A Caution To Conservatives

William F. Buckley is said to have stated that Conservatives should ‘support the most viable conservative candidate.’ That’s a very important statement.

The exact quote:

“The wisest choice would be the one who would win. No sense running Mona Lisa in a beauty contest. I’d be for the most right, viable candidate who could win.”
-William F. Buckley Jr.

Right now there are two parties in Washington–the first is composed of the Democrats and the establishment Republicans, and the second is composed of the conservatives who have been elected since 2010. The 2014 mid-terms are important. They will determine whether the Democrats and establishment Republicans continue their tax and spend ways or if fiscal sanity makes an appearance.

Many Republican candidates who have been in office for a while are being challenged for the first time in primary campaigns by more conservative candidates. There is nothing wrong with the fact that establishment candidates are being challenged, but I have a word of caution.

In a world of instant news, cell phones that record and take pictures, twitter and facebook, candidates need to be more disciplined than they ever have been. Because the opposition is more than willing to take any comment out of context and twist words, candidates need to adhere to a specific group of lukewarm comments in order to get elected. I am not suggesting that candidates lie or misrepresent themselves, but I am saying that discipline on the part of the candidates will be crucial to this election.

Primary elections are important. You can judge a candidate by the way he runs his primary campaign–does he speak without thinking, does he make statements that cause him to have to  backtrack, is he respectful of the people who come out to hear him and eventually support him?

My advice to conservatives is simple–make sure your candidates are ready for prime time. Otherwise, you will be wasting money and time and accomplishing nothing.

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When What Goes Around Comes Around

Last year the Senate Democrats voted to change their rules (when Republicans discussed this, it was called the nuclear option) and allow the President’s nominees to be confirmed with a simple majority vote rather than the 60-vote threshold previously required to end the debate and actually vote. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but didn’t quite work out as planned.

Today’s Washington Examiner posted a story about the possible unintended consequences of exercising the nuclear option.

The article reports:

But Democrats overlooked a fatal flaw in the strategy: In a tough election year when Obama’s approval ratings are low, Democrats in tough races could defect on key nominees.

In March, that has already happened with two of the president’s choices for influential administration posts.

Earlier this month, several Senate Democrats joined Republicans in voting down Debo Adegbile, Obama’s choice to head the Justice Department‘s Civil Rights Division.

Conservatives aggressively opposed Adegbile’s nomination because of his legal work in defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer.

Eight Democrats ended up voting against confirmation — with Reid initially voting in favor and then switching his vote to no, to allow him to bring up the nomination again.

This did not go as planned. The next nominee to run into a problem was Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, a Harvard and Yale-educated former emergency room doctor, nominated for surgeon general. Conservative Democrats opposed the nomination because of Dr. Murthy’s stand on gun control (which he considers a health issue).

So it now makes no sense to blame the Republicans for blocking nominees (although the Democrats will probably continue to do that regardless of the facts). The fact that the Democrat Congressional support of President Obama is no longer reliable is due to two factors–President Obama’s approval ratings are in the 30′s and this is an election year. As more Americans wake up to the disaster that is President Obama’s Presidency, more Democrats will begin to distance themselves from the President and make decisions based on their own future well being. Get out the popcorn, it is going to be an interesting year.

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Where Does Your Tax Money Go

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article showing some of the details of President Obama’s proposed budget.

The article includes the following chart:

This chart illustrates the fact that 70% of all the money the federal government spends will be in the form of direct payments to individuals.

The article reports:

In effect, the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine, taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others. These government transfers now account for 15% of GDP, another all-time high. In 1991, direct payments accounted for less than half the budget and 10% of GDP.

…Where do these checks go? The biggest chunk, 38.6%, goes to pay health bills, either through Medicare, Medicaid or ObamaCare. A third goes out in the form of Social Security checks. Only 21% goes toward poverty programs — or “income security” as it’s labeled in the budget — and a mere 5% ends up in the hands of veterans.

The fact that so much of the federal spending is going toward direct payments makes it very difficult to cut the budget. Rather than cut these payments, the government is forced to cut programs it is actually constitutionally required to fund, such as defense.

The bottom line here is simple. We need to elect fiscal conservatives to Congress. We have reached the point where Democrats and establishment Republicans are no longer fighting over cutting spending–they are simply fighting over who will control the out-of-control spending. It is time for a change. It is also time to understand that Democrats and establishment Republicans will be working against that change.

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This List May Be A Surprise To Some People

Open Secrets has posted a list of the top donors to Republicans and Democrats from 1989 to 2014. It is not really a surprise to me that you have to go down to number 17 to find a donor who donated more to the Republicans than Democrats. Koch Industries, the organization liberals love to cite as the buyer of elections, is number 59 on the list.

There is too much money in American politics, but it is ironic that most of the people who have traditionally complained about that fact do not realize that it’s not the rich Republicans contributing the money–it’s unions who support Democrats. Keep in mind that the union membership does not always have a say in how their dues are spent. At least in industry, a CEO is accountable to either stockholders or executive board members. Of the top fifteen organizations giving the most money, 12 are unions. Of the top fifteen organizations giving the most money, there are four organizations that gave to both parties fairly equally, and none that gave a majority of their money to Republicans.

Yes, there probably is too much money in politics, but it isn’t coming from rich Republicans.

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More IRS Abuses Are Coming To Light

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal posted an article about the IRS targeting conservative groups for audits. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has stated that the committee’s continuing investigation has found that the IRS also singled out established conservative tax-exempt groups for audits. That is not a surprise when you consider the harassment that donors to conservative causes underwent during the run-up to the 2012 election. As I have previously mentioned, my husband and I were audited for the first time in 45 years. The auditors found nothing, but it took them almost a year to find nothing.

The Democrats in Congress are currently attempting to pass laws that would severely limit the free speech of conservative organizations. Under the new guidelines the Democrats are seeking, the voter guides showing the voting records of candidates would be considered unlawful political activity by organizations that have traditionally distributed them.

The article includes the current spin the Democrats are using to attempt to hide what they are doing and what they have done:

“Instead of this prestigious committee using its broad jurisdiction to address critical issues that confront us, it has been consumed by a tireless effort by Republicans to find political scandal, regardless of what the truth holds, as they look toward the November election,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D., Mich.).

He also chided Republicans for seeking to delay the regulations, noting that “what really remains hidden are donors to groups pouring millions of dollars into campaign advertising.”

The new IRS regulations proposed by the Democrats are a threat to free speech. If they are enacted, most Americans will only hear one side of any political issue.

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What Spending Cuts?

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line about the omnibus spending bill recently passed.

The article states:

…Which illustrates, for the umpteenth time, a point I have made over and over: budget/spending deals that purport to dictate spending many years into the future are a joke. No Congress can bind a future Congress. When a Congressman tells you that a purported ten-year deal cuts spending in the “out years,” grab your wallet and run. The out years never come.

***Because the defense cap was lower in 2014 under the original Budget Control Act, defense spending does not meaningfully increase from 2013 enacted levels. Nondefense spending, however, receives an increase that is 10 times larger than defense. The 5 percent rate of growth of nondefense spending is almost three times the projected 1.7 percent rate of inflation (see table below).

Spending Chart 02

As you can see, the budget does not decrease–it increases! Then why is the only actual cut the decrease in the cost of living adjustment (COLA) to military retirement?

The article concludes:

The other point that emerges from these spending numbers is that discretionary spending is relentlessly being squeezed out by entitlements. The real constraint on the growth of both defense and non-defense discretionary spending is the explosion in entitlements–Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and now Obamacare. With the Democrats vowing to fight to the last ditch to resist any sort of entitlement reform, and with federal debt having risen to more than $17 trillion–another budget-crusher as soon as interest rates rise again–there is simply no money for the social spending boondoggles that the Democrats would dearly love to finance. I suppose we should count our blessings.

***This paragraph is taken from a Senate Budget Committee report.

 

 

 

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Some Good Advice From A Senior Democrat

On Thursday, The Atlantic posted an article written by Ted Van Dyk, a Democrat campaign strategist who once worked for Hubert Humphrey. The article examines what the current Democrat party needs to do to maintain its power in the 2016 election. He is obviously not happy with the direction his party is currently taking.

He points out that the Barack Obama that is President today is very different than the Barack Obama that campaigned in 2008. (Actually, I disagree with that statement–Barack Obama has not changed–he has just behaved the way a community organizer would behave. Barack Obama had no administrative experience. Some Americans understood that–many Americans ignored that fact.)

Mr. Van Dyk notes:

Before 2008, Obama looked like a liberal of moderate temperament. He had the bad luck to take office at a time of financial and economic crises overshadowing everything else. He has said since that he underestimated at the time the depth of the crises. That no doubt led him, before growth and stability had been restored, to undertake in 2009 a remake of the entire health sector. Both his stimulus package and healthcare proposal were mainly designed by House Democratic leaders and the interest groups that supported his 2008 campaign. There was no serious attempt, in formulating either program, to draw Republicans into participation, as LBJ had done in 1965. Provisions allowing the sale of health-insurance products across state lines, and providing for meaningful tort reform, could have done that without forfeiting Democratic support. Trial lawyers would have objected but not jeopardized the bill’s passage.

This is spin. The depth of the crisis had nothing to do with ObamaCare. ObamaCare was the result of lack of leadership on the part of the President–he didn’t write it, and I doubt that he has read it–he simply let the old Democrat guard in Congress put together their dream package for special interests–that is why there are so many Democrat supporters excluded from many of the regulations, e.g. union plans that are grandfathered in.

Mr. Van Dyk further notes:

Obama’s 2012 reelection is little comfort for Democrats. His total vote was smaller than in 2008, and it did not constitute a mandate for any particular agenda. It instead depended on two things: first, an unprecedentedly skillful identification and mobilization of key Obama voter groups that had grown in importance over the previous four years; and second, highly effective scare campaigns designed to convince those groups that Mitt Romney and Republicans were heartless plutocrats, servants of wealth, and enemies of women, Latinos, African Americans, and the middle class.

Demonizing his opponent worked for President Obama. The Republicans, hopefully, have learned from that experience and will not let it happen again. The demonization began during the Republican primaries and was not answered by the Republicans at the time. By the time the charges were answered, the moment had passed and the conversation had moved on. The foundation for some of the demonization of Mitt Romney began with the question by George Stephanopoulos to Mitt Romney on birth control. That was not a ridiculous question–it paved the way for the charges that the Republicans were waging a ‘war on women.’

Mr. Van Dyk concludes:

Wedge politics and tailored political messaging can bring a campaign or even a presidency short-term success. But, for the longer run, most Americans feel they are in it together and badly want bipartisan action to keep the economy stable and growing, to keep the country safe here and abroad, and to keep American society open and fair. Americans want from Democrats what Obama promised in his 2008 campaign. Financial and economic crises diverted him, he opted for partisanship with his first-term initiatives, and the resulting gridlock leaves Democrats with three years to consider their future path.

By 2016, this veteran hopes, party leaders will conclude that the big things should be tackled first and that, because of their difficulty, they must be addressed on a bipartisan basis. May they also conclude that there is more to gain by uniting all Americans than by treating them separately as political subgroups.

I agree that bipartisanship is the solution, but I am not sure it is possible. Washington has become a snake pit of one-upmanship rather than a place where people actually work together to solve America’s problems. I suspect the only solution to that situation is to remove anyone from office who has been there for more than one term.

 

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A Liberal Wakes Up

Arnold S. Trebach was a protester and a federal civil rights official during the original civil rights movement. He is a currently professor emeritus of public affairs at American University and a member of the Maryland State Advisory Committee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is a self-proclaimed liberal.

Mr. Trebach posted an article at PJ Media yesterday entitled, “Vote Republican–and Save the Country.” Wow.

The article states:

…I am also suggesting that for the next two elections, all good people should consider voting a straight Republican ticket as a protest against the massive political sins of the Democrats. If enough voters did that, in addition to saving the country it might also save the Democratic Party from itself.

My old party has lost its soul and integrity in recent years, especially during the Obama era. It needs a crushing electoral defeat to focus its attention on its dangerous behavior.  Despite the terrible recent record of my old party and of Mr. Obama, they are master politicians and it is quite possible that they will recover and win the next two elections, unless there is a concerted effort by voters of all stripes — Republican, independent, and, yes, Democratic — to make a public commitment in advance that they will vote straight Republican tickets in 2014 and in 2016.

His comments on the changes in the Democrat party are similar to those Zell Miller made in his 2003 book, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat. The Democrat party has moved so far to the left that it does not represent the majority of the people who have historically supported it.

Please follow the link above to read the comments of Iran and ObamaCare. Mr. Trebach is a liberal who sees the damage to America the Obama Administration has done and would like to put a stop to that damage.

The article concludes:

Add to this continuing disaster the Obama-Holder misbehavior in the Martin-Zimmerman matter, their failure to deal with black crime and the knockout attacks, the New Black Panther failure, the Fast and Furious gun-running affair, the IRS actions against conservative tax payers, and many other scandals.

And yet as I have said, I believe that Obama and Holder and the Democratic Party are such brilliant and unethical politicians that despite these scandals the odds are that they will prevail at the voting booth again and again — unless the American people take to the voting booths in concerted and open outrage.

As someone who left the Democrat party after Jimmy Carter, I thoroughly understand what this man is saying.

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Is There Any Part Of This Plan That Will Improve Healthcare?

My husband and I are in the process of moving, which is why posts have been rather erratic lately. In the process of getting everything done, I had a chance to listen to Rush Limbaugh today. He made some very interesting points about ObamaCare. In his comments, Rush Limbaugh mentioned a Forbes article written by Steven Hayward predicting that even if the ObamaCare website is repaired, ObamaCare will be repealed before the 2014 election.

The article states:

Senate Democrats endangered for re-election will lead the charge for repeal perhaps as soon as January, after they get an earful over the Christmas break.  They’ll call it “reform,” and clothe it in calls for delaying the individual mandate and allowing people and businesses to keep their existing health insurance policies.  But it is probably too late to go back in many cases.  With the political damage guaranteed to continue, the momentum toward repeal will be unstoppable.  Democrats will not want to face the voters next November with the albatross of Obamacare.

Rush Limbaugh pointed out some basic facts about this “reform.” He pointed out that if healthy people do not sign up for ObamaCare and pay the higher premiums, there will be no way to pay for healthcare for sick people and the whole system will collapse. The Democrats will probably attempt to solve the problem by offering subsidies to middle class families. America cannot afford to do that–we are already running unsustainable deficits, but the Democrats won’t care about that–they simply will be looking for a way to be re-elected.

Meanwhile, the Western Center for Journalism reported the following:

Lisa Martinson called customer service after she forgot her password. That’s when she was told that three different people were given the password to her account, her address, and her Social Security number. Then she was told it would take up to five days to get her personal information offline.
Please follow the link to the article to watch a short video of her story.
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I Guess Practicing What You Preach Is Just Not In Style Anymore

We have heard a lot of Democrats protesting the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court and also demanding that all groups making political donations be required to name their donors.

Breitbart.com reported yesterday:

Open Secrets describes “dark money organizations” as “501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits that don’t have to disclose their donors.” Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which would “require unions, nonprofits and corporate interest groups that spend $10,000 or more during an election cycle to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more.”

Open Secrets posted two interesting graphs yesterday: saveddarkmoney2

darkmoneyConsidering that the IRS targeted conservative groups and asked them to reveal their donors (which is against the law), I find this graph very interesting. Maybe they were targeting the wrong people.

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Moving The Goalposts When It’s Convenient

One problem with the current negotiations in Washington regarding the government shutdown is that both sides keep moving the goalposts. President Obama says he’s not talking to anyone unless they surrender first, and the Republicans don’t seem to know exactly what they want.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the current state of affairs. He noted that Senator Susan Collins has made a suggestion that meets the needs of what both sides originally said they wanted.

The article reports:

Collins’ proposal would have extended government funding for six months and boosted the debt ceiling through the end of January. By way of a fig leaf for Republicans, it also would have delayed a medical device tax in the health care law for two years and instituted an income verification requirement for qualifying for Obamacare subsidies.

Democrats rejected the plan not because of the Obamacare fig leaf, but because they want more money for the government. Collins’ proposal would have retained the spending levels established by the sequester, though it would have provided the government with much-needed flexibility in spending this money.

Evidently the debate has morphed from differences in ObamaCare to the ever-present debate on government spending.

As long as either side believes that the shutdown is working for them politically, it will not be solved. Right now the Democrats believe it is working for them. As long as they believe that, the government will remain closed.

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This Will Be Very Interesting To Watch

I am hoping that this story is not accurate, but I am afraid it is. Breitbart.com reported today that the President and the Republicans in Congress have reached an agreement that will end the government shutdown. Why am I hoping that the story is not accurate? Because if I read the story right, the Republicans gave away the store.

The article reports:

Aside from reopening the government and agreeing to raise America‘s debt over the current $16.7 trillion limit, the Republicans made several other concession to President Obama and the Democrats. One such example is that Obamacare would receive funding. The Republicans would get to take out a portion of the president’s signature legislation, but the law would substantially remain intact.

The article explains that the agreement under discussion would repeal the medical device tax and require better income verification requirements for people looking for government subsidies to pay for their health insurance.

The article concludes:

The GOP surrender comes at a time when it is in a stronger position than it was during the partial government shutdown in 1995/96. The public generally blames both parties and President Obama for the fiscal stalemate. Obama’s approval ratings, meanwhile, have cratered to 37%, the lowest of his Presidency. 

In addition, 61% of the public thinks significant spending cuts have to be part of any deal to lift the debt ceiling. By that, they mean actual cuts, not a “framework” to discuss cuts. 

The House GOP has signaled to the Democrats that it is desperate to end the stand-off. They will, of course, promise that they will have more “leverage” next time. They’ve said that so many times, they probably even believe it. 

The mainstream media is not saying much about this tentative agreement. Based on recent news reports, the Republicans are negotiating with themselves while the President stands back and watches. It really is time for that method of doing things to stop.

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This Article Has No Title–It’s Just A Basic Vent!

Harry Truman is credited with saying, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Both the Republicans and the Democrats could learn from that statement.

It is a national scandal that the taxpayers are going to be expected to subsidize the healthcare of Congressional staffers at levels that the taxpayers themselves will not be eligible for. It is also a national scandal that the President, who has the ability to determine where the money goes during a government shutdown, has chosen to shut down the military commissaries and cancel sports events at the military academies. Why doesn’t he simply cut his (and Congress’) expense accounts?

Why have the Democrats refused to meet in conference with the Republicans to resolve the shutdown? This is political theater at its worst.

The government shutdown will end as soon as the President and the Democrats in Congress begin to be blamed for the stalemate. At that point all disagreement on everything will magically disappear.

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A Little Respect Would Be Nice

Townhall.com reported yesterday that during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Benghazi, many Democrats left before the testimony from the families of the victims. This is unbelievable. First of all, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden lied to these families as the bodies of their loved ones were being unloaded from the plane in Delaware. Clinton and Biden stated that they would bring the creator of the video that caused the riots to justice. Well, the creator of the video was put in jail for a while, but it became apparent in later testimony that even as they said those words, they knew they were not true. Leaders in America used to have respect for the families of those who gave their lives for their country. All of the Congressmen who left should be immediately removed from office.

Below is a photograph of the hearing–the far side of the room is where the Democrats would have been sitting.

View image on Twitter

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Some Insight As To What Is Happening With The Immigration Debate

It does not take a genius to figure out that our current immigration system does not work. That is not the question. The question is, “What do we need to do to fix it?” One school of thought seems to make everyone here already legal to some extent and then close the borders at our leisure. The other extreme is to kick everyone who is here illegally out and then sort out the mess that follows. Neither approach will actually work.

It was hoped that the ‘gang of eight’ in the House of Representatives would help find a compromise position that most of us could agree on. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case.

On Thursday, Breitbart.com reported that Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) has left the House of Representatives version of the ‘gang of eight’ because of a change in the previously discussed bill. Initially, the House group had decided that illegal immigrants should have to pay for their own health care, but as the talks continued, Democrats insisted that illegal aliens have access to government health care.

The article reports:

“I have tremendous respect for the members of the bipartisan group who have been working with me to fix our broken immigration system,” Labrador said in a statement. “But after today’s meeting, the framework of the bill has changed in a way that I can no longer support. Like most Americans, I believe that health care is first and foremost a personal responsibility. While I will no longer be part of the bipartisan ‘Group of Eight’ House negotiators, I will not abandon my efforts to modernize our broken immigration system by securing our borders and creating a workable guest worker program. I remain hopeful that the House can pass a bill around these principles and I will keep fighting to make it happen.”

The article also reports that Senator Marco Rubio is also looking for a graceful exit from the Senate ‘gang of eight.’ Politically, I think the best outcome of this debate for the President is for nothing to get passed. In looking at what the Democrat party is insisting in including and excluding in the legislation, I suspect that President Obama may get his wish. If nothing is passed, expect to see immigration as a campaign issue in 2014, with Democrats complaining that the Republicans are causing gridlock. Understand that the Democrats are making sure that there are enough ‘poison pills’ in their immigration proposals to prevent them from being passed. It is truly a shame that we have become so political that very few Congressmen are actually considering the well being of the country.

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Seeking Donations From Uninformed Voters

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a copy of a recent letter sent to potential Democrat donors.

This is the letter:

Subject: seriously, thanks!

John –

Last week, we asked you to help us do something big, something truly record breaking.

Well, thanks to your generous support, we had our BEST online showing for May ever!

Your contributions are already being put to use, protecting access to affordable higher education. In fact, we just launched an ad campaign on college campuses across the country, calling out House Republicans for voting to more than double student loan rates. Our campaign has been featured on PBS, CNN, and ABC News — but we’re just getting started.

Will you condemn House Republicans for attempting to make college more expensive?

Stand by President Obama’s veto threat against Republican student loan hikes: Click here to automatically add your name >>

Thanks for all that you do,

Democrats 2014

This is a very persuasive letter–unfortunately very little of it is accurate. The article at Power Line explains some of the inaccuracies:

Only interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans will be impacted by the July change. Subsidized Stafford Loans are need-based loans for undergraduate students only.

Interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans issued after July 1, 2013 are set to double to 6.8 percent. Loans issued before this date will come with 3.4 percent interest, which is locked in for the life of the loan.

The article concludes:

So how do the Democrats try to justify their claim that House Republicans “vot[ed] to more than double student loan rates?” They don’t try to justify it. It is an absurd lie, easily recognized as such by anyone who has the faintest acquaintance with the issue. But the Democrats’ fundraising appeals are not directed to the well-informed. They are aimed at low-information voters who turn out for the Democrats in droves because they have no idea what is really going on, and are easily fooled. No doubt the “ad campaign” of which the Democratic Party boasted today will fool thousands, maybe millions, more.

What is remarkable about this is not that party operatives are willing to lie for money, but that not a single prominent Democrat has objected to the practice. Is there a single Democratic office-holder who is willing to criticize his party’s use of blatant lies to seek political advantage? The answer, so far, is: No. Not one.

At the present time, the political left seems to have lost its moral compass. In the past there have been Democrats of principle, but right now we seem to have very few of those. Eventually this sort of activity will catch up to the Democrat party. At that time, I hope there will be some honest men who will step forward and lead the party back to its roots. I was a Democrat for much of my life. It breaks my heart to see where my party has gone.

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About Those Airport Flight Delays

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the flight delays the traveling public has been experiencing and their solution.

I love the opening paragraph of the article:

The Democrats proposed sequestration as part of a package to secure an increase in the debt ceiling, but they never expected it to go into effect. When it did, they felt double-crossed, apparently because they thought Republicans owed it to them to fold like a cheap suit, as usual. When the Republicans figured out that sticking with the sequester was a pretty good outcome–it represented a modest, but real, restraint on federal spending, which is what Republicans always say they want–the Democrats went to Plan B.

Plan B or course was cutting in places where the cuts would be most visible and hurt the American public the most. There was no regard for what was good for the country. But some Americans are getting smarter and seeing through the game that is being played. First of all–they are not cuts–they are cuts in the rate of growth. Second of all–some of the Republican leadership is as guilty as the Democrats on this one. The only people in Congress who seem to have any idea that government spending is truly out of control are some of the House Republicans–generally not the leadership.

Yesterday The Hill posted the following:

The House on Friday passed legislation that would let the government redirect millions of dollars to air traffic controllers’ salaries and expenses in a bid to end sequester-related furloughs that have caused flight delays around the country.

Members approved the Reducing Flight Delays Act in an overwhelming 361-41 vote, just a day after the Senate approved the same bill by unanimous consent. A two-thirds vote was needed, as House leaders called it up as a suspension bill.

The bill was sent directly to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

The vote is a victory for House Republicans, who had been pushing for a restructuring of the $600 million sequester cut to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to avoid air traffic controller layoffs. In contrast, Democrats were looking for a broader solution to the sequester that included new taxes.

As John Hinderaker points out in the Power Line article, the sequester does not need a solution–it is a solution. I guess The Hill hasn’t figured that one out yet.

The article at Power Line concludes:

One of conservatives’ chief frustrations for a generation is that most Americans say the federal government spends too much money, and wastes too much money, yet it has proved more less impossible to convert this consensus into meaningful spending cuts. Perhaps the sequester will be seen, with hindsight, as the moment when the American people finally said “Enough,” and meant it.

I hope so.

 

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You Can Depend On Politicians To Want More Taxes

In Massachusetts you can always depend on the leaders of the Commonwealth to want to raise taxes. This is loosely related to the fact that the majority of the leaders in the executive and legislative branches of government In Massachusetts are Democrats. Well, this year is no exception to the rule.

Holly Robichaud posted an article in the Boston Herald today about Governor Patrick’s latest tax plan and the political theater surrounding it.

The article in the Herald reminds us of a few basic facts:

To sell Speaker Robert DeLeo’s $500 million tax package, there is a whole lot of political theater being staged to fool low information voters into being grateful it’s not Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1.9 billion plan.

When initially announced last week, Patrick pounced by stating that no Democrats lost their seats because they voted for his sales tax increase in 2009. There are Deval’s statements and then there are the facts. In 2010, the GOP doubled their numbers in the House.

It might be a good idea for Democrats to remember the consequences of raising the sales tax as they prepare to vote on the present tax bill.

Ms. Robichaud also notes that Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh has publicly warned Democrats that they will face challenges in primary elections if they do not support higher taxes.

I have lived in Massachusetts since 1978. I have spent a certain amount of that time wondering what in the world was in the water that caused the residents to vote the way they do. We are responsible for the government we have–we elected it. Until the voters of this state wake up and decide to protect their income from the kind of fraud we see in the EBT program and the constant demand for more of our money from the statehouse and legislature, the political theater surrounding tax hikes will continue.

I will be leaving Massachusetts by the end of this year and resettling to a place that has more respect for the fact that I wish to keep the money I earn. I will continue to blog about the perils of big government and its endless appetite for taxpayers’ money, but I will be glad to be in a place where that appetite is slightly smaller. More to follow…

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What Obamacare Will Bring

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted a story entitled, “Top Ten ObamaCare Horror Stories the Media Are Covering Up.” That seemed a little drastic to me until I read the article. There wasn’t anything in it that we are not already seeing happen.

Here is the list. Please follow the link above to the article to read the details:

1. Millions are and will lose the insurance Obama promised they could keep.

2. The cost of healthcare premiums is about to further skyrocket.

3. Lost jobs. Lost jobs.

4. Potential doctor shortages that will mean rationing.

5. Somewhere around $800 billion in tax increases will hit America’s middle class.

6. Inflation, the cruelest tax on the poor.

7. Added bureaucracy.

8. To cut costs or to avoid having to provide insurance, workers on the economic margins are already losing hours, which means a lower paycheck.

9. ObamaCare is projected to add $6.2 TRILLION to a deficit the GAO has already declared “unsustainable.”

10. More taxes than currently estimated are likely to hit because of situations like this one.

There is actually a small glimmer of hope that this monstrosity of a law may be repealed. If Republicans are smart (and lately that is a big “if”), they will keep demanding votes on the repeal of Obamacare. As Obamacare is implemented and people see the problems in it, fewer Democrats will be willing to vote to keep it because many of them will have to run for election in 2014. That is the small hope we have that this miserable law will go away.

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Sequester Cuts For Thee But Not For Me

Today’s Boston Herald is reporting that as Democrats in Congress scream that the sequester cuts are the end of the world, the Democrats in the Massachusetts congressional delegation spent nearly $200,000 in bonuses, pay hikes and new hires in a timeworn tradition of end-of-the-year handouts. Despite their concern about closing the federal deficit, the Massachusetts congressmen increased their payroll by $196,000 in the last three months of 2012.

The article reports:

Local Democrats tried to place the lion’s share of the blame on House Republicans for forcing the sequestration because they hold a majority in the House.

“Most of them come to Washington because they don’t like government, they don’t think government should play a role in our lives. Maybe they don’t know anybody who needs heating assistance,” Capuano said at a local anti-sequester rally in February.

Ian Prior, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said, “The fact that the delegation is bemoaning all the cuts and saying they are standing up for the working class while they are passing out bonuses and beefing up their staff is rank hypocrisy.”

Until America’s voters wake up to the fact that they are being taken to the cleaners by their so-called representatives, I think we can expect more of the same.

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Sometimes There Really Is A Cost To Ignoring The Constitution

The Second Amendment of the U. S. Constitution states:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

What part of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” do many of our current lawmakers not understand?

I know you can twist the words in ninety directions to attempt to change what they say, but the words are pretty straightforward. Anyway, a state is about to pay a price for choosing to ignore those words.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article yesterday about a new gun law about to be signed by Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. The bill limits magazine capacities. The executives at Colorado-based Magpul, a company that manufactures high-capacity magazines, has announced that if the Governor signs the bill they will leave Colorado for friendlier venues and take hundreds of jobs with them. Two legislators from the State of Pennsylvania have already put out the welcome mat for the company.

The article reports:

A Colorado-based magazine manufacturer said it would leave the state if the new restrictions were passed, taking hundreds of jobs with it. Democrats tried to ease the concerns from Magpul Industries, saying the company can still manufacture higher-capacity magazines if they were sold out of state.

Waller blasted Democrats on that amendment, saying it was hypocritical because they are telling the company “you can sell (magazines) at any other place where any of these tragic shootings have happened.”

Waller called the exemption “a monumental inconsistency in their thought process.”

What was the message here? Colorado won’t allow people to purchase high-capacity magazines because that will supposedly decrease violence, but they’re happy to export them to other states? One can’t blame Magpul for failing to trust Democrats to leave that loophole open for very long, not after their demonstration of hostility to Magpul’s industry.

I will admit that I don’t know why anyone needs a high-capacity magazine, but when the government starts limiting something it never seems to know where to stop. From what I have heard from people who know, high-capacity magazines jam easily and are actually not as deadly as lower-capacity magazines in many cases. At any rate, this law is an infringement–something the Second Amendment says is not allowed.

We need more Americans like the executives of Magpul who are willing to stand up for what they believe.

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Forbes Magazine Gets It Right

Yesterday Forbes.com posted an article that totally explains the lack of representation that the average American receives in Washington. The article talks about the “country class” of Republicans–identifiable by their opposition to ever-bigger government financed by ever-higher taxes as opposed to those Republicans who side with the “ruling class“–those Democrats who support higher taxes and bigger government. Because of those Republicans who are now aligned with the “ruling class,” the ideas of many Americans are not represented in Congress.

The article states:

Thus public opinion polls confirm that some two thirds of Americans feel that government is “them” not “us,” that government has been taking the country in the wrong direction, and that such sentiments largely parallel partisan identification: While a majority of Democrats feel that officials who bear that label represent them well, only about a fourth of Republican voters and an even smaller proportion of independents trust Republican officials to be on their side. Again: While the ruling class is well represented by the Democratic Party, the country class is not represented politically – by the Republican Party or by any other. Well or badly, its demand for representation will be met.

The author of the article seems to believe that the current crop of Republican and Democrat leaders will result in the formation of a new political party. As much as I don’t like that idea (it takes a long time for a third party to actually get people elected), I can see the roots of that in the Tea Party. America is well along the road to bankruptcy. We have Washington screaming about sequestration, when upon close examination you find out that sequestration does not cut spending–it only slows the rate of growth. Upon close examination, you also learn that all you would have to do to limit the potential damage that might be caused by sequestration is to give various government agencies control of where they cut the rate of growth. Why hasn’t either the President of Congress suggested that? This is a political issue–not a practical issue. If it ever gets out that sequestration is not a spending cut and that the panic we are hearing is totally unnecessary, Congress might not be able to raise our taxes. Make no mistake–even though we are being told that we need to raise taxes on the ‘evil rich,’ the eventual goal is to raise taxes on the middle class. Be forewarned. We are being played by some very smart politicians who reside in Washington.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article at Forbes. It is fascinating.

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This Really Does Not Sound Like Co-operation

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner posted an article stating that the Democrat Senate intends to pass a budget this year. Sounds like good news, but wait a minute.

The article reports:

But now a prominent Democratic lawmaker says his party will finally pass a budget — for the express purpose of raising taxes.  “We Democrats have always intended to do a budget this year,” Sen. Charles Schumer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”  “It’s a great opportunity to get us some more revenues.”

“You’re going to need more revenues as well as more cuts to get the deficit down,” Schumer said.  “And I’ve talked to Leader Reid. I’ve talked to Budget Chair Murray. We’re going to do a budget this year. And it’s going to have revenues in it. And our Republican colleagues better get used to that fact.”

Great. More taxes. The article also explains why the Democrats have not passed a budget since 2009:

The Democrats’ strategy has long been clear.  The last time Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed a budget through the Senate was in April 2009, when huge Democratic majorities in Congress passed steep increases in spending.  Since then, Democrats have funded the government through a series of continuing resolutions — essentially locking in the 2009 budget as the new baseline for spending.

The article concludes:

Schumer, with 55 Democrats in the Senate, is now saying: Think again.  We’re going to raise taxes, and you can’t stop us.  The battle between the two sides will likely consume the Senate for the next two years.

The question is simple. Are there enough grown-ups who vote in America who realize that we cannot continue to spend money we don’t have? Raising taxes does not necessarily increase revenue. (Please see the Laffer Curve.) Raising taxes also slows the economy, increases unemployment, and ultimately causes the cost of government to increase while slowing growth in the private sector.

Part of our current economic problems is the relationship between government spending levels and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Traditionally spending has been about 18 percent of GDP and tax revenue has been about 18 percent of GDP.  Unfortunately since 2009 (when the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives), spending has been approaching 25 percent of GDP. Unless the government takes almost all of the money that Americans earn away from them, there will never be enough tax revenue to fund that spending.

The chart below (from The Big Picture) shows where we are:

The American voters will determine in 2014 whether or not America survives economically.

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Trying To Win The Media War Instead Of Governing

The basis of the American republic is the U. S. Constitution. It serves as a guide to governing the nation.. We ask the President and Congress to swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution when they take office. It is a little disconcerting when our elected officials seem to forget or ignore this oath.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article which illustrates an apparent lack of knowledge of the Constitution by some of the leaders of the Democrat party. Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Patty Murray and Chuck Schumer have written a letter to President Obama asking him to take all “lawful steps” to increase the debt ceiling–with or without the Republicans. They are fully entitled to write that letter, and they are fully entitled to their opinion, but do they have any idea what the U. S. Constitution says?

This is the letter (from the website Scribd):

This letter is political theater. Either the Senators who wrote it have not read the U. S. Constitution or they don’t understand it.

John Hinderaker at Power Line takes a closer look at the letter. Some of his comments:

Why are they talking about default? Default is constitutionally prohibited by the 14th Amendment. The federal government’s cash flow is more than ample to pay all interest on the national debt and to retire bonds as they mature. Other spending would have to be cut, to be sure; but default will not, and cannot, happen.

The senators telegraph here what they are really afraid of: the House may pass legislation that extends the debt limit along with spending cuts–cuts that will no doubt seem reasonable, not “unreasonable” or “unbalanced,” to voters. I believed that the Republicans wouldn’t be able to get much in exchange for increasing the debt limit because the threat not to do so lacks credibility, but this letter suggests that the Democrats are more worried than I thought.

…What “lawful steps” could Obama take “without Congressional approval” that would permit racking up more debt? Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the exclusive “Power…To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” Obama has no such authority. Are the senators urging Obama to violate the Constitution? Or perhaps to pursue the trillion-dollar platinum coin gambit? It is impossible to say.

Sure. They want it for nothing, just like Obama wanted tax increases for nothing. The Dems say they are willing to negotiate, they just don’t want the GOP to have any bargaining power.

But wait! Didn’t Obama just get higher income and investment taxes on everyone earning over $250,000, precisely the higher taxes on the “rich” he has always said he wanted? The Democrats’ greed is never satisfied.

It would be a wonderful thing if the entire budget were on the table, but that isn’t what the Democrats have in mind. Still, the Democrats’ evident concern about the debt limit, manifested not just by this letter but by the trillion-dollar coin and other half-baked ideas that are being taken seriously by Democrats, suggests that more of the budget might be on the table than we once thought possible.

Does anyone remember what President Obama said about the national debt? RedState reminds us:

On July 3, 2008, Presidential candidate Obama said that adding $4 trillion in debt was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” Obama was referring to the $3.764 trillion that had been added to the national debt during the seven and one-half years Bush had been president. Obama of course got his facts wrong when he falsely claimed President Bush increased the national debt by $4 trillion “by his lonesome.” When Speaker Pelosi took over Congress on January 3, 2007, the national debt was $8.7 trillion. So the Democrats must get some of the credit for one of the four trillion dollars candidate Obama tried to blame on Bush.

I guess debt is only good when the Democrats are in the White House.

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The Battle For Union Reform Moves To Virginia

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about the next battle in reforming unions. In Virginia, the Senate’s Privileges and Elections Committee has passed a bill to guarantee voter privacy in union elections. This is a preemptive strike in case the Obama Administration passes card check–a union election procedure that takes away the secret ballot.

The article reports:

Held over from the 2012 General Assembly session, the bill is expected to come to the Senate floor in the session that opens Jan. 9.

“This amendment is essential if we are going to preserve voter integrity and privacy,” said Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania), who introduced the measure. “No citizen should be forced to reveal how they voted in any election, be it a federal, state, local or a union election.”

Unions have a place in the American workforce. Ideally they protect the rights of the individual worker and provide a way for grievances to be resolved. However, unions have become a cash cow for the Democrat party, and an excuse for their leaders to live in luxury at the expense of the average worker. Union leaders are no better than the corporate fat cats they condemn. It is time for the unions to remember their original purpose–protecting workers–and begin to focus on that.

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