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Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

We’ve been begging our leaders for specifics on what to do to make a difference. Glenn Beck’s events (Restoring Honor, Courage & Love) represent a huge step towards getting our heads & hearts straight about the morality of our cause.  Others have also made contributions, but Levin’s proposal, The Liberty Amendments, deserves specific recognition – it is the first path to restore our founding ideals, based on the Constitution itself, that we can all contribute to, that has a realistic chance– if we pledge “our lives, our Fortunes, & our sacred Honor” to the success of the Liberty Amendments.

Our kids and our country deserve no less.

It will be a difficult climb but I believe the country is ready for a tangible solution to the threats our country faces. Make no mistake; we’re in a race against time and a ruthless progressive cancer. With a $17 trillion national debt, and $60 trillion more in unfunded liabilities, cities like Detroit going bankrupt and states like California threatening, we must right the American ship as soon as possible. Once a financial crisis occurs, it may be impossible to counter calls for a more powerful central government – especially if people go hungry or start blaming the usual suspects (capitalism, tea partiers, etc.)

One last comment before I summarize my ideas for the first five amendments. I believe it’s important for the leaders of our movement – we all have a different list, but mine would include, in addition to Levin, among others, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Yaron Brook, Sen. Rand Paul (and his father Ron), Sen. Ted Cruz (& his father Rafael), Sen. Mike Lee, Mia Love , Rev C. L. Bryant, Walt Williams and 2008 GOP VP nominee Gov. Sarah Palin.

Everybody has different ways of contributing to the cause of freedom. I hope that all of them discuss Levin’s book, advance the idea and help pass the Liberty Amendments. Sometimes silos are created where no one wants to promote what their “competition” is doing – that must not happen.  I would encourage all of them to be generous with their comments and their air & face time.  However, so far, I haven’t heard one word of the idea, or Levin’s upcoming book, from these folks – perhaps they’re waiting for the book?

As you can see from this post, I think it’s a mistake to wait. In fact, Levin’s idea motivated me to start blogging again for the first time in years.  It will be my 100th post, with over 26,580 visitors, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate #100.  Not only is it fun to see if my ideas for reform match up with Levin’s, but until his book comes out on August 13, I hope and pray my ideas will encourage others to come up with their own – can there be too much engagement in the cause of freedom? Of course, Levin’s specific amendments will be very important, but just his idea has lit the torch – by urging us to look within the Constitution itself for how to repair our Constitutional Republic.

Everyone has ideas – my first five are listed below and I’ll follow-up with more details on each one – but the main thing is to jump in and start, time’s not on our side.

The Liberty Amendments – My First Five

1. Voter Campaign Finance (VCF)

  • Limit campaign contributions to those who are registered voters that can vote for the candidate. For example, I live in VA 5th Congressional District – Robert Hurt’s my congressman. If he ran for House, under this Amendment, he could only receive campaign contributions from registered 5th district voters (easily checked against existing voter rolls) – no unions, corporations, out-of-district fat cats, PACs, etc. If you don’t have a legal right to vote in 5th district, you can’t influence the 5th District election.

2. Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA)

  • Cut Cap & Balance (HR 2560) was a great idea that died in the corrupt halls of Harry Reid’s U.S Senate – but just barely (51Ds-46Rs) – a real life example of the wisdom of Levin’s idea – Congress will not reform itself, we must go around Congress. My twist on Cut Cap & Balance is this: Limit federal revenues to 18% GDP, spending to 17% GDP limit and the remaining 1% for debt relief and, after that, an “Emergency Fund”.
  • In case of war, Congress can authorize spending to exceed 18% only if two-thirds of Congress approves. The 1% of GDP (of the 18% collected for revenues) would go to pay down the national debt (about $16 Billion/yr at current GDP) and, once debt free (woohoo!!), use the 1% for an Emergency Fund – to pay for declared wars and disasters but only if two-thirds approve “withdrawals” – restoring Congress’ power to limit wars with their Constitutional funding power.

3. Term Limits

  • This has been around for a while but my version would limit service in Congress to just 12 years total. This could be three House terms (3×2=6) followed by a Senate term (1×6) or two Senate terms (2×6=12) or other combinations. The main idea is to not allow folks to make a career out of DC politics while allowing them enough time to be effective.

4. Law Limits

  • Obamacare was over 2700 pages long. The recent immigration bill was 1200 pages. Neither of these very devastating bills, that affect all of U.S., has been read by their supporters or detractors – that’s not a democracy, that’s a marketing campaign. Just vote on one or two issues at a time. I don’t know a specific # – others can work that out – but perhaps < 10 pages.

5. Pardon Accountability

  • Require Presidents to prioritize pardons (100 or less) and announce their last pardons at least 90 days before general election. Although an outgoing POTUS can’t be held accountable, voters can hold parties accountable. I predict the outrages from Obama’s pardons – both the # and who – will force this Amendment to top of list.

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At the risk of stating the obvious…

Obama had a thin resume, an even thinner voting record and shifting campaign positions.  Therefore, he has no mandate!

Remember how many positions Obama changed relative to his promises in the Democratic Primary?  In this Sept. 4 O’Reilly interview of Obama, Obama actually modifies his capital gains tax rate, during the interview, because of the give and take between O’Reilly and Obama.  During a famous exchange with Charles Gibson in a Hillary debate, Obama proposed doubling the cap gains rate to 28%.  O’Reilly suggests keeping it at 15%.  Obama eventually commits to O’Reilly to limit the rate to 20%.  Remarkable.

This is why people struggle to tell reporters what he has done and what he will do.  If people can’t say why they’re voting for Obama, then he has no mandate. 

To achieve a mandate you must take the risk of defining your agenda clearly before an election and if you win decisively, you’re given the reward of a mandate.  A great example is the 1994 Republicans and the Contract with America.  Their positions and agenda were clearly defined, they won decisively (first GOP Congress in 40 years) so they took office in January 1995 with a strong mandate.

Obama has no mandate because a) he never defined clearly his agenda (90% soaring rhetoric) and b) he did not win decisively.  In fact, given a level playing field (fair media, equal dollars, no ACORN), McCain-Palin would have won.

That says the media finally succeeded in getting their candidate elected, not that Americans chose Obama’s agenda. 

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Hey Stupid Media Folks!

It’s not that we don’t think the crisis is real, or we need a better explanation – what we need is accountability.  It’s like handing your car keys to your teenager right after he asks you to pay his $200 speeding ticket – responsible parents keep the keys and make the kid pay the ticket.

We don’t trust folks who caused the problem to fix the problem.

Here’s a plan America will support:

  1. Dodd, Frank & Paulson Must Resign – These three Democrats have betrayed the public’s trust, with historic results, and need to go now.  Their resignations will say loud and clear:  corruption in Washington caused the problem, not free markets.   
  2. 5 year phase-out of gov’t-sponsored sub-prime loans -the “toxic paper” that crippled our credit markets. 
  3. Suspend the mark-to-market rule – this will repair distressed bank balance sheets overnight (see below).
  4. 5 year suspension of cap gains tax – this will flood US financial markets with new capital and not penalize folks who invest in America when we need it most.
  5. Life the Ban on Offshore Drilling – this single act will lower structural costs for families and businesses across the country and around the world and grow the economy.

These five steps can be done quickly and will help restore confidence in our government and our markets.

As Frank Luntz said on Fox last night, during natural disasters, voters want action, during economic crisis, voters want accountability.   If this is “the worst crisis since the Great Depression”, why hasn’t anyone paid a price for causing it?  Yes, there was greed on Wall Street to market these exotic products based on “toxic paper”, but there’s been greed on Wall Street for three hundred years.

The reason we’re in a crisis now is because Democrats in Congress, under Bill Clinton’s leadership, and with Barack Obama’s help at ACORN in Chicago, quintupled sub-prime lending, from $200 billion to over $1 trillion during the 1990s.  Democrats (Dodd, Frank) created the toxic paper in the first place and (Obama, Biden) fiercely protected it in 2005 when Bush and McCain tried to enact reforms that would have prevented this crisis.

Here’s McCain’s prescient warning on May 25, 2006:

If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

Ideally, it would be great if McCain rallied Americans to support a plan like this.  Congress will follow us – not the other way around.

If Democrats start to resist lifting the ban on drilling, remove it at their request from the overall rescue plan and pass the other four points.  Then we can debate Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less with Democrats out on the campaign trail.

After a week, we can see how the market has responded to these changes and take further steps if needed, but I believe this is all free markets need to heal themselves.

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At the 2008 GOP Convention, you eloquently challenged all of us to stand up:

Fight for what’s right for our country.
Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.
Fight for our children’s future.
…stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

I’m asking you to stand up for free people and free markets.

I listened to the speeches on the House floor in support of and against the Paulson plan.  It is clear that more than just $700 billion of taxpayer money is at stake.  One after another, Democrats rose to speak about the failure of the free markets, about the failure of the Bush-McCain ideology.  Which ideology?  The conservative ideology that advocates free people and free markets. 

Free Markets are on trial and they’re losing badly.

You, and Sarah, need to stand up for freedom and set the record straight.  This is not a failure of free markets, it’s a failure of government intervention into free markets.  In 1993-97, Clinton intervened by forcing banks to step up lending to borrowers that could not afford a loan or even provide financial information.  Under Clinton, sub-prime loans increased five-fold, from $200 billion to over $1 trillion, and that “toxic paper” has finally come home to roost.

Priority One – call for Dodd & Frank to resign immediately.

America is against this bill because it does not stop the underlying problem nor does it hold accountable Members of Congress that rejected reform of sub-prime loans.  In fact, it puts the fox in charge of the hen house.

Here’s a four-step bill America will vote for:

  1. Resignations of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank – Democratic leaders of the Senate and House Banking Committees
  2. 5 year phase-out of government-sponsored sub-prime loans – all CRA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac loans.
  3. Suspend the Mark-to-Market rule – this will repair bank balance sheets overnight.
  4. 5 year suspension of cap gains tax – this will flood US financial markets with new capital.

These four steps can be done quickly and will help restore confidence in our government and our markets.

Obviously, as Romney said many times, Washington is broken and badly needs reform.  What a difference a McCain-Palin Administration would be from the current administration or Obama-Biden.  Far from the “Change we need”, Obama-Biden will be more of the same creeping socialism that has infected Washington and our financial markets. 

Bush’s effort in 2005 to reform the GSE might have helped us avoid this mess, but there were enough Democrats, including Obama, Dodd and Frank, to prevent much needed reform.  Had more Republicans been in office, those reforms would have passed and this crisis may have been avoided.  In other words…

Who we send to Washington matters.

It is completely unacceptable that the same Democratic leaders that injected toxic sub-prime loans into our financial markets can oversee any new scheme.  The resignations of Dodd & Frank is the first step to earn some trust from the American people.  Frankly, Americans need to see Congress feel some of the pain the rest of us are feeling.

Senator McCain, stand up and lead a rescue plan Americans will support – Congress will follow.

Obama may believe in leadership-by-phone but we need a your leadership badly – to step into the arena, go to the Senate floor and make your case. 

As the great Patrick Henry once said, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

We need more freedom, not less. 

Thanks…Matt

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Last Friday, as usual, I was listening to Glenn Beck on the radio. I’m a big fan of Glenn Beck, but on Friday, I was getting more and more angry with every minute.   I provide the transcript below but first, a little background.

Glenn Beck had yet to make up his mind about supporting McCain.  Perhaps he wanted to preserve some claim of journalist objectivity but it just seemed like he really, really didn’t like McCain.  I understood completely – McCain’s poked conservatives in the eye so many times, we winced at the mention of his name.

However, at some point, after the primaries are over, and the contrasts are drawn between the GOP nominee and the Democratic nominee, angst about our nominee usually gives way to support.  U.S. Presidential elections are rarely, if ever, between your ideal conservative and the Democratic nominee.

Most elections are a choice between two flawed candidates that will steer the country left (Democrat / more liberal / more socialism) or right (GOP / more conservative / more capitalism).  Given the failures of the socialist model, it’s surprising Democrats win anything.

During elections, the GOP has direct access to the folks through campaign ads, the GOP convention and the debates.  However, between elections, Democrats gain the upper hand because many Americans get their information from news media that spin the news to make Dems look good (or not as bad) and Republicans look just plain bad.  

That’s why it’s so important to have objective news sources and conservative talk radio.   Glenn Beck is one of those rare combinations of both.  He’s conservative but, if you spend ten minutes listening to him – he’s extremely fair.  He has no problem slamming Republicans if they’re screwing up. In fact, he does it all the time!

In the 2008 election, if the liberal news media were honest, they would admit Barack Obama’s background scares most Americans (successful graduate of the Chicago school of political labor movements, associations with convicted felon Tony Rezco and terrorist Bill Ayers and twenty years in a church hearing “God Dam* America!”). 

Although Obama’s largely succeeded at keeping his idea of “Change” ambiguous, what we do know scares me.  For example, raising taxes in a weak economy will make the economy worse.  It’s not a judgement call – it’s economic science.  Raising taxes on businesses will hurt all Americans who shop at, or work for, a business.  

When faced with the energy crisis and a huge rise in oil prices, the Obama-led Democrats took a 5-week paid vacation.  The high price of gas and everything else is hurting most Americans.

Except Members of Congress, who make $14,000 per month.

Obama will not admit the surge has worked – it’s obvious it has worked and for a future commander-in-chief to not admit he’s wrong reminds many of Bush’s reluctance to admit his initial Iraq strategy was not working. Obama still thinks premature withdrawal would have been better. Americans don’t want a President, of either party, who can’t admit when their wrong.

On Friday, Glenn spent a good part of the morning agonizing about how much John McCain ruined the “orgasmic high” Sarah Palin had provided with the “conservative porn” in her Thursday RNC speech.

Knowing how bad an Obama presidency would be, and what a breath of fresh air Sarah Palin is, I was stunned that Glenn Beck was still on the fence.

Angry and determined, I called in to vent:

GLENN: Let me go to Matt in Vermont…hello Matt!

MATT: Hey Glenn, how ya doing?

GLENN: Good, man, how are you?

MATT: I’m stunned. I’m a big fan but…

After hearing how different McCain and Obama handled the Russian invasion of Georgia…

And what Obama supporters said about Sarah Palin…

After all we know about Obama’s Marxist past…

After all you know about Sarah Palin…

I can’t believe you’re still undecided about whether to support McCain-Palin!

McCain brought Sarah Palin to national politics…to his credit…

GLENN: Why do you have to call it McCain-Palin?

Just call it McCain.

MATT: What?

GLENN: Why do you have to call it McCain-Palin?

Cause then it makes me…

MATT: That’s the ticket! He brought her there!

He put the Sarah card on the table and you’re not going to pick it up!!!???

I just don’t get that….that’s uh…

GLENN: I understand..

MATT: I just don’t understand that’s like uh..

GLENN: No. Go ahead. I thought you were going to say that’s stupid

MATT: You know the saying “Perfect is the enemy of the good”?

GLENN: What did you say?

MATT: You know the saying “Perfect is the enemy of the good”?

GLENN: I’m not looking for perrrfecttt. I’m not looking for perfect.

I’m just looking for someone who, in their speech last night, doesn’t say things like, “Hey, if you lose your job and your get a lower paying job, we’re going to make up the difference for a while.”

That’s what I’m looking for, I’m looking for somebody who doesn’t say that.

MATT: (unaired) You don’t have the option of choosing…

(aired) the perfect candidate. It’s who’s the best candidate between the two teams?

GLENN: Grrrrrrr!

MATT: Are you really going to choose Barr and say no thanks to Sarah Palin?

GLENN: No! No. No.

MATT: (Not aired) Because voting for Barr has the same effect as…

(Aired) voting for Obama.

GLENN: I just can’t bring myself to say it right now…I just can’t bring myself to say it yet…

(frustrated) Ugh.. I’m sure I’m going to vote for McCain-PALIN! I’m sure I’m going to do it.

(end of call)

SUCCESS !! Finally!

That is the first time I’ve heard Glenn Beck say he’d support McCain-Palin. Or, McCain-PALIN, as he says.  Thanks for joining the cause Glenn!

As Mac said the other night, “Change is coming!”

I’m thrilled.

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Everyone knows the price of gas has skyrocketed over the last year, raising the price of everything that depends on gas which is, well, everything.

The pain is already widespread and will only get worse.

Higher transportation costs mean all products cost more, not just fuel. Higher prices cause demand to fall, meaning fewer sales and fewer jobs for Americans. The U.S. is already facing high deficits – lower sales mean even lower tax revenues and even higher deficits.

Worst of all, many Americans will be slammed this winter by higher fuel costs like never before. So, we now know that high gas prices mean higher food prices, higher prices overall, less tax revenue, more job layoffs, less income and much higher bills for most Americans.

So, what are Members of Congress doing to lower gas prices?

Peter Welch (D-VT) sponsored H.R. 6022 to stop adding to our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  Per Welch, “taking 70,000 barrels of oil off the market each day”, “could reduce gas prices 5 to 24 cents per gallon”.

Lifting the ban on drilling may yield 2 million barrels per day. Using Welch’s math, 2 million more barrels per day will lower gas prices at least $1.40 per gallon, maybe much more.  Imagine, if Welch’s math is right, lifting the ban may cut gas prices in half!

In an early test of Obama’s leadership in a crisis, Democrats took a 5-week paid vacation!

Huh?? They say a “comprehensive” bill is needed – it’s not! Just lift the ban and work on a long-term energy bill after the election, with the new President.

In the meantime, LIFT THE BAN!

Two million barrels a day means $106 billion a year that doesn’t go overseas, creates millions of new jobs, reduces the trade deficit and increases tax revenues – a win-win-win.

This single act, lifting the ban, may save the great American economy from recession!

Perhaps Democrats are preventing a vote to help Obama get elected? Like Clinton in ‘92, more people will vote for “Change” in a struggling economy, but we can’t wait.  The U.S. economy is too important.

Last year, we produced $13 trillion of goods and services – more than Japan, Germany, China & the U.K. combined! We create most of the world’s food, medicines, software, aircraft, etc. In fact, cheap energy has enabled us to manufacture almost twice as much as China – 70% more goods now than 1992.

Our economy creates lots of wealth, a chunk of which is donated to feed and clothe the world’s poor.

In addition, we’re extremely energy efficient. We can now manufacture goods using 74% less energy than it took in 1972.  In other words, Mr. Obama, we already conserve, have been for years, we just call it being “efficient” and we do it to save our companies and our families money.

Of course, if Democrats never allow a vote on drilling, the great American economy will grind to a halt, threatening everything we contribute to the world.

Imagine that – people all over the world will be hurt because Democrats in the Congress chose to “cling” to their extreme environmentalism rather than help real live people in need.

Where I live, in Vermont, 30 days a year are sub-zero (no global warming here :-).   Fuel to heat our homes will be twice what it was last winter.

It’s going to be very bad for Americans in northern states this winter – except for Members of Congress, who we pay $169,300 per year, or $14,000 per month – they should be just fine.

However, a Congressional salary of $14,000 a month, adjusted for any inflation caused by higher gas prices, will make this winter, and future winters, painless.

Too bad; maybe if they “felt some of our pain”, they’d lift the ban.

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