Posts Tagged 'Congress'

Back to Our Roots

Shock: Mitt Romney is quickly falling out of favor with the GOP.

Ok, I’m not really shocked.  In fact while I thought Romney was going to win, it wasn’t what I was predicting when he won the nomination.  In fact, I wrote back in March on Whitehouse12.com that when it came down to it, the election would not be about the economy.  Turns out, I was right.

With a mixture of QE Infinity, a suspect September jobs report, and unemployment applications surprisingly falling (because California failed to report their numbers on time), the argument on the economy became relatively dampened just in time for the election.  Toss in pure media malpractice in their coverage on Benghazi and Sandy, where there was simply the latest in a string of incompetencies by this administration, and come election day Romney’s success as a businessman did not put him over the edge in voters minds.

What did put Obama over the edge was perception.  Obama was the candidate with your lady parts on his mind, and not in a dirty way.  He was the one who didn’t put women in binders, whatever that means.  But he was the one who is making it so that our nation stops killing sick people.  He is the one who cares so much about the poor and middle class, despite taxing them through Obamacare.  And of course, his strategy of divide and conquer worked.  Obama is the President of blacks, Hispanics, women, students, the poor, the middle class, Hollywood, and so on.  Romney’s one failed attempt at divide and conquer was announcing that he was not the guy for the 47%.  Somehow that was less successful than Obama’s strategy.

The Republican establishment has 2012 all figured out.  If only we offered our version of the Dream Act, rewarding young illegal immigrants for good behavior.  If only we were less rigid about what we believed and sounded more like Democrats.  The fact is, we did ok with moderates.  Moderates don’t win elections.  The only reason we keep having it drilled into our heads that they do is because pandering to moderates is a great way to lose conservative votes.

Now, Republicans have an opportunity to communicate with the country.  The Fiscal Cliff should teach the country a few very important lessons.  All the tax hikes in the world won’t solve our deficit problem.  Tax hikes on the rich will hurt the economy, but they won’t cover even one major pork bill.  The problem is spending.  We are spending ourselves broke and not even taxes on the rich can close the gap.

But instead, the lesson coming out of the fiscal cliff is that we all need to do our fair share.  Those of us who make more should pay far more.  Forget deficits and budgets and all that wonky stuff.  If you are rich, you didn’t build that.  It’s time for you to suffer like we are all suffering so that we can all share in this wonderful suffering that is America.  Somehow this is the message that is resonating, and it is probably because we have no Newt Gingrich in Congress to stand up and call the whole concept ridiculous.

Conservatism is not about shared suffering.  It is about freedom and opportunity.  It is about striving for so much freedom and opportunity that poverty becomes a choice.  It is about a people who tell the government what it can and can’t do, not the other way around.  It’s about personal responsibility and the ability to choose whether or not to buy your neighbor the things he or she needs and wants.

Conservatism is about fair, simple taxes.  It is about states rights.  It is about limited foreign engagement only when our national security is at risk.  It is about the right to drink beer and shoot off fireworks in your back yard.  It is about the right to teach your kids the Bible or worship however you want.  It is about the right to live, pursue happiness, own property, earn your way through school and get a job you love.  The outcomes are not guaranteed, but the right to pursue the outcomes are.

This is a message that would resonate.  Freedom gets people to the polls.  The problem is that too many moderate Republicans are so worried about governing that they forget their primary responsibility: to uphold the constitutional protections against their attempts to govern.  We are a nation of individuals governed by states and united under one constitution.  A party that runs on a conservative constitutionalist platform will win.

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Safe (Sex In) Schools Czar

A short time ago, Obama’s green jobs Czar, Van Jones, was obliged to step down after he discovered that he had unwittingly signed a petition once to investigate Bush for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Van Jones is actually one of Obama’s less innocuous Czar appointments.  But this is what happens when the President delegates himself the unconstitutional authority to appoint and outsource power to people in made up positions with no congressional oversight.

More shocking than Van Jones, who once accused white people of polluting black neighborhoods, is Obama’s choice for a “Safe Schools” Czar, Kevin Jennings.  Jennings is in charge of figuring out how to make our wonderful institution of public schools safe for the children who attend.  Jennings has come under a great deal of criticism for his pro-homosexual education stance and his anti-religion stance.  But seriously people, this is public school.  That’s par for the course.  Others have been disturbed by Jennings admitted drug abuse and suggest that this might disqualify him from being the man in charge of keeping our schools drug-free.  On the other hand, half the US Presidents who have appointed Drug Czars share Jennings’ history of illegal drug abuse.

“I got stoned more often and went out to the beach at Bellows, overlooking Honolulu Harbor and the lights of the city, to drink with my buddies on Friday and Saturday nights, spending hours watching the planes take off and land at the airport, which is actually quite fascinating when you are drunk and stoned.” – Kevin Jennnings

Beyond his own dark past, what makes most parents nervous about the “Safe Schools” Czar is his record when it comes to actually keeping kids safe.  Jennings tells the story of when a 15 year old boy came to him and told him that he (the 15 year old boy) was meeting older men in a bus station bathroom for sex.  Jennings response, in his own words, was to make sure he “used a condom”.  Who knew when Obama hired the “Safe Schools” Czar, he was actually getting the “Safe Sex” Czar.

Encouraging a minor to enjoy their statutory rape as long as they use a condom is the sort of thing that might get a Republican fired.  In fact, the Washington Times editorial on Kevin Jennings reminds us of how the party lost the 2006 congressional election because Mark Foley sent mildly suggestive texts to a minor.

The Senate Finance Committee has just voted to restore federal funding for abstinence programs.  It is obvious that these programs run directly in opposition to President Obama’s agenda, as evidenced by his choice for Safe Sex in Schools Czar Kevin Jennings.  This may be the beginning of a battle that will show Americans who really is in charge in Washington, the Congress or the Czars.

With Republicans Like These, Who Needs Democrats?

Last year, Senator Isakson of Georgia sponsored a bill that gave us the $8,000 first time home buyer credit.  Isakson is a Republican.  It was a year when even the best conservatives turned into redistributive socialists.  They joined the leftist majority and borrowed from China in order to redistribute money to Wall Street and its benefactors.  They robbed from the rich and gave to the rich.  Now he wants to extend the bill, nearly double the credit, and open it up to investors as well.  Does he not realize that we are about to do the same thing to Democrats that we did to Republicans in 2006; kick the bums out for spending too much?

In 2008, home values were dropping like crazy.  That’s great news for people without a whole lot of money who need to buy a house.  That’s terrible news for people who build houses.  But the fact is, we had way too many houses on the market.  There was no demand for houses.  The bubble had burst and there was no way around it.  The housing market had become an inefficient use of resources.

In the real world, that is when the over abundance of housing contractors find a new job, as do excess realtors, until the number of houses on the market no longer exceeds the number of families looking to buy a house.  Yeah, it sucks.  Yes, it is also temporary and eventually results in a more efficient growing economy with expanded wealth and opportunity.  But in 2008, Bush, Paulson and the Democrat Congress invented a new term: too big to fail.

Instead, Congress decided to re-inflate the bubble.  Instead of allowing the market to drop the price of houses by $8,000 on its own, which would automatically create demand among the new homebuyer market, Congress decided to borrow money and give Americans $8,000 to buy a new home.  This kept prices inflated, created artificial demand, and kept the bubble inflated.  Until, that is, December 2009 when the program ends.  At that point, Congress must either allow the bubble to burst again, or they must borrow and tax even more so that they can continue to kick the economic can down the road.

We saw the exact same thing with Cash for Clunkers.  Ford even hired a bunch of new people and increased production.  What’s going to happen when the artificial Cash for Clunkers demand ends?  We will soon find out.

What is depressing our economy right now is the anticipation of the next dip.  This dip will be a result of the end of Cash for Clunkers and the first time home buyer credit, TARP repayment, government sales of bailout stock (Citigroup, GM), Cap and Trade that Obama has now admitted will cost every American family $1,700, and the socialization of the healthcare industry.

Is there hope?  Sure.  We can drill for our own oil, creating a whole new economic segment of growth and employing millions while increasing economic demand in other areas.  We can start to pay down debt instead of increasing it so that 10 years from now half our federal budget isn’t going to pay for interest to China.  We can enact free market healthcare reforms that create competition, create tort reform, and cover people in an efficient, constitutional way.  We can cancel plans to tax every American through Cap and Trade and $350 billion in new taxes for Obamacare.  But you won’t get any of this with the current crowd.  Our best shot for economic recovery is the 2010 election.

And then along comes Isakson and the McCain Republicans.  Perhaps, when they stand next to us and before us at the TEA party rallies they are too busy scoring easy political points to actually listen to what we are saying.

Interesting. Unconstitutional, But Still Interesting.

Obama’s milky smooth voice poured forth ideas such as tort reform and limiting the Public Option to high risk areas during his speech before a joint session of the Congress.  At other times he appeared angry as he swore that his health plan would not cover abortions, would not encourage seniors to forgo expensive health care, and would not harm private insurance.  In town hall fashion someone from the crowd called out that Obama was lying.  I suppose that’s a fair charge, since Obama basically accused half the country of lying and making up those things.  I suppose we will have to see the final bill.

Obama’s idea of a government non-profit public option that is self-sustaining through the premiums it receives is somewhat interesting.  But here is my question:  if this is such a moral imperative that we have a public option and it will be self sustaining and so on, why don’t Americans get together and start one?  In fact, they have.  The big difference between private co-ops and Obama’s idea of a public option is that private co-ops are not unconstitutional.  Obama spent a great deal of time in his speech talking about how people are scared of big government and government overstepping its bounds.  Do you think that might have anything to do with Obama’s healthcare plan overstepping its constitutional bounds?

In fact, our government is going to fine us if we don’t buy health insurance.  Our government is going to fine our employers if they don’t buy our health insurance for us.  Our government is going to fine insurance companies who offer high price plans.  So much for finding the fine line between too much government and too little.

Obama said that we need a public option to provide competition.  He cited how in some states, like Alabama, the majority of healthcare is covered by just a couple insurance companies.  That is a perfect argument for letting people buy health insurance across state lines, not for a public option designed to undercut private insurance companies.  I’m all for competition, but we can do it without billing the American people for it.

I like the idea of an exchange where people can easily compare insurance plans, costs, and benefits.  The Auto Insurance industry somehow manages to do that without the government.  In fact, Progressive.com will give you quotes from other car insurance companies.  It seems like we could have something like this without paying the government to run it.

Obama offered some hope when he said his bill will not fund abortion.  When Obama says that federal dollars will not be used to fund abortion, I wonder if he thinks that because he doesn’t think federal dollars will be paying for the public option?  My prediction is that Republicans will offer another amendment saying that the public option will not cover abortions and the amendment will be voted down just like all the others.  I am also skeptical on the tort reform…suggestion.  I wouldn’t exactly call Obama’s tort comments a promise.

Perhaps the biggest issue with this unicorn of a bill that Obama is selling is the credibility issue.  Obama continues to insist that he can offer this healthcare bill, cover everyone, increase spending by $900 billion, but not increase the deficit.  I’m not sure if he realizes that we are out of money already and every new dollar of spending is an increase to the deficit.

He also said that much of the bill would be paid for by cutting billions in waste from Medicare.  Mr. President, I hate to break it to you, but Medicare is going to be broke by the end of your administration.  If he cuts billions of dollars in waste from Medicare, which is certainly a good idea, he just might be able to make Medicare sustainable.  He is dreaming if he actually thinks he will have anything left over to fund a government subsidized healthcare industry.

Once again, we will need to see the final bill.  Judging from what Obama said tonight, HR3200 is not it.

Leave the Czars to the Russians

I have put in my time.  I have researched Article II of the Constitution and the amendments.  I never found the word Czar, nor did I find constitutional justification for such a position.   But Obama has as many as 32 Czars.  He has a TARP Czar, an Auto Recovery Czar, an Afghanistan Czar, a Terrorism Czar (I guess we can use that word if it’s part of a job description), a Car Czar (completely different from the Auto Recovery Czar), a California Water Czar, and rumor has it that as Obama continues his extended vacation over Labor Day weekend that he is going to appoint a Presidential Fill-In Czar.

It’s not just Republicans who disapprove of the President delegating his duties, constitutional and unconstitutional, to these Czars.  Some Democrats, like Senator Byrd, are unhappy that they don’t have a say in approving these Czars.  Of course, I suspect that their issue is more one of the President giving power to the Czars that should belong to Congress, and not so much the constitutionality aspect.

Of course, what is disconcerting is the power given to these individuals in circumvention of the Constitution.  Even Liberal Republican Susan Collins can see the danger of what she called a lack of transparency and accountibility associated with Czars.  The American Thinker calls the Czars commissars, named after the political agents appointed by Communist regimes to implement the dictators policies apart from the normal governmental process.  Is that an invalid assessment?  Rep. Kingston from Georgia calls Obama’s Czar structure a “parallel government”.

What about the idea of removing authority and responsibility from our government and putting it in the hands of these people?  Look at what happened when Bush passed the first TARP bailout that put the authority and responsibility for fixing the economy directly and solely in the hands of the Treasury Secretary Paulson.  Now those powers and responsibilities are solely in the hands of Tim Geithner the tax cheat.  How’s that economy going, America?  And the Treasury Secretary has to be approved by Congress, unlike most of Obama’s Czars.

Is this truly something to fear?  Well, these titles give me pause: Faith Based Czar, Urban Affairs Czar, Information Czar, Pay Czar, Domestic Violence Czar, Technology Czar…wait, back up.  Faith Based Czar??  Nevermind that the government specifically has no jurisdiction over half the things Obama has Czars for according to the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution. Obama is strictly prohibited by the 1st amendment from having jurisdiction over faith.

Here are some other historical titles that should give you pause: Minister of Food, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Forestry, Minister of Science and Education, Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs (Faith Based Czar?), Minister of Aviation, Minister of Economics, Minister of War, oh yeah, and Minister of Propaganda.  I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Before you write me off as an alarmist, let’s examine exactly who Obama is putting in these positions of unaccountable authority.

Van Jones: Of all the environmentalists in the country, Obama chose a civil rights activist, 9/11 conspiracy theorist in Van Jones to be his “Green Jobs” Czar.  Van Jones says he never agreed with the 9/11 conspiracy petition that he signed in 2004, calling for an investigation into whether Bush was responsible for murdering more than 3,000 civilians through the 9/11 attacks.  Great, so our Green Jobs Czar is either a liar or doesn’t read stuff before he signs it.  Well, ok, so that’s par for the course in Washington.

What I find interesting is how little experience Jones actually has as an environmentalist.  When you hire a die-hard affirmative action proponent with almost no environmental experience as your Green Jobs Czar, what do you think the intended result is?  Jones has accused “white polluters” of polluting black neighborhoods.  So much for reconciliation and an end to racism in this country.  And of course, Jones has strong ties to Communism.  You would think after the Jeremiah Wright incident, Obama might know what type of people to avoid in political circles.  I guess that’s what you get for not paying attention in church.

Cass Sunstein: The Regulation Czar has advocated for a ban on hunting in the US and an opt out policy on organ donation.  Basically this means that unless you specifically say otherwise, the government can use your organs when you die.

John Holdren: Obama’s Science Czar is another character with a regretful past when it comes to ideology.  Holdren at one point advocated forced abortions and sterilization.   Of course, that isn’t a new concept either.  Holdren, like Jones, released a statement saying that he had never supported his ideology.  Fundamentally disagreeing with oneself seems to be a requirement for a position in Obama’s government.

Carol Browner: The Energy and Environment Czar Carol Browner is a well known socialist.  Of course, she is well known only because of a great deal of research done.  After Obama suggested her, records of her ties to socialist groups began disappearing off the web.  But for Browner, this is nothing new.  In 2003 a Federal Judge held the EPA in contempt for destroying records and shredding documents during the Clinton administration.  Browner’s were among those.

Vivek Kundra, Obama’s Information Czar, has had FBI troubles and Obama’s first shot at Performance Czar had to withdraw due to tax troubles.  Apparently Nancy Killefer had enough of  back taxes to keep her from getting hired as a Czar but not enough to become the next head of the IRS.

You can call me an alarmist if you want to.  I prefer to use the term vigilent.  If Congress can’t approve Czars, they can’t  impeach them either.

TEA Party April 15th, 2009

Originally posted April 15, 2009

Today, as you all know, is April 15th. Many of you dread this day because it is crunch time to wrap up your returns and wait in line at the post office in hopes that you can be processed before they close, ironically despite the fact that your taxes pay for the post office.

For me, April 15th is heaven. After three and a half months working from sun up to sun down and on the weekends, filing hundreds of corporate returns and personal returns, and putting my life on hold, April 15th is the end of tax season. In fact, we usually don’t do many new returns on the 15th and already have our extensions filed. So today, I decided to play hooky, pick up my wife, and attend the TEA Party at the Jacksonville Landing.

I decided before going that I wasn’t going to mention to anyone what I do for a living, in case anyone asked. Mobs have been known to do very bad things to even the most innocent among them when riled up enough. But this crowd was what you would expect from a Conservative and Libertarian crowd. The most oddly dressed were wearing 1776 uniforms, not pink drag. They boo-ed our tax and spend congress and cheered mention of our founding fathers and our constitution. And when one of the speakers enjoyed her freedom of religion and closed her speech in prayer to Christ, it felt as though we had regained something that had been long lost in years of political correctness and timidity. No one unplugged the microphone.

The crowd of about 2,000 was loving it. Signs ranged from anti-tax, anti-socialism, and anti-Obama to pro-constitution and pro-individual freedom. There was no specific theme. Fairtax.org had a table set up as did WoundedWarriors.com. Children wore shirts saying “I’m too young to be in debt”, and in fact one of the children had a chance to give a speech where he let us know that by the time he is our age his portion of the national debt will be $50,000.

The president of a local bank that refused TARP funds gave the first speech. I was actually shocked. I have been to political rallies before. At the McCain rally I was glad we had a candidate running against Obama, but I wished it was someone else. Even at the Romney rally, I was loving what he said but he sounded like a politician. These people weren’t politicians. The president of this local bank spoke out against the excesses of our government and their errant plans without fear or temperance. It was very refreshing. I don’t think he was worried about offending anyone.

The next speech was from a local radio host who has a show on money and personal finances. He spoke about cap and trade and pulled no punches. When he called Global Warming a hoax, the crowd went wild.

These TEA parties represent what was once mainstream and has now become a sub-culture. Many of the people there were Conservative Constitutionalists like myself. One sign read “Right wing extremists uphold the Constitution”. Another sign read, regarding unconstitutional spending, “Bush started it, Obama continues it, we can stop it”. There were home-school kids, soccer moms, bikers for Jesus, businessmen, black, white, Asian and Hispanic. One woman in the crowd behind me asked if Representative Corrine Brown was here to answer to us, but I am not sure if the Landing actually made it into Brown’s district.

CNN.Com was quick to point out that many Liberals don’t think these protests will amount to anything, an unidentified protester in a February TEA party said something about waterboarding Obama, and a month ago 62% of Americans approved of Obama’s tax policy according to a CNN poll. That isn’t what I saw today. What I saw today was Americans like me who believed that we are taxed too much, that taxes are too complex, that our government spends way too much, that taxes on employers are too high, that cap and trade will destroy our economy, that bailouts were a mistake, and that economic growth and prosperity are the responsibility of individual Americans, not the government.

I really enjoyed the whole thing. It’s nice to find out that I am not alone. I just wish that all of us had an option. It’s time we had a candidate who wouldn’t be afraid to not only show up at one of these rallies, but to give a speech as boldly as the business owner whose negative publicity affects his livelihood, the radio host who wasn’t afraid to call Global Warming a hoax, and the student who prayed to her God knowing that she has her public high school to return to tomorrow. Until then I guess we will continue our partisan game-playing while our politicians try to sell us on their dreams of re-election.

Debts, Deficits, and the Myth of the Clinton Surplus

Originally posted April 3, 2009

We have all heard this before. When Bush took office in 2001 he inherited a surplus from Clinton and turned it into an $11 trillion debt. So, considering Clinton left office with the US $5.7 trillion in debt, I think it might be a good exercise to go back and look at the difference between debts and deficits and to examine what it actually was that Clinton left and Bush wasted.

Deficits, in most conversation, refer to the annual budget deficits where our government projects to spend more than it brings in. These deficits tend to be strictly on paper. For example, while he was $5.7 trillion in debt, Clinton projected a $236 billion surplus for 2000. Bush’s deficits never got to be much more than $400 billion a year, yet he increased the debt by $5 trillion. Do the math. Obama’s projected deficits come in about $100 billion below the Congressional Budget Office’s estimates until he leaves office, when his projected deficit comes in at about half of what the Congressional Budget Office estimates (about $700 billion in 2019 according to Obama, about $1.2 trillion according to the CBO). I guess when he leaves office he can blame the actual deficits on his predecessors.

Debt is what we actually owe to both our citizens through government bonds and debt and to other countries like China. It is also when we borrow from our “lock-boxes” like Social Security funds and other designated funds. This of course comes from spending more than we bring in, and from spending on items that don’t even make the budget.

When Clinton took office, the national debt was at $4.1 trillion. By the time Newt Gingrich and the Republicans took control of Congress after the 1994 election and began enacting the Contract With America, the national debt was about $4.8 trillion. When Clinton finally signed the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 the national debt was at about $5.4 trillion.

At the end of 2000 the national debt stood at $5.7 trillion. A year later, with Democrats in control of the Senate, and then 9/11 happening, the national debt stood at $5.9 trillion. 5 years later, at the end of 2006 and 5 years of Republican rule in both Congress and the White House, two wars, a tax cut inspired economic recovery, the national debt stood at $8.7 trillion. Two years later, under a Democratic congress and Republican president the national debt stood at $10.7 trillion. Today, three months later, it is $11.1 trillion. Feeling sick yet?

So what was Clinton’s surplus? Well, it wasn’t ever anything more than on paper. Every year of Clinton’s presidency the debt increased. In fact, his budget for the fiscal year ending September 29, 2001 resulted in a $133 billion deficit.

So why did Clinton say surplus? Well, first of all, as mentioned above there are two different kinds of debt. There is public debt (government bonds, etc.) and there is inter-government debt. Inter-government debt is when the government raids obligations like Social Security with the promise of paying it back. Right now the government owes $6.8 trillion to citizens and foreign countries, and owes $4.2 trillion to Social Security and other government funds and obligations.

When President Clinton said that he had a surplus, it was because his budget between 1998 and 2001 paid down about $450 billion in public debt. He did this by borrowing more than $800 billion from government lock-boxes. And the national debt increased even despite the Balanced Budget Act of 2007.

So the next time you find the words on the tip of your tongue that President Clinton had a surplus and Bush wasted it, just remember that in 2006 some projected the 2009 budget to have as much as a $38 billion surplus before Democrats took over congress the following
year.

http://www.treasurydirect.gov
/NP/NPGateway

http://blog.heritage.org/2009
/03/24/bush-deficit-vs-obama-deficit-in-pictures/<
BR>
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2889
/is_n32_v33/ai_20033009/

http://www.craigst
einer.us/articles/16

http://newsbusters.org
/node/8172


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