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"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical."

 

-- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday
Sep052010

Tea Party: What the Future Holds

Assume, for the purpose of this discussion, that the Tea Party movement continues to significantly influence political outcomes through the 2010 primaries and general elections. 

 

In other words, assume that conservative-leaning candidates win their primaries, that Big Government apologists are defeated in the general election, and that the U.S. House of Representatives is snatched back from the radicals. 

 

What then for the Tea Party movement? 

 

Are the Tea Party tactics of the past 18 months sufficient for continued success in the future?  Do we proceed with more rallies of sign-toting and fist-shaking patriots?  Do we propagate more speeches and e-mails invoking patriotic icons, anecdotes, and imagery?   Do we indulge in more wistful longing for oldies-but-goodies like Reagan and a Contract with America?  Do we humor more high-profile celebrity, political, and media hangers-on who prove daily that Tea Party success has a thousand vicarious mothers?

 

None of these tactics are sufficient for future success, even though they contributed to our success in the past.  Past is not prologue for the Tea Party movement.  Widespread success in November will cause our political circumstance to be very different.  When conservatives retake the U.S. House of Representatives, we will no longer be just a boisterous horde outside the castle; we will be a coterie among the King’s court.  The stark reality of our accomplishments will necessitate a different strategy for the Tea Party movement.  This article proposes such a strategy.

 

First, let’s acknowledge that the Tea Party movement has thus far accomplished things that were both extraordinary and necessary.  The movement has invigorated a grassroots, boots-on-the-ground army of passionate conservative activists.  This is something that the feckless Republican Party, which has been the putative flag-bearer of conservatism, has been utterly incapable of inspiring.  The Republican Party, because of its stodgy, wishy-washy, misdirected political inertia, is not yet even fully attuned to the limited-government tsunami that has cascaded out of the Tea Party movement.  More will be said about that shortly. 

 

The Tea Party movement has also become the counterpoint to the Left’s radical boots-on-the-ground coalition that includes termites like ACORN (or whatever they’ve disguised themselves as now), Organizing for America, and MoveOn.org.  Tea Partiers, to their considerable credit, accomplished this without the corrupting billions of rogue Soros-like backers or the endless manna granted by foundations and government agencies that typically support left-leaning activists.  The Tea Party movement is truly a grassroots phenomenon, unlike the ersatz publicly and institutionally funded Astroturf organizations of the Left.

 

Emotionally, the Tea Party movement has infused conservatives with an energy that seemed unimaginable just 18 months ago.  It has reintroduced the concept of limited government into mainstream American political conversation.  It has taught politicians of all stripes that “We the People” is no longer a trite patriotic anachronism, but rather the battle cry of a grassroots electoral tiger with razor-sharp fangs. 

 

However, the success of the Tea Party movement thus far has certain inherent limitations.  It is one thing to successfully awaken and energize the conservative tiger, which will certainly be manifested as an electoral blood-letting in November.  It is entirely another thing, though, to channel that energy into a defined and executable path forward for the country.  The Tea Party momentum from the impending electoral victories in 2010 must be codified into a widely-embraceable mandate.  It is only through such as mandate that the movement can emerge from the 2012 elections as an executable political revolution.

 

Said another way, it is one thing to shout “throw the bums out” and to proceed to do just that in the voting booths in November.  It is entirely another thing, though, to elect politicians to stand in place of the evicted bums who can lead with courage, audacity, and steadfast commitment to limited government.  Such is the kind of leadership that Republicans have not recently demonstrated an aptitude for.   There is cause for grave concern on this point.  The end result of our efforts cannot be to merely elect Big Government elephants in lieu of Big Government donkeys.

 

Therein is our predicament.  How does the Tea Party movement affect the selection of bold new leaders and the execution of a bold new political vision, when it is not a functioning political party and has no national structure or funding?  How does the Tea Party movement gain sufficient organizational structure and financial clout to substantially and permanently alter the political future of the country?  This is a particularly urgent question, since 2012 is just around the corner, in the grand political scheme of things.  Shortly after the November 2010 vote, candidates will begin to emerge, and platforms will begin to coalesce, for the 2012 elections.  If we leave candidate selection and platform development to the Republican Party of recent vintage, we will deserve the disappointment and frustration that will be the logical outcome of such dereliction of duty.

 

The quickest and most effective solution for this predicament is for the Tea Party movement to simply engulf and transform the Republican Party from the inside.   Bizarrely, the stale carcass of the Republican Party is still the nominal standard-bearer of American conservatism, in terms of the actual mechanics, funding, and structure of party politics on the right of the political spectrum.  Therefore, the Republican Party is incongruously the nominal political leader of the newly-energized limited-government tidal wave that it had virtually no role in cultivating.   

 

This incongruity seems very much like the tail wagging the dog.  It makes absolutely no sense.

 

The Tea Party movement has become the heart and soul of conservatism inside the otherwise heartless and soulless GOP carcass.   However, despite displacing the carcass’s heart and soul, the Tea Party movement has not yet gained control of the carcass’s arms and legs.  The newly-energized activism of limited-government advocates must be first fully manifested inside the GOP, before it can be fully manifested nationally in general elections and subsequent administrations.   Champions of limited government must take back the GOP, before they can take back the country. 

 

The Tea Party movement has no choice but to infiltrate the GOP and take control of its arms and legs.   If we don’t do this, the arms and legs of the spiritless carcass may head in different and unpredictable directions than our conservative hearts and souls desire.  The goal of our movement is to resurrect limited government beholden to the people, not to resurrect a moribund party that is beholden to itself. 

 

We need to assert our political will inside the Republican Party, and insist that the GOP cast aside the fecklessness, ambiguity, and incompetence that caused its brand to be so brutally tarnished in the past several elections.   “Throwing the bums out” should be an exercise that begins inside the GOP, before it becomes a broad nationwide electoral mission in 2012.  We need to become the Republican Party’s precinct delegates, its campaign volunteers and managers, its party operatives and leaders, and most importantly, its candidates.  We have the energy, we have the boots on the ground, and we have the vision.  We just need the will to do it. 

 

This proposed palace revolt inside the GOP is not without precedent.  An analogous dethroning happened during the last decade in the Democrat Party when George Soros and his Shadow Party took control of the DNC party machinery with billions of Soros’s dollars and a phalanx of left-wing satellite organizations.     

 

Even after the Tea Party movement figuratively assaults the ramparts of the GOP and takes control, there will still be a major void that must be addressed quickly.  A critical milestone for a successful limited-government political revolution is the creation of a tenable “big tent” political vision to define it.  A conservative political movement with too small of a political tent is a waste of everyone’s time.  We will simply be left to stand on the political sidelines shouting angry but futile epithets while the radical coalition in power continues to destroy America with ruinous spending and end-runs around the Constitution.  We are not seeking the electoral consolation prize that comes with narrow, polarizing ideological purity; we are seeking victory in the form of fundamental transformation of our government.

 

To be very clear, we should not create an artificial and unstable big tent by compromising our principles, by collaborating with Big Government apologists, or by linking arms with appeasers and RINO’s.  We will never achieve a return to limited government if we aid and abet the enemies of limited government.   We have come too far with our movement just to squander our efforts by making deals with devils who will sell their souls to collectivism for the mere purpose of maintaining public office.  We do not want anybody in our political tent who cannot embrace a return to limited government based on the U.S. Constitution.  Period. 

 

The key to erecting a limited-government big tent is to identify and embrace “True North” political principles that are not only inherently righteous, they resonate across a broad spectrum of the electorate.  The process of doing this will necessarily require minimizing discussion of polarizing topics, and maximizing discussion of the broader and more unifying “True North” principles. 

 

The primary “True North” principle that the conservative movement must embrace is the reestablishment of constitutionally-limited government in America.  Limited government reflects positively on our noble culture and tradition.  It has been thoroughly proven as a successful model by the greatest country in the history of the world.  Limited government is the heart of soul of the American vision.  It is the most morally profound political vision in the history of mankind.  It is not only right and proper as a political vision; it is the essence of the American spirit.  Limited government is a framework that conservatives, libertarians, and fiscally-concerned moderates and independents can rally around.   Such an alliance, if fully unified, can be a powerful electoral force.  This alliance will be our last stand.  If such an alliance cannot successfully take back our country, then all is lost anyway.

 

Such an alliance can be easily fractured, if other important but less universally agreed-upon concerns are allowed to take precedence over the grander and more universally accepted principle of limited government.   This is a sensitive point to make, but its very sensitivity is proof of its urgency.  For example, there are many positions on social issues that conservatives hold dear.  These include the right-to-life perspective on abortion, opposition to gay marriage, and support for school prayer, among many others.   The “proper” positions on these issues have tended to become litmus tests for “conservative” candidates in the past. 

 

However, in order for the limited-government movement to be successful in the 2012 elections and beyond, we have to abandon these “conservative” litmus tests.  We also have to abstain from constructing planks in our political platform built around social issues.  This is not to say that those who hold conservative positions on social issues should abandon them as personal commitments.  Quite to the contrary, conservatives should continue to energetically advocate for their positions on social issues in families, churches, communities, schools, the media, and the marketplace. 

 

We should not, however, allow polarizing positions on these issues to derail our momentum in the political quest for limited government.  If we do not succeed in reestablishing limited government throughout America, then our positions on social issues will be steamrolled in the political forum.  It is limited government or bust.  If the radicals who are opposed to limited government continue to hold power in political offices, the conservative positions on social issues will be swept aside anyway.  The radicals will enact adverse legislation, they will appoint antagonist judges, and they will ignore or erode the tenets of our Constitution.   

 

Here’s the brutal reality of our circumstance.  The radicals in power dearly want to use the state to wage war on our conservative values.  We need to gain political power to stop them.  But in doing so, we will proceed as champions of limited government.  As champions of limited government, we cannot propose to use political power to force our values on the rest of the nation.  Therefore, the fulcrum and lever in this sticky circumstance is simply advocacy for limited government.  If we pile on by emphasizing polarizing social issues, it will not gain us any friends, but it will fracture our limited government coalition.   

 

There is only one overriding political battle right now, and there can only be one steely-eyed focus for us in the next few years.  We must remove the radicals from office, and we must reestablish limited government based on the U.S. Constitution.  If we don’t win that battle, nothing else matters.  For every social issue that we insist on polarizing the electorate with, we can automatically cross off a subset of alienated potential supporters.  We gain nothing by polarizing the electorate in this manner.  There is no upside.  It is all downside.  It will only collapse the tent of our otherwise broad coalition, tent post by bloody tent post. 

 

We need to establish a new Contract with America based solely on the principles of limited government.  We need to stick with it this time.  We must link arms in a broad coalition around this Contract, and carry it forward through successive elections and administrations, until it becomes the mainstream of America again.  For this coalition of conservatives, libertarians, and fiscally-conscious moderates and independents to be successful, we need to reinforce our unity, not accentuate our divisions.

 

The political platform of this coalition would be built upon the “True North” principles of limited government, individual rights, individual responsibility, and the U.S. Constitution.  Such a platform would:

 

Embrace fiscal responsibility, which means advocating a dramatic downsizing in government spending, entitlements, and involvement.  It means recognizing that individuals are responsible for their lives, not the state.  It means refocusing the state on protecting individual rights rather than on transferring wealth from one citizen to another.  Limited government is inconsistent with entire classes of citizens being dependent on the state for sustenance.

 

Embrace economic growth.  A growing prosperity is the only way that our society will be able to support an improved standard of living for the next generations while supporting the commitments that we have already made to the current generations.  Free markets, not governments, should allocate capital and labor, price assets and resources, and choose economic winners and losers.  Strong economic growth offers the potential for all people to come out ahead, not just certain groups.  It promotes trade, which is the amicable and voluntary tie that binds not only citizens in America, but also countries around the world.  Limited government is inconsistent with state intrusion in economic affairs.

 

Embrace a strong national and civil defense, but only for the purpose of protecting, with extreme prejudice, our citizens, our property, and our interests from attack by rogue nations, terrorists, and criminals.  Our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuing happiness are worth nothing if we cannot protect ourselves.  Limited government is inconsistent with nation-building and occupying foreign lands. 

 

Insist on a judiciary that adheres to the Constitution, rather than one that seeks to unilaterally change the Constitution.  The role of the judiciary is to ensure our unalienable rights are protected from the majority or an intrusive government, not dissolved by the majority or an intrusive government. Limited government is inconsistent with an activist judiciary inventing powers for the state not defined in the Constitution. 

 

Embrace immigrants coming to America, as is our tradition, but only if they do so lawfully and can carry their own weight.  Limited government is inconsistent with taking on waves of illegal immigrants dependent on the state for sustenance.

 

Embrace a limited-government perspective on social issues.  This may run counter to the intuition of certain conservatives, but it is incongruous to demand less government in most things, while insisting that government stick its nose in moral, ethical, or religious affairs.  In the context of limited government, civil libertarianism will not threaten social values held dear by conservatives or liberals.  If civil liberty is properly honored, all people should be free to live their lives as they choose, according to the values that are dear to them, as long as they respect the similar rights of others.  Limited government is inconsistent with the state legislating morality.

 

Unless the Tea Party movement takes control of the GOP and insists on a platform of limited government, not only for the purpose of winning elections but also for the purpose of actually administering the country, then the success that we have earned thus far will melt into the bitterness of lost opportunity and the gut-wrenching frustration of continuing to stand on the sidelines as the radicals and Big Government apologists from both parties ruin what’s left of America. 

 

We are passing through a life-altering fork in the road as a nation.  In the 2008 elections, we headed much further and faster down the wrong fork.  It is not too late (yet) to backtrack and change direction.  However, if the 2010 and 2012 elections result in America continuing down the socialist fork it is currently on, then all is lost for conservatives.  It’s all or nothing for us, with an immediacy that can’t be ignored.  This is not the time for faintness of heart or half-measures.  Our time is now…or never.

 

(If you are interested in similar political perspectives, please take a look at my new book, We've Been Had:  How Obama and the Radicals Conned Middle Class America).  Or, click on this link to visit the author's Facebook page.

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Sunday
Jun212009

How to Trample the U.S. Constitution in 100 Days

    1. Establish government czars to run private sectors of the country. In bankruptcy cases, reward unsecured political patrons like labor unions by moving them ahead of secured creditors like bondholders. Arbitrarily close independent, successful businesses like car dealerships. Establish compensation levels for private citizens.
    2. Federally fund partisan political groups. Give stimulus money to groups like ACORN, who lobby only for a single political party and who gather fraudulent voter registrations that make a mockery of our democracy.
    3. Declare the very breath of American citizens to be an environmental pollutant. Declare carbon dioxide, the gas that we exhale and the gas that is the very “food” green plants use for photosynthesis, to be toxic to the planet. Create bureaucracies and new taxes to “save” us from this horror.
    4. Evangelize a secular state religion. Involuntarily impose a one-party dogma, which includes the supremacy of the state over the individual, unionism, radical environmentalism, and socialism, on public school students. Propose to expand this indoctrination program by establishing publicly funded zero-to-five education and youth service camps.
    5. Abdicate responsibility to defend U.S. citizens. Neuter our secret service agencies during a period of extreme clandestine activity against our nation. Telegraph weakness and passivity to friends and foes alike. Snub our historical allies and pay homage to enemies who have already demonstrated a willingness and ability to inflict great harm on us. Aid and abet known enemies with taxpayer money. Acquiesce as weapons of mass destruction are developed and deployed by rogue nations.
    6. Diminish the value and purpose of lawful citizenship. Aid illegal aliens with drivers’ licenses, free public services, and proposals for amnesty.
    7. Openly violate the Tenth Amendment. Empower bureaucrats and politicians in Washington to dictate and regulate how governors run their states. Transfer enormous wealth from prudent states to cover the reckless debts of profligate states held captive by favored special interests and public service unions who suckle on taxpayer dollars.
    8. Openly violate our right to free speech. Use taxpayer money to support media that propagate the one-party dogma. Offer bail-outs to newspapers in exchange for control over “editorial content”. Propose to implement rules and regulations that will limit the impact of media voicing opposition to the secular state religion.
    9. Openly violate our right to free association. Propose Orwellian legislation that will allow union thugs to intimidate citizens into joining organized labor against their will, without the protection of a secret ballot.
    10. Impose on citizens a public debt beyond all comprehension. Make eternal debtors out of current and future generations with public expenditures and obligations so enormous as to exceed the value of all assets in the country. Destroy our AAA credit rating, devalue our currency, drive interest rates up, and lay the foundation for a future inflationary period that will ruin the value of our assets and investments.
    11. Appoint justices who will dishonor the Constitution. Nominate Supreme Court Justices who believe the Constitution should be interpreted with non-objective “empathy” based on certain “life experiences”, and who intend to legislate from the bench.
    12. Weaken our very right to life by nationalizing health care. Insert the government in our lives as the agent that rations vital health care and, in effect, determines who ultimately lives or dies.
    13. Harass citizens peacefully expressing fair-minded views. Treat honest, hard working citizens as potential enemies of the state for being committed to their faith, to the Second Amendment, and to the general integrity of the U.S. Constitution. Use the Department of Homeland Security to monitor these “extremists”, rather than to monitor activities of potential foreign terrorists.
    14. Transfer wealth arbitrarily and without regard to merit. Establish laws, tax policies, programs, and bureaucracies to arbitrarily and capriciously transfer wealth from citizen to citizen, from business to business, from state to state, from future generations to the current generation, and from taxpayers to the government. Replace meritocracy with political expediency, patronage, and systemic dependency. Destructively separate the rights of citizens from the responsibilities of citizens.
    15. Openly violate the Second Amendment. Propose restrictions on the rights of citizens to bear arms and to protect themselves from foreign or domestic assaults on their property and their safety.

     

     

Tuesday
Mar312009

Tea Party Talking Points

 

(The talking points below were drafted for potential media interviews with participants of the National Tea Party protests taking place on April 15th, 2009.  These talking points are in no particular order.  They cover a range of topics illustrating the staggering growth in government spending and taxation.)

As an indication of how far left Barack Obama’s economic policies are, we are being warned by former Socialist countries to avoid the same mistakes that they made. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek called the U.S. stimulus package the "way to hell". Russian President Vladimir Putin warned "Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state's omnipotence is a mistake." Embarrassingly, even Communist China warned the U.S. not to devalue the dollar through reckless government spending.

President Barack Obama's intelligence chief confirmed that some Guantanamo inmates may be released on U.S. soil and receive assistance from taxpayers to return to society. "If we are to release them in the United States, we need some sort of assistance for them to start a new life," said National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair. "You can't just put them on the street," he added.

To put President Obama’s proposed budget deficits in context, if you added up all of the debt put on the government books by all of the presidents from George Washington through George Bush, Obama's proposed debt exceeds that amount in just his first term.

 

If you like having your taxes ending up in the hands of terrorists, then you will be ecstatic to know that the U.S. government is going to give $900 million to rebuild Gaza, which is another way of saying that we will be funding the terrorist organization Hamas.

 

As a possible warning sign of how unstable the dollar is likely to become when the government’s massive spending plans are executed in the next four years, Treasury Secretary Geithner shocked global markets by revealing that Washington is "quite open" to Chinese proposals for the gradual development of a global reserve currency to be run by the International Monetary Fund. That the U.S. Treasury Secretary is even entertaining allowing the dollar to cease to be the anchor of the global monetary system caused the dollar to plunge against other world currencies.

 

The Obama administration appears likely to use tax dollars to continue the assault on the First Amendment. As if the "Fairness Doctrine" and the increased FCC regulation of local content and media diversity are not enough, the Democrats are proposing to get the government involved in the newspaper business. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) wants the federal government to fund newspapers, providing the faltering industry with subsidies in exchange for control over their editorial decisions. He introduced a bill that would allow newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

 

Barack Obama has promised the American people that he will cut the budget in half by the end of his first term. His clever strategy for doing this is to create a budget deficit so massive in his first year that it will be easy to cut it half by his fourth year. Obama's budget deficit in 2009 is projected to be $1.75 trillion, which is more than the last FIVE Bush deficits combined. So, his 2012 deficit only needs to be a paltry $800 billion or less in order for him to keep his promise.


Obama’s promise that no one earning less than $250 thousand per year will experience a tax increase is impossible to deliver on. The group of taxpayers who earn more than that simply do not make enough money to cover the trillions of new spending launched by the administration. All taxpayers will eventually be tabbed to help foot this bill, either directly through tax increases, or indirectly through inflation as the government prints money to fund the deficit spending.


Obama's Universal Health Care plans will cost at least the $634 billion set aside in his first budget, because in Obama's own description, that amount is just a "down payment". This does not include the 7% annual increase for Medicare funding and the 6% annual increase for Medicaid funding. It also does not include the lost productivity of Americans standing in lines or filling out paperwork to get on waiting lists for services from the soon-to-be socialized health care industry. If we really want to have health care for everyone, we will have to give it to many people for free. Once we start doing that, we will never stop, at least until the government (which means the taxpayers) runs out of money.


There is no one alive who can tell you what happened with the entire $700 billion that the government allocated for the first TARP emergency fund. And there is no one alive who will be able to tell you what will happen with the additional $750 billion dollars in TARP spending planned in Obama’s budget.


After all of Obama's rhetoric lately about boosting pay for military personnel, including a statement to the joint session of Congress about a large pay increase being necessary and deserved for the brave men and women who defend this nation, his budget only allows for a scant 2.9% pay raise. This is coincidentally the MINIMUM that the law requires.


It is entertaining to observe the massive spending, record deficits, huge tax increases, and budgetary socialization of America being implemented by the Obama administration, and then to listen to his administration lecture Wall Street, the banks, the automotive industry, and the American people about fiscal responsibility.

85% of the government stimulus package is a wish list for special interests, paybacks for political patronage, and subsidies for politically correct pet projects. Almost 40% of the stimulus is earmarked for large urban states like New York and California, so that they can continue to fund their own government employee payrolls to support salary increases, bloated pensions, and health plans that not available to most of the private sector.

 

During a recession, citizens feel a terrible burden. They face pay cuts, shortened hours, lay-offs, reduced benefits, and deferment of discretionary spending. In short, they sacrifice to balance their personal budgets. What do government bureaucrats and politicians do during a recession? They increase taxes and spending, and go deeper into debt, of course. Their pay and benefits are never cut. And if they do threaten to lay-off government workers, it is usually the brave public servants that defend your life and property, like policemen, firemen, and soldiers.

 

Almost $60 billion of the stimulus bill is earmarked for states to increase their welfare expenditures. However, this funding is available for only a limited time. When that money runs out, the states will still feel internal pressure to support the higher level of benefits set by the stimulus precedent. This will strain local budgets and lead to state and local tax increases.

 

Ronald Reagan told us that "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." We are about to find out how true that statement really is.

 

Margaret Thatcher told us that "The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money." We are about to find out how true that statement really is.

 

The perfect field of play for socialists is a media onslaught of "economic crisis", "banking crisis", "war crisis", "climate change crisis", "infrastructure crisis", "social security crisis", "health care crisis", and "global poverty crisis". After the middle class is sufficiently frightened by these crises, the socialists will target capitalist institutions such as banks and global corporations as the evil straw men responsible for the mess, because Wall Street and Big Business are often resented by the middle class anyway. From this fertile ground of crisis and condemnation of capitalism will come the inevitable big-government solutions, which will invariably involve broad new government powers and a transfer of wealth from increasingly overburdened taxpayers and property owners. Thus, the death of capitalism and the rise of socialism will result, not from violent revolution, but from a thousand bureaucratic paper cuts.

 

The threat of global warming is the perfect ruse for advocates of Big Government. The threat of it, whether real or imagined, sounds dire enough to frighten citizens into action. The actions needed to slay the "monster" will, of course, require higher taxes, more bureaucrats, and increased regulation of business and individuals. And what makes it the perfect ruse is that there will never be any objective way to know if the government power grab actually helped or not.

 

When Obama declared, "We are the ones we have been waiting for," it was a politically incestuous allegory to the 50 year old leftist dream to control America. Now that the radical leftists have seized power, they will first come for the rich. And then, realizing that the rich don’t have nearly enough money to conquer all of the "crises" that the leftists have manufactured, they will come after the vast middle class. Even now, at the very beginning of Obama’s administration, the leftists have proposed over $8 trillion dollars of new spending. Those in the middle class should do some simple math. The "Haves" in this country don’t make that much money. Thus, the "Have-a-Little’s" are going to pay for it, one way or the other.

 

Simple math will tell you that your middle-class standard of living is about to collapse. You are about to become a slave to government solutions for exaggerated or imagined "crises". You are going to pay taxes or fees for something called "carbon emissions", to combat global warming. You are going to pay higher utility costs as the government circumvents the energy markets to push expensive alternative energy sources. You are either going to pay dramatically higher taxes, or deal with dramatically increased prices due to inflation, in order to cover the costs of the banking crisis. Your Social Security and Medicare taxes are going to go up, as the reality of our ponzi-scheme retirement plan crashes down upon us. You are going to pay higher taxes for teachers’ unions and universities that demand more and more money each year for fewer and fewer results. You are going to see your access to quality health care decline as more and more non-paying consumers, including illegal immigrants, are added to nationalized health care rolls. You will be confronted with more and more shortages as increasingly militant labor unions, fueled by the obsequious Employee Free Choice Act, drive up labor costs and push more and more suppliers into bankruptcy. This is merely an incomplete list of the bottomless pit of government initiatives that are going to swallow you up in the coming years.

 

What do you suppose Obama meant when he wrote that the laws of our country are too focused on "sacrificing conscience to expedience or greed"? Perhaps we are finding out as he exercises his own "conscience" by nationalizing businesses, terminating CEO’s, cancelling bonuses, taxing away profits, dictating executive salaries, and imposing nationalized health care to ration medical services. One begins to fear that "conscience" means to him that the state gets to ignore the U.S. Constitution and impose its will on free individuals and businesses.

 

As if Obama’s stupendous domestic spending orgy isn’t enough, he continues to support the Global Poverty Act, which if enacted will execute the mandate imposed by the United Nations on Americans to spend 7% of our GDP, or $843 billion over 13 years, to ameliorate poverty overseas.

 

If you spent $2 million dollars every single day during every single year from the birth of Christ until today, you will still not have spent as much as Obama’s budget deficit planned for 2009.

 

At the top of Obama’s 2008 campaign contribution list are large investment bankers that are benefitting from various government bail-outs and stimulus plans. These include Goldman Sachs, UBS, JPMorgan, Chase, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, and Morgan Stanley.

 

A monumental change is taking place in the relationship between the state and the individual in America. America is rapidly descending from a representative Constitutional Republic to a collectivist Socialist state that is larger and more burdensome than the autocratic monarchy we revolted against two centuries ago.

 

Obama fully supports the very deceptively named "Employee Free Choice Act", which abolishes the secret ballot and forces employees to reveal how they vote on union issues. This is truly Orwellian legislation that runs counter to our fundamental notions of democracy and secret ballots.

 

If the government confiscated 100% of the income of everyone making $75,000 or more, it would barely have enough to cover planned expenditures for 2009.

 

The tax burden on a typical middle class wage earner, including income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and other user fees, is approaching that of a medieval serf, who was forced to contribute one-third of his labor to his feudal baron.

 

Here are some things in the stimulus bill that taxpayers should find appalling:

$1 billion for Amtrak (which hasn’t earned a profit in four decades).

$400 million for research into global warming (which has become global cooling in the past few years).

$600 million to buy a new fleet of cars for federal employees, even though the government already spends $3 billion per year managing a fleet of 600,000 vehicles (which makes you wonder how many federal employees there are).

$2 billion for national parks (the chief lobbyist of the National Parks Association is the son of Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wisc).

$750 million for ACORN (which Obama used to work for, and which is being investigated for voter fraud in 14 states).

$20 billion over five years for an expanded food stamp program (which your local government will have to fund when the federal funding expires).

Funds to install 40 million smart utility meters to control energy usage in homes (which means Big Brother will be running your household).

$6 billion for mass transit (most urban transit systems are so badly managed that their fares cover less than half of their costs—you’re paying the rest already).

$8 billion for renewable energy (which, if it really had a good ROI, somebody would already be doing).

$252 billion in Medicaid, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and tax rebates to people who pay no income taxes or do nothing at all (How can this be a stimulus? It’s just moving money from one pocket to another--from someone who did something to someone who didn’t).

$54 billion for federal programs that the Government Accountability Office has criticized as being ineffective. (How can this be a stimulus? It’s just taking money from productive people and giving it to ineffective people).

$141 billion more for education (If you think the intention of this is to help kids learn, the House declares on page 257 of the bill that "No recipient….shall use such funds to provide financial assistance to students to attend private elementary or secondary schools." This means that it is only a "stimulus" if money goes to union teachers rather than non-union teachers).

 

The stimulus package will add 32 new government programs at a cost of $136 billion. Many of these programs, once established, are likely to continue indefinitely. As Ronald Reagan once observed, a government program is the closest thing we have to eternal life.

 

Most media outlets are reporting the cost of the stimulus package at $819 billion. The Congressional Budget Office calculates that the interest on the debt generated by the bill’s spending will cost another $347 billion.

 

60.7 million people who have no federal income tax burden at all will receive a "tax credit" from Obama. Speaking in plain English, this means that they will receive welfare.

 

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told the New York Times right after the election that crises "are opportunities to do big things." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience at the European Parliament, "Never waste a good crisis." President Obama explained in a Saturday radio and internet address that there is "great opportunity in the midst" of "the great crisis" befalling America. Our leaders appear to be thrilled about our crises. Perhaps they should ask the taxpayers how they feel about it.

 

Numerous commentators have pointed to this never-waste-a-crisis mantra as evidence that Obama’s budget priorities are not so much about fixing the crises as they are to implement the longstanding liberal agenda on health care, energy, education, and wealth redistribution. Not only do many of his proposals have nothing to do with addressing the housing and toxic-debt problems that are the direct causes of our predicament, many economists argue that his policies are making the situation worse.

 

Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget blueprint, by his own admission, redefines the role of government in our economy and society. It increases non-defense spending (relative to GDP) to the highest level in U.S. history. And this does not include the impending explosion in Social Security and Medicare costs.

Powerful House Democrats are looking at eliminating most of the $80 billion annual tax breaks for 401(k) investors. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, are studying how to alter the nation’s 401(k) system to eliminate investor tax breaks and force worker’s money into obligatory retirement accounts.

 

On October 8th, 2008, 100 distinguished and experienced economists at major American universities and research organizations, including five Nobel prize winners Gary Becker, James Buchanan, Robert Mundell, Edward Prescott, and Vernon Smith, signed a statement explaining why Barack Obama’s proposals, including "misguided tax hikes", would "decrease the number of jobs in America." The economists concluded that "Barack Obama’s economic proposals are wrong for the American economy".

 

We are at a dangerous tipping point in our democracy. Roughly fifty percent of eligible voters pay federal income taxes, and the remaining fifty percent don’t. Once that ratio becomes unfavorable for the taxpayers, they will be exposed to an electoral majority that could choose to simply vote their wealth away. We are starting to see that happen now, with Obama, Pelosi, and Reid spending a trillion here and a trillion there.

 

We conservatives need to explode out of our shells. The radicals that have taken over the federal government have a powerful grassroots organization. Using groups like ACORN, Media Matters, Project Vote, and MoveOn.org, many of which are funded in part by the federal government, the radicals have flooded the voting booths with armies of "victims" who will vote Democratic in hopes of leeching onto American taxpayers to get all of their needs and wishes fulfilled.

 

Conservatives need to become radicals, too, but not in the unethical and sometimes illegal ways of their leftist adversaries. For every dead person ACORN registers three times to vote, conservatives need to motivate ten honest American taxpayers to join tax protest groups. For every young American that Obama bribes with federal money to become "a community organizer" in Americorps, conservatives need to motive ten hard-working, civic-minded young Americans to radicalize conservative fellow students in high schools and on college campuses.

 

Conservatives need to stand up now and confront this socialist threat to our country. If Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are still running this country eight years from now, the American way of life will be irretrievably lost. The programs that they are implementing day after day in Washington will be irreversible once they take hold. For example, once nationalized health care is fully implemented, there will be no undoing it. There will only be signing up on waiting lists for procedures that the government will ration for the middle class, but will give away for free to illegal immigrants. Once illegal immigrants are waved across the border and given free education, health care, and other social benefits, there will be no undoing it. There will only be a reduced standard of living, class warfare, and bi-lingual signs everywhere.

 

The true deficit of the federal government is actually $65.5 trillion in total obligations, which exceeds the GDP of the entire world. The total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, effectively have placed the American government in bankruptcy.

 

The real 2008 federal budget deficit was $5.1 trillion, not the $455 billion previously reported by the Congressional Budget Office, according to the 2008 Financial Report of the U.S. Government, as released by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The difference between the $455 billion "official" budget deficit numbers and the $5.1 trillion budget deficit cited by "2008 Financial Report of the US Government" is that the official budget deficit is calculated on a cash basis, where all tax receipts, including Social Security tax receipts, are used to pay government liabilities as they occur. The numbers in the 2008 report are calculated on a GAAP basis (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) that include year-for-year changes in the net present value of unfunded liabilities in social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare. In a post-Enron world, if the federal government was a corporation such as GM, the President and senior Treasury officers would be in a federal penitentiary.

 

Obama says "you are selfish" if you want to keep your income instead of allowing the government to take it from you in the form of increased taxes. Biden says "it’s our patriotic duty to pay more taxes." Perhaps it is time for taxpayers to realize that it is our moral duty to remove these tyrants from office.

 

An enormous fiscal issue is whether the spending bonanza of the Obama administration will become part of the annual "budget baseline" that Congress uses as the new floor when calculating how much to increase spending the following year, and into the future. Democrats insist that it will not. But it’s hard to believe that Congress will cut spending next year on any of these programs from their new, higher levels. The likelihood is that this allegedly emergency spending will become a permanent addition to federal outlays, thus increasing pressure for further tax increases.

 

Of the $180 billion that AIG has received in bail-out funds, $11.9 was forwarded to Societe Generale, a bank in France; $11.8 billion to Deutsche Bank in Germany; and $8.5 billion to Barclay’s, a bank in England. I wonder if any American taxpayers received a "thank you" card for this.

 

The original provision in the stimulus bill to require companies receiving funds to use E-Verify to certify the legal working status of their employees was removed from the bill by the Democrats at the last minute. This increases the possibility that jobs created by stimulus funds will be used to hire illegal immigrants, rather than American citizens.

 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new scholarship program to help Palestinian students. Clinton announced the Middle East Partnership Initiative during a visit to the Palestinian town of Ramallah. Taxpayers can now breathe easier knowing that future Hamas suicide bombers will be well-educated at our expense.

 

Monday
Oct202008

Obama and the Democrats Should be Ashamed

Obama and the Democrats should be ashamed that this is even a close election.

 

For the past eight years, the leader of the Republican Party, George W. Bush, has been inept, to the delight of his opposition and the disappointment of conservatives.  His ineptitude has been magnified ten-fold by a relentless media assault.  We have seen eight years of a continuous daily megaphone-like shoutdown by the left.  As a result, half of a generation of youthful potential voters have heard nothing but the liberal mantra that "Bush did it" (refering to any of a number of real or imagined calamities that occurred during his Presidency, such as Hurricane Katrina, global warming, and competition from the Chinese).

 

Making matters worse for the Republicans, the economy and the stock market have collapsed.  It is normal for the economy to experience peaks and valleys.  Did Bush help or hurt the current trough?  A thousand economists will have a thousand and one opinions.  My own perspective is that Bush's policies probably exacerbated a tidal wave that was already destined to sweep us all away.  The wave started in the Clinton Administration as an equities bubble, then morphed into a real estate bubble, then morphed into a commodities bubble, and is now crashing on our shoreline.  Greenspan was probably the biggest culprit in creating this wave, but since the Democrats are not in the White House as the wave pummels us, they gain the benefit of the national angst against the presiding Republicans.  It really wouldn't matter whether Obama or Mickey Mouse was the Democratic candidate, people want "change" and "hope" in times like these.

 

There are some who give Obama street cred for blowing the Clintons away during the Democratic primaries.  The truth, however, is that the Clintons blew the Clintons away.  Their time has come and gone, and now they are reviled in many corners.  Soros and the left wing media latched onto Obama as their darling and their counterpoint to the Clintons.  All Obama had to do to be successful in this environment was to flash his winning smile, hug a few Code Pink activists, and mouth vapid slogans like the "change" and "hope" mentioned above.  Sure, he is bright, articulate, and likeable.  So are a thousand other people that Soros and the media could have carried along in a similar manner. 

 

John McCain and his decades of military and public service are due respect, but he is a weak candidate put forward by a wounded party presiding over a brutal economic crisis and an unpopular war in a media environment that is heavily antagonistic.  That McCain is even close in this election should be an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and perhaps an indication that their superstar candidate-who-would-be-emperor is perhaps without clothing.   

Wednesday
Sep102008

Obama's Change (in Strategy)

The Democrats are confronted with an immediate need to change strategy. They assumed that they could win this presidential election simply by leveraging dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq and the Bush administration in general, with the star power of the young, dynamic politician from Illinois who trumpeted the visionary hope and change messages.

This might actually have been an effective strategy if Obama had been able to maintain a comfortable lead in the polls right up to election night. The high road is a safe and scenic route, if events allow it to be travelled. With his radiant persona, along with the fawning national media and Hollywood glitterati shamelessly huckstering it, it seemed possible that he could do an unscathed victory tour to the White House.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, the Surge in Iraq and the Palin Phenomenon have swerved the Obama Express off the high road. Recent polls suggest that McCain has overtaken Obama, and media attention has whipsawed over to the Republican side. This means that Obama will have to abandon the visionary high road and wade into the bloody trenches of political warfare, trading blows with McCain/Palin on such tawdry topics as policy and experience, in order to claw his way back to the top of the heap. Obama may be ill-prepared for this dirty work of politics.

Here is a whimsical look at how a Team Obama strategy meeting might sound right about now:

Obama: “USA Today has me down by eight points. We have to change, or all hope is lost! How about if we focus on my legislative accomplishments?”

Staff: “We could play up your highly visible opposition to the Iraq war in the Senate, but….”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. The Surge is working, even though I’ll never admit it publicly. What else have we got?”

Staff: “We could play up your firm resolve as a leader in the Senate, but….”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. I voted ‘present’ more than I voted ‘yeah’ or ‘nay’ on anything. Anything else?”

Staff: “We could play up your aggressive support for the Global Poverty Act to show your compassion for poor, starving people of the world, but….”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. They’ve got pictures of my brother in Africa who makes a dollar per day and who I referred to as a ‘stranger’. Come on, give me something to work with!”

Staff: “We could emphasize your position on live birth abortions, but….”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. I’ve already publicly declared that difficult issues like that are above my pay grade. Okay, how about if we skip the legislative accomplishments and focus on my experience. What have we got there?”

Staff: “Well, you are a junior U.S. Senator, but….”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. We just concluded that my legislative accomplishments are suspect, and I’ve spent most of my time as a Senator campaigning for President instead. What else have we got for experience?”

Staff: “You were a State Senator for a while, but….”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. Even their number two pick has executive experience as a Governor, and I’ve got none. I have to stop these comparisons of my experience with Palin’s. I’m running against McCain! Give me something else.”

Staff: “You were a community organizer for while, but….”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. Every time someone mentions community organizing, some asshole pulls out Saul Alinsky’s book on community organizing tactics and makes me sound like a socialist. And then some other asshole points out that Palin’s experience as a mayor, with budgetary responsibility, hire-and-fire authority, and buck-stops-here responsibility for a community, is far more substantive than me going around knocking on doors with pamphlets. Allah Akbar! Haven’t we got anything?”

Staff: “We could try to resurrect your appeal with women in the electorate, but…”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. I dissed Hillary and her supporters by not picking her as VP, and then I dissed the Palin supporters by suggesting that you can’t put lipstick on a pig. (Sigh). Anything else?”

Staff: “We could play the religious angle, but….”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. My father was a Muslim, my step-dad was a Muslim, I was raised in a Muslim country, my siblings are Muslims, and I publicly declared that there are 57 states in the U.S. And then when people actually focus on my conversion to Christianity, all I get in return are video images of the Reverend Wright saying ‘God damn America!’ with a crowd of black people dancing and cheering in the background. Please, please, please…there must be something else….”

Staff: “We could leverage your speaking skills by going on a town hall tour, but…”

Obama: “Yeah, I know. I sound pretty eloquent when I can read from a teleprompter, but I sound like a dyslexic Ivy League professor with a stuttering problem and a random thought generator for a brain when the teleprompter is turned off. Hey, if you guys don’t come up with something quick, I’m gonna throw pig’s blood on you!”

Staff: “There’s Biden, but….”

Obama: (Hangs head in despair).