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Archive for the ‘Spending’ 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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Back in October, 2008, I printed this blog opining about how far left Obama was, that he was even left of a self-described Socialist and that it didn’t take too much research into his radical Chicago neighborhood to reckon “Primary Obama” was the truth and “General Election Obama” was the lie.

Now that he has spent more money than anyone in human history (even more than the Soviet and Chinese Communists), now that his war on free markets (capitalism) has sent investors running for the exits (and reduced our net worth by trillions of dolllars) and now that he has decided to spike our energy costs (with Cap & Trade), despite all the pain it will cause in a depressed economy – I can officially declare, unfortunately, I was right, Obama was left – far left. 

In his first 100 days, with millions losing their jobs, Obama still wants to spend much of his time, and hundreds of billions of dollars of our money, attempting to advance his progressive-socialist agenda rather than focus on the financial and housing crisis.  At last night’s press conference the President said, “I think that the last 64 days has been dominated by me trying to figure out how we’re going to fix the economy”. 

Really?  If he’s been working so hard at fixing the economy, why has he only filled one (Secretary Geithner) of the 18 open slots at Treasury that require Senate confirmation?  There is no Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, yet Obama is making tax policy.  There is no Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets – no wonder Obama totally mismanaged the AIG mess.  Why didn’t he clear his calendar in the first week in office and fully staff these Treasury positions to help turn this economy around? 

Even supporters are stunned that, instead of focusing on the economy, Obama has found time to close Gitmo, give $3 billion to ACORN, cut defense spending while troops are still fighting and dying, support a plan to take away a worker’s right to a secret ballot, add millions more to federal health insurance plans, implement an extreme environmental agenda, raise taxes, suspend trials for terrorists, make wounded warriors pay for their combat injuries, fly to California to insult disabled Americans on late night television, research what teams should be in this year’s NCAA college basketball brackets and laugh on 60 Minutes about the bad economy. 

This is reckless and sad – nothing funny about it.    

This is one of those moments where it is useful to see why some of us conservatives were warning America about Obama back when America still had a chance to chose a different path.  Contrary to the popular Democratic/Media narrative at the time, we were not alarmists – conservatives were dead-on accurate, and deserve the credibility that comes with being dead-on accurate. 

Here’s what I said back in October, 2008 about how far left Obama was and why:  

More Liberal Than A Socialist

Many people have heard that the National Journal rated Barack Obama the Most Liberal Senator in 2007.   Obama’s could have picked anyone to be his running mate, and he chose Senator Joe Biden – the 3rd most liberal.

What you may not know is that one of my Vermont Senators, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was rated 5th most liberal and is a self-described Socialist. 

That makes Obama left of a Socialist.

Before you tune me out because I used the “S” word, do a little research.  Invest a little bit of time learning about:

  • Saul Alinsky – the father of community organizing.  Clinton wrote her senior thesis about Alinsky.  Obama learned Alinsky’s methods so well that he taught them to others.
  • Weather Underground – radical group known for bombing the Pentagon, the NY Police HQ and the Capitol.  Co-founded by Bill Ayers.  
  • Bill Ayers – co-founder of Weather Underground who hosted a party to launch Obama’s political career in his living room.  
  • Bernardine Dohrn – Bill Ayers’ wife, convicted for Weather Underground activities, unrepentant in her support for Marxism-Leninism, now an adjunct professor of law @ Northwestern.  
  • Black Panther Party – Ayers and the Weather Underground declared war on the U.S. Government after the death of a Panther Fred Hampton.
  • Haymarket Riot – An event that seemed to have started it all. 
  • Rashid Khalidi – former PLO spokesman & Obama family friend.
  • Tony Rezco – a huge Obama fundraiser convicted of fraud and bribery.
  • ACORN – The nation’s largest radical organization and Chicago ACORN it’s most radical chapter.   They played a big part in pushing sub-prime loans that crippled our financial system and committing voter fraud in several states. 

Just Obama’s ties to ACORN should disqualify him from running for office.  Add in all the rest and the prospect of an Obama Presidency is truly frightening.

I have no doubt in my mind that Obama is a socialist and, with a little education, you will know that too.

Maybe you’re OK with that.  I’m not.

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This week the Senate finally approved the $410 Billion Omnibus Spending bill, chock full of 9000 earmarks that Obama opposed during the campaign but signed into law anyway secretly, behind closed doors. 

It’s a brazen fiscal looting of our treasury, and our children’s treasury. 

I hesitate to use language like looting, but doesn’t this feel like that?  Despite widespread opposition (calls against the stimulus bill were reported to be 90 to 1), with no press coverage allowed, Obama signed an omnibus spending bill with 9000 pet pork projects that, combined with the stimulus bill, will represent an 80 percent spending increase in discretionary spending, from $378 billion to $680 billion.   In other words, in private, against our will, he took all our money – sounds like looting to me.

Obama’s not the only two-faced actor in this ugly drama.  Here’s what Shailagh Murray at the Washington Post had to say early this morning, 

The bill represents a bonanza for federal agencies that felt a budget squeeze for much of President George W. Bush’s two terms.

Wow – that’s got to be a world record for revisionist history.  Wasn’t it just last week that Democrats, including Obama, were blasting the GOP for having the nerve to criticize Obama’s socialist spending spree when they were so “irresponsible” during the Bush years?  Now the media is trying to float the idea federal agencies were “squeezed” during the Bush years and now receive proper nourishment at Obama’s fat teat (that we paid for). 

Hogwash!

Honestly, how stupid do they think we are?  At this point, I’d like to apply the old cliché that “they can’t have it both ways” but they’re actually making a pretty good living having it both ways. 

Obama and the newscrats (those in the news media that propogate the views of Democrats, especially those of new progressive-socialists like Obama, Sanders, Frank, Soros, etc…) want us to feel they’re not bad for spending too much because Bush also spent too much.  Now they want us to feel they’re good for spending too much because Bush starved our withering federal agencies.

The ugly truth is the Democrats were very bad then for forcing Bush to spend too much and very bad now for spending way too much themselves. 

Yes, Bush came advertised as a “compassionate conservative” and would probably have spent more than other GOP Presidents, but Bush had to compromise with Democrats, more than other GOP Presidents, because Democrats would not support the War on Terror (in Iraq, Afghanistan and domestically) otherwise.  Bush could not compromise on measures to keep America safe so the Democrat’s cooperation had to be bought year after year with compromises on spending. 

This is true even though Democrats were in the minority during Bush’s first 6 years because they held more than enough seats to filibuster or block any legislation they did not want.  How many times did you hear loud public opposition from Congressional Democrats to a Bush War-on-Terror proposal only to see the measure pass with bi-partisan support?  Ever wonder why, if Democrats could have blocked it?

I believe they knew Bush was right on War-on-Terror issues but feigned opposition to appeal to their base and win concessions on other Democratic priorities like growing the size of government. Remember – these were the years when Move-on.org, building on their success in 2004, began to intimidate Democratic lawmakers to pass their progressive agenda that included stopping the war and growing the size of government. 

According to the Heritage Foundation:

From 2001 through 2008, domestic programs grew 23 percent faster than inflation, due in part to large increases for education (35 percent), health research (37 percent), and veterans’ benefits (54 percent).

Hardly the “budget squeeze” Ms. Murray at the Post described.  What’s even worse?  Dodd & Frank, armed with the filibuster bat, prevented reforms, by Bush and McCain, of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, resulting in the “worst financial crisis since the Great Depression”.   Thanks Democrats!  

Now, in the latest of cruel ironies, Obama and the Democrats will again rape the federal treasury and, remarkably, at the same time, blame Bush for starving a federal government that ate very well during the last eight years because the Democrats made a Faustian trade with Bush – a sort of pork-for-peace extortion. 

Extortion, now looting.  I’m afraid to ask what’s next.

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Barack Obama loves to say the financial crisis is the “final verdict” on “eight years of failed Bush policies”.

Which Bush policies hurt the economy?

Since O’Reilly had only a half hour with Obama and the rest of the media has given him a pass, we still don’t have the details about what Obama meant by that sound-bite.  I think Obama’s a closet socialist so he may think Bush didn’t grow government enough.  However, Senator McCaskill assures us Obama will “camp in the middle”, so perhaps Obama just disagreed with Bush about priorities. 

To keep things simple, I’ll just take a guess which five areas the public might think of when they hear the phase, “eight years of failed Bush policies.”

Tax cuts?  Often, Democrats blame the Bush tax cuts for the booming deficit.  Problem is tax receipts are much higher since the tax cuts passed.  Let me repeat – tax revenue is higher.  The Bush tax cuts worked so well to stimulate the economy that the U.S. economy has kept growing despite the worst terrorist attack (9/11) and natural disaster (Katrina) in U.S. history and two long wars.  So, there’s no evidence the tax cuts hurt the economy – to the contrary, they helped a great deal, which is why McCain wants to keep taxes low and offer some additional cuts.

Foreign Trade?  Nope.  Exports, including U.S. manufactured goods are way up under Bush.  If anything, Obama’s more protectionist, pro-labor policies would have hurt the economy.

Spending?  Yes, Bush has spent a lot to pay for 9/11, to increase security, to restore Clinton cuts in military spending, to help the Gulf Coast after Katrina, Ike, etc… and to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In addition, Bush has increased spending on programs like the one to to help ex-convicts integrate back into society.  It’s true that Bush has allowed a lot of pork spending, but often that was necessary to secure votes to fund national security programs, and wars, that have kept us safe.  Sadly, Democrats would have withheld their support otherwise.  In any event, if too much spending is the problem, Obama will make things worse.  If you think Bush did not spend enough – you should probably go to bed without a cookie.  Bad Socialist – no cookie.

Iraq?  One thing Democrats say is not a priority is the Iraq War.  Set aside the fact that the Iraq war cost less than 5% of the total budget, much lower than other important wars.   Also set aside the fact that the World is much better off with a Democracy in place of Saddam (see Joe’s Right About Iraq War).   How can Democrats complain about the cost of the Iraq war when they voted for it?  Obama often says he’ll save $10 billion / month by pulling troops out of Iraq.  How is that possible when he says he’ll increase troops in Afghanistan?  And if Obama pulls out of Iraq too early, odds are that the problems that follow will require us to come back at a higher cost (in blood and treasure) than if we just stayed and finished the job right (McCain’s plan). 

De-regulation?  This fits the Obama narrative that de-regulation caused the credit crisis.  I agree that regulations need to be updated to adequately monitor some of the new exotic Wall Street products but blaming deregulation is like blaming the police for property damage after the Detroit Pistons won their first national championship.  Would there have been less damage if there were more police?  Of course.  However, the real culprits are the criminal jerks who celebrate championships by lighting cars on fire.  The criminal jerks in this case are Chris Dodd, Barney Frank & Hank Paulson and Democrats in general.

I don’t need need to wait for history’s judgement – I can think this through myself.  Obama’s claims that our current economic problems are Bush’s fault says more about Obama’s desire to manipulate you than about Bush.  Contrast that with McCain’s readiness to admit where Republicans have failed.  Obama says a lot of things that don’t stand up under scrutiny.

Someone who doesn’t back up what they say, probably can’t.

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I heard Glenn Beck disparage McCain this morning, again, understandably, and thought I’d let him know I’ve had a change of heart in the last couple weeks.

Here’s my email:

Glenn,

I heard you say this morning that McCain may not be much better than Barack. I understand your anger and disgust about McCain. I’m a big Romney supporter (see vermonters4mitt.WordPress.com) and saw how McCain sucker punched Romney down in Florida to win that primary and the nomination. I was mad as anybody.

However, we’re in the general now and the choice is no longer between McCain and Romney (the best presidential candidate in 20 years), the choice is between McCain and Obama (the worst candidate in 20 yrs – imagine Jimmy Carter with Soros funding).

So the choice is:

McCain vs. Obama

  • A war vet vs. a community organizer
  • Winning in Iraq vs. pulling out in defeat (meaning our soldiers died in vain).
  • Offshore drilling to lower gas prices & save our economy vs. hoping alternatives work out someday and destroying the economy to “teach us to conserve more”.
  • A Supreme Court that affirms the right to bear arms vs. a court that bans handguns.
  • A President that will keep radio waves free vs. a President that will usher in the “Fairness Doctrine”
  • A President with 50 years of Navy/Congress experience to draw on in an international crisis vs. a President with 4 years of Congressional experience – 2 years spent campaigning for President.
  • A President that has never asked for earmarks and will never sign a bill with earmarks vs. a President that will use the earmark process for four years to make the country “more fair”.
  • A direct refundable tax credit – effectively cash – of $5,000 for truly portable health insurance vs. a “new public plan” that will offer coverage to all 47 million uninsured, including 12 million illegals.

Still think there’s little difference?

Just last weekend, I decided to follow Mitt’s lead and start supporting McCain overtly. I thought I would feel dirty but it feels good. I’m in the game. I’ve taken a side.

We’re never given a perfect or even a good choice for President. The point is it’s a choice between two people not a choice between a perfect option and an imperfect one.

In 2008, the choice is between a very flawed war hero named McCain against a very liberal Soros-backed empty-suit named Obama.

I’m choosing McCain.

Join me. It’ll be fun.

Thanks…Matt

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Contrary to popular belief, a bad economy can be an advantage for Senator McCain – it depends on how he handles it.  Just because the GOP has the White House during an economic downturn, doesn’t necessarily mean the country will replace them with Democrats. 

Three things can happen after November – economy gets better, stays the same, or gets worse.  Putting Dems in the White House could make the economy worse – in fact, if history is any guide – that’s likely.    Since McCain is self-described economic light weight – he needs some help.

Here are three steps to help McCain address the economy – the number one issue for most Americans:

1) Announce (early) Mitt Romney will be his Vice-President.  Romney is a private sector superstar that fills a huge gap in McCain’s otherwise strong resume. Romney’s excellent at promoting free market solutions to effectively counter the populist rhetoric of Obama/Clinton.   He’s also great at explaining why doing nothing (letting markets sort things out) is usually best.  Make no mistake, both Democrats seek to turn this country left and back to the bad old days of socialism and progressivism.  We need a strong defender of capitalism on the ticket – nobody better than Mitt Romney.

2) Working with Romney, McCain should draft a major economy speech that educates voters about the successes of capitalism and how markets work best unfettered. For example, he can highlight how many hundreds of millions of people from India and China have moved from poverty to middle class and how that helps our economy (exports). He could talk about how liberal government policies and unions have crippled Detroit and Michigan hinting if you want America to follow the same course – elect Obama/Clinton. 

3) The knockout blow would be to debunk the myth that America can trust Democrats with the economy because of the great Clinton economy of the 1990s. The fact is the booming economy of the 1990s began with a recovery in March 1991 – 20 months before Clinton took office in January 1993. (See the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis @ bea.gov).   In addition, the Clinton budget surpluses that Hillary’s so proud of were a direct result of the fiscal discipline of the historic 1994 Republicans and their Contract with America. 

McCain should help Americans understand that an Obama-Clinton economy would look more like Jimmy Carter’s economy than Bill Clinton’s economy. In 1976, like 2008, a Democrat became President (Carter) with a struggling economy and a Democratic Congress. That combination (Dem President & Dem Congress) made a bad situation worse. Do we want to repeat history and be worse off in four years? 

Now that’s some straight talk!

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This afternoon, I heard a person on the radio ask listeners to name specific things that Governor Romney will do as President. 

                 mitt_romney2002_450

Here you go:

  1. End illegal immigration by closing border, enforcing the law and denying illegal immigrants already here U.S. citizenship.
  2. Increase defense spending to 4% of GDP & add 100,000 troops
  3. Limit non-defense spending increases to inflation minus 1%
  4. Migrate our citizens from employer & government provided health plans to private insurance – no more “free rides”
  5. Propose new, tougher penalties for those who use the Internet to sexually assault children – “One-Strike And You’re Ours”.
  6. Reform government to improve results and eliminate waste using skills learned turning around hundreds of companies.
  7. Eliminate all taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains for anyone with Adjusted Gross Income under $200,000.
  8. Institute federal caps on non-economic/punitive damages to eliminate frivolous lawsuits & end defensive medicine.
  9. Repeal McCain-Feingold legislation-it restricts 1st Amendment rights & enact reforms that promote transparency.
  10. Negotiate trade deals with China and India guided by a deep understanding of how to succeed in the new global economy.

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