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Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’

I was nauseated when Newt Gingrich did the infamous global warming ad with Nancy Pelosi.

I was disgusted when he criticized Paul Ryan’s entitlement reforms.

But I’m not sure what my reaction is to Newt’s latest brain fart. For lack of anything clever, let’s just say I’m bemused by his proposed galactic boondoggle.

Here are some of the absurd details for a Politico report.

Newt Gingrich wants to colonize the moon. …“By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” Gingrich said… It’s just the kind of Gingrich big-think for which he has been ridiculed by others in the GOP field, including Mitt Romney. But Wednesday’s speech — which Gingrich himself called “grandiose” — could actually resonate politically in Florida, where space exploration is good politics… Gingrich even envisions a moon state. “When we have 13,000 Americans living on the moon, they can petition to become a state,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd. …But Gingrich’s space fantasies don’t stop at the moon. He wants to see trips to Mars by 2020. “By the end of 2020, we will have the first continuous propulsion system in space capable of getting to Mars in a remarkably short time because I am sick of being told we have to be timid and I am sick of being told we have to be limited in technologies that are 50 years old,” he said.

But I’m not just bemused. To use Newt’s rhetoric, I am sick of politicians coming up with new ways to spend my money and I am sick of being told by the clowns in Washington that my wallet is a pinata to fund their grandiose dreams.

If Newt likes space travel and wants a base on the moon and trips to Mars, then he should take some of the money he “earned” as Freddie Mac’s “historian” and invest it in a space company.

About 10 days ago, I was in the British Virgin Islands, speaking at a conference that was keynoted by Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin empire. Branson is doing what Newt wants, but in an ethical fashion. He’s using private money to set up a profit-making space-travel business.

Too bad politics and ethics are mutually exclusive concepts.

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In this interview for Newsmax TV, I was asked about the frontrunners for the GOP presidential race. As you can see, I bend over backwards to avoid being too mean to either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich.

I do make a meaningless prediction that Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio would jump to the top of the polls if they entered the race (I think my prediction is correct, but there’s no chance of anyone entering the contest this late).

Last but not least, I briefly talk about the payroll tax fight and the prospects (or lack thereof) for real entitlement reform.

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This new video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity discusses a proposal to solve Medicare’s bankrupt finances by replacing an unsustainable entitlement with a “premium-support” system for private insurance, also known as vouchers.

This topic is very hot right now, in part because Medicare reform is included in the bold budget approved by House Republicans, but also because Newt Gingrich inexplicably has decided to echo White House talking points by attacking Congressman Ryan’s voucher plan.

Narrated by yours truly, the video has two sections. The first part reviews Congressman Ryan’s proposal and notes that it is based on a plan put together with Alice Rivlin, who served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under Bill Clinton. Among serious budget people (as opposed to the hacks on Capitol Hill), this is an important sign of bipartisan support.

The video also notes that the “voucher” proposal is actually very similar to the plan that is used by Members of Congress and their staff. This is a selling point that proponents should emphasize since most Americans realize that lawmakers would never subject themselves to something that didn’t work.

The second part discusses the economics of the health care sector, and explains the critical need to address the third-party payer crisis. More specifically, 88 percent of every health care dollar in America is paid for by someone other than the consumer. People do pay huge amounts for health care, to be sure, but not at the point of delivery. Instead, they pay high tax burdens and have huge shares of their compensation diverted to pay for insurance policies.

I’ve explained before that this inefficient system causes spiraling costs and bureaucratic inefficiency because it erodes any incentive to be a smart shopper when buying health care services (much as it’s difficult to maintain a good diet by pre-paying for a year of dining at all-you-can-eat restaurants).  In other words, government intervention has largely eroded market forces in health care. And this was true even before Obamacare was enacted.

Medicare reform, by itself, won’t solve the third-party payer problem, but it could be part of the solution – especially if seniors used their vouchers to purchase real insurance (i.e., for large, unexpected expenses) rather than the inefficient pre-paid health plans that are so prevalent today.

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My opinion of politicians is so low that it is always a surprise when one of them does something to cause a radical downward revision, but Newt Gingrich has achieved this dubious distinction. His shallow attempt to score political points led him to attack House GOPers who are trying to reform Medicare to protect America from becoming a bankrupt, Greek-style welfare state.

Ryan’s proposal, which was passed by the GOP-controlled House in April, would have people 54 and younger choose from a list of coverage options and have Medicare make “premium-support payments” to the plan they chose. “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” Gingrich scoffed in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” House Republicans, including Speaker John A. Boehner, have stood behind Ryan’s plan, which was the subject of fierce debate at town-hall meetings nationwide. Other Republican presidential contenders have praised Ryan’s political courage without going so far as to endorse the budget blueprint.

As I’ve posted before, I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect (or completely flawed) politician. The real issue is whether a candidate is willing to balance personal ambition with a sufficient level of concern with the future of the nation. Newt Gingrich has failed this simple test.

But I also want to take this opportunity to raise a question about a candidate who seems to be on the right track, but has a very worrisome blemish on his record. I’ve already said nice things about Herman Cain, but someone needs to ask him whether he still thinks TARP was a good idea, as he wrote back in 2008.

Wake up people! Owning a part of the major banks in America is not a bad thing. We could make a profit while solving a problem. But the mainstream media and the free market purists want you to believe that this is the end of capitalism as we know it. …These actions by the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank and the actions by the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are all intended to help solve an unprecedented financial crisis.

I’m not implying that this is a kiss-of-death revelation for Cain. Many people thought we had to recapitalize the banking system, but didn’t realize there was an alternative that didn’t involve bailing out well-connected shareholders, bondholders, and managers.

And just as Gov. Pawlenty has recanted on his support for cap-n-trade legislation, the real issue is whether Cain has the maturity to admit a mistake and explain how he made an error on TARP.

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In a previous post, I gave Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana a verbal kick in the shins because the rumored-to-be presidential candidate said nice things about a value-added tax.

While the VAT is a despicable idea, I don’t want anybody to think I harbor a special animosity for Governor Daniels. I am very skeptical of all politicians.

So let’s kick someone else in the shins, and we’ll make Newt Gingrich today’s target. I’ve actually known Newt since 1978, when I was a weekend volunteer for his first winning campaign while a student at the University of Georgia. And I think Newt was a superb Minority Leader for the GOP and he deserves considerable credit for dethroning the Democrats in 1994.

But that doesn’t mean he would be a good President, particularly when (to my knowledge) has not recanted this nauseating commercial he made with Nancy Pelosi.

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