Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cap and Trade - Irresponsible Legislation

On Friday, June 26th, the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454), a move intended to reduce dependence on foreign energy and halt emissions that many feel are contributing to global warming. The vote was along party lines, with most Democrats voting for the bill and opposed by most Republicans. There is much to discuss in regards to the passage of this legislation. However, it has been reported that not a single member of Congress has read the 1000+ page bill.

Regardless of the content of the bill, it is irresponsible for members of the house to pass any bill, especially a bill that will have the far reaching consequences of this legislation without careful consideration and analysis. This legislation will significantly increase energy taxes on businesses and individuals. In the midst of a recession, how can a responsible government take more money out of a delicate economy. Yet, the members of Congress voting for this bill have passed it without knowing what it contains, let alone the possible consequences.

Last August, a bill was signed into law intended to protect children from hazardous materials in toys, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). We can all agree that we need to protect our children, but this legislation was passed as a reaction to unsafe toys being imported from China. Congress created a monster, not reasonable legislation. reported:
CPSIA is now shaping up as a calamity for businesses and an epic failure of regulation, threatening to wipe out tens of thousands of small makers of children's items from coast to coast, and taking a particular toll on the handcrafted and creative, the small-production-run and sideline at-home business, not to mention struggling retailers. (see

The article continues:

And yet now it appears precious few lawmakers took the time to check what was in the bill, while precious few in the press (which ran countless let's-pass-a-law articles) cared to raise even the most basic questions about what the law was going to require.

Yes, something's being exposed as systematically defective here. But it's not the contents of our kids' toy chests. It's the way we make public policy. (Ibid.)

CPSIA was irresponsible legislation. Carefully crafted legislation could have dealt with the problem. Instead, Congress reacted instead of taking appropriate steps to deal with the problem.

Once again, an irresponsible House has passed legislation that may make the problems resulting from CPSIA pale in comparison, and yet not a single member has read the legislation. Who knows what trojan horses reside in this legislation. We need to tell Congress to stop. We need to be more responsible citizens and select men and women who are willing to stand up to the power structure and demand responsible government.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

We The People Are Coming

Below is a letter from a woman in Arizona. Glenn Beck read this letter on his radio show. I have re-posted here because it sums up many of my own sentiments and the sentiments of many Americans.

I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shutting Down Free Speech

It is always interesting to read the comments section following an article addressing a political topic. There is a lot of finger pointing and name calling from both sides of the aisle. However, there seems to be an increased amount of rancor from the left. Consider a few recent entries I collected:
  • "All conservative blabbermouths believe they're sensible, etc. They spread fear and hate."
  • A response to an ad mistakenly posted calling for the assassination of Obama: "When the man is caught I hope they do a complete profile on him. I'll bet he listens to Limbaugh and KKKlannity and FOX!!!!!!!!!!"
  • "I hate Fox News because of their conservative lies. Bill has viewers because they want to believe his lies and they feed on Fox and conservative radio hatred."
  • "The GOP has become the party of no ideas and of hate."
  • "We need to rid this country of Christian extremists."
  • In response to the recent murder of abortion doctor George Tiller: "What does it take for you freaks to understand that an innocent man was killed because Billy O'Reilly was raised to be a jerk by jerks?"
The rhetoric has been raised to a new level by an op-ed column by Paul Krugman posted in Friday's (June 12) New York Times titled The Big Hate. Though Krugman is not as rancorous as some of the comments above, it carries far more weight because it was posted as a commentary in one of the nation's most prestigious newspapers.
Krugman: "Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment."

Where is this "right-wing" extremism being fed by the conservative media and political establishment? Every conservative, right wing, pundit I have listened to recently has condemned the recent shooting of Dr. Tiller and the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. These murders are the acts of individuals who went off the deep end. No one has provided any evidence that they are the product of Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly. In fact, the gunman at the Holocaust Museum had committed bizarre acts long before Limbaugh and O'Reilly became political commentators. On the other hand, why hasn't the left wing media decreed the recent murder of a military recruiter by a Muslim extremist?
Krugman: "And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased."

What? Krugman stated here that I and many of my associates have joined the "black-helicopter crowd." What is his point?
Krugman: "Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism is Fox News’s new star, Glenn Beck. Here we have a network where, like it or not, millions of Americans get their news — and it gives daily airtime to a commentator who, among other things, warned viewers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration’s 'totalitarian' agenda (although he eventually conceded that nothing of the kind was happening)."

Being a regular listener of Glenn Beck, I heard the discussion regarding the FEMA camps. Krugman had it totally wrong. Beck was responding to reports of such camps. Not believing that such camps exist, he had a guest on his show to debunk the whole thing. Apparently, Krugman is trying to spin a tale to garner support for his belief that such commentors should be shut down. Admittedly, Beck is passionate about his beliefs. He is passionate about America and its potential for doing good. He is passionate about the Constitution and the government set up by our Founding Fathers. I've never heard him encourage violence. In fact, Beck goes out of his way to encourage people to work within the law.
Krugman: "When Mr. Limbaugh peddles conspiracy theories — suggesting, for example, that fears over swine flu were being hyped 'to get people to respond to government orders' — that’s a case of the conservative media establishment joining hands with the lunatic fringe."

I did not hear this the broadcast to which Krugman refers. However, having listened to Rush off and on since early in 1992, I suspect that Krugman has also taken Limbaugh out of context. Rush Limbaugh is a commentator on political news. He often goes out of his way to debunk conspiracies. In fact, if something he says sounds fishy, it's probably because he got it out of the mainstream media and is using it as an example of the kind of thing put out there by the media. Like Beck, Limbaugh is passionate about America and the ability of the individual to succeed and live the American dream. Has Limbaugh lived the perfect life? No. He has encountered challenges faced by many Americans, and much more, and has risen above those challenges. That is a story unto itself.
Krugman: "Yes, the worst terrorist attack in our history was perpetrated by a foreign conspiracy. But the second worst, the Oklahoma City bombing, was perpetrated by an all-American lunatic. Politicians and media organizations wind up such people at their, and our, peril."

Is Krugman trying to pin the attack in Oklahom City on conservative talkers? Again, there has been no evidence presented that McVey or Nichols were influenced by the conservative movement. These were evil men who had a chip on their shoulder. Additionally, the full story of Oklahoma City has never been told by the mainstream media (see The Third Terrorist by Jayna Davis).

It appears that Krugman is trying to shut down the discussion of ideas in this country if they do not happen to agree with his view. He paints people like Limbaugh, Beck, and O'Reilly as dangerous individuals who need to be stopped. Unfortunately, I think the real hate is coming from Krugman. Who knows what his kind of speech will cause left-wing nut jobs do?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Billion Here, A Billion There

The late Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois is credited with saying, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." There is some question as to whether Dirksen actually made the statement. A gentlemen who once sat by Dirksen on a flight asked him about the famous quote. Dirksen replied, "Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so good that I never bothered to deny it."

Whether Senator Dirksen ever made the statement or not, it is clear that he was concerned about excessive public debt. Dirksen told the following story in response to a proposed bill before Congress:
"As I think of this bill, and the fact that the more progress we make the deeper we go into the hole, I am reminded of a group of men who were working on a street. They had dug quite a number of holes. When they got through, they failed to puddle or tamp the earth when it was returned to the hole, and they had a nice little mound, which was quite a traffic hazard.

"Not knowing what to do with it, they sat down on the curb and had a conference. After a while, one of the fellows snapped his fingers and said, ‘I have it. I know how we will get rid of that overriding earth and remove the hazard. We will just dig the hole deeper.'" (Congressional Record, June 16, 1965, p. 13884)

The founding fathers were concerned that public dept not exceed the country's ability to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time. Thomas Jefferson stated, "I, however, place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared." George Washington advised, "No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt; on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable."

Most reasonable thinking people are deeply concerned about the growth of public debt at the federal level. On top of the public debt is the future cost of entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. USA Today recently reported that federal obligations have increased to a record $546,668 per household. That is astounding.

As of March 2009, FoxBusiness reported that the government has made commitments of $9 trillion to support the struggling financial system. The New York Times reports that as of April, bailout commitments exceed $12 trillion. Most of us hear the word "trillion" and it does not have much meaning. Mark Levin, in his new book Liberty and Tyranny gives us some perspective as to how much money these financial bailouts amount to. The chart below is from Bianco Research:

(Source: Liberty & Tyranny, p72)

I'm no economist, and I'm not a numbers guy, but a comparison of significant government expenditures in the past with current spending and bailouts tells me that we are in deep trouble. Former Comptroller General of the U.S., David Walker, recently stated that if reforms don’t take place the country will face problems much greater than the current recession. I agree with Comptroller General Walker. Unfortunately, I do not see financial reform in the future. In fact, it looks even worse as the United States continues to support failing businesses and Congress proposes expensive programs such as health care reform.