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Views on the News

November 20, 2010

Views on the News*

The Tea Party movement plans to remain a political force to be reckoned with going into the 2012 Presidential races and beyond, and they plan to prove party politics as it has existed for the past century are over. They see a sharp contrast between themselves and earlier conservative groups such as the Christian Right or the Reagan coalition, which allowed themselves to be manipulated and outmaneuvered by the Republican establishment. Tea Party members are not calling for a revolution, they’re calling for a restoration because they take the U.S. Constitution seriously. Tea Party members prefer the system of government designed by the Founders to other options now on offer. They believe in small and limited government. Freedom is a value for which Americans for centuries have fought and died; a value most Americans still hold dear, though, distressingly, others now seem to regard the idea of liberty as quaint. Tea Party members are fiscal conservatives who see excessive taxation as harmful to economic health. Tea Party members see defending America from her enemies should be near the top of any President’s to-do list. They oppose surrendering American sovereignty to transnational organizations. They think that if the United States goes to war, it’s essential that the United States wins. They prefer a proud America to an apologetic America because they believe that, for all its faults, America remains the last, best hope of mankind. Tea Party patriots are demanding that the Republican Party present a clear distinction from the Democrats' progressive liberal agenda instead of accepting it as a fait accompli and seeking to merely slow down its implementation. One danger sign is that Congressional Republicans retained the same leaders, McConnell in the Senate, and Boehner in the House. The same leaders of the Bush Republican Party majority that expanded the government, added new entitlements, and ballooned the national debt.  They promise to do better this time. If the Republican Party doesn’t get it right this time, they will be looking for new jobs. That means no compromise on basic principles. Before voting on any bill, ask, “Is it Constitutional? Is the proposed law really necessary? Can we afford it and do we need it now? Will this bill expand government? And how will this bill impact families?” We are weary of having Republicans buckle under to Democrats’ threats. We need to continue applying pressure to the RINO wing of the Republican Party by targeting for defeat RINOs such as Kay Bailey Hutchinson in Texas and Olympia Snowe in Maine. We need to identify passionate conservatives who can mount credible campaigns, nurture their ambitions to higher office, and support their election efforts without resorting to acrimonious personal attacks that destroy party unity and shift the focus to personalities over issues. The Tea Party movement represents a new political paradigm in American politics outside the control of traditional political party structures, which will act on a freelance basis. It will take a couple of election cycles before the Tea Party gets enough conservatives elected, so that they can completely turn things around.

(“Shut Down Government if Necessary!” by Don Boys dated November 7, 2010 published by American Daily at http://americandaily.ws/index.php/article/3325

Angry America? Tea Partiers with Pitchforks?” by Clifford D. May dated November 11, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/252961/angry-america-tea-partiers-pitchforks-clifford-d-may

Tea Partiers to GOP: Fall in line or face challengers” by John Rossomando dated November 13, 2010 published by The Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2010/11/13/tea-partiers-to-gop-fall-in-line-or-face-challengers/

Tea Party Battle Plan” by Tom Roberson dated November 13, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/tea_party_battle_plan.html )

Republicans have won control of the House and have gained several seats in the Senate and the question is what will the Republicans do in this new position of power? Will they simply nibble at the edge of big government orthodoxy, fearing that Senate inaction would doom more ambitious efforts? Or will they act, understanding that the only steps capable of reversing our slide into bankruptcy are so large as to be outside the comfort zone of the political class in Washington? Will they make good on the commitment to economic growth on which they ran and were elected? The challenge before the Republicans is to fashion a legislative agenda combining boldness and prudence, a set of principled policy reforms that commands public support. Republicans need an agenda that is both radical and popular (as opposed to the Obama agenda, which was radical and unpopular). Only concrete actions to address the nation’s problems will do, so here is a short list of actions that all must be done:

·    Propose to extend indefinitely the Bush era tax cuts for all Americans. It is the right thing to do! Start pushing in the lame duck session and if the liberal Democrats and their ousted Lap Dog Democrats won’t go along with it then do it first thing in January.

·    Republicans in the House of Representatives must propose and pass legislation repealing ObamaCare. It may get bogged down in the Senate and even if it makes it out of the Senate President Obama would likely veto it. Every time this repeal fails pass it again in the House and keep the Democrats on record with regards to the issue.

·    Bring the FairTax to the floor for an up or down vote. It may not pass but it would establish a clear dividing line between liberals and conservatives. If passage of the FairTax legislation fails, keep pushing it while simultaneously pushing other legislation to eliminate all federal business taxes.

·    Republicans must demand that all bills to be brought to the floor of either house of Congress for a vote be clean, meaning that they must address only a single and specific issue and that no amendment may be offered that does not address that single issue.

·    Require exact constitutional justification for all bills and amendments that are voted on.

·    Pass a rule in the House, and propose a rule in the Senate, requiring that no bills or amendments to be proposed in either body may specifically target, benefit nor exclude and particular group of law abiding Americans. This would require, in essence, all bills to accept that all Americans, including members of Congress, will be equal before the law and avoid vote buying scams like the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase that occurred during the debate on ObamaCare to secure votes.

·    In the House of Representatives pass a law allowing any American who wants to opt out of Social Security and Medicaid to do so. Any American that chooses to opt out will have any monies they have had taken from their paychecks returned to them under the condition that they make no claim in the future to benefits under these programs. Those who opt out can then do whatever they want with their money.

·    In the House of Representatives propose and pass legislation within the year’s budget that would cut the salaries of all members of Congress, the Judiciary and even the President himself by 50%. This legislation should also cut the salaries of all government employees by 70%. All future raises to any of these salaries shall then be tied to the average salary increase of American citizens minus three percent.

·    In the House of Representatives, propose and pass a federal budget that limits government spending to, at most, 2007 levels and requires a 20% cut in the federal budget each year moving forward until the budget is balanced and the federal debt is being retired at a rate appreciable to a 10 year pay off period.

Let’s see how serious the Republicans really are shall we? If President Obama is politically savvy, he will accommodate significant portions of this agenda, but if he is not, let Obama defend in 2012 a platform of business as usual in Washington, of vast and growing debt, of continued illegal immigration and stalemate for current illegal residents, of higher taxes, of health care controlled by massive bureaucracy and health insurance premiums ever-rising.

(“Ten Things Republicans Could Do To Prove They Are Serious” by J.J. Jackson dated November 13, 2010 published by The Land of the Free at http://www.thelandofthefree.net/conservativeopinion/2010/11/13/ten-things-republicans-could-do-to-prove-they-are-serious/

As Simple as One, Two, Three” by Jeff Bergner dated November 16, 2010 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/simple-one-two-three_517974.html )

The Bowles and Simpson Deficit Commission preliminary report was dismissed by both parties as off target and falling well short of what is needed to address our overwhelming deficits. The Deficit Commission's initial recommendations, which will be followed by the full report Dec. 1 contains some good ideas, but the overall template remains flawed because it fails to address the main problem, which is government that encroaches on individual liberty, personal responsibility and living within one's means. The defense budget was not treated as sacrosanct, proposing tens of billions in cuts to unnecessary weapons programs and laying off many defense contractors. Maintaining America’s military dominance should be a key priority for those on both the left and the right, and it is unclear how this impacts our ability to defend the country. The two major entitlement programs are addressed lightly but do not nearly solve their continued path to financial bankruptcy. This commission report largely endorses the faux cost-cutting mechanisms established by Obama’s health care reform legislation and, in fact, would strengthen them, going so far as to suggest implementing a robust public option, which has been roundly dismissed by a majority of Americans. Social Security is also offered up raising the retirement age as an incremental improvement which does little to address its financial shortfall. The biggest criticism was that the fundamental model served to institutionalize expanded government and required taxes to increase by $1 trillion to balance the budget. The deficit commission's idea of austerity is to tax and spend more than we have in the pre-Obama history of the country. Spending is proposed to be “cap” federal government expenditures at 22% of GDP which is greater than any year since World War II. The average over the last fifty years, 1960-2009, federal spending was 20.3%. Revenues are proposed to be “capped” at 21% of GDP when they have never reached this level thus offering a stealth tax increase. From 1960 through 2009, federal revenues averaged 18.0% of GDP. If this commission was serious about government spending, every government agency and program should be periodically re-authorized. All spending should be justified before congressional committees responsible for oversight and reduced, or ended, if it fails to fulfill its purpose. If we were serious about reforming government we would start with our expected revenue of 19% of GDP to drive our federal government spending cap at 19% of GDP.

(“Deficit Fix: You Get a Second Job” by Randall Hoven dated November 12, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/deficit_fix_you_get_a_second_j.html

In Defense of the Deficit Commission” dated November 13, 2010 published by the New Republic at http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/79147/defense-debt-commission-report

Time Machine” by Cal Thomas dated November 16, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/CalThomas/2010/11/16/time_machine )

 

One of the first orders of business in the next Republican-controlled House of Representatives will be the demand for bailouts of states that have been especially profligate: California, New York, Michigan, Illinois, and Connecticut, and this must be refused. Throughout 2009 and 2010, these states stayed above water with repeated infusions of federal cash, which were all non-recurring expenditures requiring separate annual appropriations. The Republican House must say no and hold the line, stopping this raid on the federal Treasury. Unless voter behavior changes, the policies and practices that are leading overleveraged states to default, or worse, won't change. The cry in the caucus must ring loud: “No More Bailouts.” Republicans must demand fiscal discipline and refuse to make the citizens of other, more responsible states subsidize California and New York’s wayward finances. No bailouts means that state politicians, mostly Democrats, but also a fair share of Republicans, are going to have to explain the folly of featherbedding public employee and teacher pensions, runaway spending, and big government, all which are leading more than a few states to the bleak land of default. Meanwhile the root cause focuses on the union power that has forced states, localities, and school boards to raise taxes, borrow money, and, ultimately, depend on federal bailouts. The House must create a federal bankruptcy procedure for states that cannot make ends meet requiring, as in corporate bankruptcies, that state governments abrogate all their union contracts. The new state bankruptcy procedure should offer all states, and through them, their localities, counties, and school boards, the ability to reorganize their finances free of the demands of their union agreements.   This measure will return our state and local governments to the sovereignty of the people and take them away from the “thugocracy” of public-employee unions. The days of faux compassion leading to economy-wrecking government policies and the days of crony-liberalism leading to public employee and teacher unions and special interests of all stripes plundering local and state treasuries, and soon, the federal treasury, must end. 

(“Smash the Thugocracy” by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann dated November 9, 2010 published by National review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/252833/smash-union-thugocracy-dick-morris

The Smart Politics of Refusing State Bailouts” by J. Robert Smith dated November 16, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/the_smart_politics_of_refusing.html )

 

Fewer Americans want to work and to produce, and even among those who still want to work and produce, many are choosing to work fewer hours and to produce less because of the generous federal entitlements provided in the new “ObamaCare” law. According to the Congressional Budget Office, many no longer will have to work as much as we once did, given all the “assistance” we can get via ObamaCare. This is not just political “spin” or partisan punditry. Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the non-partisan C.B.O., noted that, outside the healthcare sector of our economy, the greatest impact of the ObamaCare agenda will be in the labor market. He stated that, in some cases, Americans will simply choose not to work, because their needs for healthcare will be provided by the enhanced Medicaid funding that is provided for in the ObamaCare law. He’s talking about Medicaid, a social care program from our federal government that is intended to offer short-term assistance to poor and lower income households. In short, our federal government has incentivized (some) people to consume more than they produce. And this is a very destructive thing. When government tells people “you don’t have to provide for yourself, you can instead choose to subsist off of somebody else’s effort,” it is inevitable that some people will choose the latter. And when people make this type of choice, it does long term damage to themselves and their families and to the broader society as well. It is possible that less productivity in America may be a part of President Obama’s actual agenda for “change.” So is this an “Obama success,” or an unintended failure for the President? American voters may never know what is truly in the heart and mind of Barack Obama, but it is bad news for the nation he leads.

(“Fewer Americans Want to Work: An Obama Success” by Austin Hill dated November 15, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/AustinHill/2010/11/14/fewer_americans_want_to_work_an_obama_success )

Obama returned almost as politically battered abroad from his “Let’s Change the Subject Tour” as from his party’s mid-term election “shellacking.” He failed at each stop in his expensive trip:

·    India: Obama failed to close the deal on the sale of advanced fighters, a key element in advancing U.S. access to India's defense establishment and slowing Russia's grip on the notoriously corrupt sector.

·    Indonesia: The President’s celebrated effort to update his Cairo speech on U.S. relations with the Islamic world failed to dazzle and was sharply criticized, so he left early.

·    Japan: Obama failed to resolve the Futenma basing issue which has driven U.S.-Japan defense relations into gridlock.

·    South Korea: The most bitter disappointment was Obama’s failure to conclude the widely anticipated Free Trade Agreement after pre-announcing its completion.

·    G-20: Obama pitched other countries to hold down trade imbalances and avoid the temptations of tweaking currency rates to gain advantage in a sickly global marketplace and was rebuffed based on failed policies.

President Obama believes that “all of Asia is eager for American engagement and leadership,” but his upbeat assessment sharply contrasted with the view of critics who have characterized the trip as disappointing, if not a downright failure. The hostile reaction to the United States and to Obama is the result of decades of being lectured to about the “right way” to manage economically. As long as the United States was the economic primus inter pares, those arguments were hard to gainsay, but now they are hard to stomach.

(“Obama’s G-20 Misfire” by Zachary Karabell dated November 11, 2010 published by The Daily Beast at

“Obama’s Asia Tour Fails to Achieve Goals” by Judith Miller dated November 15, 2010 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/Miller/india-indonesia-japan/2010/11/15/id/377108

Obama’s Asia Trip Not Seen As a Success” by Patrick Goodenough dated November 15, 2010 published by Cybercast news service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-s-asia-trip-not-seen-success )

 

* 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. Updates have been made this week to the following issue sections:

·  Economy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/economy.php

·  Defense at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/defense.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com