Monday, November 26, 2012

Unsinking the Titanic: Repairing the Hole that is America’s Debt Dilemma – Part 2

By Providence Crowder, Senior Editor / The Conservative Nexus

Ethical Implications
Spending of this sort is immoral; it is sure to hurt the poor and others who are dependent upon the government for their livelihood. America’s reckless entitlement spending has baited many Americans into dependency and has promised future payments that won’t be worth the paper they are printed on.  Even the social security program—the biggest entitlement program to date—is set to have major problems, and soon!  Started under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930’s New Deal, the idea behind social security seemed admirable.

The pay-as-you-go structure of the system worked well as long as there were more people paying into the system then receiving benefits, and it has been a lifeline to many retired and disabled Americans.  The program was designed to be self-sustaining; and it was in 1935 when first implemented.

Nonetheless, certain factors such as a rising life expectancy, skyrocketing healthcare costs and the oncoming retirement of the “baby boomer” generation, has caused the ratio of program contributors to program beneficiaries to shift.  Additionally, for other reasons, there are more people drawing from the program than paying into it; thereby, adding to the program deficit.  According to the 2011 annual report by the program’s Board of Trustees, within the next 10 years, the interest and income received from payroll taxes will no longer be sufficient to cover expenditures to Social Security beneficiaries.

Social Security is not promised tomorrow to those citizens today who are now mandated to pay into the system.  For this reason alone, Social Security reform should be at the top of every elected officials list.

Contrary to popular belief, America is not too big to fail.  On her current path, she is a sinking ship. 

Thankfully, it’s not too late for America.  If only she would repent of her sinful monetary squandering and return to God, because only God himself can unsink the Titanic.  If the American government does not curb its appetite for spending and end its experimentations and flirtations with socialism, she will become as all the great empires before her, a celebrated chronicle of a fallen nation.

Our current president, Barack Obama, has expressed a desire to “spread the wealth around” in what I suppose is an effort to minimize the gaps between the rich and the poor and alleviate the misery of poverty.  He has pushed for increased government control over schools, banks, housing, and healthcare—to name a few.  He apparently has not heard of the disastrous results of the first socialism experiment of early European settlers inAmerica—the Pilgrims.  Widespread poverty and starvation resulted and nearby Indians had to bail them out!

The American government’s spending problem is more than political, it’s moral.   Americais facing a very real ethical dilemma. I say this because not all of our spending is the result of greed and politics.  Some is the result of good intentions but bad methodology.  Well-intended people have supported policies that have had egregious, unintended consequences for American industry as a whole.  Much of our federal government entitlement and social program spending were efforts to help those in need—the poor, the indigent, the socially rejected and economically depraved.  For example, President FDR’s New Deal government programs were meant to end the Great Depression, but instead deepened and lengthened it.  Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” started in the mid-1960’s cost trillions of dollars to date and has not worked.  It has essentially turned Americainto a welfare state.

As a compassionate people who care about the poor, sick, and elderly, America cannot afford not to pursue entitlement reform.  Excessive entitlement spending is intricately related to other issues that adversely affect the American people, such as excessive taxation, skyrocketing healthcare costs, and rising costs of goods and services due to inflation.

Talks of reducing entitlements sound cruel to some Americans.  Some believe that if the federal government cuts entitlement spending, the poor, disabled, single parents, women, and minority groups in this nation will suffer.  But to date, the welfare state has caused economic and social problems even worse than those it was meant to eradicate.  The unintended consequences of increased government control through massive entitlement programs are: “the breakdown of the family and illegitimacy, especially among poor and urban minorities, and white Appalachians—and creating cycles of dependency that transfer from one generation to the next.”

Besides that, welfare has exploded the number of voluntarily unemployed because welfare has been, in this nation, a disincentive to work.  The automatic and guaranteed payments from the government to the poor provide the type of security and assurance that no low paying, unskilled, private sector job can provide.

Direct payments to the poor have caused a poverty trap that is difficult to escape.  Oftentimes, risks are not taken and jobs are turned down because these individuals do not want to lose their government benefits.   As well, it is not unheard of for young women in poverty to use child-rearing as a means to obtain government help.  Many young mothers allow the government to take on the role of the father to their children.  Marriage is discouraged because mothers are denied benefits if there is a man in the home.

Many fathers in poor communities allow the government to take care of their children; thereby relieving them of their financial obligation to raise their own children. Many fathers negate their natural role of provider; many become wholly inadequate to raise their children to be responsible.   Many have multiple children with multiple women because there is no financial pressure to provide for their bastard children.

Many children are raised with a lack of work ethic and determination, and end up entangled in the poverty trap of government welfare for many of the same reasons as their parents.

The Americans who see their taxes rise year by year to sustain the welfare state has caused anger and class warfare.  For the Americans trapped in a cycle of dependency, the welfare state has caused despair, hopelessness, and envy.  Long-term dependency upon welfare is degrading and has adversely affected poor black and white communities all around the country.  In black American homes illegitimate children, poverty and illiteracy rates are greater today than they were in the 1920’s when racism was rampant and blacks faced harsh discrimination and vast societal disparities.

The harsh reality is though federal spending has skyrocketed over the past few decades as a result of entitlement spending, we have zilch to show for our looming debt except generations of dependent citizens of a welfare state.  We need serious reforms to the welfare system and policies that would promote a strong job market to draw those on welfare into the workforce.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of Unsinking the Titanic.  Excerpt: “ If we as a nation truly want to do right by our poor, we must urge our politicians to get out of salvation politics and leave the “saving” of the poor and needy of society to the faith-based communities.  A safety net of government services can be a good thing, but it profits no one if we put so much on it that it rips under the bureaucratic pressure of big government.   If our federal government truly respected American citizens, then they would stop robbing us and selling us back our own goods at a higher price!”

On Obamacare, I Won't Comply 

By: John Ransom  / Townhall Finance

Americans know instinctively that when liberals start talking about deficit reduction that’s it’s just a case of the fantods, as Huckleberry Finn would say. And say what you will about old Huck, but he knew a couple of frauds when he saw them.      

No matter what liberal “Wonks” like Ezra Klein say about the historically dumb healthcare “reform” known as Obamcare, Americans are uneasy about it.

And they should be.

The best thing- as Democrat strategist James Carville admitted last year- that could have happened for the Democrats is for the Supreme Court to have tossed out the landmark legislation that bears Obama's name.

But that didn't happen, so now the Democrats are stuck trying to make another bad law work.
Obamacare supporters like Ezra Klein, instead of trying to fix the problem continue to play dirty pool when it comes to healthcare reform.  They now count it as a deficit fighter, when in fact, it’s no such thing.

Unless of course you count any bill with a tax increase in it as a deficit fighter. A defense contract could be a deficit fighter too, if a defense contract was designed just like Obamacare.

Here let me show you the sleight of hand that liberals did to claim Obamacare fights the deficit.  
Say, for example, that when we decommission the old Nimitz-class carriers we then replace them with the newer Gerald Ford class of carriers at $15 billion a clip. Let’s say, in this example, that we then raise taxes 3.8 percent on people who go over a certain income limit, to an extent that we not only pay for each carrier but we also create a surplus of $100 billion that we can apply to the deficit- just as they did in Obamcare. 
Actually in the case of the aircraft carriers, the exact same tax increase that the used for Obamacare would pay for the carriers and leave a surplus of $180 billion over the same period, almost twice what Obamacare claims. 
Then we could pass both the replacement aircraft carrier budget authorization and the tax increase in one bundle- just as they did with Obamacare- and call it the The American Affordable Defense Act (AADA).   

Then any time someone threatens to scrap the Ford class carriers we could cry out “But getting rid of the AADA would add to the deficit!”

While the typical American doesn’t necessarily know the ins and outs of Obamacare, the same confidence game has been played on them so may times that they are wise to it.  

Counting on public stupidity to see a massive new spending program, like Obamacare, as some sort of deficit fighter, because THEY SAY IT IS, just shows you how weak the original case for Obamacare was in the first place.

And only in Washington can you start off entitlement reform that’s supposed to reduce spending, by ushering in a massive new government program that will greatly grow government spending. And then pat yourself on the back for it.  

Wasn’t it the same type of entitlement Ponzi scheme that gave us the problem in the first place?

Wonks and politicians may not see it, but those guys are in the process of self term-limiting out of business anyway- either by votes or by pageviews. 2010 was just a preview, not a conclusion even accepting the standstill in the 2012 election.

Readers know that I hate to pick on the Washington Post this way, but I don’t know anyone who would willingly call themselves a wonk in the first place. The Post’s Wonk brand is stuck in the Way-Back Machine of the 1990s.

The Wonk Disneyland, known as DC, is exactly what gets us these kinds of political and mathematical ruses that pass for solutions these day. The only choice we will have soon is to stop complying with federal mandates like Obamacare.  

Because Americans continue to favor repeal of Obamacare.

The Supreme Court decision calling Obamacare a tax will likely reinforce the opinion that it’s a flawed piece of legislation that greatly expands government bureaucracy at a time when Americans think that government is doing too much not too little.

You can pass Obamacare as a deficit measure and call it Constitutional -and then wonk about it all you want.
But Americans know the truth.

Obamacare, like the tax on tea that saw a load of it dumped into Boston Harbor in 1773, is just plain dumb.  And both also go against natural law.

I won't comply.

Supremes allow new challenge to Obamacare

Order lower court to hear Liberty University lawsuit

120326_scotus_crowd_ap_328The U.S. Supreme Court today ordered a federal appeals court to review Liberty University’s claim that Congress violated the Christian school’s religious freedoms by forcing it to provide federally mandated insurance and requiring payment for abortion-related services.

“I am very pleased with the high court’s ruling,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is fighting the case on behalf of Liberty University.

“Today’s ruling breaths new life into our challenge to Obamacare. Our fight against Obamacare is far from over,” he said.

Staver contended Congress exceeded its power by forcing every employer to provide federally mandated insurance.

“But even more shocking is the abortion mandate, which collides with religious freedom and the rights of conscience,” he said.

The case on behalf of the university and Michele Waddell and JoAnne Merrill asked the Supreme Court to reverse an order from the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which denied a petition for review.

“Specifically, petitioners request that this court enter an order granting, vacating and remanding the petition because the Fourth Circuit’s determination that the Anti-Injunction Act deprived it of subject matter jurisdiction was overruled by this court in National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius.”

The NFIB decision earlier this year, which hinged on the vote of Chief Justice John Roberts, declared Obamacare a tax, making it the largest tax increase ever for American citizens.

Liberty Counsel had filed the petition for rehearing because it said the Richmond, Va., appeals court should hear the arguments on the constitutional issues at hand. Liberty Counsel said the action could pave the way for the case to return to the Supreme Court in 2013.

Specifically at issue are the demands that employers pay for government-listed health care coverages, including abortifacients and other services that Christians and others cannot accept because of their religious beliefs.

The constitutional issue is the First Amendment’s Free Exercise of Religion Clause and the question of whether the government can order citizens to violate their faith. Also at issue is the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In 2010, Liberty Counsel filed the first private lawsuit against Obamacare on the day it was signed into law.

In 2011, an appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled that the Anti-injunction Act barred the court from addressing the merits in the Liberty University case, which challenged the individual mandate (Section 1501) and the employer insurance mandate (Section 1513) of Obamacare.

When the case previously was argued at the Supreme Court, the first day of oral argument was dedicated to the Anti-injunction Act, the issue that Liberty University’s case placed before the courts.

In the June decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the AIA does not apply to Obamacare. Therefore, Liberty Counsel asked the court to grant its petition — because it prevailed on the AIA claim — vacate the ruling of the court of appeals and send the case back to the court of appeals to consider the Free Exercise claim and the employer mandate, neither of which were decided by the Supreme Court.

Several weeks ago WND reported even the attorneys for Obama agreed that the case should be heard.

The law that ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said had to be passed before Americans could “find out what is in it” seemed to raise concerns even for them.

“Respondents do not oppose petitioners’ request that the (Supreme) court reconsider its order denying review in this case, grant the petition for a writ of certiorari, vacate the court of appeals’ decision, and remand for further consideration,” said a submission to the high court signed by U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. and others.

“Petitioners, Liberty University and two individuals who do not have health insurance coverage, brought this suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia,” the government brief to the high court explains. “As relevant here, they contended that the minimum coverage and employer responsibility provisions were beyond Congress’s Article I powers to enact and also that those provisions violate the First Amendment’s religion clauses and the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.”

While the 4th Circuit ruled that the challenges were barred because of the Anti-Injunction Act, which says a “tax” must be paid before it can be challenged, the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare ruled that the penalties were in some cases a tax and other cases not.

Government attorneys in the brief said the Supreme Court’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Businesses, which called Obamacare constitutional, “held that the Anti-Injunction Act does not bar a pre-enforcement challenge to the minimum coverage provision.”

“The court of appeals incorrectly held that the Anti-Injunction Act bars petitioners’ challenges to the minimum coverage provision,” the government wrote. “Because of that jurisdictional holding, the court of appeals did not address any of petitioners’ challenges to that provision on the merits.

“In seeking rehearing … petitioners observe that the court of appeals’ jurisdictional holding also prevented that court from considering on the merits their claims based on the First and Fifth Amendments. … Under the circumstances of this case, respondents do not oppose further proceedings in the court of appeals to resolve them, including under the Anti-Injunction Act with respect to petitioners’ challenge to the employer responsibility provision.”

The 4th Circuit had ruled 2-1 that the Obamacare “tax” had to be paid before a court could entertain a challenge. But then the Supreme Court determined in another case, NFIB, that the Anti-Injunction Act does not apply to the individual mandate.

It failed, however, to make a decision in that dispute, leading Liberty University to seek a rehearing.

Liberty University contends both the individual and employer mandates are unconstitutional on the grounds that they infringe upon the freedom of religious expression.

While the Obama administration insists there is no taxpayer funding of abortion in the laws, Staver pinpoints why he believes that position is patently false.

“It funds it in two ways,” said Staver. “First all, for the individual, for the first time in history, it requires each individual to pay a particular fee and that goes directly into an abortion fund and that fund funds abortion.

This fee doesn’t go into a general fund, some of which funds other surgeries or medical treatment, some of which might fund abortion. No, this goes into a specific fund that funds abortion. (It’s the) very first time in history you can trace the dollar to the actual abortion.”

Staver said the provision forces individuals and business leaders to subsidize something they vehemently oppose.

“It requires religious employers, and other employers but certainly religious employers to also fund abortion as well,” he said. “And for Liberty University, a Christian university, and for others that’s simply a line we can’t cross. That is a direct collision with the free exercise of religion.”

Staver said an ultimate victory in the case could devastate Obamacare, especially if the individual mandate goes down.

“It could ultimately make a big hole in the bottom of the Obamacare boat or completely torpedo it and sink it altogether.”

Several other individual lawsuits are pending on behalf of Christian company owners who say the orders require them to violate their religious faith.

Already, three different federal judges have decided to issue injunctions preventing enforcement of the mandate against the companies in those cases until a resolution is reached.

“The decision in NFIB abrogated the Fourth Circuit’s ruling that the AIA deprived it of subject matter jurisdiction. Consequently, petitioners’ remaining claims should be subject to adjudication by the lower courts,” the Liberty Council petition said.

The BREC (Broward Republican Executive Committee) elections are coming up on December 3rd and I am proud and honored to endorse KAREN HARRINGTON as our new BREC Chairperson.

KAREN understands very well that for Republicans to retake command they first and foremost must NEVER give up their core values and principals, and second, that it is time to NOT only reach out to minorities but to include them in the hierarchy NOT just give them lip-service.

To that effect KAREN'S slate of officers includes all highly capable and respected minorities. Our Party needs visible outreach to these growing and very disaffected voting markets, and inclusion in policy making is a great way to start.

KAREN"S slate of officers is honored to include:

Al Entin (Jewish American) as Vice Chair

Carolyn Kennedy
(Black American Professional Woman) as Secretary

Juan Garcia (Hispanic American) as Treasurer

All of these candidates can draw much needed media attention from minority newspapers/radio because of the broad and growing communities they represent...and that in turn helps all of us in the Broward GOP because these candidates represent expanding electoral groups the 2012 GOP grossly underperformed in.

Let’s help maintain our strong core Republican principals and values including free-market enterprise, strict Constitutionalism, and a belief in 'one nation under God with liberty and justice for all' by electing KAREN HARRINGTON and her well-chosen slate of officers as our new BREC leadership and become a role model for all GOP County Chairs in the nation.

It's high time for a changing of the old guard and this slate of officers is a great way to start. Please BREC members vote for KAREN HARRINGTON and her slate of officers to help take BREC in a new and exciting victory!