Sunday, January 30, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Before anyone listens to any Obama speech, it is important to remember that he is a socialist to the bone, and everything he says or does is done to (in his words) “fundamentally transform” our nation into a socialist state. Some would like to give him the benefit of the doubt in a time of economic crisis and believe that he would put his political agenda aside, but that would be naïve and simply unrealistic. After all, it was former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel who said, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste”.
The current state of our economy is no surprise to President Obama, nor does he view it as being especially unwelcome. It would appear that President Obama is following, either accidentally or purposefully, the Cloward / Piven strategy, first published in a 1966 article in The Nation for overthrowing capitalism by overwhelming the government’s social safety net.
With this in mind, the theme of Obama’s address becomes more ominous. Certainly, there are steps he could take to improve the job situation in America, and to strengthen the economy as a whole.
For instance, lifting the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf would have an immediate impact on the employment situation in that region, and on the area’s economic picture. Another step he could take would be to reverse the burdensome regulations that are preventing small businesses from obtaining much needed credit, and consequently preventing them from expanding their businesses and hiring new workers. Without question, the first thing Obama should do is to back the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare and help push the repeal bill through the Senate.
Naturally, none of this is going to be discussed in the SOTU address. President Obama will outline his plan for creating jobs, but you can rest assured that an Obama jobs plan will work out much like the Clinton tax cuts of 1993. You do remember those, right? During the 1992 campaign for President, Clinton promised a middle class tax cut, which suddenly morphed into a tax hike in 1993 after he had been elected.
Listen carefully to the things President Obama says during his SOTU address, and be very wary. No doubt, he will be smooth and the things he will say will sound reasonable but, as they say, the devil is in the details. Watch for ways in which Obama’s plans will expand the role of government, raise the deficit, increase regulations, and make us more dependent on the government.
President Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help’.” It is in the nature of any socialist, President Obama included, to throw the full weight of government (and an enormous amount of taxpayer money) at any problem they might encounter. This is the time, however, to remember one more famous Reagan quote: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
In the past, budget cutting has been like walking a tightrope between being fiscally responsible and pleasing constituents. Voters wanted fiscally conservative elected officials who were adept at funneling their share of the pork back to their district. This type of thinking has led us to the position we are in today with a debt of more than $14 Trillion.
With a projected deficit of $1.4 Trillion for 2011, we have reached the point where it is no longer possible for reasonable people to believe we can continue to spend at this pace. We cannot continue to wink and nod as our Congressmen purchase their job security with tax dollars. The rise of the Tea Party and the results of the 2010 elections are both evidence that the public view of government spending has finally changed. A recent Rasmussen poll shows that 68% of likely voters would prefer a government with fewer services and lower taxes. The results of this poll have been consistent since September of 2010, indicating that the heightened interest in the mid-term election has resulted in an increased awareness and a growing understanding of our nation’s financial condition.
We can only hope that a similar trend will develop in Washington. Despite the shift in the public attitude towards government, many of those who reside within the beltway at our expense still see the debt ceiling as a goal rather than a limit. These are the people who will stand as obstacles in the way of achieving our budget cutting goals, and all of us should be watchful during this process as use our observations to shape our voting decisions in 2012.
Engage a liberal in a debate about the budget, and sooner or later they will resort to the “Okay, what programs are you going to cut?” argument. They do so for two simple reasons. One, they’ve run out of logical reasons to not cut the budget (as if there were any) and two, the argument works because most people have no real clue as to what is in the federal budget, or what most of the federal programs are. This applies to Congress as well as the general public. The simple response to this question is of course, “It would take less time to tell you what programs we’re not going to cut”.
In October of 2010 Brian M. Riedle at the Heritage Foundation published a paper entitled How to Cut $343 Billion from the Federal Budget outlining cuts that would, as the title suggests, immediately cut $343 Billion from the budget. The cuts he proposess eliminate a number of programs and combine the efforts of some that are redundant. Some functions currently provided by government agencies would be privatized, and many ineffective programs would be ended. He points out that many of the cuts will result in wailing and gnashing of teeth, but that can be expected any time funds are cut from a government program.
On January 20, 2011, the Republican Study Committee led by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio unveiled the Spending Reduction Act of 2011 which contains $2.5 Trillion in spending cuts over the next decade. The proposal reduces non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels, reduces the federal workforce by 15%, eliminates federal control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, eliminates all remaining ‘stimulus’ funding, and blocks implementation of Obamacare.
Another Heritage Foundation publication authored by Mackenzie Eaglen and Julia Pollak, details specific cuts and cost savings measures in the defense budget that could result in as much as $90 Billion in tax payer savings annually. The report entitled How to Save Money, Reform Processes, and Increase Efficiency in the Defense Department, lists specific measure that can be taken which will reduce waste in defense spending while strengthening military readiness.
It can be easily seen that, contrary to the oft repeated claims of the left, conservatives do have the ideas and the ability to make effective and intelligent cuts to federal spending. It remains to be seen however, if the full Congress has the will and the backbone to put these ideas into practice.
That is where you and I must step up to the plate. Our first duty is to recognize the simple fact that not every good idea should be legislated nor should it result in another federal agency. The federal government has certain functions that are constitutionally mandated, and anything beyond that is too much. It is our responsibility as citizens to recognize the necessity of observing the limits spelled out in the constitution and to reject any and all 'benefits' we might derive from allowing those excesses to continue.
Our second duty is to make sure our elected representatives in Washington are aware of our resolve, and to let them know that we will back them every step of the way when they work to rein in the expansion of the government, and that we will hold them accountable if they are not an active part of that process.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Naturally, the idea has met with much skepticism from teachers unions and other school officials in the state. Many would even go so far as to say that the proposal is reminiscent of Archie Bunker’s plan to stop hijackings by passing out pistols to passengers as they boarded their flights.
Christensen’s idea should not be so lightly dismissed. So-called “Gun-Free Zones” have been established around school campuses and other public locations across the country, yet few would argue that gun violence has gone down in this country.
I clearly remember sitting in our School Superintendent’s office as news reports of the Columbine shootings began hitting the news. He and I followed the initial reports on the internet and were shocked by the horror of what was happening. School shootings are now as much a part of the evening news as political corruption.
I live near two colleges that have experienced school shootings. One being Virginia Tech, and the other just a hundred thirty miles to the west, was the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va. Most people are familiar with the incident at Virginia Tech, while the one that occurred in Grundy is not so well known. One major difference between the two is that, at the Appalachian School of Law, two students used their firearms to stop and disarm the gunman. A similar story took place in 1997 in Pearl Mississippi where an armed student went on a shooting spree, and was stopped by the assistant principle armed with his own gun.
The notion that a “Gun-Free Zone” somehow makes us safer only works if you subscribe to the notion that guns cause crime. Those of us who recognize the value of having an armed society understand the dangers of being in a place where only those who have no regard for the law are armed. Think about it for a minute, it is already illegal to shoot people, why would a law against possession of a firearm hinder someone bent on mass murder?
The idea of arming school teachers is not unique to Sen. Christensen. In 2007, a similar policy was adopted by the Harrold Independent School District in north Texas. This tiny school district is by no means evidence that such a policy would be effective in stopping such shootings, but it is worth noting that the policy has not created any of the problems some might expect. It is not unreasonable however, to believe that the knowledge that school officials are armed would serve as a deterrent to any student contemplating violence.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Recent events give us one of those opportunities. A result of any well publicized shooting incident is the predictable calls for new restrictions on our Second Amendment freedoms. Additionally, we have even heard many calls for restrictions on freedom of speech. Although most of these restrictions are being proposed by our Democrat friends, at least one Republican has added his voice to the effort. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has proposed legislation making it illegal for anyone to carry a firearm within one-thousand feet of certain government officials.
Naturally there will be much discussion over the merits of trying to prevent these shootings with more gun laws, and there has already been an enormous amount of discussion over the issue of limiting political speech. Although both topics have already been discussed to a greater extent than they deserve, even the supporters of these measures are likely to admit there will be little to no possibility of passing any of the new legislation being proposed.
For those who insist elections don’t bring about change, let me ask the obvious question. What would have happened if Nancy Pelosi were still House Speaker and the Democrats were still in the majority? Is there any doubt that, despite any and all public opinion against more gun laws, Obama, Reid, Pelosi and Co. would have seized the opportunity and rammed more gun legislation down our throats just as they did with Obamacare?
The answer to this question is just as obvious as the question itself.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Obviously, one of the more common sense fixes would be to allow insurance companies to do business across state lines. This idea has been discussed at great length, and most rational people can see the sense in doing so. Competition is one of the best ways to control prices and to spur innovation in nearly any business.
One of the most pressing problems that Americans face is the rising cost of health insurance, especially for those who are self employed or those with pre-existing conditions. Often times, those with chronic medical conditions can only hope to get group coverage though their or a spouse’s employer. In such cases, layoffs or other job losses can be financially devastating.
The reason group coverage is such an option is that when a person is hired by an employer, the insurance company does not use their medical history to determine the price of the policy. Each employee is offered coverage at a set price, varying only with the level of coverage desired and the number of people in the family. Insurers are able to determine risk based on the group as a whole rather than on a single individual, thus spreading that risk across a broader group of people and leveling the costs to the individual.
Once we have allowed insurance companies to do business across state lines, Congress can then pass legislation prohibiting insurers from using age, sex, or medical history to determine eligibility or to set prices. Insurance companies would offer a range of coverage options with set prices for everyone. This would in effect create group coverage for all Americans, making medical coverage available, portable, and affordable to everyone. No one could be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, and the insurance companies would determine risk on an even broader group.
This plan would, of course, result in some people paying a higher premium, but many others would see their premiums lowered, while others would finally be able to afford insurance they currently cannot obtain. An added benefit would be that those who buy their own policies would not be faced with rising premiums or cancellation due to the diagnosis of a serious condition.
The insurance industry would benefit from the wider markets made available to them, and competition would work to keep premiums lower. To cut costs, insurance companies would be wise to offer plans that encouraged preventive care, and look for innovative ways to reduce costs while attracting customers.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Let me begin by asking a question. A person is walking down the street and sees someone run out of a bank with a gun in one hand and a bag of money in the other hand. Money is spilling from the bag onto the sidewalk. The witness picks up the spilled money, shoves it into his pocket and tells no one about it. Is this person now complicit in the original crime?
Let’s now look at another situation that has actually happened. A dangerously insane young man uses a gun in an attempt to assassinate a public figure. In the process he wounds 14 people including his intended target, and kills six others including a federal judge and a nine year-old girl. Members of the left immediately seize the opportunity to use the situation for their own political gain. Are they now complicit in the original crime?
For me, the obvious answer to both questions is an obvious ‘yes’. By using a tragic situation as an attempt to attack their rivals on the right with absolutely no evidence to support their position, those who have jumped on the ‘civility’ bandwagon have shown themselves to be nothing more than political opportunists seeking to benefit from the crime committed by a madman.
One of the most obvious examples of this has come from Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik who has taken every opportunity afforded to him to point fingers at the political right, after conspicuously neglecting every opportunity he had to take Jared Loughner off the streets before he became homicidal. While many others could have made a weak excuse of ignorance of the real facts, Sheriff Dupnik cannot do so. His opportunistic attacks on the right were made with the full knowledge of his department’s failure to prevent the shootings.
Sheriff Dupnik is in good company however; recently gaining a powerful ally in President Barak Obama. While many have gone to great lengths to praise the President for the statements he made at the memorial service for the shooting victims, one very important fact has escaped their attention. President Obama was very careful to not point fingers during his remarks, but the fact that he chose to speak about civility in public discourse in the context of the memorial service demonstrates that he has the seat of honor on the same bandwagon. The world would have been better served if he had taken the opportunity to point out the failure of law enforcement to recognize the dangerous mental state Jared Loughner was in and spoke about the need to be proactive in preventing such incidents.