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IN THIS ISSUE- Romney Wins Florida
· Our “Cute President”
· Romney for President
· Gingrich Vs. Romney
· My Own Financial Disclosure
· “Naked Emperors” by Scott Faulkner
Links to Articles and Items of Interest
GINGRICH VS. ROMNEY
A brief analysis
By Ivan W. Parkins
Newt Gingrich has considerable talent; his main problem is an ego that is larger. Both his marriages and his brief Speakership attest to that. And the Speakership, though notable for ending an unprecedented 40-year Democrat rule in the House of Representatives, ended in censure by many of those who had just supported him.
Mitt Romney, as Chief Executive of a state with a record of being unbendingly Democrat, managed to function constructively. Let’s hope that we can make him President and provide him with a mostly Republican Congress.
We in the United states have the world's largest, most diverse, and most technologically advanced economy. If we allow it, it should do well for us. If we assign persons of no real business experience to manage it in more and in greater detail, it is unlikely to accomplish what we want.
MY FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
I have not led the life of Romney
By Ivan W. Parkins
I recently received a tax form from one of my four small investment funds. My 2011 tax liability will include more than $600 in gains on money that I withdrew in order to help family members with a mortgage problem.
As nearly as I can estimate, the total income of this household, since my late wife and I created it in 1946, has been about equal to one of Governor Romney’s recent tax bills or two of Speaker Gingrich’s years of contract with Freddie Mac. We began with over $3000 that I had saved from my WWII salary as a junior naval officer.
My Social Security checks are less than average. My largest income is variable, from TIAA, a kind of mutual fund that Rockefeller created for teachers’ retirements. My choice in that has been to invest in American enterprises.
If the above seems small for two professionals, both with advanced degrees, it is, but keep in mind that we have earned very little of it since our retirements nearly thirty years ago.
Social Security has been a great program, but it was designed for a population most of whom would never live to collect it. It is now something like heavy golden jewelry burdening swimmers increasingly as they tire. The most unyielding protectors of its now unreasonable weight have been the many overwhelmingly Democrat Congresses of recent decades.
My life has been closer to both Gingrich's and Obama's in income, education and work experience. The coming elections, are an opportunity to provide greater economic experience in the top leadership of our nation.
Our “cute” President:
By Ivan W. Parkins
Isn’t it “cute” that President Barack Obama can blame so much of his political trouble on Republican control of the House of Representatives? His own partisan majority there was, for two years, greater than the combined sum of all partisan majorities enjoyed by all Republican Presidents since Herbert Hoover’s of 1929-30.
If you wish for more facts in this matter, try WORLD ALMANAC, page 554. President Eisenhower, in his first two years, had a majority of 9 Republican votes in the House, with one third party vote also present. President George W. Bush, in the first three of his two-year election periods had majorities of 12, 9, and 30 votes, for a total of 61, with the possibility of 1or 2 third party votes thrown in at various times.
Two Democrat Presidents, besides President Obama, have faced Republican majorities in the House. The first was Truman, 1947-49 during part of a term actually won by FDR. The other was President Clinton, following the Gingrich revolution and the Lewinsky scandal. Republican majorities in the House then numbered 26, 22 and 12. President Obama’s, is now the third example of a Democrat President facing a Republican majority in the House; it resulted from the 2010 off-year election. Other Democrat Presidents since FDR have faced only a House controlled by Democrat majorities; most of those majorities numbered several dozen votes. President Obama’s Democrat majority in the House, 2009-11, was 79—larger than the combined total of all partisan majorities available to Republican Presidents, but poor compared to some other Democrat majorities, especially the 246 of FDR, 1937-39.
This is a reprint from last year
By Ivan W. Parkins
The first thing that many Americans are likely to recall about Mitt Romney is that, as Governor of Massachusetts, he helped to design a quite comprehensive health care program for that state. Perhaps more of us should note that it occurred a few years before our present economic crisis became so obvious. Also the MA plan was to apply to only about 2% of Americans, and to a 2% who averaged more education, more income, less ethnic diversity, and less unemployment than was found in most other states. Also, MA had only about ¼ the percentage uninsured for health care that the nation averages. Even if the outcome there were more promising than it now appears to be, it would likely be a poor choice for the nation.
Actually, we do need a better designed health care system. We also need a President who can say of many and varied important public matters, “been there, tried that.”
Regarding jobs, Mitt Romney has served as a lay minister counseling persons laid-off due to new technologies and relocations of plants and offices. He has also been one of the owners and managers who had to decide when businesses needed, for competitive reasons, to change technologies or locations. And he, as Governor, secured in MA a $2000 subsidy to employers who retrained a person that had been unemployed for a year.
From my perspective of teaching in five different colleges and universities, and in four different states; and with some regard for things shared with my late wife whose experiences were even more diverse and almost as long as mine; I was especially impressed by one remark in Romney’s book, NO APOLOGY. It is as follows:
“I simply cannot believe that the teachers unions and the Democratic Party can successfully persist in opposing the very fundamentals that have propelled America’s leadership in every other dimension of our economy—competition, innovation, and higher rewards for better performance.”
Mitt Romney makes the case of no apology for America quite thoroughly, including his obvious study here and abroad of business and military competition. Until someone more clearly focused and broadly qualified appears, I hope to see him as the chief steward of America’s greatness.
A review of Scot Faulkner’s book.
From Vol. 1 issue 25
By Ivan Parkins
Newt Gingrich’s revolution, taking over the House of Representatives in the elections of 1994, can not be appreciated unless one first understands that for an unprecedented time, 40 years or twenty Congresses, the Democrats had held firm control of the House. They took it from Eisenhower’s Republicans in 1954 by a margin of 29 votes, and 29 votes was the smallest margin of their control for 40 years. In seven Congresses the Democrats controlled the House by 100 votes or more. None of the Republican advantages in the six years (1995-2001) following the Gingrich’s victory was by a margin as large as 29 votes.
Scot Faulkner’s book Naked Emperors details his effort as first-ever chief administrative officer of the House to correct the management problems left by 40 years of Democrat majorities. Faulkner had no legislative authority; his job was to oversee how 800 million dollars was spent and how 13,000 employees served the needs of House Members. For starters, a private accounting firm called in to do an audit quit, the records were simply too few and poorly kept for auditing.
The reform met with strong resistance. Why should any Member not be happy with a bank where his checks would be cashed and no one had authority to demand that he make deposits? Recent media stories had forced release of names of the 303 Members (both parties) who were taking advantage of that. The largest such individual indebtedness totaled nearly $600,000.
Contracts for services and supplies were often missing. Apparently, they were let as political favors and evidence had been destroyed. Thousands of lobbyists and journalists had passes to enter the Capitol Building after the hours available to mere citizens.
Faulkner’s book is very specific about persons, times, places, and other details. Obviously, he is presenting his report of his work. Not so obviously, because poorly publicized, that work attracted dozens of foreign officials, including at least one Russian, anxious to learn of how to provide better services to a legislative body. He and his management team achieved at least one real First, The first reduction of a House budget in the twentieth century.
Some of this makes dull reading. But, it is worth at least a quick skim by any citizen serious about voting in the 2008 elections. Some of the Congresspersons involved are still there, and they have more seniority and power.
Should we now trust the party that had 40 years of solid majorities in the House prior to 1995, and now is in control again, to oversee the management and budgets of our government’s other branches? I.W. Parkins