Saturday, March 13, 2010
Denying the Truth at all Costs
Politics and policy has become surreal. Webster's defines the term as "bizarre or dreamlike". No word better describes the current state of affairs. For yet another example of the "dreamlike" suspension of reality that is everyday Washington, D.C. consider the recent announcement from union-toady, Congressman George Miller. Miller is proposing to spend $100 billion on a bailout of local governments. That is $100 billion we will have to get from China or the Federal Reserve's printing press to allow local governments to pretend a little while longer that they can act like spoiled children without consequence.
The Miller proposal would funnel the massive sum of borrowed money to local governments so they can "save or create" jobs. Boil it all down and the Miller scam is exposed as a temporary fix for the junkies who are attempting to avoid withdrawal at all costs. But cold-turkey withdrawal is exactly what they and America need.
The facts are well known. Government at all levels has grown faster than any other segment of the economy. Government, also, pays far more than corresponding workers in the private sector and has lavish benefit packages unmatched by any private worker. As the Cato Institute detailed in their January, 2010 Tax & Budget Bulletin # 59, the compensation scales and benefits of government are simply unsustainable. They cannot continue, there must be an adjustment.
But blocking that "adjustment" is the primary goal of labor unions. And whatever Big Labor wants, George Miller will try to deliver. So, the $100 billion bailout is meant for one thing and one thing only; paying off the unions and avoiding for even a little while the inevitable downsizing of government. Since the largest expenditure any government makes is on personnel, that downsizing means one thing – firing tens of thousands of unionized public employees.
Think for a second what Miller and his cronies are asking of American families, taxpayers and businesses. They want us to go deeper into debt, to the tune of another $100 billion, to pay employees we don't need to do things that are of marginal value. We are eating our seed corn. This money will not be spent on things that will allow future growth and production or future prosperity. It is to be squandered on consumption. Like the raging alcoholic, full of bravado, we are maxing out the American credit card to buy lunch for everyone in the barroom.
The situation we confront is basic. We all know the nature of the choice. All of us were taught this choice as small children. We should all remember the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper frittered away the summer, eating and having a great time. The ant, on the other hand, worked and saved and did without, so that he would have provisions for the winter. When winter arrived, the ant is secure and prepared while the grasshopper froze, starving from lack of food.
George Miller and his union masters are the grasshoppers of our time. They eat and drink and live in a dreamlike state where the bill never comes due. The only problem, of course, is that they do have a plan. They plan to stick all of us with the bill for their reckless behavior.
Its time we ants took matters into our own hands. The credit card needs to be cut into pieces. Local governments, as well as states and the Federal behemoth, need to face the facts. They have to live within the means of the people that fund them. The insane, surreal politics of spending and debt must come to a stop.
Any member of Congress, regardless of party, who opposes the Miller scheme should be praised and supported. Any local government that does the right thing and cuts its functions and personnel needs backing. Conversely, those who embrace the bizarre world of George Miller need to be shown the door. They are simply too sick to be in a position of authority.
The deadline kid
The White House fondness for deadlines is once again playing havoc with President Obama's agenda, this time on health care. "If you don't set a deadline in this town, nothing happens," Obama said last year, just before Congress missed an earlier deadline to pass health care reform. The administration is pressuring House members to pass a Senate version of health reform by March 18, when the president departs on an overseas trip.
But the many moving parts of Congress are balking at the administration's timetable -- and have learned from several previous forays that missing them carry virtually no consequences. "Any talk of deadlines is an absolute waste of time," said Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Obama last year admonished Congress to pass health care reform by August, and vowed to sign a reform bill in 2009. The Senate finally passed one in late December. Lawmakers also missed a 2009 deadline from the White House to pass an energy bill, and a financial regulatory bill.
But ignoring White House deadlines is not restricted to Congress. Tehran is currently ignoring a deadline from the Obama administration and the United Nations to come clean about its nuclear program. They were given until the end of the year -- 2009.
Obama also has missed his own deadlines -- notably, one contained in an executive order closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay by the end of his first year in office. The prison remains open and under review.
Some deadlines remain to be seen. Obama set a deadline of July 2011 to begin pulling troops from Afghanistan. But that deadline has some built-in wiggle room -- he never said when he would finish. Some deadlines are looming:
"Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama told Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina last year. Soon after he announced the Iraq deadline, however, the White House reportedly began considering some exceptions.
Over the course of the year, deadlines have become for Obama what benchmarks were to the previous administration -- a clear set of original objectives that frequently end up victim to chance.
The White House wants the House to pass the bill before Obama leaves town, to give the Senate time to work on the measure before both chambers leave on a two-week break March 27.
The risk to Obama in repeatedly setting and missing deadlines can already be measured in the offhand dismissal lawmakers in his own party greeted the latest edict. And also in the fact that if Congress planned to miss the administration's deadline, the White House was among the last to know. "The information I gave out last week was based on conversations with staff that I've had here in the building, and I've been given nothing that would change that advice that I was given last week," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said of the March 18 deadline.
Millennials will be end of the road for Progressives
Imagine watching as the government robs your parents of their retirement security, denies them access to decent health care, and compromises the independence that is supposed to mark their Golden Years. That’s not a scene likely to generate support for those inflicting such agonies on the people who gave you life, especially when the perpetrators also hand you the bill. Thus will the progressive vision for America end with the Millennials.
Conventional wisdom sees Social Security and Medicare going bust just as massive numbers of the Baby Boomer generation begin applying for benefits. Political upheaval will surely ensue as Boomers experience the destitution that follows hard after collapse of these two landmark entitlements.
But look beyond the Boomers to their kids – the Millennials, 60 million strong and the first “grown-up digital” generation, (see Don Tapscott’s book by that name).
This coming entitlement crisis will engulf Boomers just as Millennials enter the most fecund years of family life and career. But instead of enjoying such rewarding endeavours, they will face the hardships and heart breaks that will come with being what The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson earlier this week called “the Chump Generation:” Samuelson’s label, however, doesn’t begin to do justice to what lies ahead for Millennials, thanks to their government:
* Their federal taxes will hit unprecedented levels as Washington props up Social Security, Medicare and other federal entitlement programs. So will state and local taxes, thanks to similarly generous pensions for teachers, cops, firemen, and bureaucrats.
* Good health care will be harder to get for middle class Millennials and their kids, thanks to government rationing of medical services.
* With a no-growth, high-tax, “green economy,” entrepreneurial opportunities will be scarce, new jobs rare, and standards of living falling for the first time in American history. Most things will cost more, everyday tasks like getting to work and grocery shopping will be more tedious, and the general quality of life will be noticeably less pleasant.
In the process, millions of Millennials will have to take in their aging Boomer parents or otherwise care for them, and do so with fewer personal resources and under far greater economic pressures than those faced by perhaps any previous American generation since before the Great Depression.
Samuelson said Millennials were notably strong Obama supporters in 2008, but he wondered if being the Chump Generation will “dim their enthusiasm for government.” I see something far more serious than merely less enthusiasm for activist government, for two reasons.
First, the dominant values of Millennials are inimical to centralizing, top-down, command-and-control government at the heart of the Progressive vision. Millennials grew up in a decentralized digital world of endless choices, limitless opportunity, and transparency in everything.
Think about that: Where Obama and the progressives dispatch reams of bureaucratic edicts, legions of bureaucrats, and tons of tax dollars to solve a problem, Millennials reach for their laptops, Internet creativity, and collaboration with each other. They don’t need officious, over-paid GS-14s in Washington to tell them what to do. And they know it.
Second, it will be crystal clear who caused the entitlement crisis. Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are seeing to that now in their mad rush to pass Obamacare, even if means doing so over unanimous Republican opposition.
So, trust me, when the entitlement crisis hits home in full force during the next two decades, the Millennials will be hit hard and they will know exactly who to hold responsible. There will be hell to pay, with no grace period, no more bailouts and no more patience for politicians peddling lies about what government will do for them.
Obama Justice Department Shut Down Federal ACORN Investigation
If you want to know the sordid details behind ACORN’s corrupt activities and the Obama administration’s disinterest in holding the organization accountable, I have good news for you. Judicial Watch recently obtained a large batch documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) detailing investigations into ACORN corruption.
This is a huge “get” for Judicial Watch. The documents include internal FBI memoranda, signed affidavits, subpoenas, fraudulent voter registration cards, and publications describing ACORN’s policies and practices. The documents also include details regarding numerous allegations of corruption extending beyond voter registration fraud, to include attempts by ACORN employees to coerce workers to participate in campaign activities on behalf of Democratic candidates.
But here’s what I find most interesting of all: The documents provide the details surrounding the Obama administration’s terrible decision to shut down a criminal investigation into two voter registration fraud complaints in March 2009 without filing criminal charges. I’m specifically referring to separate complaints filed in October 2008 by Lucy Corelli and Joseph Borges, Republican Registrars of Voters in Stamford and Bridgeport, Connecticut, respectively, during the 2008 election season.
According to Corelli, on August 1, 2008, her office received 1,200 ACORN voter registration cards from the Secretary of State’s office. Over 300 of these cards were rejected because of “duplicates, underage, illegible and invalid addresses,” which “put a tremendous strain on our office staff and caused endless work hours at taxpayers’ expense.” Corelli claimed the total cost of the extra work caused by ACORN corruption was $20,000.
Likewise, Borges contended that: “The organization ACORN during the summer of 2008 conducted a registration drive which has produced over 100 rejections due to incomplete forms and individuals who are not citizens…” Among the examples cited by Borges was a seven-year old child, who was registered to vote by ACORN through the use of a forged signature and a fake birth certificate claiming she was 27-years old.
The FBI and Department of Justice opened an investigation. However, the Obama Justice Department, while noting that ACORN had engaged in “questionable hiring and training practices,” closed down the investigation in March 2009, claiming ACORN broke no laws....
Democrats: Abortion Is Good, Because Kids Are Costly
Bart Stupak just had a revelation. And it’s a disturbing one.
Sitting in an airport, on his way home to Michigan, Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, is chagrined. “They’re ignoring me,” he says, in a phone interview with National Review Online. “That’s their strategy now. The House Democratic leaders think they have the votes to pass the Senate’s health-care bill without us. At this point, there is no doubt that they’ve been able to peel off one or two of my twelve. And even if they don’t have the votes, it’s been made clear to us that they won’t insert our language on the abortion issue.”…
What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”
We knew this. For all their talk of pro-choice, the far left is actually pro-abortion. It’s about an agenda to them, not about life. And remember, not too long ago Senator Feinstein said it was “morally correct” to fund abortion. This just exposes the face underneath the mask a bit more. Now, it isn’t just about funding abortion, but using it as a cost-saving tool. Bart Stupak is realizing that now — in a moment of division with his party, he had some clarity. He is a Democrat insider and he sees this chilling reality in his own Caucus.
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