Views on the News
March 27, 2010
Views on the News*
Obama continues his strategy to “boil the frog” by slowly increasing the heat under the American people to slowly erode freedoms and insert government into more and more aspects of daily life. James Madison warned of this incremental strategy back in 1788, "There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations..." Although spoken more than two centuries ago, Madison's words have special resonance today in light of the continuing movement by some to nationalize the nation's health care system. While those championing this radical change in our everyday lives may have the best of intentions, the costs of their proposals are not just financial. Rather, much of what has been proposed would eat away at the very liberty that this nation was founded to protect. Under the guise of improving health care, supporters of health care centralization are proposing to redefine the relationship of citizens to the state. Historically, in the American social compact, government has served as the agent of the people, deriving its sovereignty from the consent of the governed. Remember that this is the same administration that claimed they did not want to run the automotive industry before taking over both General Motors and Chrysler with not exit strategy. This administration also claimed to not want to run the financial industry before taking over AIG and Citibank, with no exit strategy and now proposed further legislation to expand their control of this critical industry. With "reformed" health care, the federal government will insert itself into every aspect of a person's life. With the government involved from cradle to grave and at every step along the way, proponents of health care reform would turn the citizen into a mere ward of the state. With the citizen-child now reliant on the government-parent for all aspects of his well-being, the citizen has forever ceded his liberty to the wishes and whims of the federal government. The limits on federal power in the Constitution and its first ten amendments were put there by our Founding Fathers not just to protect citizens from those who would take our liberties at the point of a gun, but also to prevent the gradual encroachments effected by those in power who claim to be serving the greater good. Remember that the objective of “boiling the frog” is to cook it, so every increased temperature degree is one step closer to replacing our American free market economy with a centrally controlled disaster that has failed repeatedly in every country that ever tried it. Obama may suffer an unexpected consequence of his leftist transformation strategy… he may become the worst President in history, replacing his fellow-Democrat Jimmy Carter in this dubious distinction.
(“Liberty is Finite” by Ken Cuccinelli dated March 2010 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2010/03/16/liberty-is-finite )
We see the spectacle of a Congress whose members are no longer responsive to the people or the Constitution, but are captive to their personal whims and greed as well as allegiance to a President, political party and statist ideology. In November 2008, Americans elected a socialist as their President, so 16 months later we should not be surprised that we find ourselves living in a socialist country. Obama appears more desirous of creating a "cult of personality" and a socialist utopia by any means necessary than in acting in the best interest of all the people. We have witnessed, despite the overwhelming opposition of the people, the arrogance of power as the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress forced through a Health Care Reform bill; a bill whose objective is not to improve the health care of the citizens but to expand by geometric proportions the power of the state over the individual. The approval rates from the last non-partisan polls conducted before the vote on the health-care legislation (not a single majority):
· Economist/YouGov: 48%.
· Kaiser/PSRA: 46%.
· CBS News: 42%.
· Rasmussen: 41%.
· CNN: 39%.
· Pew Research Center: 38%.
· NBC/WSJ: 36%.
· Fox News: 35%.
This health care reform bill pits the government against the individual, foment class warfare, create additional unemployment, shackle the economy and exacerbate the national debt crisis while ultimately rationing health care to the most vulnerable in society. Stagecraft and spin trump facts; symbolism and rhetoric trump truth; and the only bipartisan support was the opposition to it. We see an economy, the engine of wealth and security, hamstrung by regulations, taxes, government policies, lawsuits and mandates no longer able to generate jobs and income for our citizens. Rassmussen found that public opinion on the “stimulus” spending is only an abysmal 25%. American businesses can no longer compete in a new global economy and must therefore leave our shores taking employment opportunities and wealth with them. Small businesses and entrepreneurs will no longer be able to generate jobs or even open their doors as they too will be hobbled by this same myopic and rigid socialist ideology. Our fellow citizens see that the United States is on a collision course with national bankruptcy. We fear that one day the greatest nation in the history of mankind will be relegated to secondary status, easily intimidated by those who wish us harm, as the United States will no longer be able to finance the most dominate military in the world. We watch as a nation blessed with abundant natural resources refuses to responsibly exploit them, but rather become dependent on the unreliable whims of foreign nations for energy while willingly enriching potential adversaries. The founders of our country gave the people a roadmap, the Constitution, to maintain or regain the power of the people. We need to follow the Constitution, unite, organize, use the legal process, peacefully march and above all vote and take back the country from those who are hell-bent to destroy it for personal vanity or adherence to a failed ideology.
(“America Lost” by Steve McCann dated March 22, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/america_lost.html
“The People Speak” by Michael Fumento dated March 26, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/429354/the-people-speak/michael-fumento )
With the passing of the Health Care Reform legislation, the country took its biggest step ever down a road diametrically opposed to its original intent of keeping the state small so that the individual can be free and great. Therefore, in this unprecedented crisis of values, this is what needs to be done:
· Know and teach America's core values - Over the past few generations, Americans have forgotten the values that have made America distinctive and great, what can be called the American Trinity: "In God we trust," "Liberty" and "E Pluribus Unum." The left has made war on all three: substituting secularism for God and religion; substituting equality (of result) for liberty; and multiculturalism is the opposite of "E Pluribus Unum."
· Recognize that we are fighting the left, not liberals - Liberalism believed in American exceptionalism; the left not only does not believe in it, the left opposes it. Liberalism believed in creating wealth; the left is interested in redistributing it. Liberalism believed in a strong defense. The left believes in cutting defense and a strong United Nations.
· Democrats should be referred to as Social Democrats - Calling Democrats Social Democrats is an effective way of reminding Americans that there is no longer any difference between what is now known as the Democratic Party and the Social Democratic parties of Europe.
· Work tirelessly to repeal the bill - We all know that it is difficult to repeal entitlements because they are like drugs and it is very difficult to wean people off drugs. We need to warn our fellow Americans that entitlements will do to America what drugs eventually do to addicts. All Republicans must run for office on the "repeal" issue.
· Our motto: "The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen." - This phrase encapsulates this epic battle of American values versus leftist values and can be a motto.
· Do not let other matters distract - We are united on the big government vs. free individual issue, which, more than anything else, has defined America. If we remember what it means to be American, we can handle anything.
· Acknowledge that we are in a non-violent civil war - Thank God this civil war is non-violent, but the fact is that the left and the rest of the country share almost no values. If the left wins, America's values lose. If American values prevail, the left loses.
After Sunday's vote, for the first time in American history, one could no longer confidently believe that the American system will prevail, and if we don't fight for it, we don't deserve it.
(“It’s a Civil War: What We Do Now” by Dennis Prager dated March 23, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2010/03/23/its_a_civil_war_what_we_do_now )
Obama and company have passed the Health Care Reform bill that only 38% of Americans favored, so now Republicans need to be very clear what they plan to do when they regain control of Congress in November. Since late last summer, when details of the Health Care Reform bill began to leak, public support has declined and opposition sharply increased. Obama’s personal popularity has plummeted to a new low of 44%, and he has polarized the nation with 21% more people Strongly Disapprove than Strongly Approve his performance. The "official" unemployment rate hit 10% in November and has remained there. He revealed himself as a leftist zealot when he abandoned his “laser focus on jobs” that the public wanted to focus exclusively on controlling health care (insurance) as a means to take over one sixth of the economy. Iran is said to be only months away from having a nuclear bomb. Meanwhile diplomatic blunders have been committed with Great Britain, Israel, and South America. A would-be terrorist tackled by passengers while attempting to detonate an explosive device over Detroit was questioned by intelligence officers for fifty minutes, then whisked into the Miranda-ized world of the civilian court system. "Party crashers," in three separate incidents, got past security and attended White House functions. The list goes on to include jihad lawyers hired into the Justice Department; the President's time-out to go to Europe to lobby in favor of bringing the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago; the White House chief of staff twisting arms, naked, in the Congress-only shower; and a credible charge that a White House "bribe" was offered to a politician as inducement to get him to stay out of a U.S. Senate race. Sunday was a high water mark for Democrat ascendency and over-reach, and also the “straw that broke the camel’s back!” Now is the time to explicitly punish those who voted for this unwanted government takeover by voting them out of office, and replace them with people who will represent their constituent’s wishes and not their political party’s leftist dream of socialism. When independent-minded people away from the heat of Washington consider the Health Care Reform bill, the question then becomes "Can America get along without a President?" Republicans would be well served to articulate their plans to repair the damage done by Obama to repeal the TARP, “stimulus,” and the Health Care Reform bills before all the money is spent and irreparable damage is done to our economy. The good news about the health care reform bill is that the taxes begin immediately while benefits don’t kick in for several years, so a quick repeal will stop only the financial pain. It is time for voters to be heard and their ideas for the country guide policy and not a left wing agenda that was hidden during the election campaign. It is time to return to individual freedoms, free market capitalism, and American exceptionalism and “Throw the bums out of Congress.” “We the People” will have to learn how to run the country for two years while the lame duck President keeps the seat warm in the Oval Office and finishes his term.
(“Democrats Have Painted Themselves Into a Corner” by Jed Skillman dated March 20, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/democrats_have_painted_themsel.html
“Health reform and the specter of Alf Landon” by Dana Milbank dated March 21, 2010 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031902636.html
“Obamacare: The straw that broke the camel’s back” by David Coughlin dated March 23, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/03/obamacare_the_straw_that_broke.html)
The Democrat Health Care Reform legislation will affect every facet of our health system: how people get coverage; how health care is delivered; and how health care is paid for. The government takeover of health care will go down in history as the worst piece of legislation to emerge from a Congress held in general disdain by the American people. The only bipartisanship on the health bill was in the opposition with all Republicans united with 35 Democrats voting against the bill. The bill health care reform does change every facet of American health care, and every significant change in the massive bill will expand government, without exception:
· ObamaCare creates a new, government-run assisted-care insurance program to compete with existing private plans, essentially a new entitlement.
· ObamaCare creates a Medicare panel to cut payments for ineffective procedures and prescriptions, just like the deeply unpopular committee in Britain.
· ObamaCare expands Medicaid eligibility by as much as one-third, increasing taxpayer liability for entitlements at the exact moment Washington needs to contain entitlements.
· ObamaCare gives the federal government the power to specify what every insurance plan must cover, and doesn’t touch the hundreds of existing state-level benefit mandates.
· ObamaCare creates over 100 new offices, bureaucracies, committees, programs, and authorities to implement the law and develop new regulations.
· ObamaCare forces states to set up health-insurance exchanges to foster competition, like Massachusetts has already tried with no reduction in premiums.
· ObamaCare substitutes more government for patient choice by gutting Medicare Advantage to pay for new entitlements and new services.
· With so many subsidies and program expansions, ObamaCare will push the government’s share of national health spending well past the 50% level forever.
For the record, the reach and cost of the federal government aren’t the only things that are expanding under Obamacare. K Street lobbyists will seek to sway the decisions of the health-benefits super-committee – which is charged with determining the services covered by your insurance — or the Medicare panel, which is authorized to “guide” physicians’ treatment decisions. The new system will suffer a tsunami of bad publicity when states sue the federal government over unfunded mandates, when the IRS begins enforcing the aspects of the bill that voters never knew existed, when small businesses start firing employees because they cannot afford the higher costs of the new system, when new and unforeseen costs blow out the already record federal budget deficit, and when seniors begin to feel the impact of Medicare cuts. Maybe ObamaCare isn’t a complete government takeover of health care yet, but it’s very close, and a giant step closer in that direction.
(“Eight Ways ObamaCare Grows the Government” by David Gratzer dated March 20, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/428650/eight-ways-obamacare-grows-the-government/david-gratzer
“Democrats’ death by suicide” dated March 21, 2010 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/21/editorial-democrats-death-suicide/ )
During his year-long pitch for his so-called “health insurance reform,” President Obama repeatedly exaggerated problems, obfuscated facts, and manufactured lies about America’s insurance companies. It was all part of a conscious and calculated effort to sow fear among the populace; if not exactly the “politics as usual” that he derides at every opportunity, then certainly something even far more sinister. ObamaCare was passed despite ample factual data refuting Democrat assertions:
“If you like the plan you are in you can keep it.”
· 19 million - Number of people predicted to lose their employer plan (Lewin Group)
· 8 to 9 million - Number of people predicted to lose their employer plan (CBO)
· $11,543 - Employer incentive to drop coverage for a $30,000 a year worker with family [Tax subsidy in the exchange minus tax subsidy at work minus $2,000 fine] (IRET)
· 8.5 million - Number of seniors and disabled people at risk of losing their Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Chief Actuary)
· 3 million - Additional people who will likely lose Medicare Advantage plan benefits (Medicare Chief Actuary)
· $816 - Average annual benefit loss for 11 million seniors and disabled in Medicare Advantage plans (CBO)
· 33 million - Number of people in traditional Medicare at risk of losing access to care because of $523 billion in cuts in Medicare spending (Medicare Chief Actuary)
· 20% - Fraction of hospitals that would become unprofitable after Medicare spending cuts (Medicare Chief Actuary)
“There will be no tax increases for anyone who earns less than $200,000.”
· 73 million - Number of people who earn less than $200,000 who will see their tax bill rise (Joint Committee on Taxation)
· 40% - Tax rate on “Cadillac” plans (Reconciliation Summary)
· 2.3% - Hidden tax on wheelchairs and other medical supplies (CBO update)
· $27 billion - Hidden “medicine cabinet” tax on drugs (Reconciliation Summary)
· 10% - Tax on tanning salons (Reconciliation Summary)
· $60 billion - Hidden health insurance tax (Reconciliation Summary)
“Health insurance reform is…about creating a climate where our entrepreneurs and small businesses can succeed [and] about giving you the chance to prosper and grow.”
· $100 million - Cost of ObamaCare mandates for Caterpillar, Inc. in the first year alone (Caterpillar)
· 60% - Implicit marginal tax rate for workers earning as little as $25,000 (IRET)
· 65% - Implicit marginal tax rate for families earning as little as $50,000(IRET)
· 0.9% - New payroll tax on the wages of entrepreneurs and small business owners (Reconciliation Summary)
· 3.8% - New tax on the capital income of entrepreneurs and small business owners (Reconciliation Summary)
“The average family will save $2,500 in health care costs by the time I complete my first term as President of the United States.”
· 111% - Premium increase for individual insurance (AHIP)
· 54% - Premium increase for individual insurance (BlueCross BlueShield)
· 106% - Premium increase for individual insurance (Wellpoint)
· $2,100 - Premium increase for the average family (CBO)
“Over the past year the House and the Senate have been working on an effort to provide health insurance reform that lowers costs …”
· $220 billion - Rise in national health care spending over the next 10 years (Medicare Chief Actuary)
“… that guarantees access to care …”
· 15 million - Number of new people added to Medicaid, where care is increasingly rationed and where provider choice is increasingly restricted. (CBO)
· 0 - Number of new doctors and nurses trained and number of new hospitals built to meet the needs of 32 million newly-insured (CBO)
” … and enhances the quality of health care for all Americans.”
· 24 million - Number of people who will enter a health insurance exchange where health plans will have an incentive to under-provide to the sick. (CBO/NCPA)
“This is not about big government …”
· 16,500 - Additional IRS auditors needed to enforce the legislation (Ways and Means Minority Report)
“This legislation will protect families …”
· $6,000 to $10,000 - Marriage penalty if two $32,000-a-year workers say “I do.” (Ways and Means Minority Report)
“We are going to get rid of the special deals …”
· $7,300 - Extra exemption from the Cadillac premium tax for members of labor unions. (Ways and Means Minority Report)
“This bill will reduce the federal deficit …”
· $562 billion - Increase in the deficit after removing budget gimmicks and unrealistic tax increases and budget cuts relegated to future Congresses (CBO former director)
Now that it has passed, Obama is prepared to spend millions more in taxpayer dollars touring the country to convince us just how lucky we are that he got his bill through Congress. Any wonder why Obama’s credibility has plummeted and Congress approval is at new all-time lows?
(“ObamaCare Promises and Facts” by John Goodman dated March 24, 2010 published by The American Conservative Union at http://www.conservative.org/acuf/issue-152/issue152gov2/
“Lies, Damned Lies and Health Care” by Scott Wheeler dated March 25, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/ScottWheeler/2010/03/25/lies,_damned_lies_and_health_care )
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced a “War on Poverty,” sparking growth in what is called “means-tested” welfare which today comprises more than 70 federal programs, including food stamps, public housing, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Medicaid. These welfare programs are meant to be temporary, short term investments funded not only by the federal government but also by state governments’ payments into federal programs. Prior to the current recession, $1 out of every $7 in total federal, state, and local government spending went to means-tested welfare. Means-tested welfare spending was 1.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 1964; by 2008, it had reached 5% of GDP. President Obama plans to sharply accelerate the growth in welfare spending. By FY2011, total government spending on means-tested aid will rise to $953 billion, nearly a 50% increase in four years. Obama’s spending increases are not merely temporary responses to the current recession, since most are permanent expansions of the welfare state. Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, government has spent $16.7 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars) on means-tested welfare. Johnson declared that the War on Poverty would enable the nation to make “important reductions” in future welfare spending. Johnson’s goal was an increase in self-sufficiency: to create a new generation of individuals capable of supporting themselves. Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, the material living conditions of the poor have improved; even the federal government cannot spend $16.7 trillion without having any impact whatsoever. In terms of reducing the “causes” rather than the “consequences” of poverty, the War on Poverty has failed utterly. A significant portion of the population is now less capable of prosperous self-sufficiency than it was before. A major element in the declining capacity for self-support is the collapse of marriage in low-income communities. As the War on Poverty expanded benefits, welfare began to serve as a substitute for a husband in the home, and low-income marriage began to disappear. When Johnson launched the War on Poverty, 7% of American children were born out of wedlock, but today the number is 39%. The War on Poverty created a destructive feedback loop: Welfare promoted the decline of marriage, which generated the need for more welfare. Despite the dominant role that the decline of marriage plays in both welfare dependence and child poverty, it’s taboo to raise the issue in most anti-poverty discussions. Out-of-wedlock childbearing is rarely mentioned in the press; far from reducing the main cause of child poverty, the modern welfare state refuses to even acknowledge its existence. The second major cause of child poverty is parents’ lack of work. Federal work requirements were established in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, which replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. The new rules required a portion of able-bodied TANF recipients to work or prepare for work and strongly encouraged a decrease in welfare caseloads. Due to technicalities in the construction of the law, the federal work standards, which had driven the caseload reduction, lost force by around 2000. In the subsequent years, liberals in the Senate tenaciously blocked the reinstatement of federal work standards. The original goal of the War on Poverty, to reduce both poverty and dependence on government, has been abandoned and forgotten. Medicare, a wealth redistribution program misnamed "insurance," pays for the health care of our nation's elderly and has reduced the private insurance industry for this market segment to only 1% of seniors. The more we expect government to provide our basic needs, the more we become a nation dependent on government largesse, rather than independent individuals personally empowered to earn the values we seek. The Obama Administration announced that it is creating a new poverty measure to be unveiled in the fall of 2011 that would redefine who is considered “poor” in America, dramatically increasing the number of people considered to be living in poverty in the U.S. The current goal in welfare is simply to “spread the wealth” for its own sake. The War on Poverty has become a system of permanent income redistribution, which will only increase over time, and our nation can no longer afford the War on Poverty spending.
(“Losing the War” by Robert Rector dated March 16, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/428042/losing-the-war/robert-rector?page=1
“Expanding the Failed War on Poverty: Obama’s 2011 Budget Increases Welfare Spending to Historic Levels” by Kiki Bradley dated march 21, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/03/Expanding-the-Failed-War-on-Poverty-Obamas-2011-Budget-Increases-Welfare-Spending-to-Historic-Levels
“A Nation of Dependents” by Beth Haynes dated March 26, 2010 published by American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/a_nation_of_dependents.html )
There has been a sharp uptick in jihad activity by Muslims in the U.S. and U.S-born Muslims since Barack Obama has become President, although some law-enforcement officials seem determined not to notice. In this they are aided and abetted by American Muslim advocacy groups. The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) began a campaign against a textbook series because it noted that some Muslims in America are involved in terrorism. Al-Awlaqi, an American-born Islamic cleric, who was in contact with Nidal Hasan, the jihadist who murdered 13 Americans at Fort Hood in November 2009, and with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the jihadist who tried to bring down an airplane as it landed in Detroit on Christmas Day, had plenty of reason to claim that “jihad is becoming as American as apple pie:” Evidence of U.S. Muslims’ engaging in terrorism grows every day. Recently a Chicago-based Muslim, David Headley, a.k.a. Daood Gilani, pled guilty to going on a reconnaissance mission to find targets for the devastating 2008 jihad attacks in Mumbai, in which over 150 people were murdered. Gilani also participated in a plot to bomb a newspaper in Denmark that published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Also last week, Sharif Mobley, a Muslim from New Jersey, was arrested in Yemen because of his ties to al Qaeda and his murder of a guard in an escape attempt. Two other American Muslim women, both converts to Islam, were arrested for their involvement in a plot to murder the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks for his cartoon of the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog. One was since released, although her mother and stepfather have voiced concerns about how she is teaching her six-year-old son to hate Christians and believe that Muslims must wage war against them. And last month, a Muslim from Queens, N. Y., Najibullah Zazi, pled guilty to charges of leading a jihad plot to set off a bomb in the New York subway system. An Islamic cleric, Ahmad Afzali, pled guilty to tipping off Zazi that law enforcement officials had been asking about him, and then lying to them about having done so. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has charged five Muslims from Virginia with terrorism after they entered Pakistan and tried to join up with al Qaeda and the Taliban there in order to fight against American troops in Afghanistan. Initially the five tried to avoid being charged by explaining that they had come to Pakistan to engage in Islamic jihad, and that Islamic jihad was not illegal in Pakistan. An undetermined number of Somali Muslims have gone from their new homes in Minneapolis back to Somalia in order to wage jihad in an al Qaeda-linked group. Bryant Neal “Ibrahim” Vinas, a convert to Islam from Long Island, has been charged with participating in an attack on an American military base in Afghanistan and, in 2009, giving information about the New York City subway system to al Qaeda operatives. Another American Muslim convert, Abdulhakim Muhammad (formerly Carlos Bledsoe), murdered Private William Long and gravely wounded Private Quinton Ezeagwula outside the Army-Navy Career Center in Little Rock, Ark., in June 2009 in “a jihadi attack.” In August 2009, Daniel “Seifullah” Boyd, yet another convert to Islam, and six other Muslims in North Carolina were arrested and charged with “conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad.” On a surveillance audiotape Boyd proclaims: “I love jihad.” Yet last week, CAIR took umbrage at a book that dared to say that some U.S. Muslims have engaged in terrorism -- and Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca denounced as “un-American” those who have criticized him for his close work with the group. How many more dots must be connected before American Homeland Security wakes up that the Global War on Terror has an active theater right here in the United States?
(“Jihad: As American As Apple Pie” by Robert Spencer dated March 24, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36171 )
* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news. I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning. No individual issue updates this week.