Cheer-up, America! The Case for American Optimism

Look for moments of maximum pessimism. To the legendary value investor Sir John Templeton, this was the secret to learning how to buy low and sell high.

In recent months, I’ve been feeling the pessimism in a big way. You probably have too. Watching the scroll of headlines on cable news channels this summer, I thought I was in an overdone disaster film. Riots break out across the globe, screamed a Drudge headline. Markets were crashing. An earthquake cracked the Washington Monument. In my hands, Mark Steyn’s new book After America — a rollicking read that makes a strong case that we should prepare for the apocalypse — arrived perfectly timed with the S&P’s downgrade of the United States’ credit rating. The end, surely, seems nigh.

FACT CHECK: Are rich taxed less than secretaries?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama makes it sound like there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries.

“Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires,” Obama said Monday. “That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that.”

The data tells a different story. On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

The Wacky World of Liberal Fundamentalism

The candidacies of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Bible-affirming Christians, predictably have ignited the liberal media’s zeal for exposing their allegedly odd if not wacko religious beliefs (see here). Support for some version of creationism, a faith in the efficacy of prayer, and actual belief in scriptural condemnation of homosexuality (among other religious views) are taken as prima facie evidence of presidential unsuitability. To be sure, millions of Americans (assumed to be ill-educated trailer-court denizens with rotting teeth and beer guts) may share these odd inclinations, but, at least according to liberal pundits, holding them betrays a lack of intellectual sophistication plus an aversion to modern science. Such antediluvian fundamentalism should, say the experts, have gone extinct with the Scopes Monkey Trials.

As we go over the cliff, just who is in the driver’s seat?

A few months ago, I asked the question, “How did we get here?”

If you have to ask where “here” is, then you may as well not read this column. But if you, too, believe that “here” is the end of the road for Western civilization, then you may as well read it and weep.

If you have to ask where “here” is, then you may as well not read this column. But if you, too, believe that “here” is the end of the road for Western civilization, then you may as well read it and weep.

I have explored a few possibilities already to explain the collapse of American values and American traditions in the past 50 years (which roughly correspond to my own life span up till now). Most of them seem to be linked to the phony Marxist philosophy of “redistribution of wealth,” whether in the guise of the New Deal, the Great Society, social justice or “the myth of permanent plenty.”