What If Libertarians Ran Washington?

By

Published October 05, 2011

Here’s my fantasy: Libertarians are elected to the presidency and to majorities in Congress. What would happen next? Well, if libertarians were “in charge,” you’d have more freedom and prosperity.

Freedom frightens some people. They say if no one is in charge there would be chaos. That is intuitive, but think about a skating rink.

Before rinks were invented, if you proposed an amusement in which people strap blades to their feet and skate around on ice at whatever speeds they wish, you’d have been called crazy. There’s got to be speed limits, stoplights, turn signals. But we know that people navigate rinks safely on their own. They create their own order, with only minimal rules.

Society would work the same way — and does to a large extent even today. “Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government,” Thomas Paine, the soul of the American Revolution, wrote. “It has its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. … Common interest (has) a greater influence than the laws of government.”

If libertarians were “in charge,” there would be laws to protect us from foreign enemies and those who would steal from us or injure us.

Today, by contrast, under the rule of what I will call “Democrans” and “Republicrats,” we’re drowning in rules — 160,000 pages’ worth. Micromanagement kills opportunity and freedom.

Maybe if there were a way to have more competition among governments, things would be better. Competition forces people to become more efficient and to get rid of stupid rules. What if we let people take over some unused land in America to create areas with fewer rules, simpler legal systems, smaller government?

I explored that subject last week on my Fox Business show with Michael Strong and Magatte Wade, founders of the Free Cities Project.

Strong said, “We want to encourage thousands of people to create new governments that have different rules, each competing for customers with the best education and best health care, the most peace and prosperity you could imagine.”

Of course, state governments would have to approve this.

“There are already Native American reservations in the U.S. … They can become more free. Honduras already has something like this. In Senegal, we’re encouraging a move toward an autonomous city-state that would allow for peace and prosperity.”

Wade is Strong’s wife and an entrepreneur from Senegal, where she saw firsthand how bad rules prevent people from creating prosperity.

“We need jobs. Who creates jobs? Entrepreneurs,” she said.

But Senegal is awash in rules. There was a government monopoly on cement. When the government allowed competition, prices fell by a third.

She started a beverage company.

“It was an ordeal. I did it because I am from Senegal. I have an interest in trying to improve things. But for an American company … why would they put themselves through such a thing?”

“What people don’t realize is the developing world is massively overregulated,” Strong said. “Africa is the most regulated continent on earth.”

In the Congo, it requires 18 documents to import anything.

Wade added: “The fact we have so many rules — who benefits most? Multinationals.”

“And crony capitalists,” Strong added. “Corruption in Africa is a symptom of massive overregulation.”

Are there any free cities along the lines Strong and Wade envision?

Hong Kong and Singapore are the best examples,” Strong said.

“Now they are among the wealthiest places on earth.”

And there is a free city in Dubai because the emirate wanted to create a financial sector, but sharia law prevented it.

“Dubai was brilliant,” Strong said. “They looked around the world. They saw that Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Chicago, Sydney, London all ran British common law. British common law is much better for commerce than is French common law or sharia law. So they took 110 acres of Dubai soil, put British common law with a British judge in charge, and they went from an empty piece of soil to the 16th most powerful financial center in world in eight years.”

It’s what libertarians have said: Freedom works, and government, when it grows beyond the barest minimum, keeps people poor.

John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. The show airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. and midnight ET. It re-airs Fridays at 10 p.m., Saturdays at 9 p.m. and 12 midnight, and Sundays at 10 p.m. (all times eastern). He’s also the author of “Give Me a Break” and of “Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.” 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/05/what-if-libertarians-ran-washington/#ixzz1ZxShu9pj

BREAKING: Apple Founder Steve Jobs is Dead

Published October 05, 2011

CUPERTINO, Calif. –  Apple said founder Steve Jobs died Wednesday, the company said in a statement.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” the company said in a brief statement.

“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”

Apple placed a black-and-white picture of Jobs on its website with the former boss dressed in his trademark black mock neck shirt. The company said, “Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

The news Apple fans and shareholders had been dreading came the day after Apple unveiled its latest version of the iPhone, just one in a procession of devices that shaped technology and society while Jobs was running the company.

In August, the legendary chief executive officer of Apple Inc., resigned and the company named Tim Cook, its previous chief operating officer, to the post.

Jobs wrote in a letter to the board that “if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”

“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it,” Jobs said at the time. “And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.”

Jobs, 56, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant two years ago. He reportedly appeared at the iPad 2 launch in March and the annual developers’ conference in June, The Journal reported. But he appeared thin at both events.

Jobs is credited with being the mind behind the iPhone, iPad and other devices that turned Apple into one of the world’s most powerful companies.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/10/05/apple-says-founder-steve-jobs-is-dead/#ixzz1ZxMj8izq

Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit

    • October 5, 2011, 2:31 PM ET
    • By Sara Murray

      Families were more dependent on government programs than ever last year.

      Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

      Click for full-size image

      The share of people relying on government benefits has reached a historic high, in large part from the deep recession and meager recovery, but also because of the expansion of government programs over the years. (See a timeline on the history of government benefits programs here.)

      Means-tested programs, designed to help the needy, accounted for the largest share of recipients last year. Some 34.2% of Americans lived in a household that received benefits such as food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicaid (the federal-state health care program for the poor).

      Another 14.5% lived in homes where someone was on Medicare (the health care program for the elderly). Nearly 16% lived in households receiving Social Security.

      High unemployment and increased reliance on government programs has also shrunk the nation’s share of taxpayers. Some 46.4% of households will pay no federal income tax this year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That’s up from 39.9% in 2007, the year the recession began.

Most of those households will still be hit by payroll taxes. Just 18.1% of households pay neither payroll nor federal income taxes and they are predominantly the nation’s elderly and poorest families.

The tandem rise in government-benefits recipients and fall in taxpayers has been cause for alarm among some policymakers and presidential hopefuls.

Benefits programs have come under closer scrutiny as policymakers attempt to tame the federal government’s budget deficit. President Barack Obama and members of Congress considered changes to Social Security and Medicare as part of a grand bargain (that ultimately fell apart) to raise the debt ceiling earlier this year. Cuts to such programs could emerge again from the so-called “super committee,” tasked with releasing a plan to rein in the deficit.

Republican presidential hopefuls, meanwhile, have latched onto the fact that nearly half of households pay no federal income tax, saying too many Americans aren’t paying their fair share.

UPDATE: Nearly half of the population lives in a household that has at least one member who receives some kind of government benefit. An earlier headline incorrectly suggested that half of American households receive some government benefit. Due to differences in household size that isn’t the case.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/10/05/nearly-half-of-households-receive-some-government-benefit/

Rubio says NO

Oct 5, 2011 5:50pm

Sen. Maro Rubio: “I am not going to be the VP nominee”

gty marco rubio ll 111005 wblog Sen. Maro Rubio: I am not going to be the VP nomineeAlex Wong / Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL., has been coy in the past about the prospect of being the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee. But today he was far more definitive than he has been stating that he is not going to be the 2012 Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

When asked at the Washington Ideas Forum at the Newseum in Washington DC, Rubio repeated twice for emphasis, “I am not going to be the Vice Presidential nominee. I am not going to be the Vice Presidential nominee.”

Asked during the forum if he would turn down an offer if the Republican presidential nominee asks him to, Rubio responded, “Yea, I believe so,” adding again, “the answer is gonna be no.”

Described as a rising star in the Republican Party, Rubio’s name has been tossed around as a possible Vice Presidential candidate since his rise on the nation stage when he elected to the Senate in 2010.

As he has in the past when asked, today Rubio spoke about the seriousness with which he takes his job as a U.S. Senator, held up as his reason why he is not considering the Vice Presidential position.

“I’m not focused on that,” he said. “I don’t crave it. I wanted to be a United States Senator. I didn’t run for the Senate as an opportunity to have a launching pad for some other job. I think one of the things that I lament is that people somehow come to the conclusion that United States Senator is not enough. Listen, the United States Senate is still an important, I think very important institution.”

Rubio said that a Senator can never get big things done in the Senate if they are “focused on it as a some sort of a launch pad for something else.”

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/i-am-not-going-to-be-the-vp-nominee/

Palin opts out of Presidential race

Palin Opts Against 2012 Presidential Run

Published October 05, 2011

June 2: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin listens to guests at a clambake in Seabrook, N.H.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced Wednesday that she won’t enter the 2012 presidential race, making it all but certain that the current crop of candidates has been set.

In a letter to her supporters, Palin, a Fox News contributor, said her decision was based on a “review of what common sense conservatives and independents have accomplished, especially over the last year.”

“I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office — from the nation’s governors to congressional seats and the presidency,” she said.

Watch Palin’s appearance on “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren at 10 p.m. ET

Palin’s announcement comes one day after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie affirmed his decision not to jump into the race after Republican leaders urged him to reconsider. Republicans have been searching for an alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and were disappointed when Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivered a lackluster performance in the most recent GOP debate.

Romney and Perry remain the frontrunners in the race but pizza executive Herman Cain has been surging in the polls recently after turning in consistently strong debate performances and winning the Florida straw poll late last month.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/05/palin-opts-against-2012-presidential-run/#ixzz1Zwzl01sq

 

Electric Bills About To Spike

Oct 5, 2011 12:14 AM EDT

Utilities across the country need more money for grid updates and pollution controls, and are passing the huge bill on to consumers. Laura Colarusso on why electricity bills are rising.

 

Already weary of high gas prices and 9.1 percent unemployment, many Americans are about to get another kick in the wallet thanks to large increases in their electricity bills.

From Alaska to Georgia and Wyoming to Florida, utilities are seeking permission to pass on hundreds of millions of dollars in new charges to customers to help upgrade aging infrastructure and build new or retrofitted power plants that comply with tougher environmental regulations, a Daily Beast review of regulatory filings has found.

The influx of requests, many still pending before state regulators, has left energy experts convinced that electricity prices will be on the rise for the foreseeable future as the industry struggles to modernize its aging infrastructure.

“They desperately need to upgrade,” says Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor and Clinton-era energy secretary who once famously called America a superpower with a Third World power grid. “You’re seeing rate hikes everywhere because this is a widespread, national problem.”

The pending rate hikes are bad news for poor and elderly Americans on tight budgets, as Congress and the White House begin making cuts to programs that help people cope with their utility bills. One program in particular, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, was slashed during the budget negotiations earlier this year, and is slated for even deeper reductions this fall.

During the budget battle, Congress cut $500 million from the program to bring this year’s total to $4.7 billion, down from a high of $5.1 billion in 2010. For next year, the Obama administration requested only $2.6 billion, leaving states with roughly half the assistance they’ve had in the past. The White House rationale relies on the assumption that energy prices will decline, but regulatory filings have indicated the opposite trend is in store.

In the latest round of budget negotiations, House Republicans have suggested adding $822 million on top of Obama’s request for next year, but the gap could still result in rationing.

Already this summer, Illinois cut back on its energy-assistance grants, forcing seniors and poor families to forego air conditioning during the sizzling August heat. And governors of cold-weather states such as Michigan’s Rick Synder and Maine’s Paul LePage—both Republicans—are fighting the drop in funding, warning that people could freeze. Northeastern Democrats are equally concerned by the president’s proposed cuts.

“During these tough economic times, it is critical that we both fully fund LIHEAP and ensure that states have timely access to the funding they need,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, says. “These changes could prevent states from being able to respond quickly to severe cold weather and leave the most vulnerable Americans out in the cold.”

The Beast’s review of regulatory filings found at least 16 utilities covering 6.1 million customers are seeking rate hikes of 5 percent or more. Almost half of those want increases of 10 percent or more.

And several more utilities already have received approval for large increases.

For instance, close to three million customers in parts of Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia that get their electricity from American Electric Power have seen their rates increase between 48 and 88 percent over the last few years. Those rates are expected to rise an additional 10 to 35 percent in the next three years. The reason? AEP officials are quick to blame environmental regulations that they say are going to cost the company $8 billion in compliance and upgrades.

AEP, which operates in 11 states, says it is raising rates because it needs the cash to upgrade its infrastructure. The company plans to retire five coal plants—which amount to 6,000 megawatts of generation— and build at least two natural gas plants by the end of this decade.

“None of this is cheap,” says Mike Morris, AEP’s chief executive officer. Morris predicts that rolling brownouts also could loom on the horizon because the current system can’t keep up with demand, which is expected to grow by 44 percent by 2035.

Electricity rates were static for most of the 1990s and early 2000s. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average residential customer saw his or her bill increase just seven-tenths of a cent per kilowatt between 1998 and 2004. Between 2005 and 2010, the average price spiked about 2.5 cents and then flattened out over last year as natural gas prices dropped, EIA says.

Dozens of factors affect rate increases, but one of the biggest is that much of the transmission system was built at a time when the radio was still the main form of entertainment. The power grid simply can’t keep up with modern demand as more people use more appliances, computers, and gadgets.

In addition, more than half the states have imposed new clean-energy standards that require utilities to feed in renewable sources. Older systems can’t handle variable power sources such as wind and solar, and therefore require significant upgrades. Throw in pollution controls now required by federal regulations, and utilities are facing billions in upgrade costs that they are eager to pass on to customers.

In Wyoming, the roughly 135,000 households and businesses that get their electricity from Rocky Mountain Power will see their bills go up twice this year alone. In April, rates increased an average of 2 percent to cover increased fuel costs. The second increase took effect at the end of September –an average 8 percent rate hike—to fund infrastructure upgrades.

In South Carolina, Duke Energy has requested a 17 percent increase in residential rates to pay for new power plants and environmental compliance measures. Alaska Electric Light and Power got a 24 percent residential rate hike to deal with inflation and to build a new hydro project.

The pending rate hikes are bad news for poor and elderly Americans on tight budgets.

Customers in Richardson’s home state of New Mexico were looking at a 21 percent hike for infrastructure upgrades, but the state utility commission capped it at 9 percent.

And in Florida, Gulf Power has requested a 10 percent increase—the company’s first request in a decade—to pay for new power lines and other infrastructure. The public service commission won’t rule on the case until early next year, but approved an interim 4 percent price hike for the company’s 376,000 customers.

The industry is at the beginning of what analysts at the Edison Electric Institute, the association of shareholder-owned electric companies, describe as a long-term transition to a lower-carbon industry. Coal is on the way out for many power plants, and natural gas, solar, and wind power are being phased in.

“It’s a relatively recent phenomenon that’s happening because a good portion of the coal plants in use today are at or near the end of their useful lives,” EEI’s Jim Owens explains. Though the specific upgrades will vary among utilities, there is no doubt the costs will be passed on to consumers who will have to shoulder most of the burden despite the economic difficulties they face.

Utilities also are facing more stringent environmental regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a variety of new rules that would affect electricity generation, essentially forcing utility companies to shutter their coal plants or invest hundreds of millions in scrubbers that remove toxins from the air. Many of these proposed changes are court-ordered and required under the Clean Air Act.

In July, the agency finalized its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in an effort to cut sulfur-dioxide and nitrogen-oxide emissions after the Bush administration’s plan was thrown out by a judge. Earlier this year, the EPA proposed national standards for mercury pollution from power plants. It’s also working on a controversial plan to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

The EPA has been a convenient punching bag for electricity companies, which have been arguing that onerous regulation is pushing up prices and giving electricity companies too little time to shutter older plants. But, the administration has listened, at least in part, to their concerns. In early September, President Obama gave a two-year reprieve to utilities on tougher ozone regulations because of fears the rules might harm the fragile economy.

And, a report in August by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service countered some of industry’s claims of gloom and doom. That report noted most of the plants that will be affected are coal-fired facilities that are more than 40 years old—many of which are already being closed or have been upgraded to deal with toxic emissions.

The report also states that many of the new rules are the result of court rulings mandating regulation. “Some may question why EPA is undertaking so many regulatory actions at once, but it is the decades of regulatory inaction that led to this point,” the report notes.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/10/05/americans-face-double-digit-hikes-in-electricity-bills-to-fund-upgrades.html

Labor Unions Join Wall Street “Occupiers” for Mass Rally

Oct. 5, 2011

The cavalry has arrived in Lower Manhattan. Representatives from no fewer than 15 of the country’s largest labor unions will join the Occupy Wall Street protesters for a mass rally and march today in New York City.

The AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, and Transit Workers’ Union are among the groups expected to stand in solidarity with the hundreds of mostly young men and women who have spent the better part of three weeks sleeping, eating, and organizing from Zuccotti Square.

Their arrival is being touted as a watershed moment for the “Occupy” movement, which has now seen copycat protests spring up across the country. And while the specific demands of the “occupiers” remain wide-ranging, the presence of the unions – implicitly inclined to making more direct demands – may sharpen their focus.

Today’s action is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET, when the protesters in Zuccotti Square march approximately one mile north to Foley Square, where they will be met by community and labor leaders. Then, at 4:30 p.m., they plan to march together back down toward Wall Street. They do not yet have a city-issued permit for the gathering, but are now pursuing one.

The “Union March” is expected to be the movement’s largest yet and there is the potential for a significant number of arrests. The New York Police Department booked an estimated 700 protesters Saturday as they attempted to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, bringing the total number arrested to over 1,000 in less than three weeks.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaking at a retirement community in Florida yesterday, denounced the movement. “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” he said.

While some on the ground welcome the concept of a showdown with the “one percent,” organizers (who claim to represent “the 99 percent” of Americans they say are being trampled on by the financial elite), say they remain committed to “non-violent” protest.

The question for today, though, is what affect the presence of labor unions will have on the tenor of the demonstrations. To date, Occupy Wall Street has set their agenda during twice-daily “general assemblies” with large-scale votes and directly elected “working groups.”

The unions do not operate this way. They are top-down organizations. Their leaders, though elected, make most decisions autonomously. They are well-versed in fashioning specific appeals, the very concept of which runs counter to Occupy Wall Street’s purposefully abstract message.

“Think Facebook or Twitter: These protesters have adopted that same decentralized structure, Columbia University political science Professor Dorian Warren told ABC News yesterday. “There’s no one leader. It’s not top-down. It’s much more democratic, much more ‘open-source.'”

“One of the beautiful things about [Occupy Wall Street],” says Professor Yochai Benkler, co-director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, “is that it is a movement defining itself as it ‘becomes.'”

While the concept of “becoming” or “creating space” for dissent, as organizers preach, might seem a bit far off to grizzled union vets, it’s a bedrock of the “Occupy movement.” But to the hundreds who’ve made their beds on Zuccotti Park’s stone encampment the meta-narrative probably seems a little bit beside the point. Whatever the risks entailed in opening up their action to different groups, with different acting ethics, they’re happy for the new support.

But as history reminds, there’s no such thing as “free love.”

http://abcnews.go.com/US/labor-unions-join-occupy-wall-street-york-rally/story?id=14673346

Hacker Group Anonymous Threatens to Attack Stock Exchange

By Perry Chiaramonte & Jana Winter

Published October 04, 2011

The FBI is investigating threats purportedly from the hacking collective that calls itself Anonymous to bring down the New York Stock Exchange on Monday by hacking into its computer system.

Members of the notorious hacker group appear to be threatening to bring the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York to a dangerous new level, sounding a call to “declare war on the New York Stock Exchange” on Monday by “erasing” it from the Internet.

“The FBI is aware of these schemes and threats and is looking into the matter,” FBI spokesman Tim Flannelly told FoxNews.com.

The hackers say they plan to launch a DDoS (or distributed denial of service) attack on the NYSE’s computer systems — the same type of computer attack that brought down numerous websites last Spring, making them inaccessible.

Anonymous has also separately declared the Stock Exchange announcement a hoax, and it remains unclear whether this is an official effort by Anonymous, a group of rogue hackers or someone else entirely.

Either way, the FBI is investigating.

“It is a crime to show the intent to carry out a hack when you are in possession of software or computer applications to do so and we take it seriously,” FBI spokesman Flannelly said.

In one of the videos, which was addressed to the media, a narrator states, “We can no longer stay silent as the population is being exploited and forced to make sacrifices in the name of profit. We will show the world that we are true to our word. On October 10, NYSE shall be erased from the Internet … expect a day that will never, ever, be forgotten.”

In a video addressed to the public, the narrator states, “We are the 99 percent. You have complained that something needs to be done. You now have an opportunity to make a difference. Join the protests. Organize your own. Watch online. Be a part of the movement.”

A digital flier has circulated online with the banner “Operation Invade Wall Street: This is not an occupation. This is an invasion,” and instructions how to participate in “three simple steps.”

It provides a link to download a program to participate as well as the URL for the Stock Exchange (www.nyse.com) and the date and time, October 10th at 3:30 p.m., to attack.

Would-be participants are also urged to “spread the F—– word.”

Still, other Anonymous representatives denied the plans.

A second letter has been posted online, also with Anonymous on the masthead, that references rumors of the planned attack and disclaims the group’s association:

“We have taken notice to a planned attack which has been named #InvadeWallStreet …We strongly advise against this action and everything it entails to,” the letter says.

“We do not want history to repeat itself, and are sincerely worried,” the letter adds, referencing past attacks on Visa, Paypal, and Mastercard after they refused to accept transactions for payment to WikiLeaks.

Some have taken to Twitter, claiming the DDoS threat is a hoax, or even a setup.

“Smells like a trap! Don’t participate,” said one tweet with the hashtag #invadewallstreet.

“HOAX: #invadewallstreet is not a valid OP. Beware of provocateurs!!!” said another posting.

America Needs a Leader — Should We Advertise On Milk Cartons for One?

What a novel idea! 

By

Published October 05, 2011

At about the very moment Gov. Chris Christie was saying that “now is not my time,” a new poll surfaced that demonstrated what might have been. Echoing Marlon Brando under a headline of “CHRISTIE COULDA’ BEEN A CONTENDER,” a Quinnipiac University survey found that the New Jersey governor would have started with a share of the top spot in the GOP field and defeated President Obama in a head-to-head matchup.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

We’ll never know if Christie had the right stuff to go all the way, but his decision not to try is a disappointment. The clamor for him illustrated the belief among many voters, not all of them Republican, that America can do better than Obama or Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and the rest of the GOP gaggle.

Christie would have been a double-edged sword in some ways, but his passion and center-right reforms in deep-blue New Jersey were an attractive profile, especially for the independent and swing voters who decide elections. As he showed again yesterday, he is refreshingly blunt and has the record to back up the tough talk.

In fact, even as he was bowing out, he made the case against Obama better than the GOP candidates have so far. And he did it in a few off-the-cuff comments late in his press conference.

“There’s no substitute for knowing how to lead,” he said in response to a question. “Everything else you can be taught. You can’t be taught how to lead and make decisions.”

He went on to say that overall, Obama has “failed the American people because he’s failed that absolute litmus test to be president of the United States, and that’s to know how to lead and decide, and he hasn’t done that.”

A minute later, he gave a quick critique of the Republican candidates. He cited the litany of the most serious problems — debt, deficit, tax code, America’s standing in the world, entitlements, opportunity — and said these are the things that should be driving the campaign.

But “I don’t think they’re doing that yet,” he said of the GOP candidates.

Christie is spot on with both points. The economy is dead, scandals are rising like floodwaters around the White House, and Obama is happy to lead from behind at home and abroad, yet nobody in the GOP effectively calls him on it. Instead, the campaign has been reduced to a series of stilted debates, which by nature are heavily structured and scripted.

Romney has survived by playing it safe, Perry has been defined by his stumbling performances and Cain is rising because he’s funny and sharp. None has more than 25 percent support, and their attacks on each other are a zero-sum game that makes them all look small.

Meanwhile, the national mood grows more sour as the jobs picture remains gloomy and the stock market behaves like a yo-yo. Most days, the wheels seem to be coming off the world.

America needs a leader — someone who has the courage to lead from the front, get things done and bring the nation together. Maybe we should advertise on a milk carton for one, because so far, a leader of the pack is missing.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/05/america-needs-leader-should-advertise-on-milk-cartons-for-one/#ixzz1ZvDjl6vJ