Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big Government Philosophy Erodes Freedom

President Ford once said that “a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

It then follows that as we stand ready to witness a catastrophic explosion in the size of our government with this “spendulus” bill that we are also about to experience government taking more from us. And what does it take from us? Liberty.

Freedom dies at the same rate and in equal proportion to the expansion of government.

The more the federal government controls the purse strings of States, businesses, and individuals, the more compliance it can and will demand from them. When we allow the government to hold our purse strings, we find our selves as puppets controlled by those same strings.

With growth in the federal largess, Americans are increasingly encumbered with burdensome taxes, regulations, and nanny-state laws. The more government grows, the more it tells us exactly what we can and can not do.

And now with this President, Congress and stimulus bill, we’re about to exacerbate the infringements upon freedom with government growth at an unprecedented level. Just a few examples:

The legislation targets our freedom of religion by disqualifying educational institutions that allow any religious function to take place on its campus from receiving any stimulus funds, whether that function is school sponsored or not. By use of federal funds, liberals in Washington are trying to scare universities into banning all student participation in religious activities.

The stimulus bill provides additional funding to those government environmental agencies which already place ridiculous restrictions on the lives of individuals, producers, and businesses. It can be expected that the level of intrusion will increase proportionally to the level of their increased funding.

The bill provides heavy doses of funding to secondary schools. As history has proven, this will decrease the freedom we have to determine how our schools will operate and the curriculum that will be taught. The government will be more inclined and more empowered to dictate the terms of our children’s education.

We’re already seeing the federal government dictate to recipients of previous bailout funds how they will and will not conduct business. The precedent is set.

What’s additionally troubling is the manner in which this legislation is being forced upon us.

It was written in the House behind closed doors by a few leftists. It was rushed to the Senate and Obama demanded an immediate vote. He has chastised and belittled all who wanted a responsible review of the bill. He has demeaned everyone who has questioned the bill and his haste to have it passed.

Additionally, Obama trying to dictate who we should and should not listen to with regard to political commentary and Senator Stabenow’s recent comments that she’s sure the Fairness Doctrine will be imposed to squash dissenting viewpoints are both troubling events.

A triad of unprecedented government expansion and intervention, bullying demands by a few leaders, and silencing of dissent are not the foundational principles of this country. They are foundational principles of socialist and even communist governments. The similarities being seen in Washington right now are eerie.

For those who are cheering Obama and the leftists in Congress, be careful what you wish for. One morning you’ll wake up to find your liberties have also disappeared. The scythe of tyranny is not selective.

Questions and Concerns About the Stimulus

Concerning What the Senate Passed Today:

Analysis using the President's own financial model has shown that more tax cuts with less spending and a smaller price tag will yield more dividends, and sooner.

Is it partisanship that is ignoring the Republican plan that does that? I don't think Republicans are worked against this bill because of partisanship. They're working against this bill because most of it doesn't match the intended outcome and their alternative using the same economic models showed they'd yield better results, faster, and with less money.

If given the choice between two options, why not choose the one predicted to work better and for less money?

The CBO has shown that the long term effects of this legislation will be detrimental. It seems to me that we still ended up with way too much spending and not enough tax cuts.

I also noticed in reading through the elements of the bill that so much of it is spread out over 10 years. While many of those items (spending and tax cuts) are noble causes, does a 10 year plan actually belong in a bill that is intended to stimulate the economy now? Though I'll take tax cuts of any kind at any time, why not do things that truly make some immediate impacts like reductions to payroll taxes?

I still have trouble understanding why my tax dollars should go to propping up states who've been irresponsible with their finances. Maybe they should all be required to take lessons from Nebraska?

Also, much of the bill falls under the classic definition of "welfare." Is there a cease and desist date for this welfare? One thing we learned during the 90's from welfare reform that programs with a deadline get people working again and the economy churning much faster than an endless supply of welfare.

Through all of this, no one has yet answered, or asked that I'm aware of, how are we going to pay for this?

And what about the impact of the inflation that's sure to follow?

Lastly, I think the vote on any conference agreement should be delayed so that we all have time to comb through the bill and find the hidden little agenda items, such as the one which denied funding to educational institutions if they allowed any religious organization use of facilities. What others may lie in the bill?

I've had several calls from those concerned that there's some item that will limit conservative or religious talk radio, though I can't find it. Page 164 has been mentioned as the source???? Either way, I think that we should have the time to scrutinize all the devils in the details instead of having this rushed through.

More of What's in the Stimulus

Although this catastrophic stimulus bill has passed both houses of Congress it will still need to go through conference and another vote. Call Senators Nelson and Johanns and tell them to eliminate these types of things in the bills or vote against them altogether after the conference.

Senator Nelson's Office: (202) 224-6551
Senator Johanns' Office: (202) 224-4224

Hidden Health Care Provisions
If you're a senior citizen, concerned about health care, or in the medical profession, this legislation will be devasating.


"If the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later. The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181)."

Stimulus is Anti-Religion
If you're concerned about provisions in the stimulus which are clearly targeted at forcing religion out of our lives and society, check out Mike Huckabee's column here:http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18668.html
And call our Senators and tell them to stop this.

Stimulus Reverses Gains Made in 1996 Welfare Reform
Through expansion of welfare programs, the Reform from 1996, which reduced welfare rolls and was so successful will be turned back. A permanent expense for all taxpayers. Read the Minority Leader's report here:
This report by The Heritage Foundation lays out nicely the expense of welfare for us in the coming years. The dollars are staggering.

Find the Pork in the Stimulus
Fox News has posted a link on their website and sent out a challenge to the nation to find the waste in the stimulus bills, both House and Senate versions. In less than 1 minute I found $3 million for studying the effect of the minimum wage in American Samoa in the Senate bill. What can you find?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What's in the Stimulus Compromise?

From what I've found so far, it certainly doesn't look like the compromise stimulus legislation has enough tax cuts in it, won't make an immediate impact, and is still too much wasteful spending. While I applaud those Senators who have worked to cut spending from the catastrophic House bill they were sent, they still have not cut enough spending or provided near enough tax relief.

The Congressional Budget Office has cast serious doubts on the original legislation from the House. At this time, the compromise doesn't appear to be much different (just a slightly smaller price tag) and should raise similar concerns.

Too much of this (spending and tax cuts) is still spread over too long a period of time to be considered stimulus. There are plenty of sacred cows, pork, and fat, remaining that need cleaved.

"The tax provisions included in 'The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan' will provide $275 billion of tax relief for individuals, businesses, and State and local governments" according to the Senate Finance Committee website.

Spending and a couple tax cut highlights From Senator Ben Nelson's website:

Some highlights of the Nelson-Collins agreement include:
$7 billion in rural broadband infrastructure
$1.87 billion for Community Health Center infrastructure
$64.4 billion for our nation’s K-12 educational system
$19 billion for a 10% non-refundable tax credit (capped at $15,000) for any home purchase
$6.4 billion for a down payment on the Energy Superhighway and a Smart Grid
$9.6 billion renewable energy investments
$250 million in rural renewable energy Investments
$42 billion in transportation infrastructure investments
$6.4 billion for environmental infrastructure including water and sewer infrastructure
$87 billion in temporary and targeted Medicaid relief to states
$70 billion for a one year fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax
$13.9 billion more for Pell Grants to help thousands of college students pay for increases in college costs.
$13 billion more for Special Education/IDEA to improve education for disabled children
$3.5 billion for law enforcement, including $1.2 billion for popular Byrne grants for drug task forces.

From Glenn Thrushes blog at the Politico, a list of what was reduced, not necessarily cut:

$40 billion State Fiscal Stabilization

$16 billion School Construction

$1.25 billion project-based rental

$2.25 Neighborhood Stabilization (Eliminate)

$1.2 billion in Retrofiting Project 8 Housing

$7.5 billion of State Incentive Grants $3.5 billion Higher Ed Construction

(Eliminated)$100 million FSA modernization

$50 million CSERES Research

$65 million Watershed Rehab

$30 million SD Salaries

$100 million Distance Learning

$98 million School Nutrition

$50 million aquaculture

$2 billion broadband

$1 billion Head Start/Early Start

$5.8 billion Health Prevention Activity

.$2 billion HIT Grants

$1 billion Energy Loan Guarantees

$4.5 billion GSA

$3.5 billion Federal Bldgs Greening

He has more.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Real Change and No Change

These last couple weeks have been a wonderful illustration of what real change looks like, but it hasn’t happened here at home. It’s happened in Iraq. Here at home it’s been the same old thing with a lot of flowery rhetoric dressing it up.

The Iraqi’s have once again defied all the critics and ignored all the skeptics by participating in another round of voting. They held provincial elections with national implications and pursued freedom’s promise and democracies future, again.

(FOX NEWS picture Jan. 28: Iraqi policewoman Hoda Salam holds up an ink-stained finger after casting her vote in the country's provincial elections in Baghdad.)
They did so with their own administrative apparatus leading the way. They did so with their security personnel leading protective services; both of which are testaments to the hard work and sacrifice of our troops.

For now, the people of Iraq have a hopeful future. They have done what so many around the world and so very many in this country said could not be done. While Harry Reid was telling the world that the war was lost, and by default so was Iraq’s future, they were doing the hard work necessary for real change. They have proven that a Middle Eastern, Islamic nation could actually function as a democracy.

They broke free from the shackles of radical fundamentalists. They learned to cooperate and work together at local and eventually higher and higher levels. Though all may not yet be fully invested in others outside their sect, they are at least functionally tolerant of one another. They have learned to work together at all levels to make real change.

While here at home, we got the same old thing with a lot of fancy words. I’m beginning to think that the only qualification for President is excellent reviews in the local Toastmasters club.

The Democrats in the House unleashed 8 years of pent up spending frustration on the American people with over a trillion dollar “stimulus” bill written behind closed doors by three of the most liberal members of Congress, ever. Believing that government spending is the answer to the worlds woes, is not change, it’s the liberal status quo.

Barack Obama endorsed the bill, went to the Hill, and tried to strong-arm House Republicans into voting for a bill they had no input on and contained very little they could believe in. Republicans walked away with the bi-partisan vote, but lost to a partisan group of Democrats, and in so doing were chastised for being the partisans. This obtuse perspective on reality by liberals and their cohorts in the national media is not change.

Obama, when confronted before the vote by Republicans who objected to the bill and demanded he fulfill a campaign promise to be inclusive, responded that it would be done his way, “he won.” That’s not change. In fact, it’s exactly what the Dems complained Bush did. The status quo has been maintained.

Not until now, after being confronted by Senators in his own party (led by a Nebraskan) and others who followed suit is he reconsidering his position.

Barack Obama has not filled his administration with those who inspire change. Many are Clinton-era retreads. One tax cheat has been approved and Obama’s trying to push a second one through.

His attorney general is weak on national security, a solid advocate for terrorist’s rights, but stands for denying citizens the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms; typical for a liberal administration.

If that weren’t same old same old enough, Obama campaigned vigorously against lobbyists, created a rule to ban lobbyists from his administration, and in nearly the same breath broke his own rule to bring two lobbyists into his administration. That’s change?

In the middle of November I predicted the military’s budget would be in danger with a liberal Congress and administration. I was right. This week Obama told the Pentagon chiefs to cut their budget by 10% for 2010. That weak national security position is normal for the left and certainly isn’t a change we can believe in while we’re trying to fight a war.

Obama’s rhetoric does not match his actions, and his actions do not reflect any change to American politics.

While the Iraqi people have shown the world the paradigm shift and the hard work necessary to implement real change, Obama and friends have shown us what a dusty old play book looks like.