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Saturday, December 11, 2010
Stop with the Class or Results Envy
Editorial by Leanne Hoagland-Smith: Today I have had it! No really have had it with class envy, class warfare, wealth envy or what I really believe is results envy. Who cares what someone makes or does not make? It isn't any of my business as long as their behaviors are legal according to the law. If they gain results through illegal means then there exists a process for that to be reconciled.
The recent talk about the extension of the Bush tax cuts which have been around for 10 years and truly are no longer cuts has my head spinning. What I cannot believe is how many people believe they deserve the efforts of others regardless of how they spin it.
Sure there are people who amass great amount of wealth compared to others who have not. For the most part, they saw opportunities where others did not see them. They took risks while others were sitting on the sidelines waiting for a moment of luck or confirmation that all would be great!
Over 2,000 years ago a Roman Senator by the name of Seneca said: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Why should I care if they pass that wealth onto whomever they delegate? Their wealth has been taxed at least once if not twice. And more importantly why should the government take even more of what they had already taxed? This does not make sense expect for those who continue to fuel the fires of wealth redistribution so that we are no longer a society where meritocracy is valued. Just look to the removal of valedictorian, salutatorian or even dodge ball if you disagree.
Today over in my Facebook page I shared a comment by Vince Lombardi who said: "If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?"
His comment is a fair and accurate assessment of the human desire to win. Yet one person complained about the multi-million dollar paychecks. Possibly in some cases they are not deserved because they violated the law. If they did and were not prosecuted, then that is the fault of the voters who elected them. However in many cases, these folks worked hard, saved their hard earned dollars, made risks, possibly lost those dollars, worked even harder, took more risks and eventually got ahead of the game so to speak.
Life is full of greatness provided you see and are willing to work to achieve it. When anyone starts to focus on what others have done and then expect those who worked or benefited from the past results of others such as in inherited wealth, then this devalues the human condition.
For those who are of Jewish or Christian beliefs, when we envy the results of others we are violating the ninth and tenth commandments of coveting. It is not our place to covet what is not ours. If you want something that bad, then go out and work for it. Do not expect the government to take from those who have worked and give to you because you choose not to work or work as hard as necessary to get what you want.
Maybe the problem is a simple confusion between needs and wants. Even many who are poor in the US live far better than my grandparents lived back in the 1920's to mid 1960's where they still had an outhouse, washed and bathed in saved rain water and cooked on a wood burning stove. My grandmother believed she still had the best life. However by today's standards of not having a cell phone, not having a color plasma TV, not having a washing machine, not having a dishwasher, not having a car (she rode a bike until she died at the age of 84), she lived in abject poverty.
When people start complaining about what others have, I am going to start telling them stop with the class envy, wealth envy and results envy. If you are not happy with what you have, then take action to make your life better through your own results and not through the redistribution of wealth by others. Life is what you make of it. You either have an attitude of abundance and opportunity or scarcity and limitations.
P.S. Life is truly not fair not ever will be given each of us are unique human beings with different genes unless of course you are twins. So get over life being unfair and start making good choices based upon your own individual efforts and not look for others to bail your butt out or provide for your needs which are really wants in disguise. Tags:Leanne Hoagland-Smith, editorial, class envy, wealth envy, results envy, redistribution of wealth, death taxTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Everett Wilkinson and his team at the South Florida Tea Party have put together some good information and the following simple synopsis of the Obama / GOP Tax Deal called "The Good, Bad and Ugly":
Good - Individual Tax Rates Remain the Same
Good - AMT Remain the Same
Good - Capital Gains Rates the Same
Fair - Estate Taxes Go Up For Some ($5 Million Exemption)
Bad - Only Good For Two Years
Bad - Unemployment Benefits Extended
Ugly - $200 Billion in Stimulus Spending
Ugly- Dozens of Earmarks for Special Interests
Obama / GOP Tax Deal:
01 & 03 Bush Tax Cuts $364 billion
AMT Patch $137 billion
Payroll Tax Holiday $112 billion
Estate Tax Change $68 billion
Unemployment Extension $56 billion
Tax Extenders $55 billion
2009 Tax Relief $43 billion
Expensing Provision $22 billion
While we need the tax relief to prevent a recession and giving Washington more of our money, in my mind the deal being cobbled together every day is questionable with its numerous earmark spending programs added by the liberals as their cost for agreeing with "the deal." First, this is not a tax cut, but is in fact a massive tax increase. Second - Heck! the liberals are not buying into anything; they just want to spend more of OUR money even if it runs us into more debt. That is why, I used the picture yesterday of the "Obama Debt Star."
What do you think we should do? The South Florida TEA party has a simple poll to provide feedback on your opinion. I suggest doing so at their site. It gives you the following options to the question: Do you support the "Bush Tax Cut Deal" between Obama & GOP?
No - We don't want any deals - keep the tax rates the same without any "deal" and accept job losses & possible major recession.
No - We can make a better deal between now and January.
No - We can make a better deal with the new Congress in 2011.
Yes - We can't afford to have a tax increase January, we can cut out the PORK in 2011.
Let's wait for a Bill before we pass judgment
Whether you take their poll or not, I would still like your opinion.
I promised to share my opinion. To keep from biasing you in your opinion any more than I may have done, I will post my choice as a comment to this article. Tags:tax deal, Barack Obama, Republicans, Democrats, South Florida Tea Party, pollTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
By Patrick L Booth, Contributing Author: Slavery is properly defined as: The state of one bound in servitude - as the property of a slaveholder or household or a mode of production in which slaves constitute the principal work force. In the simplest terms, slaves have no right whatsoever to claim the fruits of their own labors. Slaves work for someone else who gives them whatever they have, to eat, to wear, to use, to live in, etc. and who keep the profits derived from their labor.
Upon hearing the word slavery, many people, perhaps most, associate it with USA history; the US Civil War and black chattel slavery of those imported into the USA from the 16th through 18th centuries. To many it conjures mental images of black field hands laboring in the South, picking cotton, wearing rags, a bandanna wrapped around their head and white slave owners cracking the whip over the heads and backs of their slaves.
However, ancient history is not the subject of this article. Though illegal in just about every country in the world, chattel slavery most certainly still exists in the world, fortunately no longer here, but there are other forms equally as vile. Making something illegal doesn't make it disappear. Herein I discuss the history and modern meanings of slavery in our time and how it affects us all.
"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." --Thomas Jefferson
If even the source of ones livelihood might be forcibly taken, whether legally or not, is that not a loss of liberty and an enforced form of slavery? Confiscated by due process of law, perhaps, but taken nonetheless. We just don't call it slavery because most everyone has agreed upon this form of governmental subjugation. If you actually think you own your house, etc. then stop paying the taxes assessed upon it and see how long it takes before someone else more willing to pay taxes takes possession of it.
How many farms and homes were lost to governments for non-payment of property taxes? It used to be a common theme for Saturday serial matinees but no more. Now we just get the government (or actual tax payers) to pay for it or lower interest rates through Fannie or Freddie or some other entity.
We invented the use of taxes in various forms for our mutual advantage to fund education and various other governmental services such as law enforcement. Although governments can now forcibly take properties to give to other entities that might pay higher taxes and enhance the revenues available to politicians, true liberty would require each recipient to pay specifically and only for the exact services each entity received or the expenses of their prosecution and incarceration as required.
Our modern "Entitlements" based form of social security and welfare arose because people feared the loss of even their most basic necessities to high taxes, low wages, and the inability of the so-called common man to put aside enough wealth to care for themselves in their old age. Roosevelt called Social Security the Old Folks retirement security fund. Now it is just a part of the vast entitlement and welfare system that affects virtually every facet of life in America. Entitlements exceed 60% of all the monies spent by the Federal Government and our national debt is several times our gross national product every year. Factually, Social Security hasn't taken in as much as it has spent in several years nor has there ever been an actual savings account. The monies derived from SS were simply spent each year by greedy politicians to buy votes from the weak minded and ignorant voters who simply did not know where their monies were going.
There is also the bondage of debt even though much of it is self imposed, for individuals and for nations. Borrowing monies that can never be totally repaid or that must be repaid at usurious interest rates ties individual, even national, effort to the enrichment of others at the expense of relinquishing the fruits of ones' own labors. That is a large reason China is growing precipitously and we are on the decline. They own most of our national debt and we pay them huge sums in the form of interest on that debt.
Of course, our pols cry "We are only indebted to ourselves!" but it isn't true. When the Federal Banking system has to borrow enormous amounts of money each year, they "sell" bonds to back-up that debt and those bonds derive interest. Nor is there the slightest chance we will ever get out of debt so long as we "spend" far more than we take in.
That fact is the principal one the Progressive Socialists who call themselves Democrats want to substantially increase income taxes on everyone in the US. Of course, they say they only want to increase taxes on the "rich" since they have more and should bear a greater amount of the burden imposed on all of us by dishonest socialist politicians. But the top levels of income in the US (those above 1 million annual income - 1 in 6 of our population) already happen to be bearing far more than 1/2 of all the monies taken through income taxes.
What the Austrian school of Economics (and most people not socialist Dems) wants is for the numbers of higher income people to be increased as rapidly as possible so more monies will be generally available. Since lower income people (those who receive the various forms of welfare) pay no income taxes anyway (or vary low percentages), it is easy for the dishonest Dems to say they only want to keep those poor "middleclass" incomes from having to pay higher taxes. The greatest fight is about how to grow those higher income populations.
Today, many people live fragile existences in a struggle for financial survival and their American Dream can be ended by missing just a few paychecks. The carrot at the end of the stick formerly known as "the American dream" has been replaced by a whip best described as our American nightmare. You no longer work just to achieve a better life for yourselves and your children. You work to keep a roof over your head and pray that you don't lose it because of oppressive taxation or bad policies being enforced from Washington. Most Americans are oblivious to the extent of taxation only seeing it happening each April 15. They aren't told by politicians or the media that besides income tax, they are taxed for just about every action they take and item that they buy. Go over a bridge, pay a toll (tax); pay your utility bills, pay surcharges (taxes); buy a product, pay sales tax; buy a vehicle or fuel for a vehicle, pay federal and state taxes. And those taxes are invariably controlled by politicians supporting their favored programs.
Americans willingly become de facto slaves when fear replaces free incentives such as motivations to work for themselves. Our leftist media regurgitates liberal-left talking points generally disguised as news stories about the wealthy living it up while common men and women struggle to feed themselves and their children. The idea is older than Marxism. Create dissatisfaction to the point that people will seek out populist politicians who promise much whether or not they can deliver anything (a chicken in every pot.) Then the Pols ask for even more power for themselves and their puppet masters to cure the very problems they create.
The latest promise of a heaven on earth is Obama's "Hope and Change" medical care plan. Though it is dressed up with flowery language and high-sounding platitudes, it is nothing more than a grand power grab of life-and-death decision-making. A friend asked me rhetorically: Why would Americans turn over their health and welfare - their very lives - to a bunch of crooked politicians who spend most of their time covering up, lying, cajoling and cheating, all in the name of power? How would you answer that?
Why indeed, are Americans so anxious to turn over life-and-death decisions to governments already proven incapable of managing even the smallest of programs? Could it be they prefer enslavement? Is it so much easier than self determination? Is Socialism really preferable to the free market system that once made us the envy of the world, the richest, freest nation in history? May God forbid it.
Although it was once commonly held that slavery was rare among primitive pastoral peoples and that it appeared in full form only with the development of an agricultural economy, there are numerous historical instances that contradict this belief. Domestic slavery and sometimes concubine slavery appeared among nomadic Arabs (who still practice it), among Native Americans who were primarily devoted to hunting, and among the seafaring Vikings to "serve" their farms in their stead. Some ascribe the beginnings of slavery to war and consequent subjection of one group by another.
Slavery as a result of debt, however, is evidenced in very early times with some peoples having had the custom of putting up wives and children as hostages for an obligation; if the obligation was unfulfilled, the hostages became permanent slaves. The Jewish nation arose from just such a servile existence. But the American experiment was to combat that idea and the ideals of individualism and American exceptionalism arose.
In 1863, the first Republican Party President, Abraham Lincoln, signed the historic Emancipation Proclamation, a document which changed the course of history for an entire group of people, an entire nation and an entire culture. It was intended to end the horrors of slavery by making ownership of human beings by other human beings, illegal. It has become a world famous document widely quoted and studied.
Unfortunately, a great many American citizens do not recognize the current revival of slavery as it is a bit more refined and less obvious enslavement. More and more Americans are willing to give up certain freedoms in return for uncertain promises of government largesse not realizing government can only give them what it takes from others. Most of these citizens don't even realize what they're doing or losing because the news and education media refuse to perform their role as purveyors of truth and accuracy. Our schools are culpable by re-educating our youth teaching them Socialistic values are the highest goals instead of the Christian values that grew our country.
Enslavement is not coming with a bang, but expands with a slow, relentless monotony. Each day, each week, each month, each year brings us closer to that state of de facto slavery as a result of our greed thinly disguised as "civil rights" and entitlements. Ask most Americans and they will tell you that food, clothing, shelter and other necessities are "rights," not just necessities but rights to which they are entitled and that must be provided by an omnipotent government.
Even when actually warranted, government charity most often morphs into government nightmares. For example, President Lyndon Baines Johnson's "Great Society" poured billions of taxpayer dollars into programs that have done more damage to the American family than any other public handout. The government pays women who bare children a monthly allowance based on the number of children in the household. The program and its underwriters failed to understand that the way the program's requirements were structured, millions of men no longer required for familial support were freed to leave home and in fact decided that the need for marriage was trumped by their need - or desire - for "free" money.
Then, rather than retreat from such obvious government mal-run social programs, succeeding presidential administrations and numerous lawmakers willingly continue to embrace spending programs that at best do not solve the problems they were created to solve. At worst they create additional societal problems. But they do buy votes from their new slaves so those lawmakers can remain in office. The current Free Healthcare Program of Obama and the Democrats is a classic example. Allow the Feds to say who gets what medical attention and how much is to be paid for it and intelligent Doctors will quickly realize they are better off not becoming Doctors or going into other professions.
All socialism is a form of enslavement and its practitioners and advocates need to be removed from positions of power and authority as quickly as possible.
---------------- PL Booth is an aviator, biker, lover of the Constitution, citizen activist and blogs in the Missouri Ozark Mountains at the Blue Eye View. Tags:PL Booth, Blue Eye, socialism, enslavement, modern slavery, slavery, America, entitlements, free healthcare, obamacare, national debt, excessive taxation, Democrats, RINOs, Obama administration, wealth redistributionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: One of the greatest risks of the current Lame Duck Congress is the possibility of Senate confirmation of Obama's radical appointments to federal courts, boards and agencies. Nominees hoping for confirmation include the radical redistributionist Goodwin Liu who is seeking a spot on the Ninth Circuit, Louis Butler Jr. who was removed from the Wisconsin Supreme Court by the voters in 2008, and Chai Feldblum, an advocate of same-sex marriage and polygamy who is now enjoying a recess appointment to the EEOC.
Appointees to federal circuit and district courts can be almost as important as Supreme Court justices because the Supreme Court takes only about one percent of the cases that seek to reach the High Court. Lower federal court judges have been making final rulings on dozens of controversial issues that should be legislative decisions, including marriage, parents' rights in public schools, and immigration.
Some have lamented that Jimmy Carter, who served only one term as President, didn't get a chance to make any Supreme Court appointments. But don't cry for Carter; he had plenty of influence on the judiciary.
As Ronald Reagan was building his successful campaign for President, Carter was stacking the federal courts with 259 activist federal judges, more than any other one-term President in history. Thirty years later, many of those judges are still rendering liberal activist decisions. Among the leftwingers Carter appointed to the judiciary were Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Both were later elevated to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton.
After creating an unprecedented 10 new judgeships on the Ninth Circuit, Carter managed to appoint 15 liberal judges to that Circuit. Many of those judges are still rendering liberal decisions, including the now 79-year-old Stephen Reinhardt. He ruled against the Pledge of Allegiance, against Second Amendment gun rights (based on the bogus research of Michael Bellesiles), and against parents' rights in public schools (saying the right of parents "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door"). His 1996 decision purporting to find a constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide was rejected by all nine Supreme Court justices, and his 2006 decision finding a constitutional right to partial-birth abortion was also overturned by the Supreme Court. . . . On November 28, Reinhardt was assigned to the three-judge Ninth Circuit panel deciding the appeal from the district court judge's impudent decision declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional. Prop 8, which prohibits redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, was passed by the majority of California voters, but supremacist judges think they are supreme over the will of the people.
A motion was filed in the Ninth Circuit to get Reinhardt to recuse himself from hearing the Prop 8 appeal because (in the words of federal law) "his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Among the many reasons cited by this motion is that his wife is Ramona Ripston, the longtime Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California, which has played a lead role in the organizational and legal battles for same-sex marriage. Ripston has been Executive Director of the ACLU/SC since 1972, was a co-founder of NARAL in 1969, a leader of People for the American Way, and a longtime political associate and appointee of Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa. She was among those responsible for forcing Los Angeles County to remove a tiny cross from its official seal.
Other liberal activist judges appointed by Jimmy Carter include Mariana Pfaelzer, who blocked the enforcement of California's Proposition 187; Barbara Crabb, who ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional; Jack Tanner, who tried to impose the feminist brand of government wage control called "comparable worth"; Lawrence K. Karlton, who ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional; Myron Thompson, who ordered removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court; and Abner Mikva, who helped boost Obama's political career in Chicago.
Two of Carter's judges were later impeached and removed for high crimes and misdemeanors. They were Harry Claiborne of Nevada and Alcee Hastings of Florida (now a Congressman).
The historic election of 2010 delivered a clear "shellacking" to President Obama's policies, one of which was his choice of federal judges including the extremely leftwing Elena Kagan, now on the Supreme Court. The Senate should refuse to confirm any of Obama's judicial or agency nominees in the lame duck session. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, lame duck, confirmation of judges, leftistsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Dr. Thomas Sowell: Let's face it, politics is largely the art of deception, and political rhetoric is largely the art of misstating issues. A classic example is the current debate over whether to give money to the unemployed by extending how long unemployment benefits will be provided, or instead to give "tax cuts to the rich."
First of all, nobody's taxes -- whether rich or poor -- is going to be cut in this lame duck session of Congress. The only real issue is whether our current tax rates will go up in January, whether for everybody or nobody or somewhere in between.
The most we can hope for is that tax rates will not go up. So the next time you hear some politician or media talking head say "tax cuts for the rich," that will just tell you whether they are serious about facts or just addicted to talking points.
Not only are the so-called "tax cuts" not really tax cuts, most of the people called "rich" are not really rich. Rich means having a lot of wealth.
But income taxes don't touch wealth. No wonder some billionaires are saying it's OK to raise income taxes. They would still be billionaires if taxes took 100 percent of their current income.
What those who are arguing against "tax cuts for the rich" are promoting is raising the tax rates on families making $250,000 a year and up. A husband and wife making $125,000 a year each are not rich. If they have a kid going to one of the many colleges charging $30,000 a year (in after-tax money) for tuition alone, they are not likely to feel anywhere close to being rich.
Many people earning an annual income of $125,000 a year do so only after years of earning a lot less than that before eventually working their way up to that level. For politicians to step in at that point and confiscate what they have invested years of working to achieve is a little much.
It also takes a lot of brass to talk about taxing "millionaires and billionaires" when most of the people whose taxes the liberals want to raise are neither. Why is so much deception necessary if your case is good?
Those who own their own small businesses have usually reached their peak earnings many years after having started their business, and often operating with very low income, or even operating at a loss, when their businesses first got started.
Again, having politicians step in with an extra tax at that point, when later incomes compensate earlier sacrifices, is sheer brass -- especially when real millionaires and billionaires have their wealth safely stowed in tax shelters.
Another fashionable political and media deception is making a parallel between giving money to the unemployed versus giving money to "the rich."
When you refrain from raising someone's taxes, you are not "giving" them anything. Even if you were actually cutting their tax rate -- which is out of the question today -- you would still not be "giving" them anything, but only allowing them to keep more of what they have earned.
Is the government doing any of us a big favor by not taking even more of what we have worked for? Is it not an insult to our intelligence to say that the government is "giving" us something by not taxing it away?
With unemployment compensation, however, you are in fact giving someone something. "Extending unemployment benefits" always sounds good politically -- especially if you do not ask the basic question: "For how long should they be extended?" A year? Two years? No limit?
Studies have shown what common sense should have told us without studies: The longer the unemployment benefits are available, the longer people stay unemployed.
If I were fired tomorrow, should I be able to live off the government until such time as I find another job that is exactly the same, making the same or higher pay? What if I am offered another job that uses some of the same skills but doesn't pay quite as much? Should I be allowed to keep on living off the government?
With the government making it more expensive for employers to hire workers, and at the same time subsidizing unemployed workers longer and longer, you can have as much unemployment as you are willing to pay for, for as long as you are willing to pay for it.
------------- Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University. He is a retired professor of Economic and presently is a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Note: This article published in The Examiner is provided for educational purposes. Tags:Thomas Sowell, Tax cut, rhetoric, spending, debt, unemployment,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Brass Ring In Obamacare Cases is Severability, Not The Individual Mandate
Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author and Ken Klukowski: Litigation over the Obamacare individual mandate has captured the public’s attention, as we’ve written previously for the Washington Examiner and the Wall Street Journal. But the ultimate goal in challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law is not the mandate; it is severability.
This individual mandate that almost every American must buy health insurance is the most obnoxious provision of Obamacare, eradicating the concept of limited government. If the federal government can tell you how to spend your own money to buy insurance, then it also has the power to command you how to spend the rest of your money in every area of life, from food, to education, to housing. Nothing would be beyond the reach of Big Brother.
But the mandate is only one intolerable aspect of Obamacare. Not all other provisions are innocuous irritations, such as the tax on tanning beds. One authoritarian provision is the employer mandate, imposing draconian penalties on every employer with over fifty employees who does not offer health insurance. Another requires everyone who gives any significant amount of money to any vendor to issue a 1099 tax document. Obamacare includes myriad such mandates, taxes and administrative burdens.
And of course, there are other objectionable parts of Obamacare. For example it funds abortion, notwithstanding President Obama’s executive order to the contrary (since the White House cannot attach conditions on funding that Congress does not impose in the statute’s language). Others drive up premiums, like requiring policies to keep children until their mid-twenties.
But many of these provisions are policy choices within Congress’ purview, and thus cannot successfully be challenged in court.
There is one way to nullify all of these provisions, however, since Obamacare lacks a severability clause. A severability clause states that if any part of the statute is found invalid, then the remainder continues in full force and effect. Severability provisions are so common as to be almost boilerplate. (If you look around your home at any sort of contract, you’re likely to find such a clause toward the end of the document.)
Even without a severability clause, a court applies a presumption of implied severability. Under severability doctrine, a court will surgically excise an unconstitutional provision from a law if possible. However, if the court finds the invalid provision to be an essential part of the legislation, then the court can strike down the entire statute. If the statute cannot work in the manner Congress intended without the provision, then a court can hold Congress would rather have no statute at all. The presumption the Congress intended severability is weakened in the absence of a severability clause, as is the case with Obamacare.
Thus, if a court finds the individual mandate unconstitutional, and that the mandate goes to the core of the legislative deal, then the entire 2,700-page law could be struck down with a single court decision.
All three major lawsuits challenging Obamacare argue that the individual mandate cannot be severed from the remainder of the statute. Although this issue rarely comes up, Supreme Court precedent weighs in favor of holding that the mandate cannot be severed from the statute.
The documentary I Want Your Money quotes Speaker Pelosi’s infamous Obamacare comment that, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Well, Madame Speaker, a severability clause is one thing not in the bill. And that may prove its undoing.
Striking down the Obamacare individual mandate would be an historic vindication of the rule of law. But if the courts find that the mandate is not severable from the remainder of the statute, then it could wipe clean the slate of health care reform. That would return this issue to a new Congress — and possibly a new president — to devise reform legislation that will actually improve health care costs, instead of an unprecedented invasion into the lives and liberties of American citizens. ----------------- J. Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. This article also appeared in The Daily Caller. Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law. Kenneth A. Klukowski is special counsel at the Family Research Council, a research fellow with Liberty University School of Law, and authors briefs on severability in the Obamacare lawsuits. Both are authors of "The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency" Tags:Ken Blackwell, Ken Klukowski, Congress, law suits, health care law, federal government, Health Insurance, Law, Obamacare, severability, insurance mandateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Both Conservatives and Democrats Are Divided Over Supporting the Tax Deal
The Senate has no votes scheduled today. Last night, the Senate took a procedural vote in order to take up the tax package agreed on by Republicans and the White House.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid then filed cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 4853, the vehicle for the tax package, with a Reid/McConnell amendment containing the tax deal. The cloture vote has been scheduled for 3 PM on Monday.
Also yesterday, the Senate voted 59-40 to table the motion to proceed to the Senate version of DREAM Act, allowing Reid to take up the House version (H.R. 5281) sometime later. If passed by the Senate, the House version of the DREAM Act would go directly to the president for his signature.
Democrats later failed to get cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 847, a 9/11 responders health bill.
Reid then forced another failed cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the fiscal year 2011 Defense Authorization bill, S. 3454, which includes a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law. The motion failed by a vote of 57-40.
In the last couple of days, there has s definite differences of opinions between prominent conservatives over supporting or not supporting the tax framework negotiated by Republicans with the White House that prevents taxes from going up in January. Primarily it is because the Democrats have added lots of pork programs that are not funded. Also, it is clear that if the tax cuts were not extended now, the Republicans with its increase in numbers could push for maybe even permanent tax reductions in the next session of Congress. Again, not everyone agrees or disagrees with this compromise bill by the Republican leadership with President Obama. But the same can be said on the liberal side. President Obama today even brought in former Democrat President Bill Clinton to in an attempt to rally Democrats to support the bill.
Last night, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe wrote in a letter to senators, “I am writing today to offer our support for the general framework for the compromise tax proposal announced by President Obama and leaders in Congress. It is not our ideal proposal, but it is worth supporting while concurrently pushing for a major overhaul of the entire tax code and major spending reductions. . . . Ultimately, we want fundamental tax reform and serious spending cuts so Washington may be both less of a burden on the economy and also live within the means taxpayers are willing to provide. We believe this compromise puts us in a better position to achieve those goals than letting tax rates go up dramatically on January 1st, 2011.”
Keith Hennessey, former senior White House economic advisor to President George W. Bush, wrote Wednesday, “Given a Democratic President, this is the best possible deal that could be reasonably expected.” He argues, “This bill is an enormous policy win because the effective changes actually go beyond 2012. Along with the actual changes to law through 2012, this bill should change your expectations of rates beyond 2012. . . . All the arguments that were effective in 2010 will be as effective in 2012, and Congress will already have cast this extension vote once.” Hennessey acknowledges that in an ideal scenario, there would be things he’d improve, but he writes, “It’s silly to compare this bill to any one person’s ideal tax policy and say it’s inadequate. This is legislating, not a theoretical tax seminar.” His conclusion? “No-brainer. Support the deal.”
And Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President of the National Taxpayers Union, while also noting some reservations, points out, “A two-year extension of all current income-tax rates will definitely help to keep small business and investor uncertainty from getting even worse. Preserving the moderate rates on capital gains and dividends is an especially urgent priority, not only to prevent a year-end market nosedive but to help economic growth climb back to its proper altitude.”
However, Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government, addressed the likely $1.5 trillion deficit that is also created by the Obama-McConnell tax deal: "Unfortunately, when this deal was first presented, it was commonly understood to contain an unpaid-for $56 billion extension of unemployment benefits and a $120 billion cut in payroll taxes on employees. Without offsetting budget cuts presented alongside these budget-busters, the deal was bad enough. But now Harry Reid is busy inserting provisions extending hundreds of billions of dollars of tax credits, corporate welfare subsidies, and other handouts from the 2009 Obama 'stimulus' program. These include ethanol subsidies, windmill subsidies, and other so-called 'green' programs that have nothing to do with creating the conditions for a sustainable economic recovery. It even includes extension of tax deductions for public school teachers. Enough is enough.
"Senate Republicans must hold the line and not be afraid to reject this bill that has become a Christmas tree monster of handouts, kickbacks, and other favors that they never agreed to in the first place. The American people voted for spending cuts in November, not a trillion dollar boondoggle. The imminent tax increases on all Americans need to be prevented, but not at the cost of the nation's very fiscal solvency. Where are the spending cuts the American people were promised?""
U.S. Sen. Jim Demint (R), Chairman, Senate Conservatives Fund also opposes the tax deal. He said today, "I do not want to see anyone's taxes go up and I have been fighting for years to permanently extend all the tax rates. . . . But this bill does much more than simply extend tax rates.
For starters, it includes approximately $200 billion in new deficit spending and stimulus gimmicks. That's a lot of money that will have to be borrowed from China and repaid by our children and grandchildren. If we're going to increase spending on new programs, we must reduce other spending to pay for it.
The bill also fails to extend all of the tax rates. It actually increases the death tax from its current rate of zero percent all the way up to 35 percent. One economic study shows that this tax increase alone will kill over 800,000 jobs over the next ten years.
"Finally, the bill now includes dozens of earmarks for special interests, including ethanol subsidies, tax breaks for film and television producers, give aways for Puerto Rican rum manufacturers, favors for auto racing track owners, and a hand out for businesses in American Samoa.
"We've known for years that these tax rates were going to expire but he did nothing about it until the last minute. Now Americans are being told they have to accept hundreds of billions in new spending and stimulus gimmicks, an increase the death tax, and a bunch of unnecessary earmarks or their taxes will go up.
I'm not going to be bullied into voting for things that will hurt our country because politicians in Washington ignored the problem until it was a crisis. Many of you fought hard to elect new leaders to the Senate this year with the expectation that they would fight deficit spending, tax hikes, and backroom deals. I take that commitment very seriously and I'm prepared to vote against this bill even if I'm the only one in the Senate to do so.
"I appreciate the efforts made by my party's leaders to negotiate this deal but I believe Americans deserve much better. This deal should be rejected and then fixed. We can easily extend these tax rates without increasing spending once the new crop of Republican senators, including Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson, are sworn in. The President has already conceded that taxes cannot go up and we'll have more Republicans in Congress in a few weeks to fight for a better deal." Tags:US Senate, White House, Washington, D.C., tax reductions, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Editorial Comment: Warren's cartoon below comments on how more people than ever before are dependent on Big Government aid. However, it also hints at a truth about plantation politics which has grown at both the federal and states levels and now even at the local levels.
For example, with respect to government employee pay. There is a big difference between earned retirements and giveaway entitlements. This includes using the Federal stimulus money to give out bonuses to schools, university, and other government agency faculty, administrators and employees. Anyone heard of SEIU? These stimulus based bonuses are not provided within the normal budget and funding structure of the schools or agencies. This federal stimulus handout is not returning collected tax money (it's gone) but the borrowing and creation of more debt for our grandchildren's children.
Remember this travesty the next time you here the mantra for higher taxes, "We are doing it for the children." Even local government is following in the steps of big government. Theft destroys a society especially when done by the government. by William Warren:
Tags:Big Government, plantation politics, Christmas, Food Stamps, Government Aid, Political Cartoons, Santa, William Warren, stimulus, bonusesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Update (12/8/10): Partisan majority democrats in the US House led by Nancy Pelosi passed their version of the Dream Act last night. This morning, the Senate voted to table the motion to proceed to the Senate version of DREAM Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered the motion to cancel this vote so the Senate could instead vote sometime later on the version that passed the House last night (H.R. 5281). If passed by the Senate, the House version of the DREAM Act would go directly to the president for his signature.
Curtis Coleman, Contributing Author: Anywhere between 300,000 and 2.1 million illegal immigrants will be legalized if the DREAM Act (version 5), scheduled for votes today in the House and Senate, wins the approval of legislators and is signed into law by the President. Never mind, of course, that 15 million Americans who want to work can’t find a job, that all Americans are facing a tsunami of tax increases in less than 23 days, and no provision has been made for funding the government in 2011. The 111th Congress, thankfully gasping for its last breaths, may appropriately go down in history as the most irresponsible and mistrusted Congress in history.
According to POLITICO, “The DREAM Act would provide a path to legalization for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, if they go to college or serve in the military for at least two years.
“The latest version, filed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) late Tuesday night, would bar illegal immigrants from receiving in-state college tuition; drops the age of eligibility to 29 from 34; would not grant permanent legal status to anyone for at least 10 years; would restrict eligibility for those who commit certain misdemeanor crimes; and would limit individuals from being able to sponsor family members for U.S. citizenship, among other changes.
“Those who receive conditional legal status under the DREAM Act also would be ineligible for Medicaid, food stamps and other government-funded benefits.”
Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) is a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act. Senator Mark Pryor (D) said recently he believes that it is appropriate to make military service a path to citizenship for children who were brought into the U.S. by their illegally immigrated parents. He is, nevertheless, planning to vote against the act, he said, citing his belief that “most Arkansans have a problem with the educational aspects” of the proposed legislation. Will the “educational aspect” changes in version 5 be enough to change Sen. Pryor’s mind and win his support regardless of the wishes of most Arkansans?
Based on reports of illegal aliens dying in Iraq while fighting as members of the U. S. military, I posed this question a few days ago: “Is the federal government knowingly hiring and paying illegal aliens to serve in the U. S. military?
“Reportedly, the military is already actively recruiting young illegal immigrants. How many? “Nobody knows,” says Flavia Jimenez, an immigration policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza. “But what we do know is that recruiters may not be up to speed on everybody’s legal status. … We also know that a significant number of [illegals] have died in Iraq.” The recruitment of illegal immigrants is particularly intense in Los Angeles, where 75 percent of the high school students are Latino. “A lot of our students are undocumented,” says Arlene Inouye, a teacher at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, “and it’s common knowledge that recruiters offer green cards.” Inouye is the coordinator and founder of the Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools (CAMS), a counter-recruitment organization that educates teenagers about deceptive recruiting practices. “The practice is pretty widespread all over the nation,” she says, “especially in California and Texas. … The recruiters tell them, ‘you’ll be helping your family.’”
A little more research has turned up these answers:
According to 10 U.S.C. § 504,
(1) A person may be enlisted in any armed force only if the person is one of the following:
(A) A national of the United States, as defined in section101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C.1101(a)(22)).
(B) An alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined in section 101(a)(20) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20)).
(C) A person described in section 341 of one of the following compacts: [see original text] (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned may authorize the enlistment of a person not described in paragraph (1) if the Secretary determines that such enlistment is vital to the national interest.
Any person who, while an alien or a noncitizen national of the United States, has served honorably in an active-duty status in the military, air, or naval forces of the United States during either World War I or during a period beginning September 1, 1939, and ending December 31, 1946, or during a period beginning June 25, 1950, and ending July 1, 1955, or during a period beginning February 28, 1961, and ending on a date designated by the President by Executive order as of the date of termination of the Vietnam hostilities, or thereafter during any other period which the President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, and who, if separated from such service, was separated under honorable conditions, may be naturalized…
The federal government already has the authority to naturalize an illegal alien who serves in the military. As The Heritage Foundation points out, “The military component of the DREAM Act is a complete red herring.”
According to The Foundry, “One bill would even grant Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano the power to waive the college and military requirements if the illegal immigrant can demonstrate “compelling circumstances” and the immigrant’s removal would cause a hardship to the them, their spouse, their parents, or their children. When exactly would removal from this country not cause a hardship? What other loopholes are in these bills? As Speaker Pelosi might say: ‘You have to pass this amnesty so that you can find out what is in it.’”
“The real goal of the DREAM Act is to make it even harder for our nation’s law enforcement agencies to enforce any immigration laws,” The Foundry concludes.
Sen. Pryor and Harry Reid claim “the [immigration] system is broken.” They are wrong. The system is being ignored by the very people who took an oath to uphold it. It is abused; so badly abused that the federal government is suing the State of Arizona for attempting to enforce the very laws that the Obama Administration is ignoring – while Americans are dying in the guerilla warfare on our southern borders.
Passage of the DREAM Act will be a nightmare for the United States, sending “a clear message to parents that violating U.S. immigration laws will result in eventual citizenship and access to expensive taxpayer-financed benefits for their kids.” It is one matter to fail to enforce our nation’s laws. It is another entirely to reward those who break them.
Here’s the real DREAM Act: Get the federal government out of our faces, out of our pocketbooks and now (in airport security lines) out of our pants.  Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform Curtis Coleman is the President of The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy and contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Curtis Coleman, Institute for Constitutional Policy, Harry Reid, Dream Act, Amnesty, hiring, illegal aliens, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The House passed their version of the Dream Act last night. This morning, the Senate voted 59-40 to table the motion to proceed to the Senate version of DREAM Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered the motion to cancel this vote so the Senate could instead vote sometime later on the version that passed the House last night (H.R. 5281). If passed by the Senate, the House version of the DREAM Act would go directly to the president for his signature.
Last night, Reid failed to get cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 3991, a bill allowing more firefighters to unionize, failed by a vote of 55-43. And cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 3985, a bill for a one-time $250 payment to senior citizens, failed by a vote of 53-45.
Reid has moved to reconsider cloture on the motion to proceed to the fiscal year 2011 Defense Authorization bill, S. 3454, which includes a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law. Burying the "don't ask, don't tell" issue in the Defense Authorization is despicable because conservative support the funding of the military but not necessarily the move to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”
In a floor speech yesterday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s perfectly clear by now that our friends on the other side are more interested in pleasing special interest groups than in addressing our nation’s jobs crisis. Once again they’re insisting that the Senate spend its last remaining days before the end of the session voting on a liberal grab bag of proposals that are designed to fail. They don’t even intend to pass these items — they just want to show that they care enough to hold show votes. Which raises a question: are we here to perform or to legislate?”
Democrats have certainly seemed more interested in the former since the beginning of the lame duck session. Despite a January deadline where taxes will increase on every American if Congress does not act, Senate Democrats began the lame duck session by spending over a week on a food regulation bill, which they proceeded to bungle, requiring it to return to the House and then the Senate again later. Democrats then began demanding consideration of everything from the DREAM Act, to judges, to filibuster reform.
Senate Republicans finally had enough, and all 42 signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying that it was long past time to focus on the priorities of the American people first. “Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents’ priorities become the Senate’s priorities,” they wrote. “For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.”
Yet Sen. Reid and his fellow Democrats chose to ignore this letter and the message of the American people. Last week, Democrats did next to nothing on the Senate floor (while recessing the chamber for repeated Democrat caucus meetings) but then held a Saturday session for show votes on Democrat tax hike proposals that had no chance of passing. This week, Democrats have spent most of their time on even more political posturing. Reid scheduled votes on bills for his liberal base: one for unionizing firefighters and the other a version of amnesty known as the DREAM Act. Reid also held votes on bills attempting to paint Republicans as callous if they voted against them: one to give extra Social Security checks to seniors and another for health benefits for 9/11 responders.
Though Reid this morning pulled the DREAM Act for a later vote, Senate Republicans blocked all the bills that came to a vote because they simply are not the priorities of the American people at this moment.
As Sen. McConnell said yesterday, “It’s time to end the posturing and to work together to accomplish something not for the liberal base, but for the vast middle of America that needs us. The White House has signaled its concern over the economy — that its policies aren’t helping, and that it’s time to work with Republicans on forging a new path. We’ve reached a bipartisan agreement. It’s time Democrats in Congress reach a similar conclusion and enable us to act for the good of the whole country.” Tags:US Senate, US House, White House, Washington, D.C., tax reductions, unemployment, Democrats, Harry Reid, Dream Act, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Defense appropriations To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, Editor: Elected Arkansas Republicans both state and federal are moving to take on ObamaCare. While there has been lots of rhetoric, except for Rep. John Boozman's prior stands opposing ObamaCare, little has been accomplished. However, as the below comments illustrated, newly elected Arkansans from the state level to the federal leval are prepared to take on ObamaCare. Because of provision where upcoming legislative members may pre-file proposed Arkansas bills, the first salvo has been made by a Conway resident.
David Meeks (R) of Conway is an Army veteran and worked in the private health care insurance industry and was elected as Arkansas State Representative for District 46. Meeks pre-filed HB 1053, "An Act To Ensure Freedom Of Choice In Health Care For All Arkansans; And To Prevent Involuntary Enrollments In Health Care Insurance Programs."
Dennis Altes (R) is a co-sponsor of the bill. He is a Fort Smith businessman and Army veteran who has served as an Arkansas State Representative and State Senator. Altes has already served since 2003 as Arkansas State Senator for District 13 and was elected as an Arkansas State Representative for District 63.
The goal of the bill is to block the mandatory requirement to buy health insurance under "Obamacare" or to suffer a monetary penalty for failure to do so. The federal health care law requires Americans to carry health insurance through an employer, a government program, or by buying their own policy. The federal health care insurance mandate is schedluded to take affect in 2014.
During the 2010 campaigns, candidate now Lt. Governor-elect Mark Darr said he would file or join other States' lawsuits to repeal of federal health care law. During a visit by Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Darr said, "As Lieutenant Governor I will stand with the nearly 70 percent of Arkansas citizens who oppose the national health-care system and fight its unfunded and unconstitutional mandates on our citizens,”
US Representative-elect Tim Griffin, R-AR-2nd District, an Army JAG officer and Iraq War Veteran, has signed signed a pledge to repeal the federal health care bill.
US Representative-elect Rick Crawford, R-AR1-District, an Army veteran, has signed signed a pledge to repeal the federal health care bill.
US Representative-elect Steve Womack, R-AR-3 District, an Army NG officer, has said he will push for repealing or de-funding the federal health care bill.
US Senator-elect and presently US Rep. for Arkansas third District John Boozman (R) in early 2010 signed on to repealing the federal health care bill. Boozman has worked in the medical field as a doctor of optometry and co-founder of Boozman-Hof Regional Eye Clinic in Rogers. He remains committed to supporting the repeal of ObamaCare and previously said, "Arkansans have spoken out against a government takeover of healthcare. They don’t want Washington making decisions that should be left to them and their physicians and they don’t want to be forced to buy government approved insurance. The more we learn about ObamaCare the more Americans realize that it’s bad for business. While I support improving and reforming our health care system, I believe this is an overreach of government and we need to find common sense solutions that contain costs while providing the health care all Americans deserve.”
Elections have consequences and the people of Arkansas as well as the majority of Americans oppose the federal health care law. It is time to repeal this law, and if it cannot be repealed due to a Presidential veto, it needs to be de-funded by Congress. Tags:Arkansas, Republicans, ObamaCare, insurance mandate, Repeal the BillTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by William Warren: Today’s toon mocks Obama about how his constant glowing talk about “compromise”, yet when he finally does compromise, it comes out pretty ugly.
Tags:Feel Good Compromise, Obama, Obama Compromise, Obama's Tax Compromise, Political Cartoons, Unemployment Benefits Extension, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec 8, 2010 - The 111th Congress Maybe The Most Irresponsible And Mistrusted Congress In History
Thomas Porteous - Guilty!
The Senate resumed impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton appointee G. Thomas Porteous, Jr. a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. They rejected a motion by defense counsel and convicted Judge Porteous on all four articles of impeachment by the necessary 2/3 vote on each and removed him from office. The Senate also voted to agree to a motion to disqualify Judge Porteous from holding any future federal office. In summary: Porteous is only the eighth federal judge in U.S. history to be impeached and convicted by Congress. The US House had previously unanimously approved the impeachment charges. The 64-year-old judge had a gambling problem and accepted cash and favors from people with business before his court. He was also accused of lying to Congress and filing for bankruptcy under a false name. God Bye Porteous! Now, when are we going to do something about the judges on the 9th Circuit Court?
The Senate has resumed legislative session and began consideration of S. 3991, a bill allowing more firefighters to unionize. At 4 PM, the Senate will hold a series of vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to each of the following 4 bills: S. 3991; S. 3985, a bill for a one-time $250 payment to senior citizens; S. 3993, the latest version of the DREAM Act; and H.R. 847, a 9/11 responders health bill.
If cloture motions on moving to all four bills fail, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he would like to vote this evening on reconsidering cloture on the motion to proceed to the fiscal year 2011 Defense Authorization bill, S. 3454, which includes a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law.
It is obvious where Reid' priorities are - they are screwed up. He can only focus on pushing the extreme liberal agenda. He knows the people have spoken and they will not get most of these bills passed in the new Congress. It is also obvious that the Lame Duck session is not only "lame" but it is proving to be "un-American." The Democrat leadership is not acting per the the wishes of the majority of the American voters. Most former legislators had the dignity and honor to yeild to the voters of America and to not take actions in their final days to reshape American culture or to push through radical agendas opposed by the public. While Reid and Pelosi were re-elected by their constituents, they do NOT represent the majority of voters Nationally who voted to replace Democrats and their agenda. It has become more obvious everyday, that Reid and Pelosi "hate America" as it exists and desire to see you living in their new planned elitist world.
With respect to the Dream Act, Curtis Coleman reports that "Anywhere between 300,000 and 2.1 million illegal immigrants will be legalized if the DREAM Act (version 5), scheduled for votes today in the House and Senate, wins the approval of legislators and is signed into law by the President. Never mind, of course, that 15 million Americans who want to work can’t find a job, that all Americans are facing a tsunami of tax increases in less than 23 days, and no provision has been made for funding the government in 2011."
As more people have an opportunity to analyze the framework for the deal on preventing tax hikes worked out between the White House and Republicans in Congress, more recommendations of support are coming, especially from conservatives and business leaders.
To begin with, Gallup writes today that “[t]wo-thirds of Americans (66%) favor extending the 2001/2003 tax cuts for all Americans for two years.” Further, “[a]ccording to Gallup polling conducted Dec. 3-6, the slight majority of Democrats, as well as most independents and Republicans, would vote for a two-year extension of the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003.”
The National Review Online editors conclude the deal is “worth taking” and add, “Acting now reduces both uncertainty and volatility. Republicans can now spend the next two years advancing spending cuts and long-term tax reform.”
Today, a coalition of business groups including Americans for Tax Reform, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Federation of Independent Business wrote a letter to senators urging enactment of the tax deal. And in its own press release, the U.S. Chamber said yesterday, “Enacting this bipartisan framework forged by the President and Congress is one of the best steps Washington can take to eliminate the uncertainty that is preventing our employers from hiring, investing, and growing their businesses.”
Considering the deal in an editorial today, The Wall Street Journal writes, “[T]his deal is superior to anything we could have imagined six months ago. Much credit goes to Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans for holding together against the class war attacks of Chuck Schumer and other Democrats. By holding firm, they divided the opposition. This proves again that Republicans win the economic debate when they make the case for lower taxes for everyone in the name of faster growth and job creation.”
As Kevin Hassett, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, said on Fox Business this morning, “I think this is a big win for Republicans.” In fact, in a piece explaining how the deal came together, The New York Times notes that the agreed-upon estate tax provisions are policies that Republicans had been unable to secure for years. “[T]hey saw the talks as a golden opportunity to win an estate-tax agreement that had eluded them even when they controlled Congress and the White House.”
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, praised the estate tax provisions to National Review Online’s Andrew Stiles Monday. “Norquist says Republicans should be especially pleased with the proposal to reestablish the estate tax at a rate of 35 percent (for two years), given Democrats’ desire to return to a permanent rate of 55 percent after going all of 2010 without any estate tax whatsoever. ‘Think about how badly Democrats wanted [a return to a 55 percent rate],’ he says. . . . Now 35 percent becomes the new baseline, and Democrats are fighting a losing battle.”
Importantly, The Wall Street Journal editorial analyzes the other implications of President Obama’s acquiescence in extending all the tax cuts and agreeing to other Republican provisions. “In accepting the deal to cut payroll and business taxes and extend all of the Bush-era tax rates through 2012, Mr. Obama has implicitly admitted that his economic strategy has flopped. He is acknowledging that tax rates matter to growth, that treating business like robber barons has hurt investment and hiring, and that tax cuts are superior to spending as stimulus. It took 9.8% unemployment and a loss of 63 House seats for this education to sink in, but the country will benefit.” Kevin Hassett agreed, telling Fox Business’ Stuart Varney, “They are now admitting that if they increase tax rates during a recession then that’s really bad because it’s going to hurt the economy.”
“In this sense,” the WSJ editors explain, “the political symbolism is as important as the policy. Mr. Obama is signaling that businesses must be encouraged to make profits again so they can hire more workers, that ‘the rich’ he so maligns should be able to keep more of what they earn, and even that wealth built up over a lifetime shouldn't be confiscated wholesale at death. In policy if not in Presidential rhetoric, class war and income redistribution are taking a two-year holiday.”
As Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander pointed out to reporters yesterday, “[W]e believe our number-one goal is to make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs. And the best thing we can do right now to make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs is not to raise taxes on people who create jobs and on the American working people in the middle of an economic downturn. That's why the right thing for our country is to support the tax agreement.”
In summary, to quote Curtis Coleman, president of Institute of Constitutional Policy, "The 111th Congress, thankfully gasping its last breaths, may appropriately go down in history as the most irresponsible and mistrusted Congress in history." Tags:US Senate, US House, White House, Washington, D.C., tax reductions, unemployment, Democrats, Harry Reid, Dream Act, Amnesty, Gallup Poll, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Defying The Will Of The People By Governing by Regulation
The following Washington Examiner Editorial sounds a true warning. While many are distracted with the maneuvering (much of it very important) during the present Lame duck session of Congress, don't lose sight of the critical fact that Barack Obama is still president even when a new Congress is seated in January. Obama controls and will use the Executive Branch with all its Czars, Federal departments and agencies to push his agenda. While Obama has been compared to many other presidents based on his taste for socialism, Obama reminds me of another Democrat President - Andrew Jackson. Jackson used the power of the presidency to "rule over" the people and he did not care who he harmed in the process. Even when challenged in court and the Supreme Court ruled against him, Jackson defied the court and did as he pleased. President Obama may well be heading down this track. But at a minimum, he will "govern by regulation."
Sitting presidents whose agendas are soundly rejected by voters in midterm congressional elections have two options: They can either accommodate the new political reality, as President Clinton did after 1994; or they can use bureaucratic edicts to advance their unpopular programs, as President Obama is clearly doing now.
Given the historic drubbing his party just suffered at the polls, Obama's defiant strategy may prevent a second term for the man who began his first buoyed by an outpouring of good will.
Predictably, Obama's regulatory imperialism focuses on labor and environmental issues, as Big Green activists and labor unions, especially those representing government workers, are the core of support for the Democratic president and his congressional allies.
At the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for example, Administrator Lisa Jackson is moving forward with a massive new program to subject the entire U.S. economy to an anti-global warming regulatory straitjacket aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Obama warned Congress last year that EPA would do this if the legislature failed to enact an Obama-supported version of cap and trade. Cap and trade passed the House in 2009 but never got out of the Senate because of intense public opposition, especially in energy-rich states like West Virginia. Now Jackson is following through on Obama's threat.
At the Department of Labor, Secretary Hilda Solis wasted no time after taking office last year in gutting long-standing rules requiring unions to disclose important details about how they spend members' dues. Now, Patricia Smith, Obama's Labor Department solicitor general, is working with Solis to implement an unprecedented new enforcement directive designed to put businesses at the mercy of union bosses. The directive provides, according to the Wall Street Journal's John Fund, for aggressive use of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to compel business cooperation through "shaming" and to "engage in enterprisewide enforcement."
The rest of the bureaucratic blitzkrieg will be carried out by Smith's eager staff of 400 labor lawyers. Nathan Mehrens, Americans for Limited Government general counsel, says their agenda includes: » A focus on "cases against employers in priority industries." » Plans to "litigate cases that cut across regions." » Working to "identify and pursue test cases" to "challenge legal principles that impede worker protections; successful challenges will advance workers' rights, as will successful enunciation of new interpretations." » Engaging "in greater use of injunctive relief."
Meanwhile, as Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell wrote in last Friday's Examiner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing the lame-duck Congress to pass his Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, a laughably misnamed measure that will force public employee unions on all local and state police, fire and emergency medical technicians. Obama supports Reid's bill, but its passage is far from assured. Nobody will be surprised if, shortly after the Reid proposal fails on Capitol Hill, Obama unveils a new regulatory gambit to achieve the same end. Tags:President, Barack Obama, governing, agencies, departments, regulationsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The below by my young friend Erick Erickson caught my attention for two reasons. First the mention of TSA, need I say more. Second, the words "Breast Milk" which many responsible women find to be better for their infant children, and which one of my daughter-in-laws both supports breast milk for her children and she actively lectures on its merits over manufactured formula products. Lots of great reasons which are not discussed herein. Let look at another example of a TSA employees ignorance of the TSA's own guidelines. And, consider while reading that they want to allow TSA employees to unionize. Hum -- another bummer!
by Erick Erickson: Now we have yet another TSA outrage. Something tells me the media would be much more worked up by this if George Bush were still President. Oddly enough, in an era when the press is falling all over itself to highlight bipartisanship, here is an issue uniting the left and right.
In this edition of TSA Outrage, we have a mother who didn’t want her breast milk going through the x-ray machine, which held her up 30 minutes. On her next trip through the airport, the same TSA agents detained her for more than an hour even after she gave them a copy of the TSA guidelines exempting breast milk from the x-ray machine.
Meanwhile, that Assange guy keeps releasing our national security details online. If Barack Obama won’t do anything pro-active to shut him down, maybe we should just send over the TSA. Tags:TSA, breast milk, government agents, mothers, airportsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec 7, 2010 - GOP Largely Dictated The Terms On Obama's Tax Cut Deal; Liberal Democrats "Left Seething"
Liberal Democrats Are Still There and Seething
The U.S. Senate began impeachment proceedings against Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. At 5:30 pm, the Senate will go into closed session for deliberations on the impeachment trial.
Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on moving to four bills: a 9/11 responders health bill (H.R. 847), a bill allowing more firefighters to unionize (S. 3991), the latest version of the DREAM Act (S. 3992), and a bill for a one-time $250 payment to senior citizens (S. 3985). Reid just will not get with the program of cutting federal spending and reducing taxes. He is still in an archaic paybacl mode of thinking. What business does Congress have in supporting the unionization of anyone except for under the table graft. Nevada, you failed America by returning Reid to the Senate. Republicans and no progressive radical Democrats should avoid these bills.
Last evening, President Obama announced a framework for an agreement with Republican Congressional negotiators on preventing tax increases next year. What’s striking about this agreement, though, is how far Obama moved toward the Republican position and how much frustration this has generated among liberal Democrats.
The Wall Street Journal outlines the deal. “President Barack Obama reached agreement Monday with Republican leaders in Congress on a broad tax package that would extend the Bush-era income tax cuts for two years, reduce worker payroll taxes for one year and give more favorable treatment to business investments. Other elements of the deal include a temporary reinstatement of the estate tax at 35%—the level favored by most Republican lawmakers—as well as an extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.”
But the AP gets to the core of what happened, in a story headlined, “Republicans achieve top goal in Obama tax-cut plan”: “Republicans control neither the House nor the Senate — and certainly not the White House. But they largely dictated the terms of President Barack Obama's proposed tax-cut compromise, which disgruntled congressional Democrats want to discuss in closed meetings that are likely to be rowdy. Republicans prevailed on their biggest demand: continuing Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, despite Obama's 2008 campaign promise to let them expire for households earning more than $250,000 a year.”
Politico adds, “The deal amounts to a major reversal for Obama — who campaigned for president on a pledge not to allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to continue beyond their scheduled expiration on Dec. 31. The two-year extension means the fight will be waged during the middle of his reelection campaign in 2012.”
National Review Online’s Andrew Stiles reported last night, “Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, tells National Review Online that a tentative tax deal between President Obama and the GOP is ‘a much bigger victory than people see’ for the Republicans. . . . According to Norquist, this GOP victory is really a failure on the part of Democrats, who had every opportunity to extend most of the Bush tax rates (and to take the political credit). Their failure to do so not only exposes the party’s ideological commitment to higher taxes, but puts them on poor footing politically.”
Analyzing the deal, Jennifer Rubin, formerly of Commentary and now blogging at The Washington Post, summarizes, “There really is no other way to say it: the Republicans won, the liberal Democrats lost, and the president sided with the Republicans.” She notes, “[Republicans] won the philosophical point (tax hikes impede economic growth) and, candidly, are more than delighted to have a repeat of this debate for the presidential campaign in 2012.”
Of course, as The Wall Street Journal points out, the deal is not sitting well with many liberal Democrats. “In reaching the deal, whose details still need to be worked out, Mr. Obama brushed past the demands of many in his own party to curb tax cuts for the wealthy. Some liberal lawmakers and activists were left seething, particularly over last-minute concessions to Republicans on the estate tax.” Roll Call adds, “As a final tax package with perks for the wealthy comes into focus, liberal Democrats appear to be the losers in President Barack Obama’s first major post-election deal, a trend that they may have to get used to in the next Congress. ‘We’re still the majority,’ said an aide for a prominent House liberal. ‘If Obama’s doing this to us now, wait until January.’”
A cascade of complaints and recriminations from various Democrats followed the announcement. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) told the WSJ, “I can tell you with certainty that legislative blackmail of this kind by the Republicans will be vehemently opposed by many, if not most, Democrats.” The Journal writes, “In the Senate, Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) called it ‘an understatement’ to say he was disappointed.” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) complained to Roll Call, “I don’t like this at all. . . . The president has not put up much of a fight.” And Roll Call also noted Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) “later criticized the president for compromising core Democratic principles in his deal with Republicans.”
The White House shot back, pointing fingers at Democrats in Congress. A senior White House official vented to ABC News’ Jake Tapper, “We wanted a fight, the House didn't throw a punch. . . . The House wouldn't vote before the Senate, and the Senate was afraid they'd lose a vote on it. . . . It was like the Jets versus Sharks except there weren't any Jets. . . . Senator Schumer says he wants a fight? He couldn't hold his caucus together.”
Meanwhile, according to Roll Call, “Liberal activists have launched attacks on Obama over the issue. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which boasts a membership of 650,000, sent an e-mail to supporters Monday that quotes former Obama campaign staffers expressing frustration with the president.”
Even The New York Times editorial page recognizes the win for Republicans: “President Obama’s deal with the Republicans to extend all the Bush-era income tax cuts is a win for the Republicans and their strategy of obstructionism and a disappointing retreat by the White House.” Tags:US Senate, US House, White House, Washington, D.C., tax reductions, unemployment, Democrats, Harry ReidTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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