.  Biden's job approval went up 2 points in December to 39% & his disapproval remained 59%.  Biden's base is larger than Trump's because there are more Americans who look to government to solve their problems than want to tackle them themselves.  Democrats have a way of always coming together & this includes people who are currently angry @ Biden's positions on the economy & Biden's support for Israel.  This is not true of many of the 40% to 50% of Republicans who are currently considering Trump's primary opponents.

The 2016 presidential election was won by Trump by a small handful of voters in three states.  The 2020 presidential election was won by Biden by about half that small handful in another three states (Wisconsin both times).  The outcome in 2024 is even more uncertain to predict because in addition to the usual Libertarian & Green party candidates you also have RFK Jr., Cornel West, & the possibility of No Labels running a ticket.  Who these people take votes from is guesswork but with such a small margin to victory either Trump or Biden could win by the roll of this political dice - not by their policies their voters support.  People just not voting also has to be factored into a larger degree than usual.

Trump has recently been polling beating Biden by 4% (47% to 43%), while DeSantis ties Biden @ 45% each, & Nikki Haley beats Biden by 17% (51% to 34%).  In a terrible sign for Biden, an unnamed "Democrat candidate" (aka a generic candidate) beats Trump by 8% (48% to 40%).  Karl Rove points out that Trump's insults to his primary opponents & their donors accounts for Nikki's bigger lead which also gets back to my earlier question of who has Trump added as supporters the last three years.  This group of polls reveals why Democrats want Biden to run against Trump - they believe Trump is the only Republican that Biden, with his terrible record, can beat & are doing everything they can to help him become the Republican nominee before turning on him in earnest with nonstop negative January 6 & abortion coverage that produces something closer to the generic candidate's 8% margin of victory for Biden.

So if voters don't want the Trump-Biden rematch what can they do?  The answer is they can vote in the primaries.

I know people whose logic is so backward that they never vote in primaries because they want to "save their vote" for the general election.  The only reason I am registered with a political party is because I want to be able to vote in the party's primary. 

Now primaries have notoriously low turnouts & this blog has reported with disgust some of the most egregious like AOC bursting on the scene from her bartending job winning her 2016 primary in a 12.9% turnout election 57.1% (15,897 votes) to Jim Crowley's 42.5% (11,761) meaning that AOC has come to power tormenting America with her Squad by initially receiving a meager 7.4% of the registered vote in her NYC district that includes the eastern Bronx & part of north-central Queens.

The following graph shows the voting-eligible population (VEP) % turnout for the Democrat & Republican parties in primaries from 1980 to 2016 & the totals for both parties ranging from 14.5% to 30.4%.  This means that about 80% of people who are eligible to vote in primaries don't vote, thereby letting a small percentage of involved people determine the nominees, as in AOC's case as detailed above.

The primary voting process starts next week with the Iowa caucuses & is quickly followed on January 23 with the NH primary & then primaries or caucuses in the rest of the states.  If selecting the Democrat or Republican nominee for president is important to you please register to vote, study the candidates, & vote. 

If the turnouts from previous primaries don't vastly improve in 2024, Americans don't deserve better than a Trump-Biden rematch.