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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, March 30, 2013
The Pioneer of Salvation
Bob Morrison, Contributing Author: Use the word pioneer with an American audience and our minds will usually turn to images of Conestoga wagons pulled by sturdy oxen. They are wending their way Westward. It's an arduous trek of families--fathers, mothers, and their children--across forested mountains and out onto the Great Plains. It would be years before these pioneers could bring the land under cultivation and see those amber waves of grain.
Scripture uses the word pioneer to describe Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith, but He is also the pioneer, the One who goes before us, the One who bids us follow Him. Oftentimes that first pioneer and all pioneers who came after Him faced danger.
Sometimes, they even followed in His footsteps to a violent death.
Jesus knew not only betrayal, He knew shame. He took upon Himself the sins of the world, our sins, everyone's. As God and Man, He knew no sin, but he endured all that sin can bring for our sake. He hid not his face from shame and spitting. Yes, spitting. He was scourged. We hardly use the word scourge today. It means to be whipped. Romans used a scourge that was a wooden handled whip strung with long leather strips. These strips were studded with lead and pieces of sheep bone. These scourges survived from Bible times until barely a century ago. In Britain's Royal Navy, the lash was called "the cat 'o nine tails," for the nine strips of leather. Letting the cat out of the bag was not only the telling of a forbidden secret, it was the prelude to something awful. Whole ships' companies were ordered to witness as the flesh of a man's bare back was lacerated. Men who were scourged often died of that punishment. The loss of blood and the inevitable infection scourging c aused were enough to kill.
Jesus endured all this before he went to the cross. He scorned its shame. In the space of five days, He went from being cheered in Jerusalem, from being hailed as the Son of David to suffering the humiliation of being betrayed, arrested, and treated as the lowest of criminals. Why did He do it? For the joy set before Him, Hebrews tells us. He could see beyond Calvary, beyond the Place of the Skull. He knew what joy lay before Him. He also knew what it would take to arrive at that place.
This is hard for us as mere humans to comprehend. Knowing the future always seems like a good idea for us. But can we bear it? Can we endure what may come to us, what our portion of sorrow and suffering will be?
Jesus knew what was over that horizon. He knew He had to remain faithful to the end. This can be, this must be, a source of great strength to us today. Crowds who once hailed what we hail are turning away from Truth. We are daily witnessing betrayals. Many of the mighty view us with scorn, if not yet with spitting, if not yet with scourging. Why is this? They hated Him. They will hate us. The servants are not greater than their master. Expect it. Be prepared. Don't lose hope. Stand together.
Before He entered Jerusalem that Palm Sunday morning and before that long ago Holy Week, Jesus gave us a glimpse over the horizon. He gave us a foretaste of the Resurrection when he came upon the tomb of his beloved friend, Lazarus, in Bethany. Dead and buried for four days when Jesus arrived, Lazarus arose at the command of his Lord. Lazarus came back from the dead because, as Jesus told them:
"I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Yes, Lord, we believe.
--------------------- Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Bob Morrison, Jesus Christ, Pioneer of Salvation, resurrection, life To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Were You Mislead On Cost of Obamacare | Californians May Have 30% Hike in Healthcare Premiums
While we may not hear all of the following on the liberal main stream media, fittingly, this week ended as it began with even more stories about how President Obama’s 3 year old unpopular health care law will lead to higher premiums and higher health care costs, contrary to everything Democrats said before they passed it.
The Hill reports today, “Premiums on California's individual health insurance market will rise an average of 30 percent as a result of President Obama's healthcare law, a new study predicts. The state agency that will implement the law, Covered California, said premium increases are most likely to hit middle-income people who do not receive healthcare coverage through their employers. The figures released Thursday come the same week Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceded that healthcare reform could cause some premiums to rise.”
At Hot Air, Mary Katherine Ham noted CNN’s segment examining a new study from the Society of Actuaries that found, as CNN’s Briana Keilar explained, “estimates insurance companies will pay on average 32% more for claims on individual insurance plans because of Obamacare. Some states fare worse: The report says California will see a 62% increase by 2017; Wisconsin and Ohio and 80% increase. Those costs, the report, says, will be passed on to consumers.”
MKH adds, “If CNN cared to look beyond the one Society of Actuaries study it allows the White House to trash as insurance-industry aligned, they’d find plenty of studies from the government itself that show overall health care costs rising, individual premiums rising, and costs higher over the next 10 years than they would have been without passing ObamaCare. That last is an important point because the administration loves to blame quickly rising premiums on evil insurance companies or the fact that they were already rising before ObamaCare. The fact is, the trajectory has changed, especially in the individual market, because of ObamaCare. Insuring more people and mandating more comprehensive coverage makes insurance more expensive. This was obvious to anyone who cared to think about it before the law was passed, but anyone who cared to point it out was called a dirty liar by the bill’s proponents.”
She emphasizes, “The pitch for the bill was that we would get more coverage for more people, AND premiums would go down, AND the health care cost curve would bend down for the government, AND it wouldn’t add a dime to the deficit, AND everyone who liked their insurance would be able to keep it. None of those things is true except for possibly more coverage for more people, and the jury remains out on that, even.”
The AP summarized things in an understated way in its story on the Society of Actuaries report: “Obama has promised that the new law will bring costs down. That seems a stretch now.”
The AP adds "A new study finds that insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. … the overwhelming majority [of states] will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers. The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland."
OHIO: "Medical claims costs in Ohio could jump an average 81 percent for individual policy holders by 2017 under the federal health care law . . ."
CALIFORNIA: "Medical claims costs filed by individual policy holders could rise as much as 62 percent over the next four years in California under the Affordable Care Act
KENTUCKY: "A new study says costs of medical claims would rise an average of 34 percent for individuals in Kentucky next year under the Affordable Care Act.
"Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people. The nation's big health insurers say they expect premiums — or the cost for insurance coverage — to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out in January 2014."
"Young people who currently have low-cost coverage may see some of the biggest hikes."
In the issue of young people, Politico reports, "The federal health care law could nearly triple premiums for some young and healthy men . . . the premium for a relatively bare-bones policy for a 27-year-old male nonsmoker on the individual market would be nearly 190 percent higher."
The truth is now revealing that the former words of President Obama were less than true. It would have been a different story if he had said that he didn't know the impact. But instead he pushed the Affordable Health Care act with the following repeated false remarks
THEN-SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL):"I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will … cut the cost of a typical family's premiums by up to $2500 a year. That's not simply a matter of policy or ideology - it's a moral commitment." (Sen. Obama, Remarks To United Church Of Christ Synod, 6/24/07)
OBAMA:"All this is going to lower premiums. It's going to make healthcare more affordable." (President Obama, Remarks, 9/22/10)
OBAMA:"This law will lower premiums." (President Obama, Remarks To 'Families USA,' 1/28/11)
Mr. Obama claimed or even wished for these these outcomes but the facts prove this dangerous experiment in massive National healthcare to be destructive to America and its citizens. We were warned by the Canadians but failed to listen.
This is why Republicans and hopefully concerned Democrats will work to repeal and replace this bad law. Yesterday, the ARRA News addressed a National Journal article by Chris Frates which addressed, “The Secret Republican Plan to Repeal 'Obamacare' And why the fight is far from over.” Not really much of a secret, but in fact an ongoing plan to role back a devastating program to America and its citizens.
If democrats fail to aid in this effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, they are proving that their agenda is not that of the people but of a status presidency that can rule without impunity costing Americans both its prosperity and its freedoms. While the media is now starting to report that the reality of Obamacare is nothing like the sales pitch that Democrats gave to get it passed. But, the question remains, will fantasy or reality rule the hearts of the elected leadership in Washington, D.C.? We sure cannot afford the cost associated with its past fantasies. Tags:Obamacare, Affordable Care act, cost of premiums, rising costs, destructive costs, news mediaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The below letter to the editor is by Robert "Bob" McDowell, Jr. He is a Professional Engineer and Geologist with over 50 years experience in creating drilling prospects, supervising drilling, well completion, production operation, and pipeline design for oil and gas including repair of problem wells. McDowell is a conservative and active in the Oklahoma Republican Assembly.
By Bob McDowell: In the weeks/months since the first of the year, and before, we have been subjected to a continual bombardment from the Administration about how awful the 'sequestration' was going to be on the citizens. Then, all of a sudden, President Obama, aka PRESBO, changed his tune and began, in December, to soft-pedal the expected effects, stating that it would not be as bad as expected.
He and his propaganda machine, the national media, also pursued a program of placing blame for the whole program on "the Republicans." Again a lie; as the sequestration originated in the Obama White House and was instituted by the Democrats in Congress at his suggestion. Supposedly sequestration was to be for decreased spending (really a reduction in the INCREASES already programed into government spending) to occur if the two houses of Congress could not agree on where and how much cuts to make.
In the meantime, his administration lackeys opted to seek out the places to make cuts, or the appearance of the same, where they would have either have or appear to have the most adverse effect on American citizens, us. Of course, we still end up paying the bills for all the government excess spending going on. PRESBO's programs have out spent prior administrations and have put the USA in so much national debt that there is no foreseeable way that it can ever be paid off.
A probable way, if it is ever done, to eliminate the debt could be the repudiation of the debt and declaring it null and void. This has been done by other nations in centuries past. There is no honor in this being done. In the meantime, the 'Fed' (Federal Reserve) has been buying the loan notes that allowed the governments spending to continue including grants for the study of snail sexuality. The only way to "create" dollars out of thin air is "printing money." If a private business operated in this manner, the management personnel would in short order be brought to trial and relegated to a prison cell. Perhaps that would be the appropriate treatment for various present and past government officials. Of course, earlier Congresses have passed laws exempting themselves for anything done in the course of their official duties. That includes even private law suits from citizens who may have been damaged by their actions.
It is my opinion that the PRESBO Administration is determined to destroy our defense ability. It appears they are bent on reducing the effective abilities of the military, physically and mentally, to the point that even our diplomatic staffs will not be unable to deal with foreign nations. Although in recent administrations the diplomats have not appeared to have much impact.
Back to sequestration, PRESBO even went so far as to put an end to tours of the White House claiming that the Secret Service (not true) mandated such. Well, the White House is supposed to be the property of the citizens - "the People's House," not property of the rent free occupants. The cost to monitor the tours could be easily covered by PRESBO and his family members not taking so many trip,e.g. golfing with Tiger Woods, sending the kids on vacation "again," not operating in campaign mode even after having won re-election, etc. It has been reported that the cost of Air Force One is about $185,000 per hour. Then add to that the cost of an Air Force cargo plane to take 'the Monster', the presidential limousine, and another to transport plane for necessary security personnel and we have far exceeded the cost for a year of White House tours.
All the while that the above actions were occurring, the major lame stream media, "PRESBO's Propaganda Machine," continues to cover for PRESBO's misconduct and to divert attention to other, less important, news issues. As an recent example, the news had 24 hour continuous coverage of the selection and induction of a new Pope in Rome. It is understandable that those who will have allegiance to him to be very interested with this event, but there were numerous other things of major events of importance in our country and the World that the media ignored. In short, we have been flim-flammed again! Tags: Bob McDowell, Oklahoma, letter to editor, President Obama, PRESBO, propaganda machine, media, lame stream media To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Obamacare, increased premiums, pain in the butt, higher costs, Americans, editorial cartoon, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: With over 2000 pages of legislative text and over 20,000 pages of regulations so far, most Americans can’t possibly know all the details of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Fortunately for opponents of the law, however, the best known provision is also the most hated: the individual mandate, confirmed to be a tax by the United States Supreme Court. It should be repealed.
While awareness of many other Obamacare provisions has declined over the past three years, awareness of the mandate tax continues to climb. The most recent tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 74 percent Americans know that Obamacare will “require nearly all Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or else pay a fine.”
The hatred of the mandate tax was intense in the immediate aftermath of last year’s surprising Supreme Court ruling, which found that Congress could not constitutionally order Americans to purchase health insurance, but allowed the mandate to stand by recasting it as a tax on being uninsured.
Unfortunately, Republicans nominated a presidential candidate who could not use the mandate tax as an issue because he supported and enacted it as governor of Massachusetts. Romney’s own flip-flop also made him unable to criticize Barack Obama’s remarkable reversal after saying in the 2008 campaign: “The main difference between my plan and Senator Clinton’s plan is that she’d require the government to force you to buy health insurance and she said she’d ‘go after’ your wages if you don’t.”
When supporters of Obamacare suggest the public voted for it in the presidential election, they overlook the fact that the only presidential election in which the mandate was specifically contested was that 2008 primary in which Obama’s opposition to the tax carried the day.
The mandate tax is still a loser with the American people. The latest Kaiser poll found that just 40 percent of Americans now have a favorable view, with just 20 percent strongly favorable. Fully 60 percent are unfavorable, with a hefty 40 percent very unfavorable.
The mandate tax represents everything that’s wrong with Washington. Instead of helping the uninsured afford insurance by making it less expensive, the mandate tax punishes them. They still don’t have insurance, but now are poorer because of the tax. Yet it was part of a corrupt bargain with the big insurance companies, who basically told Congress and the Obama administration that they would go along with Obamacare’s expensive new regulations as long as the government forced everyone to buy their (even more expensive) product.
The mandate tax takes effect in 2014 if Congress fails to act. House leadership should therefore demand that repeal of this hated tax be included in must-pass legislation, such as the upcoming debt ceiling deal. Such a strategy would shift the focus of Obamacare opposition from the law’s complexity, a difficult to grasp and impersonal concept, to the law’s most well-known and widely hated provision.
Frates writes, “A few minutes after the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision upholding President Obama’s health care law last summer, a senior adviser to Mitch McConnell walked into the Senate Republican leader’s office to gauge his reaction. McConnell was clearly disappointed, and for good reason. . . . But where some saw finality, McConnell saw opportunity — and still does. Sitting at his desk a stone’s throw from the Senate chamber, McConnell turned to the aide and, with characteristic directness, said: “This decision is too cute. But I think we got something with this tax issue.”
“He was referring to the court’s ruling that the heart of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the so-called individual mandate that requires everyone in the country to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, was a tax. And while McConnell thought calling the mandate a tax was ‘a rather creative way’ to uphold the law, it also opened a new front in his battle to repeal it. McConnell, a master of byzantine Senate procedure, immediately realized that, as a tax, the individual mandate would be subject to the budget reconciliation process, which exempted it from the filibuster. In other words, McConnell had just struck upon how to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority vote.”
“The Kentucky Republican called a handful of top aides into his office and told them, ‘Figure out how to repeal this through reconciliation. I want to do this.’ McConnell ordered a repeal plan ready in the event the GOP took back control of the Senate in November — ironic considering Democrats used the same process more than two years earlier in a successful, last-shot effort to muscle the reforms into law.”
“By Election Day,” Frates writes, “Senate Republicans were ready to, as McConnell put it, ‘take this monstrosity down.’ ‘We were prepared to do that had we had the votes to do it after the election. Well, the election didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to,’ McConnell told National Journal in an interview. ‘The monstrosity has ... begun to be implemented and we’re not giving up the fight.’”
Looking forward, Frates notes, “Indeed, when it comes to legislative strategy, McConnell plays long ball. Beginning in 2009, the Republican leader led the push to unify his colleagues against Democrats’ health care plans, an effort that almost derailed Obamacare. In 2010, Republicans, helped in part by public opposition to the law, won back the House and picked up seats in the Senate. . . . But, in the next two years, Republicans are looking to bring the issue back in a big way. And they’ll start by trying to brand the law as one that costs too much and is not working as promised.”
He adds, “Democrats will be tempted to continue to write off the incoming fire as the empty rhetoric of a party fighting old battles. But that would be a mistake. During the health care debate, the GOP’s coordinated attacks helped turn public opinion against reform. And in the past two years, no more than 45 percent of the public has viewed Obamacare favorably, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s tracking polls. . . . During the legislative debate over the law, Democrats promised Obamacare would create jobs, lower health care costs, and allow people to keep their current plans if they chose to. Those vows, Republicans argue, are already being broken.”
Indeed, Townhall.com’s Guy Benson notes a segment CNN aired last night, where Wolf Blitzer asks, “Here’s a question: Were Americans misled about the costs of Obamacare?” He continued, “The president has long pledged that his health care law would reduce premiums and raise benefits. Now, the Obama administration is conceding that some people will have to pay more—potentially even a lot more—for health insurance coverage.” In the segment, CNN White House Correspondent Briana Keilar adds, “A new study by the Society of Actuaries, which number-crunches insurance costs, estimates insurance companies will pay on average 32% more for claims on individual insurance plans because of Obamacare. Some states fare worse: The report says California will see a 62% increase by 2017; Wisconsin and Ohio and 80% increase. Those costs, the report, says, will be passed on to consumers.”
Benson explains, “This report was prompted by two stories we've covered this week: (1) Kathleen Sebelius' belated admission that some Americans will, in fact, see their premiums rise due to the "Affordable" Care Act, and (2) the American Society of Actuaries' determination that insurers will see claim pay-outs on individual plans rise by 32 percent as a result of the law. This wasn't how things were supposed to be, according to the administration's deeply dishonest sales pitch.”
But of course, Keilar notes, “The Obama administration is criticizing the accuracy of this study. . . . But the society itself is nonpartisan and it says it stands by the numbers and the analysis. I will say, Wolf, that I spoke with an independent health policy analyst who says he doesn’t think the report is biased in that way that is alleged by the White House . . . .” Benson writes, “Yes, that report really included a clip of a White House lackey assailing a nonpartisan actuarial organization for rudely producing rigorous estimates that deviated from the president's preferred narrative. Obama vs. math -- how thoroughly appropriate.”
In the National Journal piece Frates points out, “The Congressional Budget Office, the Hill’s nonpartisan scorekeeper, estimated that the health care law would reduce employment by about 800,000 workers and result in about 7 million people losing their employer-sponsored health care over a decade. The CBO also estimated that Obamacare during that period would raise health care spending by roughly $580 billion. McConnell’s office has assembled the law’s 19,842 new regulations into a stack that is 7 feet high and wheeled around on a dolly. The prop even has its own Twitter account, @TheRedTapeTower. . . . ‘Constituent pressure is overriding the view that virtually all Democrats have had that Obamacare is sort of like the Ten Commandments, handed down and every piece of it is sacred and you can’t possibly change any of it ever,’ McConnell said. ‘When you see that begin to crack then you know the facade is breaking up.’
“In the meantime,” Frates writes, “Republicans will continue to, as GOP Sen. John Barrasso put it, ‘try to tear (Obamacare) apart.’ And the GOP suspects it might get some help from moderate Democrats less concerned about protecting Obama’s legacy than winning reelection.
“It’s just the latest act in a play that saw McConnell give more than 100 floor speeches critical of Democratic reforms and paper Capitol Hill with more 225 messaging documents in the 10 months before Obamacare’s passage. Away from the public spotlight, McConnell worked his caucus hard to convince them to unite against the law, holding a health care meeting every Wednesday afternoon. GOP aides said they could not remember a time before, or since, when a Republican leader held a weekly meeting with members that focused solely on one subject. “‘What I tried to do is just guide the discussion to the point where everybody realized there wasn’t any part of this we wanted to have any ownership of,’ McConnell recounted.” Tags:Republican, secret plan, repeal ObamacareTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Feds Spending $880,000 to Study Benefits of Snail Sex
The National Science Foundation has given a grant that could wind up totaling almost a million dollars to a University of Iowa study researching which is better for New Zealand mud snails: reproducing sexually or asexually. The grant (your tax dollars or future debt), awarded in 2011 to last until 2015, has already cost $502,357, and could wind up costing taxpayers $876,752 before all is said and done. But there is no money for White House tours and military support of Air Shows are grounded. CNS News has the story below.
New Zealand mud snail
By Matt Cover, CNS News: The National Science Foundation awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.
The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually – the snail can do both – hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.
“Sexual reproduction is more costly than asexual reproduction, yet nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time. Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs,” the study’s abstract asks.
“This project will use a different organism, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, a New Zealand snail, which has both sexual and independently-derived asexual lineages that make it ideally suited to address fundamental evolutionary questions of how genes and genomes evolve in the absence of sexual reproduction.”
In other words, the study seeks to see if there are genetic advantages to sexual reproduction that justify its evolutionary costs, advantages such as avoiding genetic mutations or gene loss.
So far, the grant has paid out $502,357, according to NSF, and could pay out the full $880,000 between now and 2015. The study is funded through what NSF calls a continuing grant meaning that it agrees with the researcher to fund a certain amount, but can end up spending more on the grant if NSF agrees that more money is warranted.
The broader aim of the study is to find out why sexual reproduction and males exist, arguing that sex is biologically inefficient for females. Because an asexual organism can simply clone itself faster than it can reproduce if it finds a mate, the study seeks to see if there are other benefits to sexual reproduction that outweigh this ‘cost’ of finding a mate.
In a University of Iowa press release announcing the grant, this is described as the “cost of males” – explaining that female organisms shouldn’t need to produce sons instead of daughters because producing daughters simply involves asexual duplication – which can then duplicate themselves – while male offspring cannot produce other male offspring unaided.
“[T]he commonness of sex is surprising because asexual females should be able to produce twice as many daughters as sexual females that make both male and female offspring,” the release says.
“Despite this and other costs, nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time. This means that sex must be associated with profound advantages, while asexual reproduction must have significant evolutionary consequences.” Tags:Feds, grant, snail sex, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, New Zealand snail, NIS, University of Iowa, government waste, CNS NewsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tony Perkins, FRC Washington Update: Time doesn't heal all wounds--at least where religious liberty is concerned. While the calendar changes, the opposition to the President's abortion mandate does not. So far, no amount of HHS tweaks or "compromises" can make up for the fact that this administration's policy--ordering organizations to pay for pills that violate their beliefs--may be the greatest attack on America's First Freedom ever.
In the brief time since HHS posted the rules, the mandate has generated more public comments--147,000--than any government regulation in history! Compared to the 4,600 comments on pre-existing conditions and insurance, the mandate is drawing 30 times the response! It just goes to show, says the Sunlight Foundation, "how motivated the foes and champions of the contraceptive provision are."
And speaking of foes, the mandate found a few powerful ones in a joint letter signed by 13 state attorneys general. Led by Alabama's Luther Strange, the group (which includes Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia) called on HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to adopt "broader religious exemptions" to the mandate that would protect anyone who objects to the order on moral grounds. "Whatever we personally may think about contraception and abortion-inducing drugs," Strange wrote, "we can all agree that the government should not be in the business of forcing people to violate their religious convictions."
Among other things, the group complains about the narrowness of the exemptions (only a handful of non-church organizations are even eligible). "They allow a limited few religious nonprofits, such as houses of worship, to avoid the 'HHS mandate' altogether...The proposed regulations provide no exception to the HHS mandate for for-profit business owners who object on conscience grounds."
Like FRC, these leaders also see through the President's "accommodation" to let a third-party pay for the pills. Unfortunately, the cost-shifting doesn't change anything. There's a slight adjustment in how the accounting is done for the drugs or services that violate people's consciences--but in the end, the President's "compromise" is just a bookkeeping gimmick that hides the coverage in the plan.
"We all know that insurance companies do not provide anything for free," the attorneys general point out. "The employers are still going to be paying for those services through increased premiums or otherwise--even if the insurance company technically covers those products through a separate 'free' policy." What's more, they write, there is absolutely no protection for businesses like Hobby Lobby whose owners have just as many First Amendment rights as the rest of us.
And if the administration won't protect them, Congress must. It's time for the GOP to take the reins on this broad consensus and attach Rep. Diane Black's Health Care Conscience Rights Act to a must-pass piece of legislation. You can help. Add your voice to the tens of thousands of Americans who are fighting the administration's mandate on the HHS website. Click here to post your comments! Tags:Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Washington Update, regulations, abortion mandate, Obamacare,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: The GOP's meltdown over marriage and the sanctity of life continues. Tuesday, former Republican Senator Larry Pressler announced his support for same-sex "marriage," calling it the "new conservative position." Tellingly, Pressler made his announcement on Al Gore's Current TV.
He could not be more wrong. There is nothing conservative about redefining marriage. And there is nothing conservative about turning to unelected judges to invalidate the will of the American people. That is called liberal judicial activism, and conservatives have rightly opposed it for decades.
In 2006 the voters of South Dakota approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. If Larry Pressler was entertaining the notion of a political comeback, I suspect he would not get half the votes he did last time after coming out of the closet to support redefining marriage. He is another out-of-touch politician who thinks he knows better than the people of his own state.
But Pressler joins other politicos like former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and Nicolle Wallace in denouncing supporters of normal marriage as bigots. When Pressler was in the Senate, he was always someone conservatives had to worry about.
Not surprisingly, Pressler voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and publicly campaigned for him in 2012. Huntsman, of course, served in the Obama Administration while Obama was taking over the healthcare system, raising taxes and promoting abortion. Nicolle Wallace, who I debated on Fox News Sunday last week, famously aimed her vitriol during the 2008 campaign at Sarah Palin rather than Barack Obama.
My point is simply this: The Republicans who are now coming out and insisting that we should downplay values issues have never been full members of the team to begin with. They are part of the same establishment that bitterly fought Ronald Reagan.
Huntsman, Pressler and Wallace don't understand Middle America and do not appreciate the values of hard-working, men and women of faith. There are millions of blue collar folks -- Nixon's Silent Majority and former Reagan Democrats -- who vote for Republicans because of values issues not because of GOP promises to protect billionaires from tax hikes.
The more GOP elites signal their disdain for values voters, condemning their deeply held religious values as bigotry, the more they risk losing them. In the end, the very elites who claim they are trying to save the party will end up causing its crack-up.
In the days leading up to the Supreme Court's hearings on marriage, Democrats tripped over each other trying to get to the nearest microphone to be the next to embrace same-sex marriage.
Some of them are up for reelection next year and come from states that have passed marriage protection amendments by wide margins. If the GOP will take a second to stop preemptively surrendering, they might discover some real opportunities are right in front of them. For example:
Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) now supports same-sex marriage. Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment preserving normal marriage by a vote of 68%-to-32%.
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) endorsed same-sex marriage this week. Virginia voters approved a marriage protection amendment by a vote of 57%-to-43%.
And yesterday Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) announced her support for men "marrying" other men. It has not even been one year since the voters of the Tar Heel state approved a constitutional amendment preserving traditional marriage by vote of 61%-to-39%.
Talk about having a Senate seat handed to you on a silver platter! Most politicians would give their right arm to win with 61%. I believe this seat could be easily won if the Republican candidate is bold enough to articulate a strong stand for traditional marriage. We could teach them how in 30 minutes, but I doubt anyone in the RNC apparatus is even thinking about it.
The fact that Begich, Warner and Hagan feel free to publicly oppose the vast majority of their constituents shows they have concluded that the GOP will be afraid to use it as a campaign issue.
The party elites may be backing down but, my friends, I am not! With your support, this political action committee will do everything we can to defeat politicians who oppose our values!
------------- Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families where his articles are also shared. Tags:marriage, sanctity of life, GOP, Supreme Court, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Phyllis Schlafly is the
"First Lady of Conservatism"
~ Pat Buchanan
by Phyllis Schlafly: A claque of liberals and media bigwigs are calling RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s 97-page political opus an Autopsy, which the dictionary defines as the dissection of a body after death. Some people are hoping the Republican Party is dead, but the grassroots are raring to rise up and fight.
Support for the Republican Party is down, but the number of people who call themselves conservative is holding steady. They face the same old choice-not-an-echo battle: grassroots conservative Republicans vs. the liberal, globalist Establishment RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).
The Priebus manifesto was written by Party insiders who are very Establishment (i.e., associates of one of the two Bushes, and no local Party conservatives or Tea Party types), so we can’t expect the authors to take blame for their disastrous election loss in 2012. After all, they predicted their victory right up to and including Election Day.
The Autopsy included a lot of chatter about “growth” and “opportunity,” plus 30 mentions of the need to be more “inclusive,” but that warm and fuzzy invitational language didn’t extend to those who want to do something so daring as to nominate conservative candidates who aren’t afraid to talk about the right to life and traditional marriage.
The Autopsy pompously declared, “You have to have candidates who don’t make tragic mistakes.” But the worst mistakes were made by the Establishment’s own candidate, Mitt Romney, who failed to use so many issues that connect with the American people. The dozen losses of Establishment-selected candidates for President and Senate show that the people writing the Autopsy have a worse record of picking candidates than the grassroots, who picked winners such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee.
It’s too bad Pat Caddell wasn’t on the Autopsy drafting committee. Of course, that wouldn’t have been appropriate because he is a Democrat, but he could have given the committee a big dose of reality.
Caddell saved his comments for a brutal speech to those who attended the annual conservative conference called CPAC. He said, “The Republican Party is in the grips of what I call the CLEC – the Consultant, Lobbyist, and Establishment Complex,” which he defined as a “self-serving interconnected network of individuals interested in preserving their own power far more than in winning elections.”
“Just follow the money,” Caddell reminded us, commenting on the hundreds of millions of dollars this group spent while losing most of their so-called “moderate” candidates. Despite losing with their candidates, wasting so much donors’ money, and being so well-paid for zero results, the same Establishment strategists have the impudence to tell us we should hire them to reform the Republican Party.
The Autopsy stated solemnly that a “healthy debate of ideas is fundamentally good for the Republican Party.” Agreed. But the Establishment is always determined to suppress all debate or discussion of social, moral, or national security ideas by Republican candidates.
The Autopsy even gave the back of its hand to Republican hero Ronald Reagan, implying that he is now ancient history. But Reagan gave us a model of defeating the Establishment candidate, George H. W. Bush, in 1980, and then going on to win two spectacular national elections, and roughly half of today’s electorate was old enough to vote for Reagan in 1984.
The most insufferable part of the Autopsy is the way these losing Republican strategists presume to tell us that the way to attract new voters is to embrace comprehensive immigration of Hispanics. All available evidence shows that endorsing any form of amnesty, or legislating any part of it, will produce votes for Democrats, not Republicans.
The Autopsy recommends a bunch of changes in Party rules, all of which would make it harder for grassroots candidate to compete against moneyed Establishment candidates. The Autopsy fails to recognize Early Voting as a major factor that produced Democratic votes, and presents no plan to encourage state legislatures to eliminate or reduce it even though Republicans control half the state legislatures.
The Autopsy wants the Establishment to “become much more intentional about candidate recruitment,” especially by working with state parties to identify candidates for local office, such as mayor, county commission, and city council. The national Party has a lot to do without butting into local elections.
The Autopsy fails to encourage a commitment to traditional Republican principles, such as marriage and military superiority, which are all clearly enunciated in the national Republican Platform adopted in Tampa last year. Some have forgotten that Ronald Reagan advised us to run on a platform of “bold colors with no pastel shades.”
-------------------- Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues. She has also been an active member of the Republican National Committee Conventions Platform Committee. Tags:Republican Party, autopsy, RNC, Phyllis SchlaphyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Happy Obamacare Anniversary: Claims Cost And Premiums To Increase
Obamacare Anniversary is plagued by bad new's reports.
Yesterday, the AP reported, “Insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims on individual health policies under President Barack Obama's overhaul, the nation's leading group of financial risk analysts has estimated. That's likely to increase premiums for at least some Americans buying individual plans. The report by the Society of Actuaries could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act. . . . The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.”
And while Obama administration officials are questioning the report, the AP notes, “A prominent national expert, recently retired Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster, said the report does ‘a credible job’ of estimating potential enrollment and costs under the law, ‘without trying to tilt the answers in any particular direction.’ . . . Kristi Bohn, an actuary who worked on the study . . . said the goal was to look at the underlying cost of medical care. ‘Claims cost is the most important driver of health care premiums,’ she said.”
The Hill headlines its story, “Premiums could rise under healthcare law, Sebelius concedes,” writing, “The Obama administration acknowledged Tuesday that some people could see their premiums rise under the healthcare reform law. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters that ‘there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market’ where ‘folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time.’”
And Reuters summarizes, “President Barack Obama's top healthcare adviser acknowledged on Tuesday that costs could rise in the individual health insurance market, particularly for men and younger people, because of the landmark 2010 healthcare restructuring due to take effect next year.”
Meanwhile, the ever-growing pile of regulations Obamacare is generating is already setting off alarm bells. According to Reuters, “Millions of Americans will be priced out of health insurance under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul because of a glitch in the law that adversely affects people with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by their employers, a leading healthcare advocacy group said on Tuesday. . . . The law specifies that employer-sponsored insurance is affordable so long as a worker's share of the premium does not exceed 9.5 percent of the worker's household income. In its rule making, or final interpretation of the law, the IRS said affordability should be based strictly on individual coverage costs, however. That means that, even if family coverage through an employer-based plan far exceeds the 9.5 percent cutoff, workers would not be eligible for the tax credits to help buy insurance for children or non-working dependents.”
Reuters adds, “Separately, a Democratic U.S. senator on Tuesday said the federal government has limited scope to help millions of people likely to remain without affordable health insurance under the new law. . . . Wyden said the approach would not help many of the nearly 4 million worker dependents who may have to forego subsidized private health coverage as a result of an IRS ruling.”
As the ARRA News Service has continually supported, Time to Repeal the Bill. Tags:Obamacare, news reports, increased claims cost, higher premiumsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Rick Manning: – Hell must have frozen over this past weekend as the U.S. Seate broke a four year record of intransigence and failure as it unleashed a blizzard of votes that culminated with the passage of a budget document that reveals the plans and priorities of the 50 Democrats who supported it.
It was no mistake that the big reveal by Senate Democrats was that they had no plan whatsoever to ever bring the budget into balance came on Friday evening going into pre-dawn Saturday morning. Harry Reid and crew clearly were embarrassed by their budget and hoped to avoid widespread media coverage by scheduling votes when they would receive the least amount of attention.
Ironically, Democrat Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) actually had the audacity to complain that it was irresponsible for the Senate to be considering major foreign policy decisions at 3 am on Saturday, referring to a budget amendment that passed putting the Senate on record as opposing the United Nations Small Arms Treaty which the Obama Administration is currently negotiating.
Menendez’s complaint should have been with Majority Leader Reid who deliberately scheduled the vote-a-thon in the wee hours of the morning to keep the results cloaked from real time reporting as much as possible.
But the rationale behind Reid’s Hide the Budget Act makes perfect sense
In spite of these rhetorical claims, every Democrat Senator with the exception of West Virginia’s Joe Manchin voted against sending the budget back to Committee with instructions that it balance within ten years. The motion to recommit by Sessions was defeated by a 46–53 margin with Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) not voting.
The significance of this admission by 53 Democrat Senators — 50 of whom voted for final passage of the budget — that they have no intention of ever bringing the budget to balance cannot be overstated.
No matter their orchestrated protestations to the contrary, and their attempts to spin the American people by perverting the definition of balancing the budget, their votes do not lie. The budget that was passed by the Senate Democrats creates $7.3 trillion in new debt over the next ten years despite a $1.5 trillion tax increase.
It immediately increases the budget deficit and grows federal government spending by 60 percent over the next ten years. Even more stunning, the growth of means-tested spending increases by 80 percent — i.e spending on those who are the poorest amongst us.
This last point is a bald admission that the Democrats who voted for this budget do not believe that their big government policies will work. Nor do they think their budget will grow the economy or ween people away from government dependency, but instead they project that the very dependency that sucks the self-respect from the least of these, will dramatically increase. Incredibly, the Senate Democrats actually budgeted for the failure of their policies.
To put an exclamation point on the devastating impact that the Senate Democrat vision for federal government taxing and spending would have on American’s who want a job, the Heritage Foundation found that if passed into law, it would cost our nation an average of 853,000 jobs per year for the next ten years.
That’s 8.5 million jobs that either won’t be created or would go away entirely if the Senate Democrats’ vision for America became a reality.
That’s 8.5 million Americans consigned to perpetual dependency rather than developing the kind of sustainable careers that our nation’s workers have traditionally been able to depend upon.
That’s 8.5 million disappointments, tears and putting off a vibrant future for another day as American workers are stuck in a cycle of Democrat Senate induced dependency rather than being able to stand on their own two feet to determine their own futures based upon their ability and hard work.
That’s simply unacceptable and inexcusable. Yet, it is the consequence of a Senate Democrat vision that dramatically increases government, puts another $7 trillion onto the national debt, all the while sucking an additional $1.5 trillion in new taxes out of the economy.
Thankfully, one of the positives from the Senate budget debate is that our U.S. Senate went on the record on a number of other issues, producing mixed results.
Beyond the UN Small Arms Treaty vote, another of these was the vote of support by 56 Senators in favor of illegal immigrants having access to free taxpayer funded health care should they become legal under a future immigration reform bill.
Another vote that is good news for those who believe in free markets but bodes ill for those in the Obama Administration who hope to pass a carbon tax, as 53 Senators rejected this holy grail for the environmental left on a bi-partisan basis.
This past weekend was indeed momentous for not only the Senate Democrats being forced to actually do their jobs and lay out their budgetary vision for the country, but also for the 47 votes taken that put every Senator on record on many of the other critical issues facing our nation.
It is just too bad that Harry Reid was so ashamed of the product his Budget Committee produced that he attempted to hide their work behind a late night curtain.
--------------- Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy for Americans for Limited Government and his article was also shared at NetRightDaily Tags:Harry Reid, Senate budget, carbon tax, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Don’t remember writing that check? If you paid federal taxes after 1997, some of your money went to Tides, a San Francisco-based clearinghouse that collects and distributes about $251 million every year to hundreds of leftwing organizations.
Much of the money flowing into Tides comes from wealthy benefactors who use Tides as a clearinghouse — a way to help finance left-liberal organizations without leaving any fingerprints.
But since 1997, the U.S. government has joined in, making $79 million in grants to the non-profit. In the same period, Tides has funded such groups as the radical PRF and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization whose leaders were convicted of funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas.
Former CAIR leader Ghassan Elashi
now preaches from prison.
Tides also gives money to groups you likely know and may even support such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
In 2002, Tides received $6.8 million in federal grants and sent $5,000 to CAIR. That same year, the Justice Department indicted Ghassan Elashi, founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, for funneling $12 million to Hamas. The Justice Department labeled CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator along with 300 others. The ensuing trial, the biggest terrorism case ever held in the United States, led to a guilty verdict and a 65-year prison sentence for Elashi.
Tides did not respond to requests for comment, but in an undated press release from years ago offered this explanation for the CAIR donation:“There have been many hateful claims about Tides Foundation and the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR). As part of the Tides 9/11 Fund, Tides Foundation made a onetime $5,000 grant to CAIR. The grant was specifically for CAIR’s Interfaith Coalition Against Hate Crimes project in 2002. Based in Southern California the project was established to promote peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims and decrease hate crimes against Muslims,” wrote. “CAIR has explicitly stated that they have no ties whatsoever to any violent or discriminatory organizations.”
The Newtown, CT elementary school massacre was the fault of America’s “capitalistic system,” IAC asserted.
In 2006, Sara Flounders, IAC’s co-director and a key member of Workers World Party, met with Leila Khaled, a terrorist who led the August 1969 hijacking of Trans-World Flight 840. The hijackers didn’t kill anyone, but caused more than $4 million in damage by blowing up the empty plane’s nose while the aircraft sat on the runway. Flounders called Khaled “heroic.”
Workers World is a huge fan of North Korea, labeling its recently deceased leader Kim Jong-Il “brilliant” and “courageous” while calling his father Kim Il-Sung — a founder of the communist country in 1948 — an “amazing revolutionary.”
Ramsey Clark at the
White House in 1968
Brian Becker, a member of Workers World and the director of A.N.S.W.E.R., wants to spread Marxism to America’s political system and its youth. “There’s no reason junior high schools students … can’t become not only [members] in the party and in the movement, but leaders themselves,” he said in an April 24, 2011, video clip.
Not content with parroting the communist cant of Korea’s ruling Kim family, PRC has created an online bookstore that sold a plethora of pro-communist titles from the likes of Karl Marx, Lenin, Che Gueverra and a compendium of Fidel Castro’s speeches.
Peoples Rights also has something of a media arm. Though far less powerful than CNN, ABC or even Current TV, Peoples Video Network, a small production outlet publishing media congruent with the IAC’s values, receives money and support from PRF.
And PRF’s money? Some of that came from Tides. And Tides’ money? Some of that came from you
---------- Watchdog.org is a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity. The program began in September 2009, a project of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting new media journalism. Tags:taxpayers, taxes, funding promoting dictators, hated dictators, Tides, PRF, Watchdog.orgTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal editors wrote, “The Affordable Care Act has been a running series of nasty non-surprises, with many more on the way — gird yourself for 116% insurance premium increases — but sometimes the surprises are real. Take the amazing bipartisan turn against the 2.3% tax on medical device makers, even among liberals who still evince no remorse for voting for the overall bill three years ago. . . . The vote was 79 to 20, well over the two-thirds supermajority required to override President Obama's threatened veto. More amazing still, the 33 Democratic and one independent defectors didn't merely come from device-making states like Massachusetts (Elizabeth Warren and Mo Cowan) or Minnesota (Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, the main cosponsor of the amendment with Utah's Orrin Hatch). They included the Senate Budget Chairman, Patty Murray of Washington, and Illinois's Dick Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 leader. New York's Chuck Schumer—Majority Leader in waiting—climbed aboard, as did otherwise conventional progressives like Maryland's Barbara Mikulski and Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal.”
Politico adds, “Thirty-four Senate Democrats joined Republicans on Thursday night in a nonbinding but overwhelming vote to repeal a key tax in President Barack Obama's health reform law. . . . [I]t has huge political significance as momentum builds for bipartisan consensus to get rid of another piece of Obamacare. . . . Democrats have slowly started to support the measure in larger numbers. In December, 19 Democrats signed on to a letter asking Reid to delay the tax.”
In another piece, Politico writes, “Proving that the Obamacare wars are far from over, the health reform law was one of the favorite targets of amendments during Friday night's ‘vote-a-rama’ on the Senate floor. Dozens of amendments were filed to the budget resolution picking apart various elements of health care policy: whether employers should provide contraceptives in their insurance policies, whether a tax should be imposed on medical device-makers, whether Medicare can adjust payments based on the state. . . . Of the more than 100 amendments considered, more than 20 were related to health care, Medicare or the health reform law . . . . The biggest victory for the law's opponents came on Thursday, when 79 senators — including all Republicans and 34 Democrats — voted to strike the law's tax on medical device-makers. The Senate also passed by voice vote a measure to repeal the law's $2,500 cap on flexible spending accounts and eliminate the requirement that consumers get a doctor's prescription before using FSA or health savings account money on over-the-counter prescriptions.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told Politico, “It's the beginning of the unraveling of the Obama health care law. . . . Now that the Supreme Court has ruled and the president has been reelected, Democrats are being honest with the fact that this law is loaded with flaws.”
It’s worth remembering that these are not the only pieces of Obamacare where there was bipartisan support for repealing. In fact, two majorly problematic aspects of the law have already been repealed: the CLASS Act, which, after being demonstrated to be unworkable was finally repealed in the fiscal cliff legislation in January, and the onerous 1099 reporting provision that would have crushed small businesses with paperwork requirements.
Although Republicans have been eager to dismantle some of the worst parts of this law, many of us question if they - the republicans who have the majority in the House and the republicans in the senate, although in the minority, - are truly committed to the ending of this onerous and burdensome Federal Health Care act. Some members keep repeating their commitment. However, talk is cheap and 100% commitment is needed.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly said, "In my view, Obamacare is a colossal mistake for our country. There’s just no way to fix it. It needs to be pulled out by its roots and we need to start over. This bill needs to be repealed and replaced – not with another unreadable law or another 20,000 pages of regulations – but with common-sense reforms that actually lower health care costs. And anyone who thinks we’ve given up that fight is dead wrong.”
Where do your two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative stand on repealing Obamacare? Do they appear willing to duck behind some grand compromises and fail to protect the greatest private healthcare system in the world by getting our of the way? Tags:Obamacare, update, unraveling of Obamacare, being committed to repealTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Tax Revolt Is Over, Here Comes the Money Revolt
Img Via FreeGraphicDownloads.com
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: The breakout headliner issue in 1978 was “Tax Revolt.” A Time Magazine cover showed Howard Jarvis shaking his fist under that headline. Proposition 13 time. Then? The Tax Revolt went, as we would now say, viral. Citizen discontent — and political activism — against high tax rates turned into a national, and then international, phenomenon. The revolt was a major factor in toppling President Carter. It led the U.S. top income tax rate to collapse from 70% to 28%. Then, rates worldwide cascaded down and global prosperity rapidly soared. Will the 21st century equivalent be a Money Revolt?
A recent, striking, piece in the FT Magazine, Is the dollar as good as gold?, commented sympathetically on the recent near-passage of a gold commission bill by the Virginia legislature. Columnist Gillian Tett quotes Prof. Alan Blinder about the “’inchoate rage” Americans are feeling about, specifically, a “fickle” monetary policy.
The phrase “inchoate rage” also appeared in an August 16, 2011 FT piece, The inchoate rage beneath our global citiesby Richard Florida, commenting on the late London riots: “With the social compact eroding and a lack of viable mass political institutions to channel resentment, what comes out is not a coherent voice but inchoate rage.”
“Inchoate rage” precisely fits the description of the popular reaction posited by Keynes in The Economic Consequences of the Peace that derives from government debasement of the currency:Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. … By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth. Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become ‘profiteers,’ who are the object of the hatred . . .
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.Meanwhile, while the money degrades and the economy stagnates, Washington, characteristically myopic, is tussling over fiscal issues — fiscal cliffs, sequesters and continuing resolutions. Next up: Washington, as Mr. Magoo, bumping its head on the debt ceiling.
Voters are beginning to sense that there is an underlying, systemic, problem causing our economic stagnation. Washington’s revenue shortfall (and attendant Keynesian Cops-like Capers) is symptom, not disease. The voters are right. The fiscal anemia is symptomatic of lack of growth. The disease causing economic stagnation is bad money.
Few suspected that the Tax Revolt, which began as a protest of an onerous state property tax, would end with the cutting of the top tax rate in the U.S. from 70% to 28% (and, together with a then-healthy dollar, ensuing excellent growth). The revolt then went worldwide, with, among other notable destinations, adoption of a 13% rate flat tax by Russia (and ensuing excellent growth) and macroeconomic policy in China leading to three consecutive decades of double digit economic growth.
Pieced together, the signs and portents suggest that the growing “inchoate rage” is a reaction to a monetary disorder. And it appears we may be watching the reversal of the process by which that invasive species, fiduciary currency, invaded the economy’s ecology. This process was described, with typical flair, by Keynes in his 1923 Tract on Monetary Reform:“In truth, the gold standard is already a barbarous relic. … A regulated non-metallic standard has slipped in unnoted. It exists. Whilst economists dozed, the academic dream of a hundred years, doffing its cap and gown, clad in paper rags, has crept into the real world by means of the bad fairies–always so much more potent than the good–the wicked ministers of finance.”Key policy-relevant (albeit not academic) economists seem to be awaking from their century-long sleep, slipping out of their “paper rags,” escaping those “bad fairies” the “wicked ministers of finance.” There are signs — not the least of which being the introduction in the House of Representatives of the Sound Dollar Act, sponsored by JEC Chairman Kevin Brady and over 50 other Representatives, and, of potentially even greater impact, a bill to create a bipartisan national Monetary Commission introduced by Brady and cosponsored by a dozen other Representatives — that America is developing a determination to return to the monetary question with an empirical look at what has the best track record of creating jobs and, with jobs, an equitable prosperity.
The Centennial Monetary Commission is by no means a gold commission. It’s a neutral forum. The proposed Commission charter presents a range of policies for assessment: discretion (the current policy); price level targeting; inflation rate targeting; nominal gross domestic product targeting; rules; and the gold standard.
As the New York Times noted, the gold standard no longer is unthinkable. And while this columnist considers the gold standard to be the gold standard of monetary policy it will need to make its case empirically, rather than doctrinally, before a neutral body. Let the best policy win.
Keynes, unlike many modern soi-dissant Keynesians, was pragmatically, not dogmatically, opposed to a gold standard. When he wrote the Tract the classical gold standard already had been fundamentally gutted by the Genoa Accord of 1922 and, yes indeed, thereby converted into a barbarous relic.
Not long before the Tract — near the very beginning of the Genoa Conference — Keynes had written in the Commercial Manchester Guardian, April 20, 1922, that “If the gold standard could be reintroduced… we all believe the reform would promote trade and production like nothing else.” This quote serves as epigram for the small modern classic The True Gold Standard, by Lewis E. Lehrman (with whose nonprofit Institute this columnist professionally is associated) which serves as the blueprint for the proponents of the classical gold standard.
Many of the most esteemed venues in financial, political and mainstream journalism — The London FT, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the National Interest, the Weekly Standard, CNBC, Forbes and its virtual wing, Forbes.com, among others —have reflected or reported a renewed respect for the classical gold standard. Finally there will be a meticulously neutral forum in which this conversation can be conducted and where policy can be assessed on its merits.
Most American officials myopically have been fixated on tax and spending policy while middle class prosperity is being torpedoed by a soggy, ad hoc, monetary policy. Bad monetary policy correlates closely, over a dozen years — under both Republican and Democratic administrations — with economic stagnation. Stagnation has resulted in tragically high unemployment and an astronomical federal deficit. The growing voter distress presents as an increasingly volatile political mix. It possesses striking similarities to the political conditions that led to the Tax Revolt.
When as level-headed and world-respected a columnist as theFT’s Gillian Tett writes about a “mystified and angry public” concern about bad money — and about the distress signals growing louder and louder from multiple state capitals — could America be on the verge of a “Money Revolt”? You bet it could. And, if so, thanks to the Centennial Monetary Commission, America may have a “viable mass political institution” ready to translate “inchoate rage” to a “coherent voice.”
------------ Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to he ARRA News Service. The article which first appeared in Forbes was submitted for reprint by the author. Tags:tax revolt, money revolt, Ralph Benko, Gold StandardTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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